Greece

Experience Greece: Athens, Crete & Santorini- 10 Days

Experience past and present Greece on this active adventure

Experience Greece: Athens, Crete & Santorini- 10 Days

Experience past and present Greece on this active adventure

Greece’s blue and white Greek islands are famous, yet there are also hidden aspects of this incredible country that have unique beauty of their own. Our trip starts in Athens, once the center of the ancient world, now a modern and multi-cultural capital. Get to know the great cultural heritage of the birthplace of democracy, and experience the diversity of arts and entertainment of a vivid contemporary city. After Athens, we travel to Crete, which is the biggest island in Greece, and the birthplace of Minoan civilization and the most ancient in Europe.

Escape the over toured areas, and focus mainly on the rugged splendor of the White Mountains, touring around traditional mountain villages and hiking in the areas beautiful gorges and south coast paths along the Libyan sea. With stunning and varied beaches for all types of travelers, we keep it interesting! And, last but not least, we visit Santorini. Sense the real beauty and feel the essence of the Greek Islands. Hike, swim, kayak and discover breathtaking views in our specially designed unique day trips.

Trip ITINERARY

Day 1: Arrival in Athens

Upon arrival in Athens, you will be met and transferred your hotel in Athens center and at a walking distance from the Acropolis. Plaka is the historic neighborhood of Athens, an area now graced with fine restaurants and  shops.

Overnight in Athens.

Day 2: Explore Athens & Fly to Chania

After breakfast, we will embark on a morning driving tour of Athens. Visit the Constitution Square, the Memorial to the Unknown Soldier and the House of Parliament, which was the royal palace until 1935. Also visit the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Hadrian's Arch and Panathinaiko Stadium, venue for the first Olympic Games. Explore the Acropolis, the vantage point that offered protections of the ancient city-state and the center of ancient Athenian religious and commercial life. Your history lesson will be completed with your visit at the Acropolis museum, the museum that the Athenians are most proud of. Later in the evening, we take a short flight to Chania, thought by many to be the most beautiful city in Crete.

Day 3: Experience the Aghia Irini Gorge and Balos

Today is active and exciting day, as the group prepares to enter the White Mountains through the narrow gorge of Agia Irini. We hike in areas of humidity and shade sustained by a variety of plants, and gigantic ancient plane trees grace a large clearing halfway through our hike. Bythe end of our hike, we arrive at Agia Irini village. After our hike we will be treated with some of the world's most beautiful places to enjoy a swim, Balos! Here we have the privilege of swimming and snorkeling in the shallow and warm lagoon waters. Later in the afternoon we begin our journey back to Chania.

Day 4: Samaria gorge and Aghia Roumeli

This morning we rise with the sun, and after breakfast, we enjoy our scenic drive to the starting point of the National Park of Samaria. Samaria is Europe’s longest gorge, which guides us to our goal through trickling streams, through forests of scented pines and the “Iron Gates”, the narrowest point where the rocks on either side are 600m high. After a 16km descent we’ll reach the welcoming resort of Agia Roumeli, known for it's fine pebble beach, and sparkling sea. We are rewarded with a peaceful overnight in this incredible resort.

Day 5: From Aghia Roumeli to Loutro

Today will find the group enjoying a world-class Grecian coastal walk. We will get an early start in the cool of the morning, walking on sand and shingle next to the sea, eventually arriving at the picturesque chapel of St. Pavlos (Paul), said to mark the place where Saint Paul landed on Crete. Next to the chapel is a freshwater spring emerging from the pebble beach. This is a perfect spot to enjoy the crystal water and Greek Sun, as we make a short stop for a swim.

After our break, we will enjoy a long, but gentle trail until we are greeted by the blue and white houses of Loutro in the distance. Tonight we will enjoy an intimate beach hotel on the Libyan Sea.

Day 6: Hike Loutro to Sfakia, and drive to Herakleio

After enjoying our breakfast with a breathtaking and unique view of the village of Loutro, we follow the coastal path to Chora Sfakion, stopping for a swim at Freshwater Beach along the way. We will take in the views on this well maintained trail, and our two hour or so walk will be graced by scenery only Greece can provide.

On our arrival, we will be met by our private, air conditioned transfer to Herakleio.

Day 7: Visit Knossos Palace and Winery

We start our day with a visit to the Archeological museum of Heraklion, with the finest collection of Minoan artifacts in the world. After our educational and inspiring museum visit, we will head to Crete’s biggest attraction, the 3500-year-old Minoan palace of Knossos, a sprawling maze of royal chambers, grand staircases, storerooms, and workshops.

This is where the European civilization is said to have begun, as well as a place full of myths and legends. The myth tells that Theseus, a prince from Athens, sailed to Crete, where he was forced to fight a terrible creature called the Minotaur, who was a half man, half bull, and was kept in the Labyrinth  by the king Minos, the ruler of Crete. The king's daughter Ariadne fell in love with Theseus. Before he entered the Labyrinth to fight the Minotaur, Ariadne gave him a ball of thread which he unwound as he went into the Labyrinth so that he could find his way back by following it. Theseus killed the Minotaur, and then he and Ariadne fled from Crete, escaping her angry father.  

After our journey into Mythology and ancient Greece, we head towards the wine country of Heraklion. Our route will end at a local winery. Locals claim, with some justification, that wine has been being made in the area for four thousand years, probably using grape varieties not far removed from the ones that you are going to try today along with delicious Cretan delicacies. Cheers!

Day 8: Sail to Santorini and hike the Caldera Trail to Oia

After breakfast, we catch the morning ferry to Santorini, which was the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions of all time. Here everything is brighter: the whitewashed cube-shaped houses, the lapis lazuli sea and the sunsets that light up the caldera. We settle in our hotel, and from there, we hike towards picturesque Oia, the most beautiful village of the island if not the whole Aegean sea. The cobblestone trail follows the rim of the Caldera, and takes us away from the crowds, allowing us to admire the power of the natural forces that shaped this amazing environment.

Day 9: Visit Akrotiri & Sea Kayak

This morning we will rise early, and begin our day with yet another traditional Greek breakfast. After we finish our leisurely breakfast, we will visit the archaeological site of Akrotiri. Dorians, Venetians, and Turks occupied Santorini, but its most influential early inhabitants were Minoans. Arriving from Crete sometime between 2000 BC and 1600 BC and the settlement of Akrotiri, dubbed as the Greek Pompeii, dates from the peak years of their civilization.

We walk along the streets and squares of the city, which was buried in volcanic ash after the eruption of the volcano and frozen in time, alongside with our highly knowledgable guide. Finishing the walk, we will transition to our more active selves, for an afternoon of sea kayaking! We explore the south side of the island as few people do. Seeing Santorini from the sea level is a real treat, as we paddle by the Red and White beach with stops on the way for swimming and snorkeling.

Day 10: Bid Farewell to Greece

You may depart at any time today.

Additional Trip Info

  • Accommodation in hotels with breakfast
  • All transfers for the operation of the tour and the activities that are included  
  • Domestic flights Athens to Crete
  • Ferry from Crete to Santorini  
  • Sightseeing tours with professional guides and entrance fees in Athens / Akrotiri and Knossos

Activities as follows:

  • Sea kayak in Santorini with transfers included and lunch
  • Hiking the caldera trail in Santorini with transfers  
  • Hike in Agia Irene
  • Hike Samaria  
  • Hike Agia Roumeli-Loutro
  • Hike Loutro to Sfakia
  • Wine tasting in Lyrarakis

  • International Air
  • Return flight or ferry from Santorini
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance - We recommend  World Nomads, or Global Rescue

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