From: May 13 to May 21, 2018

Destination: Cyclades Islands, Greece

  • Island Hopping in the Greek Islands

    Explore both the culture and the natural beauty of the Greek islands by foot. We will hike along ancient footpaths, sample Greek delicacies at local taverns, sit back to watch the street life, and swim in the azure seas. The Cycladic complex of islands is the most representative of the archetypal Greek style: fishing villages with whitewashed flat roofed houses and narrow streets, hundreds of chapels, rocky landscape contrasting with the deep blue sea, and bays with powdery white sandy beaches. On this trip we will visit the best spots as well as journey to the interior of the islands where we can experience firsthand the culture and habits of the islanders. Maximum group size: 14
  • Sunday, May 13
    If you have the time to arrive early, always an excellent idea to help you adjust to the time change, we'll be happy to make reservations for you at the hotel where we'll be staying. Otherwise, you will need to leave North America on Saturday, May 5, in order to arrive in Athens on May 6. We'll meet at the Athens International Airport for a 4:00 pm group shuttle from Athens Airport to our hotel. That evening we'll meet with our local guide for a short walking tour of Athens and then share a welcome dinner in a traditional Greek tavern in Plaka, the old part of Athens, overlooking the Acropolis. Overnight Hotel Acropolis or similar. (D)

    Monday, May 14
    After breakfast, a half day sightseeing tour of the Acropolis with a professional guide will introduce us to one of the crowning glories of Greek culture. At the top we learn all about the history of the glorious monuments of the Acropolis (the Parthenon, Erechthion, Propylaia, and Nike Temple) as well as the surrounding monuments (the Dionysus sanctuary, Pnyx Hill, Odeon of Herodes Atticus, and the Ancient Agora). We will spend some extra time at the Parthenon, the finest sanctuary of ancient Athens, originally dedicated to its patron the goddess Athena. We will then continue our tour with a visit to the New Acropolis Musuem. The walk is 10 minutes along a beautiful pedestrian area that was created around the Hill of the Acropolis, as a way to join most of the Archaeological Sites of Athens together. Seeing the museum after our visit of the Acropolis really helps "put together" the archaeological site with the findings displayed in the various exhibition areas.

    After lunch, we transfer to the Athens airport in order to catch our 40 minute flight to the beautiful island of Paros, our first island. Along the way we'll stop for photos at the Panathinaikon Stadium, the stadium where the first Olympic Games were held in 1896, and the Parliament. Upon arrival in Paros we transfer to our hotel and enjoy our first island dinner. Hotel Kalypso or similar (B, L, D)


    Tuesday, May 15
    Today we will hike from Lefkes to Alyki. This interesting hike, a combination of paths, dirt roads, and a little paved road, goes through Agios Ioannis (St. John), Agios Georgios (St. George), Aneratza, and Kamari before it ends in Alyki. And this may be the high point of the hike! It ends at Alyki beach, where we can cool off swimming in the clear waters of the Aegean Sea. This hike usually takes about 3.5 hours, about 4.5 hours total with a couple of stops.

    In the afternoon we learn some of the secrets of delicious Greek cooking as we participate in a Greek cooking class. We'll learn how to make several authentic Greek dishes, and once the bread is baked and the food cooked, we will enjoy a typical Greek meal. Hotel Kalypso or similar. Total hiking time: 3 - 4 hrs. (B, L, D)


    Wednesday, May 16
    This morning we'll have some time to explore Paros town before taking the ferry to the island of Naxos. Naxos is the largest of the Islands, known for its natural beauty and also its "kouros". Remnants of ancient Greece, kouros are full-sized statues of male youth which may or may not be related to the god Apollo. After lunch our hike literally starts in in the backyard of a Greek family, at the site of Kouros of Melanes statue. Our hike along an old footpath gradually descends to the picturesque village of Ano Potamia. After refreshing ourselves at the village spring, those who choose can continue uphill to the Apano Kastro (Upper Castle). Built in a very strategic position, it commands expansive views of Naxos town and port and surrounding towns. This is the highest point of our hike and about a 400 ft elevation gain. Our hike finishes with an easy walk to the village of Halki and a visit to a small distillery that produces Kitron, the local specialty liquor. Overnight Naxos Resort or similar. Total hiking time: 3 hours, 4 hours with stops. (B, L, D)

    Thursday, May 17
    We start today with a drive to the little chapel at Santa Marina. Today's hike is to the summit of Mt. Zeus, the highest point in the Cyclades, with incredible panoramic views from the summit. The ascent and descent takes about 3 hours including ample time for pictures and stories at the top. We'll enjoy a picnic lunch in the courtyard around the little chapel before continuing our hike along a road to the village of Filoti, the second-largest town on Naxos. From there we are transported back to our hotel and have the rest of the afternoon free for swimming or visiting the old part of Naxos town. If you prefer not to hike, spending the day relaxing and wandering through town or swimming are excellent options. Dinner is on our own tonight and our Greek guide can suggest a favorite, or you can choose one of the many quaint taverns as you wander the narrow streets of the town. Overnight Naxos Resort or similar. Total hiking time: 4 - 5 hrs. (B, L)

    Friday, May 18
    We can linger over breakfast this morning or go for a walk along the beach before taking a 1 pm ferry to the fairest island of the Cyclades, Santorini. Santorini, probably the best known of the Cyclades, was shaped by a huge volcanic eruption in 2000 B.C. that destroyed the town in the central part of the island and left a huge crater behind. Our ferry arrives about 3 pm and after settling into our hotel we have the rest of the afternoon free to relax by the pool, admire the breathtaking view of the volcano, wander the streets of Fira, or join your guide for a hike out to a point on the beach that overlooks both sides of the island. Whatever you choose to do, we will meet for the sunset over the volcano and share a delicious dinner, sampling some of the local foods of Santorini. Overnight Astir Thira or similar. (B, D)

    Saturday, May 19
    Today we hike from our hotel in Fira to the picturesque village of Oia. After breakfast, we start the hike from the cable car station. The first 40 minutes is a stone-path that turns into a footpath. The hike goes along the rim of Caldera (the collapsed crater) where the picture opportunities are legion. We end up in the village of Oia where we have time to explore its narrow passageways and quaint shops before having lunch and returning to Fira. There may be some time at the end of the day to visit one of its famous wineries or just wander in its picturesque alleys and do some shopping. Note: Tomorrow some of you will be heading to Athens for a last evening in that beautiful city. Others of you will be continuing on to Crete for the extension offered. But, tonight, we'll all celebrate our island hopping tour and our new understanding of Greek life at our final meal all together in a tavern overlooking the caldera! Overnight Astir Thira or similar. Total hiking hours: 3.5 - 4.5 hrs. (B, L, D)

    Sunday, May 20
    Please note:
    The daily itinerary for today will depend on what you have chosen in regard to the Crete extension. If you are not planning to join the extension, then your itinerary is listed below. If you are continuing to Crete for more fun in Greece, then you will be take the evening ferry instead of flying back to Athens. You can see the itinerary here

    Island Hopping in the Greek Islands trip itinerary continued: Our flight to Athens today doesn't leave until this evening so we have time to see Santorini from a completely different perspective: the cockpit of a kayak! With the freedom of kayaks we can enjoy views from the sea of spectacular rock formations and crystal blue water. We'll stop at a beautiful beach for swimming, snorkeling, and a picnic lunch, kayaking for a total of about 4 hours and 7 miles. No previous kayaking experience is needed, you'll get taught what you need to know to be comfortable in your boat.

    If you choose not to kayak, there is an excellent alternative - a tour to the volcano itself. You will go to the Old Port where you board a small boat (this is a public tour), sailing to the islet of Nea Kameni. You will ascend a path of crushed volcanic rock to the crater of the still active volcano. After a walk around the rim and plenty of photo opportunities, you walk back down to the boat and sail to a second islet called Palea Kameni. There you have an opportunity to swim from the boat in the Aegean and into the waters of the volcanic Hot Springs (which are warm at best). If you don't want to swim, you are free to remain on the sailboat and relax in the sun. After the swim and tour, you will return to the port and transfer back to the hotel. Your AGC guide may not be with you for the public tour but she will make sure you know where to go.

    The late afternoon plan will depend on the time of our flight back to Athens. We will share a final dinner in this beautiful Greek city of Athens. Flight to Athens and transfer to our hotel in Athens. Overnight Hotel Philippos or similar. (B, D)


    Monday, May 21
    You are free to leave anytime today and the guide will help you arrange your transfer to the airport. Alternatively, May is a great time to be in Greece and there is still much to see! (B)
  • $3395 (see this page for discounts). $400 deposit. You can read our cancellation policy here. If you want your own room, the additional cost is $400.

    NOTE: An optional extension for a hiking trip to Easter Island is available. You can see the itinerary here. We need a minimum of 5 people for this extension to run. Please indicate on the registration page if you are interested. You will not be charged until the trip is confirmed.

    Trip Includes

    • 8 nights double occupancy at 3 star hotels in Athens and local guesthouses on the islands
    • English speaking Greek tour leader (may be male) and AGC group leader
    • All activities mentioned in the itinerary including half-day sightseeing tour of Acropolis and Acropolis Museum
    • All breakfasts, 5 lunches, and 7 dinners (see itinerary)
    • All transportation during the trip, including private A/C buses, taxis, ferry tickets (Paros-Naxos/ Naxos-Santorini), airline tickets (Santorini/Athens), all transfers from the port to the hotels on the islands, and group arrival transfer from the airport to the hotel at the designated time
    • An authentic Greek cooking class

    What's not included: Travel to and from Athens, beverages (aside from bottled water at meals), 2 lunches and 1 dinner, airport departure transfer, guide gratuities, travel insurance.

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  • Common Questions

    If you’ve never traveled with us before, you may have some questions about how we do things and what you can expect. We’ve answered the most common ones below and are always available by phone or email to answer any others.

    How do I pay for my trip?

    You can make the deposit by submitting a secure form with your credit card information after filling out the registration form or calling us with your card information. We will send you an invoice for the balance due with your Predeparture Information 4 months before an International trip and 3 months before a domestic trip. You can get a 3% discount for paying the balance by check.

    What if I’m coming alone?

    The majority of women who travel with us come by themselves. If you want to pay a single supplement to guarantee your own room, or if you want to share a room with someone with whom you are traveling, you can indicate that on the registration form. Otherwise we randomly assign roommates and rotate every time we change lodging – it’s a great way to get to know different women on the trip.

    Can you accommodate special diets?

    It depends on both the trip and on your specific needs. With advance notice, we can accommodate most dietary restrictions or allergies on our domestic trips, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten intolerant. This is not always true on international trips, so please contact us in advance if you have specific dietary needs. We've found that if you are willing to bring some of your own snacks and a couple of items to supplement what is on the menu (peanut butter is always good!) and possibly have less variety than you are used to at home, then dietary needs usually are no obstacle. If in doubt about your specific dietary needs, especially if you have Celiac disease, please give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email.

    What if I have to cancel my trip?

    The amount of your refund depends on how close to the trip you cancel and whether it is a domestic or an international trip. You can read our cancellation policies here. We highly recommend travel insurance because cancellations are always unexpected; we will send you additional information about insurance when you register.

    Will my family be able to get in touch with me in case of an emergency?

    Yes, we always send out emergency contact information. On a few trips, because of limitations in communication, the best approach is to give them the office number and let us make the contact.

    What other information will you send me?

    When you register, we’ll send you a Trip Summary that includes the itinerary, travel information, and a packing list. Three to four months before your trip we’ll send you Pre-Departure information that includes detailed information on how to get to the trip starting point, pre- or post-trip lodging suggestions, suggested books and websites etc. Four to six weeks before the trip, we’ll send you a list of everyone who is registered along with their travel plans; and a Pre-Trip letter with the name of your guide(s) and how to contact them if your arrival is delayed as well as any other important updates.

    Do you help with pre-trip and/or post-trip hotel reservations?

    For international trips, if you want to stay at the hotel where we’re staying the first night before the trip, or at the hotel we’re staying the last night after the trip, we’re happy to make a reservation for you. Otherwise our PreDeparture Information will have hotel suggestions. Our travel agent is also happy to help you with this.

    How does the waitlist process work and how often do people cancel?

    If you are interested in a trip that is full, you should sign up here. If there is a cancellation, we send out an email to everyone who has expressed interest and ask them to respond within 24 hours. If more than one person is interested, we give the space to the person who has traveled with us before or in the order of being put on the waitlist. Frequently, even when we have a long wait list, it is the last person to sign up who is still available to go. Whether or not there will be a cancellation is completely unpredictable, although not uncommon.

    What is the role of the guide(s)?

    On every trip, the primary roles of the guide(s) are to ensure your safety and to make sure that, to the extent possible, you are having the trip you want. The guide(s) will also make sure that you know what is happening each day and what you need to bring to be prepared. On domestic trips the guide(s) will also likely be driving, preparing picnic lunches and sometimes other meals, providing skills instruction, and giving you information about the natural history of the area. On any trip where we partner with another company (which is most international trips and some trips that require special equipment), the AGC guide will work with the local guide to make sure that the trip is conducted in accordance with the AGC philosophy.

    What if I have more questions?

    Give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email. A Program Manager is assigned to each trip. Once you have registered, she will send you a registration confirmation letter that includes her name and email, and she will be your primary contact. Her job is to make sure that you get all your questions answered and that you feel completely prepared for your adventure.

    What if I'm the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape/only single woman/only mom on the trip?

    You might be. Someone has to be the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape person on the trip. And while the great majority of our trips have both single and non-single women, and moms and non-moms, sometimes they don't. But it doesn't matter if you're "different" in any of those ways - what you will share with everyone else is a desire to experience adventure in your life, and an appreciation of the joy and camaraderie of being in an all women's group.

Trip highlights

  • Visiting the most beautiful villages in the Aegean Sea
  • Hiking winding paths past terraced hillsides and olive groves
  • Savoring scrumptious Greek food, including a cooking class
  • Watching amazing sunsets from craggy coasts
  • Touring Athens, including visits to the Acropolis, the greatest monument in the Western world, the Parthenon, and the new Acropolis Museum

Register for this trip today

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