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Picture of Island Hopping in the Greek Islands
Picture of Island Hopping in the Greek Islands
Picture of Island Hopping in the Greek Islands
Picture of Island Hopping in the Greek Islands
Picture of Island Hopping in the Greek Islands
Picture of Island Hopping in the Greek Islands
Picture of Island Hopping in the Greek Islands
Picture of Island Hopping in the Greek Islands
Picture of Island Hopping in the Greek Islands
Picture of Island Hopping in the Greek Islands
Picture of Island Hopping in the Greek Islands
Picture of Island Hopping in the Greek Islands
Picture of Island Hopping in the Greek Islands
Picture of Island Hopping in the Greek Islands

Island Hopping in the Greek Islands

Destination: Cyclades Islands, Greece

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

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

Departures and Prices

September 22 to September 30, 2019
$3795.00 - FULL
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May 03 to May 11, 2020
$3795.00 - Available
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September 20 to September 28, 2020
$3795.00 - Available
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Inclusions

  • An English speaking Greek guide (may be male) and an AGC guide (If there are fewer than 8 on the trip, there will not be an AGC guide)
  • 8 nights double occupancy at 3 star hotels in Athens and local guesthouses on the islands
  • All activities on itinerary, including Acropolis Museum and authentic Greek cooking class
  • All breakfasts, 5 lunches, and 7 dinners (see itinerary)
  • All transportation during the trip, (private buses, taxis, ferry tickets, internal flights (Santorini/Athens), transfers from port to hotels on the islands
  • Airport transfer on arrival and departure, regardless of which day you arrive (starting 2020)

What's not included: Travel to and from Athens, beverages (aside from bottled water at meals), 2 lunches and 1 dinner, arrival transfers outside of 1 group transfer (2019), guide gratuities, travel insurance.

Details

This trip is a great choice for women in good physical condition who enjoy walking on a mixture of rocky paths, dirt tracks, occasional paved roads and mule paths, with occasional steep places. Suitable for both adventurous novice and experienced hikers, most days the hiking is 3 to 4 hours. The hike with the most elevation gain is climbing Mt Zeus, which is about a 1.5-hour ascent; however you can always opt out for a delightful day in town. This trip is rated both 2 and 3 because there are options. If you want to participate in the longer options, you should train for a level 3 trip: engaging in aerobic conditioning, such as walking vigorously up hills, jogging, cross country skiing or stair stepping for 30 - 45 minutes at least 3 - 4 times a week. Rating: 1 [2] [3] 4 5.

While this is primarily a hiking trip, there are also opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, learning about Greek culture and how to cook Greek food, wandering in small towns, and eating excellent Greek food.

We will be staying in a 3-star hotel in Athens and 3 local guesthouses on the islands, as specified in the itinerary

Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.

DAY 1
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)
DAY 2
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)
DAY 3
Today, we will begin with a visit to Lefkes village (the old capital of Paros) with its amazing marble church and it’s (paved) portion of the Byzantine trail with magnificent views to the Aegean Sea and the island of Naxos. We will stop for a traditional Parian lunch at the village of Prodromos and then hike towards the cultural village of Marpissa were we can meet with the local women's cooperative producing local products. Our hike ends at Piso Livadi, where we can enjoy a swim. In the early afternoon, we’ll visit the picturesque town of Naousa, with its unique architecture coupled with authentic old fishermen’s houses around the small but famous port of Naousa. This tiny fishing harbor port is packed tightly with traditional fishing boats and surrounded by restaurants and cafes and shops. Late afternoon will find us learning 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 walking/hiking time: 3 - 4 hrs. (B, L, D)
DAY 4
This morning we'll take 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)
DAY 5
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)
DAY 6
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 time to relax and settle into our hotel we'll get on the bus for an optional trip to Acrotiri, a Bronze Age Minoan settlement also called the "Greek Pompeii". Upon our return we'll 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)
DAY 7
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)
DAY 8
Our flight to Athens or ferry to Crete (if you have chosen the extension) do not 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, a picnic lunch and 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, you can continue enjoying the beach and/or explore this section of Santorini. The late afternoon plan will depend on the time of the flight back to Athens and/or the ferry to Crete. Those returning to Athens will share a final dinner in this beautiful Greek city. Overnight Hotel Philippos or similar.
Those continuing on the Crete extension will arrive in Heraklion and transfer to your hotel for your first dinner in Crete. (B, D)
DAY 9
If this is the end of your trip, you're free to leave anytime today. Hotel reception can help with any taxi/shuttle needs. (B). If you're waking up in Crete this morning, a full day awaits, beginning with a visit to the great palace of Knossos. This is where European civilization began, 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. This half man, half bull was kept in the Labyrinth - a maze-like building - by 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 to escape her angry father. After our trip into mythology, we'll visit a traditional organic farming project in the area of Rethymno. Here we will make our own bread in a wood burning oven and spoil ourselves with some wine, raki and olive tasting. Our experience will be completed with a traditional Cretan cuisine meal. In late afternoon we transfer to Chania and have a free evening to explore the city. (B, Cretan snack, D)
DAY 10
Another day in Crete, another amazing experience ! After a hearty breakfast we will be transferred to the port of Kissamos where we will embark on our boat. Heading towards Gramvousa we will have the chance to observe geological phenomena, sea caves, and beautiful waters. Upon arrival at Gramvousa island we will have time to walk up to the Venetian castle and to swim as well. Our next stop is Balos, one of the most beautiful places on earth! Here we will have the privilege of swimming and snorkelling in the shallow and warm lagoon waters. Later in the afternoon we begin our journey back to Kissamos. Then it’s back to our hotel and end the day with a lovely dinner in the old town of Chania. (B,D)
DAY 11
On our last day in Crete we visit the Imbros gorge, a magnificent gorge with high walls. The scenery is beautiful and the hiking is moderate. The route starts from the small village of Imbros at 700 meters above sea level. This canyon was a theater of several battles between the Ottomans and the Christians during the Turkish Occupation of Crete. The most impressive part of the gorge is Strenada, where its walls narrow to 5 feet while their height reaches 1000 feet. Our hike ends at the village of Komitades, where a short rest and a bit of refreshment awaits. We will transfer to the Chania airport in time to catch our flight back to Athens. Arriving in Athens we’ll head toward our hotel, settle in and meet again for our farewell dinner. B, L, D
DAY 12
Now your trip really is over, and you can leave Athens anytime today.

*These are the unfiltered reviews of women who have been on this trip in answer to the question "Did this trip meet your expectations?". We take reviews very seriously and often tweak itineraries based on feedback. Please feel free to contact us about any questions you have.

I know it's a hiking trip and I did really enjoy the hikes, especially to the summit of Mt. Zeus, but I thought the food was beyond awesome. I loved that Sylvia ordered family style and we all got to try everything. The women on every trip are amazing, but I felt that there was a camaraderie that developed almost immediately.

Island Hopping in the Greek Islands 5/12/2019-5/20/2019


Being able to see

Island Hopping in the Greek Islands 5/12/2019-5/20/2019


Debra Huntington was very thorough and helpful! Sylvia and Sirimali; the Greek guides were excellent! the women on the trip were so very enjoyable and we worked well as a team. I could not have asked for a better trip.

Island Hopping in the Greek Islands 5/12/2019-5/20/2019


Cooking class, summiting Mt.Zeus, delicious food I like family style dinner.

Island Hopping in the Greek Islands 5/12/2019-5/20/2019


Had a great time. Loved the cooking class

Island Hopping in the Greek Islands 5/12/2019-5/20/2019


Great group, guides, food, hikes.

Island Hopping in the Greek Islands 5/12/2019-5/20/2019


The ease of the trip itself, not having to think about anything other than immersing myself in the experience is what surprised me the most. After that the highlights were the food, the beauty of the locations, the knowledge of the guides, and meeting my fellow hikers.

Island Hopping in the Greek Islands 5/12/2019-5/20/2019


Outstanding local guides (Sylvia and Syrmali), the ability to see a range of places in Greece, well organized logistics, wonderful food, great group of participants and Agc guide

Island Hopping in the Greek Islands 5/12/2019-5/20/2019


This trip was a wonderful way to explore Greece differently than most people see. Great hikes, amazing food and overall a fabulous trip.

Island Hopping in the Greek Islands 5/12/2019-5/20/2019


For me, highlight of the trip was the local guide, Sylvia. She was incredibly knowledgeable, a great hiker, and willing to adjust as needed. I particularly enjoyed the Lefke and Santorini hikes. The cooking class was unique, and also enjoyed the addition of the Akrotiri site with guide. I did not enjoy the late start times, especially given the heat that we encountered (though we gradually started earlier) and wish we had approx. 1/2 day to 1 day in each island to explore the towns (from original itinerary, seemed we would have more time-- think this was result of group hike speed).

Island Hopping in the Greek Islands 5/13/2018-5/21/2018


Beautiful scenery and the food.

Island Hopping in the Greek Islands 5/13/2018-5/21/2018


Greece was beautiful. The food was superb. The people and culture were wonderful. The weather was just too hot, and there was very little shade. I checked the average temperatures for May...expected it to be in the 70s. It was, but it felt like in the 100s due to the dry climate and lack of shade. I will never travel to Greece again during the months of May to September. The best part of the trip was the extension to Crete. It was my favorite island. I especially enjoyed the boat trip to Balos with 3 hours of swim time.

Island Hopping in the Greek Islands 5/13/2018-5/21/2018


This was my first AGC trip and I did not really know what to expect. This trip exceeded everything I may have expected EXCEPT for having more down time to roam in the places we stayed. I loved hiking from a trailhead, over a mountain to a charming village and having dinner or lunch in a street cafe. As well, I really LOVED the cooking class with Maria as well as kayaking in Santorini.

Island Hopping in the Greek Islands 5/13/2018-5/21/2018


My response to this question wouldn't fit in the space provided. I have responded on a Word document, and have emailed that document to Jan.

Island Hopping in the Greek Islands 5/13/2018-5/21/2018


Highlights Guided tour of the Acropolis with Katherine. Local food. Added bonus of Akrotiri on the island of Naxos. This was my first AGC trip that left me feeling a little disappointed. Maybe because it came on the heels of Croatia - fabulous trip and a great pair of guides. Extremely well organized and very interesting and educational.

Island Hopping in the Greek Islands 5/13/2018-5/21/2018


Liked all the hikes: herbs, flowers along the Paros Byzantine trail, the challenge of Mt. Zeus hike, the beauty of the Santorini caldera coast. Always love kayaking. Loved the food and the selections of restaurants and food arrangements made by Sylvia, out in-country guide Loved the cooking class and Maria our teacher Loved the Acropolis and the museum Appreciated the knowledge of the official, trained guides for the Acropolis and the added tour of the excavation museum on Santorini (glad Sylvia offered it to us for the extra cost and would be well worth being a part of the AGC trip). Kalypso Hotel on the water in Paros.

Island Hopping in the Greek Islands 5/13/2018-5/21/2018


Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to do water activities. It would have been nice to have alternative day to replace the kayaking.

Island Hopping in the Greek Islands 5/7/2016-5/15/2016


I would have to say I loved all the places we went. As so often is the case, I think from my perspective, I would enjoy fewer places with longer stays.

Island Hopping in the Greek Islands 5/7/2016-5/15/2016


The hikes were great, as were the cultural experiences. The local guides were a wonderful addition. My only critique would be the mini-van we traveled in for a full, rainy day while in Crete. It was a tight fit, and at times pretty uncomfortable. Everyone was a good sport, but I would have opted for a slightly larger vehicle.

Island Hopping in the Greek Islands 5/7/2016-5/15/2016


Loved Paros (wanted more time there) and loves the hiking on Naxos - felt like I was out in nature. Did not like Santorini at all - would have liked another less touristy island with better hiking. So glad we flew from Athens to Paros - 5 hr ferry ride would not be appreciated

Island Hopping in the Greek Islands 5/7/2016-5/15/2016


A 'no worry' trip for participants. Guides were well-trained and talented as well as genuinely nice people.

Island Hopping in the Greek Islands 5/7/2016-5/15/2016


  1. Where do we eat?

    Your breakfasts will be buffets at the hotels where you're staying. Dinner is in restaurants with typically a choice of vegetarian or non-vegetarian entree. Lunches may either be picnics or in restaurants.
  2. What dietary preferences or restrictions can you accommodate on this trip?

    If we know well in advance, we can accommodate vegetarian, lactose-free, and gluten-sensitive diets. We cannot guarantee a completely gluten-free diet and we cannot provide a kitchen guaranteed to be free of cross-contamination. If you are vegan, we ask that you bring some additional protein bars; and if you are gluten-sensitive, please bring some gluten-free snacks. If you have severe allergies, Celiac disease and/or other significant dietary restrictions, please call the office before you register.
  3. I will be coming by myself. Do I need to pay a single supplement?

    You only need to pay a single supplement if you want to guarantee you have your own room. Otherwise we’ll pair you up with someone and then switch roommates every time we switch lodging.
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