Bask in island bliss, picturesque sunsets, and ancient glory during your 8-day Greece highlights tour. Wander down labyrinths of cobbled lanes in whitewashed villages and witness the intricate designs of Athens’s Acropolis temples. Sample wines on charming island vineyards and traverse the birthplace of Apollo. Uncover legends, indulge the lapping waters of pristine beaches, and delight in authentic culture for the perfect Greek experience.
Athens – Local Experiences in the Heart of the City
The sound of crashing plates echoes through the maze, often accompanied by an orchestra of footsteps, chatter and clinking glasses. Often it will be hard to understand where the sounds emanate, such is the way they twist and turn through the old lanes. Smells are equally evocative, from those suggesting fresh seafood and sizzling meats, to those that you cannot quite identify, yet linger continually in the background. While the Acropolis stands dramatic high above, you will be out exploring the lived-in neighborhoods in the heart of Athens. Your hotel is situated in one of these as well – Plaka. It is lively here with cobbled stone paths packed full of cafes, restaurants, boutiques, and a sense of history that has nothing to do with Zeus.
After a private airport transfer, you can go exploring with your guide. Start in the hidden white village of Anafiotika. Tucked beneath a cliff and not signposted at all, it’s the most traditional area within Plaka. Bougainvillea flowers mark the facade of cubic streets and the bustle of city life suddenly disappears. So take some time to catch your breath and settle into the Greek experience. Almost everyone misses Anafiotika because the Plaka lanes take them around and around in circles. Even GPS or Google Maps are little help, but of course, the locals know exactly which alleyways to take. And once here, you will appreciate how the concealment makes it so special.
The rest of Plaka bustles with energy, especially when the afternoon fades into evening. Wander past the patio restaurants, follow the exotic smells, peek inside some of the colorful antique shops, and find squares illuminated by iron lanterns. Your guide will explain the history and you can walk slowly, getting a feel for both Athens and Greek authenticity. There are hundreds of places where you could dine, with the guide whittling that list down to a dozen of the best, dependent on your mood and how traditional you want to be.
Athens – All the History from the Acropolis to the Agora
Athens – Day Trip to the Temple of Poseidon and Cape Sounion
Mykonos – A Traditional Whitewashed Maze
Mykonos – The Sacred and Mythical Island of Delos
Santorini – Seafood, Sunset Cruising and Sublime Villages
Santorini – Black Sand, Climbing a Volcano, and More Blue and White Villages
Santorini – Departure
- Experience the highlights of Ancient Athens, from the Acropolis to the Agora
- Explore the whitewashed Cycladic maze of Hora, the chic main town on Mykonos island
- Spend your afternoon cruising around the island of Santorini, watching sunset around a volcanic caldera
- Get to know the local Athenian culture in Plaka, Anafiotika, and Monastiraki
- Discover the mystical remains on the island of Delos, the mythologized birthplace of Apollo
- Feast your senses into Santorini’s blue and white villages, Oia and Fira far finer than even the photos suggest
- Get off the beaten track by exploring Cape Sounion
- Walk on a volcano, visit island vineyards, and lounge on both red- and black-sand villages
- Feel like you are on the edge of the world by visiting the Temple of Poseidon
Greece is far more impressive than even the photos suggest. Find yourself gazing at a windswept temple high above the sea, mysteries whispering from its sunbaked columns. Watch the windmills juxtaposed with the whitewashed villages, where every footstep takes you deeper into an old Cycladic maze. Volcanic caldera is back-dropped by sunset, seen while on a private catamaran cruise. Even the most photographed places cannot be understood unless they are experienced first hand, and this is especially true in Greece. You can see a static image of the Temple of Olympian Zeus, but only when stood beneath it can you appreciate the majesty and scale of the 2,500-year-old creation. You may have seen many photos of Fira or Oia, the wonderfully photogenic blue and white villages on Santorini island, but when you visit Santorini, you will understand that the villages’ sounds and smells are just as evocative.
Perhaps the greatest highlight of traveling in Greece is the country’s ability to be authentic, without you needing to make a huge time investment. Island villages have preserved their tradition, despite their popularity among tourists. Ancient monuments still feel incredibly mysterious, even if they have been photographed millions of times. Local culture and cuisine continues to be celebrated, such as in the Athenian neighborhoods of Plaka and Monastiraki. So even though you only have a week to explore Greece, you are able to dive beneath the surface and really explore what the country is all about. That’s not to say that you go too far off the beaten path or visit places devoid of visitors – Greece is popular – but that Greece itself maintains a real authenticity.
Of course, such authenticity is not available everywhere. Plus, you will need a good local guide to understand all that history and mystery. These two considerations are integral to this handcrafted one-week Greece tour. By connecting you with the right people at the right places, your tour can celebrate the best of Greece. You will travel to three quite different destinations, spending three nights in Athens, two on Mykonos island, and two on Santorini island. And while the list of places you visit runs into many dozens of entries, you will find that Greece has a laid-back vibe to complement all the sights.
Athens is obviously unmissable. Jump into some local experiences on day one, exploring lively neighborhoods that have brought tradition into the modern day. Day two is all about ancient civilization, exploring the highlights of the Agora and Acropolis. Get away from the noise with a day trip to Cape Sounion on day three, culminating in the dramatically situated Temple of Poseidon. Fly to Mykonos on day four and delve into the old town of Hora, a maze of tradition and chic cubist charms, as well as a seaside base packed with cafes and seafood restaurants.
On day four you will be guided around Hora, and then on day five, you will visit the mythical island of Delos. Delos is an island of ruins and sacred history, the mythologized birthplace of both Apollo and Artemis with a cult culture that predates most of the rest of Ancient Greece. It will be less than two hours by fast ferry to Santorini on day six, where you can jump straight into an island of blue and white villages. Go catamaran cruising at sunset, discover the exceptional food, and wile away an evening with local wine. Keep exploring Santorini’s treasures on day seven, including walking on a volcano and a black-sand beach. Santorini has its own airport for an easy departure after one week in Greece, and as you fly away, you will recollect just how much you’ve experienced in that time. Consider reading some of our travelers’ Greece tour reviews for more ideas to perfect your dream vacation.
$2,595 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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