Epic Culinary Tour of Aegean Flavors

A 14 day trip to Greece 
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The balance of ancient heritage and contemporary culture will bring together beautiful traditions of cuisine during your 14-day food tour of Greece. Embrace the diverse flavors found in the exclusive wines and discover the strong tastes of traditional crops grown on the Cycladic islands. Ancient ruins and Venetian architecture accentuate the splendors of Crete while the aromas of wild herbs spread across the landscape. Sip Naxian liqueur, learn the secrets of Tinos gastronomy and savor the luscious texture of olive oil from a family-run orchard. Historical villages, botanical gardens, and colorful islands showcase the celebrated essence of Greece.

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Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Athens, Tinos, Mykonos, Little Venice, Ftelia Beach, Naxos, Mount Zas, Chalki, Apiranthos, Crete, Chania, Vamos, Apokoronas

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Athens – Arrive in the Capital of Greece with a Day Free Day in Athens

You will arrive at Athens International Airport, where your private transfer will meet you at customs to escort you into the city. Greece has an incredible balance of ancient heritage and contemporary culture as ancient temples celebrate Classical mythology, Byzantine temples embody the canonized shift to Western European monotheism, and restaurants blend historical recipes with modern taste. The city of Athens symbolizes the “Cradle of Western Civilization,” and the marvelous clash of the past and present.

Cafes serve Greek coffee and sweet baklava topped with vanilla ice cream, and you need to stop and enjoy your first serving. The remainder of the day is yours to indulge in the unique ambiance of the city finding enchantment atop the Acropolis or the aroma of local culinary delights along Aiolou Street. A fantastic introduction to Greece’s gastronomic specialties leads you to a marvelous view of the Acropolis to sample a loukoumades, a Greek donut often topped with honey and cinnamon. The freshly fried pastry is served warm from the fryer and made with a traditional recipe filling the air with the scent of spices and sugar. Adventurous Greeks fill their loukoumades with chocolate, creamy cheese, banana, or mastiha—a resin from the mastic trees which contains an herbaceous pine-like flavor.

What’s Included: airport transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Tinos – Venture to Tinos by Ferry for a Day at your Preferred Pace

In the morning, the scent of sweet bougatsa emanates from a local bakery. The pastry made with filo dough is stuffed with a creamy cheese and topped with powdered sugar for a sensational mixture of sweet and savory in every bite. At breakfast, you can indulge in the strong, rich flavor of Greek coffee before your private transfer greets you in the hotel lobby ready to escort you to the port of Piraeus. Travel by ferry along the Aegean Sea to reach the island of Tinos.

The water shimmers with azure and cobalt hues before you reach the dock and turquoise colors glint against the rugged shoreline. The Cycladic island remains in the shadows of its more famous neighbors like Mykonos and Santorini, which only makes the scenery and culture more impressive. Greek Orthodox pilgrims make their way to the island each year to reach the Church of Panagia Evangelistria in the main town. Locals and visitors wind along the labyrinthine cobbled lanes amid the marbled ornamentation overlooking the terraced hillsides. The island holds 40 villages shining with white marble scattered across the mountains dappled with mist, the hills overlooking hidden bays, and countryside decorated with dovecotes left over from the expanding Venetian Republic.

Artists shape sculptures crafted out of illustrious stone quarried from the marble hillsides and local food farmers produce satisfying goods like cheeses, sausages, and artichoke. Your introduction to Tinos will be at your preferred pace allowing you to wander the lanes of Hora to view the fascinating neoclassical Church of Panagia Evangelistria and its Virgin Mary icon. The church was established in the 19th century atop the spot where a nun was instructed on where she could find the religious icon, which contains healing powers. The left aisle of the nave glistens with jewelry, and hundreds of silver lamps dangle from the ceiling.

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation, breakfast

Day 3: Tinos – Uncover the Secrets of Tinos with a Culinary Workshop

The cafes and restaurants in Hora bring the comforting aromas of Greek coffee and sweet pastries beneath the prevalent scent of the sea. After breakfast, your guide will greet you in the hotel lobby and escort you to an aromatic garden for insight into the traditional island ingredients grown and harvested locally. As part of the culinary experience, you will gather herbs like sage defying the natural rocky soil. The farm also contains a vineyard where your guide produces delicious wines like malagouzia.

The aroma of an aged cheese in a pumpkin shell known as kariki emanates from a gourd on the table. You can add a selection of herbs to a light, raw mixture for a refreshing salad accompanied by tomato fritters and pickled artichokes. Your guide will open the bottle of wine and connect the culinary delights of the island to the wine-making traditions of Greece with aromatic peach, green pepper, and citrus drifting upwards from pale yellow wine in your glass.

The remainder of the day is yours to relax and explore the splendor of the island, whether by snacking on eggs and sausage at a small seaside tavern in the main town of Hora or venturing to one of the numerous villages around the island like Pyrgos, the artists’ village. The whitewashed walls of town emerge from the verdant streets like a piece of artwork crafted out of arches, marble streets, and monuments. Colorful doors and fountains stand out from the pristine architecture along with bright flowers decorating the facades and balconies providing a distinct décor inside the birthplace of famous Greek sculptors.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Mykonos – Travel to Mykonos with the Remaining Day at Leisure

In the morning, you will board the ferry bound for Mykonos to find the treasures of the main town of Hora shining upon your arrival. The famous neighborhood of Little Venice overlooks the water beside the pebbled beach leading to the dock, while the colorful multi-story homes dating back to the 18th century resemble the canal-side houses of Venice. The homes emerged from merchants who built unique doorways directly to water in order to make loading and unloading goods easier, which also gave rise to the widespread rumor that many merchants in the city were secretly pirates.

The beauty of Little Venice illustrates the greater splendor of Mykonos and the glitzy, winding cobbled lanes of Hora. The whitewashed walls are ubiquitous on the Cyclades, and lavish boutique shops, restaurants, and cafes overlook the cobbled lanes and small plazas. Enjoy the remaining day on Mykonos in view of the famous windmills or quiet lapping waves against the isolated paradise of Agios Sostis beach. The impressive white windmills have stood on the island since the 17th century contributing to wheat production and economic development while also being beautiful landmarks set against the backdrop of the Aegean Sea.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, breakfast

Day 5: Mykonos – Spend Time at a Traditional Farm before a Delicious Dinner

Embrace the seaside in the morning with a visit to one of the island’s gorgeous beaches, such as Super Paradise. The long stretch of crystalline waters and soft golden sand highlight the beauty and popularity of the island amid the rows of lounge chairs. Enjoy digging your feet into the soft sand and wading into the calm turquoise Aegean at one of the most popular beaches on Mykonos. Your guide will then meet you in the afternoon at the hotel and escorts you to a traditional farm where caretakers tend to both crops and livestock.

Cows and goats graze on the open grass alongside the thriving vineyards together spanning nearly 11 acres. Bees produce fresh honey and ovens made from the whitewashed stone found easily on the island produces wood-fired bread. Your guide will lead you through the rows of crops growing seasonally on the island, which includes green asparagus in spring, peas, and peppers in summer, eggplant, and okra in autumn, as well as fennel root, beets, and artichoke in winter.

Before venturing into the kitchen to learn more about the traditional cooking methods of the island, you sample the customary tyrovolia, a fresh, sour cheese accompanied by louza, a cured ham similar to Italian prosciutto. In September, the farm hosts an annual feast to celebrate the grape harvest offering endless amounts of wine, captivating music, and delicious culinary treats. At dinner, you listen to the stories of Mykonos while indulging in the aromas of traditional island gastronomy, relishing the fragrant herbs of wild fennel and fresh amaranth made into a fritter, in addition to broad beans with fennel cooked in lard.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 6: Naxos – Ferry to Naxos and Discover the Island Marvels at Leisure

You will watch the colorful homes of Little Venice fade into the distance from the ferry as you travel once again over the waters of the Aegean Sea venturing to the island of Naxos. As the largest of the Cycladic islands, Naxos boasts a collection of gorgeous villages and isolated beaches, atmospheric mountains, and a wealth of cultural history. Ancient sites date back to Classical and Byzantine Greece, while the architecture also boasts remnants of Venetian and Frankish aesthetic. Upon your arrival in the main town of Hora, you notice the lovely Venetian architecture and remains of the historical castle. The island is yours to explore with beaches encouraging relaxation set beneath looming 3,294-foot tall Mount Zas. Farms thrive with rapes, figs, citrus fruits, and corn, while fishers return to the shores each day with a new fresh catch of delicious seafood.

For a unique introduction to Naxos, you will visit the picturesque town of Chalki. Boutique shops offer handmade marmalades and delicious herb blends while art galleries showcase the local weaving traditions and eco-friendly artists. The cobbled lanes weave between the colorful doorways, the brick facades, and the whitewashed walls until arriving at the Vallindra Kitron distillery in the center of the village, which has been producing liqueur on the island since the 19th century. The secret recipe produces a delicious flavor extracted from citron leaves with a tour of the complex ending in a tasty, refreshing sample.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, breakfast

Day 7: Naxos – Indulge in the Cuisine of Naxos and Enjoy a Castle Tour

You will set out early with your guide for insight into the special gastronomy of Naxos, often focusing on the mountainous areas in which potatoes and olives grow. While relishing the cool air and herbaceous aromas of the groves along the foothills of Mount Zas, your guide will take you on a small cheese tour of the island with five samples of the most popular flavors of Naxos. Cheese-making is a serious tradition on Naxos deriving from the Greek myth that Apollo left his son Aristaios on the island to teach the Naxiots how to properly make cheese. The abundant water sources and rich vegetation also protect the livestock and promote some of the best cheese production in Greece with upwards of 10,000 cows and 100,000 sheep and goats grazing on the landscape.

You will taste the first sample taken from the Graviera Naxou, which contains a Protected Designation of Origin status. The cheese is made from a mixture of cow, sheep, and goat’s milk before maturing for at least three months. The incredible flavor lingers on your palate with hints of almonds, nuts, and butter. In the afternoon, you can take a break from uncovering the various tastes of the island to explore the castle district known as Kastro. The fortress was erected as a protective shield during the reign of the Venetians in the 13th century. The pentagonal shape hosts three gates and an impressively preserved tower. A coat-of-arms belonging to the Crispi family adorns the tower entrance.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Crete – Traverse Naxos to Reach Apiranthos before Traveling to Crete

Before departing Naxos, your guide will lead you from your hotel to the marbled-village of Apiranthos, which rests on the foothills of the island’s third-largest peak. The two lush valleys below abound with verdant trees that contrast with the whitewashed walls and streets of the town. The architecture reflects the Cycladic traditions mixed with pristine Venetian design with ornate balconies and homes adorned with lavish coasts of arms above their doors. The Church of Panagia Aperathitissa is one of the oldest churches on the island with foundations dating back to the 18th century. It’s imposing presence stems from the larch marble bell tower looming over the cobbled yard.

You can follow the trail outside of town to reach the preserved Agia Kyriaki Church, which is one of the most important Byzantine monuments on the island. The beauty of the design is seen in the artistry of the interior with a giant apse hosting 9th-century frescoes depicting birds with ribbons tied around their necks. You will then return to the port in time for your afternoon ferry to Crete, the largest of Greece’s 230 inhabited islands. Your private transfer will greet you at the dock in the port of Heraklion before escorting you to the tranquil village of Archanes.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 9: Crete – Relish a Day of Olive Oil and Raki Tasting at Archanes Village

The charismatic village of Archanes is located less than nine miles away from Heraklion, close to the mythological Minoan Palace of Knossos. Set beneath the dominating peak of Giouktas Mountain, the plunging cliffs of nearby gorges, and the swelling greenery of the sprawling forest, the village and its farms produce grapes for wine, grapes for eating, and raisins. Neoclassical buildings contrast with the ancient Minoan and Mycenaean history that dates back more than 5,000 years.

Your guide will greet you at the hotel after breakfast and escort you to a local olive grove. The piney scent emanates from the trees as you notice the nets cast across the ground meant to catch any ripened fruits. Traverse the farmland before entering the mill to see both the antique and the more contemporary methods of production, including how producers would initially place the harvest between heavy plates and gather the oil seeping out of the sides. At the end of the tour, your guide will pour a sample of the extra virgin olive oil made on the property, and you may find the aroma of cut hay emanating from the glass leading to a fruity, yet spicy flavor shaped by the traditional methods of production.

Continue to a local tavern to sample the favored spirit of Crete, raki. Similar to brandy, raki, is used as a welcome, an appetizer, or a digestif made from the leftover grapes, vines, and leaves during the wine-making process.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 10: Crete – Delight in the Charms and Culinary Delights of Vamos Village

The authentic traditional village of Vamos calls to you in the morning as your private transfer escorts you into the pristine countryside approximately 16 miles outside of the popular seaside town of Chania. Two-story homes line the paved streets and renovated historical mansions overlook the plazas that are shaded with plane trees. The wild scenery of untamed mountains and lush trees surrounds the antique homes and the 13th-century churches of the Virgin Mary and Agios Nikolaos. Strolling through the historical olive press in town takes you beneath the captivating 12 arches that once belonged to the local monastery. Meet with a local cheese-maker known for producing some of the most popular styles of cheeses in Crete including graviera, anthotyros, and myzithra.

For a touch of history removed from the enticing culinary delights of Crete, you visit a local artisan who handcrafts sheep and goat bells. The bell has helped herders keep track of their flock while grazing or drinking waters for centuries and the crafter shows you how the different shapes and sizes of the bells create distinctive sounds.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 11: Crete – Explore the Fascinating Ruins of the Apokoronas Villages

You will venture deeper into the province of Chania after breakfast with your guide in search of the seven villages that make Apokoronas along the northeastern edges of the island. The White Mountains separate the landscape from the sea and lead to fertile plains, verdant hills, and the island’s only natural lake. You will begin at the village of Aptera to view the ruins of the ancient city situated on a hill overlooking the Bay of Souda. The settlement dates back to the 7th century BC accounting for one of the largest cities on the island before a devastating earthquake.

The plateau reaches 656 feet above sea level and stood between the ports of Minoa and Kisamo. Nearly two miles of fortifications rise above the fertile plain dating back to the 3rd century BC and connected to the Hellenistic period. The arched Roman cisterns served the city during the Roman occupation of Greece, along with the triple-arched arcade. In Stylos, you will find giant plane trees and a natural spring connected to Diktamos Gorge. The collection of two-aisled churches was erected between the 13th and 15th centuries including Agios Ioannis Theologos, which holds remarkable Byzantine frescoes.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 12: Crete – Visit Chania Botanical Gardens and Enjoy Dinner with Dancing

You will reach Chania in the morning and relax in the tranquil beauty of the esplanade that wraps around the 14th-century Venetian harbor. Narrow, winding alleyways and colorful, pastel architecture highlight the connection to the Ottoman history, perhaps best captured in the climbing minaret that overlooks the wading fishing boats. Cafes and restaurants offer splendid views to the water that serve cocktails, delicious coffee, and local specialty dishes. The Venetian fortifications were built in 1538 and remain an impressive image set against the alluring turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea while the bastions provide a perfect view across the rooftops and alleyways of town. The Firkas Fortress crowns the western edge of the harbor and were meant to protect the coastline from pirates and Turks. The former barracks and prison now house the Maritime Museum of Crete.

Nearby the Botanical Park covers nearly 50 acres at the base of the White Mountains. Citrus trees blossom with oranges and lemons while herbs fill the scenery with the aroma of sage and dill. Olive trees add lush greenery to the landscape while peacocks roam through the foliage. Walking through the diverse flora with your guide will shape the night’s dinner as you gather wild herbs and fruits bound for your dinner table during your traditional Cretan meal. Customary music turns the ambiance festive as local dancers take to the open spaces showing their heritage with movement and lavish costumes adding a layer of festive tradition to the celebrated flavors of the island.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 13: Athens – Return to Athens for A Classic Cooking Course

After breakfast, you will travel with your private driver to the airport in Heraklion for your flight to Athens. The capital of Greece will then welcome you with an energetic pace as you explore the boutique shops and markets within view of the Parthenon. After settling into the comforts of your accommodations, you will meet your guide for a final demonstration of Greek cuisine with a private cooking lesson. Your insight into the culinary masterpieces of traditional dishes have encompassed pastries, cheeses, wines, olive oil, and the essential morning coffee, and this meal will combine it all.

You will begin by preparing the ingredients to craft pastitsio, a dish similar to a casserole made with minced meat, pasta, a tomato-based sauce, and béchamel. The creamy, rich flavor is a staple on the menu of every Greek mother, and you will quickly understand why. Your delightful journey through the kitchens of Greece ends with traditional homemade baklava crafted by layering filo pastry with a mixture of chopped walnuts drenched in honey for a simple, satisfying, sweet flavor indicative of local heritage.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 14: Athens – Depart for Home

The Agora in Athens opens its doors in the morning allowing visitors to explore the ruins of the former marketplace sitting in the center of everyday life. Pillars, platforms, and cobblestones reflect the central meeting place of the ancient city where commerce, administration, and attractions converged set in the shadow of the preserved 5th-century Doric structure, the Temple of Hephaistos. After breakfast and one last chance to take it all in, your private transfer will meet you at your hotel lobby and escort you to Athens International Airport, where you will board your flight home.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Starting Price 

$3,495
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.