The Great Aegean Escape: Greece & Turkey Vacation

A 14 day trip to Greece & Turkey 
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Escape from the mundane on this 14-day expedition through the Aegean Sea. Don’t wait for a reason to get up and see the splendors of Greece, from the marbled walkways to the glowing white houses, the perseverant pillars to the Moorish designs. If the ruins could, they would speak for themselves, but you won’t know their story if you don’t visit. The beatitudes of the Aegean cannot be viewed from home and only experienced along the land and sea of your wildest dreams. It’s never too late to make those dreams come true. There’s no better time than now to make your escape to Greece. 

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General Information

Photos
Foliage growth on the white and blue architecture in Santorini, Greece with the Aegean Sea in the background
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Athens, the Acropolis, Mykonos, Mykonos Town, Kusadasi, Patmos, Rhodes, the Acropolis of Lindos, Heraklion, Santorini

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: The Great Aegean Escape

Pack your bags and be on the lookout as you venture away from the everyday, tearing away from the mundane and journeying to the Great Aegean. Board the plane filled with excitement to see the famous relics, the unparalleled beaches, and the non-stop grandeur of Greece. The flight ascends into the sky and you feel as though you have escaped, worried someone might catch on, but as you inch closer to the sunny shores and olive groves of the Aegean you can rest easy, assured that the journey that awaits you will be nothing less than the best.

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner

Day 2: The Greater Arrival

Set down in Athens and feel vindicated with the troubles and tribulations of yesterday thrown away like paper waste. Be collected at the airport and whisked to the center of the city where the bustling life of history and modernity mix together. The antique charm of the Plaka, the main street, stretches beneath the feet of strolling people, from the cobblestone of the ancient city to the occupied buildings passed down by families for millennia. The Acropolis stands tall above the old and new, once the center of all of Athens, as the sun shines a soft light onto the marble pillars. The scent of lamb and the fresh citrus of tomatoes almost follow you down the path. People walk arm in arm within the gentle streetlights as the day fades away. Your escape from the commonplace was successful; now let yourself relax within the greatness of the Aegean. 

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer

Day 3: Escape into History

Set within the wonders of modern Athens is the unforgettable and not-to-be-missed world of history, some of which you strolled along and next to; however, today you will venture out on a guided tour to live it. Escape to the city within the walls of the Acropolis Museum where the art and scrolls of the past give life to the present. Wander among the busts and statues where sweeping togas made from marble still billow like silk. The second floor is home to the Archaic Gallery, possibly the most beautiful collection of sculptures in Europe. On the top floor you can meander along the Parthenon gallery where the panorama of the temple on high is a treasure-trove of splendor.

Follow your guide along the steps of Acropolis hill and it’s as if the modern city has been left behind, bringing you to the brink of ancient times. The marble walkway is slippery with history and the polished surface brings with it the imaginative question of what exact color it may have been thousands of years ago. The pillars of the Propylaea impose upon your entrance immediately reminding you of the plateau’s grandeur, but once you enter through the gateway you will be absorbed by the Golden Age of Athens. An olive tree branches out of the plateau, a gift from the goddess Athena for whom the Parthenon was erected. The porticos along the ends of the temple show daily life carved into the structure giving tribute to the goddess. You can almost press your hand against the vibrant life depicted along the once perfectly constructed temple, ready to take you back in time to when the city could be viewed from all sides atop Acropolis hill.  

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast

Day 4: Before the Adventurous Waters

The day is yours to enjoy every adventure in Athens at your leisure and at your desire, so why not venture into the neighborhood of Monastiraki. Monastiraki is known as one of the principal shopping districts in Athens within an old neighborhood whose name means “Little Monastery.” The Tzisdarakis Mosque is a remnant of the Ottoman occupation of Greece with multi-domed and shingled roofs and a terrific view of the Acropolis, which is never far away when in central Athens. The square is checkered with colored tiles, from gray to blue, and yellow to red, and hums with excitement when the traditional flea markets open to the city. Locals and visitors delve into the stores where purses, necklaces, and even old maps find their way. Tzatziki and cucumbers fill the air with a refreshing zest. The night settles in over the square and the easy gleam of the Acropolis drifts over the city.  

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast, lunch

Day 5: When the Waters Wave Hello

The city swells with pride over its sensational past and you watch the billowing beauty dissolve into the horizon after you board a ship and set sail for Mykonos. The water turns three shades of blue, stretching from royal to crystal clear, where the sand along the ocean floor sparkles from the far-reaching sunlight. The cool breeze blows through your hair with the sweet scent of the sea surrounding the ship. In the distance you can see the sheen of five pure-white windmills growing on the shore. The colorful seaside buildings of Mykonos Town sit just above the wave line. You arrive on the island, a land far removed from worry, ready for the lavish beaches and the endless luxuries that Mykonos is known for.

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

Day 6: Escape to the Beaches

Mykonos is known for its pristine beaches, where the water spans the spectrum of crystal clear blues. The sands are hot and powdery and the beaches extend for what feels like a glorious forever. Restaurants crowd the boardwalk offering refreshing drinks and delightful food if the mood should ever strike, but beneath the umbrella with the waves slowly lapping at the sand, it’s a far off thought for now. A visit to Elia gives you one of the longest sandy beaches on Mykonos; it is also the last stop on the local water taxi giving you a slightly quieter visit within the wondrous beachside fame of the island. 

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, accommodation

Day 7: When a City Is Not a City

Journey to the edges of Mykonos Town, a captivating labyrinth of historical radiating white buildings filled with boutiques and a handful of churches. Watch the waves wrap against the base of Little Venice, the edge of restaurants and bars once owned by prominent merchants thought to be pirates. Wander along the streets and let yourself escape structure, the need to have somewhere to be. Listen to the bustling life of the quaint streets of the city. The cobblestones provide an echoing acoustic against the white stone walls. People sit beneath winding vines that dangle over the patrons’ table like a curious bird. The sensation of the town is release from troubles and expectations, where you can wander and get lost in the maze of stunning architecture, gilded jewelry, smiling faces, and the rich food, and a multiplicity of other delights. 

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, accommodation

Day 8: Crossing Aquamarine Borders

Spend the morning enjoying the sun and the sea with the hot sand wrapping around your toes and the cool water draping over your ankles. This is the way you want to remember Mykonos, the sparkling ocean winking various shades of blue in your direction and the pristine walls of Mykonos Town almost like a decoration crowning your escape. As the afternoon sets over the island you will make your way to the port and continue your adventure across the Aegean.

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, accommodation

Day 9: Bird’s Head and Revelation

The morning brings a new city along the shores of a different town within the borders of Turkey. Kusadasi is named for the bird’s head shape of the bay. You can hear the water rush against the beach and admire the rainbow colored umbrellas brushing over the shore. The early hours of the day are yours to discover the gems of the island, including the treasured bazaar. Feel as though you have been enchanted by the Moorish influence as the classic displays of arched entrances and lamps line the market. Although not set within the mainland of Turkey, the country sits at the cradle of East and West, giving you a vast taste of the differences within the Aegean landscape, from the colorful pashminas that dangle like vines to the lively spices that sprinkle the bazaar. A single stroll through the streets of Kusadasi takes you worlds away from where you had been.

Later in the afternoon you will cruise to the Greek island of Patmos, famous for Monastery and Cave where John the Divine wrote the Book of Revelation. A known destination for pilgrims, the rugged island’s monastery looks like a heavy stone castle carved out of a mountain that lingers above the immaculate white homes that climb from the base. The beaches are as clear as glass, giving a hint of blue to the distant horizon where it’s hard to tell where the water stops and the sky begins. You can almost smell the frankincense and myrrh from the countless churches and monasteries on the island, as splendid a sight as the untouched beaches below.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, accommodation

Day 10: Beyond the Medieval

In the morning you will arrive in Rhodes with the option to explore the medieval city and the ancient acropolis above, once home to the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the original Seven Wonders of the World. Now the central square trickles with a medieval fountain and bustles with life. The fortification walls continue to wrap around the old city reaching in grand stupor to the edges of the island. Turrets tower into the air; at times it feels like the old town was nothing more than one large castle. With so much rich history it’s almost as if you’ve stepped back into Athens, a city that everyone has emulated, wanted, and eventually tried to conquer.

The Acropolis of Lindos was dedicated to Artemis’s father and looks out over the expanse of lavish sea. Pillars continue to stand tall giving some risen shape to the fallen stones and roofs. Once there the magnitude of the standing temples is almost enough to keep you staring far into the sky for hours. As the day wears on you venture back to the ship and set sail, moving along the open waters to another stunning island within the plentiful Aegean.   

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, accommodation

Day 11: No Need for a Minotaur

Reach the shores of Haraklion on the island of Crete, Greece’s largest island that touches the northern tip of the Libyan Sea. The imposing Venetian castle sits along the parapet that was once used to guard the city and block unwanted intruders, whether pirates or the Ottomans. Boats painted white and blue, red and yellow drift along the small harbor that stands beneath the modern rises of the city. The large stone structures just beyond offer a vision into the decadent past of the Venetian occupation. The beauty of the city, as with much of Greece, is steeped within its history and modernity, where the past has shaped the blossoming present.

Just beyond the harbor is the famous Knossos Minoan Palace, rumored to be the home of the notorious Minotaur. If you desire to spend the day away from the harbor-side city and meandering through the ruins of the legendary palace the remaining opulence of the Minoan grandeur is prepared to excite and entice you. The whispers of Minotaur continue to tap at your thoughts before you even enter the archeological site. Once inside you can see the royal expanse of the area. A single tree has broken through the cracks next to the stone storage grounds, the varied hue a symbol of the resurgence of nature and what came before and serves as a reminder of our connection to the past and the stories of Knossos.

Traversing the grounds brings you to the palace’s immensity. You arrive on what could be considered the second, and in some cases, even the third story. The stairways climb and wind. The columns have been refurbished to reflect the red and black shades of their beginnings.  Frescos mark the walls connoting the prosperous times for the island, when servants were abundant and hunting was a prominent activity. In the distance, almost on an island of its own, you see the rise of stone with pillars and a portico shading the mural of a bull in springtime, its horns lowered and charging along the hills. The past of the palace will remain; it’s time for you to make your way back to Heraklion, board the ship and arrive by morning to the shores of Santorini.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, accommodation

Day 12: No Need to Escape the Sunset

The day in Santorini gives you the chance to stray from the path and escape to the magical Red Beach. An easy water taxi will give you the panorama of the sandy cliff before you step foot onto the black sand. The name comes from the rusty color of the oxidized cliff that looms over the stretch of shore. The air is filled with the scent of pure ocean and sweet terrain. Dip your feet into the water and notice the inviting warmth that wraps around your toes. With every step you expect to loose sight of the ground beneath the water’s surface but the glassiness of the water doesn’t fade.

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast

Day 13: A Possible Atlantis

Today is your last day on Santorini and your last day to indulge in your escape from the ordinary. With this indulgence in mind there is always the chance to visit the Ancient site of Akrotiri. Labeled the "Minoan Pompeii," the prosperous town was destroyed and preserved around 1450 BC by a massive eruption. Pots and tools remain where their owners left them and continue to offer a rare glimpse into the urban life of the Minoans. The city’s elaborate architecture and vivid frescoes demonstrate the high level of culture of the ancient island, as the main street is lined with stores and warehouses. Some jars were found with traces of olive oil, fish, and onion still inside. One large edifice stands two-stories high with fourteen rooms on each floor. Some rooms were connected by multiple doors and decorated with magnificent wall paintings. They are as much of a pearl then as now. The colors of the Seated Goddess fresco still burst, from the hues of the duck necklace to the remaining warm blue of the clothing. The sensation of Akrotiri is palpable, informative, breathtaking, and anything but ordinary.

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast

Day 14: A Great Escape

Today you will make your way to the Santorini Airport where you will watch the lustrous white of the homes fade away, replaced by the clouds. You have spent your time scouring the treasures of the Aegean, ranging from ancient and charming, to  classic and pristine. Whether glorious beaches or ruins saturated with sensation, you have traversed the land and sea and have wandered in the steps of majesty on this journey that was nothing less than a great escape. 

What’s Included: transfer, breakfast, lunch

Price

Starting Price 

$3,565
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.