Live like a local in Greece's idyllic Argolic Gulf with this active 10-day itinerary. You'll explore Athens for a few days and even hop onboard a fishing boat with an expert fisherman before you head to seaside Nafplio, home to winding streets and a historic water fortress. Explore this beautiful area of mainland Greece via foot, bicycle, and kayak, then get hands-on in an olive grove and flute away as a shepherd for a day.

Highlights

  • Appreciate the Acropolis and Parthenon amidst the modern city of Athens
  • Become an expert in traditional paragadi fishing methods in the Saronic Gulf
  • Experience Nafplio, a seaside town said to be founded by Poseidon's son
  • Learn the alchemy of olive-oil production in a rural village outside Nafplio
  • Enjoy the bucolic Greek countryside while spending time with a local shepherd

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Athens Athens
Day 2 Good Morning Athens Bike Ride Athens
Day 3 Fishing Boat Adventure in the Saronic Gulf Athens
Day 4 Visit Kallimarmaro, Ancient Cooking Class Athens
Day 5 Athens to Nafplio, Castle Walking Tour Nafplio
Day 6 Nafplio Cycling Tour Nafplio
Day 7 Karathona Beach Kayaking Nafplio
Day 8 Olive Experience Nafplio
Day 9 Shepherd for a Day Nafplio
Day 10 Nafplio to Athens and Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Athens

Monastiraki Square and the Acropolis
Monastiraki Square and the Acropolis

Welcome to Greece! You'll begin your trip in Athens, home to both the iconic Acropolis and so much more. The mythology of this spectacular city precedes it, with towering temples to Classical deities and the ruins of ancient marketplaces rubbing shoulders with lively nightlife, crowded flea markets, and contemporary cuisine. Make the most of your time in the city at some of these spots:

  • Check out the views of the can't-miss Parthenon. (Pro tip: The Parthenon is the temple, the Acropolis is the hill.) This temple to Athena has enchanted visitors since its construction was completed in 438 BC. It's probably the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of ancient Greece and is visible from many of the city's high points.
  • Stop at the sprawling National Museum for a crash course in ancient iconography. Be sure to seek out the room housing the Antikythera mechanism, essentially an ancient astronomical computer.
  • Visit a smaller archaeological site at the Tower of the Winds, then stroll down neighboring pedestrian Aiolou Street to stop at shops and cafes. 
  • Find your perfect souvenir or sun hat in the busy stalls of the Monastiraki flea market. 

Spend your evening exploring the up-and-coming Pangrati neighborhood or amid the nightlife and mezze of the Psyrri district.

Day 2: Good Morning Athens Bike Ride

Get around on your new wheels
Get around on your new wheels

Say kalimera with a good morning bike ride around the city. You'll wheel past many of the highlights of the city over the course of 3.5 hours, complete with a coffee break at a cafe. Your guide will tell you about all the spots you pass, such as the Panathenaic Stadium, National Gardens, the Agora, Keramikos, and of course the Acropolis, along with insider tips on the best spots to eat and drink in Athens and plenty of breaks to take in the views.

Put those tips into practice by spending the rest of your day in the posh Plaka district, also known as the neighborhood of the gods. One of the city's oldest neighborhoods, the area features neoclassical architecture in both its homes and shops. When hunger strikes, find a spot at one of the outdoor tables lining the streets. Diners feast on Greek favorites such as the classic horiatiki salad, souvlaki, lamb dishes, and more. Go mezze-style to try them all.

For photography enthusiasts (or those who prefer to sleep late), it is also possible to take the bike ride in the late afternoon rather than the morning, when the soft light is great for pictures.

Day 3: Fishing Boat Adventure in the Saronic Gulf

Quite a catch
Quite a catch

Hop onboard with a professional fisherman to get up close and personal with the Saronic Gulf. You'll start in Athens' port suburb of Piraeus in Pasalimani, the port's hub for small fishing boats. Board a kaiki, a traditional fishing boat, where your fisherman guide will teach you all about their fishing techniques. Take in the scenery as you sail out to your first fishing grounds, where you'll observe traditional paragadi fishing methods. 

Your second stop will be Fleves island, where you can put these lessons into practice with a provided fishing rod or join the fish instead, with a swim in the clear waters. Lunch will be served onboard (fish included, naturally) before you head back to check the paragadi for any fresh catches. The day's spoils will be divided for you to take back with you and enjoy later at your leisure.

Once you've returned to shore, check out Piraeus in the evening light before you return to the city center. Stroll through Pasalimani, then stay for a drink or two in one of the open-air cafes along the Gulf of Zea.

Day 4: Visit Kallimarmaro, Ancient Cooking Class

The Panathenaic Stadium
The Panathenaic Stadium

Start off the morning with a trip to the sweeping stands of Kallimarmaro, also known as the Panathenaic Stadium. The grand facility made entirely of marble was constructed in 1896 to host the first modern Olympics and is made entirely out of marble to honor the ancient stadiums.

Once you've been sufficiently inspired to feats of athleticism, you'll move on to feasts of Greek cuisine instead. A resident chef will take you on a journey of discovery into the methods used by the Ancient Greeks to cook their meals. You'll use ingredients available today to reproduce the distinct flavors found in classical dishes over the course of this 3-hour class. And no class is complete without the opportunity to sample the fruits of your labor over dinner (with wine included, of course).

Day 5: Athens to Nafplio, Castle Walking Tour

At the base of the castle
At the base of the castle

This morning, you'll wrap up your stay in Athens with breakfast before you head to Nafplio, one of the prettiest seaport towns in the Peloponnese peninsula. Once believed to have been founded by the son of Poseidon, the town was the first capital of the new Greek state after the war of independence in the 1800s.

Wear good walking shoes for today's adventure. You'll start with a stroll through the old town, where you'll pass statues honoring significant figures from Nafplio's history alongside Ottoman fountains, and Venetian architecture along its winding streets topped off by the Bourtzi Castle in the middle of the harbor. Accessible only by boat, the castle was built in the 1470s to defend the city, and it still keeps watch at the entrance to Nafplio Bay.  Then, warm up your leg muscles with a climb up 1,000 steps to see the view from the Palamidi Castle.

You'll meet your guide in the afternoon at the harbor lighthouse to hike underneath the castle's towers. The scenic trek will take you along the Arvanitia path along Acronafplia, which lives up to its translation of "the edge of Nafplio." Go all the way to Karathona beach as you learn about the history of the city and its invasions. Then, continue to the foothills surrounding the castle, with views of the Artemision mountain as your reward for all that walking.

Day 6: Nafplio Cycling Tour

Your noble steed for the day
Your noble steed for the day

Explore Nafplio's surrounding areas even further today under the power of two wheels with a cycling tour. A guide will take you past the highlights of the city and stunning views of the Argolic Gulf. You'll ride for roughly 2.5 hours, including some time to stop for a snack whilst enjoying the views.

Take it easy in the afternoon with a stroll through the city and a visit to the Komboloi Museum. You'll likely have noticed these strings of "worry beads" throughout your Greek travels, and now is your chance to learn about their history and purchase a quality set of your own. Visit the Vasileos Konstandinou pedestrian street to take you across the old town, ending in Syntagma Square where you can choose between a variety of tavernas for dinner.

Day 7: Karathona Beach Kayaking

Skimming the surface
Skimming the surface

Swap your pedals for paddles with a four-hour kayak tour in the waters of the gulf. Get in the water at Karathona beach to circle some of the bay's best spots. You'll get a perfect distance view of the Palamidi Castle before you come in for a visit to Bourtzi Castle, complete with panoramic perspective on the city. Take a break for fruit and photos in a small church along the way.

Once you've dried off, head back into town for an evening wander. See if you can find P.D.O. olive oil from Lygourio, near Epidaurus, to bring home the best of a Greek favorite. When hunger strikes, seek out fresh local seafood on coastal Bouboulinas and Miaouli streets or try the local specialty dish of bogana, which features a hearty mix of lamb and potatoes.

Day 8: Olive Experience

A favorite in all seasons
A favorite in all seasons

Greece has been enjoying the benefits of olive oil for centuries, and now you can take part in this culinary tradition. You'll begin after breakfast with a drive out to a rural village roughly 5 miles (8 km) outside of Nafplio. Visit the local owners to see how the olive oil-making process works and learn about its steps, as well as meet some of the farm's other inhabitants with a sheep-milking session. 

Next, visit the groves themselves, enjoying a picnic experience underneath the shade of the trees and lunch in a family taverna. If you arrive in the harvest season, your experience will even include picking olives in the orchard alongside the workers. 

Head back to town in the late afternoon, where you'll have a new appreciation for your dinner's ingredients. Top it off by buying a bottle of wine in a local shop to take home. You're in one of the most notable wine areas of Greece, after all. Look for an Agiortiko or another native grape varietal.

Day 9: Shepherd for a Day

Your new tour guide
Your new tour guide

Get a taste of a simpler life when you become a shepherd for the day on this guided experience. You'll head back into the countryside to visit a local farm, stopping at some area highlights on the way. Once you arrive at the farm, you'll meet both its owners and its more diminutive residents. You'll get to experience aspects of life around the farm, milk the goats and sheep, and even try to play the shepherd's flute.

Chat with the owners over coffee and dessert about what you've learned. You'll finish with a tour of the nearby area, where you'll learn about Greek herbs and other plants and animals. 

For your final food experience of your trip, go for the gkogkes. This traditional regional pasta is shaped like a seashell and most frequently topped with local cheese and hot oil. Or grab some Corinth raisins for a taste of Greece to snack on during the rest of your travels.

Day 10: Nafplio to Athens and Depart

Get in one more good look
Get in one more good look

Time to say goodbye to Greece! You'll be transferred back to Athens International Airport after breakfast.

Map

Map of Argolic Gulf Adventure - 10 Days
Map of Argolic Gulf Adventure - 10 Days