Learn all about Greece's culture of food in this tasty trip that starts in Athens with a private tour of the Acropolis and a hands-on cooking class, followed by a transition to some of the most beautiful islands of the Cyclades. Begin in Syros for food tours and explorations of medieval cities, then head to the hidden gem of Tinos for some of Greece's best cuisine, plus a visit to marble villages, an art workshop, and an afternoon swimming in the Aegean Sea. End your trip in Naxos where you'll discover ancient sites, historic streets, medieval monasteries, and, of course, delicious, locally-sourced cuisines, the pride of the Greek Islands.

Highlights

  • Explore the bustling city of Athens with a private tour of the Acropolis
  • Discover the unique tastes of traditional Greek cuisine with cooking classes and food tours
  • Learn about Greek craftsmanship by meeting with weavers and artists
  • Go swimming in private coves and enjoy the warm Aegean Sea
  • Visit medieval towns and ancient monuments

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Athens - Explore Athens
Day 2 Take a Cooking Class with Dinner and Views of the Acropolis Athens
Day 3 Discover the Exceptional Culture of Syros, the 'Lady of the Cyclades' Syros
Day 4 Explore the Flavors of Syros on a Food Tour Syros
Day 5 Stroll the Medieval Streets of Stunning Ano Syros Syros
Day 6 Visit Tinos Island, the Hidden Gem of the Aegean Tinos
Day 7 Visit the Marble Villages and Enjoy an Art Workshop Tinos
Day 8 Try Your Hand at Traditional Tinian Recipes with a Cooking Class Tinos
Day 9 Travel to Naxos and Enjoy its Unspoiled Charm Naxos
Day 10 Indulge in the Food and Culture of Naxos Naxos
Day 11 Hike to the Medieval Monastery of Fotodoti on Naxos Naxos
Day 12 Depart Greece via Athens  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Athens - Explore

Monastiraki Square and Sunset over Plaka
Monastiraki Square and Sunset over Plaka

Welcome to  Greece!

Upon arriving in Athens, you'll settle into your accommodation and enjoy the city famous for its mythology. You'll discover its towering temples, classical deities, the iconic Acropolis, and the ruins of ancient market places, all in contrast to the vibrant nightlife, bustling flea markets, and contemporary cuisine.

Suggested activities include:

  • Visit the Parthenon temple, which sits proudly atop the Acropolis rock. This temple has enchanted visitors and locals alike since its construction centuries ago in 438 BCE. Although it's visible from many parts of the city, it's worth visiting these ancient ruins up close.

  • Discover one of the world's first meteorological sites, the Tower of the Winds. Afterward, you can stroll down the neighboring Aeolou Street, which is home to an array of charming local shops and cafés. Try to keep some extra space in your suitcase in case you decide to buy something at one of the busy stalls of the Monastiraki flea market.

  • Take a stroll along the cobblestone streets of Plaka—one of Athen's oldest neighborhoods—where you'll find iconic two-story Athenian houses and charming antique shops. The district is tucked under the Acropolis hill and has a lovely, vibrant atmosphere.

In the evening, your hosts will recommend the best places to enjoy original Greek food. The country's cuisine has evolved over the centuries through a rare blend of Eastern and Western influences, all prepared while using local and seasonal ingredients.

Day 2: Take a Cooking Class with Dinner and Views of the Acropolis

A Classic Greek Dish of  Stuffed Tomatoes
A Classic Greek Dish of Stuffed Tomatoes

Start your day with a relaxed stroll around the charming Plaka neighborhood, Athen's oldest district.  Located next to Acropolis Hill, you can easily spend hours wandering these cobblestone streets, all lined with shops, restaurants, and quaint little cafes. You can visit with locals in their shops, giving you a feel for the everyday life in central Athens. Enjoy lunch on your own at one of the buzzy restaurants in the historic center.

In the afternoon, you'll visit an amazing culinary multi-space where you can experience traditional Greek cuisine in a trendy, modern setting. There is an exceptional coffee house, a traditional pie shop, a creamery shop, and a kitchenette, all waiting to serve you a delicious dinner.

Stop first at the cooking workshop, where you can join a culinary experience and discover many fascinating products from all over the country. You'll learn traditional Greek recipes using raw materials, as taught by a professional chef. Afterward, you'll have the chance to create your own innovative tastes by experimenting with these traditional recipes.

After the cooking class, head up to the rooftop to enjoy your culinary creations while soaking in the views of the Acropolis.

In the evening, expand your exploration of Athens by visiting a couple other neighborhoods, such as Monastiraki and Psyrri. Along their vibrant streets, you'll discover more shops, cafes, bistros, and trendy bars where you can taste a selection of creative drinks.

Day 3: Discover the Exceptional Culture of Syros, the 'Lady of the Cyclades'

Harborfront Views of Beautiful Syros Island
Harborfront Views of Beautiful Syros Island

Among the Greek Islands, Syros stands out as truly unique and different, earning it the name the 'Lady of the Cyclades'. It also serves as the capital of this Cyclades Islands.

In the morning, you'll arrive in Syros by either boat or plane. After settling in, set out to explore the island's unique architecture. Stroll the cobblestone streets, enjoy the beautiful squares, visit the famous Town Hall designed by Ernst Ziller, and peruse the old captain houses, which were built in the early 1800s in the Vaporia District.

As you meander, you'll notice a mix of Catholic and Orthodox churches, as Syros is one of the places where the two harmoniously co-exist. Uniquely, the two religions even coordinate to celebrate Greek Easter as one. Some of the most beautiful churches include San Tzortzis (St George) and Anastasi (church of the Resurrection), plus Hermoupoli, one of the first sites you'll notice when arriving to the island.

Depending on when you're traveling, Syros also hosts several cultural events throughout the year, including the annual music festival which attracts people from all over Greece. It take place at the Apollon theater, which was built in 1864 as a replica of Milan's La Scala theater.

If you'd like to expand your exploration a bit, check out the medieval settlement of Ano Syros. Built on top of the hill, safe from pirates, this settlement is a truly special place. Walk the narrow streets, conquer the numerous steps, and enjoy a coffee or meal with an amazing view.

In the evening, grab a seat at one of the many beautiful restaurants looking out over the sea. Watch the sunset as you dine on local flavors.

Day 4: Explore the Flavors of Syros on a Food Tour

Trying Greek Meze or
Trying Greek Meze or "Bites"

Today's tour starts in the suburbs of Syros Island in the town of Ermoupolis, where you'll visit with locals producing a variety of Greek products. Here you'll see some of the best products from the Cyclades Islands.

Your host will be Kostas, a specialist and owner of a charming delicatessen. In his shop, you'll learn about the happenings in a typical Syros kitchen and taste some of the traditional products he sells. In particular, you'll learn about the herbs produced in Syros, which is home to over 5% of the herbs growing around the world. They play a huge role in traditional Greek cooking.

During the tour, you'll also enjoy tasting local meze, which is essentially the Greek equivalent to Spanish tapas. You'll enjoy olives, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, and more. While tasting, you'll learn about traditional cooking techniques that are still used today, many only using raw, local materials. Finally, you'll enjoy the fruits of Kostas' labor and teachings with a lunch at a local restaurant, co-operating with his own shop.

In the evening, you'll have plenty of time to stroll through the beautiful streets of Syros, admiring the sea views and settling into a restaurant for a late meal.

Day 5: Stroll the Medieval Streets of Stunning Ano Syros

The Stunning Hillside Town of Ano Syros
The Stunning Hillside Town of Ano Syros

Your next adventure is a visit to the medieval city of Ano Syros, a historical place set on a hillside with the dominating monument of San Giorgio's Cathedral. This cathedral was designated as the center of Catholicism in the Aegean Sea.

While in Ano Syros, you can visit the monasteries of the Jesuits and the Capuchins, which were once the power of the town. As you stroll through the narrow stone streets, stop at some other churches, such as the Catholic Church of San Sebastian and Virgin Mary di Karmilo. Don't miss the Markos Vamvakaris Museum, a tribute to one of the oldest and most important bouzouki players in Greece.

All your walking will surely build an appetite. In the main square of Ano Syros, your guide will show you a wonderful local restaurant for dinner. You'll dine with a stunning view of Ermoupolis, its port, and the Aegean Sea.

On the way back to your accommodation, you can stop at the renovated Anemomilos windmill. The site offers breathtaking views of Ano Syros and the sea.

Day 6: Visit Tinos Island, the Hidden Gem of the Aegean

Views From the Island of Tinos
Views of the Island of Tinos

Say goodbye to gorgeous Syros and start your journey toward another scenic island on the Aegean Sea. In the morning, you'll take an early ferry to the quiet island of Tinos.

Tinos has remained a hidden secret for many years. It was always overshadowed by its celebrity neighbor, Mykonos, and misconceived as just a religious destination. In fact, Tinos is classified as Sui Generis, meaning it is completely unique and special. Considering its amazing beaches, numerous beautiful villages, unique landscapes, friendly people, and distinctive gastronomy with top quality local ingredients, it's easy to see why there is no other place like it.

After settling in, start your exploration of the village of Volax, which is known for its massive, circular granite rocks known as Volakes. The scenery here is surreal, with a raw and almost lunar-like environment. While strolling through the town, you'll notice the locals' craft of basket weaving. The villagers take extreme pride in their baskets, which come in various sizes and symbolic styles. It makes for a lovely souvenir.

Take note of the doors in Volax. Verses written by notable Greek poets and lyrics from Greek songs are handwritten in the doors of the old, uninhabited houses. 

After exploring Volax, freshen up at your accommodation and head out for a lovely seafood dinner as the sun sets.

Day 7: Visit the Marble Villages and Enjoy an Art Workshop

Beautiful Buildings on Tinos Island
Beautiful Buildings on Tinos Island

Today you'll explore the marble villages of Tinos Island, stopping first at the Museum of Marble Arts. You'll learn how the Tinian craftsmen take a slab of marble and work it until it transforms into statues, fanlights, fountains, altarpieces, tower bells, palaces, and even entire stadiums.

You'll see some of the marble work at the cemetery of Pyrgos, essentially an open-air sculpture museum. Afterward, stroll over to Pyrgos Square to have some coffee, ouzo, or raki, plus some sweets or meze (snacks).

Your next stop is the Giannoulis Halepas’ house, which commemorates the greatest Greek sculptor and acts as a museum of Tinian artists. You'll then take part in a workshop where you'll meet one of the sculptors. While working on the marble, he'll introduce you to all the stages of production, the tools used, and the secrets of his art.

In the late afternoon, you'll finish your visit to the marble villages with a swim at the Agia Thalassa Beach. Enjoy dinner nearby in the picturesque fishing village of Panormos.

Day 8: Try Your Hand at Traditional Tinian Recipes with a Cooking Class

Wild Herbs Growing in Greece
Wild Herbs Growing in Greece

The food on Tinos Island is some of the best in the Cyclades. Outstanding dishes are created with care and always use fresh, local ingredients. You'll try your hand at some of the favorite local recipes, using freshly-picked ingredients and pairing your meal with local wines. 

With the help of an expert chef, you'll learn all about the culinary traditions of Tinos, as well as the Cyclades. Food is an important cultural aspect of Greece; and to the people of the island, the process is more than just a method. Tinian ingredients come straight from the garden, with many locals wildliy growing their own herbs in their backyards.

When you have finished cooking your recipe, you'll enjoy it with a pairing of wine designated by the chef. Your lunch table will be set in a traditional fashion, in the alley of the street under a beautiful archway. To the people of Tinos, meals are best eaten with other people, and in this case, with the fragrance of thyme, basil, and mint wafting from the garden.

Day 9: Travel to Naxos and Enjoy its Unspoiled Charm

The Port of Naxos Chora
The Port of Naxos Chora

Enjoy your breakfast in beautiful Santorini and prepare for today's journey to another island, Naxos. You'll arrive either by ferry or plane. Settle into your accommodation and then explore this gorgeous island. Suggested activities include:

  • Discover the main town, where you can shop and admire the Venetian architecture, a historic Kastro (castle) area, and expansive beaches, the island offers opportunities for both laid-back relaxation, as well as water or land activities. The rest of the day is yours to unwind as you choose.

  • If you prefer something a bit more pastoral, Naxos is also known for its rich agricultural industry. Pay a visit to a cheese-producing facility or a local distillery to sample the famous local kitron liqueur.

  • For dinner, wander up the hill through the streets of the Kastro neighborhood to pick out your favorite of the area's tavernas, where you can sample the island's fresh produce in its best form.

Day 10: Indulge in the Food and Culture of Naxos

The Quaint Streets of Naxos
The Quaint Streets of Naxos

Today's excursion is very special, as it includes arguably the best local produce and food in the Cyclades.

Your local guide will take you to various locations on the island of Naxos, creating a palette of tastes and inviting you to create your own food map of Naxos. Kindaros, Apeiranthos, Kaloxylos, Chalki, and Naxos Town are some of the meeting points with traditional local producers. You'll stroll, taste, and cook some of the most famous Naxian dishes, including:

  • cheese pie or olive pie, enjoyed with a picnic of coffee, juice, jam, honey, bread, fruit, and yogurt
  • lukumades (hand-crafted Green doughnuts)
  • keftedes (Greek meatballs), tzatziki (yogurt-based sauce), and a tasting of five kinds of naxian cheeses, plus bread, salad, and local wine
  • a tasting of the local liqueur Citron at a distillery

After filling you stomach with amazing Greek foods, treats, and drinks, you'll walk off your indulgences with a tour of the Venetian castle. In the evening, take a relaxed stroll in Chora, stopping at a kafeneio and enjoying a snack with a drink. Now that you have tasted everything, you'll be able to choose your dinner wisely!

Day 11: Hike to the Medieval Monastery of Fotodoti on Naxos

Village Views on the Island of Naxos
Village Views on the Island of Naxos

Today you'll explore the beauty of eastern Naxos with a 3-hour hike through rocky land and olive groves. Enjoy the breathtaking views of the island's terrain, contrasting with the deep blue hues of the Aegean Sea. Along the way, you'll visit the medieval Monastery of Fotodoti, which seems to come out of nowhere emerging from the earth. The view from the top of its hill offers a bird's-eye view of the island and the surrounding sea.

As you head back, stop at the historical village of Apeiranthos with its famous marble paths. Here you can enjoy a traditional lunch with authentic Naxian flavors.

In the early evening, head to Plaka Beach where you can stroll across the sandy beach and watch the sunset across the sea. It's the perfect way to spend your final night in beautiful Greece. Grab dinner at one of the many restaurants along the shore.

Day 12: Depart Greece via Athens

Aerial View of Athens
Aerial View of Athens

Sadly, it' s time to say goodbye to Greece. A private driver will transfer you to the airport where you'll catch a flight back to Athens. From there, you can enjoy some more time in the city on your own, or catch a connecting flight home.