- Indulge in the best cuisine in the Cyclades on a food tour in Naxos
- Take a Cretan cooking class using ingredients from the Botanical Gardens
- Explore the vibrant and historic cities of Athens, Chania, and Heraklion
- Learn how to harvest and process olive oil, all while tasting several varieties
- Visit wineries, with tastings of both Greek and international wines
|Day 1||Arrive in Athens - Explore the city||Athens|
|Day 2||Explore the flavors of Athens on a food tour||Athens|
|Day 3||Discover the renowned wineries of Nemea||Nafplio|
|Day 4||Travel to the island of Crete - Explore the city of Chania||Chania|
|Day 5||Experience a Cretan cooking class at the Botanical Gardens||Chania|
|Day 6||Transfer to Heraklion - Explore the city with a food tour||Heraklion|
|Day 7||Arrive in Archanes and enjoy an olive oil tasting||Archanes|
|Day 8||Transfer to Santorini - Explore||Santorini|
|Day 9||See the traditional side of Santorini with a food and wine tour||Santorini|
|Day 10||Travel to Naxos and enjoy its unspoiled charm||Naxos|
|Day 11||Indulge in the food and culture of Naxos||Naxos|
|Day 12||Depart Naxos|
Day 1: Arrive in Athens - Explore the city
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: Explore the flavors of Athens on a food tour
After breakfast, you'll explore the city with your taste buds. During this delicious small-group, join-in food tour, you'll not only explore the vibrant streets of Athens, but you'll also get to taste appetizing treats that locals enjoy as part of their daily routine. You'll explore various neighborhoods in the heart of the city, mingle with locals, visit numerous culinary gems, and gain insights into the development of Greek cooking methods, recipes, and culinary traditions.
Your experience will include a visit with dedicated artisans who have perfected their recipes over the decades, as well as specialized food stores sourcing the best products from all over Greece. These artisans and shops will teach you how to distinguish recipes and expose you to emblematic products such as olives, traditional pies, and fresh ground coffee.
A culinary tour in Athens would not be complete without a visit to the city's vibrant central food market full of fresh, colorful produce and the best ingredients from across the country. You won't go hungry with this food tour, noshing on all the varied delicacies as you go.
In the afternoon, you can return to your accommodation for a little relaxation. Again, your hosts will be happy to provide recommendations for dinner. You'll surely enjoy your meal after learning so much about the unique cuisine in Athens.
Day 3: Discover the renowned wineries of Nemea
Today's adventure includes a glimpse into the heart of modern Greek wine, a perfect excursion for any wine lover. The focus will be on the region of Nemea, famous for its indigenous grape variety Agiorgitiko. It's only a short, one-hour trek from Athens.
In all, the tour will take about 5-6 hours, bringing you to three selected boutique wineries all known for their high-quality wines. You'll meet with winemakers and oenologists who will show you their passion for their work and invite you to taste wines from the most important Greek and international grape varieties. You'll learn all about the interesting facts of Greek wine production and the long history of winemaking in Greece.
Lunch will be provided along with your wine tastings, so enjoy a relaxing day in the beautiful vineyards of Greece.
You'll return back to Athens in the early evening, with plenty of time to rest before heading out for another amazing dinner in the city.
Day 4: Travel to the island of Crete - Explore the city of Chania
Awake early to enjoy some breakfast before starting your journey to the beautiful island of Crete, the largest and most populous island in Greece.
Your destination for today is the city of Chania, one of the most scenic spots on Crete. Life in this former Venetian city revolves around its charming 14th-century harbor, narrow streets with winding alleys, and colorful architecture influenced by past Ottoman and Egyptian eras.
After settling into your accommodation, take some time to explore the city. Visit the neighborhoods of Topanas, Splantzia, Kolombo, and Kasteli, all popular spots to admire the panoramic view of the harbor, the traditional Cretan taverns, and the magnificent buildings. You'll also see the ruins of the great Minoan city of Kydonia and high walls of former Venetian moats now integrated into the city.
Once you've worked up an appetite, visit the Municipal Market of Chania and neighboring Municipal Garden to enjoy a coffee and lunch amid the shade of the trees. Then top it off with a sunset drink on the rooftop at a trendy restaurant, Pallas.
Make a stop at the Botanical Parks and Gardens of Crete to enjoy Cretan nature at its finest. The special micro-climate formed at this specific area allows plants from three different climate zones to grow. You can also enjoy authentic Cretan gastronomy at the park.
Continue west to visit the fascinating olive-oil producing area of Vouves, visit the museum and admire one of the most ancient olive trees in existence. Or head to one of the spectacular beaches such as Falassarna and Elafonissi. There are also plenty of deserted coves and quiet bays to enjoy total privacy.
In the evening, visit the Venizelos family graves, situated at an extraordinary spot on the outskirts of Chania. Eleftherios Venizelos was an outstanding politician and former Prime Minister of Greece. Then follow the locals to the cafe Koukouvaya for a little indulgence with a panoramic view of Chania and its harbor.
Customize your trip with help from a local travel specialist.
Day 5: Experience a Cretan cooking class at the Botanical Gardens
Today's excursion allows you to experience Cretan cuisine hands-on at the Botanical Gardens. Surround yourself with colorful plants and trees from three different climate zones: alpine, Mediterranean and tropical. This special combination is a result of a micro-climate that developed in this specific area. From tropical avocado trees to citrus trees and other Mediterranean and sub-alpine flora, you'll certainly be amazed.
To start your day, enjoy walking around the gardens for as long as you'd like. When you're ready, your hosts will welcome you with an herbal tea and some fresh fruit. For the cooking class, you'll first pick the ingredients straight from the orchards and fields of the gardens under the guidance of a local expert. Then, you'll put that fresh produce to use in a cooking class led by a traditional chef, where you'll learn about Cretan recipes and nutrition. Enjoy the flavorful fruits of your labors at its conclusion, served on a beautiful terrace. Don't miss the digestive herbal tea from local malotira at the end of your meal.
After your exploration of Cretan cooking, spend the rest of the afternoon and evening wandering Chania's old town, stopping at any spots you may have missed yesterday. Its colorful streets encompass centuries of history, giving you plenty to discover.
Day 6: Transfer to Heraklion - Explore the city with a food tour
This morning, you'll drive to central Crete to the city of Heraklion. One of the best ways to explore this city is within the company of delicious food and wine. You'll walk through the central market and arrive at one of Heraklion’s oldest coffee grinding shops. There you'll learn about the blending, roasting, brewing, and serving of Greek coffee, enjoying a morning cup to start the day.
The next stop is a traditional Cretan bakery, where you'll learn about the unique particularities of Cretan pastries, treats, and baked goods. After a short demonstration, you'll taste some of the bakery's traditional products.
Continue with a visit to a family of artisan cheesemongers. The owners and cheesemakers will welcome you with a variety of Cretan cheese, tasting and learning about the different production processes. Afterward, you'll head to a traditional herb shop to learn about Crete’s unique herbs and spices, as well as their various and important therapeutic benefits.
As lunchtime approaches, you'll walk to the Heraklion Port. With a view of the Aegean Sea, you'll savor some fresh, deep-fried fish and learn about the different kinds of fish in the area, as well as the angling methods. To accompany your meal, you'll taste three different Cretan white wines.
In the evening, you'll have free time to continue walking about the vibrant city of Heraklion.
Day 7: Arrive in Archanes and enjoy an olive oil tasting
It's difficult to think of Greece and not associate the country with its amazing olive oils. Today you can actually participate in the process of making this beloved oil. You'll start your day with a visit to an olive farm and olive oil mill, learning everything about the different harvesting methods that impact the oil's characteristics.
Of course, there will be plenty of opportunities to taste olive oil and learn about its traditional uses and applications. You'll spend time with the owners of this family-run business and listen to their stories.
After you've become an olive expert, head to the village of Archanes where you'll settle into your accommodation. This city is famous for its raki, the traditional Cretan alcoholic drink that is used as a welcome, an appetizer, a digestive, and for any other occasion you can imagine! If you're traveling in November, you can visit the Kazanamata Feast, which is the celebration of the first raki production of the season.
Explore the colorful, winding streets of Archanes and stop into a cozy restaurant for dinner.
Day 8: Transfer to Santorini - Explore
Enjoy breakfast at your accommodation before traveling to gorgeous Santorini, one of the country's most popular and beloved islands. You'll arrive either by ferry or plane.
As you approach the island, you'll spot the famous Caldera—the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in history—which rises above the sea in a crescent. As the sun rises, it will color the cliff-side and its cubic architecture in a golden glow.
After settling into your hotel, you can observe the views of the small volcanic islands that formed less than a century ago. Apart from the Caldera, the island's volcanic history has helped create many of its unique beaches.
Other suggested activities include:
- Spend your day relaxing on one of Santorini's many beaches. Both Kamari and Perivolos are excellent choices, connected to the Black Beach on the east side of the island.
- Discover stunning views and locations by embarking on one of Santorini's scenic walking routes. The distance ranges from two to eight miles (3-13 km).
- At dinner, sample the island's signature cherry tomatoes and white eggplants, along with the main dish of delicious seafood.
Day 9: See the traditional side of Santorini with a food and wine tour
Despite Santorini's popularity, it has a side that most people don't get to see. Luckily, you'll have the opportunity to explore more of the island with a local expert, starting in the village of Megalochori. Along the way, you'll walk through the stone pathways called kadounia and discover the authentic and traditional way of life on this island, far away from the crowds.
Continue with a visit to a small, family-owned winery that boasts centuries of wine-making traditions. The volcanic soil gives a very special taste to the wine, and you'll get to try the three local varieties along with an assortment of food, such as cheeses and oven-baked bread.
Santorini produce is well-known to food connoisseurs, largely thanks to the waterless (anhydrous) farming, giving an amazing taste to the local tomatoes, yellow beans, eggplants, capers, and more. You'll enjoy a cooking demonstration with fresh, hand-picked ingredients from the farm, tasting the traditional dishes made in front of you. You'll dine in a beautiful location with traditional caves, surrounded by pumice-stone canyons and farmlands.
After lunch, and before heading back to your accommodation, enjoy a glass of wine while watching the sunset over the Caldera. Grab lunch in Santorini at one of the numerous restaurants offering amazing views of the sea.
Day 10: Travel to Naxos and enjoy its unspoiled charm
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 11: Indulge in the food and culture 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 Greek 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 your 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 12: Depart Naxos
Say goodbye to the beautiful island of Naxos.
Enjoy your breakfast before catching your transfer to the airport. You'll first return to Athens, then begin your journey home or onto your next destination.