Dive into the ancient history, culture, and gastronomy of Athens, Crete, and the Peloponnese with this two-week luxury tour that ticks off the classical highlights. Start in the country's capital for private tours of the Acropolis and Athens' modern-day neighborhoods, then fly south to Crete for authentic experiences in idyllic hilltop and lakeside hamlets. Throw in a sunset cruise, private vineyard tours, and 5-star accommodation, and you'll leave feeling refreshed and inspired.


  • Learn to cook Greek specialties at the home of a local cook in Athens
  • Spend a day touring the mythical island of Hydra by horse and water taxi
  • Explore Crete's ancient ruins, vineyards, and fishing villages
  • Learn the art of iconography in the breathtaking setting of Meteora

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Athens, Greek Cooking Class, Cocktails in Plaka Athens
Day 2 Best of Ancient & Modern Athens, Tasting Menu at Aleria Restaurant Athens
Day 3 Boat Trip to Hydra, Explore the Island on Horseback, Beach Leisure Time Athens
Day 4 Fly to Heraklion, Snorkeling & Sunset Dia Island Cruise Heraklion
Day 5 Discover the Secrets of Eastern Crete: Monasteries, Mountains & Villages  Heraklion
Day 6 Day Trip to Santorini, Explore the Island's Villages Heraklion
Day 7 Transfer to Chania, Knossos Palace, Local Villages & Winery Tour Chania
Day 8 Tour Crete's Highlights: Rethymno, Argiroupolis & Kournas Lake Chania
Day 9 Fly to Athens, Tour Mycenae, Highlights of Naplio, Transfer to Olympia Olympia
Day 10 Walk in the Footsteps of Olympians at Ancient Olympia, Transfer to Galaxidi Galaxidi
Day 11 Tour of Galaxidi, Highlights of Delphi & Amfissa, Transfer to Meteora Meteora
Day 12 Explore the Meteora Area, Vineyard Wine Tasting, Meteora Sunset Drive Meteora
Day 13 Discover Meteora's Monasteries, Transfer to Athens Athens
Day 14 Depart Athens  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Athens, Greek Cooking Class, Cocktails in Plaka

Discover Greek cuisine, culture, and hospitality with today's cooking class
Discover Greek cuisine, culture, and hospitality with today's cooking class

Welcome to Athens! With over 5,000 years of history and an eclectic mix of ancient and modern, Greece's buzzy capital acts as an outdoor museum to some of the world's most historic landmarks. Upon arrival at the airport, you'll take a private transfer to your downtown hotel. Your destination is the 5-star COCO-MAT Athens BC, named after the eponymous Greek organic bedding company whose philosophy of upscale, sustainable comfort runs through the hotel. Meanwhile, the location, just behind the Acropolis Museum, gives it one of Athens's best rooftop Acropolis views. 

Check into your deluxe room, furnished in warm and natural tones, and either decompress in the rooftop pool or head down to the spa for a relaxing post-flight treatment before heading out for today's private cooking class. In the company of one of the city's excellent home cooks, you'll spend a leisurely five hours learning how to make famous Greek dishes such as tzatziki, boureki (potatoes, zucchini, cheese, and herbs), and kalitsounia (small sweet or savory pies). With the dishes fresh out of the oven, you'll feast on your creations over a glass or two of excellent Greek wine. 

In the evening, you'll get to grips with one of the capital's oldest and most picturesque neighborhoods, Plaka. Continuously inhabited for thousands of years and with a community that has remained vibrant for centuries, you'll explore the district's old alleyways with an experienced private guide, who'll reveal the area's history. Pass by old tavernas, well-known residences, and the Lysicrates Monument before reaching Anafiotika for a panoramic view of the city. You'll round out your tour at one of Plaka's best-kept secrets for cocktail tasting. 

Day 2: Best of Ancient & Modern Athens, Tasting Menu at Aleria Restaurant

Best of Ancient & Modern Athens
Tour the ruins of the Acropolis and the ancient amphitheater

If yesterday's neighborhood tour gave you a taster of local Athenian life through the ages, today, you'll take a deep dive into the city, both ancient and modern, with an all-day private guided tour. Starting with the mighty Acropolis, you'll discover gems, including the Temple of Athena Nike, dating back to 420 BCE, and the sacred Temple of Erectheion, regarded as one of the world's finest examples of classical architecture. Next is the Ancient Agora, the forum where the city's greatest minds and philosophers would gather to share ideas and socialize.

After a morning in the past, your guide will bring you up to date with the best of modern Athens. Wander the trendy Psyrri district, home to the city's nightlife and known as the "Soho" of Athens. Then, it's off to the bustling stalls of the Monastiraki flea market, where you'll find everything from handmade silver jewelry to antiques and vintage vinyl. Pause for lunch at a traditional taverna in Plaka, then resume your tour and see the city's famous street art, up-and-coming independent design stores, and finally, the bustling Varvakios Market—full of sweet treats for an afternoon sugar hit.

Part ways with your guide and the rest of the afternoon is yours to enjoy the facilities at your hotel, take a massage, or cool off with a dip in the rooftop pool. In the evening, you'll have a dinner reservation at Aleria, where head chef Gikas Xenakis elevates modern Greek cuisine and seasonal Mediterranean produce to create standout dishes such as langoustines with pear and caviar and veal with Jerusalem artichokes and truffle. 

Day 3: Boat Trip to Hydra, Explore the Island on Horseback, Beach Leisure Time

A Dazzling Day Trip to Hydra Island from Athens
The best way to explore the car-free island of Hydra? On four legs...

Step back in time and enjoy a full-day excursion to the island of Hydra. Laden with culture and beautiful architecture, the island has been a favored retreat of artists and singers, including Maria Callas, Leonard Cohen, the Rolling Stones, and Picasso. Your journey begins with a private transfer to the Port of Piraeus, where you'll board a hydrofoil and cruise through the Saronic Gulf to Hydra.

 Step foot on the car-free island, and you'll spend time getting to know the island the local way—on horseback! After your ride through town, you'll return to the harbor and board one of the island's water taxis to Hydra's premier spots on the coast. Plakes Beach's gorgeous stretch of fine pebbles is perfect for sunbathing on one of the loungers or a swim in the crystalline waters. The nearby taverna, located at the water's edge, serves divine seafood with shady spots that make a welcome break from the midday sun. 

After a relaxing few hours beachside, you'll travel back to Hydra Town for a guided walking tour of the labyrinthine side streets. Along the way, you'll pass by a number of well-preserved historic residences and stop in to see the work of local artists at numerous galleries and workshops. Your tour ends at a family-run pastry shop known for its incredible amygdalota (almond meringue cookies) and homemade ice cream. You'll catch the hydrofoil back to Athens in the evening, ready for your last night in the city. 

Day 4: Fly to Heraklion, Snorkeling & Sunset Dia Island Cruise

Sail back to Heraklion as the sun sets over the Med

It's a change of scene today as you swap the ancient ruins of Athens for Crete, the largest of the Greek islands, and a captivating mix of mountainous landscapes and gorges, rich history, vibrant culture, and superb cuisine. After a private transfer and short internal flight, you'll arrive in Heraklion, one of Greece's most important cities awash with medieval and Venetian architecture that offers a glimpse of the city's heritage. Your hotel is the Amirandes Grecotel Boutique Resort, which enjoys a beautiful location at the nearby beach town of Gouves, a short drive away.

Check into your superior room or suite, which offers either sweeping sea views or a private pool. The decor is calm and contemporary, complimented by stone, wood, and marble structures that mimic the surrounding landscape. Service is exemplary. Unwind after your journey with a swim or a treatment in the spa, and later on, continue the relaxed vibe with a private afternoon catamaran cruise to Dia, a nearby uninhabited island steeped in myth and legend.

Drop anchor at the island's bay, and the afternoon is yours to spend swimming, snorkeling, or SUPboarding in the turquoise waters before surfacing in time for a delicious Mediterranean dinner served on deck. Afterward, dive back in for one last swim in the sea or relax with a sundowner, then sail back to Heraklion as the sun sets over the horizon. 

Plan your trip to Greece
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 5: Discover the Secrets of Eastern Crete: Monasteries, Mountains & Villages 

Unwind in your luxurious room or suite after a day's exploring (photo courtesy of Amirandes Grecotel)

Get a local's point of view today as you take an off-the-beaten-path driving tour of eastern Crete. This private experience, curated to your specific interests, takes you along the island's winding roads, passing endless olive groves, ancient Byzantine monasteries, and timeless villages. 

Visit the hanging Byzantine monastery of Kremasta, built on a hill at an altitude of 1,300 feet (397 m). Then, head to the villages of Kritsa and Kroustas, where time has slowed to a standstill and history prevails. Soak up the scent of honey and dough drifting from the local kafenio (cafés) and pause for a tasty pastry or piece of baklava. 

Drive along the forested mountains, stopping along the seaside cliffs for eye-catching panoramas of both the Libyan and Cretan Seas. If you're feeling energetic, take a hike through Sarakinas Gorge, where sheer rock walls rise above rivers and small streams. End the day in the town of Ierapetra, enjoying a refreshing dip in the warm waters of the Libyan Sea. Afterward, return to your hotel in time for dinner and drinks.

Day 6: Day Trip to Santorini, Explore the Island's Villages

Day trip to Santorini
Iconic is the only way to describe Santorini's famous Blue Dome, which you'll see on today's private tour 

The island of Santorini, the southernmost of the Cyclades, is known for its magnificent Caldera, volcanic beaches, and cosmopolitan feel. It's also dotted with colorful picture postcard villages, which you'll see on your private tour of the island. Your trip starts with a private transfer to Heraklion's port, where you'll catch a ferry for the short journey to Santorini. Head first to the island's highest point, Mount Prophet Elias, where you'll be able to take in sweeping views over the volcanic landscape and the sparkling Aegean. 

More panoramic vistas are in store at your next stop—Pyrgos: Santorini's oldest village, perched atop a hill and filled with archetypal whitewashed houses and colorful bougainvillea. After a stroll around some of the hamlet's churches and chapels (you'll find over 72), take a refreshing break with a dip at two of the island's beaches, Red Beach and Black Beach. Refuel with lunch at one of the nearby waterfront tavernas, and your next stop is a visit to Santorini's Blue Dome, a surefire contender for the perfect Greek island photo. 

Finish your tour with a visit to Fira, the island's capital, whose picturesque alleys, beautiful boutiques, and tremendous views make it the perfect place to watch the sun slowly dip over a cocktail or two. In the evening, you'll transfer back to your accommodation in Crete via the ferry and private transfers. 

Day 7: Transfer to Chania, Knossos Palace, Local Villages & Winery Tour

Follow your private guide through the remarkable ruins of Knossos

Spend the morning stepping back into Minoan Crete with a private guided tour of the Palace of Knossos, an incredible archaeological site excavated and restored over 35 years. Explore the maze of frescoed royal chambers, private apartments, and courtyards, home to King Minos and the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur, while your guide shares tales of the rise and fall of Minoan Crete. After a few hours, you'll part ways with your guide and head out on a private tour of northwestern Crete's local villages and wineries.

Start with a 10-minute drive to Skalani, known for its excellent local olive oil and vineyards, including the award-winning Boutari Vineyard. Tour the winery and enjoy a tasting of the acclaimed organic Cretan wines and savor local delicacies, including a selection of charcuteries and cheese. Your village hopping continues with a trip to the Venetian village of Melidoni, where you'll discover its eponymous cave steeped in legend. Your final stop is Argyroupolis, set among a lush green landscape and dotted with freshwater springs, waterfalls, and charming old mills.

Pause for a mouthwatering lunch of traditional Cretan dishes, then continue to your overnight destination, Chania, a bustling harbor town and one of the most scenic spots on the island. Check into your hotel, the delightful Domus Renier Boutique Hotel, replete with 16th-century details, including large chandeliers, high ceilings, and intricate woodwork. Book a suite and enjoy ample space, sea views, and a Jacuzzi—perfect for unwinding after a full day of exploring. 

Day 8: Tour Crete's Highlights: Rethymno, Argiroupolis & Kournas Lake

Take a break from sightseeing with a dip in the tempting waters of Lake Kournas

Spend your last day on Crete visiting the towns and villages around Chania with a private driver and guide. First up on your itinerary is the nearby Venetian town of Rethymno, where you'll follow a scenic trail through the town's narrow streets to see the medieval port, temples, and city highlights. Then, it's off to Argyroupolis, a village built on the ruins of the ancient city of Lappa. It's the perfect spot for a coffee and pastry under the shade of plane trees and surrounded by a lush landscape dotted with freshwater springs, waterfalls, and charming old mills. 

As the afternoon sun takes hold, cool off with a refreshing dip in the beautifully clean, calm waters at Lake Kournas. It's here, surrounded by nature and beautiful views, that you'll enjoy a traditional Cretan lunch and wine tasting, where you'll get to sample several of the island's excellent varietals. 

After a day well spent, there's one last treat in store. Your driver will whisk you back to Chania, where you'll explore the town's Venetian street markets with your guide, indulge in local produce tastings, and perhaps pick up a few souvenirs to take home. Part ways with your guide, and you'll have time to change for dinner before heading out to Chania's popular harbor to dine on fresh seafood and raise a toast to your last night on the island. 

Day 9: Fly to Athens, Tour Mycenae, Highlights of Naplio, Transfer to Olympia

Head down to Nafplio's harbor to see the town's famous Venetian fortress

Be sure to walk around Chania's beautiful Venetian Harbor this morning before your driver transfers you to the airport for your flight back to Athens. Today marks the start of your grand tour of classical mainland Greece, and you'll kick things off with a private trip to the fabled Homeric city of Mycenae. Follow in the footsteps of King Agamemnon as you step through the Lion Gate to explore the ruined citadel while your guide reveals the site's history. Afterward, you'll transfer to the coast and the seaside town of Nafplio, filled with Ottoman fountains and a splendid Venetian fortress. 

Pause for lunch at one of the town's renowned tavernas, and after a stroll along the seafront, you'll visit several craft workshops to see how traditional weaving and pottery techniques are still in use today. Finish your stroll in Nafplio with a visit to a local zaharoplastio (pastry shop), where the mouthwatering almond pastries are made to a centuries-old recipe. As you continue your journey toward Olympia, you'll stop at a picturesque honey farm where you'll discover the secrets of Greek honey and sample traditional diples (a honey dessert) under the shade of olive trees. 

Sit back and relax as your driver continues the 2.5-hour drive to Olympia, the modern city that's a stone's throw from the ancient archaeological site. Your accommodation for the night is the Olympion Asty Hotel, a bright and spacious complex nestled on the hillside of Olympia's beautiful forest. Check into your superior double or junior suite, then unwind with a dip in the pool or enjoy views of the valley with a sundowner on the terrace. You'll dine at the hotel's exemplary on-site restaurant with carefully chosen wines from the cellar.

Day 10: Walk in the Footsteps of Olympians at Ancient Olympia, Transfer to Galaxidi

Discover the archaeological site where ancient Greeks competed, at the home of the Olympic Games 

This morning belongs to the Archaeological Site of Ancient Olympia, classical Greece's most important athletic, religious, and political center. On a private guided tour, you'll discover the original stadium and birthplace of the Olympic Games as you tour the ruins amid countryside filled with wild olive and plane trees. Explore the grand temples and Sanctuary of Olympian Zeus, then visit the nearby Archaeological Museum of Olympia, which has treasures that include a splendid statue of Hermes and the infant Dionysus by Praxiteles. 

In the afternoon, you'll delve deeper into the area's natural beauty with a relaxed guided walk through a nearby gorge. You're headed for a scenic spot on the banks of two impressive waterfalls (perfect for an afternoon dip), where lunch— a delicious feast of home-cooked dishes from the local village, will be served picnic-style. In the afternoon, your driver will transfer you northeast to Galaxadi, a charming seaside spot where you'll overnight. 

Your hotel tonight is the lovingly restored Ganimede Hotel, a former 19th-century Arhontiko mansion and captain's house, situated a five-minute walk from the neoclassical buildings and bustling cafés of Galaxidi's colorful waterfront. Relax in your elegantly decorated room or suite, furnished with antique furnishings and sumptuous bronze beds. When you're ready, head out for a stroll and see sights, including the St. Nikolas Church, Maritime Museum of Galaxidi, and Kalafátis Beach.

Day 11: Tour of Galaxidi, Highlights of Delphi & Amfissa, Transfer to Meteora

Visit the ruins of ancient Delphi, home to the sacred oracle of the ancient Gods

Spend a relaxed morning exploring Galaxidi with your private guide and learn how this once-thriving port town was home to some of the most powerful seafaring families in the Mediterranean. Then, it's off to Delphi, whose fascinating ruins were once home to the priestesses of Apollo and the sacred oracle of the ancient Gods. Tour the ruins, whose highlights include the Treasury of the Athenians and the Temple of Apollo, then soak up the views of the Corinthian Gulf before visiting the Delphi Museum. Don't miss the exhibition highlight—the bronze statue of the Charioteer of Delphi

Your next stop is the regional capital of Amfissa, where you'll visit the workshop of one of Greece's last handmade bellmakers and stroll through the cobbled streets of the old leather-taking district. After working up an appetite, you'll lunch under the shade of a large plane tree in the picturesque town square, dining on home-cooked delicacies, local cheeses, and Amfissa olives. Afterward, you'll head north with your driver across the mainland toward Meteora.

Your hotel for the next two nights is the Ananti City Resort, situated atop a hill with sweeping views over the Thessalian plain and the bustling city of Trikala. Rooms are bright and modern, while suites are spacious and stylish with thoughtful additions such as an espresso maker and hydromassage shower cabins for two. Check in and you have the rest of the day to explore the hotel's facilities. Treat yourself to a massage in the on-site spa, take a dip in the infinity pool overlooking Trikala, or head to the rooftop restaurant and bar for an excellent meal with a view. 

Day 12: Explore the Meteora Area, Vineyard Wine Tasting, Meteora Sunset Drive

The Millenia Tour: Meteora Day 4
Sit awhile and commit to memory Meteora's astonishing scenery

Today, you'll discover the magnificent scenery surrounding Meteora in the Aspropotamos (White River) region. Start with a private guided tour, where you'll head to a local traditional village for a second breakfast of local Greek yogurt made with homemade preserves and the perfect Greek coffee. You'll spend the rest of the morning touring the mountainous terrain, deep gorges, and dense forests dotted with Byzantine churches, old stone bridges, and medieval castles to explore.

The region is also known for its vineyards, and in the foothills of Meteora, you'll find a locally family-run winery. Spend a relaxed couple of hours touring the vineyard and learning about Greek viticulture. Afterward, enjoy tasting the estate's varietals accompanied by small plates of cold cuts and local cheeses. You'll get a chance to savor another glass or two of the local wine at a nearby village taverna, entirely off the beaten path, where you'll feast on regional specialties such as wild mountain greens and juicy lamb ribs.

Later on, as golden hour sets in, you'll embark on an enchanting sunset tour of the Meteora Rocks, with plenty of Insta-worthy photo opportunities as the sun sets behind the mountains. Return to your hotel, and the rest of the evening is yours to spend at leisure. 

Day 13: Discover Meteora's Monasteries, Transfer to Athens

Discover Meteora's Monasteries
Meteora's monasteries are renowned for their intricate iconography

Meteora's towering sandstone columns, formed over millions of years, have been the remote dwelling places of Christian Orthodox monks since the 11th century, with large monastic communities flourishing on the vast pillars since the 14th century. Today, you'll visit two of the six remaining monasteries on a private guided tour. Immerse yourself in the spiritual atmosphere and visit the ecclesiastical displays, home to a variety of religious artifacts, including ancient manuscripts, liturgical objects, and rare printed books.

The views here are truly remarkable, and after a wander around the site, you'll take a scenic drive down to Kalambaka for lunch at a nearby taverna. Afterward, you'll visit the workshop of a local icon painter whose family has painted the Meteora monasteries iconography for generations. You'll get the opportunity to try out icon painting yourself and customize your own orthodox icon to take home as a keepsake. Your last stop is a tiny book museum where you'll meet the owner and learn about the Greek classrooms of the past while trying your hand at Greek handwriting.

It's a four-hour drive back to Athens, so sit back and enjoy the views as your driver transfers you back to the capital and your hotel, the 5-star Electra Metropolis. Centrally located just a few blocks from Syntagma Square, the hotel's chic and contemporary interior is light and airy, with plush, elegant bedrooms. As night falls, head out to a neighborhood taverna or enjoy dinner at the hotel's restaurant with panoramic views of the Acropolis.

Day 14: Depart Athens

Savor one last view of the Acropolis over breakfast (photo courtesy of the Electra Metropolis Athens Hotel)
It's time to say goodbye to Greece. Take one last dip in the rooftop pool or relax with a coffee and soak up the sights of the Parthenon from the terrace. At the designated time, you'll take a private transfer to the airport in time for your flight home or onward journey. Safe travels!

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Map of Luxury Journey Through Ancient Greece: Athens, Crete & Peloponnese - 14 Days
Map of Luxury Journey Through Ancient Greece: Athens, Crete & Peloponnese - 14 Days