DAY 1: Thursday, October 6, 2022 DEPARTURE
Departure from the US for overnight flight to Athens. Connect to flight to Heraklion, Crete (one way only; return to Athens is via ferry). Airfare is not included but Celestial Voyagers can help you get the best airfare and schedule.
DAY 2: Friday, October 7 WELCOME TO CRETE! ENAGRON, AXOS | Meals D | Hotel Enagron Eco-Village
Arriving in Athens you go through customs and immigration, get your luggage and check-in for your connecting flight to Heraklion, Crete (connection flight is not included).
Greetings and assistance on arrival. Meet your tour guide outside the custom area; he or she will travel with you throughout the tour.
Transfer to the small village of Axos and check-in for two nights at Enagron eco-farm hotel. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the scenery, among the Cretan mountains.
Relax and learn with the cook how the bread and the cheese served at the restaurant are made.
Enjoy a drink of local raki made from twice distilled grapes as you taste the bread and the cheese. Join your travel companions for a welcome dinner at Enagron’s restaurant where the food is prepared from ingredients grown right on the farm (drinks not included).
DAY 3: Saturday, October 8 , VENETIAN CRETE: RETHYMNON & CHANIA | B L | Hotel: Enagron Eco-Village
Your guide will take you to Rethymnon for a two hour guided walking tour including a visit to an artisan baker who is still hand stretching phyllo, the ancient way, on huge tables.
En route to Chania we will stop at the Manousakis Winery and enjoy wine tasting and lunch.
Then, as we walk around the city of Chania with our guide, we will visit the beautifully-restored historic Etz-Chaim Synagogue; we will also make a stop at a unique store, where, since 1938, they are forging Cretan knives using traditional ancient techniques.
We return to Enagron in time for dinner on your own.
DAY 4: Sunday, October 9, LOCAL HERBS & CERAMICS | B D | Hotel Capsis Heraklion
Before leaving Enagron we will have a botanical walk on the grounds of this Eco-Hotel, to learn about the uses and legends of local herbs and trees.
We’ll have a short stop in Axos to see the loom and the traditional weaving technique used in the past in many homes.
We’ll continue to the village of Margarites famed for its ceramics and have some free time for lunch after visiting a local potter and before driving to Heraklion.
Check-in for two nights at our hotel and free time for a rest before going to dinner at PESKESI (drinks not included).
DAY 5: Monday, October 10, HERAKLION, CRETE: MINOAN CIVILIZATION | B L D | Hotel Capsis Heraklion
Departure for Cnossos, just a few miles away, for a guided tour of the MInoan Capital of Crete and a visit to the Palace of KIng Minos.
Proceed to Archanes, a charming small village where you will enjoy the lunch that you will prepare under the direction of a local chef
As we return to Heraklion, it will be time to have a guided walking tour of the old town and a visit to the splendid Archeological Museum.
Return to the hotel, rest of the day at leisure. Dinner on your own.
After lunch, visit the Archeological Museum of Heraklion which houses the discoveries made in Crete related to the Minoan civilization. Continue with a guided walking tour of Heraklion followed by free time to explore.
Dinner will be at Peskesi (www.peskesi crete.gr), a restaurant in Heraklion specializing in Cretan cuisine with ingredients from their own farm.
Stroll back to your nearby hotel for an overnight stay.
DAY 6: Tuesday, October 11, SANTORINI: PREHISTORIC CIVILIZATION | B L | Hotel El Greco Resort 4*, Fira
In the morning, transfer to the port of Heraklion for departure by ferry to Santorini, a 2-hour boat ride through the azure waters of the Aegean Sea. (Ferry schedule subject to change)
On arrival, visit the archeological site of Akrotiri, to explore the ruins followed by a visit to the Prehistoric Museum. Learn about the amazing discoveries of the ancient Minoan city before the eruption of Santorini’s volcano about 3,600 years ago including four-story houses, frescoes and pottery.
Lunch at a local tavern on the water to sample the cuisine and flavors of Santorini.
The last stop will be in the hillside village of Oia overlooking Santorini’s caldera, formed when the volcano erupted. There we will stroll the streets filled with stylish boutiques, hotels, and eateries and gaze upon the world’s most famous sunset.
After check-in to El Greco Resort Hotel for two nights, enjoy dinner on your own at the hotel or at a local restaurant in nearby Fira, a 10 minute walk.
DAY 7: Wednesday, October 12, THE REAL SANTORINI | Meals: B L | Hotel: El Greco Resort 4*
Today we have a 6-hour tour exploring the “real” Santorini which will give you the magical and authentic feeling of the island. The first stop is the old village of Megalochori where a walk through the narrow streets will bring you back in time.
At the next stop, learn about and sample the island’s unique wine at a family canava (winery).
Then, learn with Maria in her own kitchen about seasonal products in the field and how to cook local dishes. At lunch, enjoy the dishes you have created accompanied by a tasting of local wines set amidst the splendid colors of the countryside. Receive a certificate of attendance along with the recipes so you can recreate the marvelous flavors of Santorini at home.
Return to the hotel for a free evening and dinner or a snack on your own.
DAY 8: Thursday, October 13, RELAX IN SANTORINI & TRAVEL TO NAXOS | Meals: B D | Hotel: XENIA 3* Naxos Town
Take advantage of a morning at leisure to relax by one of El Greco’s five outdoor and one indoor pools, arrange for a spa treatment, or browse among the many boutiques along the streets of nearby Fira.
Free time for lunch on your own perhaps enjoying some ultra-fresh grilled octopus.
In the afternoon, take the ferry to Naxos.
Dinner will be at a typical local taverna with the evening at leisure to discover the area and the capital of Naxos.
Check-in to the centrally-located HOTEL XENIA, a local favorite, for two nights.
DAY 9: Friday, October 14, NAXOS: ISLAND CULINARY EXPERIENCE | Meals: B L | Hotel: XENIA, 3* Naxos Town
Depart from your hotel for an innovative gastronomic tour that incorporates Naxian history, culture and cuisine and a cooking class taught by local chefs for a unique and unforgettable experience. Experience the joy and richness of all Naxos has to offer at a delicious and leisurely lunch featuring local specialties prepared with ingredients from their own gardens, flocks (milk and meat), and bakery.
After lunch, we continue with our guided walking tour of Naxos, a chance to get to know its charm, sights, flavors, and warm and hospitable inhabitants.
Return at your hotel in Naxos city center to explore and find your own favorite taverna or restaurant for dinner.
DAY 10: Saturday, October 15, FERRY TO ATHENS & PANORAMIC CITY TOUR | Meals: B D | Fresh Hotel 4*
Morning departure from the pier to take the ferry for Athens, a ride of about 71/2 hours across the waters. Lunch is on your own on board the ferry.
Arrival in the afternoon and transfer to your hotel with a guided orientation tour of the Greek capital on the way.
Check-in at the FRESH HOTEL for 2 nights. This modern 4* hotel has a rooftop bar with views of the Acropolis and is located in the city center close to the spice market. (https://freshhotel.gr/)
Dinner will be at a nearby taverna.
DAY 11: Sunday, October 16, EXPLORE ATHENS: HISTORY & MARKETS 4* Hotel Fresh
Morning sightseeing of Athens highlights with a walking tour of the Parthenon and the Acropolis.
Visit the New Archaeological Museum with its outstanding collection of Greek antiquities, a must-see in Athens.
Visit to the Spice Market to experience its sights and aromas.
Free time in the afternoon to relax, stroll the neighborhood and dress for our last night.
Farewell dinner at VAROULKO www.varoulko.gr), a Michelin-starred restaurant on the waterfront in Piraeus, which specializes in seafood fresh from local waters. Subject to his schedule, meet and greet Chef Lazarou (chef and owner of the restaurant for many years.)
DAY 12: Monday, October 17, 2022 FAREWELL TO ATHENS | B |
Breakfast at your hotel and check out. Transfer to Athens International airport for your departure Flight back to the US (or extend your stay in Athens–we can help).
• Ten night’s accommodation, double occupancy
• Daily breakfast at the hotels
• Five dinners at local restaurants
• Five lunches at tavernas and as part of the cooking classes
• Bottled water on coach and with meals
• Coffee and tea with meals
• Expert commentary, culinary advice and background by Chef Aliza Green
• All culinary activities and excursions in the program.
• Three cooking classes (Crete, Santorini and Naos) and wine tasting (Naxos)
• English-speaking assistance for airport arrival and departure and port transfers
• Professional English-speaking local guide for the visits in the program
• All entrance fees to museums and archeological sites
• All ferry boat tickets according to the program
• Luxury, private coach for transfers and excursions
• Daily city tax at the hotels
• VAT and Local taxes, as per tax system valid in 2022, subject to modification
Services Not Included
• Single room supplement ($975)
• International flights between US and Greece and connecting flight to Crete (one way)
• Beverages (except bottled water, coffee and tea) for lunches and dinners
• Alcoholic beverages for lunches and dinners
• Meals not mentioned in the program
• Gratuities to guides and drivers (we will help with suggested amounts)
• Trip cancellation and travel insurance (travel insurance is highly recommended)
• Passport and visa fees as needed (Note: if you are not a US citizen a visa may be necessary; a green card is compulsory.)