DAY 1: Friday, October 6, 2023 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: Saturday, 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 hotel's cook how to make the bread and the cheese served at the restaurant.
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: Sunday, 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: Monday, October 9, LOCAL HERBS & CERAMICS | B D | Hotel in Heraklion TBD
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: Tuesday, October 10, GNOSSOS, MINOAN CIVILIZATION | B L | Hotel in Heraklion TBD
Departure for Gnossos, 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 directive 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 in the center of busy Heraklion.
DAY 7: Wednesday, October 11, THE REAL SANTORINI | Meals: B L | Hotel Rosebay
Transfer to the pier on Heraklion harbor to board the ferry which in two hours will take you to Santorini. On arrival you will go to the archaeological and prehistoric sites from where you will learn the history of the island as you visit the Prehistoric Museum and Akrotiri archeological site.
Lunch at a local tavern (drinks not included), then go and check-in at Hotel Rosebay for 2 nights After a short rest get back in the van for a short drive to Oia to see the famous and most beautiful sunset in the world. Return to the hotel for dinner on your own, either at the hotel or in nearby Fira.
DAY 8: Thursday, October 12, EXPLORE AND COOK IN SANTORINI | Meals: B L | Hotel Rosebay
Mid morning departure to go and meet Maria at her home. In her cellar and her kitchen you will learn about life in Santorini and the special recipes of the island that you will prepare and taste for lunch.
Afterwards, a digestive promenade in the typical villages of Megalpori and Pyrgos will allow you to take fantastic photos.
Before returning to the hotel we will make a last stop to taste the delicious Santorini wines from a place where the view of the caldera is stunning.
Evening at leisure for dinner on your own either at the hotel or in the town of Kamari, near the hotel.
DAY 9: Friday, October 13, SANTORINI TO NAXOS | Meals: B D | Hotel XENIA, 3* Naxos Town
Morning at leisure in Santorini to sunbathe at the pool or at the beach, then have lunch before we leave to take the ferry to Naxos.
Short transfer on arrival to reach the Hotel Xenia where we’ll stay for 2 nights
Tonight, we’ll have dinner at a small taverna beloved by the locals in Naxos town (drinks not included.
Return at your hotel in Naxos city center to explore and find your own favorite taverna or restaurant for dinner.
DAY 10: Saturday, October 14, EXPLORE & COOK ON NAXOS | Meals: B L | HOTEL XENIA, NAXOS
We will drive through the island of Naxos to a local farm where they raise goats and sheep for their milk to make some delicious cheese. As the farmer takes care of the animals, his wife, Maria will show us how to prepare the specialities of the Naxos cuisine, in the kitchen and on the barbecue. Their wine will be part of the festivities.
En route back to Naxos we’ll stop at a potter, before having a walking city tour through the small streets of the capital.
Evening at leisure with dinner on your own with plenty of choices along the Naxos town waterfront.
DAY 11: Sunday, October 15, FERRY TO ATHENS, ORIENTATION TOUR | Meals: B D | 4* FRESH HOTEL
Transfer to the Naxos pier to take the ferry which will take us to Piraeus, the port of Athens. The crossing lasts 7½ hours and lunch will be on board, on your own.
Upon arrival in the afternoon our transfer to the hotel will be combined with a guided orientation city tour of Athens. Check-in at the FRESH HOTEL for 2 nights and shortly after we will have dinner at a traditional tavern nearby.
DAY 12: Monday, October 16 ATHENS TOUR & MARKETS | B D | Meals: B D | 4* FRESH HOTEL
After breakfast transfer by van to the Acropolis and walking tour of the Parthenon followed by a visit to New Archaeological Museum.
Free time for lunch on your own.
Walk back to the hotel via the Plaka and the Spice Market.
Rest up and transfer to VAROULKO RESTAURANT, one of the best seafood restaurants in Athens. www.varoulko.gr
Gala farewell dinner on the waterfront. Dinner prepared by famous owner, Chef Lazarou.
DAY 12: Tuesday, October 17 FAREWELL TO GREECE! | Meal: B |
Breakfast and then check-out of hotel.
Group transfer to Athens International airport for group departure
Other private transfers can be arranged but are not included
Flight back to the USA.
• 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 (Santorini)
• 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 2023, subject to modification
Services Not Included
• Single room supplement TBD
• 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.)