DAY 1: Friday, October 2, 2020, DEPARTURE
Departure from the US for the Island of Crete. Overnight flight to Athens with a connection to Heraklion, Crete. Airfare is not included but Celestial Voyagers can provide service to get the best airfare and schedule.
DAY 2: Saturday, October 3, 2020, ARRIVAL HERAKLION, Crete (D)
Continue with your flight to Heraklion airport in the island of Crete.
Assistance and transfer to the village of Axos (30 miles, approximately 1h 1/4 drive).
On arrival check in for 3 nights in the traditional village of ENAGRON, located at an altitude of approximately 1600 feet, near gorges and caves and just above the springs of Mylopotamos, the river that gave its name to the region. Accommodation is this eco-hotel is in a series of apartments beautifully set in a natural environment, each with a veranda with a view towards the mountains and gorges of the area.
Free time for lunch. In the afternoon, join a short guided hike across the vegetation of Enagron, walking through a network of botanic paths all linked to the economy, mythology, religions and medicine from ancient times till today.
You will see, touch, smell and even taste different species of plants that surround Enagron.
Meet your travel companions at a welcome dinner and drink at Enagron’s restaurant.
DAY 3: Sunday, October 4, 2020, AXOS, Crete (B, L, D)
Discover the Cretan gastronomy:
11h00-13h00: After breakfast we will participate in a Cretan culinary workshop with an introduction to seasonal cooking and local gastronomy. Through simple practical techniques, we will learn how to prepare several dishes of the traditional Cretan diet, one of the world’s best known examples of healthy nutritional models.
Lunch will be served during the workshop
After lunch we continue with the visit around the farm, the gardens, the vineyard, the orchard, the stable at Enagron where they cultivate olives, grapes, fruits and vegetables without the use of any pesticides or fertilizers resulting in the authentic flavor and ultimate quality of the products. The same applies to milk and eggs produced in the farm.
17h00-18h00: In the afternoon, you will learn how to make traditional bread and cheese:
Enagron’s cook, Stavroula, will take us on a journey into the past when every woman used to make the daily family bread in her home. First, she will show us how to knead and shape the bread and then how to bake our homemade bread in the wood oven with its inimitable flavor. Then, when the farm shepherd’s sheep produce fresh milk, Stavroula will shows us how to make our own local cheese, unique in that it can be enjoyed while hot and fresh .
Dinner at Enagron will be created from the dishes cooked in the workshop and the wood-oven fired bread.
DAY 4: Monday, October 5, 2020, AXOS, Crete (B, L, D)
Bucolic excursion to the Shepherd’s House
09h 00: Departure for an excursion in the wild nature of Cretan mountains. We hike up (1h ½ easy walk) on a path which leads up to the mountain into beautiful scenery, where Panousis, the Shepherd, keeps his herd next to the mitato (bucolic haze stone building). We will enjoy a view of the mountains and the coast of Rethymnon in the midst of this magnificent landscape.
13h30: Back at the mitato, we will enjoy a simple lunch prepared by the shepherd’s wife, Aphrodite cooked in the fireplace and relax until we set out to hike back to Axos.
In the afternoon we visit the city of Rethymno (30 miles, 1h00’) with a guided visit in this seductive city, which has a great charm and beautifully-preserved historic districts. Venetian and Turkish architecture can be recognized in the minarets and mansions of the old city.
Dinner at a local taverna in Rethymno and return to the hotel.
DAY 5: Tuesday, October 6, 2020, SANTORINI (B, L)
Ferry Crete to Santorini Akrotiri, Pyrgos & Oia
Transfer from your hotel to the port of Heraklion for departure by ferry boat to the island of Santorini.
08h40: Departure of the ferry (schedule subject to change)
10h25: Arrival in Santorini
On arrival, visit the archeological site of Akrotiri, to explore the ruins of the site and the Prehistoric Museum of the island (3 hours).You will have the opportunity to experience some of the amazing discoveries of the ancient city, before the Minoan eruption of the Santorini volcano, about 3,600 years ago where we find houses, frescoes and even pottery.
Lunch at a local tavern to sample the local cuisine and flavors.
The next stop is the village of PYRGOS for a 30 minute tour of the famous Venetian castle. The last stop will be in the traditional village of OIA, where we will stroll the streets of the village and gaze upon the world’s most famous sunset.
After the sunset transfer to your hotel. Arrival at HOTEL EL GRECO 4*. Check in for 2 nights.
Dinner on your own at the hotel or at a nearby local restaurant.
DAY 6: Wednesday, October 7, 2020, SANTORINI (B, L)
Guided walking tour ending at 10:30 AM at “Les Halles de Bacalan”, a new-style food hall where you will meet your guide, Chef Frederic Coiffe, taste local products and enjoy a friendly lunch. The “Cite du Vin” is across the street. Oenophiles and amateurs tasters will enjoy this new institution and its unique architecture.
You will move around by tramway like a true Bordelais! The ride follows the river and takes just a few minutes to return to the center of town.
Evening at leisure.
DAY 7: Thursday, October 8, 2020, SANTORINI (B, L)
Wine tasting & cooking class tour of Santorini
Departure from you hotel for a unique experience, a 6-hour tour to explore the “real” Santorini,a magical and authentic feeling of the island.
The first stop is the traditional village of Megalochori where you can experience Santorini’s past. A walk the narrow streets of the village will bring you back in time.
Next stop, a winery, will be your first encounter with the unique local wine of the island at a family canava (winery). Afterwards, learn about seasonal products in the field, and have the exceptional experience of cooking local dishes in the kitchen of Mrs. Maria, eating the dishes you have created along with a wine tasting while enjoying the splendid colors of the countryside.
Sample menu for the cooking class
• Tzatziki (yoghurt, cucumber, garlic and herbs)
• Santorini Fava (beans boiled with onion)
• Santorini tomato balls (fried batter with tomato pieces, onion and herbs).
• Santorinian salad (tomatini, Santorini cucumber, chili, Santorini cheese, Santorini capers, onion, olives)
• Santorini aubergine stuffed with feta cheese, garlic and basil or kleftiko (meat with seasoned vegetables, wrapped in grape leaves and baked).
• Dessert of local yoghurt with spoon sweets
At the end of the class, receive your certificate of attendance along with the recipes so you can recreate the marvelous flavors of Santorini back home.
Return to the hotel. Evening and dinner on your own.
DAY 8: Friday, October 9, 2020, NAXOS (B, D)
Thirassia island & volcano in the morning
After breakfast transfer to Athinios Port and embarkation on a ‘Caique’ (wooden boat) for a cruise to the volcano, walk to the crater and visit of Thirassia Island escorted by your guide.
Free time for lunch on your own before returning on the ferry.
Ferry to Naxos in the afternoon
15h30-17h30: Ferry Santorini – Naxos (itinerary 2019 – schedule subject to change)
Arrival in the port of Naxos and transfer to your hotel
Check in at 3-star HOTEL XENIA for 2 nights in this hotel which is nicely located in the town center.
Remainder of the day at leisure to discover the area and the capital of Naxos.
DAY 9: Saturday, October 10, 2020, NAXOS (B, L)
Naxos culinary experience
Departure from your hotel for a full-day tour with a delicious and leisurely lunch at a traditional mountain village tavern, featuring local specialties prepared with ingredients from their own garden, flocks (milk and meat), and bakery. This innovative gastronomy tour incorporates Naxian history, culture and cuisine. You will experience the joy and richness of all Naxos has to offer. Taught by local chefs, the cooking class will be a unique and unforgettable experience.
Lunch will be served during the cooking class.
After lunch, we will have a guided walking tour of the island so you can get to know all its charm, sights, flavors and its warm and hospitable inhabitants.
Return at your hotel in Naxos city center, where you will have the opportunity to discover and find great taverns or restaurants for dinner on your own.
DAY 10: Sunday, October 11, 2020, ATHENS (B, D)
Departure to the port of Naxos to take the Ferry for Athens
09h30 -15h00: Naxos – Piraeus (itinerary 2019)
Lunch on your own, on board the ferry
15h00: Arrival in the port of Piraeus and transfer to your hotel.
En route, panoramic tour of Athens: passing by the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Hadrian’s Arch, the National Garden, the Parliament, the Presidential Palace with its Evzones and the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, we arrive at the Panathenaic Stadium where the 1st modern Olympic Games took place (15’ stop). Then we proceed, passing the Academy, the University, the National Library, Omonia Square, the Place of Constitution.
This tour offers an insightful resume into the multiple cultural flavors of Athens, through a variety of attractions that range from classical ancient monuments, such as the Acropolis, to Byzantine structures and Modern Greek Monuments.
Check in for 2 nights at PALLAS ATHENA GRECOTEL, a 4 star boutique hotel (or similar).
Dinner at a local tavern in the city center TO AVGO TOU KOKORA. Van transfer is included.
DAY 11: Monday, October 12, 2020, ATHENS (B, D)
Departure by bus, accompanied by your local guide for the Acropolis and its Museum.Before reaching the Acropolis we will walk to the flea market in the center of the city (2’ min walk from the hotel) to discover the traditional Greek spices and herbs that are a main ingredient in the local gastronomy. Also the Varvakeion agora with its endless choices of fish and meat, enriching your culinary experience
Then we depart by bus for the visit of the Propylaea, the Temple of Athena ‘the victorious’, Parthenon and Erechtheon.
We continue with a visit to the New Acropolis Museum which houses objects from monuments and excavations on the Acropolis: bas-reliefs, statues and ceramics from prehistory to late antiquity.
Free time for lunch in the area of Plaka, the old district of Athens. After lunch we will continue with a walk in the historical city center passing by the ancient Agora, the Stoa of Attalos, the temple of Hephaestus, the flea market of Monastiraki and the picturesque district of Plaka. Guided walk at Plaka, the old quarter of the city with the famous narrow tangled streets, low houses, Byzantine churches, taverns, steep terraces and many popular galleries.
Leisure time in the afternoon and return to the hotel.
Departure in the evening to the south of Athens and the small port of Mikrolimano.
Dinner at VAROULKO and subject to his schedule, meet and greet with Chef Lazarou (chef & owner of the restaurant) for many years. Return to your hotel in the city center.
DAY 12: Tuesday, October 13, 2020, RETURN (B)
Breakfast at your hotel and check out. Transfer to Athens International airport for your departure flight back to the US.
Itinerary is subject to possible changes or adjustments due to weather and traffic conditions or other unpredictable events.
• Breakfast daily at the hotels.
• Welcome dinner (drinks not included) at ENAGRON’s restaurant on arrival.
• 5 Dinners (drinks not included) at local restaurants
• 5 Lunches (drinks not included) during the culinary activities
• 2 lunches (drinks not included) at local taverns on day 1 and 5.
• A Professional English speaking local Guide for the visits according to this program.
• Expert commentary, culinary advice and background by Chef Aliza Green
• Culinary activities and excursions according to this program.
• Wine tasting and cooking classes according to the program.
• English speaking hostess for assistance on arrival, and departure, on the transfers from and to the ports and airports.
• Entrance fees to museums and archeological sites according to this itinerary
• All ferry boat tickets according to the program
• Funicular and the caïque boat ticket for the visit at the Santorini volcano.
• Luxury, private coach for the transfers and excursions
• Daily city tax at the hotels
• VAT and Local taxes, as per tax system valid in 2019, subject to modification.
Services Not Included
• International flights between Greece and the US
• Arrival flight from Athens to Heraklion
• Beverages during the lunches and dinners.
• Meals which are not mentioned in the program
• Gratuities to guides and drivers
• Optional trip cancellation and travel insurance
• Passport and visa fees: If you are not a US citizen a visa may be necessary ; a green card is compulsory. All passports must expire after April 13, 2021
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