DAY 1: Friday, October 22, 2021, DEPARTURE
Departure from the US for the Island of Crete. Overnight flight to Athens. Connect to flight to Heraklion, Crete. Airfare is not included but Celestial Voyagers can provide service to get the best airfare and schedule.
DAY 2: Saturday, October 23, 2021 AXOS, CRETE: WELCOME TO CRETE! | Meals: D | Hotel: Enagron Eco-Hotel
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 including more then 40 types of herbs used from ancient times until today for food, medicine, and self-care.
You will see, touch, smell and taste different species of plants that surround Enagron.
Join your travel companions for a drink followed by a welcome dinner at Enagron’s restaurant.
DAY 3: Sunday, October 24, 2021 AXOS, CRETE: DISCOVER CRETAN GASTRONOMY | Meals: B L D | Hotel: Enagron Eco-Hotel
Discover the Cretan gastronomy:
After breakfast, take part in a Cretan culinary workshop to discover its seasonal cooking and gastronomic culture. Learn simple techniques to prepare iconic dishes of the Cretan diet. During the workshop, enjoy a simple Cretan lunch.
In the afternoon, visit Enagron’s farm, gardens, vineyard, orchard, and stable where they cultivate olives, grapes, fruits and vegetables without pesticides or fertilizers yielding sun-ripened produce with deep flavor and superior quality. Milk and eggs are produced on the farm with the same care.
Next, make traditional bread with Enagron’s cook, Stavroula, and bake it in the wood oven. If the sheep are producing milk, she will show us how to make a unique cheese eaten while hot and fresh.
Savor the dishes that you have prepared at dinner, accompanied by that crusty wood-oven fired bread.
DAY 4: Monday, October 25, 2021 AXOS, CRETE: CRETAN MOUNTAINS & RETHYMNO | Meals: B L D | Hotel: Enagron Eco-Hotel
Ride by jeep up into the mountains where the shepherd, Panousis, keeps his herd next to his mitato, the small stone hut which provides shelter and a place to make cheese. View the magnificent landscape of Cretan mountains and the Rethymnon coast.
Back at the mitato, enjoy a simple lunch cooked in the fireplace by Aphrodite, wife of Panousis, and relax. In the afternoon, either hike back or ride by jeep.
Later, visit the city of Rethymno (1 hour drive) with a guided walking tour of this charming and seductive city. Spot Venetian and Turkish architecture in the minarets and mansions of beautifully-preserved historic district.
Dine at a local taverna in Rethymno and return to the hotel.
DAY 5: Tuesday, October 26, 2021 HERAKLION, CRETE: MINOAN CIVILIZATION | Meals: B L D | Hotel Capsis Astoria 4*, Heraklion (or similar)
Departure towards Heraklion and Knossos, the capital of Crete in the Minoan era. Visit the famed Palace of King Minos. Today, Knossos is the largest archeological site known to humanity, remarkable among the civilizations of archaic Europe.
Prepare lunch with a local chef at Anabello’s Tavern in the village of Archanes.
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: Wednesday, October 27, 2021 SANTORINI: PREHISTORIC CIVILIZATION | Meals: B L | Hotel: EL GRECO 4* (or similar)
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.
On arrival, visit the archeological site of Akrotiri, to explore the ruins and the Prehistoric Museum. Learn about the amazing discoveries of the ancient city before the Minoan eruption of Santorini’s volcano about 3,600 years ago including houses, frescoes and pottery.
Lunch at a local tavern to sample the cuisine and flavors of Santorini.
The next stop is the village of Pyrgos for a tour of the famous Venetian castle. The last stop will be in the village of Oia, where we will stroll the streets and gaze upon the world’s most famous sunset.
After check-in to your hotel (Hotel El Greco 4* or similar) for two nights, enjoy dinner on your own at the hotel or at a nearby local restaurant.
DAY 7: Thursday, October 28, 2021 THE REAL SANTORINI | Meals: B L | Hotel: EL GRECO 4 (or similar)
A 6-hour tour exploring the “real” Santorini will give you the magical and authentic feeling of the island.
The first stop is the 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 about seasonal products in the field and cook local dishes in Mrs. Maria’s kitchen. At lunch, eat the dishes you have created accompanied by a tasting of those local wines amidst the splendid colors of the countryside. Typical dishes include yogurt-cucumber tzatziki, Santorini fried tomato & herb balls, stuffed eggplant with feta, and kleftiko meat-filled grape leaves.
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: Friday, October 29, 2021 NAXOS: THIRASSIA ISLAND VOLCANO BY CAIQUE | Meals: B D | Hotel: XENIA 3* in town center (or similar)
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 perhaps enjoying some ultra-fresh grilled octopus. In the afternoon, return by ferry to Naxos. Dinner will be at a local taverna with the evening at leisure to discover the area and the capital of Naxos.
DAY 9: Saturday, October 30, 2021 NAXOS: ISLAND CULINARY EXPERIENCE | Meals: B L | Hotel: XENIA, 3 in town center (or similar)
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: Sunday, October 31, 2021 FERRY TO ATHENS & PANORAMIC CITY TOUR | Meals: B D | PALLAS ATHENA GRECOTEL, 4 (or similar)
Depart to the Naxos to take the ferry for Athens, a ride of about 71/2 hours acrss the waters. Lunch is on your own on board the ferry.
After arrival at the port of Piraeus, en route to our hotel, we’ll have a panoramic tour of Athens to understand the essentials of Athenian culture and history while viewing classical ancient monuments, such as the Acropolis, Byzantine structures and modern Greek monuments.
Farewell Dinner at VAROULKO (www.varoulko.gr), a Michelin-starred restaurant. Subject to his schedule, meet and greet Chef Lazarou (chef and owner of the restaurant for many years.)
Return to your hotel (Pallas Athena Grecotel 4* or similar) in the city center for your last night.
DAY 11: Monday, November 1, 2021, ATHENS (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.
• Nine night’s accommodation, double occupancy
• Daily breakfast at the hotels
• Welcome dinner at ENAGRON’s restaurant on arrival.
• Six dinners at local restaurants
• Six 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
• Funicular and the caïque boat ticket for the visit to the Santorini volcano.
• Luxury, private coach for 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
• Single room supplement ($975)
• International flights between US and Greece
• Domestic flight from Athens to Heraklion (one way only)
• 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.)