Piana Santorini sunset
Fall 2018 Trip
Fall 2018 Trip Part B
Fall 2018 Trip Part B

Amazing Greece, 20 days, The Islands and the Mountains

from $5,760.00

An exclusive Real Greece hosted journey
Saturday September 7   to Friday September 27

This private journey features local experts, chefs & vitners (and the occasional know it all local villager) and will be escorted by Real Greece founders Carole & Basil Kezios.

Join us as we eat, cook, and sip our way across the Aegean Sea, sampling the flavors of the Greeks islands, soaking up the Greek sun, hanging with the islanders (and learning their culinary secrets), before heading to the Peloponese, Greece’s largest “island,” where the harvest will be in full swing, just in time for the “crush.” If we’re lucky, we’ll get there in time to participate in the mysterious art of making Tsipouro—Greece’s own special kind of grappa.

We’ll sail ’round an island and hike into a volcano, ride horses on the beach and bikes in the village, and of course, we’ll relax poolside in our modern adaptation of a Cycladic tower—or on the warm sandy beach below it. We’ll stay in a Venetian estate, a village guesthouse, an exclusive island villa and a hipster hotel on a hill. Variety, after all, is the true spice of life.

Won’t you join RealGreece’s founders, Carole & Basil on what promises to be an amazing escorted journey?

An exclusive Real Greece hosted journey
20 days/19 nights $5760
Saturday September 7   to Friday September 27 

Post tour option Friday September 27 to Tuesday  October 1  (Delphi, Meteora)
4 days, 3 nights

Limited to 8 people

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  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Escorted journey
  • Activity Level
  • Group Size Small Group
    8
All about the Amazing Greece, 20 days, The Islands and the Mountains.

Join us as we eat, cook, & sip our way across the Aegean, sampling the flavors of the Greeks islands, soaking up the Greek sun, hanging with the islanders (and learning their culinary secrets), before heading to Greece’s largest “island”, where the harvest will be in full swing, just in time for the “crush” and if we’re lucky we’ll get there in time to participate in the mysterious art of making Greece’s version of grappa.

We’ll sail ’round an island and hike into a volcano, ride horses on the beach and bikes in the village and of course, we’ll relax poolside in our modern adaption of a Cycladic tower or on the warm sandy beach below it. We’ll stay in a Venetian estate, a village guesthouse, an exclusive island villa and a hipster hotel on a hill.

Won’t you join RealGreece’s founders, Carole & Basil on what promises to be an amazing escorted journey.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • 19 nights accommodations
  • All breakfasts; most lunches and dinners as specified
  • All activities (boat trips, cooking classes, wine tastings, bike rides)
  • Admission to all archeological sites
  • Wines as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Services of English-speaking, professional licensed guides (or experts where noted)
  • Private, air-conditioned vehicle with wi-fi hotspot and professional driver
  • All domestic airfare as specified
  • All ferry transportation as specified
  • All land transportation as specified
  • Gratuities at restaurants where included in the itinerary
What is not included in this tour?Items that are not included in the cost of tour price.
  • International air
  • Gratuities for your private guides
  • Meals and alcoholic beverages not specified in the itinerary, gratuities not specified
  • Optional horsebackriding tour
  • Any items for personal use
  • Passport and visa fees
  • Travel insurance (recommended and can be arranged)
  • Any pre- or post-journey plans
  1. Saturday, September 15 Naxos

    We’ll meet at the Athens International Airport and hop on a short flight to Naxos.

    You are here at a glorious time of the year. The bustling crowds are gone, the days are long, the sea is warm and the weather is ideal.

    The flight over the Aegean is your first glimpse of the deep blue Greek sea. The view from above is spectacular. Take out your camera. Be grateful it’s all digital now, otherwise you would be out of film before we land in Naxos.

    Naxos comes into view as just a spot of white in the turquoise waters of the Aegean, a unique blend of ancient ruins, less ancient Venetian castles, and modern beach culture. The largest of the Cycladic Islands, Naxos is the childhood home of none other than Zeus, king of the gods.

    We arrive at the Tower Villa in time to freshen up and enjoy the sunset and a welcome drink around our private pool. The sun will be setting over the Orkas Bay and Plaka beach.

    Then you’ll have your first sunset in Greece. There will be many. Take notes. We will ask you to compare them.

    This is going to be our home for the next three days.

    Over dinner we will have our first introduction to the flavors of Greece, specifically those of the Aegean islands we are about to explore.

     

  2. Sunday, September 16 & Monday September 17 Naxos

    On this day, we’ll have a chance to explore the island, exploring its inner villages and those Venetian castle and beautiful beaches.

    This evening we’ll have our first cooking lesson, the first opportunity to savor some of the culinary delights of Naxos—paired, of course, with some of the local wine.

    The days in Naxos may be a blur between the sea, the sun, the brightness and light … it happens in the Cyclades.

    Those of us who want to participate will have the option for a horseback ride on the beach.

    Together we’ll explore the island’s villages, by bike or by mini-bus. We’ll see Hora, along with the multitude of ancient, medieval and venetian sites and castles.

    Our Tower Villa has a BBQ grill that we use to make lamb chops – Greek style – and relax over another sunset before dinner – will Basil be cooking?

  3. Tuesday September 18 Naxos, Santorini

    We hop on the boat to Santorini. Let your hair down and let the sea breeze flow through it.

    Welcome to Santorini. It is on everyone’s bucket list. Today, we get to fulfill this promise.

    As we approach the caldera, Santorini rises to its majestic size. The jagged cliffs dwarf the ship as we enter the horseshoe bay, the legendary volcanic ridge rising before us.

    Just imagine—this entire body of water was a mountain that blew out like a cork. Luckily, it left behind this geological marvel that everyone comes to see.

    We are picked up at the port right on time for an all day tailor-made exploration of the whole island. A little sight seeing, a little archeology, a little wine tasting at sunset overlooking the caldera (remember, take notes!).

    Our homes on Santorini are the quintessential white Cycladic villas, away from the hustle and bustle of Oia, but still with that million dollar view across the great caldera. We’ll have the chance to relax and enjoy dinner and drink at a local taverna. Our villa complex has a spa, so if you want to book a massage, just let us know.

  4. Wednesday September 19 Santorini

    You’ll spend the morning and early afternoon at your leisure. Enjoy a dip in the pool or a massage at the spa. Curl up with a book.  Visit the art galleries up the road. We can arrange to have you picked up for further explorations in the local towns, Fira and Oia. You will have a chance to shop, take photos and get an amazing view with a walk on the rim of the caldera.

    This afternoon we head to the top of Pyrgos. Pyrgos is Greek for “tower,” so fittingly, it’s the highest point on the island, providing spectacular 360° degree vistas. We will stroll down to our favorite restaurant, Selene, where the Aegean Cuisine cooking movement got its start.

    We will have a cooking class and learn about the local produce, cheeses, and wines that make this movement special. Finally we will enjoy our creations, all while overlooking the island and the sunset. Did I mention there would be many great sunsets?

    This is our last night in Santorini.

  5. Thursday September 20 Santorini, Milos

    After breakfast this morning we’ll head to the port to board the high speed ferry to our next destination: Greece’s lesser known volcano, the island of Milos.

    Never heard of Milos?

    Do you remember the Venus de Milo from high school art class?

    Before the French gave her a room of her own at the Louvre, she lived here.

    Milos is another volcanic island of incredible beauty, moon-like landscapes and one-of-a-kind food and wine.

    Perhaps we’ll take a tour in a creamery, and visit a goat farm to learn how they make the spicy cheese you can only find in the Cyclades.

    We’ll explore the island’s hidden coves, where pirates hid their ships while on the lookout for merchants. We can swim in the crystal clear waters, surrounded by the stunningly white volcanic rocks of Sarakiniko beach. In the afternoon, we’ll have to decide between lounging at our hotel pool with a book or a cocktail, and taking a trip to the thermal springs. It’s a win-win. And lest you forget, we’ll still have our share of breathtaking Greek sunsets!

  6. Friday September 21 Milos

    This morning is leisure time: breakfast by the pool or on your balcony—you choose. Early afternoon we’ll head to the mines, and find out why Milos is becoming the culinary capital of the Aegean.

    The catacombs carved into the rock are over two thousand years old. Some caves were used by the Germans during World War II as a bomb shelter, but it’s now an underground art gallery.

    Did I mention sunset?

    Tonight we’ll be watching the sunset from the charming cobblestone streets of Plaka. We’lll have dinner in the village, sampling some of the island’s wild greens (remember the domatokeftedes we enjoyed in Santorini, Milos has their own version).

  7. Saturday September 22 Milos

    This morning after breakfast we’ll head out in 4x4s for the western part of the island. We’ll hike to the roadless rocky coast, into the giant bolders toward the sea. We’re heading to the crystal blue coves of Kleftiko, where pirates once hid, unseen by residents and unseen by the boats traveling along the shore and between the various islands. We’ll enjoy a BBQ lunch on the rocks before our own boat will be waiting in the cove to wisk us around to the other side of the island and back home.

  8. Sunday September 23 Milos, Athens

    Back to Athens: Capital of Greece, cradle of Democracy. Where ideas like philosophy and public debate were made commonplace. Where theater was brought to a new level that some might say has yet to be matched.

    We will be picked up from the airport and take a tour around eastern Attica. We’ll make the scenic drive to visit the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion and watch… wait for it… the sunset.

    Next we will visit Kalyvia, an entire town dedicated to lamb chops. This is where the Athenians themselves come to to relax and have great food, something we will be doing plenty of.

    This is where we arrive at our accommodations for the next two nights.

    It is our home away from home—there are few things better than relaxing on our rooftop lounge, overlooking the Acropolis.

  9. Monday September 24 Athens

    We will start our visit in Athens with a walk through our favorite neighborhood. You’ll taste some of the local food we love, walk by the Old Olympic Stadium, the Temple of Zeus, the Gate of Athens and head to the Acropolis Museum where we will meet up with our expert licensed guide who will explain, revive, and make history come alive.

    Some people come to Greece just to see the Parthenon and other sites atop the Acropolis.  You’ll see why when you have ascended the ancient stairs.  You are now walking in the steps of Pericles, Socrates, Plato, and all the others that have walked, worshiped, conquered, lived on and around this sacred rock for the last 3000 years.

    Finally, we will reconvene to head back home to relax, freshen up, and have a drink on our rooftop garden.

    It’s been a while. Did I mention the sunset?

    The sun sets right over the Parthenon. Be patient and you will be rewarded with some incredible photo opportunities. When the sun is low on the horizon and the sky is just barely pink, the lights go on on the Parthenon. Slowly they warm up. There is a sweet moment where magic is made in the union between the colorful, darkening sky and the gentle amber lights of that ancient temple.

    Armed with the knowledge you’ve gained today you can now have your own philosophical conversations over food and wine at our favorite, hidden little culinary gem, where we may learn the art of stuffing sardines, among other treats.

  10. Tuesday September 25 Athens, Arcadia, Peloponnese

    Heading out of Athens to the south, we will visit the Corinth Canal, a marvel of modern engineering. A little further on, and we head to the top of Ancient Corinth, the Acrocorinth, the once-great citadel that controlled the entrance to the Peloponnese for millenia.

    We go further south through the mountains toward the middle of Arcadia, birthplace of Pan, god of nature and of Zeus (or at least, so claim the Naxians, but then again, who wouldn’t want to claim Zeus as one of their own).

    We skirt past Tripolis and start climbing the pine-covered mountains through the ski resort of Vytina and decent to Piana, hopefully by sunset.

    What was that about a sunset? You’re in luck: tonight, we have a double header.

    The sunset is around 7:10 PM, and at 7:30, the full moon begins its ascent into the night sky. And we planned it this way just for you!

    You will have a chance to freshen up before a dinner of local dishes, much different than the Aegean Cuisine, but equally tasty. The simplicity of the ingredients and the freshness make this meal another experience not to forget.

  11. Wednesday September 26 Arcadia, Peloponnese

    The morning is magical.

    Even if you are not an early riser, set your alarm early and get up to see the sunrise. The balcony overlooks the valley below, and you might mistake it for a lake made of the early morning fog. The air above is crisp and clear. The only sounds are those of the birds and the clanging bells of grazing sheep, with the occasional bark of a distant dog.

    There is an inherent danger at Papanikola.

    Many people don’t leave the balcony for their entire stay. We have had clients miss the next night’s hotel reservations just because they did not want to leave the balcony.

    Nonetheless, if you can pull yourself away, we have a great tour scheduled for today. It’s a long one, but rewarding: we are going to visit Ancient Olympia along with the Temple of Apollo Epikourios at Afaia. Along the way, take in the vistas from the majestic Lousios Gorge, see gravity-defying monasteries hanging off the cliffs, followed by the water mill museum in Andritsaina, and finally, back to Papanikola for a well deserved drink.

    Back home our chef’s been cooking all day long, awaiting our return.

    The lighted church of St. George chiming every half hour is the only thing that brings us back to reality.

    If you leave your doors ajar at night, you might just hear the nightingales singing.

    It my favorite way to fall asleep.

  12. Thursday September 27 Arcadia, Peloponnese

    Day at leisure, or not.

    Take your breakfast out to the veranda, and lean back and absorb the view.  You can make your way up to the cafe at the square. You can ask for the keys to the church of St.George or the Cultural Museum and you can visit either one or both.
    You can trek to Pan’s cave. It is a short moderate walk on well marked trails. On your way back we’ll learn the art of identifying and picking some of the local herbs and teas that fill the hillside and grow wild around the village.
    Today we’ll also learn the art of “opening filo” for tomorrow’s breakfast.
    Lunch of local flavors only helps open up the appetite. You will learn how to play kolitsina, xeri, cards and backgammon.
    Relax the evening away under the almost full moon

     

  13. Friday September 28 Acadia, Monemvassia

    Sadly, today we’ll have to leave our peaceful mountain retreat, but our journey south takes us back to the coast, and to the sea.

    Along the way, if time allows, we’ll stop to visit the Byzantine city of Mystras, just outside of Sparta.

    Arriving at Monemvassia, we’ll go back in time as we check into our home for the next three nights, a Byzantine estate called Kinsterna.

    This is a magical place, set on a hill overlooking the Aegean and Monemvasia, Greece’s “Gibraltar of the East.” It’s history is sordid; if the walls could tell stories, they’d have much to say of its life under Ottoman and Venetian rule. Luckily for us, the estate has been lovingly restored by its current Greek owners,  blending the old with the new. Each room is a unique reflection of the time from which the estate was in its prime, with the bonus of all of the modern comforts of a 5 star luxury mansion.

    The rooms whisper of history, with stone fireplaces and atmospheric balconies where residents of the age-old village once crushed grapes into wine.

    Kinsterna is also  spa. You’ll have the option of booking a massage, relaxing by the pool or taking a break in the hammam.

  14. Saturday September 29 Monemvassia

    Today, we’ll get to one of the reasons to visit Kinsterna in the autumn:  We’ll tour the vineyards, learn about the local varietal, the Malvasia grape, a product of designated orgin only to this area and only by a handful of producers in the area.

    By now you’ve noticed the vineyards. Kinsterna is known for its wine making, and perhaps we will be able to get our hands—or better yet, feet—a little dirty in the winemaking process. If we’re late for the grape harvest we won’t be late for the afterparty – that’s when the tsipouro making starts!

    Tsipouro is the Greek equivalent of Grappa. Kinsterna is well known for its Tsipouro, and you get to be a part of making it! At least, you get to be the Quality Control department by making sure that all the Tsipouro made during your shift tastes great. Not a bad outcome either way.

    Tonight,  dinner al fresco overlooking the cistern is what every meal in our lives should be. Relaxing, innovative, imaginative, made with the products that are all around us. Yes, all those herb and vegetable gardens surrounding Kinsterna are used in their everyday cooking.

    One more time—did I mention the sunset?

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tower villa

Beautiful villa and naxos

This tour starts at the Athens airport

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