Private Holiday and Island Hopping14 Days ex Athens
This comprehensive package includes time on four of the glittering jewels in the Mediterranean – Mykonos, Paros, Naxos, and the stunning Santorini. Beginning with a brief but inclusive two days in Athens this tour then moves into the Cyclades with all their pristine beaches history and delicious local flavours. Whether wandering around the myriad of cafes and galleries or investigating for yourself the truth behind ancient myth and legend, the Cyclades will leave a lasting impression on you.
- Visit the “most beautiful building in the world” – the Parthenon and see the amazing sculpture work that decorates it.
- Find your own secluded spot on Santorini to watch the sun set over the glittering Mediterranean.
- Unwind at the end of the day in one of the bars in the charming Little Venice area of Mykonos.
- Pack a hamper of delicious local foods on Naxos then head into the countryside for a picnic.
Day 1: Athens
On arrival into Athens you will be met after customs and immigration by a local operator and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is set aside to unwind.
Day 2: Athens (B)
This morning you will be picked up by a bus from your hotel and transferred to meet with other clients for your Athens and new Acropolis Museum sightseeing tour.
Athens, named for its patron Goddess Athena, has been continuously inhabited for over 7000 years and much of the history of this destination both ancient and modern will be bought to life for you. Our expert guides will take you to see the Panathenaic Stadium where the first Olympic Games of modern times were held in 1896 (short stop). Continue and pass by sites such as Hadrian's Arch on your way towards the most iconic of Athenian sites, The Acropolis. Once there you will visit the architectural masterpieces of the Golden Age of Athens: The Propylaea, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion, and finally the incredible Parthenon. Built over a period of nine years during the fifth century BC, the Parthenon has been described as the most beautiful building ever constructed and the sculptural decoration is considered by many to be the highpoint of Greek art.
Continue and visit the place where some of the statues which originally adorned the Parthenon found their home and admire the wonders of the classical era: The new Acropolis Museum. Afternoon at leisure.
Note: Due to certain restrictions in the visiting hours of the new Acropolis Museum the order of the program can be changed. Entrance fees included. Tour pick-up time from hotel should be confirmed with our local representative usually the day prior. This tour does not operate during Greek National Holidays.
Day 3: Athens – Mykonos (B)
Today you will be transferred from your hotel to the port for your ferry travelling to Mykonos. Ferry timings will be confirmed by our local operator. They will issue all ferry tickets
Mykonos is renowned as one of the prettiest and most cosmopolitan of the Greek islands. Here you will find superb beaches, traditional windmills, white-washed buildings, and cobblestoned streets. The town comes alive in the evening with entertainment centred around the harbour.
After disembarking in Mykonos you will be met by a local operator and transferred to your hotel.
Day 4: Mykonos (B)
Mykonos plays a key role in Greek mythology reputedly being the location where the battle between the Gods and the Titans took place. Hercules, having lured the giants from the protection of Mount Olympus, defeated them at Mykonos. The large rocks scattered around the area are said to be the petrified remains of…certain body parts of the giants. This is where the slang anatomical term “stones” originated.
Day 5: Mykonos (B)
Another day to continue your exploration of Mykonos. A perfect opportunity to load a hamper up with local food and find somewhere for a picnic. For those wanting to delve into the history of Mykonos, the Archaeological Museum houses many interesting artefacts including a famed vase painted with scenes from the fall of Troy. Towards the end of the day make your way toward Little Venice, a delightful area composed of rows of fishing houses with balconies hung over the sea. Many of these houses, some of which were built in the 18th century, have been converted into bars cafes and galleries. This is a perfect place to watch the sunset.
Mykonos comes alive at night belying the island’s population of just over 10000.
Day 6: Mykonos – Paros (B)
Today you will be transferred to the port to embark on your Hydrofoil / Catamaran journey to Paros. Ferry timings will be confirmed by our local operator. They will issue all ferry tickets.
This rural island is surrounded by sandy beaches and colourful fishing villages. Parikia, the island’s port and main town, with its picturesque semi-ruined Venetian Kastro, stands on the site of the ancient town. Narrow paved streets lead to the Church of Panagia Ekatontapyliani which is one of the most important Byzantine monuments in Greece. Naoussa is one of the prettiest villages on the island with whitewashed houses little arcades tiny churches and some captivating beaches.
After disembarking in Paros you will be met by a local operator and transferred to your hotel.
Day 7: Paros (B)
The quaint and charming way of life on Paros belies the dramatic history of this destination. Often on the wrong side of wars throughout history, Parians sided with Persian forces in both the Greco-Persian Wars. This caused the island to come under heavy demand for tribute from Athens over the ensuing decades. Having been ruled at various times by Ptolemies and Hellenistic dynasties who also ruled Egypt, followed by the Romans, Byzantines, a Venetian Duke (granted Paros as part of a fiefdom by the Crusaders), and the Ottoman Turks, it was not until 1832, following the Greek War of Independence, that Paros became part of the Kingdom of Greece. This was the first time in over 600 years that the islands had been ruled by fellow Greeks.
These days Paros is a wonderfully relaxed destination to soak up the Mediterranean sun on one of the many idyllic beaches or sample some of the local wares at a winery. For the slightly more adventurous travellers, horseback riding tours are a great way to explore the countryside.
Day 8: Paros – Naxos (B)
Today you will be transferred to the port to embark on your Hydrofoil / Catamaran journey to Naxos. Ferry timings will be confirmed by our local operator. They will issue all ferry tickets.
Naxos is the largest and most fertile of the Cycladic Islands with attractive villages and good swimming beaches. The town is built in amphitheatrical fashion on the side of a hill. There are many interesting monuments including some fine Byzantine Churches; the Kastro, with its tower and loopholes; and the remains of a Mycenean settlement at Grota. Not far from Apolona, one of the most beautiful seaside villages, is an ancient marble quarry at the entrance to which lies a huge half-finished kouros dating from the 6th century.
After disembarking in Naxos you will be met by a local operator and transferred to your hotel.
Day 9: Naxos (B)
Naxos, with its comparatively reliable rainfall and fertile soil, is the most self-sufficient of all the Cycladic islands. With many varieties of fruit grown locally, the ubiquitous olives, and famed throughout Greece for its cheese, Naxos is a great place to pack a hamper and find a quiet place for a picnic. The main centre is a delightful port town filled with white-washed houses and Venetian mansions. It is a great place to wander about exploring galleries and cafes.
Day 10: Naxos (B)
Some believe that Naxos is home to the cave in which the young Zeus was raised. The purported cave can be found on Mt Zeus and makes a great day hike. At 1004m, this mountain is the highest in the Cyclades and the effort of the hike up the well-marked and safe path is rewarded with stunning views. For those wanting less exertion, the elegant Fish and Olive Gallery has fast become a favourite shopping destination amongst our clients. With beautiful handmade ceramics jewellery and other arts on display and for sale this shop is a great place to pick up a memento or present.
Day 11: Naxos – Santorini (B)
Today you will be transferred to the port to embark on your Hydrofoil / Catamaran. Ferry timings will be confirmed by our local operator. They will issue all ferry tickets.
No other place in the world resembles this unique Cycladic island believed by some to be the legendary lost continent of Atlantis which was swallowed by the sea when the volcano erupted. Santorini is known worldwide for its unique views and colourful sunsets.
After disembarking in Santorini you will be met by a local operator and transferred to your hotel.
Day 12: Santorini (B)
The beautiful island of Santorini was created by the eruption of a super volcano called Thera in ancient antiquity. This eruption has been estimated to have ejected 100 cubic kilometres of material making it one of the four most powerful eruptions of historic times. The concentric shaped islands that remain have created one of the most perfect natural harbours in the world so it is no surprise that water activities are so popular here. Whether partaking a sailing charter; relaxing on a beach; or taking advantage of the many spectacular viewpoints, Santorini is a delightful location to enjoy the Mediterranean. Famed for the beautiful sunsets be sure to find a good vantage point as the day winds down.
Day 13: Santorini (B)
Many people believe Santorini to be the location of Atlantis from Platonic myth and the ancient ruins of Thera, although dated to after the eruption, lend credence to that theory. The uphill walk is rewarded with a fascinating archaeological site which includes Hellenistic Roman and Byzantine periods. For those who prefer, it is a short taxi drive to the top.
Day 14: Santorini (B)
After breakfast at your hotel the tour concludes with your own arrangements.
- Accommodation with daily breakfast
- Arrival transfers
- Transportation by air-conditioned vehicle
- Meals and sightseeing as indicated on the itinerary
- Professional English speaking guides
- Entrance fees
- Porterage at hotels
- Greece Travel Notes – issued by Innovative Travel
- International airfares
- Optional tours and excursions
- Port Taxes and fuel surcharges
- Tipping/Gratuities (please refer to tour notes for a recommended guideline)
- Personal Expenses
- Departure taxes
- Hotel charges for minibar or any extra charges
- Visas (unless specified)
- Any other services not clearly mentioned in the inclusions above
Accommodation based on the below or similar
Superior Tourist Class - Acropolis Hill (Standard room)
First Class - Callirhoe (Standard room)
Superior Tourist Class - Paradision Hotel (Standard room)
First Class - Kosmoplaz (Garden view room)
Superior Tourist Class - El Greco (Standard room)
First Class - Andromeda (Superior room)
Superior Tourist Class - Contaratos Beach
First Class - Kanales
Superior Tourist Class - Galaxy (Standard garden view room)
First Class - Naxos Palace (Standard room)
** NEW HOTEL TAX**The Greek government has recently approved a new law (Law 4389 / 27-05-2016 article 53 Accommodation Taxation) that will be in force and effective as of 01.01.2018 regarding a tax for all Tourists staying in any kind of Hotel, Apartment, Villa, etc. in any destination in Greece. This tax will be applied locally and payable at checkin or checkout depending on your hotel. The tax is a fixed Euro amount based on the property rating.
**FERRIES**All ferry schedules may be subject to change, due to local conditions (including weather) and/or possible port congestion and the final requirements of the ferry companies. The cancellation or non operation of the ferries is a decision of the shipping company and the Ministry of Shipping. This is outside the control of our operators and Innovative Travel who confirm ferries in good faith.
If certain classes of ferries are not operating for any reason, the next best option will be used whether an alternate ferries or flights. Example: If Hydrofoils are non-operational for any reason, clients booked on them may have to use alternative regular ferries in a first class seat. If there are any additional charges these will be advised by the local operator and will be at the clients expense.
Greek Island ferries are usually quite large, offering restaurant/cafeteria/bar facilities, though normally no swimming facilities. Porters are rarely available at ferry ports, so your luggage should be only as much as you can carry.
Ferry Rhodes / Marmaris: Unlike standard ferries connections between Greek Islands, the ferry between Rhodes and Marmaris is an international one. Our local operator in Rhodes will provide you with a voucher that you will exchange at the port where you will have to queue to receive your boarding pass and pay the Greece departure tax.
Connecting to International Flights from the Islands. We suggest client do not depart from Athens on the same day as they embark on ferries from the Cyclades or beyond. If departures are scheduled for this day we suggest flying directly into Athens airport.
*** FERRY TICKETS***The majority of ferry tickets are paper tickets. A handling fee is included in the price of the tickets when purchased with other arrangements in Athens. If clients are not using the service of our local representative in Athens a delivery and additional handling fee may be charged. ( This applies particularly when an island hopping programme begins on the islands). Ferry tickets are non-refundable and non-changeable once issued. All tickets are issued locally in Greece.
Ferry schedules in Greece are constantly changing. Final ferry tickets are generally issued 2 weeks prior departure. To avoid client disappointment tickets are purchased on the best available scheduled departure at that time. If a client wants to make changes after tickets are purchased a change fees will apply payable locally and clients will be responsible for collecting the tickets from the ferry terminal on the day of departure. Final embarkation timings will be confirmed to clients by our representative in Greece.
The local Greece representatives are available to assist clients in case of emergencies or cancellations of ferries. They will also assist to make changes to a booking – any additions or changes to service may incur charges. These charges will be advised and are the responsibility of the clients and must be paid locally.
*** TRANSFERS***Transfers are supplied by drivers and are not guided. Some drivers may only have a basic command of English.
*** THE ISLANDS***Traditionally the Greek Islands main travel season is from May to October. For clients arriving in April and towards the end of the season, many facilities and hotels may not be operational. The infrastructure on Santorini and Mykonos is well developed the other islands accommodation including Naxos and Paros have less developed infrastructure with accommodation generally a slightly lower standard. This is compensated for by atmosphere and charm.
**DOUBLE BEDS**Please note we have requested a double bedded room/cabin but cannot guarantee one will be available. In Greece/Turkey double room/cabin are very limited. Please ask on check-in with the hotel/cruise boat to see what is available.
*** CRUISE DEPARTURES FROM ATHENS ***We suggest that a pre nights accommodation and an arrival transfer are booked, from your Athens Hotel to the port, to connect with the correct ferry/cruise. Due to the size and congestion at the port it can be difficult to find the correct terminal and the cruise departure point often changes without prior notice. The local operator will be informed of these details to avoid potential problems.
*** CABIN ALLOCATION ON CRUISES ***Celestial Cruise Cabin numbers are confirmed generally 2 weeks prior to cruise departures. This may vary from the cabin allocated at the time of confirmation of the booking.*** CRETE SELF DRIVE ***The standard of the rental vehicles in Crete is generally lower than that of Central Europe and New Zealand. These cars are late model manual vehicles as opposed to new cars. They are well serviced, and reliable. Automatic vehicles can be requested, a surcharge applies. It is common practice that the car is delivered with a non-full (and quite often almost empty) tank. Make sure you fill in your tank before leaving town. At the end of your tour the car is expected to be returned with a similar level of fuel as when first delivered.
*** ATHENS SIGHTSEEING & GREECE MAINLAND COACH TOURS ***Scheduled tours and sightseeing are bilingual unless specified. Wifi may be available on full day tours to Delphi, Argolis and all multi day tours.
Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however all offers are subject to reconfirmation at the time of booking. Note prices usually display available discounted rates if any, (eg. Early Bird Deals if applicable). All featured tour itineraries and offers maybe subject to change due to seasonal variations without notice, or due to local conditions or other conditions. Please confirm all details at time of booking. Travel insurance is mandatory for all Innovative Travel bookings. All passports must be valid for 6 months prior to your return to your home country. Visas are the responsibility of the traveller. Special VIP meet and assist offers are valid for New Zealand passport holders, for other nationalities please check at the time of booking. For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Conditions page.