A TASTE OF GREECE
Rugged Crete will charm with its mountain villages, picturesque seaside towns, and warm hospitality. We will experience an authentic Crete – a world away from mass tourism – through the taste of local products, the smell of local cuisine, the touch of local handshakes, and the sounds and sights of unspoiled nature.
See an authentic Greece through experiences like cheese making with a shepherd in situ (that is, literally in the field) and cooking lessons with a renowned chef. Accommodations are truly top notch with loads of ambience – a restored monastery in Crete and in Santorini, one of the island’s iconic boutique hotels with best caldera views.
Next, our group will visit the island of Santorini, formed by a volcanic explosion some 3,600 years ago (some say the island is the lost Atlantis). A popular destination for romance travelers, Santorini is also home to a serious wine industry where viticulture has been practiced for millennia. The Master of Wine is Konstantinos Lazarakis, who was the first Greek native with this title. There are only 370 people in the world who have ever earned this prestigious distinction. The wine tasting and dinner will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the guests.
While on Santorini, we will enjoy a feast of the senses – cooking alongside an acclaimed Santorini chef, tasting award-winning wines with their winemaker, and taking in the spectacular view and legendary sunsets. There will also be free time to browse boutiques and savor a Greek coffee. The tour will culminate with a sunset dinner of Santorini specialties (accompanied, of course, by local wines) before bidding farewell to Greece.
Please join us on this flavorful tour of Greece. Wishing you “Kali Orexi”! (Good Appetite!)
9 DAYS: ATHENS – CRETE – SANTORINI
10/15/18 – 10/23/18
$7,350 per person (double occupancy) *
$9,000 per person (single occupancy) *
*8 person minimum, 10 person maximum
Hotel Grande Bretagne (Athens)
Kapsaliana Village Hotel (Crete)
Perivolas Lifestyle Houses (Santorini)
Athens, Crete (Heraklion, Archanes, Anogia, Chania), Santorini
• Culinary Walking Tour of Athens
• Private wine tasting with gourmet dinner
• Culinary Walking Tours
• Cooking Lessons (2)
• Cheese Making in situ with a shepherd
• Guided walking tours
• Santorini Island Tour
• Food & Wine Tour of Santorini
5 Lunches with wines
6 Dinners with wines
Monday, October 15th
Morning arrival at Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport (ATH).
From the airport, we will transfer by private mini-bus to Hotel Grande Bretagne located on Syntagma (Constitution) Square in the city center. The Grande Bretagne is within easy walking distance of the sites of ancient Athens, Parliament (be sure to watch the Changing of the Parliamentary Guards at the top of every hour), and many restaurants, cafes, and shops.
You will have the afternoon at leisure to explore the sights of ancient Athens on your own.
Later that evening, our group will walk to a local wine bar with an expansive wine list, where we will be introduced to Greek sparkling and still wines and dine on Greek traditional dishes.
Tuesday, October 16th
Our group will begin the morning with an introduction to typical Greek food products on a culinary tour of Athens. Anna, a “foodie” and licensed tour guide, will share her passion for Greek cuisine and culture as she leads the group on a tour. From the hotel, we will visit Stani dairy bar – a city institution. We will feel like locals as we enjoy a Greek coffee and traditional Greek breakfast foods such as spinach pies, Greek yogurt, rice pudding, and loukoumades (doughnuts drizzled in honey). From there we go to the Athens Central Food Market where we will sample PDO cheeses, olives, olive oils, spices and specialties such as pastourma (seasoned cured beef). The tour will end with a visit to one of Athens’s best souvalaki stands.
Afternoon is at leisure. You will receive a map of local sites that can be visited on your own or you may prefer to return to the hotel and enjoy the spa. In the evening, our group will be treated to a Private Wine Tasting and Gourmet Wine Dinner featuring the wines of Greece hosted by Konstantinos Lazarakis, MW at award-winning Tudor Hall restaurant atop the King George Hotel. This is sure to be a special evening.
ATHENS > CRETE
Wednesday, October 17th
Hotel check out after breakfast; transfer to Athens Airport for the short flight to Crete.
Upon arrival in Crete, we will transfer to the port city of Heraklion, which dates from the 6th century A.D. Traces of the city’s Arab, Venetian, and Ottoman rule can still be seen today in its Venetian Harbor, Arab and Venetian era fountains, and fortification walls.
We will immerse ourselves in the culture of Crete with a walking and tasting tour through Old Town Heraklion guided by Giorgos, an anthropologist specializing in gastronomy. We will visit a traditional coffee house, bakery, pitospito (the house of pies), and food stalls to sample the culinary delicacies of Crete. Along the way, we will shop for ingredients for the afternoon cooking lesson.
Our first day in Crete culminates with a relaxing cooking lesson and lunch with Chef Dimitris at Kritamon, a highly regarded restaurant featuring organic local products. We will also enjoy tastings of olive oils and Cretan wines – many single varietals rescued from extinction by a dedicated local winemaker.
After lunch, we will depart for picturesque Kapsaliana Village Hotel nestled in the hills overlooking the sea, surrounded by olive and citrus groves. Arrive by dusk. A light dinner will be served in the evening.
Overnight at Kapsaliana.
Thursday, October 18th
After breakfast, it is off to the Psiloritis mountain range and the village of Anogia, famous for its traditional dairy and livestock products and for the residents who still keep Cretan traditions alive. In Anogia, we will meet with our shepherd hosts for a Greek coffee and a brief discussion of the cheese making industry in Crete before the short drive to the area of St. Iakynthos church, one of the largest oak forests in Crete where sheep and goats graze.
Our group will have the opportunity to participate in the various stages of cheese making in situ. After our cheese making session, we will return to Anogia for a lunch of traditional Cretan dishes featuring locally made cheeses at Arodamos Taverna. We will enjoy a “galaktoboureko” (custard in filo pastry), famous throughout Crete, in the village square before departing Anogia.
Time permitting, we may wish to stop at a traditional ceramics workshop along the way. Arrive at Kapsaliana by dusk. A light dinner will be served later in the evening. Overnight at Kapsaliana.
Friday, October 19th
After breakfast, we will head to the picturesque seaside town of Chania, with its cobblestone streets, lighthouse, churches, mosques, museums, and Renaissance period mansions. The town’s atmosphere has a touch of Florence and Venice, combined with the culture and character of Crete and its people.
Upon arrival, our group will enjoy a private guided walking tour of Chania highlights – including a visit to the central food market, the Venetian harbor, and ateliers on “Knife Street”. The knife, a symbol of bravery since the Minoan era, is an integral part of the Cretan traditional costume and is used not only as a useful tool, but also as a weapon even today.
After our walking tour, you will have free time on your own to explore the town’s quaint streets, browse in the many craft and food shops offering interesting local products, and enjoy a lunch of delicious seafood and island specialties at a taverna.
Late afternoon, we return to Kapsaliana. A light dinner will be served in the evening. Overnight at Kapsaliana.
Saturday, October 20th
Morning departure after breakfast for Heraklion airport for the short flight to Athens where we will connect to the flight to Santorini.
We arrive on Santorini in the early afternoon and transfer to our first stop, a boutique winery owned by Matthew Argyros, the 4th generation of a well-regarded Santorini wine family.
On Santorini, the indigenous varietal, Assyrtiko, is the star. The island’s arid climate and volcanic soil have created a unique environment where vineyards are phylloxera-free.
At the winery, we will begin our culinary odyssey on Santorini with a relaxing wine tasting and cooking lesson with acclaimed chef, Vassilis Zacharakis. We will prepare a lunch of island specialties, including fava and tomato fritters – all accompanied by delicious Argyros wines.
After lunch, we depart for our luxury boutique hotel perched on the cliffs of the caldera, overlooking the sea. The hotel is on the outskirts of the village of Oia, within easy walking distance of its many shops, boutiques, and restaurants.
Remainder of the afternoon and evening at leisure. You may wish to enjoy the view from your terrace or walk into Oia for sightseeing.
Overnight in Santorini.
Sunday, October 21st
We begin our morning with a Private Island Tour of Santorini highlights. Our first stop will be the island’s largest town, Fira, where you may wish to browse in its boutiques and jewelry stores or visit the Museum of Prehistoric Thera. From Fira, we head to the black sand beach and enjoy a coffee and snack overlooking the Aegean Sea at a favorite seaside cafe.
Remainder of the afternoon and evening at leisure. Enjoy a holistic massage at the hotel spa (note: spa sessions should be scheduled in advance), explore Oia (and perhaps descend the stairs to the ports of Ammoudi or Armeni), or just unplug and take in the spectacular view. Overnight in Santorini.
Monday, October 22nd
We begin our last full day in Santorini with a private guided food and wine tour of the island. Our guide, Iliana, a French and Greek trained enologist, will share her passion for Santorini and its wines and unique culinary scene with our group.
We will visit a farm and learn about local food products such as fava (shelled yellow split peas), Santorini cherry tomatoes (the island was once an important producer of tomato paste), and white eggplant. Then it is on to two highly regarded island wineries where we will taste and discover the wonderful crisp whites, bold reds, and sweet wines produced by indigenous grape varietals such as Assyrtiko, Aidani, and Mavrotragano. We will enjoy a light lunch of small plates paired with wines at the last winery, Domaine Sigalas, before returning to our hotel.
Just before sunset, we will reconvene on the hotel’s pool terrace for a celebratory sunset drink and farewell dinner of seafood and gourmet island specialties. Overnight in Santorini.
Tuesday, October 23rd
Early morning check out and transfer to Santorini airport for the short flight to Athens. From there, we say our goodbyes!