Day 1: Athens. On the first evening we will all meet at our included hotel for a pre dinner welcome drink followed by dinner at a taverna situated under the Acropolis. On arrival in Athens make your own way to the hotel before meeting your guides in the evening, at 7:00 pm. Be sure to visit the Acropolis and the new Acropolis Museum before joining the rest of the group this evening. We’ll have a drink on the hotel rooftop before walking a short distance to dinner. Dinner included.
Day 2: Guided walk of ancient Athens and transfer to Evia. After breakfast we’ll head out on our guided walk around ancient Athens. The walk takes us up Philippapou Hill with splendid views of the Acropolis and the Ancient Agora and, on a clear day, the island of Aegina. We stroll past the Byzantine church of Agios Dimitrios, around the hill of the Pnyx and the Aeropagus from where St Paul addressed the Athenians. The tour finishes in Monastiraki (the Turkish quarter of Athens) where we can have a quick lunch before returning to our hotel and transferring to the port of Agia Marina (approximately 1.5 hours) to catch our ferry to Evia. The crossing is 45 minutes to Nea Styra where we will be staying at the Delfini Hotel by the sea. There should be time for a dip in the Aegean Sea before dinner! Breakfast and Dinner included.
Day 3: Visit to Dragon Houses. After breakfast on the hotel terrace overlooking the sea we will shuttle into the wild countryside to the Dragon Houses. These extraordinary unique neolithic monuments have been a mystery to archaeologists since they were discovered. Debate on the date of their origin ranges from the 13th to the 3rd century BC. Some may wish to visit the ancient quarries from which came the huge rectangular stones used in their construction. Lunch is in a small family taverna, where we will try some home-made local specialties. If we want to walk off our lunch it is 1.5 hours, mostly downhill back to the hotel. For those wishing to go straight back for a siesta, transport will be provided. Dinner on your own this evening. We have plenty of recommendations. Breakfast included.
Day 4: Village women cooking demonstration, Limnionas Beach. We transfer to the village of Raptei (15 minutes) where we will watch the village women making cheese, and cooking pita (wild greens and cheese pie) over the open fire. After sampling the finished product we can walk (transport provided also) through a series of small villages, passing donkeys and goats and old stone walls to the beautiful beach of Limnionas. Here we will lunch at one of the seaside tavernas. There will be time for swimming before our return to Nea Styra. We will dine together this evening in a waterfront taverna. Breakfast and dinner included.
Day 5: Transfer to Karystos, tour of Karystos town, food demonstration. Today we transfer to Karystos (approximately 1 hour). After checking in to our seaside/harbour view hotel we will explore the town of Karystos on foot, beginning with the archaeological museum followed by the St. Nicholas church and Roman ruins. Time to join the locals on the waterfront for a coffee or ouzo before our included lunch which the well-known food writer Linda Makris will discuss and demonstrate. Afternoon at leisure. You may want to make a visit to the new Environmental Centre. Dinner on your own. Recommendations provided. Breakfast and lunch included.
Day 6: Castello Rosso, visit to winery. After breakfast, we walk into the centre of Karystos and join Vangelis as he makes pastelli, by hand, using the same methods as his father and grandfather. We then transfer to the village of Grabia and on to the medieval Castello Rosso (Red Castle) so called either because of the colour of its stone or its bloody history. After viewing the Killindri Roman quarry and medieval aquaduct from the castle we continue on to lunch at the lovely hillside village of Mili. From lunch we can walk or shuttle (your choice) to the Montofoli Estate and winery for a tour of their organic vineyard, and wine tasting. Walk or shuttle back to hotel. This evening we will offer an optional sunset cruise on a small fishing boat to a tiny island in the bay of Karystos where we will sample the captain’s own wine and mezedes. Dinner on your own on the waterfront. Breakfast included.
Day 7: Coastal walk, food demonstration, lunch in Marmari. After a leisurely morning in Karystos we visit a factory where the famous Karystos stone (slate) is processed. Following this, for those who are interested, there is an easy 2 hour coastal walk with views to the mainland, the island of Kea and the Petalli islands. This leads you into the picturesque fishing village of Marmari where we have chosen what we consider to be the best seaside taverna in this area! Our hostess invites us into her kitchen and shows us how she prepares a variety of seafood dishes for our included lunch beside the sea. Enjoy a farewell dinner this evening. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Day 8: Departure Day. The tour finishes in Athens about 1:00 pm. We transfer to the port of Marmari and catch the ferry to the mainland port of Rafina (approximately 30 minutes from Athens International Airport). We usually take the 10:15 am ferry which gets into Rafina at 11:15 am (ferry times can change). From Rafina ferries depart for most of the Cycladic Islands and you may want to continue your Greek adventure and head off to Andros, Tinos, Mykonos or Santorini. We can help with onward travel plans. Those returning to Athens will be taken to the Philippos Hotel. Breakfast included.
Changes may be necessary to the above itinerary due to weather, political or local conditions.
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