DESTINATIONS / ITINERARIES
THE CYCLADES ISLANDS
Cyclades 7-days Itinerary
Day1 Athens - Kea (40m)
Day2 Kea - Tinos - Myconos (49m)
Day3 Myconos - Delos - Paros (28m)
Day4 Paros - Ios (27m)
Day5 Ios - Santorini (22m)
Day6 Santorini - Sifnos (51m)
Day7 Sifnos - Serifos - Kithnos (33m)
Day8 Kithnos - Athena (50m)
Cyclades 14-days Itinerary
Day1 Athens-Kea (40m)
Day2 Kea-Andros-Myconos (55m)
Day3 Mykonos-Delos-Paros (29m)
Day4 Paros-Naxos-Herakliia (35m)
Day5 Heraklia-Amorgos-Ios (60m)
Day6 Amorgos-Ios (30m)
Day7 Ios-Santorini (22m)
Day8 Santorini-Sikinos-Folegandros (40m)
Day9 Folegandros - Kimlos - Milos (30m)
Day10 Milos - Sifnos (20m)
Day11 Sifnos - Serifos - Kithnos (37m)
Day12 Kithnos - Hydra (44m)
Day13 Hydra - Spetses (17m)
Day14 Spetses - Poros - Aegina (42m)
Day15 Aegina - Athens (17m)
KEA is mostly barren with patches of cultivated and wooded ground near the coast. The lyric poets Simonedes and Bacchlides come from this island. The picturesque hamlet of Vourkari is most popular and has excellent restaurants. The large protected bay was once important as a coaling station for steamers. The beautiful "chora" on the hill, a huddle of glaring while houses, is well worth a visit. A large lion carved from the rock face is attributed to an Ionian sculptor from around 600 B.C.
TINOS a mountainous rugged island is wooded with extensively terraced and cultivated slopes. In 1822 the discovery of the miracle-working icon of the Virgin Mary transformed the island to a place of pilgrimage for those of Orthodox faith. Tinos produces wine and the water is said to be the purest in Greece.
MYCONOS is the tourist Mecca of Greece. Myconos is bright and breezy with fine sandy beaches by day and by night the hum of the bars and throb of disco onto the wee hours is all part of the scene. It is the island where local and plain ordinary holidaymakers rub shoulders with the yacht set, the jet set, artists and celebrities from all over the world. The houses, the churches and the narrow winding alleys appear to be a naturally evolved form sculpted from the rocks of the island itself. The cosmopolitan flavour of Myconos may be a refreshing contrast to the simpler pleasures of other islands.
DELOS was once the political and religious centre of the ancient world. Legend has it that Apollo was born here. The Delos oracle was consulted before major decisions and its fame was second only to that of Delphi. The ancient ruins on this island been likened to Pompeii not for any architectural similarity but for the completeness of the picture of ancient life that can be gleaned from it.
PAROS is a popular tourist island and typically Cycladic Houses, shops and churches are dazzling white cubes with bougainvillias and wisteria providing splashes of natural colour. The island possesses the finest church in the Aegean, the Katapoliani, and is well worth a visit for the beautiful interior. The museum houses a slab of Parian Chronicle recording Greek history from pre-Homeric times and some sculptures in Parian marble.
IOS is clamed to be the burial place of Homer. Today the island is extremely popular with young sun-lovers. By day nudism rules and the beaches are packed with the young of all nationalities.By night the waterfront throbs for the sound of music from bars and discos. The chora above is a maze of streets full of bars and boutiques.
SANTORINI is a giant volcano. It is unlike anywhere else in the world. The volcanic crater is some six miles long by four miles wide. The white domed houses f the capital extend along the cliff top above the tiny harboure and present a remarkable sight from seaward. The volcanic soil is especially fertile and produces fine grapes for wine. Santoriny is unique and consequently it is one of the places in the Aegean that must be visited.
SIFNOS is a hilly island. The west coast is barren and burnt rock, but on the east side on the island where most of the population live, it is greener and cultivated in places. The medieval village of Kastro is a delightful place. Today the beaches on the southeast coast are very popular.
SERIFOS has a modern tourist trade in summer. The white houses of the chora on the hill above Livadhi bay are like icing on a bun. The view from the chora down onto the bay and over the sea and islands beyond is well worth the trip.
KITHNOS is a barren rocky island little touched by tourism. Numerous anchorages provide crystal clear water and good white sand beaches. The hot mineral springs in Lutra have been esteemed throughout history. Near Cape Kafalos are the ruins of a medieval citadel and town.
14 DAYS IN THE IONIAN
Day1 Athens - Corinth Canal - Galaxidi (75 miles)
Day2 Galaxidi - Trizonia - Nafpactos (32 miles)
Day3 Nafpactos - Oxia - Zakinthos (61 miles)
Day4 Zakinthos - Sami(Kefalonia) (38 miles)
Day5 Sami - Agia Efimia - Fiskardo (15 miles)
Day6 Fiskardo - Meganisi - Vasiliki (Lefkas) (24miles)
Day7 Vasiliki - Nidri - Lefkas (25 miles)
Day8 Lfkas - Antipaxi - Paxi (35 miles)
Day9 Paxi - Corfu (28 miles)
Day10 Corfu - Parga (32 miles)
Day11 Parga - Preveza - Vatica (Lefkas) (30 miles)
Day12 Vatica - Skorpios - Kioni (Ithaki) (28 miles)
Day13 Kioni - Patra (54 miles)
Day14 Patra - Kiato (57 miles)
Day15 Kiato - Athens (43 miles)
THE CORINTH CANAL is 3.2 miles long, 25 meters wide and limestone from which it is rises to 76 meters above sea level at the highest point. The canal joins the Saronic Gulf with the Gulf of Corinth and saves the journey around the Peloponnese. Going through it is a breathtaking experience. The ancients used to drag ships across the isthmus on a paved road, parts of which can still be seen today.
GALAXIDI is a narrow tranquil inlet hidden between rocky islets and stony hills. Hemmed in by a pine-studded peninsula and the town, hunched on a rocky mound, the harbor is one of the most pleasing in the Gulf of Corinth. In the 18th century it was a prosperous port. A small museum display curious including some fine figureheads from its heyday as a thriving shipping town. Sophisticated restaurants ashore.
TRIZONIA island has changed little over the years. The land around the bay is green and lush - mostly vines and olives. Whether to eat or simply have on ouzo, it is well worth while to go ashore.
NAFPAKTOS is a minute mediaeval harbor bordered by old plane trees. Under the shadow of the Venetian castle, it is a captivating place, well watered, with a lot of animation that goes on in the square by the harbor. The town was known in mediaeval times as Lepanto.
OXIA is a high island with a jagged ridge running down the spine at the entrance to the Gulf of Patra. Spectacular surroundings and utter isolation except for a few fishing boats.
ZAKINTHOS is the southernmost of the Heptanesoi. Like a bowl holding something precious , the mountains of Zakinthos enclose the fertile central plain.
The Venetian called Zakinthos "the flower of Levant". Until its total destruction in the 1953 earthquake the town consisted largely of Venetian buildings. In the rebuilding of the island, a Venetian aura has been retained - spacious boulevards, arcaded shops and imposing public buildings. A museum houses some of the relics particularly some fine icons. The island offers some spectacular scenery.
SAMI (Kefalonia) is an alternative to Ag. Efimia for visiting the semi-underground Lake Melissani and the Cave of Drogarati. The town itself is mostly new, though now mellowing with the patina of a few years aging.
AGIA EFIMIA used to be the main port for the east of Kefalonia , but after the 1953 earthquake it was abandoned and Sami became the major port for the area. Close by is Lake Melissani and the Cave Drogarati, an underground cave and lake which a boatman will row you around.
FISKARDO The picturesque 19th century houses set amid green pine groves remain pretty much original. The village is named after Robert Guiscard a Norman adventurer who briefly ruled these parts.
MEGANISI lies immediately east of Lefkas . The strait between Meganisi and Lefkas, is one of the loveliest channels in the Ionian. The island has several natural harbors and numerous enclosed bays fringed by olive cypress with clear blue water. The southwest coast is lined with caves , the most famous being Papanicolis numbered to be the hiding place of Greek submarine during the second World War. There is some good fishing to be had around this part of the island.
VASILIKI was sleepy little agricultural and fishing village. Now it deals with the summer flock of tourists in its own homespun way without neglecting the fertile well - watered agricultural plain behind the beach. For sailboard buffs regular strong down draughts into the bay make Vasiliki one of the top spots for the sport.
NIDRI is a busy little place in summer and a large water sports centre. The busy square by the harbor has a superb view out over the bay and across to the island and the mountains of the mainland opposite. The Baroque villa on nearby Madhouri island belongs to the Valaoritis family descendants of Aristotelis Valaoritis (1824-79), Greece's national poet and composer of the national hymm.
LEFKAS is an island only because of the canal which separates it from the mainland. The island takes its name from a precipitous white cliff called Leukatges, which is presumed to be Sappho's Leap and from which Sappho of Lesvos, the famous lyric poetess of the 6th century B.C. is supposed to have flung herself. The area is the setting for Hammond Innes novel "Lefkas Men" .
PAXI & ANTIPAXI are located seven miles south of Corfu. The islands have attractive anchorages and crystal clear waters. Gaios the harbor of Paxi, is a popular choice for yachts in the summer.
CORFU lies like a pump sickle off the west coast of Albania and mainland Greece. The references to Corfu from Homer to the present day praise the island as a lush green paradise spinning a soothing spell over all who visit it. The island features, its own special Corfiot architecture and culture: the eerie Medusa in the museum, The Venetian forts galley port, the French architecture raising a second Rue de Rivoli far from Paris, cricket and cake on Sandays, Bizantine churches… yet undeniably Greek. Despite the many tourists choking the town of Corfu much of the old town remains intact and alive in the real sense of the word.
PARGA village is delightful place built down the steep slopes to the waters edge. The slopes behind the bay and the village are wooded, mostly pine and olive. Tbhe castle on the promontory between the two bays is of Norman origin. Well defended to seaward and landward by the monolithic rock on which it sits, this castle has always been difficult to capture. The Venetian considered it "The eye and ear of orfu" and consequently the Parganiotes enjoyed trade privileges with Venice.
PREVEZA is a commercial port surrounded by lush orchards and marked gardens. It is a likable working town with interesting shops and workshops in the back streets. Three miles north of the town are the ruins of Nikopolis built by Octavian to commemorate his victory over Antony in the Battle of Actium. The ruins are well worth a visit a large theatre, a villa and the city walls are well preserved and a small museum houses an interesting collection of artifact.
SKORPIOS and the smaller twin island Skorpidhi are the private island of the Onassis. Skorpios has been planted as a park and you can sail around the island but you can not land above the high water mark.
ITHAKI according to Homer is the island home of Odysseus. Archeologists can dispute whether or not this is so, but Homer still provides the best description of the island . On the summit of a hill called Pelikata are the ruins of a Bronze Age settlement which is generally accepted to be the place of Odysseus. The island has numerous coves and anchorages with water that is so clear, that it is difficult to believe you're not going to touch bottom.
KIATO although principally a town based on the busy commercial harbor, is developing into a popular tourists resort based on the good bathing beaches nearby. The surrounding land is intensively cultivated in citrus and vine.
THE DODECANESE & TURKEY
Day1 Myconos - Ikaria (55miles)
Day2 Ikaria - Samos (30 miles)
Day3 Samos - Kusadasi (Turkey) (15 miles)
Day4 Turkey (stay all day)
Day5 Tutkey - Patmos (47 miles)
Day6 Patmos - Kos (45 miles)
Day7 Kos - Simi (44 miles)
Day8 Simi - Rhodes (23 miles)
IKARIA is a huge precipitous slab of rock wedged into the sea to the west of Samos. The mythological origin of the names is derived from the legend of Daedalus and Icarus who contrived to escape from Crete by fabricating wings from feathers and wax. Icarus flew too high and land the sun melted the wax so that be fell into the sea near Ikaria. The island doesn't get a lot of tourism and is generally quiet with friendly locals and some very good fishing.
SAMOS is the closed of the Greek islands to Turkey - just a mile across. Thick pine forests cover most of the lover slopes and grace to Samos unequalled elsewhere. In ancient times Samos was known as Parthenoarroussa for its beauty, Dryoussa for its oaks, Anthemis for its flowers and Hydrele for its abundant springs. Although an island ravaged and pillaged by corsairs in years gone by it is neither run down nor poor in spirit . On the contrary, the island leaves you with a feeling of happiness and friendliness. The Muscar wine is superb.
KUSADASI (Turkey) is a booming tourists town built on the site of ancient Neapolis of which nothing remains. With numerous carpet shops, souvenir shops and restaurants it is the gateway to the nearby ancient ruins of Ephesus. The ruins are Hellenistic with Roman overlay After Rome made Ephesus the capital of the province. The site is impressive for its size and for the clarity with which you can picture the ancient city. You can walk down the Marble Street an see the ruins of a theatre, the agora, library, Odeon, stadium, gymnasium, and even a so-called brothel.
PATMOS is the northernmost of Dodecanese, Skala is the natural harbor of the island and above it the chora crowned by the monastery of St. John the Divine. The chora belongs more to the Cyclades then to Dodecanese. The glaring white squat houses and courtyards contrast vividly with the grey stone monastery. Patmos belongs to the Christian age rather than to antiquity and is the spiritual centre of the Greek Orthodox Church after Mt. Athos. It is here that St. John the Divine Dictated the wild poetry of the Apocalypse, found in the book of Revelations, to his disciple Prochorus.
KOS has recently been discovered by more tourists and several large hotels have been built around the sandy beaches. A well-watered and fertile island which produces fine vegetables, melons and grapes. The city of Kos was founded in 336 B.C. on the present site of the modern capital. Ancient Kos had many famous citizens but above them all stands Hippocrates, the great physician of antiquity and the father of modern medicine. The Asclepion , just outside Kos town has tree terraces that lie in a peaceful setting near to medicinal springs on a limestone hill overlooking the Gulf of Kos. It is the appropriate place to remember the famous Hippocratic Oath.
SIMI was once famous for shipbuilding and sponge diving. Simiot shipwrights built many of the fast galleys for the knights of St. John. Even today caiques seem to be better cared for than in many other islands. Discovering Simi is like discovering an exotic plant in the desert. The muted blue, amber, cream and rose-hued houses have been built one upon the other up the steep sides of the inlet like a child's building block version of a town.
RHODES is an island that hums bustles as only the most important tourists center in Greece can. Hotels stretch along the coasts from Rhodes city where sun and sandy beaches create an irresistible lure for sun-starved visitors. The city consists of two distinct parts - the old city surrounded by walls built by the Knights and the new town largely built by the Italians during their occupation of the island. Mandraki harbor was probably used by the knights to keep their swift galleys in. Here in ancient times the Colussus of Rhodes may have stood - the bronze statue of Helios the sun-god, one of the seven wonders of the world. Lindos, with its small winding street between mediaeval houses and the castle perched on a rock summit, is uniquely beautiful.
THE SARONIC & ARGOLIC GULF
Day1 Athens -Poros (31 miles)
Day2 Poros - Hydra (14 miles)
Day3 Hydra-Spetses (17 miles)
Day4 Spetses-Tolo- Nafplion (27 miles)
Day5 Nafplion - Porto Heli (26 miles)
Day6 Porto Heli - Hermioni (15 miles)
Day7 Hermioni - Moni - Aegina (25 miles)
Day8 Aegina - Athens (18 miles)
POROS lies very close or the Peloponnese separated from it by a narrow channel. Poros town, built on rocky slopes, is attractive and the approach by sea one of the most beautiful in Greece.
HYDRA is mountainous, arid and devoid of vegetation Hydra is a fashionable resort for the rich and famous. The town remains architecturally very much of the 18th and 19th centuries with large stately houses built around the natural amphitheatre above the harbour. The total lack of vehicles adds to the atmosphere.
SPETSES The attractive town is popular with tourists and Athenians alike. The old harbour and environs wit many grand old houses is a very wonderful place to wander around. The local yards build the Spetses caique which is considered to be among the best in Greece. John Flower's novel "The Magus" is set on the island. In Septembe a small caique rigged out as an old trader is set on fire to commemorate the revolt against the Turks. This is accompanied by a noisy fireworks display and much merriment.
TOLON was small fishing village that has developed into a tourist resort on the strength of its sandy beach.
NAFPLION, a large town of mostly 18th and 19th century buildings, is a gem. The stone houses seem to be enguilfed in vegetation and the narrow streets wind in and out of modest mansions many of them built in golden sandstone that seem to absorb colour from the sun. The Venetian military citadel, Palamidi is the most Finely preserved piece of Venetian military architecture in existence. The interesting exhibits of the local museum include a suite of Mycenaean armoire, a reminder that this whole area was heartland of the Mycenaeans.
PORTO HELI is a natural land-locked bay where many yachts choose to spend the winter. Many villas adorn the numerous coves on either of the entrance channel in to Porto Heli. Heli means eel in Greek, probably referring to the numbers of eels which once lived here. Over the years trees have been planted and a number of hotels have been built. The serene waters of the bay offer ideal conditions for water sprts.
HERMIONI has been relatively untouched by tourism. The village saddles the headland the end of which is wooded and idyllic for afternoon walks. On the south side of the headland where things are peaceful you can sit in a bar on the waterfront with beautiful views over the water. According to Pausanias, a festival in honour of Poseidon was held here and it is possible that Hermioni was the site of the first small boat regatta in recorded history.
MONI is small uninhabited island that is partially wooded. It is sanctuary for wild life and the sight of peacocks along the beach in the mornings is quite common. A small tavern operates in summer.
AEGINA, the town is a busy little place but very pleasant homely. It has the distinction of being the first place in Greece where the Greek flag was raised at the end of the War if Independence. The single Dorea colmn on Cape Kolona earby is all that remains of the Temple of Aphrodite that formely stood there.
THE SPORADES ITINERARY
Day1 Ag.Konstantinos - Trikeri (33 miles)
Day2 Trikeri - Skiathos (30 miles)
Day3 Skiathos - Skopelos (19 miles)
Day4 Skopelos - Alonisos (6 miles)
Day5 Alonisos - Peristera - Kyra Panagia (18 miles)
Day6 Kyra Panagia - Skiros (37 miles)
Day7 Skiros - Karistos (68 miles)
Day8 Karistos - Athens (32 miles)
Lying out of the mainstream of history the Sporades hew few archeological remains but the beautiful scenery and fine sandy beaches have been attracting growing numbers of visitors.
AGIOS KONSTANTINOS is the mainland terminal for Skiathos.
TRIKERI BAY is on the east side of the entrance to the Gulf of Volos. The deep bay with the small fishing village offers spectacular scenery.
SKIATHOS is the nearest of the Sporades to the mainland coast. Until 1830 the inhabitants lived on the Kastro , an almost inaccessible rocky spur, that was connected to the island by a drawbridge which could be raised in times of siege. Today it is deserted and almost the entire population lives in Skiathos town which has become a sort of junior league Myconos with discos, bars and good restaurants livening up the night. In the daytime, the numerous sandy beaches are the main attraction.
SKOPELOS, like Skiathos, is densely wooded in pine over its slopes. It is also very fertile - vines, olives, almonds, pears, citrus fruit and plums for which the island is famous are grown. It is intensely cultivated and the inhabitants are farmers not seafarers. Although the island has a remote feel to it, in summer it is invaded every day by visitors who come from Skiahos for its splendid beaches. Recently archaeologists discovered evidence of a Cretan settlement which makes Skopelos the most northerly Minoan site so far unearthed.
ALONISOS , a hilly wooded island that relies on the donkey and the caique as much as an motor vehicles. Evidence of Neolithic and other ancient habitation has been discovered. It is also trough to be the site of ancient. Hallonessos a city that ancient Commentators say disappeared into the sea during catastrophic earthquake. Beautiful bays with pine-clad slopes and inviting taverns.
PERISTERA is the island lying roughly parallel to and just to the east of Alonissos whereas further north is the island of Pelagos with the bay of Kira Panagia. All these spots offer unrivalled beauty with crystal clear water.
SKIROS the most easterly and the larges of the Sporades. The lower slopes of the high ground are wooded in pine and maguis. The capital is more like a Cycladic village than the village on Skiathos or Skopelos. The white cubist houses with flat roofs on a steep slope with a Venetian castle on the summit. In the village there is an unusual amount of carved wood - doors, shutters, chairs and stools. Skiros imbroidery is also much in evidence. Some of the best island folk art is contained in the Faltraitz Museum near the castle - one of the best of its kind in Greece. A herd of wild ponies, descendants of the ancient breed called Pikermic and akin to Shetland ponies roam the island. Ancient Skiros was ruled by King Lykomedes. It was he who treacherously killed Theseus, King of Athens, by hurling him over a cliff into the sea.
KARISTOS is one the south of Evia, The largest Greek island after Crete. It is the growing tourist resort situated on a narrow strip of land at the foot of a magnificent mountain range. In place the range drops sheer to the sea for 500 meters or more. The rugged interior is well worth a visit and there is good trekking in the hills behind.