Arrive in Athens, Greece by 4:00pm. We provide one group transfer from the airport to our hotel near the Plaka. Early this evening we meet in the hotel lobby for a group orientation followed by a short walking tour of the Plaka, the shopping district located in the oldest part of Athens. Our guide will give each child a booklet for keeping souvenirs from their Greek adventure, as well as recording Greek words or phrases they'll practice throughout the trip with their guide. Learning about Greek language, the historic alphabet and culture will be part of every day's schedule. Dinner tonight is at a Greek taverna serving delicious family-style meals, where we can listen to traditional music and get to know our fellow family adventurers. Note: Consider arriving into Athens a day or two early to allow for more time to explore this fascinating city prior to leaving for the islands. All meals included.
Walking: 1+ hour.
Enjoy a hearty breakfast before heading out to visit the Acropolis and the New Acropolis Museum. Climb the steps to this majestic site with its spectacular views over the city below. At the top we enjoy hearing some of the stories about these glorious monuments which will bring ancient Greece to life. With our guide we will explore some of the key sites such as the Parthenon and Erechtheion. In the museum, we'll get to see the real items that were used in the everyday lives of Athenians. Seeing the museum after our visit of the Acropolis really helps bring meaning to the place where the people of ancient Greece could retreat to when under invasion. After lunch by the port of Rafina, an area that specializes in delicious, fresh seafood, we travel by high-speed catamaran to the picturesque island of Paros. After arriving on Paros, we settle in to our hotel before walking to a local restaurant for dinner. All meals included.
Catamaran: 4 hours; Walking: 3-4 hours; Transfers: 1 hour.
Setting off from the quaint fishing village of Alyki, we board a traditional fishing boat and cast off for an island-hopping adventure. Imposing cave-riddled cliffs rise around us, guarding remote islets and storied Antiparos, an island crowned with a Venetian castle. Leap from the boat to swim in the crystal-blue waters of Panteronissia, sometimes called the Blue Lagoon. Enjoy a floating picnic lunch on the boat. Walk the white sands of Despotiko Beach, where the remains of an ancient Greek sanctuary continue to yield archaeological insights. Take one last swim in the warm waters in a breathtaking hidden bay. Back in Naoussa, choose from lots of tasty options for dinner. Dinner is on your own tonight. Breakfast and lunch included.
Swimming, beach time and boat time: 7 hours.
For early risers there is the chance to enjoy a refreshing swim before breakfast! Transfer by catamaran from Paros Island to Santorini. Santorini, made famous by Jules Verne and speculation of its ties to the mythical lost city of Atlantis, differs from the other islands due to its unusual geological history. Around 1600 B.C. an eruption submerged the central part of the island, and the thriving civilization was destroyed. A huge underwater crater, called a caldera, was left behind carving the island into its famous crescent shape. Arriving on Santorini in early afternoon, we proceed to our hotel which is just 100' from the stunning black sands of Kamari Beach, and close to a marvelous coast line full of restaurants, cafes and all kind of shops. We'll walk with our guide to one of the local seaside tavernas for another delicious Greek lunch. Later in the afternoon we board our sea kayaks to explore the world famous Red and White beaches of Santorini. Our guides give us an introduction to our equipment, a safety briefing and tips on the basics of sea kayaking. Once on the water be ready for stunning rock formations, towering cliffs and tranquil beaches. Keep your eyes open for sea turtles, kestrels and falcons! After our sea kayak tour, we enjoy a Greek barbeque dinner on the beach. Everyone gets involved in the dinner preparation, which will focus on the local products and traditional Greek recipes. We will learn how to make the famous "tzatziki" sauce, Greek salad, and a Greek dessert. All meals included.
Catamaran: 2.5 hours; Sea kayaking: 2 hours; Transfers: 1 hour.
We transfer to Imerovigli and begin a stunning hike to Oia. The trail is set high above the sea and follows the edge of the caldera, rewarding us with extraordinary views. There is free time in Oia to sightsee or shop, and lunch is on your own schedule. Later this afternoon we board a private boat at Ammoudi Bay to explore the beauty of the island from the sea. We follow the steep coastline of the caldera past Aermini Bay and the church of Efra Paides, stopping along the way to swim in the crystal clear waters. A warm-water swim at the volcanic hot springs of Palaia Kammeni is followed by a freshly prepared barbeque dinner at one of the sheltered beaches on Nea Kammeni. We continue our cruise as daylight begins to fade to watch the colorful, dramatic sunset. After docking at the Vlyhada marina we return to our hotel. Breakfast and dinner included, lunch on your own.
Hiking: 4.8 miles, 3.5 hours, elevation gain/loss: 700' / 1,300'; Boat tour: 5 hours with stops; Transfers: 20 minutes.
We enjoy our last morning in the enchanting Cyclades and linger over breakfast and the best yogurt in the world. This morning there is time to swim in the pool or learn to make a "Begleri" or Greek bracelet. Following lunch, there is an optional visit to the intriguing ruins of Akrotiri. Known as the Greek Pompeii, Akrotiri became a flourishing Mediterranean trading center before its abrupt destruction by the volcanic eruption. Mid-afternoon, we transfer to the Santorini airport to catch our flight back to Athens. Please note flight schedules are subject to change, and therefore some optional activities may not be available. Upon arrival, we check into our hotel and then head into the Plaka for a farewell dinner celebrating our wonderful adventure and newfound friends in the beautiful Greek Isles. All meals included.
Flight to Athens: 45 minutes; Transfers: 45 minutes.
The trip concludes after breakfast. One group transfer is provided to the airport, or continue your stay to explore more of Greece. Breakfast included.