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Classic Greece & Santorini Tour

Had a worry free amazing experience from the time we booked the trip till we arrived back home. Definitely recommend using them.

David, Jan 2018

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Classic Greece & Santorini OVERVIEW

TOUR SUMMARY

10 days

Athens to Athens

From

US$2219

Country(ies): Greece

Tour type: Small Group

Group size: Min: 4 | Max: 20

Accommodation: 4-star hotels

Meals:

Transport: A/C car/minibus & ferry

Highlights: Acropolis & Parthenon in Athens, UNESCO World Heritage site of Mycenae, Nafplion & Palamidi fortress, birth place of the Olympic Games at Olympia, Temple of Apollo at Delphi, clifftop monasteries at Meteora, beaches of Santorini

This 10-day Greece tour balances some of Greece's most impressive and fascinating ancient sites around Athens, Olympia and Delphi with the spectacular monateries at Meteora and one of the Mediterranean's most beautiful and interesting islands, Santorini.
We start with a tour of Athens itself, taking in the ancient sites of the Acropolis and some of modern Athens below as well. Next we head west towards Mycenea with several stops and some scenic coastal scenery along the way. Our guide will provide explanations about Greek history and mythology, relating them to the places you're visiting. Its an amazing feeling seeing the actual places where heroes and heroines from mythology played out their stories. Our next stop is Olympia, birthplace of the Olympics and more ancient sites, before we tour the temples and ruins at Delphi. Our final mainland highlight is then the clifftop monasteries and amazing scenery at Meteora before we return back to Athens.
We take to the ferry next and sail into the Aegean Sea to the volcanic island of Santorini. The island was created in its present form by a huge volcanic eruption over 3,500 years ago that created a large crater which is now filled by the sea forming a huge bay surrounded by steep cliffs and coloured lava pebble beaches. The island is full of small villages with narrow winding alleys and whitewashed buildings that are fascinating to hike through. There are also hot springs, wineries and the remaining active volcano itself to discover. We have a couple of days here to relax and explore the island before returning to Athens to finish our tour. You can extend your time in Santorini if you wish, or finish the tour here before continuing your time in Greece independently.
This is a small-group tour that runs all year round, staying in comfortable hotels at around the 4-star level (smaller boutique style guesthouses may be used on Santorini, especially during the winter months). We can also arrange the tour privately if you would prefer not to join a group.

ITINERARY

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Day 1 Arrive in Athens, transfer to hotel

Upon arrival into Athens airport (ATH), you'll be met in the airport by one of our representatives who will then transfer you to your hotel. The rest of the day is then free for you to settle in, relax after your flight, and have a look around the area independently before meeting the group and starting the first sightseeing tours tomorrow morning.

OVERNIGHT:

Athens hotel

MEALS:

None

EXTRAS:

Extra day in Athens - pre-tour
Single Room Supplement (GRSGGS)


Day 2 Athens, city tour

Our tour of Athens starts this morning at the Panathenaikon (Kallimarmaro) Stadium where we'll learn about the first Olympic Games of the modern era which were held here in 1896. Continuing on we make several other stops to see more of ancient and modern Athens, including the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Hadrian's Arch, the Parliament building, memorial to the Unknown Soldier, the Academy, the University, the National Library, and Constitution Square (Syntagma). In the afternoon we head to one of the most important and famous ancient sites in the world, the Acropolis, which sits on top of a rocky hill overlooking the city, providing great views. You'll see the temple of Olympian Zeus and Hadrian's Arch, which formed a symbolic entrance to the city. You'll also tour the Temple of Nike, the most famous of Greek relics, the Parthenon, and see the original home of the marble sculptures removed by Lord Elgin that are now held in the British Museum in London. While at the Acropolis you'll also visit the impressive museum, the towering entrance of Propylaea, the Erechtheion, and the Temple of the Athene Nike.

OVERNIGHT:

Athens hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 3 Olympia via Mycenae, Palamidi fortress & Napflion

We leave Athens early this morning and cross the Corinth Canal en-route to the UNESCO WOrld Heritage Site of Mycenae. Here we'll see the home of mythical Agamemnon, the Lions gate, royal tombs and the Cyclopean walls. After touring these sites with our guide we head on to Nafplion which was the first capital of Greece in the region of Argolis. The picturesque town here nestles at the foot of a cliff with the mighty ramparts of the Palamidi Fortress towering above. We'll spend the night here and you can head into town in the evening to eat and explore the twisting streets, sophisticated atmosphere, see the numerous Venetian and Turkish buildings, and enjoy the views.

OVERNIGHT:

Nafplion hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 4 Olympia, drive to Delphi

We leave Nafplion early this morning and head to Olympia. This is the birthplace of the Olympic Games, which are thought to have begun here in 776 BC as part of a religious festival in honour of the king of the gods, Zeus. We'll visit the archaeological site of Ancient Olympia and learn more about the games' history, taking in the Temple of Zeus and Hera, the Stadium, the altar of the Olympic flame, and the museum which hosts an impressive statue of Hermes of Praxiteles.
Later in the afternoon we leave Olympia and head north over the Rio-Antirio Bridge to Delphi.

OVERNIGHT:

Delphi hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 5 Tour of Delphi, then through Central Greece to Kalambaka

Delphi was once considered the centre of the ancient world and we'll tour a range of sites here including the remains of the Temple of Apollo which are remarkably well preserved. We also take in the Temple of Athena, the Oracle of Delphi and the Castalian Spring before you can explore the Archaeological Museum of Delphi which hosts some of ancient Greece's best remaining masterpieces such as Eniochos the bronze Charioteer.

Later we head further inland through some beautiful villages and towns of Central Greece, seeing some of the traditional local architecture, before arriving at the small picturesque city of Kalambaka which nestles at the foot of the mountains of Meteora.

OVERNIGHT:

Kalambaka hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 6 Clifftop monasteries of Meteora. Return to Athens

This morning's tour is truly spectacular, as we explore the unique landscape and rock formations of Meteora. There are towering cliffs here with ancient Christian monasteries built perched on the tops. We will visit some of the monasteries and also enjoy the amazing views to them across the valleys and marvel at how they must have been built.

We'll then return to Athens, passing Trikala, Lamia and Thermopylae, taking a short stop on the way to see Leonida's Monument. Finally we return back to Athens in the early evening. This is the last night of our Classic Greece tour, while this tour continues on to Santorini tomorrow.

OVERNIGHT:

Athens hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 7 Ferry to Santorini

We pick you up from your hotel early this morning and transfer you to the port where you'll board the ferry and head out into the Aegean Sea and the Cyclades islands. Our normal ferry departure is the Blue Star line departing at 07.25 and arriving in Santorini at 14.50 though these times are subject to change.
On arrival in the breathtaking island of Santorini we get our first view of the huge underwater caldera (crater) and surrounding cliffs that were created by a huge volcanic eruption in the 16th century. The two main towns of the island, Fira and Oia cling to these cliffs with their whitewashed, cubist style houses overlooking the bay and beaches made up of black, red and white lava pebbles. Its a spectacular setting and after transferring you from the port to your hotel, the rest of the day is free for you to relax and start exploring. Our local representative will give you a briefing on the island's geography, what you can see and do independently, and what optional activities are available.

OVERNIGHT:

Santorini hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 8 Santorini, free day

Your day is free today, and you can start to explore the island in more depth. There are a range of popular boat trips available to take you around the crater. These include options to hike up to the active volcano, swim in the warm thermal waters of the hot springs, take a therapeutic mud bath, stop at Red Beach and White Beach to swim and snorkel, visit Thirassia and explore its villages. You can also eat lunch or dinner on board, and watch the sunset below Oia on some trips. Other half and full day tours available include winery tours (Santorini has some great wine), cooking classes, and visits to ancient Akrotiri where you can see the ruins of the village left behind after the volcanic eruptions that made the island uninhabitable.There are also many different beaches around the island you can visit, and taking a hike around and between the villages on the edge of the caldera is a great experience. You can walk from 2 to 5 or more hours, and explore tiny winding alleys through different villages higher up or lower on the cliffs. You'll meet great views around almost every corner and finishing in Oia to enjoy a drink and the sunset is a particular highlight. Rental cars are also available if you'd like to explore further afield.

If you would like to extend the tour by adding more days on Santorini, or to finish the tour early here and stay on independently, please contact us for details.

OVERNIGHT:

Santorini hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 9 Santorini, return to Athens

We pick you up early from your hotel today and transfer to the port to board the ferry for your journey back to Athens. Our normal ferry is the Blue Star line departing at 06.10 and arriving in Athens at 11.15 though times are subject to change.
On arrival in Athens we transfer you to your hotel and you then have the whole afternoon free for some final sightseeing, souvenir shopping, and a last taste of Greek food and wine before you depart tomorrow.

OVERNIGHT:

Athens hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 10 Athens, transfer to airport

Your tour ends after breakfast today and your time is free until we transfer you back to the airport for your departure flight. Extra nights in the hotel in Athens are available on request.

OVERNIGHT:

N/A

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

Extra day in Athens - post-tour


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Included:
  • All accommodation as stated in the itinerary in approx. 4-star level hotels & boutique guesthouses
  • All transport and transfers
  • Greek island ferry crossings as per itinerary
  • Port-hotel-port transfers on Greek islands
  • 24-hour airport arrival & departure transfer service
  • Services of a professional local tour guide for mainland tours
  • Services of a local tour leader on the islands
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Tipping kitty

Excluded:
  • International flights (available on request)
  • Visa fees (see tour notes)
  • Travel insurance (compulsory, available on request)
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees to sites visited (allow approx. EUR 73 (Apr-Oct) or EUR 39 (Nov-Mar)
  • Hotel residence tax (see tour notes)
  • Drinks, snacks and other personal expenses (e.g. laundry)
  • Tips for guide & driver
  • Optional tours
  • Any other items not mentioned above
Notes:

The itinerary above is subject to change based on the Greek island ferry schedules. While it does not happen often, sometimes ferry schedules are changed without notice and ferries may also be cancelled completely due to poor weather conditions. In this event the program may need to be adjusted and you may end up spending more or less time in one location than originally planned. This is the nature of travel between the islands and we thank you for your patience and understanding in the rare event of this occurring.

Unlike many of the Greek islands, Santorini is an all year round destination, and remains a very attractive and interesting place to visit whatever time of year it may be. However, some hotels, shops, restaurants and attractions do close during the winter months (November to March). During this time we may use boutique style guesthouses located closer to the centre of Fira so that you are as close as possible to what is still open.

Gallery


Dates and Prices

This tour is also available for booking privately for travel anytime through the year, and we can also customise the itinerary to fit your personal requirements. Please contact us for details and prices.

Start Date
End Date
Price (P/P)
Offer price
Note

25th of May 2019

3rd of Jun 2019

US$2909

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1st of Jun 2019

10th of Jun 2019

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8th of Jun 2019

17th of Jun 2019

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22nd of Jun 2019

1st of Jul 2019

US$2909

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6th of Jul 2019

15th of Jul 2019

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20th of Jul 2019

29th of Jul 2019

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3rd of Aug 2019

12th of Aug 2019

US$2909

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17th of Aug 2019

26th of Aug 2019

US$2909

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31st of Aug 2019

9th of Sep 2019

US$2909

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14th of Sep 2019

23rd of Sep 2019

US$2909

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28th of Sep 2019

7th of Oct 2019

US$2909

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12th of Oct 2019

21st of Oct 2019

US$2909

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26th of Oct 2019

4th of Nov 2019

US$2909

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9th of Nov 2019

18th of Nov 2019

US$2219

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Accommodation

The hotels and accommodations listed below are the ones we most often on this tour. From time to time we may exchange these for similar properties at the same level. In general, specific hotels cannot be guaranteed on our group tours, but you may select your preferred options if you are booking a tailor-made trip.

Titania Hotel

Athens


The classically designed Titania is conveniently nestled in the historic and commercial centre of Athens. It has soundproof rooms and an award-winning rooftop restaurant with panoramic city views.

Local rating

Our rating

The classically designed Titania is conveniently nestled in the historic and commercial centre of Athens. It has soundproof rooms and an award-winning rooftop restaurant with panoramic city views.

All guest rooms are luxuriously furnished, and equipped with self-regulated climate control units and outlets for computer and fax modems.

Titania Hotel's rooftop Olive Garden Restaurant serves Greek and Mediterranean dishes, along with a stunning panorama of the Acropolis, the Lycabettus and the city beyond. La Brasserie Cafe Restaurant proposes light Mediterranean dishes for lunch or dinner.

The Acropolis, the University and the Academy of Athens, the National library, and the Greek Parliament are within easy walking distance of the front door. Cafe and bars surround the hotel.

Titania is 18.6 miles from the Eleftherios Venizelos Airport. The hotel is 15 minutes walk from Syntagma.

Amalia Hotel Nafplio

Nafplion


The Amalia Hotel Nafplio is a good 4-star hotel located on the edge of town with 170 rooms and large green gardens full of flowers and palm trees, with orchards around it. Taxis are easily arranged for transport in and out of the centre of town.

Local rating

Our rating

The Amalia Hotel Nafplio is a good 4-star hotel located on the edge of town with 170 rooms and large green gardens full of flowers and palm trees, with orchards around it. The hotel has a cafe by the swimming pool (the pool is open from May to September) and a bar and lounge with a fireplace for cosy winter nights. Taxis are easily arranged for transport in and out of the centre of town (approx. EUR 6-7). Rooms are large and comfortable with a mix of sea and garden views.

The hotel has also been awarded the Green Key, from the Greek society for the protection of nature, acknowledging the hotel group's efforts in the use of eco friendly technologies and products.

Amalia Hotel Delphi

Delphi


Set on a slope of Mount Parnassus, at the exit of Delphi town, Amalia offers a panoramic view of the green valley, all the way to the sea, Itea and Galaxidi. Open year-round, it features an outdoor pool and an inviting lounge with fireplace.

Local rating

Our rating

Set on a slope of Mount Parnassus, at the exit of Delphi town, Amalia offers a panoramic view of the green valley, all the way to the sea, Itea and Galaxidi. Open year-round, it features an outdoor pool and an inviting lounge with fireplace. Free WiFi is available throughout.

The modern guest rooms have natural light, through windows, terraces or balconies, and are air-conditioned and heated. Most offer impressive views to the valley and the sea and some to the internal gardens.

Guests can relax at the lobby lounge with fireplace and admire the breathtaking view of the Delphian scenery. One level down, the restaurant overlooks the valley and the pool, surrounded by the green gardens. A rich American buffet breakfast is served here.

Amalia Hotel Delphi is just minutes away from the archaeological site of Delphi and the museum, the temple of Apollo and Castalia spring. Arachova is 6.2 miles away from the hotel, and is renowned for its traditional woolen weavings and gastronomy. Also Itea and Galaxidi, are port towns worth visiting in close vicinity.

Divani Meteora Hotel

Kalambaka


The contemporary Divani Meteora Hotel is located in Kalambaka, just a short distance from the Monastery of Agia Triada and the Theopetra Cave.

Local rating

Our rating

The contemporary Divani Meteora Hotel is located in Kalambaka, just a short distance from the Monastery of Agia Triada and the Theopetra Cave. At the hotel you’ll find a full-service spa, restaurant and indoor swimming pool. Kalambaka town is just a short walk from the hotel.

Rooms at the hotel come equipped with modern amenities including air-conditioning, satellite tv and minibar.

El Greco Hotel Resort

Santorini


Offering an adults-only spa centre, El Greco is conveniently located minutes from the centre of Fira. It boasts 5 outdoor pools, 1 indoor pool, a children's pool and 2 open-air tubs with hydromassage facilities.

Local rating

Our rating

Offering an adults-only spa centre, El Greco is conveniently located minutes from the centre of Fira. It boasts 5 outdoor pools, 1 indoor pool, a children's pool and 2 open-air tubs with hydromassage facilities.

Each air-conditioned room reflects the traditional Cycladic style and features a mini fridge, satellite TV and balcony or terrace.

The 24-hour reception can arrange excursions and boat trips, car rentals and currency exchange services. Free WiFi is available throughout.

Santorini's beautiful sandy beaches are within easy reach from the hotel, Monolithos at 7 km, Kamari at 7.5 miles and Perissa at 8.7 miles away.

Note: This is our preferred summer season hotel, used from April to October.

Options

Our tours are designed to include all that you need to enjoy a really special time in the destination you‘re visiting. However, we do also offer some extra options to complement the tour and add some additional sightseeing or activities, or some extra time at either end of the tour.

All accommodation based options (e.g. Single supplements, extra nights, cruise upgrades) should be booked and paid for in advance so that we can make the appropriate arrangements. Other options may either be booked and paid for in advance or while you are on the tour, though we recommend booking in advance to ensure there are no issues with availability.

Many options are priced the same throughout the year, but some may incur single or high season supplements - full details are given on the tour reservation form or on request.

Single Room Supplement (GRSGGS)

Min numbers: 1 person


This option books a single room in all the accommodation throughout the tour. Room shares may be available but the supplement is payable if a room share cannot be arranged.

Price from
$779.00
per person

This option books a single room in all the accommodation throughout the tour. If you are a single traveller and would be happy to share a room, let us know and we will see if we can pair you up with another single traveller of the same sex. If a room share is not available when you book then we will add the single room supplement to your booking and it will be payable with your balance payment unless we have arranged a room share for you by then. If a room share is arranged after you have paid the supplement then we will refund it to you. Room shares are arranged in order of booking.

Extra day in Athens - pre-tour

Min numbers: 1 person


This option adds an extra day to the start of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airport arrival transfer is still included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Price from
$89.00
per person

This option adds an extra day to the start of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airport arrival transfer is still included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Note: Single room and peak season supplements apply.

Extra day in Athens - post-tour

Min numbers: 1 person


This option adds an extra day to the end of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airport departure transfer is not included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Price from
$89.00
per person

This option adds an extra day to the end of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airport departure transfer is not included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Note: Single room and peak season supplements apply.

Tour Notes

The detailed Tour Notes below have been written to give you some more detailed information about how the tour runs, what to expect, and how to prepare for your holiday. We recommend downloading an up to date copy of these shortly before you travel in case of any changes.

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  1. Accommodation

Our tours in Greece use a range of hotels mainly at the local 4-star level though some more boutique style properties or guesthouses may be used at times, especially on the Greek Islands. Please check the Accommodation section for more information on the normal hotels used on this tour. This list is given as a guide though and hotels may change from time to time to others of a similar standard.
Accommodation levels and hotels may be slightly different in Greece to those you are accustomed to at home. We regularly inspect all the hotels we use to ensure that the service you receive is as close as possible to your expectations. Please check your hotel room when you first arrive (hot water, cleanliness etc.), as our rep will wait in the hotel reception for around 15 minutes to help in case of any problems.

We will contact you with your arrival hotel details normally a couple of weeks before departure.

Rooming Arrangements: Single, Twin, and Double bedded rooms are available in all of the hotels used on these tours. Single travellers will need to pay the additional single room supplement; we do not arrange room shares on our Greece tours.

Check In Times: Official hotel check-in times in Greece are between 14.00 and 15.00. However, we do always try to ensure that if you arrive early, you can check into your room as soon as possible. We can nearly always get you into your hotel rooms by midday, but please understand that it is out of our control if the hotel is full and it takes a little longer. You will have full use of the hotel facilities while you wait if there is a short delay.

Greek Islands: The winter season on the Greek islands (November to March on Santorini, October to April on quieter islands) is very quiet, with many hotels closing completely. When necessary we therefore book alternatives that we feel provide a good experience suitable to the season. This generally means we aim more for smaller boutique style hotels and guesthouses that have a better location, being much closer to the shops and restaurants that are still open, rather than larger more properties further out that may have swimming pools and more space (which would not generally be used in winter anyway due to the cool weather, even were they to remain open).

Shoestring tours:  On our shoestring tours hotel upgrade options may be available and due to the potential larger group sizes sometimes more than one hotel may be used in each location. This may mean that more than one hotel pick up and drop off is required at the start and end of each day. If necessary, these are timed so that the overall sightseeing time planned for the day is not affected.


  2. Transport

Our Greece tours use a mix of air conditioned minivans, minibuses and coaches depending on the size of the group.

Ferry journeys to the Greek islands are booked in advance and approximate timings are given in our tour itineraries. These are subject to change however, and any tour that visits the islands is subject to adjustments and amendments based on the available ferry schedules. While it does not happen often, sometimes ferry schedules are changed without notice and ferries may also be cancelled completely due to poor weather conditions. In this event the program may need to be adjusted and you may end up spending more or less time in one location than originally planned. This is the nature of travel between the islands and we thank you for your patience and understanding in the rare event of this occurring.

Where internal flights are used these will be detailed in the itinerary and fares will be included in your tour price unless otherwise specificed.


  3. Transfers

Our tours in Greece include your arrival and departure airport-hotel transfers and all other transfers.

Your airport transfers are only included on the first and last day of the set tour itinerary, plus on any additional days if you book your hotel room with us. If you make your own arrangements for additional accommodation at either the beginning or the end of the tour then you will need to arrange your own airport transfers on these days.


  4. International Flights

We want to give you as much flexibility as possible when it comes to booking your holiday with us. So, to take account of people with varying travel plans, we don’t include your international flights in the main tour price. We are however very happy to suggest flights to go with the tour. Please contact us with your preferred dates and departure airport and we’ll give you a selection of airlines, times and fares to choose from.

Your airport arrival & departure transfers are included on the first and last days of the tour.

Most of our Greece group tours start and finish in Athens international airport (ATH).


  5. Group Size/Tour Leaders/Guides

Our Greece small-group tours run with a maximum of 20 travellers, and a minimum of 4. Please do not book any connecting travel (eg. international flights) until we confirm your booking. Some groups will split with some travellers just doing the Classic Greece section on the mainland while others head on to the islands.

On our Greek tours we provide a professional local English speaking tour guide to accompany for all the historic sightseeing in and around Athens, Olympia and Delphi. When heading to the Greek islands our Athens guide or local rep will transfer you between between your hotel and the ferry port. You will not be accompanied on board the ferries, but our local representative will meet you on arrival in Santorini and transfer you to your hotel. They will give you a short briefing about the island, assist you with booking any local activities or options, and will be available to help with advice and information and assist you if you have any problems. Otherwise, your time on the island is left free and for independent exploration.


  6. Entrance fees, Hotel fees & permits

Escorted tours and tailor-made trips generally always include site entry fees in the price - please check the Inclusions/Exclusions section for details.

However, our Greece Small group and Shoestring tour prices do not include entrance fees to the tourist sites mentioned in the itinerary. You will need to cover the cost of these as you go along. Current prices are shown below, though these are subject to change by the local authorities at any time.  A 50% discount is currently available on some fees during the winter months of November to March. Not all of the entrance fees below apply to all tours - please check your itinerary and the inclusions/exclusions section for a budget for your trip.

Athens - Acropolis - Summer EUR 20, Winter EUR 10
Athens - Acropolis Museum - Summer EUR 5, Winter EUR 5
Athens - Hadrian's Arch - Free
Athens - Panathenaic Stadium - Free
Athens - Parthenon - Free
Athens - Propylaea - Free
Athens - Temple of Athena Nike - Free 
Athens - Temple of Olympian Zeus - Free
Corinth Canal - Free
Delphi Ancient Site & Museum - Summer EUR 12, Winter EUR 6
Delphi - Temple of Apollo - Free
Delphi - Treasury of Athens - Free
Epidaurus Theatre - Summer EUR 12, Winter EUR 6
Mycenae - Tomb of Agamemnon - Summer EUR 12, Winter EUR 6
Nafplio - Palamidi Fortress - EUR 4
Olympia Ancient Site & Museum - Summer EUR 12, Winter EUR 6
Olympia - Temple of Zeus - Free
Meteora - 2 monasteries - Summer EUR 6, Winter EUR 6

Camera Fees: Photography may be restricted in various ways at different sites. Often flash photography is often forbidden to protect the exhibits and ancient pigments, and sometimes cameras are not allowed in at all. Please respect these rules as they are there partly for your benefit. Tickets are not generally required for normal cameras, but if you have a video camera, if its use is permitted there will sometimes be a charge.

Hotel Residence Fees: The Hellenic National Tourism Organization has announced that a residence fee will be applied on all hotel accommodation, starting from 1st January 2018. The fees must be paid by guests directly to the hotel before the end of their stay and are therefore not included in the tour price. Fees are per room per night (not per person) and have been set at EUR 1.50 for 3* hotels, EUR 3.00 for 4* hotels and EUR 4.00 for 5* hotels.


  7. Tipping

Tipping is common practice in Greece, though not as extensive as in nearby Turkey. For basic restaurants, taxis and local markets, leave the loose change. For more up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill. We include a 'tipping kitty' in your tour price which your tour guide/leader will use to tip a wide range of people along the way to help ensure the smooth running of the tour. This does not include your tour guide/leader, driver(s) or transfer staff though.

Drivers: You may have a range of private drivers on your trip. For those you see for at least several days and who are more involved with the group, a tip of around EUR 1-2 per person per day is generally appropriate.

Tour guide/tour leader: If you think you tour guide and/or tour leader has worked hard and provided a good service then s/he will appreciate a tip of a few Euros. How much you tip is subject to your satisfaction with their service and your personal budget. You should not feel pressured to tip any particular amount. As a guideline, we can suggest that for good service, a tip of EUR 3-5 per day for local tour guides or local tour leaders would be fine.


  8. Health and Vaccinations

You should ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including emergency evacuation and repatriation. UK travellers visiting other European Union countries including Greece should also carry the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) as it entitles travellers to reduced cost, sometimes free, medical treatment in most European countries.

Recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures vary according to the country you are visiting and where you are travelling from. We recommend you contact your GP/medical practitioner or a travel clinic for current information on vaccinations needed for your destination.
You should ensure that you are up to date with vaccines and boosters recommended for your normal life at home, including for example, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions. No additional courses or boosters are normally recommended for Greece though you could conside Tetanus and Tick-borne Encephalitis.

More information is available here: Greece
Malaria map - there is low to no risk of malaria in Greece, none in tourist areas.
Yellow fever certificates are not required.


  9. Passports and Visas

Passports should be valid for at least six months after your departure from the country. Please do not bring an almost full or almost expired passport. Visa arrangements are the responsibility of the traveller, and requirements are subject to change by the local authorities.

Some foreign nationals require a visa to enter Greece, though many do not (including UK, EUR, US, CA, AU, NZ, SA). More information is available here.


  10. Time
Greece Time is GMT plus 2 hours. Daylight saving adjustments of 1 hour are applied, starting at the end of March and finishing at the end of October. Exact dates vary from year to year.

  11. Voltage

Sockets are two round pronged and 220 volts (Type C). Universal adaptors are available in most airport shops if you don't have one already. Standard European adapters will work fine, though sometimes they may feel a little loose in the sockets. All hotel rooms have electrical sockets where you can re-charge cameras, phones etc. Hair dryers are normally available on request from the hotel reception if not in your room already.
If you have US appliances (110 volts) you will need a voltage converter as well as a plug adapter.


  12. Money

The currency in Greece is the Euro (EUR). 1 Euro = 100 Euro cents. Banknotes: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200. Euros Coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 Euro Cents and 1, 2. 
Credit Cards and Travellers Cheques are widely accepted in major cities and tourist resorts. ATMs are also accessible at all our destinations and generally offer the best exchange rate. A mixture of debit, credit cards and cash are the best forms of currency. You should split this up and keep some separately as a backup in case you lose your main money/cards.

It is difficult for us to specify the amount of money that you will spend per day, however, as a general rule EUR 25 to 50 per day can provide you with additional meals, tipping, snacks & drinks. Should you wish to purchase many souvenirs or other luxuries, of which there is a diverse range, you will have to budget for these.


  13. What to take

Luggage: Suitcases, rucksacks or fabric holdalls are all fine to bring with you to Greece. You should also bring a small daypack/bag to take out during the day. Your main luggage will normally be left in the hotel during your sightseeing trips - you will not need to carry it far, and there are nearly always hotel porters to assist.

Luggage limits: There is no luggage limit for this tour. However, most airlines restrict you to between 20kg and 25kg for your hold luggage and between 5kg and 10kg for hand luggage. Please check with your airline before travelling to the airport.

Clothing: Greece's climate changes drastically, with cold winters and hot summers. In Greece from late March to May, spring brings with it average temperatures of around 15C, though the weather does gradually warm up with sunny days interspersed with rain showers. From May to the end of October, the climate is hot and sunny, getting cooler as the year progresses. By the end of October you can expect the first of the winter snows. So you must pack for cool and potentially wet conditions late in the year.

Other items: We also recommend you bring a sun hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, a basic first aid kit, toiletries, money belt, small torch, camera & charger.


  14. Booking & Payment

If you would like to book a place on this tour, please complete the online reservation form on our website (via the Dates & Prices tab on the tour page). You may make a deposit or full payment online, or just hold a reservation if you prefer (full payments are due 8 weeks before departure). We will then contact you with more details about how to complete your booking. Payments may be made by debit or credit card (subject to a card processing fee), or by making a bank transfer, or posting us a cheque/bank draft. Full details will be provided in your booking confirmation email. Please contact us if you would like any more information or have any questions before making a booking.


  15. Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and needs to cover personal accident & liability, medical expenses and repatriation, travel delay & abandonment. We also strongly recommend that you take out cover against cancellation and lost/stolen baggage. Personal medical insurance does not normally provide sufficient cover and is generally not suitable for travel on our tours. You will not be able to join your tour if you have not provided us with details of your insurance or if you arrive without cover in place (no refunds will be due in this event). More information...

You may arrange your own insurance, or you can take advantage of a comprehensive policy that we can arrange for you through Endsleigh Insurance which has been designed to be suitable for our tours. The policy is available to travellers of all nationalities and you do not need to live in the UK  to take out the policy. For full details of cover provided, prices and to apply for one of our policies, please complete travel insurance application form.
Note: Any country that borders the Mediterranean is considered as 'Europe' for the purposes of travel insurance (including Turkey, Israel, Egypt and Morocco). If you are doing a tour that visits one country in 'Europe' and one that is 'Worldwide' (for example, an Egypt and Jordan tour), then you need a 'Worldwide' policy. When completing the form you should enter your travel dates including any extra days involved in overnight flights or connecting travel between your home and the tour. Our policies are not able to cover any extra time or activities other than your tour and options booked with us and your travel to & from home.

Note - to comply with insurance sales regulations, our travel insurance policies are only available to customers booking directly with us. If you have booked through a travel agent you will need to arrange your own insurance.

If you plan to arrange a hot air balloon flight locally, or do some scuba diving during your tour, you should check the small print in your policy to make sure these are covered (these are covered in our policy). Please also check the maximum altitude that you will be reaching and that full cover including emergency evacuation is provided up to this altitude.

If you are taking expensive camera gear or other electronic equipment with you then please check the coverage and the fine print of your policy to ensure that you have sufficient cover.

IMPORTANT:  We must have your travel insurance details (policy number and type of insurance) before you depart or you may not be allowed to join the tour.  If you haven't told us already, please let us know the details when you can. You should take a paper copy of your insurance policy with you as you may be asked to show this at the start of the tour.


  16. Financial Security

We are a UK registered company and an ABTA Member (Y4447) and you can be confident when booking with us that your money is safe and protected.
Financial failure insurance is also provided through Affirma to protect all customers for the land portion of your tour.
Please see our website or booking conditions for more information.


  17. Responsible Tourism

It is impossible not to have an impact on the local environment, cultures and eco-systems when you travel. However, it is very possible to try and ensure that these impacts are as limited, or positive as possible. We are committed to ensuring that we try to leave our host countries in a better state than we found them and encourage and assist our travellers to help us with this.
The following are a few simple tips that require very little effort on your part but which will help ensure that any effect you have on the locations you visit is positive rather than negative.

  • Don't prejudge: Things in different countries will almost certainly be different. That doesn't make them worse or inferior, just different.
  • Communicate: Don't expect locals to speak your language. Take the trouble to learn a few words or phrases of the local language. Don't worry about sounding silly. Most locals are patient and accommodating and appreciate you making the effort to communicate in their language.
  • Conserve energy: Be careful not to waste valuable resources. Use local resources sparingly. Switch off lights, air-conditioning and fans when you leave the hotel room and don't waste water. Remove superfluous packaging. Many countries have far less efficient waste disposal systems than ours. Remove packaging from newly acquired items before leaving home.
  • Don't litter: No matter how untidy or dirty the country you're travelling in may look to you, avoid littering, as there is no need to add to the environment's stress. Many of the countries we visit have a tough challenge dealing with rubbish and waste. Please consider taking home as much plastic waste as you can (e.g. water bottles).
  • Choose environmentally friendly products: By using environmentally friendly (bio degradable) sun creams, shampoos and detergents you can help reduce pollution.
  • Respect local customs and traditions: As you are a guest in these countries, you should also comply with the local customs. If you are friendly and well mannered, the locals will reciprocate and it will only enhance your experience. It's important to follow dress and behaviour guidelines especially when visiting religious or sacred sites (your tour leader will advise you how best to do this).
  • If a client commits an illegal act the client may be excluded from the tour and Encounters Travel shall cease to have responsibility to/for them. No refund will be given for any unused services.

All porters are employed and equipped following guidelines set by the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG).


  18. Follow Us Online

You can stay in touch with us online by following us on Facebook and Twitter. We post updates on relevant travel news in our destination countries, special offers and discounts and other interesting travel related news and information.
www.facebook.com/encounterstravel
www.twitter.com/encounterstravl (yes, without the 'e')


  19. Before you travel

It is important when considering and preparing to travel anywhere in the world that you have a good understanding of the country you are visiting, its laws and customs, and the possible risks and situations that may occur. This includes specific risks related to your itinerary (eg. does it involve water & can you swim, are you fit enough for the activities included), as well as more general risks such as terrorism and natural disasters.

General details and links to more information about health risks, visa requirements, money, and travel insurance are given in these tour notes. We recommend that you re-read all these before your departure as well as the small print of your travel insurance policy so you know exactly what is covered and what is not.

You should take copies of your important travel documents with you and ideally also store them online securely as a backup. Make sure that you have given us your emergency contact details and told that person where and when you are travelling. Ensure you take enough money with you and that you have access to emergency funds.

Finally, you should read through and stay updated with the current official government travel advice for your destination. We are registered partners with the UK Foreign Office's 'Travel Aware' campaign which provides further useful and invaluable information.

'Travel Aware' campaign


  20. Language - Greece

The Greek language is ancient and has a documented record which spans three and a half thousand years and has contributed much to all Western languages. As such it is a strong element of national continuity and pride.
You'll find you won't have much of a problem with the language barrierr as English is well communicated by many Greeks, especially in the Islands.

Below you will find some important phrases that will have you sounding like a Greek in no time!

Good afternoon / evening= Kalispera (kah-lees-PEH-rah)
Good night = Kalinikta (kah-lee-NEEK-tah)
Goodbye = kherete (KHE-reh-tay)
Hello = Yassou (YAH-sue)
How are you? = Ti kanis? (tee-KAH-nis)
Well / good = Poli kala (po-LEE kah-LAH)
Thank you = Efkharisto (eff-kah-rees-TOH)
You're welcome / please = Parakalo (pah-rah-kah-LOH)
Sorry = Signomi (seegh-NO-mee)
Yes = Ne (neh)
No = Ohi (OH-hee)
What's your name? = Pos se lene? (POHS seh LEH-neh)
My name is... = Me lene... (meh LEH-neh...)
Can you help me? = Borite na me? (boh-REE-teh nah)
What time is it? = Ti ora ine? (tee OH-rah EE-neh)
Where is...? = Pou ine? (POO EE-neh)
I want... = Thelo (THEH-loh)
How much is it? = Poso kani (poh-soh KAH-nee)
Left = Aristera (ah-rees-teh-RAH)
Right = Dexia (thek-see-AH)
Open = Aniktos (ah-neek-TOHS)
Closed = Klistos (klees-TOHS
Do you speak English? = Milas Anglika? (mee-LAHS Ang-lee-KAH?)
I don't understand = Den Katalaveno (then-kah-tah-lag-VEH-no)

Reviews

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Classic Greece & Santorini & Country Reviews

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Posted 10th of Aug 2016

Excellent