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A Portrait of Greece Tour

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A Portrait of Greece OVERVIEW

TOUR SUMMARY

9 days

Athens to Athens

ON REQUEST

Country(ies): Greece

Tour type: Escorted

Group size: Min: 6 | Max: 14

Accommodation: 3-4-star hotels & boutique guesthouses

Meals:

Transport: A/C Minibus, ferry & flights

Highlights: Athens - Acropolis ruins, streets of Plaka, food market; Milos - Sarakiniko rock formations, boat trip, Klima & Mandrakia fishing villages, Kastro sunset; Santorini - streets of Oia, Kastro sunset, wine tasting

Greece is a bucket list destination if you love taking breathtaking photos! The Portrait of Greece Photography Workshop & Tour follows the hugely popular Italy & Thailand photography tours escorted by Me Ra Koh (Disney’s Photo Mom), and her husband, Brian Tausend (award winning photographer and cinematographer). This Greek photography tour will discover the ancient history of Athens and explore its most picturesque neighborhoods before heading to the beautiful Greek volcanic islands of Milos and Santorini. The pink, orange, and gold colors that reflect off the white washed island buildings at sunset, the rock formations resting in the clear, turquoise waters, the beaches and crisp blue skies in spring make for fantastic images, while the friendly locals, famous food and relaxed atmosphere make this an ideal setting for you to develop your photography skills. Every shooting location has been scouted out by Me Ra and Brian to set you up for success regardless of whether you’re a beginner or paid pro! They will empower you to capture your journey through professional hands-on teaching, photo reviews in the evening, inspiring daily photo assignments that help challenge your skills, and ensure you will laugh more than you ever bargained for while having your creative pot well filled and acquiring new technical skills with your camera! Accommodations are in boutique style hotels, friendly family run guesthouses and end with luxury cave suites in the most beautiful village on Santorini. Most of your meals are included, including some special food & wine tastings. All levels of photography are welcome. See below for the daily itinerary! It’s epic!

Note: Me Ra and Brian's Photography Workshop Tours tend to fill up early so we recommend booking well in advance with a $1,000 deposit to reserve your spot.

Check out some of the group’s images and read about the adventures from Me Ra and Brian’s latest photography workshop tour Portrait of Thailand!

ITINERARY

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Day 1 Arrive in Athens, transfer to hotel

We meet you on your arrival in Athens airport today and transfer you to your hotel in the city center. Subject to final flight arrival times, we will arrange a visit to a viewpoint to photograph the phenomenal, ancient Acropolis in the twilight. Right off the bat, Brian and Me Ra will begin teaching photographic skills that you'll practice all week!

OVERNIGHT:

Athens hotel

MEALS:

None

EXTRAS:

Extra day in Athens - pre-tour


Day 2 Athens tour, fly to Milos

Today we start with a group photo assignment specific to what you will be seeing! We'll see the colorful and vibrant Plaka area before exploring 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. Subject to time, while at the Acropolis you could also visit the impressive museum, the towering entrance of Propylaea, the Erechtheion, and the Temple of the Athene Nike.

In the afternoon we'll head to the airport to fly to the island of Milos where we stay in a comfortable hotel on the edge of the main village of Adamas. We are here in Milos at the very start of the season which is an ideal time to visit! Spring flowers should still be in bloom, the weather will be warm and sunny, but the island will still be quiet and free from the large numbers of tourists who visit from June to August. In the evening we'll head out for a delicious traditional Greek meal, review your images, and reflect on our first taste of Greece.

OVERNIGHT:

Milos hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 3 Milos exploration

Put on your sun hat and island clothes! With a new photo exercise, we'll spend the day exploring the island's beautiful scenery and discovering with your camera why it's called the 'Island of Colours'. Me Ra and Brian will design the day based around the day's weather and their knowledge of the island. Highlights on the island include the beautiful hilly interior, Pollonia town and beach, the amazing moon-like landscape at Sarakiniko, the small port of Mandrakia and Firopotamos village. Finally, we'll hope for a spectacular sunset from Klima fishing village. In the evening, we'll enjoy another traditional Greek meal in a local restaurant.

OVERNIGHT:

Milos Hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 4 Milos boat trip, sunset at the Kastro

We take a boat trip around the island today, concentrating on capturing some of the vivid, colorful scenery and strange rock formations created by the volcanic history of the island. There will be time for a swim and sunbathe, though the waters will still be fairly cool at this time of year.

Finally, we'll ascend to the Kastro at sunset for an amazing and iconic view out across the sea with the church in the foreground. Brian and Me Ra will teach you techniques and strategies for capturing gorgeous sunset travel themed photography with high contrast in fading, golden light.

OVERNIGHT:

Milos Hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 5 Milos to Santorini

If you haven’t taken a deep, wonderful breath yet, you will exhale even more with today’s turn of events. We leave Milos reluctantly this morning and take the ferry to the epic, gorgeous, volcanic island of Santorini. On arrival, we get our first view of the huge underwater caldera and surrounding cliffs that were created by a massive volcanic eruption in the 16th century. The two main towns of the island, Fira and Oia cling to these cliffs with their iconic whitewashed, cubist style houses overlooking the bay and beaches made up of black, red and white lava pebbles. After leaving the airport we head to the romantic village of Oia which we call home for the next few nights. Ancient caves have been remodeled into luxury suites, and you may never want to leave the picturesque property! Breathe in the sea air and feel the warm sun, as we explore our new home with the camera before a great evening meal.

OVERNIGHT:

Santorini hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 6 Santorini photography & wine tasting

Our time on Santorini will be fairly relaxed and concentrate on photography exercises that take advantage of the beautiful morning and afternoon light, as well as the famous sunsets. 

We'll start the day by walking out from our hotel in Oia, which is a quintessential Greek village that's known for its sugar cube houses and gorgeous blue-domed churches. Then we'll head inland for a fun & informative wine tasting and lunch at one of the islands vinyards. The island has a unique viticulture that makes Santorini's vine-growing respected worldwide for its distinctive means of production. During the tour, we'll taste the island's signature wines such as Assyrtiko, Nykteri and Vinsanto. With wide angle lenses, we'll capture iconic vineyard imagery, and enjoy the tastings!  Lunch will be included before we return to our hotel. .

Oia is renowned as the very best place on the island to see the sunset, with its streets stacked into the side of the cliffs overlooking the spectacular caldera. We'll walk up to the old ruins of an ancient Venetian castle, known as the Kastro of Oia, and gaze down from the village and caldera to the sea. Me Ra and Brian will help set you up for success in capturing one of the most picturesque scenes you'll ever photograph at sunset.

Note - there are a lot of steps and steep walks up and down through the streets of Oia so you need to be relatively fit and mobile to make the best of your time here.

OVERNIGHT:

Santorini hotel

MEALS:

Lunch

EXTRAS:

None


Day 7 Santorini photography and free time

We have left today free to concentrate on more photography workshop and review sessions, along with morning and late afternoon walks, and another visit to the Kastro at sunset.

Options are also available locally to take to the water for a boat trip in the Caldara (approx. 5 hours). This can give a different perspective to the villages on the surrounding cliffs, as well as passing the Venetian Lighthouse and visiting several beautiful private bays for swimming and snorkeling. You can also visit the hot springs and enjoy a delicious barbecue lunch in a secluded bay.

Other options available locally include a visit to Santorini's famous Red Beach. The red cliffs, sand and sea here make for some beautiful images, as well as giving you some downtime to relax.

Finally this evening, when the stars are high, Brian will lead one of his popular astro-star photography night sessions. These night sessions are always a BIG highlight on the tour!

OVERNIGHT:

Santorini hotel

MEALS:

None

EXTRAS:

None


Day 8 Fly to Athens. Central market tour

Being a little sun kissed and full of inspiration, we head to the airport to return to Athens. In the afternoon, we visit the huge and bustling public market in the center of Athens for some final sightseeing, great photo opportunities, and souvenir shopping! In the evening, we enjoy a final meal together and look back on what we've enjoyed capturing. We'll reflect on your photography skills and how your knowledge has developed. And be on the lookout, there may be a few, final surprises from Me Ra and Brian!

Note - If you would like to spend more time on Santorini, or head from here to another Greek island that is certainly possible. You can either make arrangements independently or we will be happy to assist. If several people do choose to do this we will move our final group meal to Santorini rather than in Athens.

OVERNIGHT:

Athens hotel

MEALS:

Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 9 Athens, free time, transfer to airport for departure

Your time is free today until we transfer you to the airport for your departure flight. Extra nights in Athens are available if you would like to spend some more time here.

OVERNIGHT:

N/A

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

Extra day in Athens - post-tour


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Included:
  • All accommodation as stated in the itinerary (boutique style hotels and guesthouses)
  • All transport and transfers
  • Domestic flight tickets for Athens to Milos, and Santorini to Athens
  • Milos to Santorini ferry crossing
  • Port-hotel-port transfers on Greek islands
  • 24-hour airport arrival & departure transfer service
  • Services of local tour guide in Athens
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Photography workshops

Excluded:
  • International flights (available on request)
  • Visa fees (not required for most nationalities)
  • Travel insurance (compulsory, available on request)
  • Hotel residence tax (see tour notes)
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Drinks, snacks and other personal expenses (e.g. laundry)
  • Tips for guides & drivers
  • Any other items not mentioned above
Notes:

Ferry crossings:
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.

Photography
This tour is designed for ALL levels of photography. Me Ra and Brian have been teaching photography workshops, photographing and filming abroad for over eight years. Their first Italy workshop in May 2015 was a huge success and we've been back to Italy and Thailand for further workshops since then. Me Ra Koh is also one of the select Sony Artisans of Imagery, inspiring both beginners and pros. They have both photographed, filmed and produced content for Disney, Travel Channel, Target and more. Whether you are a newbie who simply loves taking photos and/or video or a pro wanting to be creatively refreshed, Me Ra and Brian will take you to new levels with your camera proficiency and creativity while exploring Athens and some beautiful Greek islands. If your spouse, relative or friend is not a photographer but wants to experience Greece, they are more than welcome to join us. There will be plenty of sightseeing and touring along the way too (do bear in mind though that the pace and timing of the tour will be based around the photographers in the group).

Several photography workshop break-out sessions will be included during the tour. You'll start each morning with Me Ra and Brian discussing the day's upcoming itinerary and how to approach the locations with your camera. They'll walk you through photo examples, specific shooting techniques, creative composition, lighting, editing, and the best camera settings for specific subjects (i.e. breathtaking architecture of Athens, contrasting colourful volcanic beaches and cliffs on Milos, white painted houses and winding alleys on Santorini, gorgeous island sunsets, the old men playing cards in the town square, and the night’s sky through time lapse, etc.). There will be ample time for personal feedback and hands-on help from both Me Ra and Brian. And you'll be given a daily photo exercise for you to enjoy (not compulsory, just a fun way to enhance your journey). Most of all, you are going to have an AMAZING adventure that will take your breath away many times over nine days of magic! You'll find you want to take a photo every few steps because Greece really is that picturesque!

There is also built in time for wandering, exhaling, taking in the scenery, and always freedom to skip a photography workshop or group dinner. Me Ra and Brian are always available and there to enhance your experience, but we want you to feel free to take space at any time to soak up the magic of Italy with your journal and camera alone.

Room basis: Prices are per person based on sharing a twin/double room.
Single travellers: Single travellers may share a twin (non-smoking) room with another single traveller of the same sex, or pay an extra single room supplement to guarantee themselves a single room throughout the tour. If you are happy to share, and it turns out that a same-sex room share is not available for you, then you do not need to pay the supplement.
Group size: Group size - min 5, max 14.
Flights: Prices shown are 'land only'. We sell the tour this way because we know we will get people wanting to travel from various different parts of the USA, and other parts of the world too. We are very happy to arrange your flights for you, and will provide a range of options for different airlines and flight times from your preferred departure airport. Alternatively you may make your own arrangements. Either way, we will be there in Athens airport to greet you, and transfer you back to the airport for your departure flight.
Dates: If you are flying from the USA you will almost certainly need to depart one day early as most flights to Greece will be overnight. Your return flight should land back in the USA on the same day you depart Greece. If you are booking a land only package, you should plan to arrive anytime on Day 1 and depart on Day 9 (we'd recommend aiming for early arrivals and late departures to make the most of your time). Extra nights are available in Athens at either end of the tour.
Airport transfers: Your airport arrival and departure transfers are included in the price of the tour. We'll be arranging several transfers through the day, so there may be a short wait to meet other group members arriving at similar times.
Tour escort: This is a fully escorted tour. Me Ra Koh and Brian Tausend will host the trip and handle all other arrangements for the tour while you are there (eg. hotel check ins, included meals, entrance fees etc.). You will also be accompanied by some local guides for particular sections of the tour.
Visas: Are not required for travel to Greece for US / Canadian / European travellers.
Travel Insurance: Is a mandatory requirement for travel on any of our tours. This must cover medical expenses/repatriation/personal liability, though we strongly recommend you also take out cover for cancellation, lost/stolen baggage, and travel delays. Personal medical insurance is not generally suitable. We can offer a comprehensive policy to go with this tour costing from USD 62 per person (however you should check the value of your photographic equipment is covered by this policy or by other insurance you may hold). More information will be provided at booking.

Booking:

Waiting list places are available for a planned 2019 departure.

A non-refundable deposit of USD 1000 (or equivalent) is required to secure your place (plus the full cost of any international flights you may book through us). The remaining balance will be due 8 weeks before departure. Payment plans are available if you would like to pay the balance in installments.

Payments may be made by credit card (Visa/Mastercard) or international bank transfer. Full details will be provided on booking.

Gallery


Dates and Prices

This tour runs on the set date(s) shown below. If you are interested in arranging a similar escorted tour for a group you would like to put together, we can certainly arrange this for you (subject to escort availability).

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

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.

Hotel Amalia

Hotel Amalia

Athens


This modern hotel has an excellent location, within walking distance of the city centre and great views of the Acropolis. It has It features comfortable rooms with satellite & pay TV and Wi-Fi internet access.

Local rating

Our rating

 Hotel Amalia Hotel Amalia

Centrally located in Syntagma Square in Athens, Amalia Hotel is right across from the National Gardens. It features comfortable rooms with satellite & pay TV and Wi-Fi internet access.

The modern rooms at Amalia Hotel are spacious and have air conditioning. Deluxe rooms have balcony with views of the National Gardens, the Lycabettus Hill and the Parliament.

A rich American buffet breakfast and a la carte lunch or dinner is served in Amalia's restaurant. Light snacks and drinks are served at the Chrysalis Lobby Lounge bar.

Amalia Hotel is just a 10-minute walk from the Acropolis and Plaka, next to the commercial district of Ermou. It provides easy access to the main metro and tram terminals, whilst the airport express bus is just 50 yards from the hotel.

Awarded with the Green Key eco-label, Amalia Hotel uses environmentally friendly toiletries and cleaning products, as well as quality organic foods and drinks.

Aris Caves

Aris Caves

Santorini


This property is 12 minutes walk from the beach. Carved into the volcanic rock, facing the Caldera, Aris Caves offers self-contained accommodation with breathtaking view over the sea.

Local rating

Our rating

 Aris Caves Aris Caves

This property is 12 minutes walk from the beach. Carved into the volcanic rock, facing the Caldera, Aris Caves offers self-contained accommodation with breathtaking view over the sea. Free luggage porter service is provided.

Aris Caves offers furnished rooms, each with its unique decorative features. All units are air-conditioned with kitchenette with fridge, coffee maker and toaster. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, bathrobes and hairdryer.

Oia centre is a 10-minute walk. Guests will find restaurants and bars, only 100 yards from the complex. Guests are greeted with a welcome pack with area maps, restaurant suggestions and more.

Santa Maria Village

Santa Maria Village

Adamas


The Santa Maria Village hotel is located in the port village of Adamas, and is just 350m from Papikinou Beach. Adamas Port and the Church of the Holy Trinity are also within 15 minutes walk.

Local rating

Our rating

 Santa Maria Village Santa Maria Village

The Santa Maria Village hotel is located in the port village of Adamas, and is just 350m from Papikinou Beach. Adamas Port and the Church of the Holy Trinity are also within 15 minutes walk. The views over the Aegean Sea from the gardens and pool are lovely. The setting is both quiet and peaceful while being close enough for easy access into Adamas. There is also a sun terrace, poolside bar, snack bar/deli and a hot tub next to the seasonal outdoor pool. Free WiFi is available in public areas and stretches to some rooms.

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 (GRETPG)

Single Room Supplement (GRETPG)

Min numbers: 1 person


This option books a single room for you throughout the tour. Solo travellers who are are happy to share a twin-bedded (non-smoking) room do not need to pay this supplement. A limited number of single rooms are available in the Santorini hotel.

Price from
R10839
per person

This option books a single room in all the accommodation throughout the tour. If you are a solo traveller and would be happy to share a room, let us know and we aim to pair you up with another single traveller of the same sex. If a room share does not become available then you do not need to pay the supplement. Due to the small size of some of the Greek island properties we will stay in, a limited number of single supplements are available.

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. Transport

This tour uses a variety of means of transport. These include air conditioned minibuses for transfers and tours in Athens, and internal flights from Athens to Milos, and Santorini back to Athens.

We will be hiring four vehicles while on Milos and will contact the group for a couple of volunteer drivers. Milos is a small island with little traffic and quiet roads making driving there easy and relatively stress free.

The journey from Milos to Santorini is done on a fast ferry. This does mean that the itinerary 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.

  2. Transfers

You will be met on your arrival in Athens airport and transferred back to the airport for your flight home at the end of the tour. These transfers are included on Day 1 and Day 9 of the tour. Several transfers will be arranged during the day, based around the group's arrival times. There may therefore be a short wait for other traveller(s) to arrive before your transfer departs.

If you are adding extra days in Athens before or after the tour, then we can arrange airport transfers if your accommodation is booked through us. If you make your own accommodation arrangements then we would ask that you also arrange your own airport transfers.


  3. Group Size/Tour Leaders/Guides

We set our photography workshop tours to have a small group size, with a minimum of 6 and maximum of 14 travellers. This is larger than some photography workshop trips, but this tour is escorted by two tour leaders and photography teachers rather than just one. In addition, when group sizes are over 10 we often take another assistant along as well. This ensures that everyone gets plenty of one-to-one teaching.

These tours tend to fill up quickly, but as there is a minimum number required for the trip to run, we still recommend that you do not book any connecting travel (eg. international flights) until we confirm your booking and that minimum numbers have been reached.

Your hosts for the tour are Me Ra Koh and Brian Tausend who will accompany you throughout. In addition, local guides may accompany you for specific sections of the tour. We also have representatives in Athens who will arrange your airport transfers.

Me Ra Koh, the Photo Mom

Me Ra is the leading photography expert and educator to moms with cameras. She hosts the Disney Junior TV show Capture Your Story with Me Ra Koh. Her latest show involves the whole family, Adventure Family, a new YouTube channel that inspires viewers every Thursday to unplug and go off the beaten path because the family that builds dreams together builds dreams!  She is the author of the national bestselling series, Your Baby in Pictures: The New Parents’ Guide to Photographing Your Baby’s First Year and Your Child in Pictures: The Parents’ Guide to Photographing Your Toddler and Child from Age One to Ten and Your Family in Pictures: The Parents’ Guide to Photographing Holidays, Family Portraits, and Everyday Life reaching #1, #2 and #3 at the same time on Amazon’s Top 10 Best Seller List.  Me Ra is also the guest photography expert for Live with Kelly, The Nate Berkus Show, and Lifetime Television. She is proud to be one of the original select SONY Artisans of Imagery since 2007.  Her writing, photography and photo recipes have been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, VH1, and Martha Stewart Living, as well as in the New York Times, Parenting, Yahoo Shine, American Baby, Women’s World, Associated Press, Huffington Post, Popular Photography, American Photo, and CLICK. Not only do tens of thousands of moms follow her blog and LIVE sessions on Facebook for photo tips and creative inspiration, but she also writes for Disney’s Babble and Conde Nast Traveler in which she inspires moms to not only capture their family but live their best life.  Her award-winning photography has been exhibited from coast to coast.  Her Egypt photography was given the honor of being on exhibit in The Natural History Museum in NYC.  Her instructional DVDs, Refuse to Say Cheese and Beyond the Green Box, both won the prestigious national Gold Seal Award from National Parenting Publication Awards.  Me Ra holds a series of travel photography workshops abroad and online each year.  Her 2-Day CONFIDENCE Photography Workshop in Dallas, TX is for women only and has sold out since 2007.  She works closely with partners like Disney, SONY, Sesame Street, Southwest Airlines, select travel companies, and Target to find ways to inspire the creative hearts of women.  You can even find her at your local Target and Best Buy!  Me Ra is a sought after, inspirational keynote speaker who brings empowerment, humor and tears to all her audiences.  She is afraid of escalators in big cities, scuba diving and rock climbing, but she does all three (unless an elevator is nearby).  Find her at www.merakoh.com and www.youtube.com/AdventureFamily.

Brian Tausend, Director, Cinematographer and Exec Producer

Brian Tausend has produced, filmed and directed projects for some of the largest networks and retailer brands (Disney, NBC, Scripps Network, Sony and Target).  He entered the production and directing world when he first produced, scripted and starred (as the nutty professor) in the instructional photography DVD series for parents, Refuse to Say Cheese and Beyond the Green Box, with his wife, Me Ra Koh, in 2006.  The series was given the Gold Seal Award from National Parenting Publications Association.  Fox News called it one of the “Top Ten Holiday Gifts” for parents.  Sony licensed the script to create their own instructional DVD “Kids in Focus” that enhanced their holiday camera bundles in retail stores.  Brian went on to direct and film digital asset content for The Nate Berkus Show on NBC.  He both co-produced and was a cinematographer for the Disney Junior TV series Capture Your Story with Me Ra Koh.  He was both Director and Cinematographer for a digital asset mini-series commissioned by Sony and Target to engage and reward loyal customers with continued educational content and engagement with social media as the engine.  And he directed an original web based series for Scripps Network on family travel.  His most recent project has been his dream for years, a family travel show that takes viewers off-the-beaten path.  With Me Ra and their kids, they sold their home, put all their belongings in storage, and bought one way tickets to go around the world.  You can watch their weekly episodes at www.youtube.com/AdventureFamily.  Aside from his family, Brian’s passion is two part—to explore the world and capture stories along the way.  He and his wife love empowering other enthusiast photo lovers.  Brian and Me Ra launched their popular CONFIDENCE Photography Workshops for Women in 2007 and continue to sell them out nationwide.  They've extended their teaching to now include their Portrait of the World photography workshops, where they take you off-the-beaten path to explore destinations around the world. Workshop attendees affectionately know Brian as the “walking camera manual” because he has read them all and can help you fix just about any setting on your camera. 


  4. 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)


  5. 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.


  6. 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.


  7. 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.


  8. 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.


  9. 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.


  10. 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).


  11. 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')


  12. 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


  13. 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.


  14. 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.


  15. 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.


  16. 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.


  17. 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.


  18. 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.

  19. 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.


  20. 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.


  21. 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).


  22. 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.

Reviews

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A Portrait of Greece & Country Reviews

Product Review


Posted 3rd of Jan 2019

We had knowledgeable tour guides who really gave us a the context within which to visit the ancient sites. We were there during the off season, so much less crowded but operating hours for the sites were shorter. Meals and accommodations were all good quality.

Product Review


Posted 13th of Aug 2018

Hotels and amenities were great. Ours was a small tour group which made it much better because we were older and would have slowed down a large group.

Product Review


Posted 6th of Jul 2017

Great tour and a great value