Athens, Santorini, Crete and Istanbul
A 14 – Day Under the Mediterranean Sun
The treasures of Athens… the romance of the Greek isles. What’s better than a journey with a cherished companion to one of these prized destination?
This is a trip tailored to make the most of that special company and unique occasion, be it an anniversary, a honeymoon, or a singular chance to be alone and away. We have selected superior and deluxe hotels notable for their charm, atmosphere, and, of course, fine service. Tour starts Daily in Athens, April-November. Click for the Mykonos/Santorini edition. To add Syros, Delos and Naxos, please click here.
DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN ATHENS – Daily – April to November:
Our Athens-based personnel meets you at the international airport, assists you with the formalities, and sees you to your charming and comfortable four-star hotel, your base for the next two nights. Check in, relax, then take a stroll through the lively streets. Browse for treasures and curios, savor a coffee or aperitif at a terrace café, or enjoy a fine meal in the old Plaka district.
DAY 2: ATHENS (B)
Enjoy the sights, sounds, and flavors of the Greek capital, today we have included a group guided half day tour of Syntagma Square, and the towering Acropolis with its new museum.
DAY 3: ATHENS, SANTORINI (B)
We’ll call for you and see you to the airport for your flight over the blue Aegean to Santorini (Air fare included), Isle of Ancient “Atlantis”(?!), where you’ll find a room waiting in a four-star beach hotel. Or a cliff-side Villa.
DAY 4: Santorini (B)
Enjoy breakfast at your lovely hotel (or Villa) or venture out to explore ON YOUR OWN.
DAY 5: Santorini (B)
Enjoy breakfast at your lovely hotel (or Villa), another day for you to explore Santorini on your own. Some suggestions that you may wish to consider (on your own): Akrotiri, reputedly the site of fabled Atlantis. Then on to Athinios port to take a boat across to the dormant volcano and ascend through a crater-pocked moonscape to the crater. Visit Thirassia Island and watch sunset in Oia. Return to your hotel/villa early evening – the decision is totally yours.
DAY 6: Santorini – Own activities (B)
Whether to stay in your lovely hotel and enjoy the beach, the service, and the amenities, or to venture out to explore some of the dramatic cliffs, coves, and villages… that is the question! No doubt, you’ll mix a bit of both; relax, and revisit a favorite café or shop, sip an ouzo or retsina at a waterside café, discover a beach or two, or pick up a loaf of fresh bread and cheese and olives, and picnic on a hillside as you look out to the sailboats at sea. Your days will be filled.
DAY 7: SANTORINI, CRETE (B)
We’ll rendezvous in time to take you to your flight to Crete, Heraklion & your hotel. Flights operate only on Thursday & Saturday. On other days, it will be the ferry which is 5 hours (business class), or flights via Athens (Supplement applies$).
DAY 8: CRETE (B)
Today in Heraklion explore Crete as you wish on your own – maybe visit the unique 5000 year old museum, and tour to the three-story Minoan palace of Knossos (this is an optional tour).
DAY 9: CRETE (B)
Enjoy your stay at the hotel or explore one of the beaches. Or explore on your own the Venetian part of the old town, see below more details on tours in Crete.
DAY 10: CRETE /ISTANBUL (Via Athens) (BD)
Breakfast at the hotel. Then we’ll call for you and see you to the airport to begin your journey across the Aegean to Istanbul after connecting at Athens Airport. Air fare is included in our rate, economy class (free to upgrade to business class if/when available based on plane’s configuration), tax included. Ticket is issued & delivered in Athens. Arrival in Istanbul. Our personnel will be on hand to greet you upon arrival and see you to your Hotel or, if you prefer, an Ottoman mansion-style boutique hotel in the old part of the Turkish capital, please let’s know your preference at the time of booking.
This evening we have included dinner at a charming local restaurant, round trip transfers are of course included. Return to your hotel and overnight.
DAY 11: ISTANBUL (BL)
Imperial Constantinople in the Belle Epoque (late 19th century), the exotic romance of the “Paris of the East.”
Morning walking tour: We start with our guide in Karaköy where the foreign bankers and shipping companies had their headquarters, then take the Tünel up to istiklal Caddesi; stop in the whirling dervish tekke, and walk past the various old embassy buildings (now consulates), and point out the architecture. Stop for tea (included) at the famous Pera Palace Hotel.
Walk at least as far as Galatasaray Square, and have lunch in the Çicek Pasaji (Flower Passage); then walk up to Taksim Square and be picked up for the afternoon tour. Lunch is included at a charming local restaurant.
In the afternoon tour we will visit Yildiz Palace Park and the Ihlamur Kasri, a mini-palace south of Yildiz, and finish up with a visit to the Military History Museum in Harbiye in time to hear the “Mehter,” or Ottoman military band (mid-afternoon).
DAY 12: ISTANBUL (BL)
Istanbul’s history was formed by the Bosphorus, the winding strait that separates Europe and Asia, connecting the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara. Now, as in ancient times, it is a maritime vital link between the countries bordering the Black Sea and those in the rest of the world. Today we take a leisurely cruise northward along this historic waterway. Along its shores are ranged palaces great and small-Topkapi, Dolmabahçe, Beylerbeyi, Küçüksu, Hünkar Iskelesi. Four great fortresses rise on the hills, reminding us that to control the Bosphorus was to control the destinies of nations.
Our afternoon cruise (morning cruise for Oct-Apr season) of two continents, crossing from Europe to Asia and back, includes visits to the Navy’s Museum (showing some magnificent boats used by the Ottoman Sultans), the Bosphorus Bridge, Çamlica Hill lookout, and stupendous Dolmabahçe Palace.
We enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Then go on a shopping spree at the labyrinth of the Grand Bazaar. You won’t want to miss The Grand Bazaar as it offers endless bargains in the 5000 stands, kiosks, and shops. Soak up the atmosphere of a traditional coffee house, complete with bubbling water pipes.
DAY 13: ISTANBUL (BLD)
We dive right into this fascinating city with visits to its top sights: Topkapi, the palace of the Sultans for centuries; Hagia Sophia, the greatest church in Christendom for a thousand years; the Blue Mosque, with its exquisite blue tiles; the Byzantine Hippodrome, scene of chariot races and gladiator combat; and the eerie Sunken Palace cistern beneath it. Then we go on a shopping spree at the labyrinth of the Grand Bazaar. Join us for Istanbul by Night, a dinner tour with live music and belly dancing Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
DAY 14: ISTANBUL – Departure
Our Istanbul-based personnel assist you with the transfer to Istanbul international airport. Gulugule – Bon Voyage!
|Rate in US $, per person in double occupancy:|
Superior (4 stars)
|Triple occupancy||$ 5930.00||$ 6610.00||$ 7525.00|
|Double Occupancy||$ 6060.00||$ 6920.00||$ 7675.00|
- Air transportation from Athens to Santorini, Crete, and back to Athens and on to Istanbul, in economy class, tax included, with free upgrade to business class if/when available based on plane’s configuration.
- Santorini from Santorini to Crete by ferry or air based on the itinerary & dates you choose, if/when using ferry then we’ll use business class as long as it is available at the time of your booking, most of the domestic flights in Greece are configured only as economy class planes.
- Transportation between airport and hotels in Greece, always on a private basis.
- Accommodations with breakfast (B) as indicated below, or at comparable properties, according to availability.
- Guided sightseeing as indicated in each of: ATHENS, CRETE, including preset menu lunch as indicated “L”.
- Entrance fees for all sites listed in the itinerary.
- International air transportation.
- Optional excursions, such as tours on Santorini, sailing, cruising
- Any meal not specifically mentioned, beverages,
- Personal expenses
- Gratuities for local personnel
- Travel insurance
- Airport taxes.
- Visa Fee for Turkey: (procure yours online in advance of travel at www.evisa.gov.tr/en/)
- Visa fee for Greece if needed based on your nationality.