The Greek Islands

13 days
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About This Experience

It’s nearly impossible to get a true taste of Greek culture without sampling its flavorful isles. Experience the relaxed lifestyle and vibrant locals that color all the islands, spending time to discover the character and history unique to each locale. Absorb the mainstays of the mainland in ancient Athens, before soaking in Crete’s legendary landscapes. Cruise the Aegean to the volcanic shores of Santorini and anchor on the star-studded beaches of lively Mykonos.

Your Tour Includes

  • Round-trip airfare & transfers

  • 11 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 4 three-course dinners with beer or wine

  • Guided sightseeing

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Select entrance fees

How's the weather?

  • Athens, Greece
  • Crete, Greece
  • Mykonos, Greece
  • Istanbul, Turkey
Temperature Precipitation
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

Overnight Flight1 night

Day1

Baklava, fresh feta, ouzo—Greece is close enough to taste

Your trip begins with a regularly scheduled overnight flight to Athens aboard an internationally recognized airline.

Athens2 nights - hotel info

Day2

Experience Europe’s oldest capital with fresh eyes

Breakfast (in flight), Dinner

Welcome to Athens! A Go Ahead representative greets you at the airport after you clear customs and then escorts you to your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to relax or begin acquainting yourself with Athens. At an included dinner this evening, meet your fellow travelers.

Day3

Greet the goddess in permanent residence at the City on the Hill

Optional Excursion - Cape Sounion

Breakfast

Acropolis site

A local guide introduces you to the highlights of this bustling ancient capital. On your tour of the Acropolis—the original City on a Hill—you can walk amid the ruins of the Parthenon and the Temple of Athena Nike. Descending from the Acropolis, view the Presidential Guard in their traditional costumes and the classically inspired Greek Parliament. Then pass through Syntagma Square, where you’ll see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. After your tour, opt for an excursion to Cape Sounion, where you can see the inspiring Temple of Poseidon.

Optional Excursions

Cape Sounion $35* pp

Journey to the southern tip of the Attic Peninsula to take in the sights of the Poseidon Coast, including sandy beaches, natural and manmade harbors and, of course, the Aegean Sea itself. High above the sparkling shoreline, the Temple of Poseidon dominates the landscape. Of the original structure, 16 elegant Doric pillars remain. Afterward, decide how you'd like to spend your free time. Take a moment to look out from the lofty cliffside vantage point, where you can see five Aegean islands on a clear day. You may also choose to enjoy a coffee, stop in the souvenir shop or stroll through the area. Please note: This excursion involves some walking on uneven terrain.

Crete2 nights - hotel info

Day4

Legend has it these labyrinths once held a minotaur

Breakfast, Dinner

Palace of Knossos

This morning fly to Heraklion on the island of Crete, where you’ll enjoy a guided tour. Visit Knossos, the royal complex of the ancient King Minos. As ruler of the Minoans, King Minos enjoyed an opulent reign. His ancient palace includes 1,300 rooms, an alabaster throne and strikingly modern plumbing. Knossos is also the setting for the Minotaur legend, according to which King Minos imprisoned the Minotaur in a labyrinth. Dinner is included.

Day5

Turquoise lagoons to mountain peaks, explore all of Crete

Optional Excursion - Hania & Fodhele

Breakfast

Explore Crete on your own today. You might choose to visit some of the island’s architecturally interesting churches or see the Minoan ruins at Faistós or Górtys. You might also choose to join an excursion to Venetian- and Turkish-influenced Hania and the picturesque town of Fodhele.

Optional Excursions

Hania & Fodhele $99* pp

Travel to Chania, where a local guide will introduce you to the city's Old Town. You'll visit Chania's cathedral before a walk through the Venetian quarter, where you'll reach Etz Hayyim, the only synagogue on the island of Crete and a symbol of the city's ages-old Jewish community. Your guided tour ends at the port where you'll visit an ancient mosque. On your way back to Heraklion, you'll visit the village of Fodhele, the birthplace of the painter El Greco. Lunch is included on this excursion.

Santorini3 nights - hotel info

Day6

Step on shore and watch your vision of island paradise come to life

Breakfast, Dinner

Transfer via ferry to Santorini, an island of stunning volcanic landscapes, black-sand beaches, sprawling vineyards and cliff-lined shores. Dinner is included this evening.

Day7

The history is written on the wall—discover the frescoes of Fira

Breakfast

Akrotiri excavations

On your guided tour of Santorini, visit the Akrotiri Excavations, the ruins of a Minoan Bronze Age settlement. The afternoon is free to explore as you please.

Day8

Savor Santorini’s big three: black sands, sunsets and white wine

Optional Excursion - Greek Wine Tasting & Lunch

Breakfast

Today is free to enjoy Santorini’s charms as you please. Santorini is renowned for its white wine because the volcanic soil is ideal for cultivating grapes, so you might consider an optional lunch and wine-tasting excursion.

Optional Excursions

Greek Wine Tasting & Lunch $45* pp

Santorini was once a volcano, and the island's nutrient-rich soil nurtures some outstanding vineyards. On this excursion, you'll enjoy a tour through a local winery followed by a wine tasting and an included lunch overlooking the Aegean.

Mykonos2 nights - hotel info

Day9

Join the sun-seekers and party-goers on the beaches of Mykonos

Breakfast, Dinner

From the Santorini harbor, travel by ferry to Mykonos this morning. After a leisurely cruise, you’ll arrive in Mykonos by early afternoon. The rest of the day is yours to explore or relax.

Day10

Relax or roam the sacred isle at the heart of the Cyclades

Optional Excursion - Delos

Breakfast

Enjoy a free day in Mykonos or take an optional excursion to view the ancient ruins on the island of Delos.

Optional Excursions

Delos $79* pp

Journey by boat to the island of Delos, rich with mythological history and once one of Greece's most sacred spots. Your guided tour of the island's ancient city will transport you to the time when this was an important center for trade in silk, spices and slaves. You can explore the ruins of the Sanctuary of Apollo, the Sacred Cave, the Lion Terrace and the House of Dionysus, where you'll find a breathtaking mosaic of the god Dionysus.

Athens2 nights - hotel info

Day11

Rekindle your love affair with ancient Athens

Optional Excursion - Greek Folklore Evening

Breakfast

Board a ferry in Mykonos this morning for your return trip to Athens. This afternoon and evening are free for you to continue your explorations of the ancient city. Tonight, you might opt to join our Greek Folklore Dinner, featuring live music and traditional Greek dancing.

Optional Excursions

Greek Folklore Evening $65* pp

Head down to Athens' lively Plaka district for a night of food and fun. You'll enjoy Greek specialties along with a showcase of traditional dances from across Greece, including the well-known plate dance. Careful, though: our travelers have been known to jump on stage and join in the fun. Opa!

Day12

Scour the artifacts, stroll the gardens or summon the oracles

Optional Excursion - Delphi

Breakfast

With a full day at your leisure, plan to visit any of the city’s excellent museums or take a walk in the National Gardens. Alternatively, join an optional excursion to the Temple of Apollo in Delphi. Lunch is included on this excursion.

Optional Excursions

Delphi $85* pp

Journey to the slopes of Mount Parnassus and the town of Delphi, home of the mystical oracle. Embark on a guided tour featuring the Temple of Apollo, where, according to legend, the god Apollo once communicated with mortals. Greece’s ancient military leaders customarily left gifts here in hopes of good fortune in battle. After an included lunch, visit the Delphi Museum. Take time to explore the collection on your own, which includes a huge bronze charioteer among its ancient treasures. Please note: This excursion involves some walking on uneven terrain and hills.

Day13

Pick your pleasure: home or the City of the World’s Desire

Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

If you are not continuing on our tour extension to Istanbul, a Go Ahead representative escorts you to the airport for your return flight home.

Extend Your Stay

Add Istanbul $449*

The cultural and economic capital of Turkey, Istanbul straddles Europe and Asia—both figuratively and geographically. Once known as Constantinople, this former capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires has long been a bustling and cosmopolitan crossroads. Experience the intersection of East and West at the Byzantine-built Hagia Sophia, the Ottoman-era Blue Mosque and the exotic Topkapi Palace.

Istanbul3 nights - hotel info

Day13

Jet to Istanbul, crossroads of East and West

Breakfast

Transfer to Athens’ airport for your flight to Istanbul, the city at the crossroads of East and West. Upon arrival, a Go Ahead representative greets you and oversees your check-in at a well-located Istanbul hotel.

Day14

Stand at the social center of a bygone empire

Optional Excursion - Whirling Dervishes: Sufi Mystics

Breakfast

Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia

Your Turkish Tour Director, who is also a licensed guide, leads this morning’s sightseeing tour of the fascinating sights of Istanbul. Discover the ancient Hippodrome, which served as the public center of Byzantium for over a thousand years. Behold the breathtaking Blue Mosque, built by Sultan Ahmet and decorated with exquisite, blue Iznik tiles. Continue on to the Topkapi Palace, once the residence of the Ottoman sultans. Then visit Hagia Sophia. About 1,000 years older than St. Peter’s in Rome, this building was the pride of Christendom until the city fell to the Turks in 1453. This evening, opt for our Whirling Dervishes: Sufi Mystics excursion.

Optional Excursions

Whirling Dervishes: Sufi Mystics $49* pp

The Whirling Dervishes are devoted adherents of Sufism, a mystical interpretation of Islam. For centuries, they've been known for their sema, the spinning dance that inspired their colorful nickname. The sema is full of symbolism, and you'll gain an appreciation for this distinctive communion with the divine at tonight's performance.

Day15

Cruise the narrow waters that separate Asia from Europe

Optional Excursion - Bosphorus Straits Cruise

Breakfast

Spend the day exploring Istanbul at your own pace or choose an optional cruise through the Bosphorus Straits, where you can view Ottoman palaces and medieval castles.

Optional Excursions

Bosphorus Straits Cruise $55* pp

Cruise through the Bosphorus Straits, looking out on decadent Ottoman palaces and imposing medieval castles as you journey through the narrow waterway that separates Europe from Asia. On your way, you'll stop to visit the famous Egyptian bazaar, known as the Spice Market. After returning from your cruise, sit down to a lunch of Turkish specialties. Please note: This excursion is weather dependent. In some cases, dinner will be offered instead of lunch.

Day16

Say goodbye to the bazaars, the kebaps, the teas

Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

A Go Ahead representative assists you with the transfer to the airport for your return flight home.

Passport & Visa

In order to enter Greece (as well as Turkey on the tour extension), U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of reentry. A visa is also required for U.S. and Canadian passport holders to enter Turkey on the tour extension. Effective in 2014, U.S. and Canadian passport holders must obtain an electronic visa prior to arrival in Turkey. You can get an e-visa by visiting the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. The cost of a visa for entry into Turkey is $20 USD for U.S. citizens and $60 USD for Canadian citizens (payment is subject to change without notice). If you’re not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact each country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements. 

Baggage Allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you will have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage. 

Baggage Handling

Please note that porter service cannot be guaranteed on the ferry from Crete to Santorini and Santorini to Mykonos. Please be prepared to handle your own baggage. 

Clothing and Packing Tips

Due to the temperate climate, light, loose-fitting clothing that provides comfort when exploring the sights is essential for your tour. A sun hat, sunglasses and a sturdy pair of walking shoes are recommended for sightseeing. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for any eventuality—a lightweight sports jacket and emergency rainwear are advised. If you plan to visit an especially elegant restaurant or attend the opera or theater, you will probably feel more comfortable in something more formal. Also, remember that it is preferable not to visit churches or other religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (entrance may be denied on this basis). 

Health

There are no major health risks when traveling to Greece. During the summer months, take proper care for sun exposure. Also, codeine (commonly found in headache medications) is banned in Greece, and you may face prosecution if you bring it into the country. While no vaccinations are required for entry into Turkey (on extension), it is always advisable to check with your doctor or health-care provider for the latest updates and overseas travel recommendations. 

Cuisine

One of the pleasures of traveling is the variety of local cuisine. Greece’s climate ensures a constant supply of high-quality fresh fruits and vegetables. Salads are excellent here, served with olive oil and topped with feta cheese and oregano. Grilled fish and meat are also a staple. Barbecued lamb, squid, octopus, spinach and cheese pies, baked eggplant and zucchini are other delicious dishes. Turkish food is fresh and very carefully prepared. Sourdough bread with sheep’s cheese and olives, as well as jam or honey, is typically eaten for breakfast. A midday meal or dinner often starts with a meze, which is a plate of varied appetizers, such as cheese pastry rolls, pickled vegetables and potato fritters. Turkish coffee is extremely strong and thick. 

Transportation

Round-trip flights arrive in and depart from Athens. A flight from Athens to Heraklion is included. Ferry from Crete to Santorini, a ferry to Mykonos, and a ferry from Mykonos to Athens are also included. All other included transportation is by private motor coach. Despite the famed hustle and bustle of Athens, the city’s main attractions are easily accessed on foot. If you do need to use public transportation, however, there’s a brand-new metro system that was conveniently completed in time for the 2004 Olympics. It’s now one of Europe’s best.

Currency

The euro (in Greece) and the Turkish lira are the currencies you will be using on your tour. We advise that you take a combination of ATM/bank cards and credit cards, as needed. For Turkey, we recommend dollar bills in small denominations. Exchange small amounts of Turkish lira at one time in order to compensate for rising inflation. ATMs can also be found in Turkey, most connected to the Cirrus and Plus international networks. We suggest informing your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so they don’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.

Tipping

At the conclusion of your tour, it is customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.

Greece, Crete, and the islands

Wonderful experience. Terrific tour guide. We really did and saw so much that you will remember for the rest of your life. Take this tour. You won't be sorry.

5 / 5

Traveled On: 6/9/2000

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: PA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

MY FIRST TIME OVERSEAS

I sure picked the most wonderful tour for my first of many. The Greek Isles are beautiful. Our tour director Roberto made the trip so easy and educational. I am going next year with the same group to Spain with Roberto as our director. Early Oct. was the very best time to go, not crowded and weather was great.

5 / 5

Traveled On: 10/4/2013

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: WI

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

DREAM TRIP

Athens and the Greek Islands trip was.well-organized and a delight. It was also strenuous...future participants should be prepared for much walking and hill-climbing! Scenery was spectacular with Kodak, and as our Tour Director noted, "OMG" moments, at every turn. Tour Director,Roberto was a gem. His sense of humor and light touch were appreciated, especially while we navigated numerous plane/bus/ferry schedules. He kept us informed with a nightly posting of the next day's events, and seemed to enjoy leading our group through areas he obviously loves. Leaving the Island of Santorini was the most difficult part of the trip.

review photo

5 / 5

Traveled On: 10/4/2013

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: WI

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Perfect blend of history and relaxation!

This tour is one of my favorite tours of all time! The food was great with a variety of food options for any palette. The historical sites were definitely worth exploring but the excursion that I would recommend as a must is Hania/Chania in Crete! You will not be disappointed. The hotels were great but my favorite is El Greco in Santorini! This hotel created a sense of impressive relaxation. The hotel in Mykanos was literally a rock throw away from the beach. Both hotels were surrounded by plenty of restaurants that over looked the water. The sunsets were amazing!! If anyone is uncertain about embarking on this tour, my sincere response is to just go ahead and enjoy this relaxing, rejuvenating, and amazing historical experience of a lifetime!!

5 / 5

Traveled On: 6/21/2013

Number of Past Tours: 6

From: FL

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Glorious Greece

This tour took us to some of the most famous sites in Greece. There was a good balance of guided activity and free time, and there were plenty of options. Greece is even more beautiful and more fascinating than I expected. The people we met were welcoming, friendly, kind and helpful. Our tour director was informative, good humored, very well organized, and she helped members of the group to personalize their experience according to their interests.

5 / 5

Traveled On: 6/21/2013

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: VA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

coming later

Later, upon return to the US

4 / 5

Traveled On: 5/10/2013

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: WA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Greek Isles,etc.

Great trip and excellent value

5 / 5

Traveled On: 4/26/2013

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: CO

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Greek Islands

Great tour; everything was well organized. Great accomodations. Cruise ship was very good. Roberto-our guide was very helpful and always available for questions. Food was very good

5 / 5

Traveled On: 10/5/2012

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: WI

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

The Greek Islands

Loved this tour! Our guide Roberto was awesome, attentive, organized, and helpful. The historical sites were amazing, the views, esp of the Aegean spectacular, the shopping unique and fun. Our first evening on Mykonos (crusie ship day) was magical, especially the sunset and the dinner overlooking the sunset. Our hotel in Santorini was delightful and charming. What a relaxing and beautiful place...both the hotel and the island! Istanbul was packed with people everywhere we looked; the hustle and bustle of the city was an exciting contrast to the relaxation of the islands. The Athens hotel was especially accommodating, but we were disappointed that the pool and deck lounge were already closed for the season. Our Mykonos hotel was a disappointment; the nearby hotel that shared its pool area was so much nicer.

5 / 5

Traveled On: 10/5/2012

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: WI

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Love Greece and the Greek Islands

Go Ahead Travel far surpassed my expectations!! Due to airline connections we arrived late (3 a.m. Athens time) we had left a message when we called a rep to let them know we would be coming in late that we would get a taxi and for our guide to leave a message at the front desk at the hotel as to where and when to meet in the a.m. for our first day of the tour. We walked out of the airport to find a "Go Ahead" sign in front of us (Taxi driver) and then when we arrived at our hotel our Guide met us with open arms at 3:30 AM!! We had to be up @ 7 a.m. and on the bus at 8:30. What a welcome after a weary journey via the airport systems! Our Guide was wonderful throughout the tour, very organized, getting us there before the crowds, communicating, helping us to decide about optional tours, and telling us about the areas we visited (along with the local guides), and joking, and generally taking great care of us! And when we had to depart at 5:30 a.m. via taxi to the airport he met us in the lobby to say good-bye and helped us load our suitcases. A Guide can really make or break a good tour experience......Roberto could not have done a better job!! He gave us a fantastic experience which we will always remember!! He even took a group picture and developed and paid for it on his own, and gave us all 8X10" copies. The tour itself was wonderful, the buses were excellent as were the drivers!! The accomodations far surpassed our expectations, as well as the excellent food!! We were on a small cruise ship for 3 days and it also was very good, and food excellent.! Everything listed in the brochure was covered but balanced with free time so it was not too highly scheduled. The optional tours were wonderful! Our guide helped us with shopping, dining tips as well. We had great weather, and the people were friendly at all the hotels, and places that we visited. Our favorite place was the island of Santorini we stayed at El Greco which was more like a resort for the rich and famous!!! It was the closest I have ever been to paradise on earth!! Roberto took us to see the sunset at OAI and what an incredible spot that was.....the pictures are FANTASTIC. A friend referred us to GO AHEAD, and I have referred my sister already and will refer to anyone considering traveling.......I would also book again on my next trip in a minute!! I cannot say enough positive things about the company, the reps, phone calls, service were all excellent, and we compared prices with other companies before we booked, and it was the best value of all!......................Plan to go ahead with GO AHEAD again in the near future!!..................................Nancy

5 / 5

Traveled On: 10/5/2012

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: TN

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

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