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The Greek Islands: Mykonos, Santorini & Crete

13 days (14 days in 2017)
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, discovering the character and history unique to each locale. Absorb Hellenic heritage in ancient Athens before soaking in Crete’s legendary landscapes. Cruise the Aegean to the volcanic shores of Santorini and anchor on the beaches of lively Mykonos.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Maximum tour group size: 30 travelers

Tour Pace: You will walk for about 1.5 hours daily across uneven terrain, including paved roads and cobblestone streets, with steep hills and stairs.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 11 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 5 three-course dinners with beer or wine

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Map of tour of Greece

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Athens today.

Athens 3 nights Hotel info

Day 2: Arrival in Athens

  Included meals: Dinner

Welcome to Greece! Meet your fellow travelers at a welcome dinner tonight.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Athens

  Included meals: Breakfast

A local guide introduces you to the highlights of this bustling ancient capital, home to the world’s first democracy. 

• Tour the ancient Acropolis, site of the Parthenon and the Temple of Athena Nike

• Visit the 6th-century Temple of Zeus

• View the classically inspired Old Royal Palace, home of the Hellenic Parliament

• Pass through Syntagma Square to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Enjoy a free afternoon in Athens or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Cape Sounion $45pp* Details

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.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $55)

Day 4: Free day in Athens

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a full free day in Athens or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Delphi $89pp* Details

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.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $99)

Mykonos 2 nights Hotel info

Day 5: Transfer to Mykonos

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Travel by ferry to Mykonos this morning and spend the rest of the day soaking up the sun and unique island culture.

Day 6: Free day in Mykonos

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a full free day in Mykonos or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Delos $79pp* Details

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 of wine.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $89)

Santorini 3 nights Hotel info

Day 7: Transfer to Santorini

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Take a ferry to Santorini, an island of stunning volcanic landscapes.

Day 8: Sightseeing tour of Santorini

  Included meals: Breakfast

Take in the local sights on a guided tour of Santorini, a volcanic isle known for its black-sand beaches, cliff-lined shores and stunning whitewashed architecture.

• Visit the prehistoric settlements unearthed at the Akrotiri excavations

• Ride to the top of Profitis Ilias Mountain for panoramic views of the whole island 

• Stop in the small, picturesque village of Pyrgos 

Enjoy a free evening in Santorini or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Santorini Caldera Cruise $75pp* Details

Cruise through Santorini’s awe-inspiring caldera and around the volcanic island of Nea Kamenim for views of the picture-perfect cliffside village of Oía (pronounced “EE-ah”). Situated on the western end of the island, Oía was once a maritime center and stately captains’ houses still sit on its high ridges. Take in the scenery as you enjoy a casual buffet dinner on board the boat. Please note: This optional excursion is seasonal and runs only from late May to mid October.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $85)

Day 9: Free day in Santorini

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a full free day in Santorini or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Greek Wine Tasting & Lunch $55pp* Details

Santorini’s volcanic landscape and nutrient-rich soil nurtures a wealth of outstanding vineyards. On this excursion, you’ll tour a local winery, enjoying a film screening followed by a wine tasting. Taste five different varietals, including Vin Santo, a sweet wine made from dried grapes, then enjoy a light lunch overlooking the Aegean Sea.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $65)

Crete 2 nights Hotel info

Day 10: Transfer to Crete

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

This afternoon, take a ferry to Crete, the largest of the Greek islands.

Day 11: Free day in Crete

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a full free day in Crete or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Chania $99pp* Details

Travel to historic Chania, where a local guide introduces 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. Spend some time strolling through the indoor market, perhaps sampling local herbs, olive oil and cheeses. Your guided tour ends at the port where you’ll visit an ancient Turkish Ottoman mosque. Lunch is included on this excursion, as well as free time to get to know this beautiful city at your own pace.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $109)

Athens 1 night Hotel info

Day 12: Sightseeing tour of Heraklion & transfer to Athens

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Before returning to Athens, enjoy a guided tour of Heraklion.

• Visit the ruins of Knossos, where King Minos imprisoned the Minotaur in a labyrinth, according to the myth

• Explore the Heraklion Archaeological Museum

This afternoon, fly to Athens to say goodbye to your group at a farewell dinner.

Day 13: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home or extend your stay to explore Istanbul.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 12 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 5 three-course dinners with beer or wine

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Map of tour of Greece

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Athens today.

Athens 3 nights Hotel info

Day 2: Arrival in Athens

  Included meals: Dinner

Welcome to Greece! Meet your fellow travelers at a welcome dinner tonight.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Athens

  Included meals: Breakfast

A local guide introduces you to the highlights of this bustling ancient capital, home to the world’s first democracy. 

• Tour the ancient Acropolis, site of the Parthenon and the Temple of Athena Nike

• Visit the 6th-century Temple of Zeus

• View the classically inspired Old Royal Palace, home of the Greek Parliament

• Pass through Syntagma Square to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Enjoy a free afternoon in Athens or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Cape Sounion $45pp* Details

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.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $55)

Day 4: Free day in Athens

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a full free day in Athens or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Delphi $89pp* Details

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.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $99)

Mykonos 3 nights Hotel info

Day 5: Transfer to Mykonos

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Travel by ferry to Mykonos, and enjoy a guided tour of the island when you arrive.

• See the iconic windmills in Mykonos Town, built as early as the 16th century 

• View Little Venice, the charming neighborhood right along the Aegean Sea 

• Enter the Church of Panagia Paraportiani and admire its unique architecture

Day 6: Free day in Mykonos

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a full free day in Mykonos soaking up the sun and unique island culture, or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Scenic Mykonos: Villages & Landscapes $75pp* Details

Travel inland to the village of Ano Mera, one of the oldest towns on Mykonos, for a visit to the Monastery of Panagia Tourlani. Enter the ancient chapel to admire its iconic architecture and intricately carved marble bell tower. Then, continue on to the Armenistis Lighthouse, which overlooks the waters between Mykonos and the island of Tinos, and soak in stunning views of the Aegean Sea. End the day at the postcard-perfect Kalafatis Beach, where you’ll soak up the sun—and maybe spot windsurfers out on the ocean.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $85)

Day 7: Free day in Mykonos

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy another day exploring Mykonos at your leisure or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Delos $79pp* Details

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 of wine.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $89)

Santorini 3 nights Hotel info

Day 8: Transfer to Santorini

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Take a ferry to Santorini, then enjoy free time to discover the island’s  a volcanic black-sand beaches, cliff-lined shores and stunning whitewashed architecture.

Day 9: Sightseeing tour of Santorini

  Included meals: Breakfast

Today, take in the local sights on a guided tour of Santorini.

• Visit the prehistoric settlements unearthed at the Akrotiri excavations

• Ride to the top of Profitis Ilias Mountain for panoramic views of the whole island 

• Stop in the small, picturesque village of Pyrgos 

Enjoy a free evening in Santorini or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Santorini Caldera Cruise $75pp* Details

Cruise through Santorini’s awe-inspiring caldera and around the volcanic island of Nea Kamenim for views of the picture-perfect cliffside village of Oía (pronounced “EE-ah”). Situated on the western end of the island, Oía was once a maritime center and stately captains’ houses still sit on its high ridges. Take in the scenery as you enjoy a casual buffet dinner on board the boat. Please note: This optional excursion is seasonal and runs only from late May to mid October.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $85)

Day 10: Free day in Santorini

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a full free day in Santorini or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Greek Wine Tasting & Lunch $55pp* Details

Santorini’s volcanic landscape and nutrient-rich soil nurtures a wealth of outstanding vineyards. On this excursion, you’ll tour a local winery, enjoying a film screening followed by a wine tasting. Taste five different varietals, including Vin Santo, a sweet wine made from dried grapes, then enjoy a light lunch overlooking the Aegean Sea.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $65)

Crete 2 nights Hotel info

Day 11: Transfer to Crete

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

This afternoon, take a ferry to Crete, the largest of the Greek islands.

Day 12: Free day in Crete

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a full free day in Crete or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Chania $99pp* Details

Travel to historic Chania, where a local guide introduces 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. Spend some time strolling through the indoor market, perhaps sampling local herbs, olive oil and cheeses. Your guided tour ends at the port where you’ll visit an ancient Turkish Ottoman mosque. Lunch is included on this excursion, as well as free time to get to know this beautiful city at your own pace.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $109)

Athens 1 night Hotel info

Day 13: Sightseeing tour of Heraklion & transfer to Athens

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Before returning to Athens, enjoy a guided tour of Heraklion.

• Visit the ruins of Knossos, where King Minos imprisoned the Minotaur in a labyrinth, according to the myth and see the Heraklion Archaeological Museum

This afternoon, fly to Athens to say goodbye to your group at a farewell dinner.

Day 14: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home or extend your stay to explore Istanbul.

Add Istanbul Starting from $449 pp

Please note: Extension is not available on all departure dates.

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.

Istanbul 3 nights Hotel info

Day 14: Transfer to Istanbul

  Included meals: Breakfast

Transfer to Athens airport for your flight to Istanbul, the city at the crossroads of East and West.

Day 15: Sightseeing tour of Istanbul

  Included meals: Breakfast

A local guide leads a tour of the city’s fascinating sights.

• Discover the ancient Hippodrome, which served as the public center of Byzantium for over a thousand years

• Enter the breathtaking Blue Mosque, built by Sultan Ahmet and decorated with exquisite blue Iznik tiles

• See the Topkapi Palace, once the residence of the Ottoman sultans

• Visit Hagia Sophia, the pride of Christendom until the city fell to the Turks in 1453

Enjoy a free evening in Istanbul or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Whirling Dervishes: Sufi Mystics $49pp* Details

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.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $59)

Day 16: Free day in Istanbul

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a full free day in Istanbul or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Bosphorus Straits Cruise $55pp* Details

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.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $65)

Day 17: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

How's the weather?

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

Passport & visa requirements

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 (evisa.gov.tr). 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; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs. Contact your airline for detailed information regarding luggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other internal transfers, which may include train connections or flights. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height). Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.

Baggage handling

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

Clothing & packing tips

To ensure you’re comfortable while out exploring, we recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered. For sightseeing, we suggest bringing a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers, as well as a lightweight sports jacket or rainwear. If you’re planning a visit to a high-end restaurant or performance, you may also want to bring dressier attire. Also, please remember that it’s preferable to avoid showing bare legs or shoulders during visits to churches or other religious sites (entrance may be denied on this basis).

Health

There are no major health risks associated with 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 the tour extension), be sure to check with your doctor or healthcare 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 (or Istanbul on the tour extension). A ferry from Athens to Mykonos, ferry from Mykonos to Santorini, ferry to Crete, and a flight from Crete 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.

Electricity

Greece operates on the European standard 220 volts.

Time zones

Greece and Turkey are two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and seven hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST). When it’s noon in New York, it’s 7 p.m. in Athens.

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’s 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.

Shopping on tour

Please note that some excursions may include a stop at a market or specialty store. Go Ahead Tours has no relationship with these vendors and encourages you to research specialty items you’re interested in purchasing abroad before you leave to ensure you’re receiving the best quality.

Purchasing excursions on tour

If you have not yet purchased your optional excursions, you may be able to do so while on your tour. Your Tour Director will only accept cash (in USD only), Visa or MasterCard as payment for optional excursions. Please be advised that if you pay for an excursion by credit card while on tour, it may take up to three months for your card to be charged. Some optional excursions may only be purchased in advance. See the separate “Optional Excursions” sheet for more information.

How's the weather?

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

Passport & visa requirements

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 (evisa.gov.tr). 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; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs. Contact your airline for detailed information regarding luggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other internal transfers, which may include train connections or flights. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height). Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.

Baggage handling

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

Clothing & packing tips

To ensure you’re comfortable while out exploring, we recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered. For sightseeing, we suggest bringing a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers, as well as a lightweight sports jacket or rainwear. If you’re planning a visit to a high-end restaurant or performance, you may also want to bring dressier attire. Also, please remember that it’s preferable to avoid showing bare legs or shoulders during visits to churches or other religious sites (entrance may be denied on this basis).

Health

There are no major health risks associated with 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 the tour extension), be sure to check with your doctor or healthcare 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 (or Istanbul on the tour extension). A ferry from Athens to Mykonos, ferry from Mykonos to Santorini, ferry to Crete, and a flight from Crete 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.

Electricity

Greece operates on the European standard 220 volts.

Time zones

Greece and Turkey are two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and seven hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST). When it’s noon in New York, it’s 7 p.m. in Athens.

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’s 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.

Shopping on tour

Please note that some excursions may include a stop at a market or specialty store. Go Ahead Tours has no relationship with these vendors and encourages you to research specialty items you’re interested in purchasing abroad before you leave to ensure you’re receiving the best quality.

Purchasing excursions on tour

If you have not yet purchased your optional excursions, you may be able to do so while on your tour. Your Tour Director will only accept cash (in USD only), Visa or MasterCard as payment for optional excursions. Please be advised that if you pay for an excursion by credit card while on tour, it may take up to three months for your card to be charged. Some optional excursions may only be purchased in advance. See the separate “Optional Excursions” sheet for more information.

See what our travelers say about this tour—all reviews are authentic and unedited.

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5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 6/11/2016

Number of Past Tours: 4

From: TX

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

"Fantastikos"

This was by far the best tour we have taken with Go Ahead ( 6 tours at this point. To begin with there is so much to say about the trip that it would be reasonable to "highlight" the important aspects of the tour. From the beginning the Customer Service reps at Go Ahead were very professional, thorough, paid attention to detail in meeting our travel needs, concerns & questions (A great big THANK YOU to all !!). The itinerary & airline carrier from start to finish was primo. Lyn, our Tour Director was only top notch in every aspect of the tour, she was a "Jack of All Trades". She was on top of every situation, spent countless hours preplanning to ensure the minute details of the tour were perfect in every detail, she asked us our opinion regarding how we were doing & encouraged us to give her feedback...now that's a Tour Director. The best Director we have had thus far. Each and every tour guide that we had along the way was superb. They knew their stuff & they presented it well (from pointing out historical aspects of an archeological site to singing songs...WOW). I appreciated the delicate balance between touring on each island & allowing for free time to get out on your own (we do a lot of this on every tour) & explore areas of personal interest. The beauty of each individual island can only be described as beyond beautiful, unique & individual in every facet....priceless!. The hotels were quite nice (yes they were small by our standards but they more than met our needs, the hotel staff in each hotel were friendly, courteous, helpful & attentive to our needs). I highly appreciated the additional option that Lyn set up for walking on the lava flows & swimming in the sulfur hot springs of the caldera in Santorini. Of course it is important to point out that the sites we visited were awe inspiring everywhere we went. Additionally, the Greek & not so Greek people we met everywhere were so friendly & happy to help us that I can't say enough about the people of the region. The scheduled dinners were fine, the meals were of Greek cuisine with good portions provided by friendly wait staff. We stayed the additional 3 days since the Istanbul extension was cancelled & Lyn coordinated with the hotel & our taxi driver (Michael) to ensure we had the proper accommodations & had guaranteed transportation to the airport for our return. There is so much more to point out that was so positive about this trip but I think tentative travelers should find out the rest for themselves. They will not be disappointed. We will be looking forward to our next adventure with Go Ahead in 2017, the only question being where to go. Steve & Alex

 

Hi Steve & Alex! Thank you for your detailed review. We are so thrilled that this was the best tour you’ve taken with us – and you’ve taken many, so that’s really saying something! First of all, it’s wonderful to hear that your Customer Service experience was pleasant and thorough. Our team strives to prepare and excite travelers for their tour. We will be sure to pass along your feedback to our hard-working team. We are also happy to learn that your Tour Director paid close and careful attention to the needs of your group. We are always glad to hear that! Regarding the itinerary, we’re so pleased you enjoyed the incredible landscapes and varying island cultures. To be fair, it’s very hard to go wrong with the Greek Islands – it’s a truly magnificent part of the world! Thank you for your review, and we can’t wait to welcome you on your next tour.

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | July 01, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 6/4/2016

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: CO

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Beautiful ruins with great guides.

Greece is beautiful and has an amazing history. The tour guides at the different ruins were so informed and professional, I really learned a lot.

1 / 2
 

Hi Dena! We completely agree that Greece is an incredible destination. We appreciate your feedback on your local guides, and we're glad to hear you came away with a greater understanding of the region. Thank you for your review, and we hope to welcome you on tour again!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | July 08, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 5/28/2016

Number of Past Tours: 13

From: MA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

A Really Nice Tour

Our group size was 12, which was super. Our Tour Director, Alexandra, took good care of each of us...she always made sure we had plans and suggested places or restaurants that we might like. It was so nice of her to share her country with us!! The hotels were all excellent, the rooms were nice and the pools were super. I have no complaints about any of them, but have to admit that Hotel Galaxy in Crete was really nice. The meals were good and we soon discovered that even the meals we had to get on our own included very generous portions and were very well priced. The ferry rides between the islands were an experience, but were enjoyable. The mix of free time and organized activities / optionals was really good and I enjoyed some quality time sitting by the pool. Athens is fine, but the islands were all beautiful. This is a great tour and I highly recommend it.

 

Hi Frank! We're happy to hear you enjoyed your Tour Director, as well as your group size. It's also wonderful to know that you found the accommodations and meals to be excellent. We appreciate your feedback on the itinerary in terms of the balance of free and structured time. Thank you for recommending this tour, and we look forward to welcoming you on your next one soon!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | June 17, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 5/21/2016

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: WI

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Steep Cliffs, Blue Seas, and Clear Skies

From start to finish, the Greek Islands tour never failed to amaze and delight us. The food was delicious, the landscapes were breathtaking, the locals were welcoming, and our local guides were knowledgeable and fun! Rob, our tour director, went above and beyond to make this trip excellent for each and every one of us. If there was something we wanted to see, he would make sure we got there. Rob delighted us with his impressive knowledge of Greek mythology and provided great restaurant recommendations to eat Greek cuisine. Athens and each of the three islands buzzed with energy and surrounded us in natural beauty. Whether you are interested in the historic sights, mountains and seas, or to learn about the culture, there is something for everyone.

 

Hi Jamie! The Greek Islands are certainly chock full of delight and amazement! Between the food, the natural landscapes, and the beautiful culture, this is a fantastic itinerary that provides a wonderful overview of this region. We agree that it provides something for everyone! We’re so glad to hear that your Tour Director enhanced your experience and really went out of his way for the group. Thank you for your review, and we hope to welcome you on tour again!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | June 10, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 5/14/2016

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: IN

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Awesome Experience

This tour exceeded my expectation. I love the Greek Islands. The beauty is breathtaking and worth a glass of wine while watching the Agean Sea. It was a great balance between guided tour and free time. Our tour guide director [Kostas] was outstanding! His recommendations for places to eat or things to do where perfect. Kostas has a great knack for detail. He knows what makes a difference in our experience. I would take another trip with him. The accommodations were excellent. The food was outstanding. If you take this trip, make sure you do the wine tasting side trip. The wine and food pairing was right on. It seemed to me a better experience than cruising the islands. We were able to enjoy each place at night and do more activities at each island. Great experience!

 

Hi Ruth! We love to hear that this tour exceeded your expectations. The Greek Islands are certainly an incredible destination, and we agree that a glass of wine by the Aegean Sea is a great idea. We’re glad you felt the itinerary was well-balanced, the accommodations were excellent, and the food was delicious. We appreciate your feedback regarding your Tour Director and will be sure to pass it along to his supervisor. Thank you for your review, and we hope to welcome you on tour again!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | July 08, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 5/14/2016

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: WI

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

History, scenery, food, tour director

One of the best assets GoAhead has it its tour directors. Kostas charmed, informed, entertained, and took care our every need. He was the best! Although I knew only a little about Greek culture and history (aside from movies and Edith Hamilton's "Mythology") I came away with a new appreciation for the history and culture, both ancient and current, and learned of the tremendous influence Greece has had on the world. The visits to Delphi and Delos were especially interesting. The food! Who knew about tomato balls?? And the emphasis on fresh local food was wonderful. There are no blues like those of the Aegean Sea contrasting with the white of Santorini and Mykonos villages. Crete was a revelation!

 

Hi Diane! We agree that our Tour Directors are fantastic! We're so glad you came away from this tour with a greater understanding of various aspects of the Greek culture and history. We're also pleased to hear you enjoyed the fresh cuisine and the clear, blue hue of the Aegean Sea. Thank you for sharing your experience, and we hope to welcome you on tour again!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | June 17, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 5/14/2016

Number of Past Tours: 4

From: CO

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Magical Greece

Our tour of Athens and the Greek Islands was absolutely magical! I took a group of 21 here in May, and every single traveler had a marvelous time, reiterated over and over. There was something for everyone--winery tours and amazing food for those seeking cuisine, donkey rides and hikes for the adventurous, tours of incredible excavated civilizations for the history buffs, and world-renown sunsets and Mediterranean vistas for all of us. Our tour director, Michael, made things even more unforgettable by planning little "extra" outings, such as snorkeling off the coast of Matala and visiting a quaint traditional village on Santorini. We would all return to Greece in a heartbeat. Georgia, Group Coordinator from Loveland, CO

 

Hi Georgia! We’re so glad you had a magical time in the Greek islands. It sounds like the variety of activities and cultural opportunities struck a great balance for your group. We love to hear that your Tour Director went above and beyond by planning some extra surprises along the way. Thank you for your great feedback, and we look forward to welcoming you on your next tour!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | June 30, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 5/11/2016

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: OH

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Breathtaking Landscape

We chose this tour for the ruin site excursions and the opportunity to get a taste of the Greek islands. The local tour guides were excellent and I STRONGLY recommend you purchase all of the excursions if you're at all interested in Greek history and mythology. Each ruin site included in this tour is vastly different from the next and well worth the few dollars to visit each. This tour is also a little slower paced than some of the other European adventures offered by GoAhead. The scenery is breathtaking -- impossible to take a bad photo in Greece. It's an excellent time to visit Greece. We ate and drank like royalty for very little euro and picked up some great mementos along the way too! Our expert tour director, Lyn Davies, was a pleasure to travel with as well!

 

Hi Kimberly! We’re so glad you enjoyed your tour of the Greek Islands. We completely agree that it’s impossible to take a bad photo in Greece! The idyllic landscapes combined with the unique architecture make this tour quite a feast for the eyes (and the lens). We’re happy you enjoyed the optionals, all of which offer an interesting, more in-depth look into particular sites and experiences. Thank you for your valuable feedback, and we hope to welcome you on tour again!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | June 03, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 5/11/2016

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: VA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Wow! What a great tour!

From beginning to end we had a wonderful time in the Greek Islands! We both fell in love with our tour director. The islands and Athens speak for themselves. Go Ahead had everything well planned and there was plenty of free time to do our own thing. All in all...A+++!

 

Hi James! We're so glad you had a wonderful time exploring the Greek Islands. Between your Tour Director and the beautiful region you visited, it sounds like this tour was a great success. We're thrilled to hear it! Thank you for your kind review, and we hope to welcome you on tour again.

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | June 14, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 5/7/2016

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: VA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Greece May 2016

This was a FANTASTIC trip. I had always wanted to go to Greece, so I took the challenge of traveling solo but within a group, and I'm so glad I did. Raquel was our tour director and she kept everything - every last detail - running smoothly. All the optional excursions I signed up for were great and the guides for each really knew their stuff (brought back a lot from all those world history classes in high school and college!). Highlights for me were Mykonos and Crete and just gazing at that cerulean blue Aegean Sea. Highly recommend!!

 

Hi Lisa! We’re so glad you took the ‘leap’ and joined this group as a solo traveler. As a company made up of travelers, we actually love to travel solo because we find that we experience a destination differently than we would with friends or family along for the ride. Also, joining a group sets you up to make new and lasting friendships! It’s wonderful to know that your Tour Director kept everything running smoothly and that all the optionals you signed up for were informative and interesting. It’s completely understandable that Mykonos and Crete would be the highlights for you – and of course the crystal clear Aegean Sea! That water is incredible! Thank you for your review, and we hope to welcome you on tour again!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | May 25, 2016

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