- David’s Blog
I arrived in Athens for the first time in 1977. I was a travel rookie, never having ventured more than 400 miles from my Florida home. I remember waking up that first morning in the Plaka neighborhood to the sounds of the street. Looking down from my balcony, I found shopkeepers washing the sidewalks with buckets of water and old scraggly brooms chatting with one another in a language foreign to me. Old men were sitting at the café down the street with their first cup of coffee for the day. Dogs were wearily wandering around trying to find a morsel left from last night’s dinner and kittens were running to and fro engaged in a skillful game of hide-and-seek. I’ve always remembered that first morning in Europe and given the chance, try to allow it to “evolve” naturally wherever I visit.
My Best of Greece tour attempts to capture many of those “rookie moment” I experienced all those years ago. I’ve woven my favorite Greek destinations and into this itinerary. You’ll get a solid introduction to the culture, history, art, and architecture made famous by the Greeks. Athens, the Parthenon, Ancient Agora, and Roman-era ruins are essential and we’ll dedicate the better part of two days exploring this capital city. Shaking off the big city, we will spend the remainder of our time visiting relaxing beaches, pristine islands, ancient windswept sites of worship, fishing villages, and laid back towns. My Best of Greece tour provides the perfect mix of sightseeing, education, and relaxation. Your Adventure Starts Here!
Your Adventure Starts Here!
Delphi - 1 night
Olympia - 1 night
Mani Penninsula - 2 nights
Monemvasia - 2 night
Nafplio - 2 night
Athens - 2 nights
Santorini - 2 nights with optional extension
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Exploring Europe – 4036 Hidden Acre Rd. – Middleburg, FL 32068 FAX 800-570-1351
DAY 1: Welcome to Greece! – Let’s plan to meet at the airport in Athens at 2:00 p.m. to head out on your adventure. We will head north to the barren slopes of Mount Parnassus to discover Delphi, the 2500-year-old home of fortune-telling oracles, temples of worship, and Olympic-like stadiums and theatres. Enjoy dinner together and an overnight stay in peaceful Delphi. Sleep 1 night near Delphi. Walking: Strenuous. Driving: 4 hours. Dinner.
DAY 2: The Gulf of Corinth and Peloponnese – We will leave the mountains of Delphi and cross over onto the Peloponnese Peninsula. We’ll enjoy a scenic cog railway journey through the Vouraikos River gorge. We will set up tonight near Mount Olympia. Sleep 1 night near Olympia. Walking: light. Driving: 5 hours. Dinner or lunch.
DAY 3: Olympia and Temple of Apollo – After breakfast, we will visit Olympia, site of the first Olympic games more than 2700 years ago. Then, enjoy the ride as we traverse some of the most rugged mountains in Greece enroute to the Temple of Apollo Epicurious. Here you’ll find a perfectly preserved temple constructed around 450 B.C., located in the middle of nowhere. After a look around the temple, we’ll continue to a seaside village on the Mani Peninsula. Sleep 2 nights on the Mani Peninsula. Walking: moderate. Driving: 5 hours. Dinner.
DAY 4: Seaside Village – You’ll have the entire day to shop, taste wine, hike, relax, sunbathe and live like a local. Walking: your choice. Driving: none.
DAY 5: Mani Peninsula and Monemvasia – We will do some driving today across the isolated Mani Peninsula enroute to Monemvasia. Located on the southeast coast of the Peloponnese, it is about as far as one can drive. Enjoy a peaceful evening and dinner on your own. Sleep 2 nights on mainland Monemvasia. Walking: light. Driving: 5 hours.
DAY 6: Old Town Monemvasia – After breakfast, we will cross the causeway that links the mainland with the rocky “ Mont Saint Michel-esque” island town. After a brief orientation, you’ll be free the remainder of the day to do some exploring on your own. The island is dotted with swimming spots, cafes and quiet walking paths. Walking: your choice. Driving: none.
DAY 7: Mycenae and Nafplio –The Mycenaeans lived in this part of the world from 1600-1200 B.C., more than 1000 years before the Parthenon was built! We will take a walk through this ancient fortified city seeing the Lion’s Gate, “cyclopean” walls, and huge domed tombs. Then, it’s onward to nearby Nafplio for a relaxing two days. Sleep 2 nights in Nafplio. Walking: moderate. Driving: 4 hours. Dinner.
DAY 8: Epidavros and Nafplio – We will drive to nearby Epidavros this morning for a look at Greece’s most well-preserved theater seating 15,000 + spectators. Returning to Nafplio, you’ll have the remainder of the day to poke around town, hike to the hilltop fortress or relax at a beach. Walking: moderate. Driving: 1.5 hours.
DAY 9: Hydra – Another scenic coastal drive will take us to the end of the peninsula and the boat to Hydra. After a short twenty-minute ride across the gulf, we will step onto traffic-free Hydra. Enjoy the afternoon and evening getting to know the little town and pick out a taverna for dinner on your own. Sleep 2 nights on Hydra. Walking: light. Driving: 2.5 hours. Boat: 20 minutes.
DAY 10: Hydra –No group plans means you can shop in the village, sit at the harbor with a drink and “people-watch”, take a donkey ride, hire a boat or bask in the sun at a nearby beach. Walking is up to you. No driving.
DAY 11: Athens – We will travel to Athens by land or sea depending on the weather and our itinerary. We will arrive at our Athens city-center hotel around midday. Join your Exploring Europe guide for an informative and scenic walk through the Plaka neighborhood and slopes of the sacred Parthenon hill. Sleep 2 nights in Athens. Walking: moderate. Driving: 3 hours.
DAY 12: Athens and the Acropolis –Enjoy a guided tour at the Acropolis learning about the importance of this old rock and its 2500 years of history. Later, walk through the new Acropolis Museum which has been custom designed to showcase the Acropolis’ rich collection of art. You’ll have the remainder of the afternoon and evening to explore the Agora, Forum, and medieval streets of the Plaka on your own. Later, we will meet for a grand farewell dinner to share our travel memories of Greece. No driving. Dinner.
DAY 13: Your tour ends after breakfast – Breakfast is included this morning at our hotel but there are no planned group activities. The Athens airport and cruise terminal are easily connected by taxi. Your Exploring Europe guide can help point you in the right direction.
This itinerary is subject to change.
OR Join our Santorini excursion - see the info tab below
OR Join our Santorini excursion
* The fare for the round trip Santorini flight is not included in the tour cost. Typically, it runs about $100 per flight. Once you decide to join us in Santorini we will book your flights and bill you for the actual cost.
DAY 13: Flying to Santorini – This morning we will transfer to the Athens Airport and take a short flight to the island of Santorini. Once in Santorini, we will set up in the picture-perfect village of Oia. Nothing to do here but bask in the sun and enjoy the views. Sleep 2 nights at a traditional 4-star Santorini resort. Walking: light. Driving: 1 hour. Flying: 1 hour.
DAY 14: Santorini – There are no planned activities today. Enjoy your free day on the island.
DAY 15: Santorini and Athens – Enjoy most of the day here on Santorini. Later, in the afternoon, we will fly back to the Athens Airport and stay nearby for the evening. Sleep 1 night near the Athens Airport. Driving: 1 hour. Flying: 1 hour.
DAY 16: Your tour ends after breakfast – The Athens airport is nearby and we wish you safe travels to your next destination!
$1358 + air
$550 - single supplement
|May 17-20, 2018||$1358 + air||Santorini Island|
|October 12-15, 2018||$1358 + air||Santorini Island|
Walking and Physical Activity: We have planned this trip to provide maximum tour experiences by foot, boat, and vehicle. The basic nature of Europe does require some degree of physical activity to get out and see the sights, especially in the countryside. To help you plan, we’ve included a daily projection of physical activity. Here is our key for our walking activity ratings:
Light – Walking done on level surfaces with some small hills and elevation gains. In most cases, the bus will drop-off and pick-up at nearby locations. Two miles or less of required walking during the day.
Moderate – Walking done on paved and gravel paths. To enjoy the full tour experience, some up and down hill walking is to be expected. Four to five miles of walking per day.
Strenuous – Walking done on rugged and rocky paths with some steps and stairs. Up to six miles of walking per day.
Your Choice – No matter what your walking ability, we will help you find alternative ways to enjoy and experience all Europe has to offer. To get the most out of our tours you should be able to operate at the light level everyday with spurts of moderate and strenuous.
THE ESSENCE OF ITALY & TUSCANY VILLA EXPERIENCE - My husband and I just finished up our second Italy tour with David and were delighted every step of the way. David takes a personal interest in those that travel with him which makes traveling abroad a great adventure! The places we've eaten as well as the hotels have all been top notch. David provides a wealth of local knowledge and his relationship with the local people allows you to experience the best of cuisine and wine. All of the details are taken care of so you can focus on a stress-free vacation. I highly recommend and look forward to our next European trip! - Tammy, Middleburg, FL
A CUSTOM DESIGNED ITALY TOUR - We were on the shadow tour of the Niceville Singers choir. It was the best trip ever! They made our trip enjoyable and easy. We met some amazing people and Charlotte and David were so knowledgeable everywhere we traveled. My husband is an airline pilot and I was a flight attendant. We have been to Europe many times. We went to places and restaurants on this tour I did not know existed!!! Not only were the places amazing but we enjoyed getting to know Charlotte and David. Such a fun couple!! We will definitely be taking another trip with them!!!!- Tammy, Niceville, FL
A CUSTOM TOUR TO ITALY - Best food, never felt unsafe, had an authentic experience, and loved began able to experience so much in such a short amount of time. He can really tailor an experience to your interests and what you would like to do! Highly recommend. - Courtney, Middleburg, FL
THE BEST OF GERMANY-AUSTRIA-SWITZERLAND – David’s tour ran very smooth. Great hotel rooms with breakfast each morning. He gave informative tours of the cities and areas we visited and then we had time on our own to visit in more detail or go shopping (my favorite activity anywhere). David was happy to stop along the way for photo opps and rest stops. We did check out some new sites with him. Each day was an adventure filled with great food, wine, and sites. Loved every moment of the trip. Planning next adventure with him now. –Elizabeth, Orange Park, FL
CHRISTMAS MARKETS IN GERMANY & AUSTRIA – This was my 5th tour with David to Europe and he never disappoints. This trip was different than the rest because it was focused around the Christmas markets…nevertheless, I had a fantastic time! David always finds a great balance of hitting the mandatory “touristy” locations and allowing us the freedom to go off on our own and explore the cities we’re visiting. – Tom, Atlanta, GA
GERMANY-AUSTRIA-SWITZERLAND-DUBLIN – The diversity of our group form the newbie teenagers to the well-traveled ladies was great. I learned so much from both. Very thoughtful when coming to issues of courtesy to our hosts, money, customs of the country. David’s calmness was greatly appreciated. Walking right in line, not having to buy tickets was a great plus. Your guides of Dachau and the Louvre were right on and helped to make the visit much more enjoyable. Packing light paid off. I am glad I did not have to lug a lot of baggage the whole time. We had talked about wifi for the bus as a potential plus. Having brewed coffee and a refrigerator was great (on the bus). Newsletter good for whetting the appetite for traveling. More Museli! Never can get enough of it. The dining was all good. Nothing can replace the time at K&K in Salzburg. The restaurant was empty. Just a few people sharing food and conversation. The food was the icing on the cake for a wonderful experience all around. Salad with huge slices of parmesan cheese. Sea bass that was exquisite and apple tart. Trying to serve a group of 26 effectively is difficulty. I saw the waitresses really working to serve us well. Thanks again for an awesome trip. – Kent, St. Johns, FL
GERMANY-AUSTRIA-SWITZERLAND-FRANCE – All meals were very good (much better than meals experienced on river cruise after tour with David.) Swiss dinner in Salzburg was favorite evening meal. My favorite was dinner in Salzburg with small group (not included in tour) Picnic in park at Eiffel Tower was unique & something not normally offered by tours. – Ramona, Sarasota, FL
GERMANY-AUSTRIA-SWITZERLAND-FRANCE –Well worth the money spent!!! We enjoy going with David on trips, because we KNOW the food will be GREAT & the hotels will be nice! Really enjoyed the time in the “Paris neighborhood” where we shopped for our picnic. The cheese shop was amazing, as was the aged Sheep’s milk cheese from France that we purchased there! – Laurie, Jacksonville, FL
GERMANY-AUSTRIA-SWITZERLAND-FRANCE- The entire tour was an awesome experience! The organization, events, destinations, accommodations were all great and I believe the only way to tour Europe! Although each day we kept saying “It just keeps getting better”, I’d have to say that Paris was the best as there was so much to see and experience and the food was very good. I was very impressed with the amount of information David shared with us daily and how knowledgeable David is regarding each of the countries and the sites that we visited. – Donna, Jacksonville Beach, FL
Now that you’ve decided to join this tour, we are sure you’ll have some questions. Don’t worry, we are here to help you through each aspect of your tour from start to finish.
Join David as he shares impromptu moments from his travels in Greece. Watching these short 60 second segments are a great way to experience David’s travel style and adventures. Watch David’s Explore Greece!
David and his team have answered many travel related questions and they are all tucked away on his blog. But, no need to go there, just type in a keyword in the search box at the top or bottom of this page (it’s the gray rectangle with a small magnifying glass icon) and you will get results for your query.
David’s newest blog describes his personal adventures in Europe, timely information and travel hints.
We are happy to answer your travel questions and give advice and suggestions. firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-570-1351.