Greece Island Hopper for Young Alumni
(Flights for this tour depart on June 11, 2022.)
Catch the sun and set your course for an extraordinary journey. The Greek Islands of Mykonos and Santorini, known for their amazing beaches and dramatic landscapes overlooking azure waters, are also filled with archaeological treasures, history and culture – not to forget, delicious foods. Discover the myths and legends of ancient Athens, visit the magnificent Acropolis, wander the paths of Plato, Socrates and Sophocles and test your bargaining skills at the markets of Monastiraki.
DAY 1 - TRAVEL TO GREECE
Sparkling azure seas and endless golden skies appear on the horizon as our overnight flight transports us back to the origins of civilization, Ancient Greece.
DAY 2 – SANTORINI: LAND TOUR START DATE
Kalimera – Welcome to Santorini, ‘Black Pearl of the Aegean’ with its towering red cliffs rising steeply out of the water. Archaeologists have speculated the surrounding waters hold the secret of the lost continent of Atlantis. Meet your tour director and join fellow travelers on a walking tour of the town before our welcome to the Greek Isles dinner. Don’t miss the breathtaking caldera sunset before returning to your hotel.
· Transfer from airport to hotel included with purchased AESU group airfare
· Welcome orientation
· Welcome to the Greek Isles dinner
DAY 3 - SANTORINI
Renowned for its amazing natural beauty, Santorini is one of Europe's must-experience hotspots. It embodies the iconic image of the Greek islands with whitewashed, blue-domed villages clinging to the cliff face surrounded by the sparkling Aegean Sea. Today we visit the archaeological site of Akrotiri, a Minoan Bronze Age settlement that came to an abrupt end in approximately 1613 BC with a catastrophic volcanic eruption. Beginning in 1967, excavations of the Minoan town revealed buildings, drainage systems, and pottery, but no human remains or gold valuables, indicating locals had time to flee before disaster hit. Before we return to Oia, we enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and ride to the top of Mount Profitis Ilias for panoramic views followed by a visit to Pyrgos, a picturesque hillside village set on a volcanic crater at the highest point of the island, offering more stunning vistas to drink in.
Later this afternoon, we visit Venetsanos winery, carved into the cliffs just above the port of Athinios. After a tour of the winery, we get to taste some of their crisp whites, such as Santorini and Nychteri, Mandilaria red or try a rosé Anagallis then finish off with a dessert wine called Liastos.
· Akrotiri excursion
· Admission to Akrotiri
· Guided tour of Akrotiri
· Island lunch at a local restaurant
· Mountain top views from Mount Profitis Ilias
· Visit to the hillside village of Pyrgos
· Tour and tasting at Venetsanos winery
DAY 4 – SANTORINI
In 1500 BC a volcanic eruption sank the center of Santorini, forming one of the most significant geological formations on the planet – the awe-inspiring caldera. Today is free for you to just relax on a beach or explore. Consider a walking tour along the caldera crater rim, starting in Thira town and continuing through little villages all the way to Oia. Pass steep cliff faces and experience breathtaking views along the way. Alternatively, join an excursion around the active crater of Nea Kameni, and sail along the rugged volcanic shores, where black lava rocks and white pumice combine with deep red lava. Take time to swim in the warm waters heated by the hot springs on the sea floor. At tonight’s sunset dinner, try some of the island’s delicious food including flavorful ingredients grown in the nutrient-rich volcanic soil.
· Multi-colored beaches of Santorini
· Catamaran sailing excursion
DAY 5 – SANTORINI - MYKONOS
We board our ship for an approx. 3 hour trip to Mykonos, a beautiful island named for Apollo's grandson. Mykonos is legendary, known in ancient Greek mythology as the battlefield where Zeus fought the Giants. Join our local expert for a walk through the maze-like old town and explore Little Venice aka Alefkandra, one of the most romantic neighborhoods. This is a perfect spot for selfies with elegant old houses situated precariously on the edge of the sea and the famous Mykonos windmills as your backdrop. After our Mykonos welcome dinner at the old harbor, our tour director takes us to the perfect spot to sit back and enjoy another magnificent Aegean sunset.
· Ship from Santorini to Mykonos
· Walking tour of Mykonos with local expert
· Little Venice/Alefkandra
· Mykonos windmills
· Old harbor dinner
DAY 6 - MYKONOS
Today you are on your own to comb the sands or bronze your body on Paradise Beach where there are exciting opportunities for all types of fun water sports. Feed the friendly pelicans or lose yourself in the maze of alleys and villas that were built to confuse invading pirates. If you are up to exploring the surrounding area you may consider joining our optional excursion: sail to Delos, the uninhabited island of Apollo’s birth, where carved lions dating from the 5th century stand on cliffs overlooking the sea. Various teams of French archaeologists have been excavating here for more than 100 years. Back in Mykonos tonight “go native” and learn Greek dancing at a lively harbor taverna.
· Mykonos beach time
· Excursion to the island of Delos
DAY 7 – MYKONOS - ATHENS
With seagulls following our wake we sun ourselves on deck as our ship glides through fabled cobalt blue waters to Athens, leaving behind the international jet setter’s favorite island. Enjoy a free evening to explore the narrow winding paths of the Plaka District – Athens’ oldest neighborhood at the foot of the Acropolis. Perhaps enjoy some gyros and ouzo in a charming square, then stroll with friends past the myriad of jewelry shops, art galleries, tavernas, cafes and lively clubs – Opa!
· Speed boat from Mykonos to Athens
· Transfer from Mykonos hotel to harbor
· Transfer from Athens Piraeus harbor to hotel
DAY 8 - ATHENS
Our local expert will show us the highlights of Athens, including the famous changing of the guard at Parliament Square ‘Syntagma,’ the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the original Olympic Stadium, and of course, the Acropolis. Explore the Parthenon and enjoy fabulous views over the city from the rocky citadel. We then visit the famous Acropolis Museum, consistently rated as one of the best museums in the world. It is devoted to the Parthenon and its surrounding temples—the perfect sanctuary for the ancient artifacts found in and around the Acropolis site. A free afternoon may find us wandering the paths of Plato, Socrates and Sophocles or trying our bargaining skills at the markets of Monastiraki. This evening follow the sounds of traditional bouzouki music and join our farewell taverna dinner in the Plaka District.
· Guided tour of Athens
· Admission to the Parthenon
· Admission to the Acropolis museum
· Greek Farewell taverna dinner
DAY 9 - FLIGHT HOME
Our Grecian Odyssey ends with breakfast this morning. Even Ulysses had to come home eventually, so wrap up your memories of sun-filled Greek Isles and make plans to return again soon.
· Transfer from hotel to Athens airport included with purchased AESU group airfare