- Create your own Greek culinary masterpiece during a Cretan cooking class
- Indulge in some delicious wines on Santorini with an expert sommelier
- Dive deep into Ancient Greek history with a visit to the island of Delos
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What could be more relaxing than 11 days of sun, sea and souvlaki (delicious Greek kebabs) in the Cyclades? Spend your holiday island hopping between Crete, Santorini and Mykonos, taking in a little bit of culture, a healthy dose of vitamin D and a lot of excellent Greek food and wine. Your first stop is Crete, where you can kick off your Grecian getaway with a private cookery class and a tour of a wine estate, including the chance to sample the finest Cretan wines. In Knossos, you can take a guided tour of the city, which will include plenty of fascinating stories from Greek mythology. On the idyllic island of Santorini the itinerary includes more wine tasting, as well as hiking, swimming and spa treatments.
This morning you will leave the UK and head to the first stop on your island-hopping adventure: Crete. Upon arrival at Heraklion airport, collect your hire car and drive to your first hotel. Once you're all settled in, spend the rest of the day soaking up the sun or going for a dip in the pool.
COOKING UP A STORM
After breakfast this morning, drive to a nearby wine estate for a private cookery class. Following a tour of the winery, you will head to the kitchen where, under the watchful eye of your expert instructor, you will whip up traditional Cretan dishes, including stuffed vine leaves, moussaka and mizithra soft cheese pies. Once all the food is ready, tuck in to the fruits of your labour, followed by a tasting of some of the estate's best vintages. Return to your hotel afterwards and spend the rest of the day snoozing off the food beside the pool.
After a lazier start to the day, head to Knossos, Crete’s largest Bronze Age archaeological site and one of Europe’s oldest cities. Here, you will meet your expert archaeologist guide for a private tour of the town, including a visit to Knossos Palace. As the largest and most refined Cretan palace, it was once home to King Minos, the son of Zeus, and your tour will be a masterclass in Ancient Greek history. Weave your way through its complex, adorned with colourful frescoes, to its Throne Room, which is thought to have been used for key ceremonial and religious rituals and is still the palace’s centrepiece. Once boasting over 1,000 buildings and four wings, legend has it that no one was able to visit without getting lost… particularly if they found themselves in the labyrinth of connecting corridors beneath the palace. Following this, your guide will take you to the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion. Known as being one of the oldest and most important museums in Greece, it is home to all of the archaeological discoveries of Crete. A visit provides a fascinating overview of the phases of the Minoan civilization, which dominated the Aegean world for around 20 centuries, and the first steps of Greek civilisation until the Roman period. This evening, enjoy a sundowner or two overlooking the Sea of Crete before making your way to a local taverna – our local Concierge can recommend and book the best – for dinner.
After an early breakfast this morning, drive to Heraklion, drop your hire car back at the airport and catch a two to two-and-a-half-hour ferry across the Aegean Sea to Santorini. Once back on dry land you will be privately transferred to your next hotel. This evening head out on a sunset catamaran cruise to see Santorini’s striking caldera from the water, accompanied by snacks and drinks. For dinner, our Concierge can recommend the best restaurant in town.
Today, we recommend that you take the time to relax. There is plenty to do on Santorini, from pottering around the towns of Oia and Imerovigli, to hiking up to elevated viewing spots and swimming in the sea. We can also arrange spa sessions and trips to ancient Akrotiri, another Minoan era Bronze Age site.
Late this morning, you will head out on a small group tour featuring some of Santorini’s highlights. Visit the traditional village of Pyrgos – located at the highest point of the island – followed by the archaeological site of Akrotiri, an ancient city preserved under the ash. Together you will also visit some of vineyards near Megalochori and learn about how the volcanic soil on Santorini creates what is generally considered Greece’s finest wines. As you enjoy your tastings, your guide will dive deeper into the history of wine on the island and how it has developed over the millennia. Once back at your hotel, you will have time to relax before dinner and drinks in Oia this evening – our Concierge will have pre-booked a table at one of our favourite restaurants for you.
This morning you will be privately transferred to the southern side of the island, where you will board your catamaran for a more in-depth tour of the island. As you cruise past the beautiful volcanic red and white beaches of Santorini, your crew will carefully choose the most private spots for you to jump in and have a swim or snorkel. As you sail past the Indian Head Mountain, the Old Venetian Lighthouse and into the iconic caldera you will make a few more stops for swimming at the island’s hot springs and enjoy a delicious lunch whipped up by your crew. When you're sailing past Tholos Naftilos, the small island in the middle of the caldera, make sure to do a 360 spin to take in the sheer scale of the crater rim of which Santorini forms the main part. You get a real sense of the vastness of the volcano that erupted sometime around 1500 BC, and which many think gave rise to the legend of Atlantis. After you have disembarked, you will be privately transferred back to your hotel in time for your final Santorini supper.
After breakfast this morning you will be privately transferred to the port to catch the ferry to Mykonos. After a private transfer, you will have the rest of the afternoon to settle into your hotel and get your bearings before heading out this evening to enjoy some of Mykonos' legendary nightlife - consult our Concierge and detailed destination Dossier for our favourite spots for dinner, drinks and dancing.
This morning you will visit Delos - a tiny, uninhabited island off Mykonos - with an expert guide. Now under the protection of Greece's Ministry of Culture, Ancient Greeks believed it was the birthplace to Artemis, goddess of the hunt, and her twin brother Apollo, god of healing and medicine. With your guide, you will explore the ruins on the island and learn about its history - from birthplace of deities to contested colony. The island was abandoned in the sixth century BC and has since been well preserved. There are some beautiful mosaics and epigraphs, which makes it a pretty good guide to how people lived in antiquity.
Today is yours to explore Mykonos at your own pace. Between its museums, historical sites and beautiful beaches, there is plenty to do, and your Dossier includes a few suggestions. Little Venice, one of our favourite areas, is a romantic and pretty spot close to the sea and best known for its charming medieval houses. If you'd prefer something a little more planned, one call to our impeccable local Concierge is all it takes and they will be able to arrange any sort of activity, such as a tour of the monastery, or a guided riding trip.
Tonight is the last night of your island hopping adventure, so we have pre-booked a table at one of our favourite restaurants for you. Mykonos is well-known for its nightlife, so again our Concierge can reserve a table at the coolest club should you want to end the holiday with a bang.
This morning you will be privately transferred to the airport in good time for your lunchtime flight back to London, which will land in the mid-afternoon.
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