Food & Wine: A Taste of Greece with Linda Piccolo

11 days
See how historic traditions and modern-day culture have swirled together to create Greece’s current food and wine scene. Start in Thessaloniki, the country’s culinary hub, before making your way down to Athens to explore some of the nation’s ancient wonders. Then, continue on to Crete where the area’s flavorful cuisine comes to life inside the local markets. From mainland wine regions to island vineyards, you’ll experience the wonders of Greek wine while indulging in locally sourced, fresh foods.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

On this guided tour, you'll 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

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Thessaloniki today.

Thessaloniki 3 nights Hotel info

Day 2: Arrival in Thessaloniki

  Included meals: Dinner

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

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Thessaloniki & wine tasting

  Included meals: Breakfast, Wine tasting

Set out on a guided tour to get to know Thessaloniki, the second-largest city of the former Byzantine empire and a modern-day hub for Greek culture.

• View the Arch of Galerius and Rotunda, which were built for Roman Emperor Galerius in the 4th century 

• Pass by the Hagios Demetrios and Hagia Sophia churches

• See the Roman-style city walls that were constructed during the early 3rd century

• Walk along the seaside promenade to view the White Tower of Thessaloniki, one of the city’s central landmarks 

• Visit the Ladadika district and enjoy free time to explore at your leisure

This afternoon, head south to the Epanomi wine region and visit the Ktima Gerovassiliou winery.

• Follow a guide on a short walk through the vineyard to see Malagousia and Assyrtiko grapes that are used to create the winery’s signature red and white Epanomi wines

• Tour the production area

• Explore the on-site museum to see well-preserved artifacts that are essential to the history of Greek winemaking including bottles, barrels, and corkscrews

• Sample some of the wines during a tasting

Day 4: Free day in Thessaloniki

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a free day in Thessaloniki or add an excursion

Optional Excursion - Ruins of Vergina & Naoussa Wine Tavern Lunch $115pp* Details

Located in between the modern day villages of Palatitsia and Vergina lies the UNESCO World Heritage Archaeological Site of Aigai. With your local guide leading the way, you’ll learn about and explore the ruins of the first capital of the Macedonian Kingdom. A site of both cultural and political importance, Aigai was where Alexander the Great was declared the king of the Macedonian Empire. After your tour, enjoy free time to visit the Museum of Royal Tombs of Aigai where Philip II, father of Alexander the Great, is buried. Then, pass through the eastern slopes of the Vermio Mountains to visit the Naoussa wine region. Widely regarded as one of Greece’s top area’s for viticulture, you’ll visit a wine tavern and enjoy a lunch of Macedonian specialties paired with wines produced in the Naoussa region.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $125)

Athens 2 nights Hotel info

Day 5: Athens via Volos

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Travel from Thessaloniki to the seaside city of Volos. Located on the Pelion Peninsula, this area is known for its culinary scene. During a lunch, you’ll try mezedes, or small plates, and tsipouro, an anise-flavored brandy. 

After, continue on to Athens.

Day 6: 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.

• Pass by the Olympic Stadium, Syntagma Square, and the Arch of Hadrian

• View the sixth-century Temple of Zeus

• See the classically inspired Old Royal Palace, home of the Hellenic Parliament, and drive through the Plaka district

• Set off on a walking tour around the ancient Acropolis, site of the Parthenon, Temple of Athena Nike, and Erechtheion

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)

Heraklion 1 night Hotel info

Day 7: Flight to Crete & sightseeing tour of Heraklion

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today, fly to Crete and take a guided sightseeing tour of Heraklion, the largest city on the island.

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

• Step inside the Heraklion Archaeological Museum

Tonight, sample some of Greece’s most well-known liquors including Ouzo, Metaxa, and Raki. Then, enjoy an included dinner of Cretan specialties and regional wine.

Chania 2 nights Hotel info

Day 8: Chania via Iraklio wine country

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Wine tasting

Make your way to Chania by traveling through the Iraklio wine country, stopping to tour a Cretan vineyard. You’ll enjoy a lunch and tasting featuring a variety of the wines produced from Kotsifali, Mandilaria, and Malvasia grapes. Then, visit the city of Rethymno before continuing on to Chania.

Spend a free evening in Chania or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Crete Olive Oil Tasting & Dinner $79pp* Details

Head to a local olive oil farm outside of Chania where you’ll enjoy an olive oil and wine tasting. Dip into the extra-virgin olive oil with a side of fresh-baked bread, then try five different wine varietes served with a dish of Cretan delicacies. End your night of food, wine, and fun with a dinner overlooking the stunning vineyard and olive groves.

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

Day 9: Sightseeing tour of Chania & cooking class

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Travel to historic Chania, where a local guide introduces you to the city’s Old Town. 

• Step inside the Chania Cathedral Trimartiti and Etz Hayyim, the only synagogue on the island and a symbol of the city’s ages-old Jewish community

• Walk through the city’s indoor market, stopping to try local herbs, cheese, and olive oil 

• Pass the Mosque Yiali Tzami as you walk along the old Venetian harbor

• See the famous Egyptian lighthouse

This evening, head to a local cooking school where you’ll prepare regional dishes alongside a professional chef. Then, enjoy drinking Greek wine and eating the foods you cooked.

Athens 1 night Hotel info

Day 10: Flight to Athens

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Fly to Athens this morning. Tonight, gather with your group to celebrate your trip at a farewell dinner.

Day 11: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home or extend your stay to explore Santorini and Athens.

Add Santorini & Athens Starting from $799 pp

Some call Santorini the lost city of Atlantis. Most just call it paradise. Discover a volcanic island of black-sand beaches, sprawling vineyards and cliff-lined shores famed for its Mediterranean sunsets and world-class white wine. During your stay, you’ll soak up Santorini’s stunning seascapes on a guided tour and uncover its rich history on a visit to the museum of Akrotiri, a Minoan colony buried in volcanic ash 3,600 years ago.

Santorini 3 nights Hotel info

Day 11: Transfer to Santorini

  Included meals: Breakfast

Take a ferry to Santorini, then enjoy free time to discover the island’s charming culture and awe-inspiring landscapes.

Day 12: 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 that were unearthed during the archaeological excavations at Akrotiri

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

• Stop in the small, picturesque village of Pyrgos

Spend a free afternoon and evening in Santorini or add an excursion.

Day 13: Free day in Santorini

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a free day in Santorini or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Santorini Caldera Cruise & Dinner $119pp* Details

Board an elegant, fully equipped catamaran and sail in comfort through Santorini’s awe-inspiring caldera on this scenic excursion. You’ll cruise around the volcanic island of Nea Kameni for views of the picture-perfect cliffside village of Oia (pronounced “EE-ah”). Situated on the western end of the island, Oia was once a maritime center and stately captains’ houses still sit on its high ridges. Spend the afternoon on the open waters as you snorkel in the ocean, sunbathe on the deck of the catamaran, and swim in a natural hot spring that was once the crater of a volcano. You’ll enjoy unlimited wine, water, and soft drinks as well as a buffet-style dinner of home-cooked Greek specialties on board the boat as you take in the sunset (on clear days) and the scenery. Please note: We recommend packing a bathing suit. This excursion is seasonal and runs from May through the beginning of October only. It is also weather-dependent.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $129)

Athens for a day Hotel info

Day 14: Flight to Athens

  Included meals: Breakfast

Fly back to Athens today and enjoy a free evening or add and excursion.

How's the weather?

  • Athens, Greece
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Passport & visa requirements

  • In order to enter Greece, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of reentry. 
  • We recommend having at least one blank passport page for entry stamps.
  • There is no visa required for U.S. or Canadian citizens.
  • If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact each country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.      

Tour pace

  • On this guided tour, you'll walk for about 1.5 hours daily across uneven terrain, including paved roads and cobblestone streets, with steep hills and stairs.
  • Travelers should be healthy enough to participate in all included walks without assistance. Adding optional excursions may increase the total amount of walking on your tour.
  • You should feel comfortable managing your own baggage at times, as well as getting in and out of boats.
  • If you have any mobility concerns or physical restrictions, please contact our Customer Experience Team.

Transportation & arrival information

  • Round-trip flights booked through Go Ahead Tours arrive in Thessaloniki and depart from Athens. A representative from Go Ahead Tours will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival. 
  • Transfers to and from the airport at your destination are included for travelers who have purchased their flights through Go Ahead Tours. Travelers who purchase their own flights may request airport transfers with Go Ahead Tours for an additional cost.
  • Flights from Athens to Heraklion and Chania to Athens are included in the price of your tour.
  • A ferry from Athens to Santorini and a flight from Santorini to Athens is included in the price of the tour extension.
  • All other included transportation is by private motor coach.  

Baggage allowance

  • Airlines have varying weight restrictions on baggage. 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 baggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that our travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other transfers, which may include train connections or flights. 
  • One carry-on bag of 45 total inches (length + width + height) is also permitted.
  • Make sure you label your baggage and keep valuables, medication, and documents in your carry-on bag.

Clothing & packing tips

  • We recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered to accommodate varying temperatures, as well as a light jacket or rainwear.
  • A sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers is recommended for sightseeing.
  • You may want to pack dressier attire if you plan to visit a high-end restaurant or attend a special performance.
  • It is preferable not to visit churches or other religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (and entrance may be denied on this basis).

Health

  • There are no major health risks associated with traveling to Greece. 
  • At least 60 days prior to departure, check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and entry requirements, or visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov.
  • If you have medication that you take daily, be sure you have enough for each day of the tour as well as any possible delays encountered.
  • If you have dietary restrictions and/or food allergies please notify Go Ahead Tours at least 30 days prior to departure by logging in to your account and updating your traveler info. To update this information closer to your departure date, please call our Customer Experience Team.

Cuisine

  • Greece’s warm climate ensures a constant supply of fresh, high-quality fruits and vegetables. Salads served with aromatic olive oil, feta cheese, and oregano are plentiful. Simple grilled fish and meat are integral to Greek cuisine, as well as squid and octopus. Don't miss the spinach and cheese pies, called spanakopita.
  • Sea breezes, mineral soil, and coastal climate all greatly influence the flavors present in popular Greek wines. Acidic and dry, Assyrtiko is one of the country's most well-known wines and thrives in the Macedonian region of Greece. Located outside of Thessaloniki, wine makers in the town of Epanomi are responsible for the resurgence of the fruity, full-bodied Malagousia wine. The dark red Mandilaria grape benefits from Crete's dry land and warm weather and is often blended with Kotsifali grapes to build a deeper color and complexity in the wine. 

Electricity & air conditioning

  • Greece operates on the European standard 220-240 volts and use Types C, E, or F plugs with two or three small, round pins.
  • We recommend packing a universal adapter, as well as a voltage converter if you plan on using your own hairdryer or other electrical device without a built-in converter.  
  • The strength of the air conditioning in European hotels is often not as strong or as cool as what you might be used to in the U.S. or Canada. When air conditioning is available, it is usually regulated seasonally and controlled centrally by the hotel. 
  • Hotels may provide hairdryers, irons, and other small appliances, but these amenities cannot be guaranteed. 

Connectivity

  • Wi-Fi is available in most hotels, though some charges may apply. 
  • There is no Wi-Fi on any of the motor coaches. 
  • Please contact your mobile service provider for information on roaming charges.

Time zones

  • Greece is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and seven hours ahead of Eastern Time (ET).
  • When it’s noon in New York, it’s 7pm on tour.

Currency

  • You will use the euro on this tour.
  • Better rates of exchange are usually available overseas, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. 
  • We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to withdraw cash at local banks as needed. 
  • You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees. 
  • Inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
  • International banks and businesses primarily accept debit and credit cards that work with the EMV chip system. If you do not already have at least one debit or credit card with a chip in it, we strongly recommend requesting one from your bank prior to your tour.

Tipping

  • At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity in local currency. Please keep current exchange rates in mind.
  • We recommend tipping the equivalent of $7USD to $10USD per person per day for your Tour Director and the equivalent of $3USD per person per day for your driver.
  • If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD per local guide. 
  • Tips can only be paid in cash.  

Purchasing excursions on tour

  • Most optional excursions will be available for purchase while you are on tour.
  • Your Tour Director will only accept cash (in USD only), Visa, or MasterCard as payment for 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 page four of your tour itinerary for more information.

International travel is, by its very nature, unpredictable. We must therefore reserve the right to change this itinerary, without advance notice, to meet with local conditions at the time of travel. We appreciate your understanding. Please refer to our website for Terms & Conditions, dates, and prices.

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