Fly to Athens and transfer to our hotel in Old Athens, not far from the Acropolis. There will be free time in the evening to explore the city and sample some delicious Greek food.
After a short metro ride to the Piraeus harbour, we embark on our four hour ferry journey to Paros. After settling in our hotel, we take a bus to reach the heart of the island, the village of Lefkes, where we join the Old Byzantine road all the way to the East coast of Paros. Believed to be about 1000 years old, the route it was part of a central road traversing the entire island, joining Parikia to Pisso Livadi. Approx. 4 to 5hrs walking.
This morning we explore the town of Parikia. The medieval centre has the authentic atmosphere of the Greek islands, with the narrow alleyways and piazzas, small shops and tavernas. We visit the famous Cathedral of Ekatontapiliani, one of the earliest Christian churches in Europe. At lunch time, we take the ferry to Santorini.
Santorini is one of the most famous islands in the world. Known mainly for its beautiful beaches, it is a remnant of a volcanic cone whose top was blown off. A huge eruption (estimated 1450 BC) gave it its crescent shape and many speculate that it was the location of the legendary lost Atlantis. This beautiful island has a lot to offer to walkers, including magnificent views of the Mediterranean.
Leaving Thira behind we trek along the 'Cliff Trail' to Oia. The six mile trail is well marked, not too challenging but well worth the effort. Views out over the Aegean as far as the eye can see are virtually ever present as we wind gently up to the edge of the volcanic caldera. Reaching Oia, a pretty village of narrow winding streets, whitewashed houses, boutiques, galleries and cafes there is time to explore, relax and soak up the culture. Approx. 4 hours walking.
This morning, we take a 30 mins boat trip to the islet of Kameni; located in the middle of the Caldera, it is in fact the top of the ancient volcano. We walk to the crater, highest point of the island, through lava formations and volcanic smoke (approx. 2 hrs). Leaving Santorini in the afternoon, we board the ferry to Naxos. After checking in at our hotel, there may be some time to explore the main town, Hora, a Venetian Castello town. The market area is a delight to wander through, with its craft shops, chapels and quaint restaurants. On the islet of Palatia stands the impressive Portara, ancient marble gateway, the entrance to the remains of the temple of Apollo.
Today we trek the lush valley of Tragea, famous for its ancient olive and citrus groves. It is a great opportunity to discover the most authentic part of Naxos, where picturesque villages and churches punctuate our walk. Approx. 4 to 5 hours walking.
Today we walk to the summit of Mt Fanari (2,500 ft), through impressive landscape with magnificent views of many other Aegean islands. We reach the fascinating village of Apiranthos, a living museum of mediaeval times, built in the mountains, hidden away from pirates and other intruders. Approx. 4 to 5 hrs walking.
A ferry takes us to Pireus (approx. 5hrs). Transfer to Athens airport for your flight back to the UK.