Greece

Live for a Week on “Island Time”

Level

Easy

Duration

8 days

Greeks cannot imagine summer without stepping on a ferry and visiting at least one island. There is something magical happening on the Greek islands that one can only experience: time slows down to what we call “island time,” mid-days are lethargic, and life begins after 8 pm – sometimes till the morning hours – when the weather cools down and the intoxicating aromas of the sun, the salt, and the sea breeze on the skin transcend every visitor to a dimension of bliss.

With this trip, we present a unique live-like-a-local experience where you will spend most of the days in a homestay getting acquainted with the daily rituals of life on a Greek island, while the team leaders will introduce you not only to the place and culture, but also to some of their closest friends – people deeply connected to the landscape, and firmly occupying their unique place in the world. After a while, you will not be a guest anymore but, instead, a “family member” or an old friend welcomed in a house that will be like home.

As the days pass, you will feel that the places you visit, no matter how beautiful they are, won’t be the highlight of your trip. Instead, you will see yourself emerging renewed through the connection with the surrounding nature, the details that will be shared, and the conversations that may last till late at night. This trip is about connecting with a part of yourself that Greece will undoubtedly bring to the surface; a quiet, fun, intense, and nourishing week for the body and soul amid the beauties of a timeless landscape. This is the reason most people visiting the country end up falling in love with it.

The highlights of this trip include:

Strolling around the historical center of Athens and visiting some of its oldest neighborhoods

A taste of the traditional Greek philoxenia through our homestay in a villa next to the sea

A visit to Moni, Agkistri, and Hydra islands (island-hopping)

Swimming and snorkeling in numerous pristine beaches

Tasting traditional home-cooked food using local ingredients

Sort hikes on Moni and Aegina, getting acquainted with the local fauna and flora, and, above all, remembering how our presence can get incorporated in nature

A visit to the archaeological sites of Aegina (Temple of Aphaia, castles, churches)

An open-air cinema screening

An acquaintance with local initiatives and artists

Facts:

Activities: trekking, cultural sightseeing, boating, swimming, snorkeling, cultural interaction

Our operation:

  • All Rahhalah’s ground handlers and guides are locally employed ensuring more authentic experience for travelers, as well as sensitivity and understanding of the local culture and environment
  • Our staff is highly experienced and has excellent knowledge, committed to provide exceptional service at all times.

Sustainability:

We run a low impact operation and we leave no traces behind, contributing to the efforts of protection of the local land, its people and culture.

We are committed to employing local people to the maximum extent possible. We pay our staff well and, just as important, we provide them with periodical training. In addition we emphasize on making extensive use of local products and enhance maximum economic benefits to the local communities.

As you all know 1% of our revenue go back to a local cause and Rahhalah directly takes care of that. This is our pay back promise.

Trip Leaders:

Konstantina Sakellariou

Konstantina is our Greek partner in Rahhalah and the Chief Initiator – Transformational Journeys. After 20 years of corporate experience, she decided to quit her executive position and launch into a personal adventure, changing her life. Today, she focuses on writing and traveling, while she also leads a few trips in her beloved homeland. She has already published her first book “The Unusual Journeys of a Girl Like Any Other” inspired by her personal development through 7 hiking trips, and she has written over 100 articles sharing details from her traveling expeditions. Through her site www.MyUnusualJourneys.com, she publishes twice per month a mini e-magazine under the title “Thoughts and Impressions of a Conscious Traveler,” documenting, among other things, the interaction of the inner and outer landscape as it unfolds in her trips.

Nancy Papathanassopoulou

Nancy is a Greek Environmental Law and Management expert and an environmental professional with long experience in marine conservation projects in the Arabian Gulf region. She speaks fluently English, French, German, Italian, and, of course, Greek. She is a great cook, and, at nights, we hope to persuade her to play on her guitar and sing with us around the fireplace.

DETAILED ITINERARY

Day 1 (Friday, June 15): Arrival Athens

You will be picked up from the airport and driven to the hotel, somewhere close to the center of Athens.

Optional:

Go for an evening stroll in the center of Old Athens, have dinner, and finish the day with a drink on one of the rooftops overlooking the beautifully-lit Acropolis Rock.

Day 2 (Sat, June 16): Athens (B, L, D)

After breakfast, we will start the day in the hills opposite Acropolis: the Filopappou Hill (or Hill of the Muses), Pnyka, and the Hill of Nymphs. There, under the shade of the pine trees and, possibly, with the deafening accompaniment of the cicadas, we will talk about the story of the city of Athens: the ups and downs, the golden eras and the dark ages, the differences with other well-known Greek cities, the importance of its famous monuments, and the impact of the city in Greece’s as well as Europe’s history.

From these hills, we will enjoy panoramic views of the Parthenon, we will visit by the place where Democracy was implemented, and we will walk downhill passing in front of the Old Observatory building on our way to a couple of other important neighborhoods: Thiseio and Monastiraki.

In Monastiraki, we will explore the flea market – which, of course, has its own story – and have lunch in a small tavern nearby.

After lunch, we will enjoy some free time during which some of us may wish to return to the hotel for a nap, others may escape the mid-day hit in a café people-watching, and, finally, others may visit an archaeological site (the rock of Acropolis and the Parthenon, or the Temple of Olympian Zeus) or a museum.

In the afternoon, we will meet again to explore Plaka, the old neighborhood of Athens that spreads at the foothill of Acropolis Rock. We will ramble around the picturesque alleys, observing the kaleidoscopic co-existence of the Ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and modern Greek eras, represented in the ruins, the architecture, the houses, and the stories imprinted in each corner. It is an excellent opportunity to hone our photographic skills, experimenting with colors, angles, and meanings.

We will pass through the Anafiotika neighborhood – fondly referred to as “an island within a city” – and we will enjoy the sunset as well as a panoramic view of Athens from the Areopagus Rock. We will finish our day in the oldest Plaka tavern to dine on traditional local delicacies while singing and dancing – the Greek way!

Day 3 (Sunday, Jun 17) Aegina island (B, L, D)

We will check-out from the hotel, take the train to Piraeus port and, from there, the ferry boat to Aegina island which, despite its beauty, is still not massively exploited by tourism.

We arrive in Aegina and are picked up and head to the house to settle. It is a beautiful villa next to the sea, and, besides the stunning views or the numerous corners for relaxation, one can feel the story of the family living in it unfolding through the memories of the old furniture, some of which has passed from generation to generation.

We settle in the house, swimming and snorkeling at the beach, while a light lunch is served in the veranda for us to snack while we enjoy the sea and the sun.

In the afternoon, and after a nice afternoon tea or coffee with cakes and local delights, we will head to the town for an exploration of the artistic scene of the island. During summer, it is common for most islands to host some cultural events, so we will amble around through the art galleries and street festivals available on the day. On top of that, Aegina is home to a few artists that live permanently there, and we will visit one or two and discuss on perspectives and colors.

We will dine on Greek souvlaki – because summer nights without a souvlaki just aren’t Greek enough!

Then, we will head towards one of the open-air summer cinemas that offer a delightful experience under the stars. Regardless of the movie screening or the quality of the sound that cannot be at par with the latest technology, open-air cinemas are a long-standing tradition during summer in Greece and represent one of the locals’ fondest activities.

We will return to the house to relax, maybe have a drink, and sit under the stars, observing the constellations (the house is quite far from the lights, so we can see the sky quite clearly), engaging in discussion, listening to the night summer sounds, maybe even singing a few songs accompanied by the guitar.

Day 4 (Monday, June 18) Aegina island (B, L, D)

Relaxing breakfast at home (those interested may go for a morning swim even before breakfast)

In the morning, we will head towards the famous Temple of Aphaia – an archaeological site of great importance – and the nearby museum.

We will have lunch at Lunch at Agia Marina, where we will possibly choose among a couple of taverns that, though they are a bit further than the beach, they are much less touristic, and they compete with each other on which one will prepare the best home-cooked dish of the day.

Return home to relax, enjoy an afternoon tea or coffee and swim in the sea in the most wonderful hours of the day: i.e., after 6pm, when the colors change, the heat of the day dies gradually out, and one feels reborn.

We will head for dinner downtown and we will return home to enjoy the night under the stars.

Day 5 (Tuesday, June 19) Moni island (B, L, D)

After our usual home-cooked breakfast, we will head to Perdika village and, from there, we will take a small boat to cross to Moni island. There are no inhabitants on this tiny island, but only deer, wild goats and peacocks that come close to you, in order to feed them. We will hike into the pine-covered inland, and swim in the deep, crystal-clear waters, while sharing information on the unique biodiversity of the place and its environmental prospects.

We will have a light lunch at Perdika (note that, during summer, lunches are supposed to be light as the body cannot easily digest the food, plus we wish to go swimming again as soon as possible).

We will return home to relax, have an afternoon tea/coffee, maybe swim a bit. Around sunset time, we will head towards Paleochora – the medieval side of Aegina island – to explore the castles and the numerous Byzantine small churches bathed in the hues of the setting sun.

We will return to the house for BBQ in the garden, enjoying another night under the stars with stories, myths, and songs.

It is your Trip leader -Konstantina’s birthday today so you will enjoy a cake and a bit of a celebration.

Day 6 (Wed, June 20): Agkistri island (B, L, D)

We will wake up early today to take the colorful Agkistri Express boat to go to Agkistri island.

At the local coffee shop where we can have our morning coffee, we will arrange for a fisherman to take us with his boat to seclude, remote beaches.

We will enjoy a light lunch and head back home for the usual summer siesta.

We will spend the afternoon swimming and snorkeling, enjoying afternoon tea, coffee, and local delicacies.

In the evening, we will arrange with a fisherman to go for a brief fishing expedition.

We will have dinner at a traditional tavern and return home for our last night under the stars.

Day 7 (Thurs, June 21) Hydra Island/ Athens (B, L, D)

We are heading to the picturesque island of Hydra today. We will wake up early and pack our luggage. To reach Hydra, we will have to take the flying dolphin to Piraeus and from there the boat to the new island, where we are expected to arrive around mid-day.

We will have lunch in a traditional tavern and explore the rest of the island till the night, when we will take the last boat back to Piraeus.

Overnight in a hotel in Athens.

Day 8 (Friday, June 22): Departure Athens (B)

Today is the day to say goodbye to Greece – though few can stay away from this beautiful country for long.

After breakfast, and depending on your flight details, you can stroll around the center of Athens, do some last-minute shopping, or you can take the tram to the Athens Riviera where you can enjoy a last swim (keep in mind though that, after the crystal-clear waters of the islands, Attica may be a bit disappointing). In any case, we would be glad to assist with several suggestions, depending on your available time.

1,179 EUR

per person based on a group of min 6. Double occupancy.

Trip Dates

15th June 2018

NOTES

This cost is based on Double Occupancy. Single Supplement Applies.

This rate is valid for June 2018

All services stipulated above are subject to availability at the time of booking / reservation. All prices are subject to change.

This includes:

Accommodation in a hotel in Athens for three nights (double occupancy) and homestay in Aegina island for 4 nights (shared rooms – some twin beds and some double beds which may need to be shared)

Meals as indicated B, L, D. In the house, there will be plenty of food for snacks as well.

Transportation from and to the airport

Transportations within Greece as per the itinerary above

Tickets for the boats

Entrance tickets wherever needed as per the itinerary above

The presence of Rahhalah partner and Chief Initiator Transformational Journeys, Konstantina Sakellariou

The presence of Nancy Papathanassopoulou who opens her house for us and will share her local expertise.

This excludes:

5% VAT

International flights

Visa fees

Travel Insurance

Single Supplement

Personal gear

Meals not mentioned above

Beverages

Tips and gratuities

Personal expenses

Notes:

Be prepared for the unexpected. At any moment, based on a whim or a specific request from the group, we may decide to follow the untrodden path, exploring an area not included in the itinerary. We may spend more time next to the lakes at sunset for birdwatching, or we may choose to visit archaeological sites that have not been listed in the agenda below. The path will unfold as we create it ourselves and this is what makes every journey unique and exclusive.

We reserve the right to alter the itinerary depending on the weather conditions or other unforeseeable factors that may negatively affect the traveling experience.

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