Walking on the Greek Islands Trip Notes

Walk along picturesque trails through historic towns and olive groves in the Greek Islands and visit Athens, Santorini, Naxos, Hora and Parikia.

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    • Walking
    • Original
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Last Modified: 17 Oct 2013
Walking on the Greek Islands
Trip code: ZZXG
Validity: 01 Jan 2012 to 31 Dec 2014
Enjoy all the spoils of the Greek Islands on this 8-day walking trip through the beauty of Naxos, Santorini, Oia, Parikia and Paros. Starting in Athens, get a feel for this ancient city before jumping on a ferry to Naxos, where paradise awaits. Explore charming Greek towns, walk through lush valleys and gnarled olive groves, see the iconic blue and whitewashed houses of Santorini and Oia, follow coastal trails and soak up unparalleled views of the cerulean Aegean Sea on this walking adventure through a natural, cultural and historical masterpiece of Europe.
The operator for this trip is our experienced sister company Exodus. Your group will therefore be a mixture of Intrepid booked passengers and other international like-minded travellers.
Table of Contents
StyleImportant notesEmergency funds
ThemesGroup sizeVisas
ItineraryYour fellow travellersIssues on your trip
Itinerary disclaimerSingle travellersWhat to take
Culture shock rating AccommodationHealth
Physical ratingMealsSafety
Included activitiesTransportTravel insurance
Optional activitiesGroup leaderResponsible Travel
Money ExchangeJoining point A couple of rules
Spending moneyArrival complicationsThe Intrepid Foundation
TippingFinish point Feedback
Departure taxEmergency contact
Style
Original
  • Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Themes
Walking
Itinerary
Day 1 Athens
Kalimera! Welcome to Greece.
Your trip normally begins at the hotel in the afternoon of day 1. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the final joining instructions - sent approximately two weeks before departure. These instructions will also include information about where and what time to meet the group.
Our hotel is located in Old Athens, not far from the Acropolis. After meeting the group there will be free time in the evening to explore the city and sample some delicious Greek food.
As there's not much time to explore Athens on this trip we recommend you arrive a few days early to see the sights. Highlights include the renowned changing of the guard at Syntagma (Parliament) Square, the National Gardens, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the original Olympic Stadium and of course the Acropolis where you can enter the Parthenon and enjoy the view of the city from this unique vantage point. Many other options are available if you extend your time here, including day trips to the Peloponnese peninsula, taking in ancient Epidavros and the ancient Corinthian canal.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 Naxos
After a short transfer to the Piraeus harbour we embark on our five hour ferry journey to Naxos.
The largest and most fertile of the Cycladic islands, Naxos has a variety of great beaches and Byzantine churches and medieval towers dot the landscape. The famous Naxos Eye is a stone that was created by the combination of sea, sun and other climatic conditions and is now a symbol of the island. You can find it on jewellery sold at shops on the island.
After settling in at our hotel, we 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, an ancient marble gateway which was the entrance to the remains of the temple of Apollo.
The following day 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 the island, where picturesque villages and churches punctuate our walk (approx 4-5 hours).
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 3 Itinerary
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 4 Santorini
We enjoy a free morning in Hora before our midday ferry to Santorini (approx 3 hours).
Renowned for its spectacular natural beauty, Santorini was formed by a huge volcanic explosion which left the current caldera with its central lagoon. Today, the island, with its blue and white buildings and gorgeous beaches, is instantly recognisable.
There will be some time today to explore the cosmopolitan town of Thira.
The following day we leave Thira behind and trek along the 'Cliff Trail' to Oia (approx 4 hours). The six-mile trail is well marked and 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. Upon 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.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 5 Itinerary
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 6 Paros
This morning is free to explore Santorini. Some optional excursions are available such as a visit to the volcano and hot springs, or the excavations in Acrotiri and the local museums.
We leave Santorini in the afternoon and board the ferry to Paros (approx 3 hours), following which we check in at our hotel and then enjoy dinner in the town of Parikia.
The following day we begin by exploring the town of Parikia. The medieval centre has the authentic atmosphere of the Greek Islands, with its narrow alleyways and piazzas, small shops and tavernas. We visit the famous Cathedral of Ekatontapiliani, one of the earliest Christian churches in Europe. By lunchtime we 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 (approx 4-5 hours). Believed to be about 1000 years old, the route was part of a central road traversing the entire island, joining Parikia to Pisso Livadi.
Optional Activities
  • Museum of Prehistoric Thira - EUR3
  • Volcano and hot springs (half-day trip) - EUR18
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 7 Itinerary
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 8 Athens
Today we board a ferry which takes us back to Piraeus (approx 4 hours). Our trip ends on arrival in Athens. We plan to take a morning ferry, however times can vary so if you are flying out of Athens on this day, we recommend booking a flight no earlier than 5pm to ensure you can make it on time.
  • Walking on the Greek Islands Single Supplement (ZZXG)
    Itinerary disclaimer
    Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
    Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
    Culture shock rating

    At times local life here will be familiar to that of back home, and at times very different. Services are available most of the time, English may not be the native language, and there may be some cultural differences.
    Physical rating

    Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
    This trip offers the chance to discover three wonderful islands and enjoy some gentle walks. Routes have been chosen to showcase the best of the natural and historical sites on each island. Terrain will include footpaths and mountain terrain, which can be rocky and loose in places, and sloped ascents and descents, so walking poles can be useful.
    There are 3 day walks in our itinerary and 3 half days exploring on foot; the walks are leisurely in grade, between 2 and 5 hours including lunch breaks, and require an average level of fitness. All walks are optional.
    Included activities
    Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
    Optional activities
    A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Intrepid nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Intrepid. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.
    Money Exchange
    The Euro (EUR) is the official currency in the following destinations: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain. All other European countries still have their own national currencies.
    The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or Bancomat as they are often referred to. Check with your bank in advance concerning the suitability of your account / card overseas and any international fees that will be applied.
    You can obtain local currencies easily at airports and major train stations, but be sure to bring some extra emergency cash in a major currency that can be exchanged if the ATMs are not functioning.
    When leaving home don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it is stolen. Keep this in a safe place.
    Credit cards are not always accepted in stores and restaurants. While travelling we recommend you carry some cash to pay for restaurant bills and other services. Change can be difficult to obtain so throughout the day, try to gain as many small denominations as you can.
    You might be advised to take some of your money as travellers' cheques from a major financial institute. Travellers' cheques have security advantages, however please be aware that the exchange rates may not be favourable and that it is difficult to change Travellers' cheques in most countries. Be particularly aware that after hours money exchanges and hotel receptions carry high commissions- sometimes up to 20%.
    For money safety we recommend that you carry your cash and credit cards in a secure money belt or pouch concealed under your clothes.
    Spending money
    Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
    Tipping
    If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group as our group leaders are prohibited from collecting cash for tips.
    The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
    Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - leave the loose change. More up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill.
    Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest EUR1-2 per person per day for local guides.
    Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline EUR3 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
    Departure tax
    All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
    Important notes
    LOCAL PARTNER:
    This trip is operated by our trusted local partners, Exodus.
    AGE RESTRICTIONS:
    The minimum age of clients on this trip is 16 years. Please note that teenagers aged 16 or 17 must be accompanied by (and share accommodation with) a parent or legal guardian.
    HOT WEATHER:
    Summer temperatures can reach up to 40 degrees Celsius, which can be uncomfortable for those not used to the heat. Please consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season.
    Group size
    Maximum of 18 travellers per group.
    Your fellow travellers
    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
    Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit:
    www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
    Single travellers
    Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own room (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
    Accommodation
    Hotel (7 nts)
    One night in a central hotel in Athens and six nights in family run hotels on the islands. All hotels have private facilities and some have a swimming pool.
    Meals
    7 Breakfasts
    Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
    Breakfasts are buffet-style. Typical buffet style Greek breakfast consists of bread/toast, butter, jam, fresh juice, milk, local yoghurt, eggs and honey, and coffee/tea. For lunch and dinner we will go to different local tavernas and restaurants, where we can sample some typical Greek meze dishes, olives, fresh fish, vegetables, etc.
    Transport
    Ferry, Minibus
    Group leader
    There will be a local leader and drivers and local guides where needed.
    Joining point
    Jason Inn
    12-14 Assomaton
    Athens
    Athens
    10553
    GREECE
    Phone: 210 3251106
    Arrival complications
    We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact section below for who to contact depending upon your starting location.
    Finish point
    Jason Inn
    12-14 Assomaton
    Athens
    Athens
    10553
    GREECE
    Phone: 210 3251106
    Emergency contact
    In the case of genuine crisis or emergency please call our partner EXODUS on their 24 HOUR EMERGENCY NUMBER Tel: +44 (0) 1582 644 100.
    For all other enquiries please contact our Reservations department which is open 24 hours, 6 days per week. For further contact details please use the following page:
    Emergency funds
    Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
    Visas
    Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
    We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
    GREECE:
    Australia: Not required
    Belgium: Not required
    Canada: Not required
    Germany: Not required
    Ireland: Not required
    Netherlands: Not required
    New Zealand: Not required
    South Africa: Yes - in advance
    Switzerland: Not required
    UK: Not required
    USA: Not required
    Issues on your trip
    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
    We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
    You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
    What to take
    What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
    Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
    You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
    ESSENTIAL EQUIPMENT & CLOTHING:
    - 2-3 season jackets (April/May departures)
    - Light, waterproof jacket
    - Sun hat, sunglasses, sunscreen
    - Lightweight but sturdy boots with ankle support
    - Day pack
    - Skirt or wrap for women, or long trousers for men, for visiting religious sites
    - Swimming costume
    - Sandals or old trainers for swimming
    - Comfortable shoes for evenings and sightseeing days
    OPTIONAL:
    - Walking poles
    WATER BOTTLE:
    Please bring your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.
    Health
    All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
    You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
    Safety
    Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
    We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
    Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
    For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
    PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
    While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
    Travel insurance
    Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
    When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
    If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
    Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
    Responsible Travel
    We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
    In general, there are few dress restrictions in Europe. Note when visiting churches that modest dress is required - shorts or skimpy tops may not be permitted.
    A couple of rules
    Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
    The Intrepid Foundation
    Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
    The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
    Feedback
    After your travels, we want to hear from you! We realise that our partner company may ask you to complete paper or online feedback following your trip, however we would also like to know what you thought and encourage you to submit your feedback to us too. This is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next trip if your feedback is completed online within 4 weeks of finishing your trip.