Athens & Crete Explorer

  • 10 Days 8 Nights
  • TOUR CODE: AGC
  • FROM: $1499
Semi Independent
Moderate

Discover two of Greece’s highlights—its history-steeped capital and largest island—in one fascinating adventure on this 8-night tour. Begin in vibrant Athens to marvel at its UNESCO-listed Acropolis and other classical sights, and then take an overnight ferry to the stunning island of Crete, cast like a jewel in the Aegean Sea. Here, explore the picturesque Venetian-built port cities of Chania and Rethymnon before heading for the bustling capital of Heraklion, from where you can experience must-sees such as the ancient Palace of Knossos, the legendary home of the Minotaur; and the one-time leper colony site of Spinalonga Island.
 

  • Athens (2 nights)
  • Overnight Ferry (1 night)
  • Chania (1 night)
  • Heraklion (3 nights)
  • Athens (1 night)

TRIP TIMELINE

DAYS 1 & 2

USA - Athens

Today, board your international flight from the US to Athens, the capital of Greece.
 

Upon arrival, meet your representative and transfer to your hotel.   After checking in, enjoy the rest of the evening to relax or to start discovering the history-steeped Greek capital independently. Perhaps roam the cobbled lanes of the oldest district, Plaka, beneath the Acropolis, or browse for souvenirs on the shopping avenues of Ermou, Kolonaki or Voukourestiou.

Accommodation:

★★★★ View all Hotel Options

Upgrades available:

NJV Athens Plaza Hotel or similar (Standard) 3 nights

DAY 3

Athens

Enjoy breakfast before a morning sightseeing tour of Athens.  Learn about Athens’ long history from your guide as you see the Parliament Building and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Syntagma Square, and tick through highlights including Hadrian’s Arch, the Temple of Zeus and the Panathenaic Stadium, the stage for the first modern Olympics in 1896. Ascend to the UNESCO-listed Acropolis to admire its glorious temples, including the double gatehouse of the Propylaea, Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion and spectacular Parthenon. Your tour also includes a visit to the New Acropolis Museum, home to archeological treasures discovered at the Acropolis site. Admire the statues and artifacts as you learn how the Acropolis served as the hub of Greek civilization from the 5th century BC. Afterwards, enjoy the afternoon free at leisure or join our optional tour to Cape Sounion.

Included: Breakfast at hotel

Accommodation:

★★★★ View all Hotel Options

Optional Tours:

DAY 4

Athens - Overnight Ferry - Chania,

Enjoy today at leisure.  Explore Athens’ old Plaka quarter with its lovely shops and tavernas; or continue sightseeing independently—perhaps visiting some attractions not covered yesterday, such as Athens’ palm-shaded parks or National Archaeological Museum. With your ferry journey not till tonight, opt to purchase a late check-out to enjoy your hotel room until your evening transfer to Piraeus port. Otherwise, the standard 11am* check-out time will apply. On arrival at Piraeus this evening, board your overnight ferry (approx. 9-10 hours**) for Crete and settle into your cabin.

*Standard hotel check-out time subject to change at the discretion of the hotel
**Sailing duration subject to vary based on local conditions

Included: Breakfast at hotel

Accommodation:

★★★★ Anek lines or Similar

DAY 5

Arrive Chania, Crete

Savor an early breakfast on board before docking at Chania and a luggage drop-off at your hotel. Then, take a walking tour of this beautiful port city, largely built by the Venetians. With a local guide to chart Chania’s history; stroll around the Old Town’s lanes to admire sights such as the Venetian walls, Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic cathedrals, and the Turkish quarters behind the harbor. Along the way, go off the beaten track to discover sites that many visitors miss and which reflect the cultural influences that have shaped the city. Afterward, return to your hotel and enjoy the rest of the day to relax and explore as you wish.

Included: Breakfast on cruise

Accommodation:

★★★★ Kydon Hotel or similar

DAY 6

Chania - Heraklion, Crete

This morning, soak up the scenery as we drive to Heraklion, Crete’s buzzing capital for a 3-night stay. En route, stop in Rethymnon, another of the island’s picturesque ports, for a brief look at its Venetian-built old town of cobbled streets and faded mansions. On arrival in Heraklion later, check in at your hotel and spend the rest of this evening as you please. If you wish, make the very most of your time in Heraklion by upgrading to a room at the contemporary Galaxy Hotel or historical GDM Megaron Hotel—both 5-star establishments.

Included: Breakfast at hotel

Accommodation:

★★★★ View all Hotel Options

Upgrades available:

Galaxy Hotel or Similar (Superior City View or Similar) 3 nights

GDM Megaron Hotel or similar (Executive Urban View or Similar) 3 nights

DAY 7

Heraklion, Crete

Following an early breakfast, take a morning walking tour of Heraklion’s historical highlights. Admire the Koules, the Venetian fortress that guards the old port, and other landmarks including St. Titus’  Cathedral and the Piazza dei Signor, whose Loggia was a meeting place for Venetian nobles in Renaissance times. Then, visit the Piazza delle Biade to admire its equally impressive Loggia, 13th-century St. Mark’s Basilica, and stunning central fountain carved with dolphins and nymphs. This afternoon, choose to relax as you wish or join our optional half-day tour to the Palace of Knossos archaeological site, said to have been the mythical seat of King Minos. Explore this fascinating 7,000-year-old complex—a center of power in the Minoan age—and hear stories of its legendary Minotaur before paying a visit to the acclaimed Heraklion Archaeological Museum and returning to your hotel.

 

Included: Breakfast at hotel

Accommodation:

★★★★ View all Hotel Options

Optional Tours:

DAY 8

Heraklion, Crete

Today is free for you to enjoy Heraklion’s attractions, perhaps shopping for souvenirs, enjoying the harborfront tavernas, or digging deeper into sights touched on yesterday. Alternatively, see more of Crete on our optional full-day tour to Spinalonga Island. Travel to Elounda on the scenic east coast before cruising to Spinalonga, a rocky island fortified by the Venetians and occupied by Turkish forces before its use as a leper colony in the early 20th century. Rewind to its days as a leper village on a tour before finishing with time in the picturesque port of Agios Nikolaos and returning to Heraklion for the evening at leisure.

Included: Breakfast at hotel

Accommodation:

★★★★ View all Hotel Options

Optional Tours:

DAY 9

Heraklion, Crete - Athens

After breakfast, enjoy a comfortable transfer to Heraklion Airport for your return flight to Athens. Upon arrival, transfer to your Athens hotel and spend your final evening as the mood takes you—perhaps heading into Plaka to enjoy its animated tavernas and bars beneath the floodlit Acropolis.

Included: Breakfast at hotel

Accommodation:

★★★★ View all Hotel Options

DAY 10

Athens - USA

After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Athens airport for your homeward flight to the US.

Included: Breakfast at hotel

Your tour includes

  • International flights (land and air package only)
  • Athens Airport arrival and departure transfers (land and air package only)
  • 8 nights hotel accommodation 
  • 8 buffet breakfasts (in hotel or on overnight ferry)
  • Orientation tour with an English-speaking local guide in each city as per the itinerary

Turkish Airlines:

    • IAH, JFK
    • LAX, SFO
    • ORD, IAD
    FROM $0 -$200 PP

Emirates:

    • EWR

*Fares are subject to availability; for detailed gateway fares please view our dates & pricing

Upgrade your trip

Create your ideal getaway with the following upgrade options. Extensions and upgrades can be added during the booking process.

*Subject to availability; extension and upgrade options vary by tour

*Subject to availability

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DATES & PRICES

Athens & Crete Explorer (AGC)