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Join Captain Thanos onboard his traditional caique to enjoy a week of cruising and walking through the Greek islands. Discover hillside villages, fragrant olive groves and ancient sites on foot, before unwinding on the deck of our boat (or diving from deck into the inviting azure waters). In the evenings, watch the sun set from harbourside tavernas, sipping local wines and enjoying hearty Greek cooking.
Explore Tour Leader
6 nights simple boat
1 nights simple hotel
Leisurely and Moderate
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Our Grecian adventure begins today at 6pm at Athens International Airport (ATH). The latest your flight can arrive is 5.30pm, giving you time to clear the airport. We'll meet and travel as a group by bus to the port of Rafina or Marathon where we'll catch a ferry to the island of Evia.
On arrival, it's a short taxi or minibus ride to Karystos where our caique will be waiting for us. Before settling into our cabins, we'll meet our friendly boat crew and enjoy a welcome drink.
If your flight arrives earlier in the day and you have time to spare, Athens is easily accessible by metro from the airport. The airport is well signposted (in English) and it's a direct train. There are also luggage storage facilities at the airport.
Our home for the week is the MV Isidoros II, a traditional wooden caique, owned by our captain and tour leader, Thanos and his family. Thanos has been a part of the Explore family for 20 years - there's nobody better to give you a warm welcome both aboard and to Evia.
The vessel is exclusively chartered by Explore and has just eight cabins. Listed as a historic caique, there are fewer than 80 of the iconic Greek-designed boats left in existence, so being able to stay aboard is a real treat. Ours was built in 1962 and was originally used as a cargo ferry before being converted in 1974 to the comfortable passenger cruiser it is today. It's owned and captained by Thanos, our tour leader, who's been a part of the Explore family for 20 years. There's nobody better to give you a warm welcome to the caique and Evia, too.
The boat has a large sundeck and a comfortable galley for meals. There is a bar where you can purchase a range of local wine and beer, spirits, and soft drinks. There's also a boat ladder and snorkelling equipment available on board to make the most of the many swimming opportunities. All of the cosy cabins are en-suite with windows and large fans and there is complimentary Wi-Fi on board. Our boat has a real home-from-home feel and you\ re free to move around as you please. If you\ d like to enjoy the clear night sky and cool breeze, you can even choose to sleep on deck.
Evia is one of the largest Greek islands but remains off the main tourist trail. In summer and on the weekends, you'll find the main visitors are the Greeks leaving the city of Athens to enjoy the waterfront tavernas and uncrowded beaches. This makes visiting Evia an authentic local experience. The rugged coastline is dotted with market towns, fishing villages, secluded coves, and wide sandy beaches. The sea is clear and warm, making it a wonderful spot to swim and snorkel, while the pine-covered hills provide the perfect backdrop and help to keep the evening temperatures cooler.
Please note, the order of the itinerary and inclusions may vary due to weather and cruising conditions.
M/S Isidoros II (or similar)
Today we'll travel towards the Archipelagos of Petali, where seven private and exclusive islands offer the best of the 'Jet Set' lifestyle in the Aegean. Once the summer residence of the Greek Royal family, today it's the playground of the Picasso family, the Embiricos family and other shipping tycoons. Maria Calas spent many summers here. There'll be the opportunity to swim from the boat before we arrive in Panagia via the Fjord of Almyropotamos. Here we'll visit the beautifully frescoed church and take a look at some of the 2500-year-old olive trees.
Food and drink is a major part of our journey and you certainly won't go hungry. Our boat crew will go out to local markets to buy fresh ingredients for our breakfasts and lunches on board the boat, so what we eat will depend on what's in season. Our hearty breakfast will normally include fresh bread, cheese, ham, eggs, cereals, Greek yogurt, honey, marmalade, and fruit. Washed down with orange juice, coffee, or tea. Our crew will also serve complimentary tea and coffee with tasty biscuits and cake every day at around 11am and 5pm. Lunch is usually a freshly prepared hot meal such as oven-baked fish accompanied by seasonal salads and traditional appetisers and followed by a platter of fresh fruit.
Each night of our trip, our tour leader, Thanos, is keen to show us Greek hospitality and great food in one of the waterfront tavernas. This gives you the opportunity to try authentic Greek grub such as barbecued seafood and various meats alongside traditional vegetable dishes. In short, this trip is perfect for foodies!
Today, we'll take some time to explore enchanting Panagia, a tiny, traditional fishing village, on foot. From the harbour, we'll drive up country lanes and tracks to the village of Zarakes before moving on to Argyro (400 metres/1,312 feet), where the red-roofed houses are dwarfed by the mountains above. From here, we'll descend to the coastal hamlet of Agios Dimitrios and walk back along the coastal road to Panagia. This afternoon, we'll cruise to Eretria, one of the most well-known cities of ancient Greece and the birthplace of our alphabet.
Please note that during times of adverse weather, usually when there are high winds, it might not be possible to sail to Eretria. Our captain will monitor the weather daily and make a final decision on the planned route.
Today's leisurely walk covers 10 kilometres/6.2 miles and is expected to take around 4 hours, with 400 metres/1,312 feet of ascent and descent.
Today we'll visit the local archaeological site and museum before climbing the forest path to the summit of Castelli Hill (120 metres/394 feet). There. We'll discover the remains of the ancient acropolis.
Later on, we'll descend back to the port to enjoy an evening on the cosmopolitan promenade, watching the ferries coming and going to the mainland. Then, we'll cruise onwards to Nea Styra, an area of stunning beaches and coastline.
Today's leisurely 5 kilometre/3.1 mile walk is expected to take around 3 hours with 120 metres/394 feet of ascent and descent.
This morning, we'll take a transfer to the start of our walk in the rolling hills above the small summer resort by the prehistoric Dragon Houses (400 metres/1,312 feet). From here, we'll walk down ancient paths and through olive groves to the Valley of Styra and back to the harbour. As the sun sets, we'll cruise to Marmari.
Today's moderate 10 kilometre/6.2 mile walk is expected to take around 4 hours with 400 metres/1,312 feet of ascent and descent.
Today we'll take a transfer to the starting point of our walk in the village of Kampos, where the vineyards of the island grow. From here, we'll walk around the headland of Lycorema to Marmari on local paths through agricultural land. Marmari is a small port and fishing village with traditional tavernas, and cafes dotted along the waterfront. In the afternoon, we'll sail around the headland to Karystos.
Today's leisurely 10 kilometre/6.2 mile walk is expected to take around 4 hours with no noticeable ascent or descent.
After breakfast this morning, we'll take taxis to Mili where we'll begin our walk up to the villages of Gourna. These traditional villages sit beneath the imposing peak of the mythical Mount Ohi. Continuing along paved paths and dirt tracks, we'll arrive at the old Ventian castle 'Castello Rosso' (400 metres/1,312 feet) and enjoy the views back across to Gourna and Mount Ohi, and down to the coast, returning to the boat. Tonight, we'll stay at a small hotel in Karystos.
Today's moderate 10 kilometre/6.2 feet walk is expected to take around 5 hours with 400 meters/1,312 feet ascent and descent.
Hotel Galaxy (or similar)
Departing Karystos this morning, we'll take a short taxi or minibus ride back to Marmari or Styra to board the ferry for the journey back to Rafina or Marathon on the mainland. Our ferry will depart at approximately 9.50am. From Rafina, we'll transfer to Athens International Airport, where we'll arrive at around 11.30am. The earliest your flight can depart is 1.30pm.
Total distance : 45 kilometres
Greece has such a vast geographical difference between the mainland and the islands, and travel is possible at all times of year but the climate can vary depending on when you go.
During late spring or early autumn, in the months of April-May or September-October, temperatures are warm and pleasant, usually hovering around 25 degrees. Rainfall is low, but can be erratic during these months. Cooler evenings take the heat off the day. If you have booked a walking holiday, wild flowers bloom during the spring, adding colour to the hiking trails.
Summers are hot and dry, with plenty of sunshine and little rain. Temperatures can go north of 35 degrees in July and August. On the islands, restaurants and bars may be busy with cruise ship passengers. While this period definitely gives you a ‘summer holiday’ feeling, those wishing to explore Greece’s ancient sites may find the heat challenging.
When travelling in winter, from late November to early March, the villages will be very quiet. Temperatures in Athens at this time are around 10-15 degrees, while the nights will be colder. Hotels in northern Greece in particular are well adapted to deal with cold winters, having proper heating and warm fires to retreat to after a day of exploring. This makes it a good destination for travel between November-March.
2 Pin Round
Eretria Museum entrance - €2.00 per person Bar prices on board the caique are very reasonable and are approximately: mineral water €0.50, soft drinks (fizzy or juice) €1.50, €1.50 large glass of wine (red, white or rose - all locally produced) or ouzo mixed with water, €2.00 can of beer (Mythos or Fixx - local Evia beer) and €3.00 spirits such as whiskey, gin, vodka, rum, brandy, metaxa (rose flavoured local spirit) and mixer. There is also a large water container which is filled with fresh drinking water that can be used to re-fill bottles free of charge. All optional excursions must be paid for in cash and on board the caique payments can be made in cash in GBP or Euro. Most tavernas accept credit cards as well as cash payments.
Bring light and comfortable clothing that can be layered according to the temperature. The summer months are the hottest, though the islands are freshened by cooling winds. Early and late in the season there may be an occasional shower and you will need a warmer sweater/fleece and long trousers for the odd chilly breeze whilst walking, in the evenings and when travelling between the ports.Tops made from wicking materials which keep you drier and walking trousers are preferable to trousers of heavier material such as jeans. -Breathable wind and waterproof jacket -T-shirts -Long sleeved tops -Sunhat -Long trousers -Shorts (if you prefer to walk in them) -Swimwear -Midlayer Fleece/pullover -Socks (liner and thicker pair)
We recommend you bring walking boots with ankle support- leather or fabric are both fine. Make sure that your boots are worn-in and comfortable before the start of the trip. Footwear is not generally worn on board but bring walking sandals for local shore excursions. We suggest that on international flights you either carry your walking boots in your hand luggage or wear them - should your luggage be lost or delayed, your own boots are the one thing that will be irreplaceable.
Space is limited on board so only bring what you need. A soft bag is strongly recommended as it is more easily stored than a hard suitcase. A 20-30 litre day sack is recommended. You will need to carry what you need for the day which may include a jumper, camera, sun-cream and water.
-Sunglasses -Sun cream -Small Torch (with spare batteries and bulb) -Camera -Walking poles (if you usually use them) -Personal toiletries -Personal first aid kit - On each walk a first aid kit is carried but you should have your own blister kit, supply of plasters, aspirin and other essentials. -Small waterproof dry bag (for items such as your mobile phone) -Reusable water bottle (minimum 1 litre) - Get 15% discount on a Water-to-Go bottle www.explore.co.uk/about-us/responsible-travel/water-to-go-discount-with-explore Please note that if you intend to sleep out on deck on some nights, as many travellers choose to do in good weather you need to bring a sleeping bag with you (the sunbathing cushions are available to sleep on the boat but cabin bedding can't be taken on deck).
Bus, Boat, Ferry, Taxi
Our home for the week is MS Isidoros II, a historic listed, family-owned wooden caique. One of just 80 of its kind left in the world, this vessel is a truly unique place to spend a holiday. The boat is exclusively chartered by Explore and has a maximum capacity of 19 people which includes the crew and our leader, Thanos. Although our boat does have sails it will primarily run on engine power. If the weather is good, the crew will get the sails out to show you and run on them for a short time during the week. The caique was designed to use its sails as a backup should the engine fail. Over the years we've been operating this trip, we've had a number of customers return. The biggest reason for this is the warm welcome and excellent hospitality of the crew onboard the caique - they're there to make you feel completely at home. Our boat has a large sundeck on the bow and space to sunbathe on the top deck, a cool and airy indoor galley and dining room, shady spots outside under a canopy, and a boat ladder for swimming. Sunbathing mats and snorkelling gear are provided. A safe for your personal valuables is available in the wheelhouse. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available on board at all times. There are two double cabins on the main deck and six twin cabins on the lower deck (We can not guarantee cabin preferences). Cabins and bathrooms have windows that open (not portholes) and all cabins are en suite with a shower, sink and toilet. The cabins are cosy but can get warm in summer as (there is no air-conditioning due to the historic listed nature of the vessel), but each is equipped with a large fan that is on 24-hours a day or if you prefer, it's also possible to sleep on deck under the stars and take in the refreshing sea breeze. All cabins have a power socket (European two-pin round plug), as does the galley. The plugs can be used when moored but not when cruising. In terms of bedding, pillows, a blanket for spring and autumn departures or a lightweight sheet in summer are provided as well as a bath and face towel, which are all changed mid-week. Between the floors of the caique are quite steep ladder-type stairs with hand banisters. Vegetarians can be catered for on board, but please do let us know of any dietary requirements at the time of booking. The plastic used on the boat is recycled by the crew and the water on the island is drinkable, so Thanos will ask for jugs of water to be provided during dinners in the tavernas. Life jackets are stored under the sofas in the galley (there are 25 adult and 15 child life jackets on board). Lifeboats are located on the main deck (three boats that each hold 10 people). There are two single cabins available per departure, once sold there are no more available. If the departure is not full and there are spare cabins you might find that other single travellers, booked on a twin share basis, may be allocated on default a single cabin without paying the additional supplement cost.
Can you drink the water?
The water quality is poor and therefore it is recommended to avoid drinking tap water during your trip.
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Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Greece: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office. All visa information is subject to change. You should confirm all visa related questions with the relevant Embassy prior to departure.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
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Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
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You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
An ability to swim is essential for your safe enjoyment of the water based activities on this trip. If you wish to participate in these activities then we insist that you are able to swim.
Nothing compulsory but we recommend protection against tetanus and polio. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.