Greece: Off the Beaten Path | EF Ultimate Break

Greece: Off the Beaten Path

16 Days  •  7 Cities //@ts-ignore//@ts-ignore 2

Why Go?

You know that feeling when you find a band before they hit it big? This is that—but with new parts of Greece. On this 16-day trip, you’ll experience places so unique, so beautiful, and so off the beaten path, you’ll brag to your friends about going there before it “became a thing.” You’ll walk through an ancient citadel, flabbergasted by architecture from 3,000 years ago. You’ll doze off on the white sands of an island you never knew existed. You’ll put olive oil on everything (and we mean everything). Get ready to jump between beaches, quaint towns, and places with history older than your great-great-great grandfather’s coin collection. It’s time to see a different side of Greece.

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What are the top highlights?

  • Hike to the top of Athens’ ancient and famous Acropolis
  • Cruise the azure seas of the Ionian Sea
  • Travel from beaches to towns and then back to beaches
  • Flood your Instagram with everything from island sunsets and beachside selfies, to castles you can pretend are yours
  • Catch some rays from the sand on world-famous islands
  • Feel at peace from 1,000 feet up at the Meteora monasteries
  • Visit Delphi, the center of the world according to the Greek God, Zeus
  • Eat as much feta as you can, and then eat more

Your trip includes

  • Round-trip flights & airport transfers
  • Multilingual Tour Director & local guides
  • Private deluxe motorcoach
  • Ferry transfers
  • 14 nights in hand-picked accommodations
  • Welcome Mixer with appetizers & drinks
  • Daily breakfast & a three-course Farewell Dinner
  • Entrance to the Acropolis, Mytros Beach, Archaeological Site of Delphi & other select attractions

Accommodations

You’ll stay at accommodations hand-picked by our team of local experts, in rooms only for EF Ultimate Break travelers. Each property is located in a safe, convenient area. You’ll receive your exact accommodations 30 days before your trip departs.

Click here for examples of where you'll stay.

Flights

Admit it, booking flights is the worst. Here's why you should let us do it for you:

  • Flight costs are included in your monthly payment plan, so you can pay over time
  • Airport transfers are included, so we’ll be waiting, sign in hand
  • Flights are booked with major airlines
  • 24/7 support no matter what time zone you’re in
  • One checked bag included on most flights
  • Option to make changes to your trip up to 99 days before departure

Booking with a friend? Let us know and we’ll do our best to make sure you’re on the same flight. Still want to book your own flights? That’s cool, simply select ‘No flights included’ instead of your departure city in the ‘Flights from’ dropdown.

Itinerary

Day 1: Overnight Flight

Board your overnight flight to Athens, the cradle of Western Civilization and home to some of the greatest monuments of the ancient world. Also gyros. Don’t forget about the gyros.

Day 2: Arrive in Athens

Welcome to Athens! 2,500 years ago, it was kind of a happening place, and still is today—with fewer people in togas walking around. It’s a vibrant metropolis, and a perfect jumping-off point for your journey through the Greece. When the sun goes down, expect to see people socializing in the streets. It’s how they roll.

Today's Highlights:

  • Meet an EF representative at the airport.
  • Transfer to your accommodations and check in.
  • Receive the latest schedule from your Tour Director.
  • Meet your fellow travelers as they arrive.

In the evening, it's time for your Welcome Mixer. Enjoy appetizers and drinks with your new friends and travelers. Afterwards, you’re free to take the party elsewhere!

Day 3: Tour Athens

Today, take a VIP tour of Athens with a local guide. You’ll climb high above the city to what’s left of ancient Athens, also known as the Acropolis. It’s here where you’ll find the remnants of 3,500 year-old buildings and sculptures, which is quite impressive when you consider things built today last about 3,498 years less than that. Most of what you see was planned and executed by Pericles, who was named, “the first citizen of Athens.” Today, there are a few more citizens in Athens—around 660,000—who can thank him for this energetic and bustling city.

Today's Highlights:

  • Feel the glory of ancient Athens from high above the city at the Acropolis (once you’ve caught your breath from the walk).
  • Follow a guide through the fascinating series of ruins, and try to imagine what this place was like 3,000 years ago.
  • Think about whom you would dedicate a giant temple to, as the Greeks did for the goddess Athena. Maybe Morgan Freeman?
  • Wander through the Acropolis Museum to get the dirt on all the archaeological discoveries.

Day 4: Travel to Nafplio Region via Mycenae and Epidarus

It’s time to leave the big city life behind and head west to Peloponnesus, a peninsula so beautiful, it will make you wonder why everyone isn’t following you there. You’re going to the region of Nafplio, but on your way, you’ll stop for tours of Mycenae and Epidarus. And if you’re having trouble with these city names, you ain’t seen nothing yet, folks.

Today's Highlights:

  • Hop on the bus with your new friends—you’re going on a road trip!
  • Stop in Epidarus, and visit an outdoor theater recognized for such impeccable acoustics, people can practically hear your thoughts.
  • Follow a guide through Mycenae, known for the Bronze Age Lion Gate, the original entrance to the city, and wonder why your city can’t have a cool entrance like that.
  • Pinch yourself (not too hard) as you arrive in Nafplio, a picture-perfect seaside town where you’ll spend the rest of the day.
  • Visit the castle of Palamidi, located on the crest of a hill overlooking the city and the Argolic Gulf.

Day 5: Travel to Olympia

Head to Olympia, the ancient site of the Olympics. Before it became a weeks-long international competition sponsored by soft drink and insurance companies, the Olympic games began as a way to honor Zeus. (Did he even lift, bro?) Olympia today is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and there is a lot to see and appreciate. From the views of the idyllic countryside, to the remains of countless temples and ancient buildings, this might just turn out to be the best ancient city experience you’ve ever had.

Today's Highlights:

  • Arrive in Olympia, surrounded by the remains of the ancient city from nearly 4,000 years ago.
  • Tour the site with a local guide who may or may not challenge you to a foot race to get in the Olympic spirit.
  • Admire the (literally) sculpted abs of Greek and Roman gods in the Archeological Museum.
  • Stand in what’s left of the very first Olympic stadium, and wave to your imaginary fans in the imaginary stands.

Day 6: Travel to Zakynthos Island

Set your watch to island time. You’re going to Zakynthos, an island in the Ionian Sea. What it lacks in name recognition—and alphabetical ranking—it makes up for in white, sandy beaches and clear blue water. Oh, and a 40-year-old abandoned ship. So it has that going for it, too. You’ve had a busy couple of days, so take a load off, sit back and do what your heart desires.

Today's Highlights:

  • Kiss the mainland goodbye, as you take a ferry out to the island of Zakynthos.
  • Arrive in paradise and spend the rest of the day trying (and failing) to find anything less than perfect here.
  • Relax on the beach in Vasilikos, a village on the southeastern coast of the island.
  • Look around for Loggerhead sea turtles, as Zakynthos is the most popular nesting spot for these shelled beauties. Can you blame them?

Day 7: Free Day in Zakynthos

You’ve had a day to orient yourself to the island. And now, you get a free day to explore as much of it as you can. Will you go to the beach? Probably—you’re on an island after all. Will you visit a castle? On a Greek Island? You betcha. What about a restaurant? Why not make it three!

Today's Highlights:

  • Wake up to the sounds of nature: AKA people oohing and aahing outside over the beautiful scenery.
  • Choose one of the dozens of beaches on the island to hang out on, likely the hardest decision of your day.
  • Head into town for some good island eats, like lamb, fish, and feta. Lots of feta.

Free Time Suggestions
Land ho!: Navagio Beach (or Shipwreck Beach) is one of the most popular beaches on the island of Zakynthos. Not only is it a beautiful, tranquil cove, but the wreckage of a ship that ran aground in 1980 remain buried in the sand. One part beach, one part porthole into the past, all parts breathtaking.
Go to Town: If you need a break from the beach, check out Zakynthos Town, the island’s capital with restaurants and shops aplenty. Walk through squares, head into the Byzantine Museum, and go inside Agios Dionisios Church.

Day 8: Free Day in Zakynthos

Let’s be real—even when you’re “relaxing” at home, you’re thinking about taxes, your hopes and dreams, and that party you said you’d go to but now you really don’t want to go anymore. Which is why you’re getting another free day in Zakynthos to kick back and forget that you totally promised to bring guac to that party. Want to do the same thing you did yesterday? Go for it! Want to mix it up, and see what else the island has to offer? Also great. No matter what you do, it’s the right thing!

Today's Highlights:

  • Explore a different part of the island’s 76-mile coastline.
  • Get out of the sun for a pint or three of Levante, a local Zakynthos craft beer.
  • Find you way to the west coast, warm up your photo-taking hand, and enjoy a beautiful sunset over the “this can’t be real” blue water.

Day 9: Travel to Kefalonia

Your time in Zakynthos has come to an end. But never fear—a new island awaits! Kefalonia, located just north of Zakynthos, is home to more epic coastlines, stunning caves, and fresh salads. Rumor has it that locals of Kefalonia are the wittiest of all the Greeks. Test your bantering skills when you strike up a conversation with someone, and leave wittier than when you walked in.

Today's Highlights:

  • Travel by bus and ferry to the breathtaking island of Kefalonia.
  • Visit the outstanding Corgialenios Historical and Cultural Museum to brush up your 16th century Kefalonia history.
  • Find a bar, drink some Greek wine, and don’t forget to clink your glasses often (making eye contact every time you do).

Day 10: Tour Kefalonia

A local guide will show you the island way of life (spoiler: beaches are involved). Kefalonia is the largest of the Ionian Islands, about 300 square miles, which is twice as big as Zakynthos. Along the way, make sure to ask your guide where you can try a Kefalonian meat pie, because apple pies are so 1950s.

Today's Highlights:

  • Visit Myrtos beach, one of the most spectacular beaches in Greece—and the world—praised for its white sand surrounded by rugged cliffs.
  • Put on your spelunking hat and go to Melissani Cave.
  • Float in the cave’s lake, while basking in the sun that shines through the open roof above.
  • Sear all the beautiful moments you’ve experienced into your memory, to save for a rainy day. Or for any day, really.

Day 11: Free Day in Kefalonia

Today is all about options. You can stay near the beach and relax to the max, or you can get out and enjoy more of the expansive island of Kefalonia. If you’re feeling thirsty, find some world-famous Kefalonia wine. The climate and mountainous topography make for ideal grape growing conditions. Plus, nice views = happy grapes, and happy grapes = tasty wine, and tasty wine = one fun evening. No matter what you do, make sure to snap some epic photos for your fans (read: Instagram followers) back home.

Today's Highlights:

  • Wake up, breathe in that fresh island air, and take a moment to figure out your day.
  • Head to the capital city of Argostoli where locals flood the streets, kids whizz by on their bikes, and the smells and sounds from restaurants fill your senses.
  • Fail to keep your jaw shut as you explore new areas of Kefalonia.

Day 12: Travel to Delphi

It’s time to take a break from the island life. Pick up the pace as you travel back to the mainland, to Delphi. According to Greek mythology, Zeus sent two eagles to discover the center of the world, and they landed in Delphi. Today, it is a fascinating look into the past, and a great excuse to up your Greek mythology trivia game. Beginning in the 6th century BC, Delphi began hosting the Pythian Games, similar to the Olympic Games, but with more emphasis on art and dance (i.e. more feelings).

Today's Highlights:

  • Ferry back to the mainland, then hop aboard a bus towards Delphi.
  • Visit the Sanctuary of Apollo, once the most important sacred site in Greece and home to the Oracle AKA the guy with all the answers.
  • Lay your eyes upon The Omphalos of Delphi, a big marble stone and symbol of Apollo that Zeus apparently threw from the sky.
  • Gawk at Mount Parnassus, the limestone mountain towering 8,000 feet over the city, which was home to the mythological winged horse, Pegasus.

Day 13: Travel to Kalabaka

Head to the town of Kalabaka, located directly underneath the massive Meteora, a rock formation that’s a delight to the eyes due to its steep, jagged peaks that stand more than 1,000 feet high. The city has a modern feel, since it burned down during WWII and was rebuilt in the 1940s. However, there is evidence that an ancient Greek settlement was here as far back as the 20th century…BC.

Today's Highlights:

  • Make your way to Kalabaka, surrounded by a cluster of sandstone megaliths, known as the Meteora.
  • Wander through the quaint neighborhoods in town, passing by churches, shops, and places to eat homemade sausage, pies, and a local specialty called spatoula AKA Greek pudding.
  • Grab yourself a souvenir—hand-made wooden objects and religious icons are very popular. Spatoula is not quite as popular—pudding doesn’t travel well.
  • Throw on your leather sandals, an acceptable (and even popular) choice of footwear around these parts. See ya, Crocs.

Day 14: Explore Meteora Monasteries

Now is the time for this big show. The Meteora monasteries. On top of some of those limestone rocks you’ve been admiring, are functioning monasteries (with what one can only assume is questionable cell service). The nuns and monks that reside on Meteora have chosen to spend their time praying and contemplating life, and you get to see what it’s all about. Get ready to feel the greatest sense of harmony and relaxation of the trip, while simultaneously overcoming that fear of heights.

Today's Highlights:

  • Drive, walk, and constantly wipe the sweat from your palms as you make your way to the tops of the giant rocks for breathtaking views of the Greek landscape.
  • Meet the nuns and monks of some of the most isolated monasteries in the world.
  • Clear your head, feel the fresh mountain air, and imagine removing yourself from society to live up here.
  • Feel like James Bond, minus the whole fighting off bad guys part—the 1981 movie "For Your Eyes Only" was filmed here.

Day 15: Travel to Athens

You’ve got one last chance to bask in the city that gave us democracy, epic poetry, tragedy, history writing, philosophy and much more. Begin to reflect on everything you’ve seen and done. Two things are for sure: The Mediterranean Sea is bluer than most things (including, but not limited to, Eiffel 65’s hit song from the ‘90s), and gyros are better than any normal sandwich you eat back home.

Today's Highlights:

  • Head back to Athens for more opportunities to see the sites and put tzatziki on everything.
  • Join your Tour Director for a group activity or plan an adventure of your own.
  • Return to the streets of Athens at night to explore the energy of the city one more time.

Free Time Suggestions
Dig it: The National Archaeology Museum is considered one of the greatest museums in the world. You’ll see artifacts from all over Greece and from as far back as 6,800 BC. If you’re a fan of really old stuff, next to even older stuff that’s been preserved for thousands of years, this place is for you.
Follow the light: Flood-lit like a beacon towering over the city, Mount Lycabettus offers a spectacular view of the city. Get there by funicular to give your legs a break. Your eyes, on the other hand, get no break (but they won’t mind).

Farewell Dinner
Share some last laughs (and maybe shed a few tears) at an included farewell dinner with the group.

Day 16: Fly Home

Antio, filoi!
Translation: Goodbye, friends. Your next destination awaits—home. Before you head to the airport, enjoy your last few moments together. Take one more group photo. Grab that final drink. (Fine, maybe a couple of drinks.) But this isn’t goodbye. It’s “See you later.” The only question is, where?

–OR–

EXTEND YOUR TRIP 2 WAYS

1. Double the fun
A lot of our trips line up back to back! Give us a call—we can help you add another and save big while you're at it.

2. Go ahead or stay behind
Extending your trip is easy! During checkout, you'll have the option to fly to (or from) the gateway of your choice for an additional fee. We'll adjust your flights accordingly, but you'll be responsible to take care of your transportation, hotels, and other logistics outside of tour.

Note: Depending on your desired gateways, additional fees may apply.

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