Island Hopping in the Greek Islands

Destination: Cyclades Islands, Greece

| Activities: Hiking and Culture

Explore both the culture and the natural beauty of the Greek islands by foot. We will hike along ancient footpaths, sample Greek delicacies at local taverns, sit back to watch the street life, and swim in the azure seas. The Cycladic complex of islands is the most representative of the archetypal Greek style: fishing villages with whitewashed flat roofed houses and narrow streets, hundreds of chapels, rocky landscape contrasting with the deep blue sea, and bays with powdery white sandy beaches. On this trip we will visit the best spots as well as journey to the interior of the islands where we can experience firsthand the culture and habits of the islanders. Maximum group size: 14


  • Visiting the most beautiful villages in the Aegean Sea
  • Hiking winding paths past terraced hillsides and olive groves
  • Savoring scrumptious Greek food, including a cooking class
  • Watching amazing sunsets from craggy coasts
  • Touring Athens, including visits to the Acropolis, the greatest monument in the Western world, the Parthenon, and the new Acropolis Museum

Departures and Prices

May 01 to May 09, 2022
$3975.00 - FULL
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  • An English-speaking Greek guide (may be male) and an AGC guide (If there are fewer than 8 on the trip, there will not be an AGC guide)
  • 8 nights double occupancy at 3-star hotels in Athens and local guesthouses on the islands
  • All activities on itinerary, including Acropolis Museum and authentic Greek cooking class
  • All breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 7 dinners (see itinerary)
  • All transportation during the trip, (private buses, taxis, ferry tickets, internal flights (Santorini/Athens), transfers from port to hotels on the islands
  • Airport transfer on arrival and departure - to be arranged once all travel plans are submitted

What's not included: Travel to and from Athens, beverages (aside from bottled water at meals), 1 lunch and 1 dinner, guide gratuities, optional activities, travel insurance.

Trip Intro

This trip is a great choice for women in good physical condition who enjoy walking on a mixture of rocky paths, dirt tracks, occasional paved roads and mule paths, with occasional steep places. Suitable for both adventurous novice and experienced hikers, most days the hiking is 3 to 4 hours. The hike with the most elevation gain is climbing Mount Zeus, which is about a 1.5-hour ascent; however you can always opt out for a delightful day in town. This trip is rated both 2 and 3 because there are options. If you want to participate in the longer options, you should train for a level 3 trip: engaging in aerobic conditioning, such as walking vigorously up hills, jogging, cross country skiing or stair stepping for 30 - 45 minutes at least 3 - 4 times a week. Rating: 1 [2] [3] 4 5.

While this is primarily a hiking trip, there are also opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, learning about Greek culture and how to cook Greek food, wandering in small towns, and eating excellent Greek food.

We will be staying in a 3-star hotel in Athens and 3 local guesthouses on the islands, as specified in the itinerary.

Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.

We'll meet at the Athens International Airport for a 4:00 p.m. group shuttle from Athens Airport to our hotel. That evening we'll meet with our local guide for a short walking tour of Athens and then share a welcome dinner in a traditional Greek tavern in Plaka, the old part of Athens, overlooking the Acropolis.

Overnight: Hotel Acropolis / Hotel Philippos or similar (D)
After breakfast, a half day sightseeing tour of the Acropolis with a professional guide will introduce us to one of the crowning glories of Greek culture. At the top we learn all about the history of the glorious monuments of the Acropolis (the Parthenon, Erechthion, Propylaia, and Nike Temple) as well as the surrounding monuments (the Dionysus sanctuary, Pnyx Hill, Odeon of Herodes Atticus, and the Ancient Agora). We will spend some extra time at the Parthenon, the finest sanctuary of ancient Athens, originally dedicated to its patron the goddess Athena. We will then continue our tour with a visit to the New Acropolis Museum. The walk is 10 minutes along a beautiful pedestrian area that was created around the Hill of the Acropolis, as a way to join most of the Archaeological Sites of Athens together. Seeing the museum after our visit of the Acropolis really helps "put together" the archaeological site with the findings displayed in the various exhibition areas.

After lunch, we transfer to the Athens airport in order to catch our 40-minute flight to the beautiful island of Paros, our first island. Along the way we'll stop for photos at the Panathinaikon Stadium, the stadium where the first Olympic Games were held in 1896, and the Parliament. Upon arrival in Paros we transfer to our hotel and enjoy our first island dinner.

Overnight: Hotel Kalypso or similar (B, L, D)
Today, we will begin with a visit to Lefkes village (the old capital of Paros) with its amazing marble church and its (paved) portion of the Byzantine trail with magnificent views to the Aegean Sea and the island of Naxos. We will stop for a traditional Parian lunch at the village of Prodromos and then hike towards the cultural village of Marpissa were we will have the opportunity to meet with/shop some of the local shops operated by local women producing local products. Late afternoon will find us learning some of the secrets of delicious Greek cooking as we participate in a Greek cooking class. We'll learn how to make several authentic Greek dishes, and once the bread is baked and the food cooked, we will enjoy a typical Greek meal.

Overnight: Hotel Kalypso or similar. Hiking/Walking: 3 - 4 hours (B, L, D)
This morning we'll take the ferry to the island of Naxos. Naxos is the largest of the Islands, known for its natural beauty and also its "kouros". Remnants of ancient Greece, kouros are full-sized statues of male youth which may or may not be related to the god Apollo. After lunch, our hike literally starts in in the backyard of a Greek family, at the site of Kouros of Melanes statue. Our hike along an old footpath gradually descends to the picturesque village of Ano Potamia. After refreshing ourselves at the village spring, those who choose can continue uphill to the Apano Kastro (Upper Castle). Built in a very strategic position, it commands expansive views of Naxos town and port and surrounding towns. This is the highest point of our hike and about a 400 ft elevation gain. Our hike finishes with an easy walk to the village of Halki and a visit to a small distillery that produces Kitron, the local specialty liquor.

Overnight: Naxos Resort or similar. Hiking: 3 hours, 4 hours with stops (B, L, D)
We start today with a drive to the little chapel at Santa Marina. Today's hike is to the summit of Mount Zeus, the highest point in the Cyclades, with incredible panoramic views from the summit. The ascent and descent take about 3 hours including ample time for pictures and stories at the top. We'll enjoy a picnic lunch in the courtyard around the little chapel before continuing our hike along a road to the village of Filoti, the second-largest town on Naxos. From there we are transported back to our hotel and have the rest of the afternoon free for swimming or visiting the old part of Naxos town. If you prefer not to hike, spending the day relaxing and wandering through town or swimming are excellent options. Dinner is on our own tonight and our Greek guide can suggest a favorite, or you can choose one of the many quaint taverns as you wander the narrow streets of the town.

Overnight: Naxos Resort or similar. Hiking: 4 - 5 hours (B, L)
Time for a relaxed morning and lingering over breakfast. Today we take a ferry to the fairest island of the Cyclades, Santorini. Santorini, probably the best known of the Cyclades, was shaped by a huge volcanic eruption in 2000 B.C. that destroyed the town in the central part of the island and left a huge crater behind. Upon arrival we'll have time to settle into our hotel before visiting Acrotiri, a Bronze Age Minoan settlement also called the "Greek Pompeii". Upon our return we'll meet for the sunset over the volcano and share a delicious dinner, sampling some of the local foods of Santorini.

Overnight: Astir Thira or similar (B, D)
Today we hike to the picturesque village of Oia. The hike goes along the rim of Caldera (the collapsed crater) where the picture opportunities are legion. We end up in the village of Oia where we have time to explore its narrow passageways and quaint shops before having lunch and returning to Fira. There may be some free time in the afternoon to visit one of its famous wineries or just wander in its picturesque alleys and do some shopping. Note: Tomorrow some of you will be heading to Athens for a last evening in that beautiful city. Others of you will be continuing on to Crete for the extension offered. But tonight we'll all celebrate our island hopping tour and our new understanding of Greek life at our final meal all together in a tavern overlooking the caldera!

Overnight: Pelican Hotel or similar. Hiking: 3.5 - 4.5 hours (B, L, D)
Today we'll see Santorini from a completely different perspective: the cockpit of a kayak! With the freedom of kayaking we can enjoy views from the sea of spectacular rock formations and crystal blue water. We'll stop at a beautiful beach for swimming and a picnic lunch, kayaking for a total of about 3 hours . No previous kayaking experience is needed, you'll get taught what you need to know to be comfortable in your boat. If you choose not to kayak, you can explore the shops and museums of Santorini on your own.

The late afternoon plan will depend on the time of the flight back to Athens and/or the ferry to Crete (for those of you doing the Crete Extension). Those of you returning to Athens will share a final dinner in this beautiful Greek city.

Those of you continuing on to the Crete Extension will arrive in Heraklion and transfer to your hotel for your first dinner in Crete.

Overnight: Hotel Acropolis / Hotel Philippos or similar. (B, L, D)
If this is the end of your trip, you're free to leave anytime today. (B)

For a full overview of our optional Crete Extension, please see:

*These are the unfiltered reviews of women who have been on this trip in answer to the question "What made this trip special for you?". We take reviews very seriously and often tweak itineraries based on feedback. Please feel free to contact us about any questions you have.


(46 reviews)
4.7 Food
3.9 Lodging
4.6 Safety
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Deborah D.
0 months ago

All the ladies and of course our two guides. Greece was so very lovely. The food, culture and people. Each Island visited was better and better. The little hiking I did do was just great. If I ever go back with AGC, I will certainly do all the hiking offered. Loved listening to our Greek Guild Sylvia speak about her family.

Carole J.
0 months ago

Again it's the women. For me it's important to have considerate travel companions and times again the AGC women exceed my expectations. The selection of venues and trails are well thought out. The guides were attentive and adaptable.

Jodi O.
0 months ago

There were so many special things about this trip! The other women on the trip were great, interesting and fun! Brenda, our AGC guide, was patient and kind. Sylvia, our Greek guide, was completely on top of everything and made everything run so smoothly. I loved seeing the ruins. How exciting to actually be at the Acropolis!! I loved Akortiri in particular, having seen a Nat Geo documentary about it a couple of years ago. The hikes were also full of history and the scenery was spectacular. On days when I opted out of hikes, there was always someone available to wander around town with to get in some shopping and other sightseeing. The food was fantastic and Sylvia did an excellent job of ordering a wonderful and interesting variety of meals for us.

Geri N.
0 months ago

The itinerary of island hopping in 3 Greek islands. Loved the hiking, swimming and kayaking.

Hillary W.
0 months ago

Bonnie M.
0 months ago

Mary B.
0 months ago

This Greece adventure was glorious! I loved it all: getting to know the strong, interesting women in the group; eating all the fresh, delicious food; walking the ancient footpaths and feeling connected to history; walking through the tiny villages; climbing trails that overlook the turqoise sea. This was a long-awaited trip and it was everything I hoped for and more.

Anita B.
0 months ago

Sylvia and her food tour and knowledge of the items. She navigated us all through many modes of transportation seamlessly and knew everyone. She always went the extra step to insure everyone got wat they needed to be comfortable and have a "Great" experience. There was something on the Greece tour for everyone. Lots of information on Greece and the Culture

Gerrilyn B.
0 months ago

Sylvia, our Greek guide, was exceptional.

Barbra G.
0 months ago

The first international trip since the pandemic started! Naturally I felt some anxiety before starting. AGC handled everything so well and gracefully. Made it a joyous occasion, a happy time with my daughter and friend, and all the new friends in the group.

Emilie F.
1 month ago

Greece is beautiful and the local guides are wonderful.

Cynthia R.
2 years ago

I loved kayaking in the Aegean Sea. The sunset in Santorini was spectacular. The hikes were a bit challenging but very doable.

Karen R.
2 years ago

For a level 3 hiking trip, I expected more hiking and less time for shopping.

Maureen C.
2 years ago

Linda H.
2 years ago

Greece was even dreamier than I expected. The beauty of the Islands, the turquoise seas, the fresh delicious food, and the welcoming people. What more could you ask for? I loved hiking the Byzantine Path on Paros, and both archeological sites we visited. The special sunset yoga on the beach was very memorable as well. I appreciate being invited into the homes of a few locals to see their weaving and how their families lived for generations. I feel like I soaked in the entire experience. I liked the combination of activity and culture, especially in a place with so much antiquity.

Maureen C.
2 years ago

I enjoyed the food and the places we visited. The trip was pretty jam packed with very little downtime. I also felt the time in Athens for the ladies who didn't come a few days early was very hurried.

Stacy C.
2 years ago

The trip was what I expected with a mix of hiking and cultural excursions. Seeing archeological sites that are still being uncovered was interesting.

Laurie D.
2 years ago

Loved the trip, thought the hotels were average, didn't like that I couldn't stay with room mate who I got on well with.

Susan M.
2 years ago

The food was out of this world, the hikes were tough but doable, the visit to AKROTIRI was breathtaking.

Sue Y.
2 years ago

Michele S.
2 years ago

Dot M.
2 years ago

Laurie D.
2 years ago

I thought both the group leaders were excellent, thoughtful people, easy to be with, communicative and full of information.

Mary S.
2 years ago

Doris U.
2 years ago

I know it's a hiking trip and I did really enjoy the hikes, especially to the summit of Mt. Zeus, but I thought the food was beyond awesome. I loved that Sylvia ordered family style and we all got to try everything. The women on every trip are amazing, but I felt that there was a camaraderie that developed almost immediately.

Deborah M.
2 years ago

So much to see!

Jan A.
2 years ago

AGC Guide was very thorough and helpful! Sylvia and Sirimali; the Greek guides were excellent! The women on the trip were so very enjoyable and we worked well as a team. I could not have asked for a better trip.

Marie B.
2 years ago

Cooking class, summiting Mt.Zeus, delicious food I like family style dinner.

Bonnie R.
2 years ago

Had a great time. Loved the cooking class

Mary S.
2 years ago

Great group, guides, food, hikes.

Valerie D.
2 years ago

The ease of the trip itself, not having to think about anything other than immersing myself in the experience is what surprised me the most. After that the highlights were the food, the beauty of the locations, the knowledge of the guides, and meeting my fellow hikers.

Dawn H.
2 years ago

Lori C.
2 years ago

Outstanding local guides (Sylvia and Syrmali), the ability to see a range of places in Greece, well organized logistics, wonderful food, great group of participants and Agc guide

Maryjane L.
2 years ago

This trip was a wonderful way to explore Greece differently than most people see. Great hikes, amazing food and overall a fabulous trip.

Kristen M.
3 years ago

For me, highlight of the trip was the local guide, Sylvia. She was incredibly knowledgeable, a great hiker, and willing to adjust as needed. I particularly enjoyed the Lefke and Santorini hikes. The cooking class was unique, and also enjoyed the addition of the Akrotiri site with guide. I did not enjoy the late start times, especially given the heat that we encountered (though we gradually started earlier) and wish we had approx. 1/2 day to 1 day in each island to explore the towns (from original itinerary, seemed we would have more time-- think this was result of group hike speed).

Cathy J.
3 years ago

Beautiful scenery and the food.

Deb C.
3 years ago

Greece was beautiful. The food was superb. The people and culture were wonderful. The weather was just too hot, and there was very little shade. I checked the average temperatures for May...expected it to be in the 70s. It was, but it felt like in the 100s due to the dry climate and lack of shade. I will never travel to Greece again during the months of May to September. The best part of the trip was the extension to Crete. It was my favorite island. I especially enjoyed the boat trip to Balos with 3 hours of swim time.

Celeste T.
3 years ago

This was my first AGC trip and I did not really know what to expect. This trip exceeded everything I may have expected EXCEPT for having more down time to roam in the places we stayed. I loved hiking from a trailhead, over a mountain to a charming village and having dinner or lunch in a street cafe. As well, I really LOVED the cooking class with Maria as well as kayaking in Santorini.

Cherie H.
3 years ago

Highlights Guided tour of the Acropolis with Katherine. Local food. Added bonus of Akrotiri on the island of Naxos. This was my first AGC trip that left me feeling a little disappointed. Maybe because it came on the heels of Croatia - fabulous trip and a great pair of guides. Extremely well organized and very interesting and educational.

Maxanne W.
3 years ago

Catherine C.
3 years ago

Liked all the hikes: herbs, flowers along the Paros Byzantine trail, the challenge of Mt. Zeus hike, the beauty of the Santorini caldera coast. Always love kayaking. Loved the food and the selections of restaurants and food arrangements made by Sylvia, out in-country guide Loved the cooking class and Maria our teacher Loved the Acropolis and the museum Appreciated the knowledge of the official, trained guides for the Acropolis and the added tour of the excavation museum on Santorini (glad Sylvia offered it to us for the extra cost and would be well worth being a part of the AGC trip). Kalypso Hotel on the water in Paros.

Ellen Z.
5 years ago

Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to do water activities. It would have been nice to have alternative day to replace the kayaking.

Pamela H.
5 years ago

I would have to say I loved all the places we went. As so often is the case, I think from my perspective, I would enjoy fewer places with longer stays.

Jan M.
5 years ago

The hikes were great, as were the cultural experiences. The local guides were a wonderful addition. My only critique would be the mini-van we traveled in for a full, rainy day while in Crete. It was a tight fit, and at times pretty uncomfortable. Everyone was a good sport, but I would have opted for a slightly larger vehicle.

Margaret T.
5 years ago

Loved Paros (wanted more time there) and loves the hiking on Naxos - felt like I was out in nature. Did not like Santorini at all - would have liked another less touristy island with better hiking. So glad we flew from Athens to Paros - 5 hr ferry ride would not be appreciated

Laurie L.
5 years ago

A 'no worry' trip for participants. Guides were well-trained and talented as well as genuinely nice people.

  1. Where do we eat?

    Your breakfasts will be buffets at the hotels where you're staying. Dinner is in restaurants with typically a choice of vegetarian or non-vegetarian entree. Lunches may either be picnics or in restaurants.
  2. What dietary preferences or restrictions can you accommodate on this trip?

    If we know well in advance, we can accommodate vegetarian, lactose-free, and gluten-sensitive diets. We cannot guarantee a completely gluten-free diet and we cannot provide a kitchen guaranteed to be free of cross-contamination. If you are vegan, we ask that you bring some additional protein bars; and if you are gluten-sensitive, please bring some gluten-free snacks. If you have severe allergies, Celiac disease and/or other significant dietary restrictions, please call the office before you register.
  3. I will be coming by myself. Do I need to pay a single supplement?

    You only need to pay a single supplement if you want to guarantee you have your own room. Otherwise we’ll pair you up with someone and then switch roommates every time we switch lodging.