GREECE BY KAYAK

Details

PRICE OF $1100 (USD) INCLUDES:
  • Six breakfasts  (Typically Greek yogurt with honey, fresh bread, some sort of egg choice, juice, coffee - you won't go hungry!)
  • Six nights accommodations (two to a room in Kouros Village in Antiparos and Golden Beach Hotel in Paros - both owners on premises) with private baths and kitchenettes or kitchen facilities)
  • Two days of kayaking, kayak gear (we plan to kayak one (possibly two) days on the island of Paros and one day on Antiparos).
  • One cooking lesson (including dinner with wine) we will participate with our friend Anna (the former mayor's wife) - in Greek cooking lessons, Anna is known on the island of Paros as one of the best cooks around!!! After dining we have been known to find ourselves learning Greek dances with Anna and Silvia and practicing late into the night.
  • Our first night party at Anezina Village, including a wonderful Greek buffet, local wine and entertainment (Greek music and dancing).
  • Two wonderful island hikes The Byzantine Way - a lovely, amazing hike from the center of the island of Paros along a partially marble-paved path with beautiful views of the neighboring island of Naxos, this has always been a favorite, there's nothing like walking along an ancient marble path with the smell of herbs and wildflowers and spectacular views! Our second walk is on the northern side of the island to the lighthouse with views of the rugged western coastline.
  • Visiting the villages of Parikia, Naoussa, Lefkes and Antiparos. We will make sure we visit and spend some time in each of these local villages for shopping/sightseeing and enjoying some local delicacies. We also have planned visiting a few of our favorite beaches on the islands for swimming, snorkeling, sunbathing or my favorite "hunting for the best marble pebbles and sea glass to take home as a souvenir".
  • Visiting the fantastic 5th Century Temple of Apollo archaeological site on the uninhabited island of Despotiko.
  • Transportation to all hikes, cooking lessons, beach visits and kayak trips.
  • Entrance fee to the Archaeological Museum of Paros and the Folklore Museum of Cycladic Art (Scorpios).
You are responsible for:
  • Getting yourself to the island of Paros in the Cyclades in Greece (keep reading below for more specific info about getting to Paros from Athens)
  • Bringing anything you deem necessary to travel with, including any specific clothing, etc. for your trip to be comfortable
  • Your own dinner on the islands - this will give you the chance to have some freedom to schedule your own evenings, either dining at one of the great restaurants in the village in which we are staying, traveling to another village or just enjoying your own picnic meal after a hike or swim
This is YOUR trip - we want you to enjoy your time on the islands, no pressure,  just amazing leisurely day paddles that promise to be fun.

DETAILS:
We recommend you arrive in Athens two nights before your ferry trip to Paros from Piraeus (ferry port in Athens) on the morning of the first day. The one-way ferry (Blue Star Line) fare to Paros is approximately $33 and leaves Piraeus at 7:25 AM - arrives in Paros at 11:30 AM.

Early arrival in Athens allows you time to
  • Explore Athens, visit the Acropolis, a few museums and plan your visit in Athens upon your return after the islands
  • Purchase your ferry ticket from a local travel agent or the airport kiosk (upon arrival in athens) the day (or two) before you will be traveling
Staying in Athens
I have traveled to Athens six times and all trips have stayed at the Attalos Hotel, rates are reasonable, location amazing (even includes a rooftop bar with spectacular view of the Acropolis) - you have to see it at night! close proximity to metro stop which will benefit you when you get up early the day you will be taking the ferry, also great for your trips to/from the airport

Recommended websites to check out
www.greektravel.com (website by Matt Barrett, he will tell you EVERYTHING you ever wanted to know about Greece and traveling in Greece, you can absolutely get lost in his site - there's no such thing as too much information!)

www.antiparosholidays.com (written by Antiparos resident, really great article about our trip AND wonderful information about Antiparos)

www.attalosthotel.com (this is the site of the Attalos Hotel in Athens, I believe they will give you a 10% discount if you reserve through their website or mention Matt Barrett - see above - they are extremely friendly and accommodating - location, location, location - couldn't get any better)

www.greeka.com (website includes pages on Antiparos and Paros)

www.insuremytrip.com (website where you can buy trip insurance based on the cost of trip, your age, etc.) I hate to think about insurance but I have to tell you when we were in Greece in 2007 we never saw so many tourists with wrapped ankles, feet and using canes or crutches - I assume they were injuries sustained while on their trip. This is Greece, some of the curbs you see will be made of marble, the top of the acropolis is full of large stones and some of the streets are very old uneven stones. Some of the sites in Athens are fairly steep, same on the islands. Just be prepared. I recommend either tennis shoes or sandals with some grip on them like Tevas or Chacos (they will come in handy on kayak trips as well). I plan on giving you a cheat sheet list of what I think will be essential when it comes to packing. Check out this website so you are prepared...

S A N T O R I N I
I highly recommend you include Santorini (Thira or Thera) in your trip plans. The ideal situation would be to travel from Paros to Santorini after your stay with us. You will then be a little more accustomed to Greece and traveling throughout and local customs. The ferry trip to Santorini is about 3.5 hours and is a beautiful boat ride. You might want to stay at least a couple of days in order to get to see the sights of this spectacular island . Each year I have recommended to all our kayakers a wonderful unique place called oldoiahouses.gr and each time they have delivered a beautiful location in the village of Oia. Check out their site and you'll see why this place was so spectacular.
While on the island of Santorini you can easily visit (by local bus) red beach (volcanic stones), black beach and the just recently reopened (March 2012) archaeological site of Akrotiri from the Minoan Bronze Age rumored to be the inspiration from Plato's story of Atlantis. 
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