Trip Number: 13715A
Price: $2,995 (11-14)
$3,545 (or fewer)
Staff: Angela White
- Hike and explore three islands of the Cyclades
- Climb Mt Zas, the highest peak in the islands
- Marvel at the Parthenon and Acropolis in ancient Athens
- All accommodation, on-trip transport, most meals, gratuities
- Entrance fees for historical sites
- Local, English-speaking guides
Photo: Angela White
Named, perhaps, for the circle they form around the sacred island of Delos,
the Cyclades are islands of enchanting and magical beauty. Surrounded by the
deep-blue waters of the Aegean, they are the birthplace of the Cycladic civilization
present in 3000-1000 BC. They are best known for their white-washed villages,
labyrinths of narrow cobbled streets, tiny countless churches, and deserted
windmills. The beaches are stunning. Ancient hiking paths are found connecting
ancient sites and remote villages. Compared to other Greek islands, they are
less visited and retain their own character and traditional customs.
Tinos is the first island that we will visit -- locally called the island of
Megalohari (the Virgin Mary). Pilgrims, begging for forgiveness of Megalohari,
make a pilgrimage by climbing up the hill to the cathedral on their hands and
knees. Unique, ancient dovecots are found all through the countryside as are
marble bell towers, fountains and statues. From here, we take the ferry to Naxos,
the largest and most fertile island, full of Aegean temples, Venetian fortified
towers, vineyards and olive groves. It has been inhabited for over 5,000 years,
invaded several times and boasts the highest mountain in the Cyclades. Amorgos,
with its golden beaches and crystal clear waters, is our final island destination.
Its spectacular scenery, breathtaking cliffs, and cobbled mule paths make it
a wonderful hiking destination.
We will travel inter-island by large ferry boats or smaller faster boats, depending
on the island. Our hotels are locally owned and we will be made very welcome
by these wonderful, friendly people. At the end of the trip, we will return
to the bustle of Athens and spend our last full day together exploring the ancient
areas of the city.
Day 1: Arrive at hotel in Athens. After an orientation meeting
at the hotel, we will eat a welcome dinner at a local tavern.
Photo: Angela White
Day 2: After an early morning transfer to the port of Piraeus,
we catch our ferry, arriving at the island of Tinos by midday. After transferring
to our hotel in the main town of Chora, we will eat a delicious lunch, then
meet our guide and the bus for our first hike -- from Tarambados back to Chora.
We will see many of the ancient dovecots, windmills, and panoramic views of
the island on our two-hour hike (4 miles), which is mostly downhill to the town.
Here, you will have free time to explore, grab a beverage or ice cream, and
walk to the hotel.
Day 3: We walk into town after breakfast to visit the cathedral,
then the bus picks us up to drive us along the spine of the island to the beautiful
village of Pyros. Here we will visit the marble museum, explore the winding
streets, and then hike past some windmills down to the beach at Ponormos Bay.
After a refreshing swim, we will hike to the small village of Platia to visit
an abandoned historic nunnery that was built in 1740, then return to our hotel
in Chora. (6 miles)
Day 4: We have a busy day today! Starting at the village of
Tripotamos, we walk to the castle of Aghia Eleni, surrounded by the ruins of
an ancient town. Then we continue on to Koumaros Villge and Volax to see the
granite rock formations. After lunch, we walk to Agapi, the oldest village on
the island. It was built on a mountain slope and has special architectural features
found only here. Our final destination is the beautiful village of Komi, built
on the river "Lazarou Perastras." (7 miles)
Day 5: After breakfast, we transfer to the harbor and embark
to Paros by speed boat. From here we take the ferry to Naxos. After lunch, we
will spend the afternoon exploring the main town. The high-walled Katro (fort)
has one of the original Venetian towers and Venetian mansions. The old district
has steep twisting lanes that suddenly open to the sea and sky.
Day 6: Today, we hope to climb Mt Zas, which is 3,300' high.
After breakfast, the bus will take us up into the mountains to the trailhead
at the pass (2,000'). The hike is only about four miles round-trip, but rises
steeply for the last 1,000'. From the summit, we can see all over the island.
If the weather is not suitable for the climb or the group decides not to attempt
the climb, we will have an alternate plan.
Photo: Angela White
Day 7: We take the bus to Mili to see the ancient statues
that date from 5-6 BC, then hike to "Apano Kastro" upper castle then
on to the 7th-century church, Panaghia Drossiani, ending our walk in the village
of Moni. (6 miles)
Day 8: Today we have a free morning to relax or go exploring.
Later, after lunch, we take the ferry to Amorgos.
Day 9: After breakfast, we transfer to Langada village, then
hike on an old stone path to Panaghia Panohoriani and Agios Theologos monastry,
built in the 8th century. From here you can see the coast and the massif of
Kroikelos. We continue our hike along the cliffs to Langada and on to the beautiful
beach at Aegiali for an optional swim. (7 miles)
Day 10: Today we drive to Langada where we start our hike,
walk past old windmills to a viewpoint on a mountain, then return to Langada
for lunch. Afterward, we continue to Tholaria and on to Levrosos beach for a
swim. From here we can walk to our hotel. (7 miles).
Day 11: We have a short drive to Potamus, where we have a
walk uphill to the famous Byzantine Chozoviotissas monastry (11th century) that's
built on a cliff overlooking the sea. This monastry is the "treasure"
of the island. From here, we can walk to Chora, the medieval capital of Amorgos.
After enjoying the town, we will transfer back to the hotel. (6 miles)
Day 12: We take the ferry very early in the morning, sail
all day, and then arrive in Piraeus mid-afternoon. We transfer back to our hotel
in Athens, leaving the rest of the day to sample the delights of the city.
Photo: Angela White
Day 13: Today we will enjoy an all-day tour of the Acropolis
(Highest City) by foot from the hotel. We enter the sanctuary and explore the
structures inside, especially the Parthenon. From here, we can then visit the
new Acropolis museum. In the evening, we will have a farewell dinner and say
goodbye to our new friends and beautiful Greece.
Day 14: The trip ends after breakfast and we make our way
to the airport.
You will plan to arrive at our hotel in Athens on September 23 by late afternoon.
The trip ends on October 6 after breakfast. There are no visa or immunization
requirements for entering Greece. The country is part of the European Union
and the currency is the Euro.
Accommodations and Food
We will stay in several three-star quality hotels that are locally owned. Rooms
are double-occupancy and equipped with a shower and bathroom. A roommate will
be provided for solo travelers. Participants who prefer to have a single room
and are willing to pay the difference should contact the leader well in advance
to check for availability. There will be a maximum of two single rooms available
to the group. Single room allocation, if necessary, will first be used for any
forced single. A forced single means that in the event our group has an odd
number of men or women registered for the trip, a single room is first allocated
to that person.
All breakfasts and lunches, and most dinners, are included in the cost of the
trip. The first meal included in the cost of the trip will be dinner on day
1 and the last meal included will be breakfast on day 14.
Greek food is simple and delicious. Dishes are often shared between several
people. You will experience a true "Greek salad" that has a slab of
fresh feta cheese, made from the milk of the goats that are running around all
over the islands. It is possible to accommodate travelers who are vegetarian
on this trip with prior notice and discussion with the leader, but not vegans.
Photo: Angela White
The trip is designed for people who are active hikers and also enjoy different
cultures, history, and nature. We will be visiting many historical sites and
seeing the true beauty of ancient Greek history. As with all international travel,
participants need to be open-minded and flexible, plus have a spirit of exploration
and adventure! We will have some very early mornings to get the ferries, and
sometimes frustrating delays are inevitable as the ferry boat connection times
and ship routings are determined by Greek Ministry of Navigation and not the
Equipment and Clothing
An equipment list will be sent to the participants by the leader at a later
- Heroditus, The Histories.
- Homer, The Iliad and The Odyssey.
- Ovid, The Metamorphoses.
- Beard, Mary and John Henderson, The Classics.
- Louis Bernieres, Louis, Captain Corelli's Mandolin.
- Fowles, John, The Magus.
- Sotiriou, Didi, Farewell Anatolia.
- Galanaki, Rhea, Eleni or Nobody.
- A hiking map of each island will be provided to each participant.
Don't forget to watch the movie "Zorba the Greek"!
Photo: Angela White
Greece has been continuously inhabited for at least 8,000 years, which has
resulted in intense cultivation in the limited arable land and depletion of
finite resources. Continued expansion of villages, factories, and quarries affects
wildlife habitat, flora and fauna alike. In addition, Greeks are traditionally
hunters, fishers, and woodcutters, and tradition is hard to change; a conservation
ethic was not introduced until after the Second World War. Some areas are well
protected and tourism has helped to enforce the need for this, but many areas
are not and the effect on the landscape is very obvious.
This trip requires a $200 per-person deposit. An additional payment of $300 per person is due six months prior to trip departure. International trip prices are subject to change and are based on double-occupancy or group accommodations as described above. Single rooms may not be available or may cost more than the listed price. If you have any questions regarding double occupancy, please contact the trip leader.
See the How to Apply for an Outing
section for more details on registering for this trip and details
about our Reservation and Cancellation
The payment of a deposit does not confirm you as a member on the
trip. Participants must be approved by the trip leader. After signing
up for this trip, you will be sent a confirmation packet containing
approval materials (Participant Approval Questionnaire, Medical
Form, Liability Release Form). Each applicant (including those on
the waitlist) must fill out these forms and promptly mail them to
the trip leader. The leader will review the approval materials and
notify you of your acceptance in a timely manner.
The Sierra Club accurately and fairly budgets and prices our trips. However, unforeseen costs such as devaluation of the dollar compared to other currencies and fuel surcharges assessed by our international providers may necessitate adjustment in trip price. We will make every effort to mitigate and absorb these fees. If a price increase is necessary, however, you will have 14 days after announcement to cancel without penalty.
Angela White lives in Truckee with her significant other and their dog Wiley. She enjoys skiing, hiking, yoga, and Zumba classes when she is home, but spends much of her time traveling the world. She has visited many countries in Europe and has been to Greece several times. She is looking forward to sharing this wonderful country with you.
General Notes About Sierra Club Trips