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Join our captain, Thanos, on board a traditional Greek motorised sailing boat and explore the forts and ruins scattered along this historic coastline. Along the way there is ample opportunity to drop anchor and swim in the sea, soak up the sunshine on deck and visit tranquil fishing villages and family run taverns to sample the delicious local Mediterranean cuisine in the evenings.
Explore Tour Leader
6 nights simple boat
1 nights simple hotel
10 - 16
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Our family 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.
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 of 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)
Each morning, the crew will prepare you a hearty breakfast consisting of fresh bread, cheese, ham, eggs, cereals, Greek yoghurt, honey, marmalades, fresh seasonal fruits, and orange juice with coffee or English tea. Our captain also serves tea and coffee with biscuits or cakes at eleven o'clock on deck.
After breakfast, we'll set sail for our first destination, the bay of Panagia, a small fishing village lying in the shelter of a fjord. En route we'll stop to swim in the waters off the rugged and undeveloped coastline. Once in Panagia there'll be the opportunity to see terrapin turtles in the streams behind the picturesque church of St Mary or swim and snorkel in the fjord waters of the bay.
Lunch is generally a hot regional speciality with a vegetarian option served with seasonal salad and a traditional appetiser.
Dinner will be in one of the small, characterful seaside waterfront taverns offering barbecue seafood and traditional dishes with local wine, beer, and soft drinks.
Today we'll cruise to the Gulf of Evia, where the island splits from the mainland. Greek legends romantically claim that the divide was caused by Poseidon piercing the earth with his trident. We'll travel via Porto Buffalo, a small fishing village port in southern Evia renowned for its fresh fish, the port hosts a beautiful and private lagoon where we'll spend time at the sandy beach or if you're feeling energetic, you can practice jumping off the boat from the top deck into the turquoise Aegean Sea.
We'll continue at a leisurely pace cruising to Eretria, one of the most well-known cities of ancient Greece and the birthplace of our alphabet. The town boasts an extensive archaeological site with a superb museum. We'll enjoy our evening in the long cosmopolitan promenade watching the small ferries coming and going to the mainland.
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.
We'll make the most of the morning's perfect location with a visit to the museum and the town's archaeological site along with time to wander along the boulevard where you can pick up souvenirs in one of the many gift shops. Alternatively, there's the opportunity to go for a swim and snorkel before cruising towards Nea Styra. This area has several stunning beaches and boasts a beautiful coastline with clear waters inviting you to swim and snorkel. The rolling hills above Nea Styra lead to a silver-green valley of olive trees where we'll have the opportunity to explore in the afternoon.
As the sun sets in the historic bay of Marathon, the promenade comes to life with locals and visitors taking in a typical Mediterranean stroll before dining alfresco.
After a leisurely start to the day, we'll set sail and cruise towards Figias and onto Marmari, a typical Aegean fishing village with numerous tavernas and cafes dotted along the promenade. There'll be ample opportunity to swim and snorkel off the boat close to the rocky shores.
This morning we'll cruise towards the archipelagos of Petali, where seven private and exclusive islands offer the best of a 'jet set' life in the Aegean. Once the summer residence of the Greek royal family, today it's the playground of the Picasso family, the Embiricos ship owners, and other such tycoons. Maria Calas, one of the most renowned and influential opera singers of the 20th century, spent many summers here and we'll drop anchor to enjoy the good life ourselves with opportunities to swim, snorkel or just relax on the deck amongst the rich and famous. In the late afternoon, we'll set sail for Karystos.
This morning we can visit the Venetian mountain castle of Castello Rosso in Gourna which is a well-preserved fourth-crusade fortress that commands the sea corridor between Asia and Europe, the entry to the Black Sea.
Our final stop on our cruise is Bouros in Karystos bay where we'll drop anchor for the last time to swim and snorkel in the amazing clear waters of the Aegean. After docking at the harbour, we'll bid farewell to our friendly crew.
Tonight, we'll stay in a waterfront hotel in Karystos. We can visit the famous Montofoli winery estate or enjoy an afternoon in Kohyli Coves which is walking distance from our hotel.
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 mainland Greece. Our ferry will depart at approximately 9.50am. From Rafina we'll transfer to Athens International Airport (ATH), where we'll arrive at around 11.30am and this is where our trip ends. The earliest your flight can depart is 1.30pm.
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
A selection of optional activities are listed below to help you budget for your Family adventure. Whilst the basic tour price you pay before you travel includes a great selection of highlights, we have also built in free time to allow you the flexibility to choose from a carefully selected range of additional excursions and activities or take time to relax, the choice is yours. At certain destinations along the way there may be several options to choose from and it may not be possible to fit all the activities in; your Explore Leader will be able to give advice on which are the most suitable for your family. Day 4: Entry to Eretria Museum, €2 per person (morning visit before we set sail) Day 4: Visit Styra village, including transport by taxi, €10 per person (afternoon visit) Day 7: Visit the Red castle ruins at Castello Rosso for spectacular views across the bay (includes transport by taxi) €10 per person
July and August are the hottest months though the islands are freshened by cooling winds. You'll need your swimming gear and an extra towel. Early and late in the season, there may be an occasional shower and you will need a warmer sweater and/or fleece for the odd chilly breeze whilst we travel between the ports.
Footwear is not generally worn on board but bring trainers, walking sandals for shore excursions or walking shoes for longer walks on the island.
One main piece of baggage and daypack. Remember you are expected to carry your own luggage so don't overload yourself. 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 daysac is useful for shore excursions.
Water bottle, a torch, sunhat, sunglasses and sunblock. Please note that if you intend to sleep out on deck on some nights, as many travellers choose to do in good weather. Please 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). Limited snorkelling equipment in on board, however we recommend that you bring your own if you wish to snorkel.
Bus, Boat, Ferry
MS Isidoros II - Our traditional wooden caique has a large sundeck and a comfortable galley for meals and indoor relaxing. There is also a boat ladder to make the most of swimming opportunities. There are two double cabins on the main deck and six twin cabins on the lower deck. Cabins on the lower deck have portholes and cabins on the upper desk have windows. All are en suite. Please note we don't have single cabins on board, if you are a family of two, four or six you will all get twin cabins. If you are a family of three or five you will still get twin cabins and there is a very small chance, if the trip is fully booked and we have a number of families of three and five that one of your party will need to share with someone of the same gender and age group (i.e. adults will only ever share with adults or children with children). The cabins are cosy and can get warm in summer as there is no air-conditioning but each is equipped with a fan and all have power sockets (European 2 pin round). Bath and face towels are provided on the caique, so there is no need to bring your own. A safe for your personal valuables is available in the wheelhouse of the caique. While our intention is to adhere to the day-to-day route printed, a degree of flexibility is built into the itinerary. Overnight stops and even islands visited, may vary due to weather, sea conditions and the availability of mooring space in harbours. On the last night of this holiday, we stay in the Galaxy Hotel, a two-star, family run, traditional Greek hotel. We have graded it as simple accommodation due to the basic furnishing in the room and simple nature of the decor. It is located on the harbour front with great views out to sea. All rooms have a balcony with sea views, air conditioning, en-suite facilities, a fridge, a TV, tea and coffee making facilities as well as free Wi-Fi. This hotel has been in the same family for more than 30 years and you are sure to get a warm welcome, in fact many items from the breakfast buffet come from the family farm.
There is a chance to swim every day straight from the boat.
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.
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.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
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
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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.