Responsible Travel’s Julia Copestick reports from a walking fam trip to Naxos, Santorini and Paros
After landing in Athens, we headed to the port town of Rafina. The first evening was spent getting to know fellow agents over seafood and Mythos beer, before a much-needed early night – we had a 7am ferry to catch the next day.
The early start was worth it, as on arrival in Naxos we were greeted by dark blue waters and the striking Temple of Apollo. Our wonderful guide, Thanos, took us on a stroll around Hora, which is rich in historical landmarks and family-owned stalls selling local produce. I bought some honey with walnuts in it, which Thanos said is traditionally gifted to newlyweds to symbolise a strong and sweet marriage.
The following day, we walked for five hours through the lush valley of Tragea. Before stopping for lunch, we spotted the Kouros of Apollonas – a gigantic unfinished statue that has been lying in the Melanes Valley since 700BC.
We had a free morning to enjoy Naxos’s beaches before catching an afternoon ferry to Santorini. It’s hard not to be wowed by the volcanic island and its natural beauty.
The afternoon was spent strolling among the capital Fira’s iconic whitewashed houses and blue-domed churches. For dinner, we headed to the Dionysis taverna for home-made moussaka and a glass or two of Santorini’s volcanic wine.
We walked seven miles along the caldera, from Fira to the town of Oia, enjoying breathtaking views of the Aegean. On the way, we encountered countless mules carrying people up the hill – and wished they were carrying us instead!
We had another free morning, so some of the group visited the red and black volcanic beaches, while others headed to the archaeological site of Akrotiri. Lunch was followed by a ferry to our final island – charming Paros. After roaming the narrow cobbled streets and exploring the marble cathedrals, we headed to dinner and saw the best sunset of the trip.
A bus journey took us to the quaint village of Lefkes, from where we walked along a well-trodden path to Prodromos. Lunch comprised fava and the most succulent grilled octopus, at Kallitechniko Kafeneio restaurant.
We caught a morning ferry back to Piraeus, giving us time to explore Athens and its fabled Acropolis in the afternoon. We all had such a fantastic trip – and it’s fairly safe to say that the highlight was our lovely and brilliant guide Thanos.
Exodus Adventure Travels’ eight-day Walking the Greek Islands trip costs from £1,795, including flights.
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