GREEK ISLANDS FAMILY ADVENTURE HOLIDAY
Temples & Tzatziki
This 10-day trip itinerary island hops between Syros, Paros and Naxos in search of ancient towns, secluded coves and sublime gastronomy. Start your epic journey in Syros with its elegant Italianate townscape and waterfront cafés selling loukoumi. Experience horseback riding in the wild north or hop on a boat to the crystal-clear waters of Grammata.
Next head to the island of Paros where white-washed villages and blue-domed chapels give way to olive plantations overlooking the glittering Aegean Sea. Visit ancient monasteries and picturesque vineyards, find refuge in traditional kafeneions in Parian mountain villages and inner peace on lunar landscape beaches. Go kite-surfing at Pounda, sample baklava in Lefkes, chill in open-air cinemas and follow Byzantine hiking trails.
End your journey in Naxos, home to a mouth-watering array of island produce, impressive archaeological monuments and the finest beaches in the Cyclades. Tramp the orchard-filled Tragea Valley, hike to the summit of Mount Zas, marvel at abandoned archaic kouros and chill on white sandy beaches garnished with bamboo-thatched umbrellas. Go windsurfing at Mikri Vigla, get lost in the labyrinth maze of the old town and relax in sleepy tavernas with pirouetting spits of souvlaki.
- Flights: Direct return flights from UK regional airports to Athens (ATH)
- Transport: Inter-island ferries, car hire from port pick-up to port drop-off
- Accommodation: 10 nights in a B&B, hotel, apartment or villa
- Meals: Breakfasts where stated
- Trip Pack: Key family-friendly information about the country you are visiting with recommended activity links, places to eat and fun facts.
- Experience Ermoupoli, one of the most regal settlements in the Cyclades
- Visit the wild north of Syros with its hiking trails, secluded coves and caves
- Rummage around the chic boutiques of Parikiá and Naoussa
- Walk along the ancient Byzantine roads of Paros and visit remote whitewashed villages
- Explore the hiking trails, open-air festivals and surrounding vineyards of Paros Park
- Immerse yourselves in ancient history on Naxos with temples, kouros and portaras
- Sample divine gastronomy with mouth-watering meats, cheeses and seafood
- Chill on the gently shelving beaches and indulge in an array of water sports
- When can we go? April to October
- What type of tour is it? Private self-drive, island hopping tour
- Who is it suitable for? For history buffs, foodies & beach lovers and intrepid families with a penchant for water sports, lazy lunches and sublime sunsets.
- What is the minimum age? We would recommend a minimum age of 4 years for this trip but this is just a guide; our itineraries can be adapted, no problem, for families with younger children.
We publish ‘guideline prices’ for both the high and low season to give a reasonable estimate of what you might expect to pay per person based on a family of four (two adults, two children). To get an accurate price based on your estimated departure date and party size please contact us directly.
Guide Price: Apr & Oct - £905pp
Guide Price: May to Sept - £1,255pp
Greek Islands Adventure Holiday - Trip itinerary
On arrival in Athens, you will be met and transferred to the port of Piraeus. From here, hop on a leisurely 2-3-hour ferry ride to Syros Island. From the moment the ferry reaches the port, Syros unveils a jumble of pastel-hued villas and marbled streets cascading towards the sea. This somewhat faded beauty is the epitome of the elusive ‘real Greece’.
We would recommend spending the remainder of your day exploring the glorious 19th-century city of Ermoupoli. This ‘City of Hermes’ boasts marble piazzas, ornate balconies and sorbet-shaded mansions, thanks to the rise of the bourgeoisie and flourishing arts. It is a city of two towns, Orthodox Ermoupoli, stately and grand, and Catholic Ano Syros, crowned with Catholic monasteries. In Ermoupoli, we would suggest visiting the cafe-dotted Platía Miaoúli, the blue-domed Agios Nikolaos Church and the Vaporia quarter, where the island’s wealthiest shipowners and merchants built their mansions.
Medieval Ano Syros is the original settlement of Syros, built by the Venetians in the 13th century with winding streets, marble steps and bougainvillea-filled courtyards all crowned by the Agios Georgios Cathedral. It is a maze of alleyways to get delightfully lost in with only the towns friendliest felines for company. We would also recommend visiting the local art and rembétika exhibitions at the Markos Vamvakaris museum.
As evening falls, there are plenty of good restaurants grouped together behind the seafront. The Apollo Theatre, built as a smaller version of the famed La Scala in Milan is also one of Syros’ most important landmarks and hosts a series of events throughout the summer.
Fun Facts: The Apollo Theatre hosts events including Animasyros, a festival of animation, as well as the Festival of the Aegean, a superb classical music line-up.
Optional Activities: Apollo Theatre, Vamvakari Museum
Beyond Ermoupoli, Syros has all the delicious Cycladic ingredients you’re craving: luminous villages, white sandy beaches and a rugged hinterland. If you fancy some beach time, Azolimnos is the nearest to Ermoupoli and boasts a quiet cove surrounded by tamarisk trees. Nearby Vari is the local’s favourite with its shallow, protected water. On the west coast you will find Kini Beach, probably the most upmarket and the location of Allou Yialou, reputed to be the best taverna on the island.
For families craving a little more adventure, we would recommend heading to the wild north of the island where hiking trails lеad tо unknοwn сoves аnd secludеd chapels. The beaches of Delfini, Varvarousa and Aetos are well worth a visit. For any history buffs, we would suggest visiting Grammata and Grey Cave, where generations of desperate sailors, inscribed their wishes, prayers and names onto the rocks after washing up on this inhospitable coast.
In the south of Syros, the picturesque fishing harbours of Finikas and Ahladi with their atmospheric seaside tavernas are a great place to while away a few hours. Syros doesn’t disappoint when it comes to food with fresh fish, delicious gyros and tasty souvlakis offered in abundance. The island is also known for its numerous shops selling loukoúmia (rose-tinted Turkish delight). Loosa ham, fennel sausages and the famous San Mihalis spicy cheese will no doubt also satisfy the most demanding taste buds.
If you have time, we would also recommend heading to the Ermoupolis Industrial Museum, a hidden gem with exhibits on shipping, industry and the history of Ermoupoli.
Fun Facts: Ermoupoli is where Markos Vamvakaris, one of the best Greek rebetiko singer/songwriters was born and raised. His songs tell about the hard times experienced during the two World Wars but also about the beautiful women that caught his eye in the alleys of Ermoupoli.
Optional Activities: Hiking, Ermoupolis Industrial Museum
Just a 2-hour ferry ride from Syros, multi-layered Paros is quintessentially Greek; whitewashed villages with blue-domed churches and chequered cloth tavernas just a stone thrown away from picturesque fishing harbours and blonde-sand beaches. Scents of jasmine and bougainvillea fill the air whilst roaming herds of goats fill the land.
Spend your first day on Paros exploring the port town of Parikiá with its cobblestone alleys and countless boutiques and cafés. We would recommend climbing the steep streets towards its most famous landmark, Panagia Ekatontapiliani, also known less tongue-twistingly as the ‘Church of 100 Doors’. The Archaeological Museum of Paros can be found behind the church and includes exhibits such as the 490 BC colossal worship statue of Artemis.
Town’s sights apart, the real attraction of Parikiá is to wander around the town itself. Explore arcaded lanes leading past Venetian-influenced villas and ornate wall-fountains. Local boutiques sell vibrant artwork, Greek style jewellery and imaginative souvenirs. The closest retreat from the bustle of Parikiá town is the splendid eyrie-monastery of Ágii Anárgyri - the last monk left in 2000, but a caretaker will let you in. From the shady festival terrace, there are stellar views over to Sífnos, Sérifos and Kýthnos.
The chic fishing village of Naoussa on the island’s north coast will be the base for your next four nights.
Fun Facts: Legend says that the 100th door at church Panagia Ekatontapiliani will only be discovered when Constantinople (Istanbul) is Greek again.
Optional Activities: Archaeological Museum of Paros, Ágii Anárgyri Monastery
Today, is a free day to choose your own activities. In the morning, you could hike (or cycle) one of the well-preserved Byzantine roads that cross the island. We would recommend the sweet-scented, 2-hour trek from the mountain village of Lefkes to Prodromos, where the path is lined with wild herbs. Lefkes is a picturesque Cycladic village, flanked with cafés and dripping in vibrant pink bougainvillea. At Prodromos, we would suggest stopping by a little kafenía to enjoy homemade ice cream and baklava.
In the afternoon we would recommend taking a water taxi (or driving) to one of the beautiful beaches around the island. The largest is Chryssi Akti, nicknamed Golden Beach and a haven for water sports enthusiasts although Glyfa and Tripiti, two tiny crescents of sand and soft rock on the island’s southern tip are among the nicest beaches on the island. Paros has a long tradition as an island that is ideal for water sports. Windsurfing, kitesurfing, kayaking, kiteboarding, surfing, water skiing, jet skiing, sailing, scuba diving and snorkelling are all available with certified trainers at Golden Beach. If water sports aren’t your thing, you could join a cooking lesson learning traditional Greek cuisine.
A great spot for dinner would be the small fishing village of Drios where you can enjoy typical Cycladic hospitality, delicious cuisine and tranquil surroundings.
Fun Facts: The Windsurfing World Championship was held for many years at the Golden Beach and still attracts lovers of the sport.
Optional Activities: Hiking, cycling, windsurfing, kitesurfing, kayaking, kiteboarding, surfing, water skiing, jet skiing, scuba diving, cookery lesson
Today we would suggest waking up early to join a sunrise horse ride on the beach – what a way to start the day. Back in Naoussa, every cobblestone alley way is filled with boutique shops, traditional Greek restaurants and trendy cafes dotted around the achingly picturesque old fishing port. Kids will love watching the ducks and geese in the port area as well as the local fisherman unloading fresh hauls of octopi each day.
After lunch we would suggest hopping on a water taxi from Naoussa to Kolymbithres beach, a family gem! Surrounded by million-year-old granite rock formations, kids will be in their element exploring seawater sculptures that look like they were dreamed up by an artist and little enclaves along the waterline. Close to Kolymbithres Beach, Aqua Paros Waterpark is open from early July to early September and boasts 13 water slides operated with Aegean sea water.
To finish your day, we would recommend heading to Hippokampos in the centre of Naoussa. Sit surrounded by century old eucalyptus and olive trees enjoying your favourite cocktails or fruit juices whilst the kids rent skates to enjoy the oval skate rink.
Fun Facts: The Greeks love a festival and Paros’s ‘Pirates Festival’ is a colourful celebration representing the pirate raids in medieval times. Young boys dress in traditional costumes jump from caiques running through the crowd to snatch the young girls away. Fireworks, traditional music and dancing accompany them.
Optional Activities: Paros Water Park, sailing, Hippocampus Park
Paros Park offers innumerable reasons why you should visit; stunning rock formations, hiking trails, the gorgeous beach of Monastiri, the free films under the stars at the open movie theatre. During the yearly festival of the Park (June-October) a number of jazz, classical music and traditional Greek concerts and cultural events also take place. The most popular hiking path takes you to the handsome 1887-vintage, British-built lighthouse at Cape Kórakas.
This area is also famous for its wine and jam made in the surrounding vineyards which you can try at local wineries such Moraitis, established in 1910. It has a very good cellar that also sells light meals and cheese platters.
An alternative option for today would be to head to the neighbouring island of Antiparos, less than a mile off the coast. With fewer than 900 residents (one of these being Tom Hanks), the islet’s claim to fame is its Agio Ioannis cave, a place where millennia-old stalactites and stalagmites spiral, corkscrew-like, into the darkness and where Lord Byron carved his name. There are ferries connecting the two islands leaving every half hour or so from the town of Pounta.
Fun Facts: The most eccentric visitor to Antiparos was the Marquis de Nointel, the French ambassador to the Ottomans, who in 1673 celebrated Christmas Eve Mass deep within the cavern for a mixed Muslim-Christian party of 500, using a suitably table-like rock for an altar.
Optional Activities: Open-air cinema, wine tasting, horse-riding, boat tour to Antiparos
Naxos is the Greek island that most people want to stow away, zip their lips and keep for themselves. It is, without doubt, a natural beauty. While most of the other Cycladic islands are as dry as toast, Naxos is covered in verdant valleys, mountain villages, citrus groves and clusters of whitewashed houses nestled into a Bruegel-like landscape. Look closely, and you'll see hikers in the folds of its terrain or a peloton of cyclists whooshing past. Foodies rave about the sweet tomatoes & olives, super-tasty potatoes and honking farmhouse cheeses. On the coast, Naxos boasts the best beaches in the Cyclades with long stretches of powdery-white sands flanked by unbelievably turquoise waters.
It is just a 30-minute ferry hop from Paros to Naxos. After picking up your car, we would recommend heading into Naxos Town to explore. Rising above the harbourfront, the 13th-century district of Kastro is the labyrinthine historic quarter where you’ll find cubist mansions, the well-preserved Palace of Sanudo and the Archaeological Museum with its marble figurines and Mycenaean vases. Glimpse snatches of sea through the spaghetti-like lanes meandering past tavernas and souvenir shops tailormade for summer-evening strolls. Below, the medieval Bourgos district is a warren of narrow streets lined with bougainvillea, geraniums and studded with chapels.
Around sunset, we would recommend heading across to the imposing Portara, tethered to the mainland by a causeway and all that was completed of the Temple of Delian Apollo. Enjoy dinner on the waterfront or in one of the old town restaurants whose tables spill out onto cobbled courtyards.
Fun Facts: The Della Rocca family hosts Bazoukia and orchestral concerts on the courtyard of their home in the Kastro throughout the summer.
Optional Activities: Cookery Lesson, walking tour, mosaic workshop
The blueberry-blue Aegean calls to many a visitor on Naxos with impressive stretches of white-sand beach along the entire west coast. Agios Prokopios and Agia Anna are perfect for kids and teenagers alike with their shallow waters, pink lagoons and boho beach bars. Agios Prokopios is consistently rated as one of the ‘Top 10’ beaches in Greece and offers a mix of cave, wreck and reef dives.
As you head further south, the beaches get wilder; visit Plaka, where you can gallop across the dunes on horseback before enjoying lunch at one of the driftwood cafés or Mikri Vigla, a haven for kite-surfers whose boards are launched skywards by the ‘meltemi’ summer winds. Crystal-clear Kastraki is perfect for isolated bliss whilst our personal favourite, Alyko, is home to juniper-fringed coves tucked into the indented headland. This coastal stretch is guarded by an abandoned hotel adorned with the hippest of art work.
Closest to Naxos Town, Agios Gorgios is a great spot to catch the sunset before heading into the old town for dinner. Afterwards, cinephiles should head to Cine Naxos, on the southern edge of town where movies are screened alfresco (May-September).
Fun Facts: Naxiots once bequeathed undesirable seaside plots (useless for farming) to their laziest offspring. These wastrels now find themselves sitting on sizeable gold mines.
Optional Activities: Sailing, diving, snorkelling, horse-riding, open-air cinema
Today, drive towards the heart of the island, where coastal dust gives way to a leafier interior cut with switchbacks and hairpin bends. Mediaeval villages reminiscent of the Moroccan mountains sit below dome roofed churches precipitously perched on towering peaks such as Mt. Zas, named after the ruler of Olympus.
From your base on the west coast, travel inland towards the paradisiacal olive grove of the Tragaia Valley and the villages of Tripodes, Halki, Filoti and Apeiranthos. After Tripodes, make a detour to the iconic 6th-century Temple of Demeter, dedicated to the goddess of agriculture and fertility. Halki is a pretty village surrounded by citrus groves and Byzantine churches with vine-festooned tavernas on the main town square. Local shops sell handmade jewellery, ceramics and textiles. The leaves of the citron tree have been used here for centuries to make kitron naxou, a liqueur produced by the Vallindras Distillery which offers guided tours and has a small museum.
With its marble alleys gleaming white in the sun, Apeiranthos is Instagram ready. More than ten centuries have passed without substantial change to its vaulted arches, Venetian towers and stone houses. Take a seat in one of the old kafeneions and watch the locals practice loom weaving. If your family are feeling especially active, Naxos is laced with well-defined hiking trails. Families with older children may choose to tackle the steep, rocky trail from the village of Filoti to the summit of Mount Zas or the route to the Cave of Zas signed about 400 yards south of Filoti. For the less committed, there's a pretty 6-km loop walk around Halkí.
On your journey back towards the coast, we would recommend checking out Naxos’s most colossal open-air sculptures that have been resting for eons in the same sunny spot. Kouros Flerio and Kouros Melanes, two 2,500-year-old marble statues are 16 feet in length and lie 400 yards apart in a garden near Melanes.
Fun Facts: Keramoti, hidden in a forested valley, was the only village on Naxos to elude the Nazis during the Second World War.
Optional Activities: Hiking, cycling, Vallindras Distillery tour
Your final day is free to either relax by the water or explore the island a little more. For any water sports enthusiasts, Naxos is the perfect place to enjoy wind surfing, water skiing, paddle boarding, kite surfing or ‘shriek-inducing’ tubing. There are a number of local schools available for group or 1-1 tuition. If you would prefer a couple of hours respite whilst the kids let off some steam the nearby water park is small but perfectly formed with three large water slides and a great tiki-style café bar.
If your exploration taste buds are still tingling, an excellent trip to finish your tour would be to Apollonas on the east coast - a lovely fishing village with a good selection of tavernas and cafés set behind a sweeping beach. It is home to another unfinished kouros thought to represent Dionysus - more than 30 feet long, it lies on the ground like a petrified tree.
On your final evening, we would recommend heading to one of the waterfront restaurants in Agios Prokopios or Agia Anna to enjoy some fabulous fresh seafood and maybe a sneaky cocktail or two.
Fun Facts: The unfinished kouros were abandoned either because of a fatal flaw in the stone or due to damage in transit.
Optional Activities: Windsurfing, kitesurfing, kayaking, kiteboarding, water skiing, jet skiing, Aqua Fun water park
Wandering Tribe has travelled to all of the destinations that we feature and we like nothing better than talking about them. If you would like further information about these tours or a tailor-made quote then please contact us on 07392 742333. Alternatively you can fill in the contact form and we will endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible.