The 9-Day Ultimate Greece Tour is the best vacation that my wife and I have taken in the last 40 years. We both recently retired and after some discussion and based on previous experience with weather and crowds, we decided to visit Greece during the Fall of 2023. One of our friends had been to Santorini and took some incredible photos that kind of tilted us toward the islands as a focus. But after some reading and watching some YouTube videos, we realized that Greece has a lot more to offer than just Athens and the islands.
We’ve already visited several countries in Europe and in 2021 we enjoyed a great trip with a private guide company in Portugal. We like history, walking, and prefer to not waste time shopping, which every bus tour we’ve been on in the past seems to require. We also did not want to rent a car because of the stress of driving in a foreign country with the new rules, signs, expected behavior, parking, navigating in narrow city streets, and so on. This led to the conclusion that a private guided tour in a car with a driver fit our needs.
We wanted to see some of Greece’s amazing archeological sites. Examples included the walled city at Mycenae, Olympia where the original Olympic games were held, the City of Corinth made famous in the Apostle Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, the incredibly well-preserved theater at Epidaurus, King Phillip’s tomb at Vergina, Messene, Delphi, and on and on. We wanted to visit as many of them as possible in about two weeks’ time.
Given the locations of these sites, the distances between them and our preference for a private guided tour, we did quite a bit of web searching for a company that could drive us around and provide local guides at selected locations. We were concerned about the trustworthiness of the agencies we read about. Dealing with someone over the internet, arranging a vacation, and paying in advance before one shows up in the country is inherently risky. You don’t really know for sure whether the companies you contact actually exist or whether they are just a website with no one behind it.
We researched several companies and eventually settled on Eudaimonia. We were especially attracted to their 9 Day Ultimate Greece Tour because it took us to many of the locations we wanted to visit plus some that we hadn’t even thought of before. As we were considering Eudaimonia, we set up a Zoom call with Nikos, the owner of the company, and chatted with him about the itinerary. Based on his recommendations, we added a one-day visit to Hydra Island so we could get a taste of the island experience and one day in the Arcadia mountain village of Dimitsana, for a total of 11 days. The Zoom call also allowed us to meet Nikos and allayed any trust issues we might have had. He came across as well organized and professional and we decided to go ahead and book the trip.
Nikos reserved the hotels in each town as well as guides we requested at Corinth, Delphi, Messene, and Olympia. Nikos personally vets each hotel and guide and we were totally impressed by all these arrangements. The hotels were clean, quiet, comfortable, friendly and provided great breakfasts. They spanned a range from unique boutique facilities in small towns such as Galaxidi that had a balcony overlooking a town square, a hotel room with a balcony view of monasteries in Meteora, and the five-star resort in Mystras. The hotels were all different from one another and were part of creating a unique experience on a daily basis.
The lunches were all wonderful. Nikos’s team has done this trip many times and they know the restaurants that provide consistently excellent quality food. Every day was something different and we eventually sampled most of the dishes that are on a typical Greek food tour. We had chatted briefly with our guide about our dietary preferences (low carb as much as possible), and asked him to go ahead and order for us. He did a great job. Every day we were stuffed and had no room for dinner. As a matter of fact, I was getting a bit worried that I might be gaining weight but I was pleasantly surprised when I returned home and found that I had actually lost two pounds! That was icing on the cake for this vacation .
Since we would be spending 11 days with one person who would be driving, taking care of local arrangements, lunch, etc. we wondered about who would be our guide. We were extremely happy with Theo. He is a super safe driver and was respectful and professional throughout the trip. In addition to all of that, he has a Master’s degree in archeology! Considering that we would be visiting so many archeological sites, we considered ourselves lucky to have him with us and available for questions at any time. He was always diplomatic, calm, friendly, enthusiastic, well informed, and someone who we looked forward to spending time with every day. Without a doubt, he was the key factor for success in our over-the-top enjoyment of this vacation.
The day-to-day experience of the trip was smooth as silk. Theo would tell us the night before when the breakfast began and when we would leave the hotel. We made sure we were ready to go on time, hopped in the car, and off we went. We had the same car throughout the trip and every day Theo stocked it with more than enough cold, bottled water. Nikos called Theo almost daily from mission control in Athens, got updates on our progress and provided information about future stops. That was nice. In one case, the train in Kalavryta was out of service because of a landslide the previous day and Nikos told Theo about it so that we didn’t waste time and could proceed with an alternate (which turned out to be some hikes and the totally cool Mega Spilaio monastery that’s built into the side of a mountain).
As we were finalizing our arrangements with Nikos before going to Greece, he encouraged us to place our deposit as soon as possible so he could book the best hotel rooms for us. That was totally understandable and resulted in us getting some amazing accommodations including a room in the castle at Monemvasia overlooking the sunrise on the Aegean Sea. There was an additional aspect of early payment that Nikos might deny and that was his arrangement of the weather . We had perfect conditions between Oct. 11 and Oct. 22, 2023. It was sunny and about 70 degrees every day and there was no rain. This is shoulder season in Greece and was a great time for our trip.
We had many pleasant experiences that were not on our radar before we left. The thing that sticks out the most are the warm and friendly people we met. Some examples include the guides who made the sites come to life, the lady who prepared breakfast at Ioannina, the owners and staff of the hotel in Dimitsana who went out of their way to do our laundry and make omelets and apple pie for us, the owner of the restaurant at Areopoli who was eager for us to try her zucchini pie, etc., etc. These folks all contributed to creating pleasant memories about our trip to Greece that will last a lifetime.
Our incredibly positive experience is because of the hard work and preparation of Nikos and Theo. If you’re thinking about a similar trip, I can wholeheartedly and without reservation recommend Eudaimonia’s 9-Day Ultimate Greece Tour. It exposed us to the extremely rich and fascinating history and culture of Greece that we would have missed if we had only visited Athens and Santorini. We will be eternally grateful to Nikos and Theo for making this possible. They are a great team!
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