8 Days, 7 Nights|
Guides, ground transportation, support vehicle, lodging, most meals per itinerary (B, L, D), all kayaking equipment and instruction.|
Air or ferry to Paros, lunches and drinks, personal clothing and accessories, full medical, baggage and trip cancellation insurance, airport taxes and gratuities.
Join us as we discover the island of Paros and its quieter sister Antiparos with our exciting Inn-to-Inn Sea Kayaking adventure in Greece! We'll kayak the vivid turquoise waters past the rose-colored marble cliffs, visit romantic soft-sand beaches, perhaps spot a seal or two, and dally in picturesque whitewashed villages. In the evening, we'll dine at charming seaside tavernas before we take our night's rest in intimate inns situated within the sound of the sea. Add in an array of traditional food specialties, locally-pressed olive oil, fascinating rock formations and a surprisingly sophisticated nightlife and you have everything needed for another great Northwest Passage adventure in Greece.
Day 1: Our cheerful Northwest Passage guides will greet you on the island of Paros at the airport or ferry port in Parikia and then we'll escort you to our bayside hotel just west of the main town of Parikia. You'll have time to settle in and we may offer a brief kayak orientation before meeting for sunset welcome drinks and the first of our delicious dinners on the island.
Day 2: Today our paddling begins in earnest as we finish outfitting our kayaks and go over the essential skills necessary for our short journey across the channel to the island of Antiparos, our base for the next two nights. After the channel crossing, we'll continue paddling along the beautiful seaside cliffs of Antiparos. This evening, we'll enjoy another delicious dinner together and perhaps sample some dried octopus or quince pie, specialties of the island.But fear not, there will be plenty of choices for less exotic palates.
Day 3: This morning, the small island of Despotiko beckons our kayaks and we may be able to add another small circumnavigation to our expedition. If time and conditions permit, we may enjoy continue spinning the fun meter with a stop at a beach for a special ancient Minoan spa treatment. There's the opportunity for hiking and some may take the option of exploring the famed Cave of Antiparos - but be prepared for 400 steps down into the depths - followed by 400 steps back up.
Day 4: Today we recross the channel from the southern tip of Antiparos and return to Paros. We'll head to the heading to the picturesque beachtown of Aliki, where we will spend the night.
Day 5: In the morning, our stalwart adventurers paddle past Cape Mavros, the southernmost point of Paros, before heading north toward the Pirgos peninsula. Then we scoot through the channel between Paros and the islet of Drionissi before reaching our ultimate destination for the night, the town of Piso Livadi with its charming harbor, traditional whitewashed buildings, and tamarisk -shaded beach.
Day 6: We end our paddling today near the busy resort town of Naoussa... but we've chosen a secluded hotel well off the beaten path in a spot of great natural beauty. Dinner is on your own tonight, with many choices in the thriving resort town of Naoussa.
Day 7: After our final day of paddling on the turquoise waters, we will have come full circle and we will now return to peaceful Paros Bay for our final night of celebration and congratulations. This is the moment when many of our guests ask if they can add another week or join us on our next island. You may be one of them!
Day 8: We'll share a final breakfast together. For most, in the morning there will be time for some shopping or additional sightseeing, before transfers to the harbor or airport for your departures. Those leaving from the harbor may have time to walk through the Church of Ekataportiani, renowned as a sacred healing spot for the Greek Orthodox faith and a cool refuge from the heat.
Trip details: Our planned accommodations for the week include intimate family-owned inns. Our trip is van supported the entire way. On most days, the van will meet us at the cappuccino and lunch stops. <P> **This itinerary is subject to change. We hope to see you on this spectacular adventure. Any further questions? Feel free to contact us!
This is all you will need - anything else is unnecessary baggage and will only be extra weight to carry.
- 3-7 t-shirts, some synthetic for paddling
- 1 shirt, long sleeved
- 2-3 pair shorts (some quick drying) Sun/rain hat Sneakers/cross trainers hiking; some prefer hiking in Tevas or other sandals with socks
- Rain gear just in case! (Paddling jacket works well as an alternative) or windbreaker jacket
- 1 pair sport sandals (Tevas, water socks etc)/ Paddling booties are great!
- Bathing suit(s)
- Underwear, socks
- Casual clothes for evenings (shorts/summer dresses are fine!)
- Clean change of clothing for the trip home
- Passport (be sure to check expiration date)
- Toiletry kit- toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, sunscreen, face cream, nail clippers, moleskin, baby powder, soap, washcloth (most hotels don’t provide them) etc.
- Personal medication kit- ibuprofen, aspirin, vitamins, band-aids, Dramamine®, cold/sinus meds if prone to colds
- Daypack/fanny pack for hiking options
- Collapsible walking stick for optional hikes
- Sunglasses Chums/Croakies® to keep glasses on your head are imperative
- Water bottle (optional- bottled water is plentiful and cheap)
- Small dry bag with carabiner clip (clear ones are very useful)
- Headlamp for sea caves (recommended on Crete, optional elsewhere)
- Camera, film, waterproof container
- Paddling gloves (for the tender of palm- not neoprene but any open fingered glove can help e.g. biking gloves etc)
- Small towel (e.g. PackTowel® works well)
- Small travel alarm clock
- Mask and snorkel (can be purchased inexpensively)
- Field glasses – binoculars
- Paddle/personal PFD- we will supply paddles and PFD’s for group but if you prefer your own paddle and PFD, feel free to bring them along
- Ziploc® storage bags (to keep stuff extra dry in dry bag)
What is special about this trip?
Paros and Antiparos have strikingly beautiful countryside and coastlines and a rich local culture, especially well-preserved on little Antiparos. Our Northwest Passage Inn-to-Inn Kayaking trip here is recognized as a "Trip of a Lifetime!" by Outside Magazine.
How do I get there?
Most people choose to take a ferry from Athens to Paros. The islands have a well organized ferry system, and you can also choose to fly to Mykonos or Santorini and take a boat from there, making this a perfect trip to combine with other island hopping in the Aegean. Paros also has a small airport with multiple daily flights from Athens, Crete, and other locations in Greece and the Greek islands.
What papers do I need for travel?
All US citizens require a valid passport to enter Greece; it is recommended that the expiration date is at least six months after the end of your intended trip. A visa is not required for citizens of the United States, Canada, and the European Union. If you are a citizen of another country, please check with your nearest Greek embassy for visa requirements.
Do I need to get any shots before traveling?
No inoculations are required when entering or leaving Greece.
How and where will you meet me?
We will meet you on Paros at the harbor or airpot. We will have a copy of your travel itinerary and a guide wearing a Northwest Passage shirt and carrying a Northwest Passage sign will greet you. Our hotel for the first night is located just outside the main town.
How long will it take me to get there?
The flight to Athens is usually an overnight flight, leaving the U.S. in the late afternoon and arriving mid-day to late afternoon in Athens. Flights or ferries to Paros may require extra time, depending on your flight arrival schedule.
Where should I stay overnight around there?
If you plan on arriving early or staying late, be sure to call the office beforehand if you’d like a recommendation for a good place to stay.
What money should I take?
The trip fee covers most of your costs. The only things you will be responsible for are lunches, drinks, one dinner, personal purchases, and gratuities. Lunches generally range 7-10 Euro. Dinner ranges 12-20 Euro. Personal purchases again vary- one can buy unique souvenirs made of olive wood for 5 Euro or get fine jewelry for significantly more… it’s up to you.
What's the currency? Exchange rate? Where can I exchange money?
The Euro is the currency of Greece, and while some predict they will return to the drachma, this is unlikely and, in any case, Euros would continue to be accepted. For the most current exchange rate, there are several helpful websites. Oanda (www.oanda.com) will give you a handy conversion cheat sheet to take with you. You can exchange money at the airport in Athens. Exchange rates at the airport may not be the most favorable and they often have higher commission rates and/or minimum commissions. There are ATMs at the airports which can be handy as there is not a commission, just the ATM service charge. Some of the hotels where we stay will also exchange. Some shops do exchange money but their rates are often high. In the main towns of Paros there will be ATMs, but it's a good idea to have cash on hand.
Do they take plastic there? Are there cash stations?"
Some of the larger shops accept major credit cards, but many shops, restaurants and vendors only accept cash. So be sure to stop at an ATM in the more populated areas as some smaller towns do not have them.
What's the weather like?
The weather in fall and spring is generally around 80° with lots of sunshine. Be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen, including lip protection. A broad-brimmed hat that secures on your head can also be very helpful. Water temperatures in fall tend to be in the mid to upper 70’s. Spring water temperatures are significantly cooler (high 60’s). Air temperatures cool off at night to the point you may want a light jacket. Rain is unusual but does sometimes occur. A light rain jacket can be handy.
What are the accommodations like?
Each night we choose to stay in the nicest family owned inns and hotels. They are all very secure and have bathrooms in each room.
What do I need to bring?
Upon registering, we will provide you with a detailed clothing and equipment list to guide you in your packing. Casual clothes are the order of the day- no need for anything fancy. If you bring any items requiring electricity, be sure to bring both a converter and adapter plugs. These can be purchased at Radio Shack®, other electronics stores, travel stores etc. Let the salesperson know you are traveling to Greece and they can help you select the appropriate converter and adapter plugs for your equipment. Note that hair dryers, irons, and any other heat producing devices require a stronger converter than other devices. It is helpful to know the wattage of your particular equipment when purchasing the appropriate converter.
While paddling, your needs in the boat will be minimal. A small dry bag with a carabiner clip to keep it attached to the boat is very handy. Clear bags are helpful to be able to find what you need easily. During the day, you will want to have sunscreen, some Euros for lunch and the cappuccino stop, sunglasses with something to keep them tied on with (Croakies®, Chums®, etc.), water bottle (most folks will buy cold bottled water in the morning, eliminating the need to bring a water bottle), camera, mask and snorkel (if you enjoy snorkeling), small binoculars if you already have some, and a small pack towel. A pair of gloves can be helpful to prevent blisters. You do not need neoprene paddling gloves- these can be too warm. Any open fingered glove (including bike gloves, sailing gloves, golfing gloves) can work well (just figure that they will get quite wet). The key is to protect your palm between your thumb and index finger as that tends to receive the most friction. The rest of your gear can be loaded in the van in the morning. Packing your gear in flexible bags (e.g. duffle bags vs. hard suitcases) is preferable. A common comment from participants at the end of the trip is that they brought much more than they needed- added extra clothing to what was on the clothing/equipment checklist and regretted it in the end. Simplicity is the order of the day- less is more!
Can I drink the water?
The water is safe to drink in all the areas we visit. However, bottled water is readily available everywhere and quite inexpensive so most folks choose to drink bottled water.
What's the food like?
Breakfast generally consists of fresh Greek yogurt with honey, bread, cheese, juice, coffee or tea, with eggs as an occasional option. Lunches and dinners are ordered off the menu which typically consists of Greek specialties such as moussaka, pastitsio, grilled meats and fish, spaghetti (doesn’t sound Greek but very popular), stifada (generally beef stew), etc. Selections for vegetarians are more limited but previous vegetarian clients have not gone hungry, enjoying dolmades (grape leaves), eggplant, zucchini, tzatziki (yogurt/cucumber/garlic dip), saganaki (fried feta), Greek salads etc.
What time zone will I be in?
Greece is two hours ahead of Greenwich Time. During the period that we normally travel it's Daylight Savings Time, so this makes it 7 hours ahead of US Eastern Time, 8 hours ahead of Central Time, 9 hours ahead of Mountain time, and 10 hours ahead of Pacific Time.
How can people reach me in an emergency? Can I call home?
We will provide you with a list of our hotels including phone and fax numbers. You should also provide family/friends with The Northwest Passage number (800-RECREATE, 732-7328) as NWP staff will always be notified of any changes in the itinerary. You can call home using a calling card. Many of the hotels will have phones in the rooms. Keep in mind the time difference listed above. It can be helpful to remind family and friends about this also.
How much time do we spend traveling each day? How many miles? Do I have free time?
We will generally kayak 5-6 hours per day. The paddling is broken into multiple sections with plenty of time to explore the coastline, paddle in and out of sea caves and jump in and out of the water to cool off. We generally begin paddling at 8:30 each morning, then take a cappuccino break at a seaside taverna after an hour or so. We stop again for lunch after another hour or so and generally reach our next hotel between 3:30 and 4:30 in the afternoon. Distance traveled varies each day, ranging from 6-24 miles. Once we reach our destination, you will have some free time to shower, relax, and/or explore the town. We will generally offer some additional skill training for folks who are interested at the end of the day. Some participants have wanted to work on Eskimo rolling, paddling techniques, etc. Each day, the van will be following our route, meeting us at the cappuccino stops and lunch stops, offering multiple options. You can paddle to the cappuccino break, then hop in the van to the lunch stop, then paddle again in the afternoon. Or start with a van ride and paddle later in the day. The choices are endless!
What kind of equipment do you use?
We have a combination of hard shell plastic doubles, singles and folding doubles. Some participants prefer to paddle in the doubles the whole time (paddling is a bit easier with two people powering the boat and the doubles tend to be more stable) and some prefer to trade on and off with the singles. We will provide kayaks, paddles, spray skirts and PFD’s (personal flotation devices) for all participants. If you prefer to bring your own paddle and/or PFD, you are most welcome to. Please let us know in advance so that we can pack the appropriate gear, especially if you have a particular need or unusual size.
How many people are on this trip? How many guides? Who are the guides / what are their qualifications?
Our group sizes for this trip range from 6 to 16 participants. We generally have two guides on the water and one or two additional staff members as van drivers. Your guides will be knowledgeable Northwest Passage staff members who are highly skilled in all aspects of sea kayaking and wilderness travel and have years of experience leading groups. They all have training and/or certification in Wilderness First Aid.
How can I prepare physically for the trip? How much prior experience is needed?
We have had participants on this trip who have never been in a kayak before and others who have been paddling for years. We have found that all levels of kayakers have enjoyed this adventure. A good level of personal fitness makes the journey more enjoyable. For kayaking, upper body exercises that strengthen your shoulders, back and arms are recommended. Strengthening exercises with free weights can be very beneficial. Upper body stretches and exercises such as rowing are also useful. Keep in mind that we have had folks at all different levels of physical conditioning thoroughly enjoy this trip and the van is always an option! It is extremely important that you know how to swim and are comfortable in the water. Please don’t hesitate to contact our office if you have any questions or concerns about your physical capabilities for this trip.
"A wonderful way to see Greece... A wonderful mix of adventure, exercise, and relaxation. I can't think of any finer introduction to the Greek Isles. Thank you for sharing your passion, your expertise, and your sense of adventure. It was a trip of a lifetime with many fond memories." -Marie Z., Fort Collins, CO
"Dear Rick and Ryan - Kudos to you both for a great circumnavigation of not one, not two, but at least three Cyclades islands! Wow! Thank you! Also a special acknowledgement for your skills at finding outstanding inns and tavernas. They've been the best and so are you! Thanks too for bringing us together for the adventure. I so appreciate all the planning that the Northwest Passage does to make this such a special experience.Sincerely," -Karen C., Ottawa, ON, Canada
"I admire your sense of adventure in exploring new places-keep on expanding!" -Michael W., Goderich, ON, Canada
“Beautiful location with great activities fueled by taverna food! Yogurt and honey is my new favorite food.” -Peggy K., Oak Park, IL
“Wish I could stay! Ryan did a great job working with us and flexing the trip when necessary.” -Yvette K., Oak Park, IL
The paired islands of Paros and Antiparos are believed by geologists to have formed one island thousands of years ago. The original island was inhabited as early as 3200BCE and, according to mythology, the first king of Paros was a Cretan, Alkaios, who built the original city on the site of today's capital of the island, Parikia. Despite the mythology, the earliest inhabitants were actually part of the early Cycladic Island Culture which predates the Minoans. Later in Minoan times, the Cretans used the island as a naval hub, giving it the name Minoa. In the year 1100BC, another tribe of ancient Greeks, the Ionians, settled on the island. The Ionian's time on the island of Paros was short-lived, however. Within a hundred years the Ionians were attacked and defeated by the Arcadians, led by Parios, for whom the island is definitively named.
The Arcadians prospered on Paros for centuries. By the 8th Century BCE, Paros had become a maritime power, trading with the Phoenicians and even expanding its colonies to nearby islands. The primary source of wealth on Paros was its marble. The high-quality, semi-transparent marble was prized across the Mediterranean for the production of statues and temples. Masterpieces such as the Temple of Apollo, and the statue Venus de Milo are formed from Parian marble. Today, the ancient quarries remain but are owned by the state, and used only for archeological restorations.
In the 4th Century BCE, Paros fell under the control of the Macedonian Empire, then to the Romans, and eventually to the Byzantine Empire. During the Byzantine period many churches and monasteries were constructed, including the Church of Ekatontapiliani. located in the heart of Parikia. It is believed to have been built on the orders of Saint Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great. Columns from an earlier temple on the site are visible through glass panels placed in the floor of the church. The "Church of the Hundred Doors" is said to be a place of miracles; though legend has it that there are one hundred doors, only 99 are said to be countable.
In more recent times, Paros and Antiparos have welcomed many celebrities as residents. Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have a home on Antiparos. Both islands are popular yachting destinations as well.
During the Crusades of the 13th Century the Byzantine Empire lost control over the region, allowing Paros fall under Venetian rule. Like the areas around it, Paros also succumbed to the Ottoman Empire in the 16th Century. Paros remained under Ottoman control, like the rest of Greece, until 1821 when freedom was gained during the Greek War of Independence.