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Samos: Wine lovers

Less than two kilometres from the Turkish coast and just an hour-long flight from Athens, Samos is decidedly off the beaten track, but it happens to produce some of the world’s most celebrated dessert wines. Grapes are cultivated on the slopes of Mount Ambelos, buttressed by hand-built stone terraces known as pezulas that prevent the island’s rocky soil from washing away.

Samos Wine MuseumSamos Wine Museum

In the port town of Vathy (deep harbour), visit Samos’ Union of Vinicultural Cooperatives to taste some of the region’s varieties at the in-house Malagari winery. (We like the Anthemis, a complex, award-winning blend with notes of dried fruit and roasted nuts.) Don’t leave without a tour of the Samos Wine Museum, where you’ll learn about early winemaking tools, techniques and barrel fashioning.

Ios: Adventurers

A four-hour ferry ride from Athens, Ios attracts a younger crowd during high season, but sporty types of all ages stay later into the summer months to take advantage of Ios’ calm waters. Learn to windsurf or paddleboard with Meltemi Watersports at Mylopotas Beach or book ahead to join a group excursion, where you’ll head out in a canoe or motorboat to explore secluded islands, snorkel in a cave and leap into the sea from a six-metre cliff.

Meltemi WatersportsMeltemi Watersports

Come sunset, grab a table at the oceanfront Harmony Mexican Restaurant, where a laid-back crowd settles into sofas and cushioned chairs on the large stone terrace. Share a plate of nachos and a pitcher of sangria, then linger for the daily live music set.

Mykonos: Partygoers

A 40-minute flight or three-hour ferry ride from Athens, Mykonos attracts affluent travellers with its upscale resorts and restaurants. Spend the day sunbathing at lesser-known Paraga Beach; then seek out the shade at Kalua, the strip’s modern, all-white restaurant and bar. Open on all sides and facing the sand, it’s an ideal spot for people-watching over a lunch of Greek salad.

Kalua MykonosKalua Mykonos

At night, head to the cobblestoned town centre, where seaside restaurants and boutiques are open past midnight during the summer. Start with late dinner at Avra, a restaurant nestled in a garden courtyard that serves up such traditional Greek fare as moussaka (layers of ground beef and eggplant topped with béchamel sauce). Come 1 a.m. or later, follow the sound of remixed rock tunes to nearby Rock ’n’ Roll Club, where beautiful patrons belt out the lyrics to their favourite songs and dance on tables ’til dawn.

Santorini: Architecture buffs

Santorini is a 45-minute flight or seven-hour ferry ride from Athens. Its current landscape was formed by a massive volcanic eruption, and its varying architectural styles are remnants of past occupations. (Think Venetian-era vaulted ceilings and arches.)

Stay in the sleek and minimally furnished Atrina Traditional Houses in Oia, which are carved into the Cliffside volcanic rock – typical of traditional housing. Book the Canava 1894 house and enjoy breakfast on your private terrace that looks out on the Aegean Sea, complete with volcanoes and calderas.

Argyros MansionArgyros Mansion

A 15-minute drive away, the central village of Messaria is known for its traditional Cycladic architecture. Visit the restored Argyros Mansion, which showcases Neoclassical architecture, for a glimpse into the island’s history through a collection of art and household items from centuries past.



Getting There

This summer, Air Canada rouge will operate up to five seasonal flights per week from Toronto and two weekly seasonal flights from Montreal. During July and August, Air Canada rouge is the only carrier to offer daily flights to Athens from Canada.

Comments… or add another

R.S. Tse

Monday, June 2nd 2014 20:19
You are tempting me again with Rouge flying into Athens from Toronto.
I and my daughter recently spent May 2-9, 2014, in Greece. We had to make connections in Zurich and London Heathrow.

I have been considering a cruise that will start from Pyraeus(Athens) on October 29, 2014. Would you have a Rough flight from YYS to Athens on that day?


Monday, June 2nd 2014 21:22
While visiting verdant Samos, visit Mount Ambelos--or Karvounis--as countless hikers do. The village of Ambelos (formerly Nenedes) offers spectacular views. Samos offers fascinating archaeology and history, etc. and I'm happy to be going next month.

Carl Labecki

Tuesday, June 3rd 2014 05:41
Your Enroute article is timely as we (Mrs & me) are starting to plan & budget for June 2015 in Greece. We are looking at an extended "Best of Greece" package. We are flexible and clearly this is "a la carte" pricing which works well for us. Air with rouge runs May to Oct departures from YYZ to Athens on Sun, Tu, We, Th, & Fri. Economy with an option for business/first class on the flight to Athens is preferred.

Sea transfers between Athens, Santorini, and Mykonos with "Seajet" high speed ferries at their "Club level" are preferred. Shortest trip time & they use twin hull cat ships having less rock and roll for the Mrs who gets real seasick real easy.

We are looking at a week each in Athens (6 nights on arrival & one on departure), Mykonos, & Santorini. For Mykonos, & Santorini we want at least a 3 star with a balcony and a view. Any Athens 3 star will be fine.

At the end a economy flight with Olympic from JMK to ATH at the end for the last night in Athens before flying home??

So how much should I budget for such an expedition with ACV???

Looking forward to your reply.

David Usherwood

Tuesday, June 3rd 2014 12:34
The Greek islands are on my bucket list.
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