Self guided hiking vacation in Santorini and Naxos, Greece

“A week long self-guided walking vacation on Cyclades most stunning islands of Santorini & Naxos. A dormant volcanic island that is an explosion of natural and cultural wonders”

Highlights

Santorini | Fira | Oia | Profitis Ilias | Emborio | Perissa beach | Akrotiri village | Pyrgos | Red beach | Naxos

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Self guided hiking vacation in Santorini and Naxos, Greece

Environment

We are dedicated to encouraging low-impact activity vacations, such as walking, and minimising our negative impact on the environment and people.

Our guided & self-guided trail vacations at the island of Santorini & Naxos in Greece, have an eco focus. We will inform our guests about the unique flora and endemic and common species they will encounter while walking or swimming around the island. We give guidelines on where to look for them, how to approach them in order not to scare them and disrupt their life, how to observe their behaviours or even capture a unique picture showing to the rest of the world their magic. Guests leave aware of the environmental dangers faced and what they can do to minimise them.

We encourage our guests to behave in an environmentally responsible manner. We walk on designated paths and make sure no litter is left behind. We ask our guests to report on paths that are falling out of use.

We encourage our guests and the owners of the accommodations we use to be aware of the threats to the environment (i.e. water waste, plastic bags and bottles) and suggest ways in which they can minimise their negative footprint. We explain our guests the need for water conservation in the Greek islands and advise them on how to minimise their water waste. We encourage our guests to bring refillable water bottles and/or recycle them in designated areas. All our business waste is recycled. All communication is done electronically where possible, saving on paper.

We organise our walking vacations in Greece outside the high season months of July-August. We thus try as much as we can to reduce negative impacts to the environment and its people and to benefit the local community.

Community

We have the greatest respect for the local people and their customs and are anxious to share our knowledge of Cycladic island lifestyle with our guests. In order to limit the social impact of tourism all are guests are introduced to the local customs, religion, politics and history during our walks. We recommend to our clients to local festivals, artists' workshops, and other local celebrations trying to get them to experience the local way of life. We encourage our guests to mix and interact with the local people which are particularly friendly and hospitable.

Through our guided and self-guided walking trail vacations in Greece we support small businesses by supporting locally owned shops, guesthouses and taverns. As our vacations take place throughout the year, especially during the out of season months, we bring customers and income to establishments which would otherwise only have visitors in high summer. Guests are advised to visit the local market and purchase locally-produced and home-made products such olive oil, wine, honey, capers and herbs, sun dried fruits and tomatoes and other goods.

Our guests stay at local, family owned guesthouses, staffed by locals with their food being sourced locally. These accommodations have been restored by local workers and retained their unique local character whilst providing all necessary comforts. The guesthouses recently installed solar panels which provide hot water for all rooms all year round.

Santorini & Naxos have a unique network of traditional walking paths and our local guides who will be supporting you locally know them very well. They live and work in the area. They are passionate about promoting Santorini and Naxos as walking vacation destinations, about the survival and conservation of the paths and local wildlife and sustainable tourism in general.

In general, with all walking vacations in Greece, were trying through our activities to encourage travelers to approach places they visits with greater understanding and respect.

5 Reviews of Self guided hiking vacation in Santorini and Naxos, Greece

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Reviewed on 22 Oct 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The hike from Fira to Oia is very nice. It's a well used path, so no directions are necessary. It follows the ocean and is beautiful. We even made some new friends along the way. We met lots of nice people on this trip. Some were tourists and others were from Greece. The food was very good too. The Anixis hotel on Naxos was very nice. They have a great breakfast and wonderful ocean views. We could even hear the ocean. Even though we originally signed up for the independent walking tour, we were able to join an existing guided tour for several days of hiking on Naxos. This turned out to be very convenient since the island is so slow in October. Plus, Annie, our guide was great and the the other four travelers were nice to spend time with while hiking. On the Santorini Pyrgos trail, we needed the app in order to follow the trail. We were nervous about the trails in Naxos after that. So, joining the group was very helpful. The timing just turned out great. I think that some printed handouts of just the trail directions in a format easy to carry around while hiking would be very useful. The phone gps apps use a lot of power and that made us nervous.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


There are still a lot of tourists on Santorini in the middle of October. While this has it's downside, it also means that there are lots of buses traveling the island. So, getting around on your own is very easy. Naxos, however, is very quite in October. There are very few buses this time of year. This makes traveling the island for hiking more difficult. Taxis transfers may be necessary for hiking the island.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The people in Greece seem to need the tourist dollar a lot, so I hope our presence helped them. We met several collage educated people working in hotels and restaurants because there aren't enough jobs available.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


We had a very nice time. This was our first time using Uneasy no settle. We now have another company to use for trips in the future.

Reviewed on 01 Oct 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


I enjoyed exploring the island on ancient trails that have been used for centuries by local people but have never been written down on a paper map until this
century.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Tell Niko what you hope to do and he will listen to your preferences and guide you to options to choose from. He was very receptive to developing an itinerary
that was flexible and adaptable to my time and adventure preferences.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


I very much enjoyed the balance between independent travel and supported travel that this trip gave me. I am a solo traveler and Nikos built a trip for me ... he adapted his regular itinerary for group and gave me suggestions, hotel support and guide books as well as phone and email support while I was there. I was able to explore trails and places by myself that I would her never found alone and on my own ... but I was able to explore them alone and on my own (which I enjoy... solo time is healthy and important for me) with the confidence of a guide in my pocket. This was fantastic for my needs and travel style! Thank you Nikos!

Reviewed on 23 May 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The culture and people of Naxos

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Meet the local people on the walks they are very friendly and happy to help.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes stayed in local hotels and walked through the villages. Eating a small family ran cafe.e

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent vacation highly recommended.

Reviewed on 23 Sep 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


We much preferred Naxos to Santorini much more relaxed. Best walks were Mount Zas and Caldera rim walk from Fira to Oia, both fabulous views.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Spend more time in Naxos and less time in Santorini. If only using public transport be prepared for restricted bus operating times on Naxos/ Santorini and very crowded buses. Some of the walks we were unable to do due to lack of public transport on the return journey. Some bus journey's are split having to
change buses half way which does not tell you on the bus timetable. The bus station on Santorini is very chaotic. We found the Islands are quite expensive for everything. The port in Santorini is also very busy and chaotic with little to no guidance. The ferries were late on every transfer by 45 minutes. The luggage storage below deck on the ferry is swamped with everybody's belongings make sure your luggage is easy identified as you do not get very long to find it prior to departing the ferry. Santorini airport is very small and very overcrowded. It struggles to cope with every aspect.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes as we ate a local family tarvernas and used public transport everywhere.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


The vacation company were absolutely super. Good communication prior to vacation, everything was booked perfectly and went without a hitch. Lots of texts from vacation reps confirming their availability for help and questions.

Reviewed on 06 Nov 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The personal challenge of completing the hikes myself, the isolated walks in a rugged yet serene environment, arriving at key sites all tired, hot and sweaty whilst other tourists were in pristine condition (must be those air conditioned vehicles), the locals friendliness and hospitality, the local cuisine (the wines are must-have) and of course picturesque Santorini itself with its churches and caldera. Ooops, I just couldn't choose one!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


A few things to consider:
1. As well as the weather, do check the tides/swell of the sea especially when planning the 'Caldera to Akrotiri and Vlychada trail'. There are two parts on this trail which are on the rocky beach (the beach is narrow) and if the tide is in then your path is blocked.
2. Expect many of the remote churches to be closed...it's just how it is!
3. The app provided by nofootprint was great but make sure you keep a battery charger with you in case your mobile decides to give up. To use the app you need to have your location enabled and in my case this used up my phone battery quite quickly.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Absolutely. Walking through local towns/villages was great as you get to meet the locals and eat/drink in local establishments thus contributing to the local economy. The trails were a mix of well-trodden paths and 'figure-it-out yourself' paths but no flora was damaged in the process. The bus system on the island is excellent, frequent and cheap...really good local infrastructure.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Ah just amazing and the perfect trip...a different way to see such a beautiful island and all it has to offer! Loved it!

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