Culinary Journey to Syros, Greece
Located in the heart of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea and under four hours by ferry, this beautiful island is truly unique. Its rich history, azure water, gorgeous beaches, delicious food, and architecture are just the beginning of this incredible adventure!
The island of Syros has a tremendously rich history dating back thousands of years before Christ and was once considered one of the most important ports in the Eastern Mediterranean. In fact, it became such a major trading center that the island's capital, Hermoupolis, was named after Hermes, the God of Trade. This rich past is evidenced by the luxurious mansions, neoclassical buildings, museums, marble-paved streets, and beautiful tree-lined squares. Hermoupolis is also known as the "Queen of the Cyclades Islands," and you will see why. Complete with neoclassical architecture, fantastic tavernas, meandering alleys covered with bougainvillea, fun shopping, cafés, blue-domed churches, and a dramatic coastline, this place is a quintessential Greek dream come true.
Influences from around the Mediterranean have also enhanced Syros' cuisine. With spicy flavors from across the sea, velvety notes from the Venetians, and traditional dishes from mainland Greece, Syros has created its own unique cuisine. We'll cook and taste our way across the island using fresh local vegetables, fragrant herbs, bountiful seafood, honey, renowned cheeses, and expertly-crafted sausages. In addition, we'll visit local markets, eat at tavernas and enjoy some of the best Greek wines!
And the best part? Syros is still a well-kept secret and never seems to get as crowded as its neighboring islands, yet it still buzzes with life year-round. This will be an unbelievable trip, and I can't wait to take you there!
** Price based on double occupancy; single supplement applies for solo travelers. Airfare is not included. Deposit of $2,000.00 per person is required to secure a spot.
A well-equipped and spacious kitchen provides the setting for our hands-on cooking classes. We can roll grape leaves and spit roast a lambto serve with a classic Greek salad with caper leaves. We'll even learn to make traditional moussaka and pastitsa from a master! Whether we're making classic dishes like moussaka, pastitso, skordalia, and spanakopita or interesting local specialties like a leek and chicken torta with mint, dill and feta, we'll enjoy the results dining together with delicious Greek wines.
Oh, and we'll be sure to visit local tavernas to enjoy juicy souvlaki and the best mezé appetizers such as louza, the cured pork tenderloin that's marinated in red wine together with allspice, cinnamon, peppercorns, and cloves before air-dried to perfection.
We don't need to travel far to discover some of the best this island has to offer. We'll stroll through town, enjoying the gorgeous neoclassical architecture, the market streets and 12th century Anos Syros, the medieval settlement with its meandering streets, countless steps, arches, and gleaming white houses. Then, we might just need to visit a chic beach club for the afternoon!
The people of Syros love their sweets especially loukoumia and halvadopita. Loukoumia, a jellied sweet flavored with pistachio and rosewater and is out of this world. Halvadopita, a lovely nougat with almonds sandwiched between two heavenly melt-in-your-mouth wafers. We will be sure to visit one of these confectioners to see how they are made.
Also the local markets in Hermoupolis are fantastic, so don’t be surprised it that is included on the itinerary. For the cheese lovers in the group, , I have you covered! Sure, we'll have plenty of feta, but we'll also sample the Cyclades famous spicy, soft cheese called kopanisti, as well as Saint Michali, an aged cheese that's produced exclusively on the island of Syros. Made from locally raised cow's milk collected on the island, San Michali has a rich flavor of hazelnuts and crumbles like parmesan. It's heavenly!
These cheeses work so well with ouzo or tsipouro, so of course, we have to see how tsipouro is made here on the island. Like the Italian grappa, tsipouro is made every autumn following the grape harvest. After the grapes are pressed to produce wine, there are "leftovers" in the winepress. The crushed grape skins, seeds, pulp, and stems are then distilled to create a mighty spirit that will warm your heart and your taste buds.
Since over 600 acres of olive trees are growing on this small island, we may see if we can make a visit an olive mill for an olive oil tasting. And just when we think we can't fit in one more bite, maybe we'll take a hike to find capers and learn the art of preserving them from my friend Louie’s mom, who is an amazing cook in her own right.
It's all about location, location, location!!! Our home for this journey is in the lovely, elegant city of Hermoupolis, the famous port of Syros, at the historic neoclassical Hermes Hotel. Situated at the edge of Syros port with a historic city center in the background, this is an ideal place to call home for the week. So whether you want to take a morning dip in the sparkling sea or a late-night stroll to take in the vibrant atmosphere and a nightcap at a local bar, we'll have easy access to everything we need.
Our well-appointed and spacious rooms, complete with WiFi, toiletries, and hair dryers, will provide us with a tranquil place to relax and rest up for all of our activities! Whether overlooking the lush gardens, the deep blue of the Aegean Sea, or the calm waters of Syros port, each room provides a peaceful sanctuary.
We recommend flying into Athens* and arriving in Greece at least one day before this tour. Not only does this give you some time to adjust to the time difference, but it also provides you with more time to explore. Then, to get to Syros, you can take a short flight from Athens or the ferry from the port in Piraeus. To take the ferry, I recommend getting ferry tickets beforehand. Head to the port in Piraeus (about a 20-minute taxi ride outside of Athens) and catch the early morning ferry to the island of Syros. Then, on the final day of your tour, plan on taking the ferry back to Piraeus in the afternoon.
A non-refundable deposit of $2,000.00 US per person is required to register for this tour. See the Tour Terms and Conditions for details. We highly recommend purchasing trip insurance. Single supplement charge of $1500.00 US applies for solo travelers. Accommodations, cooking classes, excursions and day trips, wine and tastings, and meals are included. Airfare is not included in the package price. Final payments are made by personal check or money order only.
We are committed to following Federal, State and local health guidelines to the best of our ability during this tour.
* There are plenty of hotel options in Athens and I love the very well-priced Herodion. Have a drink or dinner on the roof looking out at the Acropolis. If you want an extravagant splurge, try the Grand Bretagne Hotel. If you just want a view of the Acropolis from the roof with a lovely cocktail, make sure you go to their bar. And don't forget the best gyro in town at The Greco's Project!