Greece with Souvla’s Charles Bililies & Tony Cervone
September 22 - 29, 2022 | One Exclusive DepartureBook Now
Heart & Soul of Greece
Immerse yourself in the food, wine and joyful culture of Greece
September 22 - 29, 2022
One exclusive departure with Souvla's Charles Bililies & Tony Cervone
8 Days, 7 Nights
The very best of Athens, Neméa wine country, Crete, Santorini
You’re standing on a stone terrace framed by rugged mountains and gentle Mediterranean waters, the breeze perfumed with citrus and herbs. You’re at a farm in the countryside savoring wine harvested from nearby vineyards. Now you’re on a secluded beach, toes in sand, taking a refreshing dip in the sea. Lunch was at a waterfront taverna; tonight, as the sun sets over dreamy whitewashed villages, you’ll share tales of the day’s adventure with the starry night sky as a backdrop for an unforgettable meal. This is the Greece you’ve always dreamed of. Right now you’re mastering the art of island life, one that’s slow and full of joy, in one of the most entrancing places on earth.
With you on this unforgettable Greek adventure are Charles Bililies and Chef Tony Cervone, the dynamic duo behind San Francisco’s iconic Souvla. These are the guys who introduced San Franciscans to the joys of old-school souvlaki taverns (think: spit-fired meats), and they’re with us to share their passion for Greek food, wine, and the culture and traditions of Charles’ homeland. This is no mere vacation in Greece—it’s an eight-day discovery of one of the world’s most delicious destinations.
If you love true cultural immersion, good company and delicious food, join us for a dose of Greece few outsiders experience. We’ll meet Neméa vintners and Cretan cheesemakers, village locals and Michelin-star chefs, learning the traditions and tasting everything as we go. Get ready to immerse yourself in the true Greece.
Iconic ancient ruins, rich culinary traditions, and world-class wines
The inspiring beauty of Greece, from Athens to the islands of Crete and Santorini
Incredible Greek wines and the freshest ingredients, alongside expert connoisseurs
With Greece, with Charles and Tony, and with a joyful group of passionate travelers
3 Reasons to Travel with Charles & Tony
Charles and Tony transported the sights, sounds and smells of old school Greece—where juicy spit-fired meats reign supreme—to America. It's how they earned fans like Michelle Obama, and turned a passion project into a brand with a cult-like following and multiple restaurants throughout San Francisco. They like to wax poetic about grilled lamb, discuss the nuances of Greek wines you’ve never heard of but are just about to fall in love with, and bring warmth, kindness, and authenticity to everything they touch.
Lines snake around the block for Souvla's vibrant, flavorful sandwiches and salad, their potatoes roasted with drippings from the rotisserie, and their tangy soft-serve Greek yogurt topped with baklava crumbles. Charles and Tony know how to take a beloved classic to the next level—and make it part of the zeitgeist.
Hospitality runs in Charles’ Greek family, and many of Souvla’s design elements—from the copper and brass pots on the walls to the artifacts that adorn the shelves—hail from his grandfather’s mid-century restaurants. Charles can't wait to share his Greece with us.
All About the Wine
Every beverage at Souvla, down to the iced tea and sparkling water, hails from Greece. Yet Greek wines are Charles' true passion. We'll sip our way through Greece's superb, often overlooked, wine regions with an expert Greek wine connoisseur by our side.
Day by Day
Kαλως ηρθες στην Ελλάδα — Welcome to Greece! We’ll meet up with Charles and Tony, and dive right in to the beating heart of Athens on a walking tour through the streets and sidewalk cafes, the shops and markets and artisanal purveyors, sampling as we go.
We’ll have time to relax after lunch: The afternoon is ours to explore this glorious and gracious city—one of the world’s oldest—before meeting up on our hotel’s rooftop terrace for pre-dinner cocktails with panoramic city views. Then, we’re off to dinner in nearby Piraeus for a meal on the Mikrolimano marina at Varoulko Seaside, one of just four Michelin-star restaurants in Greece. From our perch on the marina, overlooking yachts gliding by and the Acropolis glimmering in the distance, we’ll enjoy chef Lefteris Lazarou’s inspired menu of the freshest seafood. And, of course, toast to the start of our incredible Greece adventure.
Wake up at your leisure, and enjoy this glorious morning however you like: in bed, or maybe exploring the streets of Plaka and Monastiraki, two hip districts just steps from our hotel.
Bring an appetite for lunch: chef Tony is preparing a feast for us, highlighting traditional Greek flavors and his favorite local purveyors. In the afternoon, our access is deep and personal on a private tour of the Museum of Cycladic Art. This is no ho-hum museum visit; rather, it’s an exclusive look at one of the world’s finest collections of art from the Cyclades—Antiparos, Melos, Mykonos, Naxos and more than 30 other Aegean islands. The distinctive anthropomorphic figurines have influenced generations of artists, including Modigliani and Picasso; some works date from the 6th millennium B.C. Exhibits on the history of wine and its central role in the life of the Ancient Greeks are crucial homework to prepare us for tomorrow’s wine tastings!
Our theme this morning is wine. We’re headed to the Peloponnese peninsula, site of the original Olympic games, the Persian wars, and the Ottoman and Venetian conquests—the center of the action, historically speaking, and the heart of Greece’s millennia-old wine tradition.
First stop is Neméa, Greece’s answer to the Napa Valley and the country’s most important red-wine appellation. We’ll tour the vineyards of Domaine Skouras, considered among the top wineries in all of Greece. Here, native Agiorgitiko and Moscofilero grapes produce the award-winning red and crisp rosé that serves as the core of Souvla’s wine program. We’ll taste, and then continue on past orange, almond and olive groves to the seaside town of Nafplion, with an old town surrounded by water on three sides and awash with Venetian and Ottoman architecture, not to mention picturesque restaurants and cafés. Lunch is rustic in the best sense at a traditional local taverna, with plenty of time after to wander Nafplion’s streets and shops. We’ll return to Athens for a leisurely evening on our own.
Welcome to Crete! We’ll catch an early flight from Athens to Heraklion and spend the next two days exploring Greece’s largest island, aptly known as Megalónisos, the ‘Great Island’. Crete feels like a country of its own, with a rich history going back more than 4,000 years. It was the center of Europe’s first truly advanced civilization, the Minoans, and later ruled by Rome, the Byzantine Empire, Andalusian Arabs, the Venetian Republic and the Ottoman Empire.
Our first stop on this mountainous gem of an island is an organic farm. Here, traditional hand-cultivation yields the most delicious pomegranates, sour cherries, apricots and quinces. We’ll have a private farm visit, taste olive oils, and even pluck our own ingredients from the gardens and cook lunch together al fresco over wood-fired ovens. Breathe in the fresh Mediterranean air and marvel at the views across the sea. This is the Crete experienced by very few others! Our last stop is Elounda, a dreamy coastal town and our luxurious base for two nights.
The traditions of Cretan culture are alive and thriving in the island’s small mountain villages, where narrow steep streets and bright bougainvillea dominate. We’ll dive right in learning how to make the perfect Cretan cheese pie and hard-crust paximadi spelt bread, and sample local sheep’s and goat’s milk cheeses from an artisanal producer. It doesn’t get more traditional than this.
We’ll make a pilgrimage to a small 13th-century church that’s home to the best-preserved Byzantine frescoes on the island. Then head for lunch at a traditional mountain taverna; depending on the day, we’ll tuck into specialties like gamopilafo (a risotto traditionally served at weddings), stamnagathi (wild greens), apaki (smoked salted pork), and even a few fried snails.
We’ll have a few hours back at our hotel to rest and relax, and enjoy the simpler pleasures Cretan island life has to offer. Dinner tonight is a celebration of music, laughter, dancing and, of course, a delicious feast. Opa!
Next stop: Santorini! After an early breakfast, we catch a ferry to this sun-bleached island built on the rim of a volcano with drop-dead gorgeous views over the Aegean Sea. The volcano—a destructive force millennia ago, but dormant today—gives Santorini its unique microclimate and ashy terroir.
The island’s flourishing wine industry is centered on the indigenous Assyrtiko grape, known for its distinctive vines trained into low-spiraling baskets to protect against the wind. We experience two sides of Santorini winemaking close to Charles’ heart. First, at modern and state-of-the-art Vassaltis Vineyards, the minimalist aesthetic pairs perfectly with its exquisite craft wines. Domaine Sigalas, in the graceful centuries-old vineyards of Oia, is one of the most renowned wineries not just in Santorini, but in all of Greece. We’ll tour and taste at both.
After time at our hotel to refresh and relax, we’ll stroll the winding cobblestone alleys of Oia village, where domed whitewashed buildings clamber up and down the hillsides. As dinner hour approaches, we’ll wind our way down 300 rock-hewn steps to tiny, jewel-colored Ammoudi Bay to enjoy an al fresco seafood dinner overlooking the water.
Wake up to a glorious Mediterranean morning and get ready for a day of joyful island life, in all its glory. The day is ours to swim in the deep blue Aegean, sun ourselves on Santorini’s iconic rock beaches, or maybe challenge ourselves to a hike. However you decide to spend the day, it’s impossible not to fall madly and deeply in love with Santorini’s astonishing spectacle of color and natural forms filled with criss-crossing footpaths leading up to dazzling clifftop views.
Tonight we meet for a final dinner together, to celebrate our unforgettable week with Tony and Charles. Tony will once again don a chef’s hat and prepare our menu of elevated local dishes—maybe white eggplant and cherry tomatoes, spiced air-dried pork loin, or creamy chlorotyri goat cheese in Vedema’s private cellar. Whatever the menu, it will be a night to remember, filled, Greek-style, with toasts to our hosts, the gods, the saints, and long life. Yamas!
Our final day together. It’s time to say farewell and, as we go our separate ways, to celebrate the spirit of Φάγαμε ψωμί και αλάτι—as the Greeks say, we ate bread and salt together, and now we’re bonded for life.
After breakfast we’ll load up baggage and fly directly from Santorini to Athens’ ATH airport. Until we meet again!
Our home for two nights in Athens is the NEW Hotel, just steps from the leafy National Gardens and the hip districts of Plaka, Monastiraki and Acropolis. This icon of Greek modernism has been lovingly renovated by one of Greece’s foremost collectors of contemporary art. The design-forward rooms have all the comforts you'd expect. The rooftop terrace has panoramic city views, and is the perfect space for soaking up the energy of Greece's capital.
This former mansion is a jewel of traditional architecture and design, with antique artwork adorning the walls, surrounding olive groves and gardens, and luxurious bedrooms boasting views over the turquoise waters of Elounda's Mirabello Bay. A private beach and stunning views make it an irresistible choice for us.
Tucked away in a medieval village, this dreamy island oasis occupies a sprawling centuries-old estate and cellar. Stone walls and winding paths surround the village-like property, whose rooms have been hand-crafted with local antique furnishings. Sweeping views, clifftop pools and a candle-lit wine bar in the underground cave—the Vedema will capture your island heart.
People Love MO/AD's Greece
Book Greece with Souvla’s Charles Bililies & Tony Cervone
We have answers! Read our FAQs below. Or text or call us at +1 (855) 219-8018 to speak with a Modern Adventure trip specialist.
What does the price include?
Seven nights of four- and five-star boutique accommodations; most meals; internal flights from Athens to Crete, and from Santorini to Athens; ferry from Crete to Santorini; private travel for all day trips and excursions; departure airport transfer; private tours with local guides and cultural experts; exclusive VIP access and tastings; entrance fees; daily breakfasts, most lunches and dinners; local beverages with meals.
What is not included?
International roundtrip airfare to Greece; travel insurance; transportation to the trip’s starting point; activities not included in the trip itinerary; hotel incidentals including room service, laundry service and hotel bar tabs; food and beverages not included in itinerary; gratuity for Modern Adventure trip leader.
Where does the trip start and end?
Our adventure begins at the NEW Hotel in Athens, Greece. The closest international airport is Athens’ Elefthérios Venizélos Airport (ATH). We recommend arriving one day early in Athens to ensure you’re at our starting point on time. Our adventure ends in Santorini; on our final day, we will organize a direct flight from Santorini to Athens’ ATH airport. Your onward flight should be scheduled to depart at 2pm or later from ATH airport.
What travel documents are required?
US citizens are not required to have a visa for stays in Greece of under 90 days. Just bring a valid US passport. For citizens of other countries, please check with the Greek embassy or consulate for information and requirements.
Do I need to pay a supplement for a single room?
Yes, for solo travelers there is a $1,700 single-supplement fee—paid at the time of booking—to secure a private room. These spots are highly limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Who is going on this trip?
Our adventures typically have between 10 and 18 guests, plus our Modern Adventure team. Our experiences are fun and inclusive and you can expect to be joined by a diverse group in terms of age, background and interests—including solo travelers, couples and friends traveling together. This adventure is for travelers age 18 and above.
Who is leading this trip?
This trip is led by an expert Modern Adventure trip leader. They’re an experienced travel guide, a representative of Modern Adventure and your go-to person for questions or concerns on the trip. We’ll be joined throughout our adventure by local, expert guides who are deeply knowledgeable with respect to local cultures, customs and history and are passionate about sharing that with us.
Do I need travel insurance?
We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance. Travel insurance allows you to seek reimbursement for your trip costs; if your trip plans change for unforeseeable reasons, or if you need to get medical help, emergency transport, and for theft, loss or damage of items while traveling. For best coverage, always insure the full trip cost within two weeks of your initial trip deposit and note that most ‘Cancel For Any Reason’ policies must be purchased on the date of your initial deposit.
What is the cancellation policy?
If you cancel on or before February 10, 2022 there is a 50% cancellation fee. On or after February 11, 2022 there is a 100% cancellation fee. We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance as we are not able to make exceptions to this policy in cases of family/medical emergency or cases of the trip being canceled (see our Terms and Conditions for full details).