Organized and guided bus tours focusing on the glories of ancient Greece are widely available. Escorted tours are structured group tours, with a group leader. The price usually includes everything from airfare to hotels, meals, tours, admission costs, and local transportation. Single travelers are usually hit with a "single supplement" to the base price for package vacations and cruises, while the price of a single room is almost always well over half that for a double. CHAT Tours (www.chattours.gr), founded in 1953, is the oldest and most experienced provider of a wide selection of bus tours led by highly articulate guides. Its main office is at 9 Xenofontos St., Athens 10557 (tel. 210/323-0827). Recently, a close friend of mine who went on a CHAT tour thought the pace was just about right, although she could have used a bit more free time. Be sure to ask how many will be on your tour, as a large group usually results in a more regimented and much less personal tour.
Fantasy Travel, 19 Filelinon (tel. 210/ 331-0530; www.fantasytravel.gr), is one of our favorite travel agencies in Athens. Two other long-standing Greek tour organizers are Homeric Tours (tel. 800/223-5570; www.homerictours.com) and Tourlite International (tel. 800/272-7600; www.tourlite.com). Such tours fall into the "moderate" category in pricing and accommodations, and both companies carry the risk of all charter flights -- that is, delays. Both offer some variety -- often these tours provide local guides and include short cruises as part of the entire stay.
A more upscale agency is TrueGreece (tel. 800/817-7098 in North America, 203/026-1176 in the U.K., or 210/612-0656 in Greece; www.truegreece.com), which says it is an "innovative luxury vacation travel company," that escorts small groups on customized and more intimate tours to selected destinations.
If you'd like to take a day tour of Athens, or a week-long tour of Greece that focus on Greece's Jewish heritage, check out www.jewishtours.gr.
Trekking Hellas (www.trekkinghellas.gr), based in Athens at 10 Rethimnou, 10682 Athens (tel. 210/331-0323), is the best-known outfit offering guided hiking tours of the Greek mainland, Crete, and several Cycladic islands. If you don't want to be with a group, but do want some pointers, Trekking Hellas will help you plan an itinerary and book you places to stay along the way.
In the United States, Appalachian Mountain Club, 5 Joy St., Boston, MA 02108 (tel. 800/372-1758; www.outdoors.org), often organizes hiking tours in Greece. Ecogreece, P.O. Box 2614, Rancho Palo Verdes, CA 90275 (tel. 877/838-7748; www.ecogreece.com), conducts tours in Greece centered around activities such as hiking, sailing, hiking, diving, or riding.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.