As a Rick Steves tour guide, Apostolos Douras makes full use of his background in international relations and his passions for art and traveling. While Apostolos has led tours all over Europe, he loves introducing travelers to his native Greece on our Athens & the Heart of Greece tour — where he's adept at fostering connections between tour members and locals.
Apostolos, tell us a bit about your background.
I was born and raised in Athens. When I finished school I moved to England, where I studied politics and pursued a M.A. in international relations. I always wanted to learn about different cultures and had a great interest not only in international relations but also in art. Those interests combined with my passion for traveling led me to guiding all over Europe!
How did you become a guide?
The idea of leading tours first came when I was still at school. I was traveling with my parents, being introduced to all these fascinating European countries, and I loved exploring the cities we visited. After my studies, I taught American students at a study abroad program in Athens. I used to take my students for walks and show them the hidden corners of the city — something I have always enjoyed doing. I ended up guiding in Europe, and now I lead the Athens & the Heart of Greece tour for Rick Steves!
What do you like best about leading Rick Steves tours?
I like the tour members' enthusiasm to learn, their curiosity, and their openness to a new culture. Leading a Rick Steves tour gives me the opportunity to introduce the real Greece to travelers.
Do you have a favorite stop on the Athens & the Heart of Greece?
It is hard to choose! All places are unique. I love spending one night up in the mountains at the village of Lagkadia. Hydra is my favorite stop: a car free island with beautiful footpaths. What a wonderful way to connect with nature and the sea!
Do any moments stand out from your time as a guide?
One of the most rewarding moments as guide is when I connect local people with the tour members. It is amazing how tour members identify themselves with the people of Greece and their personal stories.
Is there one site that Americans probably know little about, but should try to include on a trip to Greece?
A beautiful area of Greece that is little-known is northwestern Greece. There is a region called Zagori with villages of great natural beauty, national parks, delicious food, and rich history.
What do you do when you're not leading tours?
I go back to my everyday life in Athens, enjoying family, friends, and the cultural life in the city. I also travel to my family's country house in northwestern Greece, in the region of Pogoni, where I spend time going on long walks, reading, and gardening.
Tell us something about yourself that no one would ever guess.
I used to work as a radio presenter, presenting film, music, and the evening love song zone!
Here’s what Apostolos won’t tell you…but his tour members will:
"Apostolos was unfailingly kind, organized, and informative. He was good at thinking on his feet when a planned stop had to be cancelled due to a landslide. He hosted a number of informal walks and activities during our free time, which helped us orient ourselves to our location and really added to the overall tour experience. I also felt like I learned a lot about Greek life in general with Apostolos as our guide. Can't imagine anyone better! Efharisto, Apostolos!"
–Sue in Salt Lake City, UT