Big Olive in a nutshell



Big Olive City Walks provides an entertaining, highly personalised and educational perspective on the city of Athens through walking lectures, themed city tours and cultural urban activities. All our docents and guides hold advanced degrees in their field of expertise.



We aspire  -and we are already half way there- to become Athens' most trusted and preferred culture related activity operator. 



Yannis Zaras, MSc,  Founder & Owner, Business Operations

Nicolas Nicolaides, PhD cand, Field Expert, Historian, Product & Content

Nikos Magouliotis, MA, Field Expert, Architecture & City Planning

Natassa Pappa, MDes, Field Expert, Arts & Design

Christina Haristou, MA, Field Expert, Photography & Urban culture

Chryssa Kontogeorgopoulou, PhD, Field Expert, Byzantine Archaeology

Vassilis Militsis, Accounting & Finance



1. Lack of fresh, comprehensive, destination-specific tours that cater for the global upmarket business & leisure travel segments. 

2. Limited offering of outdoors culture-related activities for the local business & family segments. 

3. Absence of the notions of networking, community and personal involvement from the offered activities at the destination.




We employ real expertise to create beautiful stories, thorough itineraries and robust experiences out of the existing heritage of the city. All our docents are local Athenians, hold advanced degrees in their topics and are distinguished by their genuine passion for their city. 

We boast an extensive and upmarket network of customers, partners and affiliates. We have teamed up with top-league Greek and international governmental organizations, prestigious colleges and universities, global corporations and distinguished individuals. For a detail list scroll down to "Traction Milestones"

We sell our services more efficiently. Our online booking platform is simple, lucid and easy-to-use; our pricing and docent compensation model is smart (verified by the Virginia Commonwealth University - project description here). Our customer service is quick, personal and proactive. 

Our community footprint is strong and impactful. In the first year of full operation and deployment we have managed to score a 5/5 on Tripadvisor; we have been highly embraced by the local and international media (click here for the media kit); and we have grown an organic solid community of users cross-platform.



Big Olive core services include:

- Exclusive join-in group walking tours and activities for up to eight participants

- Privately booked walking tours for one to twenty participants.

- Treasure Hunts and city games

- Special interest walking seminars and lectures in Greek or English. 

- Bespoke itineraries and special purpose trips. 



We thrive on directing the Word-of-Mouth towards acquiring new customers and corporate clients. Below a brief timeline of our traction seen through our most noteworthy milestones:

Nov '13: Big Olive is selected as the exclusive guest speaker tour sponsor for TEDxAthens Conference while still in beta. Traction estimate 600-1,000 attendees and online community members.

Jan '14: Our team becomes part of the Orange Grove startups powered by the Embassy of the Netherlands in Greece. Traction estimate 250 - 400 institution representatives and young startup founders.

Mar '14: Big Olive is hired by the Architecture School of Zurich (ETH) to research and produce a 7-day architecture-specific itinerary. Brand establishes itself within prestigious international colleges and universities (EPF Lausanne / TU Delft / Richard Stockton College New Jersey). Traction estimate 6-8 international educational organizations.

May '14: Big Olive is hired by the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Greek Presidency in the EU, delivers to over 150 members of the EU permanent representation. Traction estimate 300-400 representatives and spouses.

Jul '14: Bart van de Winkel, General Manager EastMed for the Hilton Hotels and Resorts becomes Big Olive's mentor. A synergy "city break package" agreement between Big Olive and Hilton Athens soon follows. Traction estimate 15,000 Hilton Worldwide Newsletter subscribers.

Sep '14: Big Olive is hired by the Athens Municipality / ACVB to provide its services to the Travel Bloggers Exchange Conference (TBEX Europe 2014). Big Olive gets premium access to an event that accessed 11.7 million unique users in key Big Olive markets [North America 32%, Europe 38% and Asia 11%]

Oct-Nov '14: Big Olive is exclusively hired by the Norwegian firm Dark Architects to investigate and showcase contemporary architecture works in a period of crisis, opening its gateway to Scandinavian firms. Estimated impact on 4-6 Scandinavian Organizations

Jan '15:  Big Olive comes to an agreement with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation & Cultural Center to include the construction venues in its offering. Big Olive enjoys a 5/5 rating on Tripadvisor 

Mar '15: Big Olive launches "Walking Seminars March - Μay 2015" a series of special interest seminars in Greek, establishing its brand name within the local audiences. 

Apr '15: Big Olive is hired by the Athens Municipality / ACVB to cater for the Travel Trade Athens 2015. Major sites of historical value are linked with elements of sustainable Athenian Gastronomy represented by individuals and brands (Lia Olive Oil, Farmers' Republic among others). Big Olive increases its exposure to the food startup ecosystem. Estimated impact 8-10 Athenian food & culture related companies. 

May '15: Big Olive is exclusively hired by the Onassis Foundation and Cultural Center to co-produce and deliver the "Strange Itineraries" route, communicated en masse through the local media. More than 300 Athenians opt to attend the experience. Estimated awareness impact 1,500 - 1,800 Athenians.

August '15: Big Olive is featured in Iberia's in-flight magazine Ronda October Issue, gaining access to an estimated audience of 1.5 million. 

September '15: Big Olive is exclusively hired by the 2015 Global Supply Chain Thought Leadership Summit, accessing a network of 80 international founders and VP operations 

October '15: Big Olive is exclusively hired by Ramboll Stockholm to stage a three-day thematical field trip for 45 distinguished professional engineers and university professors.



An estimated 2.3 million travelers visited Athens in 2014 (+28% more than in 2013), spending a total of EUR 633 million on the destination (SETE/imerisia). 

It is calculated that a 78% of US travelers engage in culture & heritage-related activities on the destination, spending on average USD 997 per trip (New Jersey Heritage Tourism Plan). 

We estimate an annual pool of 350,000 English or Greek- speaking potential individuals who would spend at least EUR 25 in culture-related activities. Thus the annual market size culminates to EUR 8.75 million.



Big Olive currently generates its direct revenue from the leisure/corporate customers who purchase any of its services through the following channels:

A. The Big Olive website (payment processing via paypal or secure credit card processor)

B. Viator, part of Tripadvisor

B. Our Facebook Page (Shopify plug-in)

C. Bank Deposit

D. Cash, on the spot

Bookings are made up to 1 day in advance via our online calendar availability plug-in or upon email/phone request.

Experience providers are compensated after the event has taken place.



Big Olive collaborates with major local and international distributors such as Tripadvisor's Viator, TUI Belgium/ JETair, Quintessentially Hellas/Seez Travel, Apollo. Big Olive sells private experiences at net commissionable rates. 



Big Olive

14, Evpolidos Street Athens 10552

Yannis Zaras