Classical Greece - 10 Days

Day 1          Athens

Upon arrival at Eleftherios Venizelos airport in Athens, you are met and transferred to your hotel. Balance of the day at leisure to rest and adjust to the new time zone. 

 

Day 2          Athens – Cape Sounion

Today we enjoy the day exploring Athens, viewing its highlights and visiting the world renowned Acropolis and the new Acropolis museum.  In the afternoon we will visit the Temple of Poseidon on Cape Sounion.

Athens, the capital of Greece, is one of the oldest cities in the world spanning a history of 3,400 years. Home of the great minds, philosophers and teachers of ancient times such as Plato, Socrates and Aristotle, Athens is the birthplace of democracy and the cradle of Western Civilization.

A bus tour will guide us through the highlights of Athens; House of Parliament, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Presidential Palace, Panathenaic Stadium, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Hadrian’s Arch, to lead us to the world renowned Acropolis.

We will walk through the architectural wonders of the Golden Age of Pericles; the Propylaia, the Parthenon and the Erechtheion. We walk to Areopagus or Mars Hill, the site where trials were heard before the Council of Elders and where St Paul delivered his speech to the Athenians. We visit the ancient Agora where Athenians gathered not only for commercial purposes but also for political and religious ones. Our visit is not complete without a tour of the New Acropolis museum, which houses the findings of the Acropolis of Athens.

In the afternoon we shall drive along the coastal road to Cape Sounion where we visit the Temple of Poseidon built in 444 BC on a cliff overlooking the Aegean Sea. 



 

Day 3          Ancient Corinth – Epidaurus – Nafplion

We will cross the Corinth Canal to visit ancient Corinth and Epidaurus before heading to Nafplion.

The Corinth Canal separates Peloponnese from the Greek mainland.  Our journey takes us to Ancient Corinth, one of the most important trading cities of ancient Greece dating back to the 6th century BC.  Visiting the archaeological site we will come across the Temple of Apollo, the agora and the Peirene fountain. 

 

Epidaurus was known in antiquity as a healing center, the place where the god of medicine Asclepius was born and was worshiped. The ruins of the sanctuary include among other things the Temple of Asclepius, the hospice and a stadium. We will visit the Theater of Epidaurus famous for its astonishing acoustics and one of the best-preserved classical Greek structures still being used for theatrical and musical performances.  

 

Nafplion was an important major port dating back to the Bronze Age. As a result of this significance three forts protected it; Palamidi being the most domineering citadel. The city played a huge role in the War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire and up until 1834 was the first capital of Greece. Today it is a large modern city as well as a seaside resort.  Its old town is filled with neoclassical and Venetian buildings offering the visitor a most pleasant stroll through its narrow streets.




 

Day 4          Mycenae – Olympia

After a morning visit to the ancient site of Mycenae, we will drive through central Peloponnese to Olympia.

Thereafter we visit the Homeric city of Mycenae. Dating from 1600 BC, the Royal House of Atreus established a major military stronghold and kingdom ruled most notably by king Agamemnon who fought in the Trojan War mentioned in Homer’s Illiad and Odyssey.  At the archaeological site of Mycenae we see the remains of the prehistoric Acropolis, the Palace, the Grave Circles, the Lion’s gate, the Cyclopean walls and the famous beehive (tholos) tombs.  The museum in Mycenea houses a beautiful collection of artifacts mainly from the excavation of the tombs.





 

 

Day 5          Olympia – Delphi

We will spend the morning visiting the ancient site of Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games.  We then continue to Delphi.

Today we spend the time exploring the birthplace of the Olympic Games. The first games were held in Olympia in 776 BC and thereafter every 4 years until their decline in 394 AD. They were revived in 1896 and continue since then to be a primary quadrennial international event. The Olympic flame is lit on this ancient site and relayed by runners to the cities where the Games will be held. We shall visit the archaeological site with the Sanctuary of Olympian Zeus, the Ancient stadium, the Hippodrome and the Temple of Hera.  We then visit the Archaeological Museum which houses amongst other antiquities, the statue of Hermes of Praxiteles and the beautifully carved metopes and pediments of the temple of Zeus.

Our drive will then take us through the plains of Eliad and Achaia to the magnificent Rio/Antirio Bridge, which connects Peloponnese to the mainland. Our destination is Delphi.




 

 

Day 6          Delphi – Kalambaka 

We will spend our morning exploring the Sanctuary of Apollo in Delphi before heading north to Kalambaka.

In antiquity Delphi was known as the center or the navel of the earth for it was believed that when Zeus released two eagles from opposite sides of the world they would meet in Delphi.  It reached its height in power in the 4th century as the sanctuary to the god Apollo.  Pilgrims would gather here to seek advice from the great oracle, Pythia, on various matters including waging wars.  We explore the sanctuary by walking up the Sacred Way to see the Treasuries, the Theater and the Temple of Apollo.  Visit the museum of Delphi and marvel at the unique collection of artifacts from the excavation, including the bronze “Charioteer” one of the best preserved ancient works of metallurgy.




 

 

Day 7          Meteora – Athens 

Today we visit the Byzantine monasteries of Meteora and drive back to Athens.

 

Amongst striking scenery, perched on sheer-sided gray rock pinnacles of varied and spectacular shapes and appearing to be suspended in mid-air, stand the ageless 14th century monasteries of Meteora.  The monasteries contain beautiful Byzantine art and offer an insight into the mystic world of the monks still residing there.

 

On the way to Athens we stop at the Leonidas monument, which features a bronze statue of the King of Sparta. A sign, under the statue, reads simply: "ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ" ("Come and take") - as in answer to Xerxes' demand that the Greeks give up their weapons).At the battle of Thermopylae, Leonidas along with 300 Spartans fought, resisted and delayed the massive Persian armies thus altering the course history.




 

 

Day 8                    Athens

Back in Athens we will be visiting the National Archaeological Museum followed by a free afternoon at leisure.

 

The National Archaeological Museum contains a vast collection of Greek antiquities collected from the various and multiple archaeological sites around the country dating from prehistoric times (Neolithic, Cycladic and Mycenaean) to  Archaic, Classical and Roman periods.  Some of the most outstanding exhibits are the frescoes from Akrotiri in Santorini, the mask of Agamemnon and the Horse and Jockey of Artemision.

 

Take advantage of your free afternoon to explore, relax and shop in the neighborhoods of Plaka and Monastiraki in central Athens.




 

 

Day 9                    Day Cruise in the Saronic and farewell dinner in Plaka

This will be a relaxing day on the sea as we will enjoy a one day cruise to the islands of Poros, Hydra and Aegina concluding with a farewell dinner at the Plaka.

 

The three islands are in short proximity to the mainland.  You will have plenty of time for long leisurely strolls, shopping or even swimming in the quaint waterfront towns that preserve their historic proud past. Tonight in the shadows of the Acropolis in the old neighborhood of Plaka, we shall have a taste of the Greek tradition; great food, great wine, live music and dance.




 

 

Day 10          Departure

You will be transferred to Athens airport in time to catch your return flight for home.