NATURE GREECE 13 DAYS
Upon landing at Makedonia Thessaloniki Airport, we will be greeted by our tour guide and assisted to the motor coach. Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece, is named in honor of a half-sister of Alexander the Great. This amazing city is also known as Salonika. Overnight in Thessaloniki.
After breakfast, we drive to visit the modern port city of Kavala, which was once the ancient Neapolis. We will stop at Philippi, of great importance in Christianity, where Saint Paul established the first church in Europe when he visited Macedonia. Philippi was named after Philip II, father of Alexander the Great, and now is an archeological site only, including The Acropolis surrounded by fortification walls, the Theatre and the Roman Forum. Continue to the main town of Kavala, a beautiful seaside city, built on a city of the 7th century BC which was called Panaya, meaning Virgin Mary. We will see the Acropolis as well as the old tobacco warehouse which was converted to shopping center. A walk in the main square full of chic shops and taverns is amazing specially when is time of sunset. Return to Thessaloniki for overnight.
Today we will be transferred to Halkidiki port to have your private boat for a day cruise to explore the amazing areas of the two legs in the Aegean. Starting from Potidia, we will head to Nikiti and after to Marmaras Beach, which are included in the best beaches of all Greece. Afterwards we’ll see the island of Kelifos, where you can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, kayak or a great sunbath. Then continue to see various amazing beaches of Halkidiki before get back to Potidia, where we started. When the cruise ends, we drive back to Thessaloniki for overnight.
We visit Thessaloniki in depth, its Byzantine tradition expressed in architecture, churches, and monasteries. We will see the Church of St. Sophia with its eighth century mosaics and view the fifth century Rotunda as well as the Arch of Galerius and the White Tower, symbol of the town. Then we depart for Vergina, the first capital of Macedonia, where Philip II was assassinated in 336 B.C. We visit the remarkable underground museum with its four tombs containing the tomb of Alexander the Great’s family. Continue to Kalabaka for dinner and overnight.
Today we will visit the hanging Meteora Monasteries, well known for preserving Hellenic academics and arts. Driving to the vast rocks, we will see the breathtaking scenery around those monasteries of the 11th century. While there are 24, only six are inhabited, and we will visit one to get a taste of the monastic life of monks. We will visit an Icon workshop to see how icons are made nowadays and continue to Delphi for dinner and overnight.
Following breakfast, we drive to the center of the ancient world and “navel” of the earth, ancient Delphi. On the slopes of Mount Parnassus, in a landscape of unparalleled beauty and majesty, lie the ruins of the pagan Sanctuary of Temple of Apollo, the Athenian treasury, the Theater, the Castalian fountain, the Stadium and the Tholos of Athena Pronaia. We will see the ancient site and admire the unique nature of the landscape around. Continue to Peloponnese peninsula for a stop at the famous Corinth Canal. This is a handmade canal, constructed to connect the Aegean with Ionian Seas. Final stop at Porto Heli for overnight.
Today we will drive to visit Mycenae and walk through the Lion’s Gate, the Tomb of Agamemnon and the Subterranean cistern in order to gain a better understanding of the ancient Mycenaean civilization. Then drive to the impressive seaside city of Nafplio, the first capital of the Hellenic Republic and great cultural and commercial center of that time. We will see the most attractive places in the city: fortifications of Akronafplia, Palamidi and Bourtzi, the first Greek Parliament House and many buildings of traditional architecture of that time. Return to Porto Heli for overnight.
Today we will have a private boat to explore the beautiful island of Spetses where we will admire the beautiful nature, the rocky sea edges as well as the beautiful beaches. We will experience the horse-drawn carriages for a tour around the capital, since no cars are permitted here, and have a little walking tour around to get a taste of the history of this island. We will enjoy local food and drink and return back to our hotel in the afternoon.
Today we will have a private boat to Hydra, the most romantic island in Greece. We will walk the narrow cobble-stoned roads and admire this amazing nature without the disturbance of cars or motors, since they are forbidden. This island had an important role in Greek liberation of the Ottoman occupation and you will still see canons, monuments, museums, mansions and statues of heroes. Here you can enjoy the seafood and local drinks, before starting our sail to the several of island’s beaches and shores of incomparable beauty. Return to Porto Heli for overnight.
Today we will depart the hotel and drive to visit Epidaurus, the ancient healing center and will visit the ancient theatre of 14,000 seats, famous for its acoustic system. Here is the birthplace of Apollo’s son, Asclepius the healer, god-physician of medicine that hosted the healing center in classical world of 6th century BC and is still in use for performances nowadays. Then we will continue our journey to Athens, the capital of Democracy, for a panoramic tour to see the most famous attractions of the city, the Academy, the National Library, the Panathenaic Stadium and the University. Overnight in Athens.
Today you will visit the Acropolis Hill, the rock that has dominated the panorama of Athens for twenty-five centuries. At the Acropolis, we will see the ruins of the Parthenon and Propylaea, the Erectheum and the Mars Hill. We will view the ancient Agora, the former public center of Athenian life of that time, as well as the Temple of Athena Nike. You will visit also the New Acropolis Museum which has a very important collection of the history of the country with statues and sculptures. Continue to Plaka, the ancient portion of the city, to enjoy the narrow roads full with life, kept almost as they were, that offer a good chance for shopping. Today we can enjoy the night life of Greeks with live music at a local restaurant or tavern in that area. Overnight in Athens.
Today we will have a Helicopter siteseeing of Athens and the area around for a flight of one hour duration. We will explore this area from a small high where we will see the Acropolis Hill, the Temple of Apollo in Sounio, Hymettus Mountain, Athens Riviera and many other places. Return to Athens to rest and in the afternoon to continue to the eastern portion of the city to enjoy the seaside amazing area and try the local Greek sea food. Overnight in Athens.
Today we will say goodbye to Greece holding our great memories with us back home!