CLASSIC GREECE 11 DAYS
Arrival to Athens, the capital of Greece and birthplace of Democracy, drive to the city and have the rest of the afternoon free to discover the city center. Dinner and overnight in the hotel.
Today you will drive to ancient Corinth of the Neolithic era, 7th century BC, a place of strategic location. You will see the Peirene Fountain, the Temple of Apollo, the Temple of Asclepios, the Roman Odeon, Glauce Fountain, as well as the museum. This place has an importance in Christianity because is where St. Paul had established the first church. You will stop at the Corinth Canal, although had started to be dug in 67 AD, it was first used in 1893 and connected the Aegean with Ionian Seas. Drive back to Athens to visit the Parthenon, Erectheum and Propylaea over Acropolis Hill. On top of Acropolis you will have a view to the Ancient Agora, the center of political, commercial, religious and cultural life of Ancient Athens. You will have a panoramic tour to see most of the important sites of the city; the National University, the National Library, the Academy of Athens, the Parliament House, the Panathenaic Stadium, the Adrian’s Arch and the temple of the Olympian Zeus. Dinner and overnight at Athens.
After breakfast we will depart from Athens to visit Mycenae of the Bronze Age that was the center of the Mycenaean civilization of 1,600 BC. We will see the famous Lion Gate, the Tomb of Agamemnon, the Subterranean cistern, part of the Cyclopean Walls and the Religion Center. Then we will continue our journey to Epidaurus, the birthplace of Apollo’s son, Asclepius the healer, god-physician of medicine. Here is the Asklepion, the healing center in classical world of 6th century BC and the Theatre famous of its acoustic system that still hosts performances. Continue to Tolo, a small and amazing seaside town for dinner and overnight.
After breakfast, we will start our tour to Sparta which is known of the brave and strong fighters in Ancient Greece, as well the birthplace of Leonidas, the leader of the Greek forces at the Battle of Thermopylae against Persians back in 480 BC. Within the city we will find the archeological museum, the Rotunda, the Theatre, the Temple of Athena and the Altar of Lycurgus, the quasi-legendary lawgiver of Sparta. Continue to visit Byzantine Mystras on the foothill of Taygetos Mountain, a fortified town near ancient Sparta which was the cultural and prospered center of those decades. Visit the castle founded in 1249 and see St. Demetrius church, the Byzantine monastery of Pantanassa, along with some old traditional houses of that time. Continue to Olympia for dinner and overnight.
Today you will visit Ancient Olympia, the first city of the ancient Olympic Games, celebrated every four years, which were dedicated to the father of all Greek Gods, Zeus. The archaeological site of Olympia contains, among others, the Temple of Zeus and Hera, the Council House, the Prytaneion, the Stadium, the Gymnasium and the Workshop of Pheidias, the famous sculptor. You will visit the museum and see great variety of sculptures and bronzes, one of the richer collections of the world. Continue through the famous bridge of Rio to Delphi for dinner and overnight.
After breakfast you will tour Delphi which was known in ancient times as the “Navel of The Earth.” On the slope of Mount Parnassus, you will see one of the most beautiful natural settings in the country. Sightseeing will guide you along the Sacred Way to see the Temple of Apollo, the Athenian treasury, the Theater, the Castalian fountain, the Stadium and the Tholos of Athena Pronaia. Then we will continue our way to Kalabaka for dinner and overnight.
We will start our day with a panoramic tour of the town which is located in between high strange huge rocks, Kalabaka and proceed to Meteora, the place of the 11th century monasteries. We can visit one or two of the six monasteries located over the cliff, accessible only by stairs or pathways into the rock, and see the inside of those beautiful buildings. Continue to Thessaloniki for a panoramic tour viewing the most important sites of the city, White Tower, Rotunda, Arch of Galerius and St. Demetrius and St. Sophia churches. Reach our hotel for dinner and overnight.
After breakfast, we will drive to Philippi, a small town in Northern Greece named after Philip II of Macedonia, the father of Alexander the Great that witnessed Paul’s first Christian converts. In the archeological site you will see the Acropolis surrounded by fortification walls, the Theatre, the Roman Forum and the Octagonal church. We see a section of the Via Ignatia, St. Paul’s prison and the archeological museum. Head to Kavala, the ancient site of Neapolis, where you’ll visit the harbor that witnessed the first visit of St. Paul to Greece and admire the church of St. Nicolas with its wonderful mosaic. We will stop to see the Lion of Amphipolis, a 4th-century BC tomb sculpture possibly dedicated to one of the Generals of Alexander the Great. Return back to Thessaloniki for dinner and overnight.
After breakfast, we will start our way back to Athens through the fantastic scenery of Greece. Pass by the city of Katerini we will visit the archaeological site of Dion, the Zeus city and see the sanctuary of Zeus and Demeter, the Great thermae and the Theatre. This city was where Alexander the Great had gathered his soldiers for the battles. We will pass by Thermopylae and see Leonidas Statue, the leader of the 300 soldiers who conquered the Persians in 480 BC. Continue to Athens for dinner and overnight.
Today we will have a full day tour to the three islands of Hydra, Poros and Aegina. We will stop first at Hydra, where cars and motorcycles are forbidden and the place has kept its original beauty. Have a free time to stroll the amazing narrow paths and seaside shops. Continue to Poros, a small green island where you will explore its graphic capital, Chora, and it’s quite unique port. Then we sail to Aegina with its 2.500 year-old Temple of Aphaia and the church of St. Nectarios, a place with history that goes back many years. We will enjoy some free time in each, with lunch offered onboard along with Greek Folk Dance Show. Return back to Athens late afternoon for dinner and overnight.
Today we will depart from our hotel to the airport for the departure flight holding the best and unique memories back home.