No tour escort; explore at your own pace
|Departures||March – September 2015|
|Departs||New York: JFK or EWR (NYC); other gateways on request (flight schedule)|
|Highlights||Athens, Mykonos, Kusadasi, Patmos, Rhodes, Crete & Santorini. Optional tours of Athens and Cape Sounion, optional cruise shore excursions, and optional classical Greece extension.|
|Included in the Price||
|What to Expect||This moderately-paced, locally hosted tour includes a reasonable amount of walking or hiking and requires an average level of physical fitness. This tour does not include a tour guide or escort.|
The flight and land transportation, hotels, food, guide, driver, and sites were all excellent! Our guide, Mr. Gokhan Baydur, was very knowledgeable and friendly. We really appreciated his etymology of words and relation to history of modern Turkey, etc. He was also very capable at keeping us all together, which is no easy task. The driver was phenomenal; I don't know how he managed to drive the bus through the Istanbul traffic and somehow make U-turns: amazing!
Prices, fees and deposits are per person. Prices and availability are subject to change. More about our prices.
Departures & Prices
per person, double occupancy*
|Sat||Oct 18||2014||Sun||Oct 26||2014||$2249||Departed|
|Sat||Mar 14||2015||Sun||Mar 22||2015||$2499||$2199||Available|
|Sat||Mar 21||2015||Sun||Mar 29||2015||$2499||$2199||Available|
|Sat||Mar 28||2015||Sun||Apr 5||2015||$2699||$2399||Available|
|Sat||Apr 4||2015||Sun||Apr 12||2015||$2799||$2499||Available|
|Sat||Apr 11||2015||Sun||Apr 19||2015||$2799||$2499||Available|
|Sat||Apr 18||2015||Sun||Apr 26||2015||$2799||$2499||Available|
|Sat||Apr 25||2015||Sun||May 3||2015||$2799||$2499||Available|
|Sat||May 9||2015||Sun||May 17||2015||$2799||$2499||Available|
|Sat||May 23||2015||Sun||May 31||2015||$3049||$2749||Available|
|Sat||Jun 13||2015||Sun||Jun 21||2015||$3049||$2749||Available|
|Sat||Jun 27||2015||Sun||Jul 5||2015||$3049||$2749||Available|
|Sat||Jul 11||2015||Sun||Jul 19||2015||$3099||$2799||Available|
|Sat||Jul 25||2015||Sun||Aug 2||2015||$3099||$2799||Available|
|Sat||Aug 1||2015||Sun||Aug 9||2015||$3099||$2799||Available|
|Sat||Aug 15||2015||Sun||Aug 23||2015||$3049||$2749||Available|
|Sat||Aug 29||2015||Sun||Sep 6||2015||$2799||$2499||Available|
|Sat||Sep 12||2015||Sun||Sep 20||2015||$2899||$2599||Available|
Want to stay longer? We may be able to arrange for you to extend your stay later than the scheduled dates, subject to availability. Contact us about dates, prices and restrictions.
|Optionals & Upgrades|
|Port Charges of $149 per person1||included|
|Rooming Selection/Cabin Categories|
|IB (standard inside cabin), Double Occupancy||included|
|IB (standard inside cabin), Single Occupancy||+$650|
|XA (standard outside), Double Occupancy|
|All other departures||+$100|
|XA (standard outside), Single Occupancy||+$750|
|XC (superior outside), Double Occupancy||+$200|
|XC (superior outside), Single Occupancy||+$850|
|Optional Excursions in Athens|
|Discounted Athens Excursions Package2||+$145|
|Optional Drink Packages on Cruise|
|All-Inclusive Alcoholic Drink Package3|
|All other departures||+$108|
|All-Inclusive Non-Alcoholic Drink Package4|
|All other departures||+$72|
1. All port charges included in tour price.
2. Includes: half day Athens and Cape Sounion. Optional Excursions package must be pre-booked to receive discounted price.
3. Includes: select brands of whiskey, vodka, gin, rum, tequila, brandy, mixers, draught beer, house wine, select cocktails, soft drinks, juices, lemonade, regular tea & coffee. All cabin occupants must purchase package. Drink package is available from 10am until 2am. Other terms & conditions may apply.
4. Includes: soft drinks, juices, lemonade, regular tea & coffee. All cabin occupants must purchase package. Drink package is available from 10am until 2am. Other terms & conditions may apply.
|Classical Greece Extension|
|Classical Greece Extension||+$875|
|Single room supplement||+$300|
|New York: JFK or EWR (NYC)||included|
Coming from somewhere else? Before you book, ask us about availability and prices for flights from other cities. Additional charges for flights from other cities are due within 24 hours of your booking.
To make a reservation, we only require a per-person deposit payment, which you can pay with your credit card. This non-refundable deposit will be applied towards the cost of your package. You can pay the balance due later by credit card, PayPal, check or money order. Your final payment is due 75 days prior to departure, or within 72 hours of booking, whichever is later.
Ticketing: Airline tickets for this tour are usually issued within 24 hours of your booking, and once issued, cannot be changed, refunded or transferred.
Reservations are taken on a request basis so that cabin selections can be confirmed. Please allow 24 to 48 hours for us to confirm availability.
Transfers: Transfers for this tour are provided on a group basis only. For land-only passengers or for passengers deviating in any way from the group program, transfers are not provided. Individual, private transfers can be arranged at a supplement in price. Taxis and other forms of transportation are also available and may cost less than private transfers. If you wish to arrange private transfers, please request this service at the time of reservation.
A Mediterranean vacation would not be complete without this stunning tour of Athens and the Greek Isles. Athens is the city where past meets present and where you will begin your magical visit to Greece. Enjoy three nights in the city that is the birthplace of Western civilization, and four nights sailing to the magnificent Greek islands of Mykonos, Patmos, Rhodes and Santorini, plus Kusadasi in Turkey.
Our package includes round-trip flights, superior hotel accommodations in Athens for three nights, a Greek Island cruise for four nights, buffet breakfast daily, all meals aboard the cruise, and transfers. Explore on your own, or take interesting and inexpensive optional tours of Athens and the Greek Islands. All the flexibility and fun is yours for incredibly low prices. And, if your schedule permits, why not take advantage of your already-included international airfare, and join us on an inexpensive and exciting Classic Greece extension?
To help you take full advantage of your visit to the Mediterranean, exciting optional excursions are offered in Athens and each port-of-call. You may purchase shore excursions during your briefing upon arrival in Athens or once aboard your ship. We suggest pre-booking at the briefing to guarantee your spot and avoid lines and hassle during your vacation. Excursions are priced and paid for locally in Euros (you can pay with credit card or cash). For your convenience, we have listed approximate conversions to U.S. dollars (accurate as of Dec. 2013).
Day 1: Depart USA. Your exciting journey to Greece begins this evening as you check in for your overnight flight.
Day 2: Athens. You'll be met by our representative and then escorted to your hotel, centrally located near Constitution Square and the famous Plaka (Old Town). Athens, the birthplace of western civilization, once hailed as the Paris of the Mediterranean, is now a bustling modern city, a colorful tapestry of eastern and western influences, full of outdoor cafes, pedestrian streets, parks and gardens, street bazaars, dilapidated mansions and ancient ruins. Accommodations: Royal Olympic Hotel or similar.
Day 3: Athens, Piraeus & Mykonos. Transfer to Piraeus this morning to board your cruise ship, MV Olympia. Spend the afternoon enjoying the sun, sea breezes, pool and shipboard facilities.
This evening, arrive at the gorgeous island of Mykonos. Enjoy an independent stroll through Mykonos town with its labyrinth of winding alleyways and whitewashed buildings, basket-laden donkeys, cascading geraniums and upscale shops and cafés. Accommodations: Olympia. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 4: Kusadasi, Turkey & Patmos, Greece. Arrive in Kusadasi, Turkey this morning. Just ten kilometers from the port is the ancient city of Ephesus, where you'll find an archeological site that ranks among the wonders of the world. Explore this fascinating town where history truly comes to life on an optional excursion that includes the Great Theatre of Ephesus, which had a capacity of 25,000 people, and the Library of Celsus dating from 135 A.D.
Later this afternoon, return to your ship for lunch aboard as you sail toward Patmos, Greece. Disembark at Skala harbor, a lively place with whitewashed houses, flowered courtyards, tavernas and shops. The Island of Patmos is famous in history as the place where St. John wrote the Book of Revelation. An optional tour takes you to the cave where St. John lived and the nearby Monastery, built on one of the island's highest points, housing priceless icons and manuscripts in its Treasury. Return to the ship for dinner and overnight. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Optional Excursion (Kusadasi): House of Virgin Mary & Ancient Ephesus, Adult: €65/$91 Child: €40/$56. Before his crucifixion, Jesus entrusted the safety of the Virgin Mary to St. John the Evangelist. St. John moved Mary to Ephesus for safety. Virgin Mary lived here until the 101st year of her life. In 1957 the Vatican recognized the “House of the Virgin Mary” as the place where the Virgin spent the last years of her life and since then it is an important pilgrimage site for both Christians and Muslims. Next stop the city of Ancient Ephesus, the Ionian colony, which is one of the largest open-air archaeological museums in the world. Together with your tour guide, you will pass the Magnesian Gate. Traces of the Hellenistic, Roman and Early Christian period are scattered everywhere: the Agora, the Odeon, the Library of Celsus, the marble-paved main Street of the Kouretes, the Thermal Baths of Scholastica, Trajan’s Fountain, the Public Latrines, the Houses of the Patricians, the Prytaneum, Hadrian’s Temple, the Great Theatre. The excursion is completed at the Covered Bazaar of Kusadasi with some free time for shopping and… bargaining! During the excursion you will have the opportunity to do some shopping such as carpets, jewelry, leather and other souvenirs. Duration: 4 hours. Tour not suitable for passengers with walking difficulties.
Optional Excursion (Kusadasi): Ancient Ephesus, Adult: €65/$91 Child: €40/$56. Passing with your tour guide through the Magnesian Gate you will wander, feeling awe in time and space, through the Agora, the Odeon, the Library of Celsus, the marble-paved main Street of Kouretes, the Baths of Scholastica, the Great Theatre, Trajan’s Fountain, the Public Latrines, the Houses of the Patricians, the Prytaneum and the Temple of Hadrian. Opposite Hadrian’s Temple, at the foot of the Bulbul hill and the covered part of the archaeological site, protected by the heat and natural elements lie the Houses of Koressus or Terrace Houses. Here lived the rich families of Ancient Ephesus and you will be surprised by the excellent state of preservation of these comfortable villas, especially their interior décor. The oldest unearthed houses date since the 1st century B.C. and were two-storied and built based on the city planning and they even had “heating”, and hot and cold water. The excursion comes to a close at Kusadasi with the colorful Covered Bazaar and the little shops that brimming with the jovial energy of bargaining. During the excursion you will have the opportunity to do some shopping such as carpets, jewelry, leather and other souvenirs. Duration: 3 hours. Excursion not suitable for passengers with walking difficulties.
Optional Excursion (Patmos): St. John's Monastery & Grotto of the Apocalypse, Adult: €49/$69 Child: €36/$50. The picturesque alleyways wind upwards, towards the Monastery of St. John the Evangelist, founded in 1088 by St. Christodoulos. The visit will open the doors for you of the Monastery’s yard, the place where the monks take their meals and the old bakery. Of exquisite beauty is the tour of the Byzantine Church of St. John, which is adorned with a wood-carved icon screen, important frescoes from several periods, with both mosaic and other icons. Next stop, the small museum which hosts religious treasures of inestimable value, like manuscripts, medieval textiles, sacerdotal vestments and others. Walking down the stairs, the religious energy that you will experience is soul touching. Behind the chapel of St. Anne lies the entrance to the Grotto of the Apocalypse. You will see the cross engraved by St. John the Evangelist, according to tradition, the triple fissure in the wall of the cave, from where St. John heard God dictating to him the Apocalypse. And also the spot where he lay down to sleep. Duration: 2 hours. Excursion not suitable for passengers with walking difficulties.
Optional Excursion (Patmos): Patmos Countryside & Grotto of the Apocalypse, Adult: €47/$66 Child: €34/$48. Thanks to its religious value but also for its particularities, in 1999 Patmos was proclaimed a “World Heritage Monument” by UNESCO. The panoramic excursion begins at the port of Scala heading towards the centre of the island, to Chora. At the main town you will visit the Grotto of the Apocalypse and at the top of the “castle” behind the walls, you will see the Monastery of St. John the Evangelist, of Byzantine architecture. The silent windmills in Chora have witnessed important events on the island which attracts thousands of tourists for religious, and also recreational, tourism. The tour of the island continues towards more desolate landscapes, which are the trademark of the Dodecanese. Rocky hills, barren, dry soil, promontories which, like earthly tongues, delve into the sea, dozens of bays and coves, and an intricate coastline. After this enlightening excursion through the island, the tour will conclude at Scala, the port, where the atmospherical café “Arion”, the oldest and most picturesque of the area, will be waiting for you for coffee, refreshments or juice. Duration: 2 hours.
Day 5: Rhodes. Today you'll visit Rhodes, the beautiful "Island of Roses". In the heart of the city of Rhodes is the largest inhabited medieval town in Europe, a fascinating web of Byzantine, Turkish and Latin ruins. Its mighty fortifications provide the finest surviving examples of defensive architecture of the time.
Lindos, with its whitewashed houses clustered beneath a soaring castle-capped acropolis, is Rhodes' most picturesque village and most important Doric settlement because of its natural harbor and vantage point built 125 meters above sea level. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Optional Excursion: Rhodes and Lindos, Adult: €59/$83 Child: €36/$50. Lindos is situated 55 km (40 miles) from the city of Rhodes and “bears” above it the Acropolis of Lindos, with the ancient Temple of Athena, built in 300 B.C. Here and there you will come across the captains’ mansions, built between the 16th and 18th century. In the centre of the village lives and breathes the Church of the Virgin Mary (Panagia) of Lindos, with frescoes from the 15th century. Ascend to the Acropolis of Lindos. Here lies the Temple of Athena, of Doric order, which was erected on the location of an older monument. The ancient city-state of Lindos was for many centuries the most important on the island. It reached its heyday in the 6th century B.C. At the old city of Rhodes you will go through D’Amboise Gate to walk on the Street of the Knights. Along this street you will find the residences of the Knights, separated according to Order, which bear until today their corresponding crests. Duration: 6 hours. The journey from Rhodes to Lindos is approximately 50 min. Tour not suitable for passengers with walking difficulties.
Optional Excursion: Old City and Philerimos, Adult: €59/$83 Child: €36/$50. The Acropolis of ancient Rhodes stands proudly on the hill of St. Stephanos, also called Monte Smith. You will wander through the ruins of the Hellenistic Temple of Apollo, with its amazing columns. Further below, the restored Ancient Stadium of Diagoras once hosted games in honor of the sun god Helios. The next destination is Philerimos, to the northwest, one of the great touristic attractions of the island. The hill of Philerimos, above the homonymous bay, once “hosted” ancient Ialyssos, one of the three Rhodian cities that participated in the Trojan War. Stone steps surrounded by cypresses lead to the Gothic Monastery of Our Lady of Philerimos, dedicated to the Virgin Mary (the Life Giving Source). In the area you will also visit the Byzantine Church of St. George Hostos, with rare frescoes from the 14th-15th century which depict knights. Here also resides the “Golgotha”, a path of 12 copper reliefs which depict the Passion of Christ. Back to the city of Rhodes where you will stroll through the Street of the Knights, all the way up to the Palace of the Grand Master, Castello. Duration: 4 hours.
Day 6: Heraklion, Crete & Santorini. Arrive in Heraklion early this morning. An optional shore excursion will take you to see the ruins of Knossos, the ceremonial and political center of the Minoan civilization on Crete, just five kilometers from Heraklion city center. The palace at Knossos was an intricate collection of over 1000 interlocking rooms, used as a religious and administrative center, as well as for workshops for artisans and food processing. The ruins have largely been excavated and much of them colorfully painted and restored.
Back in Heraklion, the open air market is a must-see, where a boisterous crowd buys and sells everything from goats and sheep to huge cauldrons of fresh yogurt. Other points of interest here include the Archaeological Museum, one of the finest in Greece, housing exquisite findings from Knossos and other Minoan ruins, numerous Venetian fortresses, fountains and loggias scattered throughout the city and the Historical Museum of Crete, with its Byzantine and folklore collections.
Return to the ship to continue sailing to Santorini. This striking island is a volcanic crater immersed in the sea. The island is famous for its breathtaking and rugged landscapes, whitewashed houses, open-air cafes and glittering boutiques which cling to steep cliffs, accessible by foot, cable car or mule.
Return to the ship for a final evening at sea. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Optional Excursion (Crete): Knossos Palace, Adult: €53/$74 Child: €31/$43. The ancient city of Knossos, with constant habitation from the Neolithic era until the 5th century A.D., is beyond doubt the land that “gave birth” to the first civilization of Europe, the Minoans. The first excavations were begun in 1878 by the Heraklian Minos Kalokairinos. A bit later (1900-1913 & 1922-1930) the excavations by the British Sir Arthur Evans were to complete the scientific research, bringing to light the Minoan palace in its entirety, which was, according to tradition, the residence of the wise King Minos. The palace of Knossos spreads around the large Central Court. You will reach the awe inspiring Throne Room, the fresco of the “Prince of the Lilies”, the imposing Grand Staircase, the Queen’s Megaron in the east. Walking through the apartments of the Knossos palace and observing the finds even as passers-by, you will feel part of this cultural heritage. Duration: 3 hours. Walking in the archeological site of Knossos will be on uneven gravel surfaces. Passengers may not be allowed to enter the site with big bags or backpacks.
Optional Excursion (Crete): Cretan Countryside and Lifestyle, Adult: €53/$74 Child: €31/$43. The excursion begins from the Venetian lion-guarded port of Heraklion with a drive through the city to the famous wine producing area of Peza, south of Heraklion. The drive is through breathtaking landscape of countryside and vineyards as old as Minoan times. The first stop is a modern winery, where you will see the updated methods of wine making and sample some of the delicious Cretan wines. The drive continues through rural villages to the village of Archanes, the municipality in the area. On the way, a photo stop is made at Vathypetro to view one of the oldest farmhouses in Crete, dating to the Minoan period 16th century B.C.. The tour continues through the island's hilly countryside where olive groves and vineyards existed from as far back as 4,000 years. Arriving at the village of Archanes, which is situated 10km south of the Palace of Knossos, the quaint market town of Archanes has many restored sandstone houses dating from the Turkish period. At a taverna in the village's tree-shaded square, you can sample an assortment of Cretan snacks and locally produced wine, and have a chance to mingle with many of the locals themselves while listening to typical Greek music. You will have free time to browse before the return drive to the port of Heraklion and the ship. Duration: 3.5 hours.
Optional Excursion (Santorini): Oia Village, Adult: €57/$80 Child: €34/$48. First you head up to the monastery of Prophet Ilias, for a breath-taking view, deep inhalations of clean, pure, Cycladic air and memorial photos, so as to be the envy of all who didn’t come along. The tour continues its passage towards the north. To the east, in the background, you will have settlements like Kamari and Monolithos, while you will pass through Fira, the small traditional villages of Firostefani and Imerovigli with delicate architecture and beauties, to eventually arrive at the settlement of Oia. During the entire route, to the west you will have before your eyes the lace-like caldera, the little islands of Thirasia, Palea and Nea Kameni and an unsurpassable panoramic view. In Oia you will have plenty of time to stroll through the marble-paved alleys, to gaze at the adorably cute shops, to take pictures, to become acquainted with the characteristic buildings, carved into the rocks and the unusual captains’ manors, the settlement Ammoudi at the foot of the caldera. Duration: 3 hours.
Optional Excursion (Santorini): Cruise to Santorini's Islands and Volcanoes, Adult: €57/$80 Child: €34/$48. The little islands of Palea and Nea Kameni are of particular geological interest, since underneath them lightly slumbers an active volcano. From the cruise ship you will be transported easily within a few minutes by small boat to Nea Kameni which resembles a moon landscape! You will walk up to the verge of the crater, the heart of the volcano, a unique geological phenomenon which will overwhelm you with awe. In Nea Kameni nowadays there is gas-steam activity at the top of the crater, while its beaches are embraced by thermal springs. The next stop of this special excursion, is Palea (or Palia) Kameni with its therapeutical, warm waters. The sea temperature here is higher than in the rest of the locations and the green-yellow water contains sulphur. After the trip to the volcano, you will have the chance to walk, take keepsake photos, to touch the magic and energy of Fira. Finishing your trip in the main town of Santorini, you will descend by funicular (the ticket is included in the fee of this excursion) to the Old Port to reach the cruise ship by small boat. Duration: 3 hours.
Optional Excursion (Santorini): Off-the-Beaten-Track Safari Adventure, Adult: €57/$80 Child: €34/$48. This alternative excursion combines the wild, more desolate beauty of the south (SW) with the generally more touristic eastern Santorini. You have your driver’s license, you have the wheel in your hands, of course the camera in the glove-compartment and your tour guide, a useful and informative compass, as your co-driver and… off we go! You start from Akrotiri, at the south western part of the island. The light-house, next stop, the virgin Vlychada beach then the popular Perissa beach with its black sand, Prophet Ilias, the little village Exo Gonia, which is built amphitheatrically on a slope, the penultimate stop will be the peaceful Monolithos with its hidden beauties and its long beach. This unforgettable excursion comes to a close at Fira. Duration: 3 hours.
Day 7: Piraeus & Athens. Disembark from your ship at Piraeus. Enjoy a full day to explore Athens. Your hotel is ideally located in the heart of the city, within short distance of many major attractions, as well as the best shopping and dining. Our Athens representatives will be glad to make suggestions if you prefer to explore independently. Accommodations: Royal Olympic Hotel or similar. Breakfast provided.
Day 8: Athens. Enjoy a full day to explore Athens on your own. To make the most of your visit, our representatives will offer you some exclusive optional excursions to the city's highlights. Or continue on our Classical Greece Extension.
We suggest an evening at the Plaka, where you'll find typical Greek tavernas complete with music, dancing and celebratory throwing of plates. It's an experience not to be missed! Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: Athens, €68. The striking contrast between breathtaking monuments of a glorious past and modern elegant structures is what you will enjoy during your tour of Athens. Visit the Acropolis,the crowning beauty and glory of Ancient Athens, with its many monuments atop its rocky base, including the awesome Parthenon, the Propylea, the temple of Athena Nike and the Erechtheion, with its Porch of Maidens. Drive to the Roman Temple of Olympic Zeus, the Panathinaikon Stadium (site of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896), the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in front of the Parliament House on Constitution Square. See views of government buildings and elegant structures of the 19th century. Drive along Panepistimiou Avenue and view the Catholic Cathedral, the Academy, University, National Library. In contrast, conclude your tour with a visit to the new Acropolis Museum, a marvel of architecture with a full exhibition of the glory of Ancient Athens.
Optional Excursion: Cape Sounion, €43. Drive along the coastal road past countless coves and the beautiful beaches of Glyfada, Vouliagmeni, and Varkiza to Cape Sounion. Dominated by the spectacular Temple of Poseidon, the sanctuary at Sounion is one of the most important archeological sites in Attica. Although evidence suggests that the site dates back to the prehistoric period, the sanctuary is first mentioned in Homer's Odyssey, as the place where Menelaos stopped during his return from Troy to bury his helmsman, Phrontes Onetorides. Learn about the rich history of this area as you take in stunning views of the Aegean on this fascinating optional excursion.
Day 9: Athens/USA. Bid farewell to Athens as you're escorted to the airport to board your return flight. Your journey comes to an end as you arrive in the USA later today. Breakfast provided.
At the ports of Mykonos, Patmos & Santorini, disembarkation is by tender boats, weather permitting. Passengers taking the optional shore excursions disembark first. The itinerary listed, including ports of call, embarkation/disembarkation times, shore excursions and prices, were correct at time of publication. We and our partner, Louis Cruise Lines, will do our utmost to adhere to the itinerary as listed, but due to sea conditions and other factors, minor changes to the itinerary may be necessary, and some shore excursions shown may not be available. As necessary, Louis Cruise Lines may also substitute another ship from their fleet of similar size and amenities. We will do our very best to immediately inform travelers of any such changes.
Why not take advantage of your already-included international airfare and visit the classical cities of Corinth, Mycenae, Olympia, and Delphi? Your extension includes superior hotels, most meals and guided touring of the most fascinating of the classical cities of Greece, including entrance fees to places visited.
Day 8: Athens, Mycenae & Olympia. After breakfast this morning, board your touring coach and begin a tour of the classical cities of Greece. Drive across the Corinth Canal, which connects the Ionian Sea with the Aegean, to the Peloponnesian Peninsula, where 4,000 years of history are more fully and comprehensibly illustrated than anywhere else in Europe.
Here we'll visit the famous theater of Epidaurus, the best preserved in Greece, which reached the height of its fame in the 5th & 4th centuries B.C. The acoustics are so perfect that even from the last of the 55 tiers, every word can be heard. Continue to ancient Mycenae, which, according to the poets, was founded by Perseus and built with the aid of the mythological Cyclops. Drive on to Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic games, for dinner and overnight. Accommodations: Hotel Amalia Olympia or similar. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 9: Olympia, Nafpaktos & Delphi. This morning we'll tour the archeological site and museum at Olympia, where the Olympic games were conceived as a tribute to Hercules, son of Zeus. These games were the most important international event in the Hellenic world from 776 B.C. to 393 A.D. and continue today, with the lighting of the Olympic flame that is carried by runners throughout the world. Visit the Sanctuary of the Olympian Zeus and the Museum.
This afternoon we drive via Patras to Rion, Antirion and picturesque Nafpaktos, where according to mythology, Hercules slew the Erymanthine boar and where we'll view the lovely circular Venetian harbor. Continue our drive to Delphi for dinner and overnight. Accommodations: Hotel Amalia Delphi or similar. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 10: Delphi & Kalambaka. After breakfast we'll explore the ancient site of Delphi, located on the slopes of the breathtaking Mount Parnassus, in a landscape of unparalleled beauty and majesty. Here lie the ruins of the Sanctuary of Apollo Pythios, the Treasury of the Athenians, the Temple of Apollo and the museum, which contains masterpieces of ancient Greek sculpture including the famous bronze Charioteer. The site had been sacred since at least the Bronze Age. According to legend, the shrine was originally guarded by the she-dragon Pytho. She was killed by Apollo who then took over the oracle. In antiquity, Delphi was regarded as the center of the world.
Later, we'll depart for the small town of Kalambaka, built at the foot of the majestic gray rocks, at the point where the river Pinios leaves the Pindos Mountain. Accommodations: Hotel Amalia Kalambaka or similar. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 11: Meteora & Athens. This morning we will visit the spectacular Meteora monasteries, perched upon the summits of some precipitous and isolated rocky pinnacles, which rise above the almost flat valley of the Pinios river, 9 km beyond Kalambaka. The monastic history of Meteora goes back to the 11th century AD, when the monks constructed inaccessible eagle's nests in the crannies of these rocks and today, four are still occupied.
Later this afternoon we'll drive back to Athens, via Thermopylae, famous battleground from the Persian wars. Arrive in Athens and check in at our hotel. Accommodations: Royal Olympic Hotel or similar. Breakfast provided.
Day 13: Athens/USA. Today you'll be escorted to the airport and bid farewell to Athens as you board your flight back home. Your exciting journey comes to an end as you arrive in the USA later today. Breakfast provided.
Save by pre-booking a discounted package of our most popular optional excursions in Athens:
You can book these excursions individually in Greece. But you can save if you purchase this special package ahead of time—with or before your final payment.
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