Please note that this is simply a sample itinerary to give you an idea of what we've done before and what we could create for you.
Arranged transportation to your hotel in the center of Athens. We will begin our expedition at the Acropolis Museum, and afterwards visit one of the best-preserved structures of ancient Greece, the Temple of Hephaestion (also known as Theseion). Guests will be treated to a traditional Greek dinner, and then to a leisurely evening walking tour of the historic areas of Athens.
View the crowning achievement of ancient Athens on a guided tour with local expert, and climb the marble stepped path up to the Sacred Rock. Surrounded by olive trees, enjoy the view from the top while gazing out over the city of Athens. The Parthenon of Pericles is the main temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, where an ivory and gold statue of the goddess once stood. Successive empires used its grand location to convert it into a Christian church and later a mosque. Considered the best example of the perfection of Greek art, the Parthenon will seduce you with her simple beauty. We will also discuss the other sanctuaries on and near the acropolis as well, such as the Propylaea, Temple of Athena Nike, and to view the graceful Caryatids, upon whose heads rest the Erechtheion. This evening, have a traditional dinner and enjoy some Greek entertainment.
Visit the Acropolis Museum, dynamically facing the Acropolis, which demonstrates through floor to ceiling windows the over 4,000 items inside its galleries. More than 300 statues that have never left the Acropolis since their placement there for over 2,000 years have been diligently positioned in the museum. Afterwards we will visit the Grand Promenade and walk to the Ancient Agora, the Roman Forum, the Stoa of Attalus, Tower of the Winds, Monument to Lysiskrates, Temple of Zeus, and Hadrian’s Arch.
Today we leave the capital city for the natural beauty of the Peloponnese, crossing the famous Corinth canal and heading to the fertile wine region of Nemea, which sponsored one of the seminal athletic events in ancient Greece. The Temple of Apollo and the splendid stadium are situated in a scenic valley. Pass under the vaulted tunnel leading to the stadium, following in the footsteps of ancient athletes over 2,000 years ago. Later we will head to Epidaurus to visit the Sanctuary of Asclepius and the best-preserved theater in Greece, continuing on to enchanting Nafplio to explore the city and spend the night.
For lovers of the Iliad, a bronze age citadel beckons us to Mycenae to learn about Agamemnon – Mycenean King, and the brother-in-law of Helen of Troy. Afterwards, we head west to the natural beauty of Ancient Olympia, famous for the sacred quadrennial festival. According to legend, founded by the hero Herakles, the sprawling complex lies between two rivers surrounded by olive trees. Stroll with your expert local guide through the religious sanctuaries, temples, gymnasium, and sacred stadium. The workshop of Praxiteles, one the greatest sculptors, is here, as well as his ‘Hermes” – one of his few surviving works. Dinner and overnight in the ‘hip’ mountain village of Arachova.
This morning we head north to witness why Delphi was considered the “Center of the World”. For centuries, Delphi was the spiritual center and symbol of unity among the ancient Greeks. This unique setting on Mount Parnassos, its ruins, and the well-organized museum, demonstrates why leaders from around the Mediterranean world travelled to Delphi with great offerings in order to gain advice from the Oracle. We head back towards Athens to Piraeus, (the major port for both Ancient and Modern Greece) to board our ferry to Cycladic Naxos.
On to Naxos, where we will disembark in the same place that Theseus’s ship left behind a devastated Ariadne. Take some time to enjoy the island atmosphere. Naxos, a cycladic island, although popular with tourists, retains its traditional links to the past. Today will be offered a beach excursion to take a dip in the refreshing Aegean Sea and an opportunity to taste some of Naxos’s local cuisine.
This morning we take the ferry to the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. Considered sacred in the ancient world, like Delphi, people travelled here for religious pilgrimages. Once a seminal port in the ancient world, today it stands as an uninhabited protected site to be explored and enjoyed. A certified guide will discuss the importance of Delos in the ancient world. Return to Naxos and take a ferry to the land of the Minoans – Crete.
Heraklion, Crete. We finish our trip fittingly on the island of Crete. Home to the Minoans, the first known European civilization, Crete, or Candia as it was once called, offers an exotic experience. Minoan palaces, Greek and Roman antiquities, Byzantine churches, Arab palm trees, Venetian loggias, and Ottoman minarets are all evidence of its kaleidoscope of past cultures. The southern-most point of Europe, Crete’s colorful people and aromatic mountains, surrounded by a deep blue calm sea will leave a lasting impression. We will visit the Archaeological Museum of Crete in Heraklion and the site of Knossos. The frescoes and palace, which have been excavated in the last hundred years are nothing short of breathtaking with their vivid and vibrant scenes of daily life. Free time and then a farewell dinner are in order with traditional Cretan food and entertainment.