Greece: Mainland, Peloponnese and Athens
October 14 to 27, 2020
10 participants maximum
From Athens to Mount Olympus via a detour in the Peloponnese, through fantastic landscape, mystical places, historically fascinating sites, we will reconnect with architectural history, ancient philosophy and discover great food, delicious wines and meet delightful people while staying in very comfortable hotels.
INCLUDED in PRICE:
- 3 nights in Athens - 2 nights in Nafplion - 4 nights in Gythio
- 1 night in Olympia - 1 night in Delphi - 1 night in Athens
- 12 Breakfasts / 9 Lunches / 7 Dinners
- Pick- up and Drop-off at airport - Entrance fees to scheduled sites - - - Transportation to scheduled sites - Guides fees
- Reference books /Maps - Gratuity/Taxes
- Accident/Medical insurance
DAY ONE: Wednesday October 14- Depart the US for Athens. (Airfare not included)
DAY TWO: Thursday October 15 - L1 D1-
Arrive in Athens. You are independently picked-up at the airport and driven to your hotel where you will have some time to relax before we meet for our welcome dinner. Night in Athens
DAY THREE: Friday October 16 - B1 L2 -
After breakfast we will meet in the lobby to begin a full day of tours of Athens. We will begin at the Acropolis, with the famous Doric temple dedicated to Athena: the Parthenon. After we will visit the extraordinary Acropolis Museum designed by the Swiss architect Bernard Tschumi. The museum is not only a trove of artifacts, but an amazing place to really comprehend the history, the architecture, the power and importance of the ancient Athens. The building is conceptually amazing and even for people not interested in architecture, it cannot be ignored.
We will have a group lunch before going to Plaka the old historical neighborhood of Athens, clustered around the We We will have a group lunch before going to Plaka the old historical neighborhood of Athens, clustered around the northern and eastern slopes of the Acropolis, and incorporating labyrinthine streets and neoclassical architecture. Plaka is built on top of the residential areas of the ancient town of Athens. It is known as the "Neighborhood of the Gods" due to its proximity to the Acropolis and its many archaeological sites.
Dinner on your own. Night in Athens
DAY FOUR: Saturday October 17 - B2 L3 -
Explore more of Athens. Today we will visit the National Archaeological Museum, with an imposing neo-classical design which was very popular in Europe at the time and is in accordance with the classical style artifacts that it houses. It is considered one of the greatest museums in the world and contains the richest collection of artifacts from Greek antiquity worldwide.
After lunch you will have time to explore the city on your own or go shopping, if you so desire. Souvenir shops are a dime a dozen.
Dinner on your own - Night in Athens
DAY FIVE: Sunday October 18 - B3 L4 D2 -
We are on our way to Ancient Corinth, which was one of the largest and most important cities of Greece, with a population of 90,000 in 400 BC. After its total destruction in 146 BC by the Romans, it stayed practically deserted until the Romans built a new city in its place in 44 BC in honor of Julius Cesar, and later made it the provincial capital of Greece.
There is also the Corinth Canal cutting through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth and separates the Peloponnese from the Greek mainland, thus effectively making the former peninsula an island. From the 330 BC many people attempted in vain to dig a canal, until 1893 when this was finally accomplished. The builders dug the canal through the Isthmus at sea level; no locks are employed. It is 4 miles in length and only 70 ft wide at its base, making it impassable for most modern ships. It now has little economic importance.
We will then enjoy a group lunch before a full tour of Ancient EPIDAURUS, a city that saw great expansion because of the asclepeion, a healing temple, sacred to the god Asclepius son of Apollo, the Grecian God of Medicine. These healing temples were a place in which patients would visit to receive either treatment or some sort of healing, whether it was spiritual or physical. It was the most celebrated healing center of the Classical world. Because of such economical success the city had a lot of important monuments including the 14,000 seats theater built in the 4th Century BC. The acoustic is so incredible that you can hear,from any seats, someone whispering on the stage. A 2007 study by Nico F. Declercq and Cindy Dekeyser of the Georgia Institute of Technology indicates that the astonishing acoustic properties may be the result of the advanced design: the rows of limestone seats filter out low-frequency sounds, such as the murmur of the crowd, and amplify high-frequency sounds from the stage. We will then head to our welcoming hotel in NAFPLIO where you will have the remainder of the evening and and share a group dinner. Night in Nafplio
DAY SIX: Monday October 19 - B4 L5 -
We begin at MYCENAE. Mycenaean Greece refers to the last phase of the Bronze Age in Ancient Greece (c. 1600–1100 BCE). It represents the first advanced civilization in mainland Greece, with its palatial states, urban organization, works of art and writing system. The most prominent site was MYCENAE, in Argolid, to which the culture of this era owes its name. In the second millennium BC, Mycenae was one of the major centers of Greek civilization, a military stronghold which dominated much of southern Greece. At its peak in 1350 BC, the citadel and lower town had a population of 30,000.
We continue on to Nemea where we will stop for a group lunch. We then will proceed on to the winery at Nemea where we will have a private tour of the facilities and enjoy some wine before we head to the PALAMIDI FORTRESS for a tour. Palamidi is a fortress in the town of Nafplio. Nestled on the crest of a 216-metre high hill, the fortress was built by the Venetians during their second occupation of the area (1686–1715). The fortress was a very large and ambitious project, but was finished within a relatively short period from 1711 until 1714. It is a typical baroque fortress based on the plans of the engineers Giaxich and Lasalle. In 1715 it was captured by the Turks and remained under their control until 1822, when it was captured by the Greeks.
Dinner is on your own. Night in Nafplio
DAY SEVEN: Tuesday October 20 - B5 L6 D3 -
We are going to visit the medieval city of MYSTRAS, the ' wonder of the Morea'. It was built as an amphitheater around the fortress erected in 1249 by the prince of Achaia, William of Villehardouin. Under the Byzantines, in the late 1380’s, it became the second most important city in the empire after Constantinople. Then occupied by the Turks and the Venetians, the city was abandoned in 1832, leaving only the breathtaking medieval ruins, standing in a beautiful landscape.
We will enjoy a full tour of the incredible site before we head to our hotel in Gythio. Group dinner. Night in Gythio
DAY EIGHT: Wednesday October 21 - B6 L7 D4 -
We are going to learn all there is to learn about olives, olive oil, virgin olive oil, first press, cold pressing, etc. After that day, where you may be asked to volunteer the groves to pick up the olives, you will able to know how to recognize a good olive oil from a lesser one.
Night in Gythio
DAY NINE: Thursday October 22 - B7 L8 D5-
After breakfast we will go to the CASTLE OF MONEMVASIA, on a small island off the east coast of the Peloponnese. The island is linked to the mainland by a short causeway 200 yards in length. Its area consists mostly of a large plateau some 300 feet above sea level, up to 900 feet wide and ¾ of a mile long, the site of a powerful medieval fortress. The town walls and many Byzantine churches remain from the medieval period.
After the visit and lunch, will then head back to the hotel in Gythio, where you will have a bit of time to rest and enjoy the beauty of the setting. Dinner with the group. Night in Gythio
DAY TEN: Friday October 23 - B8 L9 D6 -
Night in Gythio
DAY ELEVEN: Saturday October 24 - B8 L10 D7 -
After breakfast we will meet in the lobby before we begin our trip to OLYMPIA having lunch upon arrival. We will then tour the site and museum: The site of Olympia, in a valley in the Peloponnesus, has been inhabited since prehistoric times. In the 10th century B.C., Olympia became a center for the worship of Zeus. The Altis – the sanctuary to the gods – has one of the highest concentrations of masterpieces from the ancient Greek world. In addition to temples, there are the remains of all the sports structures erected for the Olympic Games, which were held in Olympia every four years beginning in 776 B.C. to the 4th C AD.
The Archaeological Museum of Olympia, one of the most important museums in Greece, presents the long history of the most celebrated sanctuary of antiquity, the sanctuary of Zeus, father of both gods and men, where the Olympic games were born. We will go to our hotel in Olympia. Group dinner.
DAY TWELVE: Sunday October 25 B8-
After breakfast we will travel to DELPHI along the Corinthian Gulf's beautiful scenery. We will stop for a coffee break in Nafpaktos where you will have a chance to stretch your legs before we continue on to Galaxidi for lunch.
We will then tour Delphi and the museum.
Delphi is both an archaeological site on the south-western spur of Mount Parnassus in the valley of Phocis. In myths dating to the classical period of Ancient Greece (510-323 BC), the site of Delphi was believed to be determined by Zeus when he sought to find the center of his "Grandmother Earth" (Ge, Gaea, or Gaia). He sent two eagles flying from the eastern and western extremities, and the path of the eagles crossed over Delphi where the omphalos, or navel of Gaia was found. Delphi the sanctuary was home to the famous oracle of Apollo which gave cryptic predictions and guidance to both city-states and individuals.
We will go to our hotel in Delphi, have a little rest before going to dinner together
DAY THIRTEEN Monday October 26 - B L D
We are going back to Athens. We will have our farewell dinner together.
Night in Athens
DAY FOURTEEN: Tuesday October 27 B8 -
Depart Athens. You will be driven to the airport. You should be home by late afternoon.