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Many civilizations have succeeded each other on the Greek territory during the centuries. From classical and Roman antiquity to the Byzantine and the Ottoman Empires every civilization brought their religion, their gods, their rituals and built their places of worship and monuments, now lying scattered throughout the Greek territory. Some of these monuments became symbols of spirituality and beauty, such as the Parthenon in Athens, or the sculptures of Olympia, while others, like the Meteora reflect the human desire to reach God.
On this trip that visits the major highlights of the country, we will try to discover the story behind each one of them and discover the relationships they have with each other and how the artistic and architectural style of a religion can influence another.
If you are interested in classical antiquity, or if this is your first time in Greece, but you want to find out more than just the highlights, this is the tour for you! During the ten days of the tour, we are visiting some of the most important monuments of classical antiquity, such as the Acropolis of Athens, the theatre of Epidaurus, Mycenae, Olympia and Delfi. But we do not limit ourselves just to that, but we are taking into consideration some byzantine monuments as well, such as the Meteora.
Although the ‘Classical Greece’ is a classical tour visiting very touristic sites, we are approaching it under a cultural point of view. We are dedicating plenty of time and attention to the sites we are visiting. The ‘Classical Greece’ tour is a cultural tour, mostly visiting archaeological sites, not always easy to walk, especially during the warm season from spring to early autumn.
Some of the highlights of the 7-days Classical Greece tour are:
Arrival at Athens and day dedicated to the capital of Greece, perhaps the most important city of the classical world. We are visiting the Acropolis with some of the most famous monuments of the ancient world, as the Propylaea, the Erechteon and the Parthenon. The museum of the Acropolis that we are visiting next hosts the masterpieces of sculpture that come from the hill of the Acropolis. On the second floor of the museum we will admire the frieze of the Parthenon, sculpted by Phidias. After the museum, we will take some time to walk the alleys of Plaka, the picturesque old centre of Athens, passing by the Roman forum and the Greek Agora, the most important public space of ancient Athens. Transfer to the hotel, accommodation, dinner and overnight stay in Athens.
A taste of the Greek islands! Early in the morning we are transferred to Piraeus for a cruise in the Saronic Gulf. Just a few hours’ sailing from Athens there can be found some of the most beautiful and picturesque islands, like Hydra, where no vehicles can circulate, giving the idea of what these places really used to feel like, Poros and Aegina, famous for the ancient temple of Afea, one of the masterpieces of classical architecture, as well as for its pistachos! In the afternoon return to Piraeus. Transfer to the hotel, dinner and overnight.
Breakfast and departure from Athens. Our first stop is at the Corinth canal, that divides the Peloponnese from mainland Greece, one of the masterpieces of engineering in the 19th century! Once in the Peloponnese, we head for Epidaurus, the sanctuary of Asclepius, god of medicine. The site is particularly famous for the theatre, where an important international festival of ancient drama is held every summer. From Epidaurus we reach Mycenae, ‘city full of gold’ according to Homer, where we have the chance to meet a wonderful megalithic civilization that left impressive cities and majestic burial mounds. In the afternoon, arrival at Nafplio, picturesque city on the Gulf of Argolis, that has been the first capital of modern Greece. Upon arrival, we take a brief walking tour of Nafplio and then transfer to the hotel. Accommodation in the hotel, dinner and overnight stay in Nafplio.
Leaving Nafplion in the morning, we follow the road to Sparta and then Mistras, center of the Byzantine dynasties. In Mistras we have the chance to discover the everyday life during the Byzantine era, walk on the ancient paved roads, pass by the palaces and the rich mansions, walk under the arches and next to the fountains and admire the beautiful churches that were the center of worship of the powerful families of the time. Not far from Mistras is Messene, site still under excavation, that already attracts the interest of archaeologists from around the world, being a city of classical antiquity in excellent conditions of conservation. Departure for Olympia and upon arrival accommodation in the hotel, dinner, time at leisure and overnight stay in Kalamata.
After breakfast, we start the visit of the archeological site of Olympia, where the Olympic games were born and celebrated! We will visit the area of the sanctuaries and the famous stadium, where the Olympic flame is lit every four years for the modern Olympic games. Departure from Olympia and after crossing the Strait of Rio we leave the Peloponnese and get back on the mainland. We pass close to Nafpaktos, where the naval battle of Lepanto took place and arrive at Delphi, the most important ancient oracle of Apollo. Upon arrival, accommodation in the hotel, time at leisure, dinner and overnight stay in Delphi.
After breakfast, we start the visit of the archeological site of Delphi, the most important ancient oracle of Apollo. During our visit at the archaeological site, we will admire the Treasures along the Via Sacra, the Temple of Apollo and the Theatre, curved on the rocky slope of the mountain, while in the museum are kept masterpieces of ancient art like the famous Charioteer. After the visit departure for Kalambaka. Upon arrival, accommodation in the hotel, dinner and overnight stay in Kalambaka.
We start the visits of the day in the morning with the monasteries of the Meteora. We visit two of the monasteries and stop along the way to admire the unique landscape. After the visits, we leave Thessaly and enter the region of Macedonia. In Vergina (ancient Aigai) we are visiting the impressive burial tumulus attributed to Philip II, while in Pella we will explore the site and the archaeological museum of what was the largest city of its era and the city where Alexander the Great was born and lived. Departure for Thessaloniki and upon arrival, accommodation in the hotel, dinner and overnight stay in Thessaloniki.
Thessaloniki (Salonica) is the capital of the modern region of Macedonian, founded in 315 BC by King Kassander of Macedonia, brother-in-law of Alexander the Great. The city has known such glory in the Roman period, being under the tetrarchy of Diocletian, one of the four capitals of the Roman empire. Here, an important political, military and cultural center was formed that turned Thessaloniki into the second capital of the Byzantine Empire as well. We are visiting the Museum of Byzantine History of the city, the Rotunda, the Triumphal Arch and the palace of Caesar Galerius, the churches of Agia Sofia, Acheiropoiitos and Agios Demetrios, the patron Saint of the city and the Roman Forum. Time at leisure, dinner and overnight stay in Thessaloniki.
An important center of spirituality and art was forming from the 9th century onwards on the Athos peninsula, called the Sacred Mountain. Imperial benefits and financing encouraged the development of this state reserved just for the monks. Today access is forbidden to women, while for pilgrims to visit the state, a special authorization is required. From Thessaloniki, we reach Ouranoupolis, a small port in the Chalkidiki region, and then we embark on a cruise along the western coast of the Athos peninsula, to enjoy the stunning views of the impressive monasteries from the sea. The monasteries of Athos conserve their medieval architectural forms that makes them appear like castles. Return in Ouranoupolis, lunch and time at leisure. Departure for Thessaloniki along the coast of the Chalkidiki. Arrival at Thessaloniki, time at leisure and overnight stay.
Time at leisure in Thessaloniki until departure time in good advance for departure flight. Transfer to Thessaloniki international airport and end of services.