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The Aegean Sea is the cradle where the first Greek civilisation are born and raised: from the Cycladic civilisation, mysterious, enchanting, even modern in a strange way to the Minoan civilisation, that finds one of its most impressive expressions in Santorini. The islands that dot the blue extension of the Aegean Sea, form a network of possible connections and relations that has been a bridge to Greek culture on its way to colonising the Asia Minor and the Black Sea.
The Byzantine Empire, Venice and the Ottoman Empire have recognised in this complicated landscape of the Aegean Sea an element of military and commercial superiority; that is why they all struggled to control this area, leaving documents of their passage on the region.
The ‘Great Blue of the Aegean Sea’ is a cultural tour, focusing on the discovery of the history, archaeology and folklore of the islands of the Cyclades. For the organisation of this tour we largely depend on the schedule of the ferry boats, that can cause significant changes. On every island, we use a different pullman to help transfer the group. Moreover, early wake-ups are required to catch the ferries. We are visiting archaeological sites in rocky landscapes, that can be quite hot in the warm seasons.
The ‘Great Blue of the Aegean Sea’ includes unique visits as:
Arrival at ‘Venizelos’ international airport of Athens. Transfer to the hotel and accommodation. If the flight schedule allows, we take a city tour of Athens to visit the city centre and the picturesque Plaka, passing by the Roman forum and the Greek agora. Return to the hotel, 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.
Departure very early in the morning for Piraeus, where we embark for our first destination, the island of Melos. In the ancient times, Melos was an important centre of mining of obsisian, thanks to which it has known great development. Among our visits stand out the prehistoric settlement of Fylakopi, among the most important of the Aegean, the ancient city with the impressive theatre and the gymnasium, where the famous statue of Venus has been found, and the Christian catacombs of the 4th century a.D. In the afternoon, return towards Piraeus and then to the hotel, dinner and overnight stay.
Departure early in the morning for the port of Rafina and embarkation for the island of Tinos. The church of the Virgin Evangelistria, built on the place of the miraculous finding of the icon of the Virgin, attracts many pilgrims, especially for the celebrations of Assumption on the 15th of August. Rich of a special sculptural and architectural tradition, Tinos does not lack important cultural attractions, that we are aiming to discover during our visits at the ‘museum of the artists of Tinos’ and the cultural foundation of Tinos. Especially in this last one, we will have the opportunity to learn about the work and the life of Yannoulis Chalepas, among the most important Greek sculptors. Along our tour around the island we will admire the popular tradition and architecture. Transfer to the hotel, accommodation, dinner and overnight stay in Tinos.
In the morning, departure for Mykonos: best known for summer nightlife and vacation, Mykonos summarises the main characteristics of the Cyclades, as the wild, rocky landscape, the blue sea, the strong wind,called Meltemi and the small white houses.
At Mykonos, we catch the boat that will take us to the nearby island of Delos. Today Delos remains uninhabited, but in the ancient times it was the sacred island of Apollo. For this reason, nobody could either be born or die on the Delos! Nowadays, the whole island is an archaeological site, in very good conditions of conservation, where beyond the religious aspect, a visitor can observe the evolution of everyday life, the houses, the squares, the harbor from the arcaic to the classic and the roman era. After the visit, return to Mykonos and time at leisure in Chora, the capital of Mykonos. Accommodation in the hotel, dinner and overnight stay in Mykonos.
Leaving Mykonos, we embark in the morning to Santorini. Probably the most famous of the Greek islands offers both spectacular views over the volcano, but it remains an island of extraordinary geological and cultural interest. Over the following days, we are visiting the prehistoric settlement of Akrotiri, one of the most interesting and surprising worldwide for its building technology, documents a developed civilisation since the 4.000 b.C.!
We will learn more about Santorini by visiting the archaeological museum and the museum of ancient Thira. The archaeological site of ancient Thira, that we are also visitng, lies on top of a hill and dominates the Aegean Sea on one side and Oia, Fira and Imerovigli, the most traditional villages of Santorini on the other! At the end of our visits, accommodation in the hotel, dinner and overnight stay.
Today we are embarking on a cruise to the island of Nea Kammeni, to find out more about the geological past and the vulcanic activity that gave Santorini its shape, while possibly destroying the Minoan civilisation in Crete. From here, we will enjoy some amazing views over the cliffs and the white villages of the islands. Return to Santorini in the afternoon, time at leisure, dinner and overnight stay.
Time at leisure in Santorini until departure time in good advance for departure flight. Transfer to Santorini international airport and end of services.