We’ll meet you at the airport and get you to your hotel – the rest of the day is yours to spend as you wish, you’re in Athens for the night.
We leave the city for the country, hugging the coast until we reach the Corinth Canal and cross over to the Peloponnesus. Epidaurus is our destination this morning -- the celebrated ampitheatre here boasts perfect acoustics – it’s an incredible feeling to sit in seats coveted 2400 years ago. From here, you’ll travel through time to Nauplia the first capital of the Hellenic Republic. With our expert guide, you’ll walk beneath the Lion Gate at Mycenae, city of Agamemnon, and chief among the cities to go to war with Troy. The evening will find us in Olympia, where we’ll have dinner and stay the night.
Olympia, first among the sanctuaries of ancient Greece, sprawls at the base of Mount Kronios and looks out at a lush countryside. Home to the Olympic Games and one of the wonders of the ancient world, the cult statue of Zeus that decorated the temple here, this spot . You’ll stand in the stadium and walk among the temples and treasuries that once held the riches of the nation. At the onsite Museum, you’ll marvel at the richly wrought dedications to the gods – many given in thanks for victories at the games. Leaving Olympia, we’ll drive down the coast via Patras, and cross the channel via the the Rio – Antirrio bridge, a modern marvel of engineering. We’ll arrive in Nafpaktos, one of the most charming port towns anywhere, and then continue to fabled Delphi, where we’ll have dinner and spend the night.
Delphi: for the ancients, the Omphalos, the “navel”, or centre, of the world. You’ll stand in this place, a spectacular setting on the slope of Mt. Parnassus and before is a sight that will leave you in awe. The setting is without question the most beautiful in Greece – gaze out over the theatre, the Sacred Way and the lovely treasury of the Athenians – built with the spoils from the victory over the Persians at the battle of Marathon – and finally, the Temple of Apollo. Our expert guide will breathe life into these ancient stones and the role they played long ago. Our visit to the museum brings you face to face with the greatest finds of the complex – the celebrated bronze charioteer of Delphi, with eyes of silver and red, copper lips, the magnificent statue of the athlete Agias, thought to be by the great Lysippos, in all, more treasures than be appreciated in a week. That’s where our expert comes in…. When we leave this beautiful setting, we’ll pass through rich farmland and the cities of Amphissa, Lamia and Trikala to reach our stop for the night, Kalambaka.
Today is set for one of the world’s travel great experiences: the Monasteries of Meteora. Perched atop rock outcropping high above the valley floor, the vistas from this site are aweinspiring. Serene, isolated, secure – it is not hard to see why the setting appealed to those generations of the faithful seeking to be closer to God. Designated as a unique phenomenon of cultural heritage by UNESCO, this site cannot fail to move the visitor. As we journey back to Athens, our starting point, you’ll stop at Thermopylae, the “Hot Gates”, site of the heroic defense of Leonidas against the Persian legions. It is said that on this spot, Greece, and the Western civilization it spawned, was saved. You’ll stay the night in Athens.
Athens After breakfast and check out we’ll get you to the airport for your departure, or you may choose to extend your stay in Athens, or join us for an optional three-day cruise of the islands. Call us or visit our website for details. ARRIVAL: Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday *Cruise can be added when it is Sunday arrival