Exploration of Ancient Greek Civilization 9 days
Upon arrival in Athens, transfer to the hotel for check-in. Panoramic city tour en route. Overnight in Athens.
After breakfast we begin tour to Delphi. In antiquity, Delphi was the site of the most important and famous oracle in the then-known world, the oracle of Apollo (the god of light and music), who spoke to the mortals through his priestess Pythia and was known for the oblique nature of his prophecies. Walk up the Sacred Way to see the Treasuries, the Theater and the Temple of Apollo, next to the exact spot which was believed to be the “navel” (omphalos) of the earth. Visit the Museum of Delphi and marvel at the splendid collection of artifacts from the excavation, including the bronze “Charioteer,” one of the best-preserved ancient works of metallurgy. Overnight in Delphi.
Today we leave for a tour to Peloponnese, passing over the Rio-Antirio bridge. Visit the archaeological site of Olympia, admiring the splendors of this unique place where the ancient Greek ideas of unity, peace and fair play flourished. See the impressive ruins of Hera and Zeus’s Temples, the Leonidaion, the Workshop of the sculptor Pheidias and of course, the famous Stadium where the Olympic Games were held. Also visit the Museum with its new display of amazing pieces of sculpture and pottery and the architectural remains of the ancient edifices. Don’t miss the pride of this museum, the “Hermes” of Praxiteles, one of the most wonderful ancient statues ever made. Afternoon at your leisure. Overnight in Olympia.
Today we proceed towards Kalamata passing many of the lovely Greek villages on the way, such Bassae where we visit the famous Temple of Apollo Epikourios (Apollo the helper). We continue to Pylos. Pylos, also known by its Italian name Navarino, is a town and a former municipality in Messenia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform, it is part of the municipality Pylos - Nestoras, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit.  It was the capital of the former Pylia Province. It is the main harbor on the Bay of Navarino. Mycenean Pylos is an important archaeological site located on the western coast of the Peloponnese in Greece. After Pylos we will visit Methoni which has been identified as the city of Pedasus, that Homer mentions under the name "ampeloessa" (of vine leaves), as the last of the seven "evnaiomena ptoliethra", that Agamemnon offers Achilles in order to subdue his rage. Pausanias knew the city as Mothone, named after either the daughter of Oeneus or after the rock Mothon, which protects the harbor. The Oinoussai complex of islands protected the port of Methoni and at the same time stopped the large sea turbulence. Along with the rest of Messenia, the town gained its independence from the Spartans in 369 BC. During the 4th century BC, Methoni was elaborately fortified and continued to remain autonomous well into the Imperial Roman era, when it enjoyed the favor of some emperors. During the Byzantine years it continued to remain a remarkable harbor and one of the most important cities of the Peloponnese, seat of a bishopric. We then continue to a nearby town, Koroni. The town was founded in ancient times. The Greek geographer Pausanias in his book "Messiniaka" reports the original location of Koroni at today's Petalidi, a town a few kilometers north of Koroni. He also reports many temples of Greek gods and a copper statue of Zeus. Because of re-orderings in the centuries that followed, the town of Koroni moved to its current location where the ancient town of Asini had once stood. In the 6th and 7th centuries AD, the Byzantines built a fortress there. In 1206, the Venetians occupied it, turning Koroni into an important stage on their sea routes towards the Eastern Mediterranean. The fortress and town were captured by the Ottoman troops of Sultan Bayezid II in 1500. Apart from a short period under Habsburg Empire rule in the Siege of Coron in 1532-1534, when the fortress was defended by a few noble families as Baffa Trasci, Stratigò and Marchianò, as well as a short return to Venetian rule (1686–1715) after the Morean War, they remained under the control of the Ottoman Empire until becoming part of the modern Greek state in 1828 when it was liberated by the French General Nicolas Joseph Maison. On to our final destination of the day, the village of Kalamata, where the best and most well-known olives and olive oil of Greece come from. Overnight in Kalamata.
This morning we visit the archaeological site of Ancient Messene. We then continue to Kardamili. Kardamili sits at the foot of the Taygetus mountains on the coast of the Messenian Bay. Much of the town sits on the remnants of a prehistoric lava flow, the remains of which can be seen as the lava rock outcrops which separate many of the local beaches from one another. The local beaches stand out from those in other areas of the world for the remarkably round stones of which they are made up. Nowhere else in the world is it possible to find smooth, often spherical stones on a beach, and the phenomenon has been subject to multiple studies done to find the cause of such a unique occurrence. We head south to Aeropoli, a town on the Mani Peninsula, Laconia, Greece. The word Areopoli means "city of Ares," the ancient Greek god of war. Heading east we see the town of Gythio. The reputed founders of ancient Gythium were Heracles and Apollo, who frequently appear on its coins or in other legends, and Castor and Pollux; the former of these names may point to the influence of Phoenician traders from Tyre, who we know visited the Laconian shores at a very early period. We overnight in Monemvasia.
Today we will visit the amazing village of Monemvasia, which is a town and a municipality in Laconia, Greece. The town is located on a small peninsula off the east coast of the Peloponnese. The peninsula is linked to the mainland by a short causeway 200 meters in length. Its area consists mostly of a large plateau some 100 meters above sea level, up to 300 meters wide and 1 km long, the site of a powerful medieval fortress. The town walls and many Byzantine churches remain from the mediaeval period. The seat of the municipality is the town of Molaoi. The town's name derives from two Greek words, mone and emvasia, meaning "single entrance". Its Italian form, Malvasia, gave its name to Malmsey wine. Monemvasia's nickname is the Gibraltar of the East or The Rock. Continue to Sparta and Mystra for a visit to the medieval city. Overnight in Nauplion.
Today we continue by visiting the town of Nafplion and the Palamidi Fortress with the 913 steps and impressive view of the Argolic Gulf. Afterwards we will visit the site of Mycenae 'Rich in Gold' (first sung by Homer in his epics), the kingdom of mythical Agamemnon and the most important and richest palatial center of the Late Bronze Age in Greece. Its name was given to one of the greatest civilizations of Greek prehistory, the Mycenaean civilization. We see the remains of this prehistoric Acropolis, its Palace, the Grave Circles and the famous beehive Tombs. This was the kingdom of Atreus and his son Agamemnon, the leader of the Greeks in the campaign against Troy. On our way to Athens, we stop at the famous Corinth Canal. Overnight in Athens.
After breakfast start your Athens Sightseeing tour and visit the center of the city, Constitution Square, the House of Parliament, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the National University, the National Library and the Academy. On your way to the Acropolis you will see the Hadrian’s Arch, the Temple of Olympian Zeus and you will make a short stop at the Panathenaic Stadium where the first Olympic Games of the modern era were held in 1896. On the Acropolis visit the architectural masterpieces of the Golden Age of Athens: Propylaea, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheum and finally the harmony between material and spirit, the monument that puts order in the mind, the Parthenon. We also visit the New Acropolis Museum. Overnight in Athens.
Pick-up from your hotel and transfer to the airport for your departure flight.