Sacred Journey to Greece
Arrive at the airport of Athens, where our representative will meet you and transfer you to your hotel. Welcome cocktail and welcome dinner at the hotel. Overnight in Athens.
In the morning, follow your guide to the world-renowned Acropolis to see the architectural miracles of the Golden Age of Pericles: the Propylea, the Erechtheum and, above all, the Parthenon (temple of Athena, goddess of wisdom). You also visit the breathtaking New Acropolis Museum. Enjoy a panoramic view of the city and observe the Agora (marketplace) where many ancient philosophers spent their time. Continue with a bus tour of the center of Athens and admire the Old Olympic Stadium, the National University, the National Library, the Academy, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Constitution Square with the House of Parliament and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and much more. Then you continue with a scenic drive to Cape Sounion, the southeastern extremity of Attica. It’s a magnificent headland, famous for its strategic importance and the spectacular marble white columns of Poseidon’s Temple (5 th B. C.). Return to your hotel in Athens for overnight.
Travel a short distance to Eleusis (Elefsina), the site of a famous secret cult. The Eleusinian Mysteries were based on the ancient Greek myth, which talked about the abduction of Persephone (the daughter of the goddess of agriculture and fertility Demeter) by Pluto (Hades). At the excavation you can see the Grotto, which was believed to be the entrance to the Underworld. Explore the “mysteries” of this archaeological site and discuss the mystic cults of antiquity and the beliefs of the ancient Greeks about life after death. Take the coastal road to the legendary Canal of Corinth and visit the Ancient Corinth. This is the once glorious city near the Isthmus, where Paul met Aquilla and Priscilla and spent a year and a half working and preaching the Gospel. You then visit the Archaeological Museum, the Forum, the Temples and the famous Bema, where Paul stood before Gallio accused by the Jews of Corinth. Then you continue southeast to Epidaurus to find the best-preserved ancient Theater in Hellas, test its astonishing acoustics and learn more about the origins of Drama and the cult of the god of wine, Dionysus (Bacchus). Back to Athens late in the afternoon. Overnight in Athens.
Today, experience the charm of the Greek islands by visiting three of the most attractive isles near Athens. Aegina has a lovely town full of neoclassical buildings and a well-preserved classical Temple dedicated to the local goddess Afea. Poros is as small green island closer to the Peloponnese than to Attica, which offers a pleasant walk on the promenade near the little shops. Finally, Hydra is like a school of arts because of the unique architecture of its fortress mansions, which belonged to the ship-owners of the island during the Ottoman Rule period. Return to Athens for overnight.
This morning you meet your guide and bus driver and you drive to scenic Delphi, passing the cities of Thiva (Thebes) and Livadia. This breathtaking place was believed to be the “navel” (omphalos) of the world and Apollo’s most important and famous oracle was there. Follow the Sacred Way up to Apollo’s Temple, where his priestess Pythia delivered his oblique prophecies. Marvel at the beauty of the landscape and consider the never-ending search of mortal people for the true meaning of life. Discuss the ideas of the last philosophers of the pagan world (Neoplatonism and neo-Aristotelianism) and their effect on the early “fathers of the Christian Church”. Don’t miss the exquisite Museum which is full of masterpieces, all “ex-votos” of the ancient pilgrims who came to consult Apollo. The pride of this museum is the bronze “Charioteer”, one of the finest examples of classical sculpture of the “severe style”. Overnight at the hotel in Delphi.
Delphi, home of the ancient oracle and the most famous of Greece's oracle sites. Delphi is one of the most spectacular mystical sites in the world. At Delphi, a seeress was suspended from a metal tripod over psychoactive vapors arising through an opening underneath her. Attendants deciphered the future from her inspired prophecy. Academe itself, the Western institution of higher learning, arose from a prophecy issued here. Follow in the footsteps of the pilgrims traversing their way through the holy sites of this place of power, inspiration, purification and rejuvenation. Here you experience the nourishing and healing energies still present at the Temple to Athena Pronea, the temple dedicated to protecting women especially during childbirth. The powerful primal essence of the purifying springs of Castellan will also take your breath away. There will be time for meditation to experience the very special qualities of this site. Nearby, see the site of what was Trophonius, where visitants sought knowledge of the future in a sobering delirium induced in a dark cavern deep underground. Lunch included at a traditional Greek restaurant in Delphi. Afternoon return to Athens for overnight.
This is a free day for your own activities. Tonight, is a farewell dinner at the hotel in Athens.
This morning, board the cruise ship and sail to the world-famous island of Mykonos. The town is a small architectural miracle, with its gleaming whitewashed buildings and windmills, and is one of the most cosmopolitan places in the world.
Today you arrive in Kusadasi, Turkey. Optional shore excursion to ancient Ephesus. The impressive remains include the Agora, the Theater, the Stadium, the Library of Celsius, the ruins of the Temple of Diana (one of the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World”) and more. Later, sail for the isle of Patmos, where you can choose to visit the Monastery of St John, on one of the island’s highest points. From there, walk down to the Grotto of the Apocalypse, the site of the apocalyptic Revelations of St John the Divine.
Spend the day on the island of Rhodes, where you can stroll around the medieval city and see the Palace of the Grand Master, which was built by the Knights of St John. You will also have the option to drive to the lovely town of Lindos and climb its Acropolis to admire the panoramic view.
In the morning arrive in Heraklion, Crete. Optional shore excursion includes a visit to the Minoan Palace of Knossos, home to king Minos and his legendary beast, the Minotaur. In the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, you can find the unbelievable works of art (pieces of sculpture and pottery, jewelry, arms, frescoes) that have been found in a number of Minoan sites all over Crete. Then sail north to the isle of Santorini, the most breathtaking of all the Greek islands. The exquisite whitewashed villages, including the town of Fira (aka Thira), cling to volcanic cliffs that are accessible only by cable car or mule.
Return to the port of Athens, called Piraeus, and meet your guide and driver as you will be transferred to the Athens airport for your flight back home.