Trip to Greece History and Culture
Arrival at Athens International Airport. You will pick up your luggage and check-in to your flight to Heraklion. You will arrive in Heraklion and you will be transferred to your hotel for overnight.
Crete is the largest and most rugged of the Greek islands. It is also the home of the great Minoan Civilization and the mythological home of Zeus. After a short drive through the town of Heraklion, the tour will arrive at the Knossos excavations. Here, Sir Arthur Evan’s archaeological discoveries revealed a civilization dating back to 4000 B.C., when a great empire flourished on the island of Crete. Based on the wealth of artefacts that were found, Evans theorized that this was the site of the ancient Minoan Kingdom. These findings will be viewed in detail, as your guide will lead you on a journey of discovery to learn about the sophisticated culture that flourished thousands of years ago on this island. The Palace, decorated with frescoes and shields, houses the Hall of the Royal Guard, the Hall of the Double Axes, the King’s Chamber with the alabaster throne, the Queen’s Apartment, beautiful courtyards and shrines. Having visited this remarkable site, your coach will then take you to a traditional seaside restaurant in the Heraklion area. Taste the Cretan cuisine while you enjoy the view of the Aegean Sea. Afterwards your guide will take you to the heart of Heraklion where you will be given some free time to explore its beauty, a combination of a modern city with the unique ambiance of the Greek islands. Transfer to Heraklion’s airport for your flight to Athens. Arrival at Athens International Airport and transfer to the hotel for overnight.
Begin with a bus tour of Athens to see the landmarks of our capita: Constitution Square with the House of Parliament and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Old Olympic Stadium, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Residence of the Greek President and more. You get acquainted with the city of Athens starting with the world- renowned Acropolis, where you can see the architectural miracles of the Golden Age of Pericles and Pheidias: the Propylea, the Nike Temple, the Erechtheum and, above all, the Parthenon (Temple of Athena). Take in a panoramic view of the city and observe the Monument of Philopappus, the Pnyka, the Areopagus and more. You will also visit the new Acropolis Museum which has a total area of 25,000 square meters, with exhibition space of over 14,000 square meters, ten times more than that of the old museum on the Hill of the Acropolis. The new Museum offers all the amenities expected in an international museum of the 21st century. Walk down to the Agora, north of the Acropolis hill, and explore the excavational site. You will have some free time in Plaka for a light lunch and walking. Afterwards you will visit the National Archaeological museum. Spend the rest of the day at the National Archaeological Museum, one of the finest in the world, whose collections offer a great overview of the long Greek history and of the ancient civilizations you will come across during your trip. The Cycladic figurines, the Mycenean treasures and the Santorini frescoes are just a few of the collections that are not to be missed. Return back to the hotel.
You travel to scenic Delphi, one of the most beautiful places on the face of the earth, which in antiquity was believed to be the “navel” (omphalos) of the world. Walk on the Sacred Way to see the Athenian Treasury, the Theatre and the Temple of Apollo where the priestess Pythia uttered ambiguous prophecies. Also visit the Museum with splendid collection of ancient works of art including the Sphinx of the Naxians, the Silver Bull, the Column of the Dancers, the “Omphalos” and the pride of the museum, the 5 th century B.C. bronze “Charioteer”. Enjoy your lunch in the Delphi area in at a very nice and traditional restaurant. Afterwards you drive back to Athens. Overnight at your hotel.
Your tour today begins with the scenic drive to the legendary Canal of Corinth where you stop for pictures. You will continue to the archaeological site of Ancient Corinth and its museum. Afterwards drive on to the Homeric city of Mycenae to 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. Continue to Epidaurus which was known in antiquity as a healing center, a place where the god of medicine Asclepios was worshipped. Nowadays, thousands of people visit the area to admire its fantastic acoustics. Drive back to Athens for overnight.
Driving along the coastal road past the wonderful beaches of Glyfada, Vouliagmeni, Varkiza and countless coves, you will have a splendid view of the Saronic Gulf. A crowning feature of the tour, Cape Sounion is dominated by the spectacular Temple of Poseidon overlooking the Aegean Sea. The sanctuary at Sounion is one of the most important sanctuaries in Attica. Sporadic finds point to the conclusion that the site was inhabited in the prehistoric period, but there is no evidence of religious practice in such an early date. "Sounion Hiron" (sanctuary of Sounion) is first mentioned in the Odyssey, as the place where Menelaos stopped during his return from Troy to bury his helmsman, Phrontes Onetorides. The finds of the 7th century B.C. are numerous and prove the existence of organized cults on two points of the promontory: at the southern edge where the temenos of Poseidon was situated, and about 500 m. to the northeast of it, where the sanctuary of Athena was established. Afterwards you will enjoy a lunch by the seaside close to Cape Sounion. Return to the hotel.
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 a 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 an extremely picturesque place because of its unique architecture of its fortress mansions which belonged to the shipowners of the island during the Ottoman Rule period. Return to Athens for overnight.
You will be transferred to the airport for your departure flight. Fly back home full of wonderful memories from your journey.