Welcome drink in Athens; full buffet breakfast daily; 3 lunches; 4 three-course dinners with wine; 3 à-la-carte dinners while cruising
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
Day 1 Athens, Greece
Welcome to Athens! At 6 pm, meet your traveling companions for a welcome drink with your Tour Director.
Day 2 Athens
Sightseeing with a Local Guide features a visit to the Parthenon’s crowning beauty atop the ACROPOLIS, the Erechtheum with its Porch of Maidens, the beautifully preserved Theseum, Roman temple dedicated to Zeus, Theater of Dionysus, and the Agora where Socrates taught. Vistas of the government buildings and elegant homes in the modern city provide a striking contrast to the remains of the glorious past. Tonight is your chance to join an optional dinner outing to try out local fare.
Day 3 Athens–Corinth–Mycenae–Epidaurus–Nauplia
Cross the spectacular Corinth Canal, then visit ANCIENT CORINTH, where St. Paul preached. Two highlights today: MYCENAE, where 19th-century excavations reveal impressions of the splendors so vividly described by Homer. Admire the Beehive Tombs, the Treasury of Atreus, Lion Gate, Europe’s oldest known monument, remains of Agamemnon’s Royal Palace, and the impressive fortifications of the Citadel. Also visit the museum. Then, a short drive to EPIDAURUS for a tour of its amazingly well-preserved 2,300-year-old open-air theater. Overnight in nearby Nauplia.
Day 4 Nauplia–Olympia
Spectacular scenery on the way through the Arkadian Mountains. Then, spend the afternoon in OLYMPIA, where the athletes of antiquity competed in honor of the king of deities. Learn about the history of those original Olympic Games as you walk among the impressive remains of the Gymnasium and the Temples of Hera and Zeus. Also visit the MUSEUM that displays Praxiteles’ magnificent statue of Hermes. Tonight, enjoy a COOKING DEMONSTRATION and learn how to make the traditional Greek tzatziki appetizer.
Day 5 Olympia–Patras–Delphi
Via the busy seaport of Patras, proceed through the picturesque fishing villages along the south coast of the mainland to mystic Delphi. The afternoon is devoted to a fascinating tour of the ancient sanctuary of the god Apollo in its dramatic setting on the slopes of Mount Parnassus. Hear about the Oracle and tour the EXCAVATIONS. End the day with a visit to the ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM to admire the Charioteer, an extraordinary 5th-century BC bronze statue. A highlight this evening is a DANCE LESSON, where you’ll learn how to dance the sirtaki, made famous in the movie Zorba the Greek, accompanied by a glass of the traditional Ouzo.
Day 6 Delphi–Meteora Area
Drive past Lamia and Trikala to Kalambaka in the unreal, fantastic landscape of Meteora with its 24 rock-top monasteries. Visit VARLAAM MONASTERY, famous for its frescoes, and ST. STEPHEN’S MONASTERY, featuring a unique collection of icons and an incredible panoramic view (ladies are suggested to pack one long skirt, as shorts or trousers may be inappropriate when visiting the monasteries).
Day 7 Meteora Area–Thermopylae–Athens
Today’s highlight is a guided visit to THERMOPYLAE, the site of the heroic battle of Leonidas’ 300 doomed Spartans against Xerxes’ huge Persian army. On the way back to Athens, your Tour Director will tell you about Thebes, the setting of Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, and Marathon, where 10,000 Athenians defeated more than twice that number of Persian invaders in 490 BC. Enjoy an optional dinner in a romantic restaurant.
Day 8 Athens–Lavrion (Embarkation)–Mykonos
Head for Lavrion, where at 11 am you will sail into the deep-blue waters of the Aegean Sea. Later, dock at the mountainous island of Mykonos with its characteristic windmills and dazzling white houses. Time to wander at whim through narrow paved streets before returning on board.. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.
Day 9 Cruising: Kusadasi, Turkey–Patmos, Greece
Two ports of call today. First, Kusadasi on the Turkish coast. An optional excursion is available to the fascinating Greek, Roman, and Byzantine excavations of Ephesus. Next, discover the tiny Greek island of Patmos, where St. John the Divine wrote the Revelation. The 11th-century monastery with its valuable manuscript collection is well worth a visit.
Day 10 Cruising: Heraklion, Crete–Santorini, Greece
First port of call today is Heraklion on Crete. A few miles away is Knossos, the center of the 3000 BC Minoan civilization, and an optional excursion can be booked. Afternoon call (weather permitting) at Santorini, the “Black Pearl of the Aegean.” Join one of the optional shore excursions either to the volcano or up to the cliff-top village of Oia for one of the world’s most breathtaking panoramas.
Day 11 Lavrion (Disembarkation)–Athens
After breakfast on board, disembark at Lavrion and return to Athens. The rest of the day is free.
Day 12 Athens
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.