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Classical Greece and Athens

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Small Group

Retrace the steps of the ancients on an epic discovery tour of Classical Greece

13 days From £2,995 per person

2023 Tour code: GRG23

About the tour

Join us on a wondrous discovery tour of Classical Greece, known as 'the cradle of Western civilisation'.  Our tour takes us to Meteora - where medieval monasteries perch on rocky pinnacles - the ancient temple of Delphi, and to Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic Games. We visit the fortress city of Mycenae and the stunning amphitheatre of Epidaurus… then, to complete our journey into the past, we explore the Athens' Acropolis. Along the way, we meet beekeepers, farmers and traditional cooks and experience Athens as a local.  

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - London to Lausanne

We meet at London St Pancras and join the Eurostar service to Paris, continuing by rail to Lausanne for an overnight stay.

Includes
  • Dinner
  • Eurostar Meal
Day 2 - Bologna

This morning we continue by rail to Bologna where we enjoy dinner and spend the night in a local hotel.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - Overnight ferry to Igoumenitsa

Today we enjoy a tour of the lively city of Bologna, before travelling to Ancona for an overnight ferry to Igoumenitsa in North Western Greece.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 4 - Kalambaka

After disembarking in Igoumenitsa we transfer by coach to Kalambaka, a small modern town below the extraordinary rock formations of Meteora, where we check into our hotel for two nights. After free time to settle in, this evening we meet our fellow travellers and our local Greek guide for a welcome dinner at a local taverna - an introduction to authentic Greek cuisine and a relaxed night out.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 5 - Meteora and truffle hunting

The astonishing setting of Meteora immediately explains why its name means 'suspended in the heavens'. Today we climb above our mountain village to visit two of the six surviving monasteries of Meteora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. First built by monks fleeing persecution in the 14th century, these Eastern Orthodox monasteries were originally reached by rope ladder. Entering these captivating Byzantine basilicas we see how monks live there today. After our visit we enjoy a special activity of truffle hunting, organised by the local mushroom museum. We see how trained dogs locate the truffles, then enjoy a meal of this rare delicacy, in the shady woodland.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 6 - Delphi

This morning we travel on the Kalambaka Railway to Leianokladi, then transfer by coach to Delphi. After checking into our hotel we experience one of the highlights of our holiday - a guided tour of the beautiful ancient site of Delphi and its world famous Oracle. In ancient times people visited the Oracle, a prophetic high priestess, to ask what their future held. With wonderful views and an incredible setting, it's easy to imagine why Delphi was once regarded as 'the navel of the world'. The Delphi museum has many impressive exhibits which complement what we see at the site and help explain the role Delphi played in antiquity. Tonight we enjoy dinner with lovely views.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 - Delphi to Olympia

Today we travel to another important historic site, Olympia - the birthplace of the Olympic Games. Our drive is scenic and crosses the newest, and one of the most spectacular, bridges in Greece - the Rio Antirio, connecting the mainland to the Peloponnese peninsula. On our way we make two interesting stops: first at a small, family-run bee keeping facility where we have the chance to see how honey is collected. Our second stop is in the beautiful seaside town of Nafpaktos where we have free time for lunch before setting off to Olympia. Here we check in to our hotel - home for the next two nights - and have time to explore at leisure before a typical light-hearted Greek cooking class, followed by dinner.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 - Ancient Olympia

Today we visit one of the most important ancient sites in Greece, rich in history and awe-inspiring in beauty. Our tour takes us to Olympia's main site where we see the Temple of Zeus, the gymnasium - where athletes trained - and the main stadium where the first Olympic games were held. After this journey into the past we are brought gently into present-day Greece with lunch at a local farm, where - after meeting the hosts and learning about local life and the production of olive oil - we enjoy a sumptuous meal. This evening we visit a nearby picturesque village where you are free to enjoy dinner at leisure.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 9 – Kalavryta Rack Railway (Odontos) and Nafplion

This morning we set off through rugged and mountainous landscape for a picturesque drive to the town of Kalavryta. Here we join the renowned Odontos, a rack railway which opened in 1896 - a 22 kilometre route from Kalavryta to Diakopto - known as the prettiest train route in Greece. Our journey takes us around the scenic Vouraikos Gorge and ends at the Corinthian Gulf shore, in the village of Diakopto. From Diakopto we travel by coach to the elegant Venetian port town of Nafplion. After checking into our hotel for two nights, we enjoy a walking and tasting orientation of Nafplion. The city is a pleasure to explore, with open squares onto the waterfront, neoclassical buildings, dominated by a Venetian fortress and castle. We taste local delicacies and learn about Nafplion's rich history which dates back to the Bronze Age.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 10 – Mycenae, Epidaurus, and winery lunch

This morning we set off for a full day of sightseeing with a relaxing lunchtime interlude. First we visit the fortified city of Mycenae, the prosperous and powerful centre of the Mycenaean civilisation. We visit Agamemnon's tomb and the ruins of the Cyclopean walls that once protected this mighty city, where mythology and fact intertwine. From beneath the famous Lion Gate entrance to the city you can really sense the history of Mycenae. We enjoy lunch and a wine tasting at an excellent winery; the nearby region of Nemea is considered the crown jewel of the Greek wine industry. After lunch, our classical journey takes us to the World Heritage site of Epidaurus - the most popular health centre of ancient Greece, devoted to the healing gods. Epidaurus is best-known for its magnificent theatre, a marvel of acoustic engineering, which is still used for performances.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 11 – Athens

This morning we leave Nafplion for Athens, a city of exciting contrasts. Enroute we stop to see the Corinth canal, a man-made feat of engineering which separates the Peloponnese from mainland Greece. In Athens we enjoy our final highpoint - a sightseeing tour to the sublime Acropolis, its incredible temples and ancient architecture. Starting with a gentle uphill stroll to the celebrated citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage site, we visit the Parthenon, Propylaea gateway and Temple of Athena Nike. After exploring the Acropolis itself we visit the modern Acropolis Museum, opened in 2009, which faces the gleaming white marble monuments and helps to create a picture of what the site looked like in antiquity.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 12 - Athens like a local

After breakfast today we are introduced to daily life in 21st century Athens, with an enjoyable walk from the city's central Constitution Square (known locally as Syntagma Square) through the old quarter of Athens. Our walk includes a culinary exploration of local tastes, visiting small vendors and experiencing the city through the eyes of a local. There is free time this afternoon to relax and revisit places, or maybe enjoy some shopping. Rich in history and mythology, with ancient monuments on every corner, modern Athens is cosmopolitan, vibrant and colourful, with many lively cafés, markets and fabulous museums. Tonight we enjoy a farewell dinner with our tour group at a local restaurant.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 13 - London

We transfer to the airport for our flight to London Heathrow where our journey ends.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

Divani Meteora, Kalambaka

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Amalia Delphi, Delphi

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Amalia Olympia, Olympia

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Amalia Nafplion, Nafplion

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Divani Caravel Hotel, Athens

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Trains

Eurostar
TGV

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Classical Greece and Athens

Retrace the steps of the ancients on an epic discovery tour of Classical Greece

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Jo Jones
Jo
Lynne Broadley
Lynne