Athens Airport – El. Venizelos
Arrival at the Athens airport, welcome assistance and transfer to the hotel. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight in Athens.
The day is dedicated to exploring the city of Athens. We will begin with a panoramic tour passing by the most important monuments and landmarks of the city. We will marvel the Panathinaikon stadium (the marble stadium where the first modern Olympics took place in 1896), pass by the ex Royal Palace and today the Prime Minister’s residence, the Zappeion (ex Royal gardens and today conference and exhibition hall), the temple of Olympian Zeus, Hadrian’s Arch, the Parliament with the tomb of the unknown soldier guarded by the colorful Evzones, Schliemann’s house, the Academy, the University, the National Library, the old Parliament, Constitution (Syntagma) square and St. Paul’s church. Our panoramic tour will end at the Acropolis, for our guided visit, including the Propylae, the temple of Athena Nike, the Parthenon, the Erechtheion. After your visit you will have free time on your own to explore Plaka, the old part of the town with the neoclassical buildings, the lovely narrow streets and the numerous little shops and tavernas. Later you can optionally follow our afternoon excursion to Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon . Cape Sounion is located at the southern-most tip of Attica some 70 kilometers from the center of Athens. We will be driving along the coastal road of Attica, passing through some of the most prestigious suburbs of Athens, like Glyfada, Voula, Vouliagmeni and Varkiza. The temple of Poseidon is built on the top of a high rock, offering stunning panoramic views of the Aegean sea, and on a clear day you can spot up to 7 of the Cycladic islands. Return to your hotel in Athens for overnight.
After our breakfast we depart towards the Peloponnese. First stop will be at the impressive Corinth canal and we continue to Epidaurus with its theater, famous for its acoustics. Our day continues as we will be arriving in Nafplion for a short stop. Our next visit will be to Mycenae «rich in gold» as Homer mentions, with the Cyclopean walls, and the tomb of Agamemnon with the famous Lion’s Gate. In the afternoon, we will be crossing the mountains of the Peloponnese to arrive in Olympia for dinner and overnight
Built on the banks of the River Alfios, Olympia is beautiful, green, and placid. It was the home of the original Olympic Games, that begun in 776 BC. We will enjoy a tour through the remains of the Ancient Olympia Complex, including the Temple of Zeus, the Palaestra, and Phidias’s Workshop. Later, we will be visiting the Olympia Archaeological Museum, one of the richest museums in Greece, with the most impressive exhibit being the famous statue of Hermes of Praxitelis. In the afternoon, we will start heading north, driving around Patras, over the impressive Rio-Antirio bridge (the longest «hanging» bridge in Europe), through Nafpaktos and Itea, to Delphi for dinner and overnight.
Delphi used to be the most sacred spot in the world and a pilgrimage center for many centuries in the antiquity. You will admire the Sanctuary of Apollo, walk the Sacred way, and visit the temple of Apollo, home of Pythia (the oracle). We continue to the local museum with the famous bronze statue of the Charioteer. In the afternoon we will be crossing the mountains of central Greece to arrive in Kalambaka for dinner and overnight
This morning we will be visiting Meteora. Amazing rock formations, like towers of sandstone, stand ageless, and have provided sacred retreat for monks over the centuries. A number of monasteries are hidden on top of Meteora. The view over the plain is breathtaking. Meteora is considered among the most beautiful areas of mainland Greece and belongs to Unesco’s list of world heritage monuments. After our visit, we will take the road back to Athens. On the way, we will make a short stop at Thermopylae, to admire the statue of Leonidas king of Sparta. Overnight in Athens.
Breakfast and at the appropriate time, transfer to the airport for your departure flight.