A perfect seven day Grand tour of Greece, driving from Athens.
|TOUR CODE NUMBER||CHT-Tour#15|
|MEETING POINT||Departure from Hotel Amalia Athens (in Amalias Avenue
number 10 in the centre of Athens, opposite to the National Garden).
Please be at the meeting point by 08:20 AM.
|DEPARTURE TIME||08:30 AM|
|RETURN TIME||19:00 PM (7th day)|
|HOTEL ACCOMMODATION||The accommodation is first class and based on single, double and triple occupancy
(*) In case 2 adults + 2 children are selected, in the booking form, two rooms will be allocated.
|BOOKING ORDER||Please fill in all the requested fields of the tour booking form and press the “Book Now” button to proceed with your Booking Order (Your Reservation).
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|BOOKING & CANCELLATION TERMS||Please read our Booking Terms, Disclaimer Note and Cancellation & Refunding Policy|
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1st DAY: We begin our tour leaving Athens in the morning and arriving, via the coastal highway firstly at the Corinth Canal, an engineering marvel of the late 19th century, connecting the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf. Continuing along the Saronic Gulf coastal road we arrive at EPIDAURUS.
Arriving at Palaia Epidaurus, we will visit the ancient city theater, a very well preserved theater (the small Theatre of Epidaurus) built in the 4th century BC, dedicated to Dionysus the god of wine. The theater originally accommodated about 2000 spectators.
We will then go to Asklepieion of Epidaurus (a UNESCO World Heritage Monument) which was an important healing center, considered the cradle of medicinal arts and the mother of all other Asklepieia built throughout the Hellenic world. This was considered to be the birthplace of Apollo’s son Asklepios.
The Theater of Epidaurus (built in the 3rd century BC) is the best preserved theater of ancient Greece which is still used today for the Epidaurus Festival because of its incredible acoustics, allowing spectators to hear perfectly unamplified spoken word in all parts of the theater. There are seats for about 12,000 spectators.
We then depart for Nafplion (the first capital of modern Greece in 1829), with its impressive fortress of Palamidi towering above the town (a short stop), and continue on to MYCENAE (a UNESCO World Heritage) which we will visit.
MYCENAE: According to Greek mythology and Homer’s writings, this was the town of Agamemnon, leader of the Greeks during the Trojan War. Schliemann was able to find Mycenae based on Homer’s epic work and using it as a guide.
Mycenae is a very important archeological site of Greece and was the center of the Mycenaean civilization (from 1600 to 1100 BC), here you can see the Cyclopean Walls, the Lion Gate (possibly the most famous site of Mycenae), the Tomb of Agamemnon, the huge arches and the palace of Mycenae.
The most important monuments visible today were erected between 1350 & 1200 BC, when the Mycenaean era was at its peak.
In the afternoon we will depart for OLYMPIA, passing the cities of Megalopolis and Tripolis- Dinner and Overnight stay will be in OLYMPIA. (D)
2nd DAY OLYMPIA: Olympia, one of the most influential ancient Greek sanctuaries located in the North Western Peloponnese, established in the valley created by the convergence of the Alpheios and Kladeos rivers, in an area of natural beauty and serenity.
The famous sanctuary became the centre of worship of Zeus, father of the gods. In 776 BC the kings of Elis, Pisa and Sparta organized the games in honour of Zeus and developed the idea of the sacred ‘truce’ and soon the quadrennial festival acquired a national festival.
In this universal place evolved the ‘Olympic Idea’ – symbol of peace and competition, while giving importance to the ideals of physical and metal harmony.
Olympia is the birthplace of the most important athletic event of the world today, the Olympic Games.
We will visit the Archaeological Site, which includes ruins from the Bronze Age to the Byzantine eras as well as the ancient stadium where the first Olympic Games took place, the Doric Temple of Hera, the Heraion Peristyle, the Palaistra, the ruins of the Temple of Zeus and much more.
We will also visit the Museum containing among other articles the sculpted decoration of the Temple of Zeus, the statue of Nike and the Hermes of Praxiteles.
From Olympia, we then drive via PATRAS to RION then across the channel to ANTIRRION on the new suspended bridge. We soon drive through NAFPAKTOS and continue to DELPHI, where we will have dinner and stay overnight.
3rd DAY DELPHI: Delphi is one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece, comparable only to the Acropolis of Athens.
The Pan-Hellenic sanctuary of Delphi, located in an impressive landscape, was for centuries the cultural and religious centre and unity for the Hellenic world, having the most famous Oracle of Ancient Greece.
According to Greek mythology, Zeus sent two eagles from the ends of the universe to find the naval of the world, and this is the place where they met.
The history of Delphi begins with the myths of ancient Greeks, that in the beginning the site was sacred to Mother Earth, guarded by a serpent Python. Apollo later killed the serpent and in gratitude a sanctuary was built there to honour him.
The importance of Delphi for the ancient world cannot be forgotten, many important political decisions were made after consultation at the Oracle, while no new colony was founded without its consent.
Due to its increasing influence, it grew from a small village to a place where Architecture and the Arts flourished, beginning back in the Mycenaean Period (1600-1100 BC). Between the 6th and 4th centuries BC, the Delphic oracle being the most reliable was at its peak.
The Pythia (priestess) delivered while the priests of Apollo interpreted. The oracle was consulted by many, ranging from ordinary people to rulers asking for its advice.
Delphi, over the centuries started to include other events, the most important being the Pythian Games held every 4 years and many different cultural events.
The sanctuary expanded, and soon after included many Temples, theaters and a stadium that were constructed.
The most important monuments to see are the:
- Temple of Apollo
- Treasury of the Athenians
- The Polygonal wall of Delphi
- The Stoa of the Athenians
- Ancient Theater of Delphi
- The Sacred Way
- Ancient Gymnasium of Delphi
- The Tholos of Athena Pronaia
- Ancient Stadium of Delphi
The Delphi Archaeological Museum, one of the most important museums in Greece exhibits the history of the area, comprising statues (including the unique bronze statue of the Charioteer), sculptures and other objects found on the sanctuary.
In the afternoon we will have free time to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Delphi area, and later on, dinner and overnight stay in Delphi.
4th DAY: In the morning we will leave for KALAMBAKA passing the towns of AMPHISSA, LAMIA and TRIKALA in central Greece.
Once we arrive in KALAMBAKA, we will have a short visit in the village, and later in the afternoon we will visit the picturesque METEORA, one of the most beautiful places in Greece. Meteora, which means “suspended in space” is one of the main groups of monasteries, second only to Mount Athos in importance in all of Greece.
The first monks arrived on the cliffs in the 11th century, and in the following centuries several monasteries were built by the only way materials could be carried up the 400 metre cliffs – by pulling up the material in baskets.
Till 1920 this was the only way of getting material up, while the monks had to climb up the steep rocks to reach the top. Now you can reach the top by following the steps which have been cut into the rock.
The monasteries have been classified by UNESCO as a “unique phenomenon of cultural heritage”.
The most important Monastery is the Great Meteoron which was built in the middle of the 14th century.
Meteroa is a blend of natural beauty, history, manmade scenery and man’s desire for spiritual elevation where the visitor can enjoy one of the best panoramic and majestic views possible of the Plain of Thessaly.
It has been estimated that the rock formation was created approximately 60 million years ago, earthquakes and weathering helped to give their present shape.
At the end of our visit we will return to Kalambaka for dinner and overnight stay.
5th DAY: In the morning we drive by Trikala and Larissa arriving at the sacred Macedonian town of DION, at the northern part of Mount Olympus.
The sanctuary of Zeus and Dion was famous and important in ancient Greece, and second only to Delphi, with a history of over 1500 years and reaching its peak in the 4th century BC.
There are several interesting monuments worth seeing, including the Ancient and Roman Theatres of Dion, the Necropolis and the Great Thermai of Dion.
We then continue to THESSALONIKI, the largest city in Northern Greece where we will visit the White Tower (the main landmark of the city), where an exhibition on the city’s history exists.
Following we visit the Kamara (The Arch of Galerius) built in the 3rd Century BC and the Rotonda.
We will then go to the most impressive museum of Thessaloniki and after we can continue with our sightseeing.
Dinner and overnight will be in Thessaloniki.
6th DAY: In the morning we start our trip to Pella, birthplace of Alexander the Great, where we stop for a visit.
The Archaeological Museum will allow you to acquire a picture of Pella at its peak, when it was the capital of the Macedonian State since the early 4th century BC.
We then continue to Vergina (Ancient Aigai- first capital of Macedonia) to visit King Philip’s tomb and the famous Vergina Treasures – the golden urns, the golden wreaths and the weapons and armor of King Philip II which are on exhibition.
Our trip continues to Lefkadia, where we will see the excavations being carried out in the ancient town of Mieza.
The main ancient remains found in this area are tombs, of the Macedonian type plus many different mosaic floors found in the ruins of various houses and buildings.
At the end of our visit, we will return to Thessaloniki via Veria to have dinner and spend overnight.
7th DAY: We will start our return trip to Athens by passing the Tempi Valley, Larissa, Lamia and after, to THERMOPYLAE where Leonidas and the 300 Spartans fought the Persians in the Greek / Persian war of 480 BC (we will stop to take photos here), then continue to Kamena Vourla and to Athens.