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Athens – Epidaurus – Nafplio – Olympia – Arachova – Delphi – Kalambaka – Meteora – Thessaloniki – Anphipolis -Philippi – Kavala – Thessaloniki – Vergina – Thermopylae – Athens
Explore the most famous monuments of Greece, all seen at once on the same guided tour. By starting and ending in Athens, this tour brings participants in contact with history, architecture, nature and introduce them to the modern way of life in Greece. The latest new discoveries in Amphipolis consists two Sphinxes, a Lion, two beautiful Caryatids, a beautiful floor mosaic and the remains of five people. So far, the momument is called the greatest mystery of the ancient Greece. According to the speculations of many world known Archaeologists, the tomb belongs to someone connected to Alexander the Great.
Day 1: Athens (D)
Arrival at Athens International Airport and transfer to your hotel in Athens city center. Check in to your room. Free time. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 2: Athens (B-D)
Breakfast at the hotel. Meet our guide at the lobby of the hotel and start the Sightseeing Tour of Athens. This tour allows you to see the most important monuments and sites of the city. Visit the Acropolis and the Parthenon Temple and the National Archaeological Museum, rich and famous for its treasures. The tour ends before lunch time and you are transferred back to your hotel. The rest of the day is free at leisure. For those who wish to visit Cape Sounio, an optional excursion is available. The excursion starts after lunch. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 3: Athens – Corinth – Epidaurus – Nafplion – Mycenae – Olympia (B-L-D)
Breakfast at the hotel. Embark the coach and drive by the coastal road to the Corinth Canal (short photo stop). Continue the drive and visit the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus and its exceptional acoustics, which permit the 14,000 spectators to perfectly hear the conversations at the center stage. Then proceed to the town of Nafplion (short photo stop), after Nafplion drive on to Mycenae, one of the major centres of Greek civilization in the second millennium BC with its Acropolis, the Palace and the famous Lion Gate. You will also visit the Tomb of Agamemnon which is one of the many ‘beehive’ tombs in the vicinity of the ancient site of Mycenae. It is by far the best preserved of these tholos tombs. Lunch at a local restaurant in Mycenae. Then depart to Olympia for dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 4: Olympia – Arachova (B-L-D)
Breakfast at the hotel. In the morning visit the Archaeological Site with the Sanctuary of Olympian Zeus, the Ancient Stadium and the Archaeological Museum. There is probably no ancient archaeological site anywhere in the world that has more relevance on today’s world than Olympia, the place where the ancient Olympic Games were held. Then drive through the stunning bridge connecting Peloponissos and the Mainland at Rio, pass by the picturesque seafront town of Nafpaktos (Lepanto) and continue on the coastal road to the town of Arachova. On the way you will make a stop for lunch. After approximately an hours drive, you will arrive at Arachova, a village on the mountain well renowned for its colourful rugs and carpets. Check in to the hotel. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 5: Arachova – Delphi – Kalambaka (B-L-D)
Breakfast at the hotel. In the morning visit the pan-Hellenic sanctuary of Delphi, where the oracle of Apollo spoke and was the site of the omphalos, the ‘naval of the world’. Blending harmoniously with the superb landscape and changes with sacred meaning, Delphi in the 6th century BC, was indeed the religious centre and symbol of unity of the ancient Greek world. While at the site, visit the Treasury of the Athenians, the Temple of Apollo and the Museum. Afterwards, lunch will be served at a nearby restaurant. Departure for Kalambaka, a small town stated at the foot of the astonishing complex of Meteora gigantic rocks. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 6: Kalambaka – Meteora – Vergina – Thessaloniki (B-L-D)
Breakfast at the hotel. Visit Meteora, famous for its impressive scenery with ageless Monasteries*, that contain priceless historical and religious treasures as well as exquisite specimens of Byzantine art, standing between earth and sky atop huge rocks. Once you finish visiting the monasteries proceed to the town of Kalambaka for lunch and then drive to Vergina, a small town in northern Greece near Veria, principal of the prefecture of Imathia. The town became internationally famous in 1977, when the Greek archaeologist Manolis Andronikos unearthed what he claimed was the burial site of the Kings of Macedonia, including the tomb of Philippe II, father of Alexander the Great. These finds established the site as the ancient town of Aigai. Visit the museum which was built to protect the tombs, and was inaugurated in 1993 to exhibit the artifacts and show the tumulus as it was before the excavations. The two most important graves were not despoiled and contained the main treasures that you can admire in the museum. The tomb of Philippe II, the father of Alexander, was discovered in 1977 and is separated in two rooms. The main room included a marble sarcophagus, and inside was the larnax made of 24 carat gold and weighing 11 kilograms. Inside the golden larnax the bones of the dead were found and a golden wreath of 313 oak leaves and 68 acorns, weighing 717 grams.
The facade of the tomb of Alexander IV of Macedon: In 1978 another burial site was also discovered near the tomb of Philippe, which belongs to Alexander IV of Macedon son of Alexander the Great. It was slightly smaller than the previous and was also not despoiled. Your guide will accompany you inside the museum to see some of King Philippe’s most important possessions, including the King’s Shield and gold-trimmed breastplate. According to legend, the golden chest containing the King’s bones was washed with wine and wrapped in purple cloth. Also you can learn how it was unearthed before seeing the golden chest. Also on display are gold diadems of unparalleled artistry, lavish wall paintings and a golden wreath of oak leaves.
Following the visit of Vergina Archaeological site, we will return to the city of Thessaloniki early in the afternoon. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
*In order to visit the Monasteries, skirts for the ladies and long trousers for the gentlemen are required.
Day 7: Thessaloniki – Amphipolis – Philippi – Kavala – Thessaloniki (B-L-D)
Breakfast at the hotel. Meet with the guide and drive to the city of Kavala, following the Egnatia highway, built on the path of the Roman ‘Via Egnatia’. Passing by the lakes of Koroni and Volvi and the village of Asprovalta, on the way, visit the famous Lion statue and the Archaeological Museum of Amphipolis. Then drive to Philippi. You will see the place where St. Lydia was baptized, as well as the archaeological site of Philippi, i.e. the ‘Forum Romanum’, ruins of the two early Christian Basilicas (the prison where St. Paul was held and preached in 50 AD), as well as the ancient Greek theatre.
Later, arrive in Kavala for short tour around the city where you may see the most important monuments of the city and its port. Lunch at a local restaurant. Early in the evening, drive back to Thessaloniki for dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 8: Thessaloniki – Thermopylae – Athens (B-L-D)
Breakfast at the hotel. Meet our guide and begin the tour with a panoramic drive around the city. See the main landmarks of the city. Make a brief stop at the White Tower, in order to take some pictures. Then continue your tour by visiting Agios Demetrius Byzantine church which is the most important church of Thessaloniki for religious, historical and artistic reasons. The most famous and interesting part of the church, is the underground ancient “Crypt”. The crypt was re-discovered after the fire of 1917 and was finally restored as an exhibition/museum in 1988. According to the Christian Tradition, the saint was imprisoned here and died in 303 A.D. You will also have the opportunity to visit the Archaeological Museum which displays and interprets artifacts from the Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods, mostly from the city of Thessaloniki but also from the region of Macedonia in general. Then return to Athens passing by the heroic monument of Leonidas at Thermopylae (short photo stop) where 300 strong Spartans battled the army of the Persian Empire. Arrive in Athens early in the evening for dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 9: Athens (B)
Breakfast at the hotel and transfer to the airport for departure