BYZANTINE GREECE

  • Duration:11 NIGHTS/12 DAYS
  • Countries Visited:Greece
  • Highlights:Thessaloniki, Mount Athos, Meteora, Olympia, Sparta, and more.
  • Tour Inclusions:
    • Airfare NYC/Thessaloniki X Athens/NYC
    • Accommodations in first class hotels
    • Buffet breakfast and dinner as noted
    • English speaking tour escort
    • Comprehensive sightseeing
    • Transportation by a private motorcoach
    • Select International Travel Portfolio

 

DAY 1: DEPART U.S.A.

You’ll leave this evening on an overnight flight to Thessaloniki.

DAY 2: THESSALONIKI

Welcome to the capital city of Macedonia and the land of Alexander the Great, named after Alexander’s sister. You are met by your English speaking tour guide and transferred to the hotel. Overnight in Thessaloniki. (D.)

DAY 3: THESSALONIKI

Begin your tour of Thessaloniki, by exploring St. Dimitrios Church, St. Sophia and the Church of the 12 Apostles. You see the Arch of Galerius, St. George Rotunda and the White Tower. Tonight you will have a discussion with a Greek religious specialist about Mt. Athos. You learn about the remarkable living museums of Byzantine art and culture, their impressive libraries, amazing frescoes, beautiful mosaics and fascinating way of life. Overnight Thessaloniki. (B.D.)

DAY 4: HOLY MOUNTAIN- (MOUNT ATHOS)

Mt. Athos is a monastic state, which has conformed to unchanged rules of life and worship for a thousand years. Emperor Constantine decreed that the Holy Mountain be set aside for exclusive veneration of the Virgin Mary, the protectress of the territory and the area is off limits to women. Men need to have special permission to enter the Holy Site. In 20 sovereign monasteries 2000 Orthodox Monks still live and work. Overnight Thessaloniki. (B.L.D)

DAY 5: METEORA

This morning depart for another Byzantine wonder – Meteora. Seemingly unscalable black rocks are topped by beautiful, large, monasteries. Many monks believe that the founder of the first monastery was carried there by an eagle. The first monks were probably 10th century ascetics who climbed the rocks and lived in caves. By the 14th century, there were enough monks to build the Great Meteoron monastery. In the late Byzantine period and during the Ottoman rule, this monastic community became a sanctuary of the prosecuted and developed into a center of Byzantine art. Of the original 24 monasteries, 5 remain and welcome visitors. Overnight Kalambaka. (B.D.)

DAY 6: DELPHI

Drive through the lovely countryside of central Greece to “the navel of the world”-Delphi. Leaders from around the ancient world flocked to Apollo’s Delphi Oracle for advice. You understand the foresight of the ancients when you see here you see the first monument ever created to One God. It is suitably surrounded by impressive peaks and an awe-inspiring location. You visit the Archaeological Site and Archaeological Museum. Overnight Petras (B.D.)

DAY 7: OLYMPIA

Continue to Olympia via the town of Nafpaktos with its old Venetian fortress. In Olympia see the pediments of the Temples of Zeus and Hera, and walk the length of the world’s most famous stadium, where in 776 BC the first Olympic games were held in honor of Zeus. Overnight Sparta. (B.D.)

DAY 8: MYSTRAS- SPARTA

Arrive in Mystras, where the ruins of a dead Byzantine city are spread along the foothill of Mount Taigetos. This captivating site is one of the most extensive Byzantine monuments in Greece. Once a home to 45,000 people its only habitants now are the nuns who mantain the Pantanessa Convent. Overnight Sparta. (B.D.)

DAY 9: EPIDARIUS- MYCENAE- CORINTH- ATHENS

Our journey through the ancient Peloponnese, is a true joy, a great enrichment. This area is full of treasures depicting a civilization that still captivates the world. Continue to Epidaurus, lovely riverside sanctuary healing arts were once practiced. Visit the remarkable amphitheater, a miracle of acoustics, which hosts the famous summer Greek tragedy festival with participation by leading Greek performers. We visit Mycenae, the Homeric city “rich in gold” with its Lion Gate, the ruins of the Palace of Agamemnon, and the Royal Tombs. Some of the richest archeological finds are from this area. Continue to Corinth of St. Paul, and the marketplace where the Apostle preached to the Corinthians, the Temple of Appolo and the Corinth Museum. Continue via the Corinthian Canal to Athens. Before arrival in Athens, time permitting we stop at Dafni Monastery. Overnight Athens. (B.D.)

DAY 10: ATHENS

Embark on a city tour including a visit to the Agora where Paul preached, and where Socrates taught and was forced to drink the deadly hemlock. You also visit the ancient town, of Acropolis, to see the Parthenon, the theater of Dionyssos, the Temple of the Wingless Victory and other sights which reflect the golden age of Greece. In the afternoon visit the Metropol Cathedral and Kessariani Monastery. This evening enjoy a dinner in the Plaka with traditional Greek music and dancing. Overnight Athens. (B.)

DAY 11: ATHENS

Day at leisure and an opportunity to visit either the Byzantine Museum, the Archeological Museum, or visit the island of Tinos and one of the most Important religious sites in Greece. Overnight Athens. (B.)

DAY 12: RETURN TO THE U.S.A.

Transfer to airport for your return flight back home. (B.) or take a 3-night cruises departing Athens on Fridays

OPTIONAL 3 NIGHT CRUISE

DAY 12: TINOS-MYKONOS

Board a ferry from the island of Tinos for Mykonos. Explore the picture perfect island, with its white houses and world famous windmills, before boarding the cruise ship. (B.D.)

DAY 13: RHODES

Take an optional excursion to visit the Temple of Athena on the majestic rocky Acropolis of Lindos. In the afternoon explore the island where the Knights of St. John built magnificent fortresses and parks. (B.L.D.)

DAY 14: KUSADASI-PATMOS

Today take a tour to the ancient city of Ephesus, where Paul preached. You will marvel as you walk down the well preserved streets over 5000 years old to the Library. See the monastery of St. John, where tradition tells us the Apostle is buried. You can also visit Mary’s house where tradition tells us Mary spent her last days, upon leaving the Holy Land with St. John. In the afternoon cruise towards Patmos, where St. John the Divine received the mystical revelation which forms the last book of The New Testament. Your optional excursion takes you to the Grotto of the Revelation and the 11th century Monastery of St. John (which houses the original manuscript of the Gospel.) (B.L.D.)

DAY 15: ATHENS- USA

This morning return to Athens and transfer to the airport for your flight home. (B.)

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