Spirit of Greece Tour: History, Grandeur & Romance

A 14 day trip to Greece 
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The Grecian Spirit is alive and thriving, energized by history and pulsing with modernity on this romantic custom tailored tour that will show you the finest highlights of Greece vacations. Experience remarkable temples that have stood the test of time as well as sensational beaches that dazzle visitors and locals alike. From the inspiring mythology to the tremendous vistas, ancient palaces to ash covered cities, and charming cliff side homes to passionate legends, you will spend your time in the most famous sites that have shaped the Western World.

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General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Athens, Mycenae, Olympia, Delphi, Mykonos, Kusadasi, Patmos, Rhodes, Heraklion, Santorini

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Searching for Spirit

Your spirited journey begins with your departure from home onwards to Athens, Greece. The countryside is filled with splendor while the cities are overrun with history. There is never a dull moment, so experience the sights, sounds, flavors, and more, each unrivaled. From myths to architecture, beaches to volcanoes, you will soon venture through the cradle of Western Civilization; your flight soars over the Atlantic, bringing you closer to the past, wonder, and romantic spirit of Greece.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, dinner

Day 2: Whole Hearted Arrival

Welcome to Greece, home of epic loves and immense history, from the mythological Oracle of Delphi to the celebrated Olympics. You are met at the airport by a private transfer and taken to Athens’ historic city center. The golden hills shift to old stone buildings and cobblestone walkways, and marble glints in the mid-morning sun. There is no grander symbol of Grecian antiquity than atop the Acropolis, the collection of marble temples that stand proudly over the city serving as a reminder of the country’s illustrious past. Settle into your luxurious accommodation where city life pulses around you.

With the afternoon left to explore at your whim, you can take in the entirety of the modern city’s expanse in one panorama atop Lycabettus Hill. While the Acropolis was once the highest point in ancient Athens, Lycabettus is now adorned with the chapel of St. George, towers over the city, and gives the mountaintop a hidden grace and an almost private view. A wooden funicular climbs the steep slope, bringing you to a wonderful view of the cityscape, including the rising majesty of the ancient temples and the world-famous Parthenon. The scent of marble and stone drifts from the city and the mountaintop. Beyond the ruins is the vast blue of the Aegean Sea, old enough to have witnessed the Golden Age of Athens. 

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer, accommodation

Day 3: Opening Athens

The morning light expands over the city, giving a sheen to the marble overlooking the buildings below. The rich and sweet aroma of Greek coffee entices you from your bed, readying you for the day to come. Meet your guide and venture out into the modern and ancient history that will captivate your imagination as it displays Athens’s ever-evolving wonder.

Visiting the new Acropolis Museum brings you in line with some of the stone faces of Greece’s Golden Age and beyond. The lobby hovers over the true ruins that made up a portion of the ancient city; you can see fragments of ancient Athens’ grid of streets and homes, beneath the museum’s foundation. The cold air of the lobby is a respite from the Mediterranean heat of the city. The stone from the ruins below mixes with the surrounding history on display. Touring through the museum will take you through standing busts and full statues, pillars and pottery, each item’s luster captivating in its own way. Five out of the six statues of the Erechtheion, known as Caryatid, are available to the public to witness the intricate designs. The statues resemble muses with their draped, flowing clothing and poised stature; however, the statues are pillars meant to help support and decorate the temple dedicated to Poseidon and Athena.

The Acropolis has watched over the city for over two millennia and continues to impress visitors and locals alike. Walking along the trail that leads to the top of the hill, you will notice the paved pathway shift to marble that shines in the sunlight of the early afternoon. Stand on the steps of the Propylaea, the entryway to the temple, a tremendous architectural feat in itself. The columns are thick and tall, able to endure the weight of the once imposing pediment. Walk beneath the remaining gate and onto the open plaza that showcases the sensational history of Athens within the majestic ruins.

The Parthenon causes a pause in its stature, not only as a revered structure but also as an iconic image of history. The entire temple was built like a puzzle, each piece needing to be placed in an exact position to create its perfect angle from every direction viewed. Look closer at the pediments and metopes to see the remarkable designs carved into the spaces. The gods are displayed in marbled mythology, legends and history abound, and the focus that it must have taken to plan and implement the temple is as impressive as its remaining artistry.

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast, tour

Day 4: The Epic Known

Outside of Athens is another world from the past that brings more Grecian history to life. From the epics of Homer to athletic myths, today you will venture away from Greece’s capital and find yourself in the rolling hills of Mycenae. Upon your arrival, you notice that the hills are manmade and look like beehives. The Royal Tholos tombs were built in the 15th and 14th-centuries B.C., where a golden mask was once found, believed to be a molded frame of Agamemnon, leader of the expedition against Troy. The epic Iliad by Homer claims that Helen of Troy’s face launched 1,000 ships to descend upon the ancient city, and it all started at Mycenae.

The remains of the Bronze Age city are created from gigantic stones, imposing and impressive all at once. The Lions Gate was the main entrance into the citadel and continues to hold strong, presenting two ornately carved lionesses posing against a single pillar, etched into a triangular stone. Watch out over the valley below, leading to the foothills of the distance mountain range. The aged stones and the landscape around the ruins contain a mysterious atmosphere; however, the elegance of the old city is apparent at first glance, especially in the Mycenaean’s expert taming of the land. When night falls, you find yourself in the city of Olympia, ready to relax in the comforts of your hotel.

What’s Included: accommodation, dinner, tour, transfer

Day 5: Games and Predictions

Modern Olympia sits on a hill close to the illustrious ruins that have dazzled international imaginations for thousands of years, from athletes to spectators. Wander through the ancient site where the most famous games in the modern world began. The city has accumulated temples, monuments, altars, and more over the centuries, creating a chronology of architectural art. Cool green trees surround the city, but arid ground surrounds the ruins. The great Temple of Zeus once held one of the Seven Wonders of the World: the Statue of Zeus. The temple’s remains consist of the large portico with rugged steps, an enormous lone pillar, and the decorated sculptures located in the museum that illustrate chariot races and battles. Olympia was once and continues to be, a place that has motivated and cultivated greatness. As the day drifts onward, you will continue to Delphi, home of the famous Oracle.

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast, dinner, tour, transfer

Day 6: Whispered Conclusions

Located on the upper slopes of Mount Parnassus, the cool air and rocky mountain landscape is a comfortable change from the Mediterranean heat. Delphi was once world-renowned for its famous Oracle, a priestess of the Temple of Apollo, rumored to predict pilgrims’ futures. There is amorousness to the air that surrounds the pillared ruins, offering a continuous splendor within the rising mountaintops and lush tree line that surrounds the ancient city. Enter the sanctuary through the main entrance on the southeast corner where the Sacred Way would lead to the Temple of Apollo. The polished stone rises over the temple on the sloping hill, topped with sectioned columns and continuing to encompass its original space, even if the structure no longer remains. The spirit of Delphi is alive and well within the cool mid-morning sun, between the Grecian and Roman ruins that cover the open space. There is a wonderment that has never ceased, spread across the mountainside, awe-inspiring and alluring. Whether watching over the winding valley from the seats of the theater or traversing the standing temples that once held offerings to gods like Athena, the amazing display is all around you. Return to Athens with whispers of the ages running through your head.

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast, lunch, tour, transfer

Day 7: Ancient Sites to Island Delights

Your morning in Athens brings you the sunlight washing over the marble temples once again, where the pink light is reflected on the white stone. You will be taken to the port neighborhood of Piraeus, where you will board a boat that will bring you to the revered island of Mykonos. Known most notably for its beaches, Mykonos is more than a collection of smooth sand and crystal clear waters. The brilliance of the island can be seen in its historic charm and secluded feeling winding in the labyrinthine streets of Mykonos Town. The Cyclades architecture is known by its whitewashed walls that give a vibrant glow to the buildings retaining heat in the winter and cold in the summer. The scent of the sweet ocean and freshly cooked seafood is hypnotic. You can hear the gentle waves of the ever-present beaches. The pastel colors of Little Venice spring from the walls, where a small stretch of buildings, once owned by merchants, hover over the waves, brightening the shoreline and adding to Mykonos’ elegant atmosphere.

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast, lunch, transfer

Day 8: Always Sunny

Mykonos’ sandy shores and warm breeze have enticed people to the island for decades. There is an indelible pulse to the night and an eccentric sparkle to the day. The day is yours to explore the island and its surroundings at your leisure, from the quaint churches to the luxurious restaurants, powdery sands to quiet comforts. Just off of Mykonos is the island of Delos, birthplace of Apollo and his sister Artemis, where a dreamy feeling drapes over the city. Ruins run along the foothills where the once affluent city was located along the sapphire water from as early as 3rd-century B.C. There is a softness to the remains that is different from Delphi and Olympia, where the rising hills and spreading pillars continue to add grace to the island, and a sense of power stems from the stone lions that continue to guard the sacred lake where Apollo was birthed. The entryway stands against the backdrop of a rising rocky peak; within the remaining walls is a statue that overlooks the city and the waterline. Wandering through the ancient city gives a feeling of grandeur that emanates from the ruins and what came before.

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast

Day 9: Energetic Shores

The beaches of Mykonos are always beckoning when on the island. The waves are calm, the water shimmers three shades of blue, but maintains its clear quality, giving you a view of the sea floor. Whether you prefer the animated life at Super Paradise Beach or the secluded sands of Agia Anna Beach at Kalafatis, you can enjoy the warm water lapping at your toes. Simultaneously experience both the exciting beat of activity, as well as the remote relaxation of powdery sand and snorkeling. The cabanas offer shady and comfortable respite from the sun. You can relax underneath the umbrella and sip a cold cocktail as the sun shines over the sea. The scents of the restaurants linger in the air. Freshly grilled calamari and sweet treats help pass the day, bringing the cool evening over the island.

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast

Day 10: Water Bound

The morning is at your leisure to enjoy your time on Mykonos. Stroll through the luxurious streets of Mykonos Town where the luscious scents of Greek cuisine drift along the delightful pathways. The romance of the town combines the antique architecture and modern indulgences, from well-known stores, such as Diesel, to more local shops like Love Boutique. The town is vibrant, filled with locals and visitors relishing the day, the architecture, the stroll, and the flavors of it all. In the mid-afternoon, you will board your ship and venture out into the Aegean. The water glistens a deep blue. The wind bustles along the boat. As the sun starts to sink behind the horizon, you come closer to crossing into Turkish waters and the magnificent port city of Kusadasi.

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast

Day 11: Remarkable Ancients

Wake in the morning and find yourself on the shores of Kusadasi, a Turkish port town known for its lovely beaches and its proximity to the ancient city of Ephesus. Whether you prefer to relish in the Turkish beaches or explore history, your morning will be filled with a pleasant air of something new. The ancient site was once an important commercial center where its fertile valley and strategic location helped achieve its fame. The Temple of Artemis once stood strong and illustrious over the city, one of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World. One of the most alluring structures is the Library of Celsus, once the study of the governor of the province of Asia. The two-story monument is an incredible site, where tall, thin Corinthian columns stand atop a lower case of stairs; statues decorate niches within the walls and between the pillars, and the open doors invite visitors to observe the once brimming library. 

The early afternoon brings you back to Greece and onto the island of Patmos, home to the caves where St. John the Divine wrote the Book of Revelations. Take your time wandering through Patmos Town, filled with elegant homes covered in bougainvillea and the herbaceous scent of ouzo. Towering over the town is what looks to be a fortress but is, in fact, a monastery built over the Cave of the Apocalypse. Venturing into the monastery, you can hear the ethereal hymns of the choir welcoming you to the site. At the mouth of the cave, you can see the mosaic portraying St. John’s vision marking the entrance, with religious symbols and sacred spaces abound. The private mystery surrounds you. Over the walls of the monastery, you can witness the exceptional view to the shore, where the white buildings reach down to the azure water and the mountains stretch into the distance.

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 12: Classic Rhodes

Wake up to find yourself on the famed Isle of Rhodes, where cultures have come and blended for millennia, from Greeks to Romans and Ottomans to Italians, giving the island a unique blend of architecture, food, and tremendous curiosities. Whether visiting the ancient Acropolis of Lindos or touring through historic Old Town, there is an endless elegance to the cobblestone streets and breathtaking castle that makes you feel like you’ve entered a fantasy. Walking around the Knight’s Quarter at Liberty Gate takes you across the small bridge that connects to Old Town. The brick esplanade is surrounded by rising stonework filled with iron grates or adorned with delicate friezes. The pathway leads to the Temple of Aphrodite, built in the 3rd century B.C. and displaying one of the few ancient ruins left in Old Town. You would think the remaining stones would be out of place in the medieval architecture; however, it is through the connection of Aphrodite’s Temple and the sensational towers of Rhodes' past that the true vivacity of the island comes to light.

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 13: Labyrinths and Cliffs

Along the Venetian ruins that line the port of Heraklion, Crete, you can see the castle that has guarded the marina for centuries. The city center climbs above the shore, bringing the main square composed of a mixture of antique and modern buildings to a raised point that gives a small view of the sea. Whether traversing the twisting streets of the city center or venturing to the fantastic ruins of the Minoan Palace of Knossos, the labyrinthine mythology is hard to escape. Join the optional tour that will take you to the famous remains of Knossos, the site of the Minotaur’s maze, built by Daedalus, conquered by Ariadne’s love for Theseus, and still hidden from the visitors and archeologists alike. The size of palace brings its lavishness to light; even though the entire structure no longer stands, the remaining pillars, stones, and  discovered accommodations fill almost four square miles. The rich colors that decorate the murals shine beneath metopes, showcasing the fantastic architecture and vibrant hues all at once. If it’s the Minotaur you’re searching for, you most likely won’t find him; however, the mural of a bull charging the countryside in spring brings to light the civilization’s connection to the mythological creature, the land, and the importance of art itself.  

The afternoon takes you to the cliffs of Santorini, where the whitewashed walls and cobalt roofs welcome you with picture perfect panoramas. Wander through the charming streets of Fira, the island’s capital, or discover the ancient site of Akrotiri, rumored to be the fabled city of Atlantis. Within the romantic village of Oia, you can stroll along marble pathways that offer sensational views of the Aegean, along with the island’s crescent shape as a whole. The gorgeous aroma of freshly baked pastries drifts from the local cafes, mixing with the scent of rich coffee that you can’t help but indulge in. Look out to the horizon, where the deep sapphire water glistens, and you can see the pristine look of the Cyclades architecture, blue roofs and shutters juxtaposed against the white walls, climbing the cliff and showing you the iconic image of Greece’s islands. You can sit on the stone benches of the old castle that looks over the northern and western edges of the island, where a windmill spins slowly over the sloping land. See the sharp edges of cooled lava rising from the water, a constant reminder of the volcano’s last eruption in the 1950’s. When the sun starts to set, you will find yourself back on the ship making its way towards Athens. 

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 14: Spirited Returns

Today the morning light brings with it the Athenian shores. After breakfast, you will disembark the boat and have a private transfer to the airport where you will depart for home. Your adventure has taken you through on the finest of vacation packages to Greece and along the fabulous isles where art and architecture, history and modernity sparkle in various shades of recognition and marvel. Your trip may come to an end, but there will always be more to see and more to visit, with the exceptional sites welcoming you back for more.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer

Price

Price 

Zicasso recommends the following guidelines for customized Greece vacation packages, excluding international flights:

  • 5-star: USD $350 - $1,000+ per person per day
  • 4-star: Minimum USD $300 per person per day
  • 3-star: Minimum USD $250 per person per day

The customized package will include accommodations, airport transfers and other transportation within Greece, guided tours or activities, unique experiences, trip planning, and 24x7 support during your trip.

Please inquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final accommodation choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.