Looking out your window as your plane descends, you might just catch your first glimpse of the magnificent, powerful and eternal city of Rome. Touching down, you will be met in arrivals by a private transfer. After arriving at your hotel, you may want to venture into the Italian streets in search of your first taste of gelato or a much-anticipated glass of Italian wine. Allow yourself to gradually adjust to the Italian rhythm as you watch the movement of the country from a street side café with an Italian staple: espresso, or il caffè.
Today, you will spend a full day immersed in a world where ancient meets modern. Spend a half-day on a guided sightseeing tour that carries you through history as you marvel at endless historic monuments. Compare the grandiosity of the Coliseum with the subtle force of the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. Duck into a sprinkling of the city’s museums, such as Galleria Borghese – a restored 15th century palace that currently houses a collection of works from Caravaggio and Raphael. Or perhaps, venture into Museo Capitolino – designed by none other than Michelangelo – where you can admire early classical Greek sculptures.
As the day continues, allow yourself to drift back to the Roman Empire, reflecting on the centuries of history that have played out under your very feet. Then, return to present day for a rejuvenating espresso or a glass of wine at an enoteche as the city pulses around you. Consider splurging tonight on a Roman feast, complete with classic dishes such tripp alla romana or coda alla vaccinara. Following your deeply satisfying three courses – each accompanied by local Italian wine – find your way back to your hotel where you can digest, in luxurious comfort.
Today, you will explore Rome at your own pace. Each cobblestone and brick of this city is steeped with history, with each corner revealing a different element of Rome’s 2,500 years of history. Begin your morning by tossing a coin into the Fontana di Trevi, before losing yourself in the spirit and emotion of the Baroque quarter. Wander through farmers markets that explode with fresh produce, before locating the perfect panino or tramezzino for a light afternoon snack.
In the afternoon, set out in search of your favorite town square. Though Piazza Navona is often remembered as the most dramatic, Piazza del Popolo has a certain eerie charm. Weave in and out of sensational shops that sell anything from high Italian fashion to local eclectic treasures, before sitting down for some cured meat, cheese and l’aperitivo – Italian happy hour.
As this will be your final evening in Rome, consider venturing out into the evening to experience the local nightlife, which is as diverse as the city itself. Consult your concierge for local events where you can continue your exploration of Italian culture, before sleepily saying farewell to the city.
This morning, following a final Italian breakfast, you will return to the airport to board your flight to Athens. A short flight will carry you out of Italy and in to Athens where your vacation in Greece continues with your exploration of the ancient and modern European worlds. Descending over Athens, you will begin to notice the numerous qualities that both connect and differentiate these two cities.
A private transfer will drive you to your hotel. Keep an eye out your window for your first sighting of the Acropolis – which you will explore in depth in the morning. For the remainder of today, however, you might enjoy simply strolling the streets that surround your hotel. With countless talented chefs lining the restaurants that surround you, you might just spend the entire afternoon deciding on the perfect location for your first Grecian feast – and sip of ouzo, of course.
This morning, you will set out on a guided half-day tour of Athens, designed to reveal the city’s most modern and classical sights. Amidst this city of contrast, you will visit some of Ancient Greece’s most famous sites. The most notable site is likely the Acropolis – the treasure that sits atop the Parthenon. Home to the Greek since 5,000 BC, this hilltop icon will not only offer a peek into history - it will provide the most sensational and juxtaposing views of the city. As you descend from this shrine to the gods, the tour will continue on to the Panathenaic Stadium, home of the first modern Olympic games in 1896. As lunchtime approaches, consider sampling street-side soulvaki for a taste of local life before continuing on with a self-guided historic tour.
This evening, embark on a culinary and cultural tour of the region as you tuck into one of the city’s prized restaurants. Michelin stars are awarded to a handful of Mediterranean chefs, and they delight your taste buds with their fusion of classically Greek cuisine. Round off your evening with a taste of the ever-decadent baklava or milk pie, before finally retiring to your luxurious suite.
Today, as it is your final day in Europe, you will have the opportunity to craft your most idyllic itinerary. For some, this may be a continuation of yesterday’s explorations of the city’s greatest sights Or, you may chose to focus on exploring the innumerable cathedrals and churches that stipple Athens, paying homage to the Byzantine period – or perhaps, you would prefer to spend time examining the impossibly detailed Greek vases and frescoes. Galleries range from the classical to the trendy, and highlight the full breadth of Greek artistic talent. Of course just as cultural sights await your exploration, a number of boutiques remain untouched by your hand as well. High-end fashion abuts trinket-filled marketplaces, and you will certainly want to set out in search of hand crafted leather sandals. Cafes, restaurants, tavernas and street-side souvlaki stands will continue to guide your way, as you amble aimlessly-yet-purposefully through the city center.
There is also the option to go beyond Athens. We will happily organize an excursion to Delphi or Mycenae, where you can explore these excavated former homes of Greek civilizations. Or, if you are craving relaxation, we will help you get to the Aegean Sea. A day cruise through the islands of Hydra, Poros and Aegina may just be the perfect conclusion to this tour. No matter what your preference is for this day, be sure to return to Athens in the evening for a meze-filled evening in an authentically Greek setting.
This morning, following one final Greek breakfast of Greek pancakes, milk pie and grape molasses, you will return with a private transfer to Athens International Airport. You may have time to squeeze in a few final moments of Ancient Greece at the airport museum, before you board your flight back home. Of course – if a week wasn’t quite enough, you might also consider adding on a few tailor-made days to this historic and unforgettable tour. Turkey, Croatia and of course – the Greek Islands – are but a flight or cruise away…
Drift away into the Roman and Greek Empires as you weave between the archaeological and modern day sights of Rome and Athens on this weeklong experience. Globally coveted sights sit parallel to quiet local corners, both of which you will grow familiar through a combination of guided and self-directed excursions. Each day occurs against the backdrop of elegant European luxury – in both Rome and Athens, you will be cared for by some of the cities most renowned hotels.
Your tour of Italy begins in the Eternal City where you will spend two days retracing the two millennia worth of history. From the Coliseum to the Vatican, you will relive the most remarkable periods of the Roman Empire. Antiquity is however contrasted by the innovation that surrounds it. Intimate wine bars and open-aired street side cafés make for innumerable stopping points along your journey. Local specialities further delight your palate, diversifying the ways in which you experience this cosmopolitan city. Dip in and out of unique neighbourhoods, growing more accustomed to the Roman way of life, before eventually moving onwards to Greece.
In Athens, you will continue to explore how old and new intersect to form this deeply unique and enchanting city. Beginning atop the Acropolis, look out over Athens to imagine the city through the eyes of those who established this monument in 5,000 BC. Wander between temples and ruins for the remainder of your days, possibly venturing out of the city onto the Aegean Sea for a taste of the Greek Islands. Return only to fill your stomach and hearts with the rich flavors laid out on a mezze in a quiet taverna, before returning to your hotel for a final sacred piece of baklava.
$1829 per person (excluding international flights)
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