You will experience the awe of Classical civilizations and the marvels of ancient tradition during your 11-day classic Greece vacation designed for 2020. Your customizable tour will highlight the majestic history of the Mediterranean as you uncover the whispers of the Oracle at Delphi and stare into the shimmering caldera of Santorini. From famous beaches to iconic mountains you can enjoy the classical delights for which Greece is known.
Athens - A Classic Welcome
Arrive in Athens and let your eyes wander through the rolling hills outside of the city. The famous olive trees spread over the arid mountains giving the outskirts of the city a luscious scent of soothing oils. Once in the city center, you can see the variety of the life beneath Acropolis Hill; the pearl columns and porticos stand over the bustling streets of both modern and classic Athens. Settle into your comfortable accommodation and traverse the beauty of the city, where the cobblestone streets of the ancient city are filled with shops, markets, restaurants, and people. Stand around the wonders of classic Greece and revel in the delight that you’ve arrived.
Athens - Touring Antiquity
Today you will venture out into Athens and travel back through time to visit the famous sites of the city that have inspired Western Civilization for millennia. Within the wonders of history are the dreams of many, where people wish to see what had once stood proudly over the city, or how the statues had been positioned. Visit the New Acropolis Museum where you can journey through the richness of Athenian art. The stunning structure of the museum gives a prominent home to the ages of the city while at the same time giving a splendid view of the Parthenon along the third-floor, where the windows offer a panorama of the famed temple. View the Caryatids, detailed statues of women dressed in togas with their hands modestly at their sides that were once the support for the Erechtheion on the Acropolis. There are five statues but six basins; the empty basin is a reminder of the Caryatid displayed at the British Museum in London.
Out into the open-air museum of Athens brings you to the base of the Acropolis. The stone steps start to smooth and glint as they shift to pure marble. The gentle light of the afternoon reflects off of the magnificent columns of the Propylaea, the entrance gate to the Acropolis. Standing beneath the edges of Western Civilization elevates your heart rate. The classic image of days gone by stands on the opposite side of the gate. Step through the Propylaea and stand at the top of Acropolis Hill. The modern city of Athens sprawls around the hill, from the water’s edge to the reaching mountains. On the left are the replicas of the Caryatids supporting the Erechtheion, a temple dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon. On your right is the impeccable Parthenon, where the architect shrewdly constructed the dedication to the Goddess of Wisdom in a way that would look perfect from every angle it was viewed. The porticos continue to adorn the entrances of the temple while their carvings are on prominent display. The earth is rich and the breeze is welcome as you circle the wondrous classic of Western Civilization.
Olympia - Standing on Bronze
Wave goodbye to the pearl-like pillars and the Golden Age of Athens. Today you depart the city on your way to the famed city of Olympia, but first you will stop to experience the splendor of Mycenae. The Acropolis situated over the valley is where you can find the remains of the Bronze Ages site. The ruins recall the once-powerful past of the Mycenaean civilization that dominated the Mediterranean around the 12th century BC and are linked to the Iliad and the Odyssey. The Treasury of Atreus, also called the Tomb of Agamemnon, gives you a sense of awe, from the climbing stones to the open door that looks as though it supports the hill above. The mask of Agamemnon was found within the tomb where remains of houses encircle the grass above. Stand beneath the Lions Gate where you can see the large limestone carving of two lions pressed against a pillar; the stone is wedged as the adornment over the entrance. While at Mycenae you aren’t just walking along the steps of history but within through the celebrated poems of Homer. Discover the glory of eternal fame before making your way to Olympia.
Delphi - Pride and Games
Everyone knows the story of the Olympics, how even warring city-states would put down their swords during the integral games that happened once every four years. There is always much more to history than what people learn in grade school and today is your chance to not just learn about the Olympic games but to revel in their truths and myths while standing within their founding city: Olympia. There is a sense of competitive edge to the air, where past athletes wrestled and ran for themselves and country.
The remains of the ancient city streets are lined with pillars where ceilings once stretched the length of the pathway. The Heraeum is a temple dedicated to Hera, Zeus’ wife. The temple is the oldest known Doric building and once held a table on which garlands were placed, prepared for the victors in the games. The pillars are circular and you can see where the stones were cut and placed together. The temple’s design was feminine and empowering, giving homage and strength to the goddess and those that paid her tribute. Throughout the classic site, there is the ever-present feeling of wonder, of pride, and of the cool breeze that flows in from the hills. In the afternoon make your way through the city of Patras where a medieval castle stands side-by-side with a Roman Odeon, before settling in for the night in Delphi.
Kalabaka - Facing the Oracle
The sunrise casts a glow over one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece, one which has attracted travelers from all over the world for thousands of years all wanting a private visit with the eminent Oracle. The town is quaintly situated along the hillside, with stone streets and stairs that climb through the landscape. The red-shingled roofs give a redbrick color to the city’s crown. At the foot of Mount Parnassos, situated between twin rocks, is the sanctuary of Delphi. The Temple of Pronoia Athena is on prominent display. Within the stone circle lie wedges of columns that once surrounded the center, with pillars that continue to rise, framing the mountainous background of the site.
The scent of pine and aged marble fills the temple air. You can see the open space and tiered benches of the stadium situated near the theater that rises up the hillside. On the back of the wind, you can almost hear the whisper of the oracle willing you to ask the question to the priestess of the temple. There may no longer be an oracle of Delphi but the magic of the city and the ruins continue to surround the legends. As the day begins to fade you will make your way to Kalabaka for the evening.
Athens - A Matter of Monasteries
The city of Kalabaka sits beneath the looming cliffs of the surrounding mountainside. The city is pleasant and quaint, cast in the present and blessed shadow of Meteora. Meteora means “middle of the sky,” and that is where you will find the monasteries, over 1000 feet above the city, atop varied pinnacles beside the Pindos Mountains. Six different monasteries stand over the valley with views of the snowcapped mountains in the distance, the stone splendors reachable by staircases carved into the mountains themselves.
The stained glass and vibrant walls within the churches celebrate the history of Christian orthodoxy, with paintings that harken to the Sistine Chapel; ceilings and walls painted with gilded splendor that connotes the dedication to, and prestigiousness of, the church. Explore the inside walls and alleys, where you would never know that the surrounding winds rush past the protruding buildings. The stature of each structure and the sensational interiors, along with their ability to build such a display of grace and elegance along a pinnacle of great magnitude, will more than delight you; it will take your breath away. In the afternoon you will return to Athens with the phenomenal visit playing like a slideshow in your memories.
Mykonos – The Chic Delights of Mykonos
Today you climb aboard your cruise liner and touch down on the celebrated shores of Mykonos. The island is known for its sensational stretch of beaches where the glassy color of the water laps calmly at the shores. Whether you prefer to spend the day luxuriating with your feet resting in the hot sand at Super Paradise Beach or would rather stroll through the labyrinthine streets of Mykonos Town, the remainder of the day is yours to enjoy the island. Along the lovely meandering paths of the town, you will find the colorful walls of Little Venice. The buildings are pressed together and sit above the rush of waves at the port, once owned by wealthy merchants and presumed pirates. The remaining buildings are classic Cyclades, with pristine white walls that help reflect the sunlight keeping the interiors cool in the depths of the summer sun. The stone walkways are quaint and inviting as they pave the way to precious boutiques, chic shops, and mouth-watering restaurants. The more you walk the more you can follow the aroma of fresh grilled seafood and lemon zest. The easy wash of the waves is somewhere in the distance. The town gives you the freedom and illusion of getting lost, even though it doesn’t seem that big. Enjoy the serenity of the island as the orange glow of the sun starts to cover the sky.
Kusadasi - Along the Ottoman Empire
Arrive in the morning along the shores of Kusadasi, home to much of Greece’s history that now sits within the borders of Turkish waters. Step ashore and visit the ancient city of Ephesus, once an established port city. The port had a vast role in the country’s past due to its strategic location and the surrounding fertile valley. Meander along the paved street which will take you to the central ruins. Pillars line the walkway giving you a feel for what the city may have been once. It is easy to imagine the grandeur, including where the Temple of Artemis stood, one of the Ancient Wonders of the World. The current ruins may not be as vast as the ancient temple, but they are no less magical. The quiet sound of shuffled feet on pebbles fills the empty air. You almost gasp as you reach the remains of the Library of Celsus. The pillars are stacked atop one another, separated by metopes, creating an opulent two-story façade. Where Artemis’s temple once stood you will find a single column, almost like a tribute to one of the greatest and most humbling structures that had ever been built.
After your visit to Ephesus you will journey to the island of Patmos where you have the option of visiting the cave where John the Divine wrote the Book of Revelation. Whether within the impressive monastery or the serenity of Chora, which means Patmos Town, the remainder of your day will be splendid. The white walls of houses in the town stretch from the shoreline to the mountainous plateau, situated beneath the grand monastery. The streets can only be described as quaint, where each corner you turn brings you to another square filled with bright tables and chairs that make you want to take a seat and sip a coffee. The monastery is proud above the town like a medieval castle insuring the protection of all within its sight. From the mountaintop to the seaside, Patmos will give you a chance to bask in the tranquil comfort the island.
Rhodes - Along the Classic Rhodes
Step onto the shores of Rhodes with the eclectic mix of culture and history making its mark on the old city. Enjoy a day to discover the many luxuries of the island at your own pace, including the Acropolis of Lindos. Overlooking the modern town of Lindos, the Acropolis also has a backdrop of the open sea, where the blue of the water blends into the sky. The gentle breeze comes off of the sea bringing the sweet and salty aroma with it. The theater sits below the Temple of Athena where the circular auditorium was hollowed out of the side of the hill once holding 1,800 people. The old agora gives way to five remaining pillars where a grand staircase rises above the citadel giving you a view of the sensation below. The Acropolis of Lindos is one classic remnant of the ancient Greek community that thrived along the shores of Rhodes, giving you another moment of connecting serenity with wonderful remains of an inspiring civilization.
Crete - Venetian Port to Pristine Cliffs
Arrive in the capital of Crete, Heraklion, with the beauty of its Venetian past decorating the port. The castle proudly stands on the outer limits of the city guarding the continuing rich history of the city and island. The morning and the city are yours to discover along with their gems as you see fit. The Knossos Minoan Palace, home to the notorious Minotaur, is a short distance outside the city center, The bohemian cafes of the city rest along Deadalou, where the boisterous conversation of artists and those who want to be around artists mixes with the sweet scent of fresh pastries, candied baklava and luscious Cretan pancakes, a pancake as thin as a crepe, stuffed with rich cheese, and covered in honey. The Venetian Loggia stands out just off of the main square with its prominent demeanor, arched windows and open marbled gallery. Your footsteps echo as you walk through the foyer.
Your afternoon finds you along the cliffs of Santorini where the famed whitewashed buildings bring you face-to-face with the postcard images of places you’ve always wanted to visit someday. Whether you prefer to stroll along the pathways-a-plenty of the capital Fira or explore the villages of the island, there is plenty of time to spend indulging in the grandeur of views and exceptional antiquity that has made the island so popular. You could even visit the ruins of Akrotiri, fabled to be the remains of Atlantis, and known to be Greece’s Pompeii. Frescos depict gods and life within the ancient town, such as a man holding stems of fish after a morning at sea. The structure known as the West House has storerooms, workshops, and a kitchen on the ground floor. The upper floor holds a spacious room used for weaving and two rooms embroidered with magnificent murals. Pots were found in the precise positioning of where they would have been thousands of years ago, complete with trace remains of fish, oil, and wine. The wonder of the city sits within its majesty, its mystery, and how it can transport you back to the way life could have been.
Athens - The Classics Always Delight
Today you will return to Athens with the memories of the past winking at you from afar. Your time in Greece has taken you along the steps of the sacred temples that have mystified humanity for millennia; you have taken to the seas to experience the islands’ waters and the rush of fascination that comes with each shore. You have walked with gods and epic poems, Grecian antiques and Venetian remains. There is no telling what more you could have seen. You do know, however, that classic Greece has been no less than a delight to experience, practically taking your breath away around every corner.
- Explore the classic temples of the Acropolis, including the Parthenon
- Bask in past prophecies of the oracle at Delphi
- Sit with historic athletes in the ruins of Olympia
- Stand in the clouds as you witness the majesty of the hanging monasteries of Kalabaka
- Dip your feet into the pristine waters of Mykonos
- Experience the incredible ruins of Ephesus and the cave where St. John the Divine wrote the Book of Revelations
- Traverse the storybook streets of Rhodes
- Indulge along the picture perfect cliffs of Santorini
Take pleasure in the Classics with a visit to Greece’s most beautiful and spiritual locations, ready to let you indulge in delight. This 12-day Greece vacation is tailored to your desires, taking you through the antique marvels of Athens to Delphi, Olympia to Kalambaka, where the athletes competed, oracles prophesized, and monks built monasteries along secluded heights. The beaches of Mykonos glimmer, the ruins of Ephesus stand proud, the old city of Rhodes looks like a storybook and Heraklion brings a venetian flair to the ports of Crete while Santorini kisses each postcard view with grace. Your time in Greece won’t only be a filled with wonderment; it will be no less than classic.
Let the ecstasy begin with your arrival in Athens. The adored ruins of the Acropolis rise above the city center like a ghost glowing in the daylight, a constant reminder of the Golden Age of the Athens. Tour the city, from its ancient roots to its modern expansion, all beneath the gaze of the Acropolis. Enjoy a guided visit of the new Acropolis Museum where the fragile remains of the city have been housed and protected. Watch over the pristine marble that continues to hold the temples sturdy above the cityscape. The following day you will say goodbye to Athens and visit the Bronze Aged ruins of Mycenae, where they found the mask of Agamemnon, the leader of the armies against Troy.
In Olympia you will stroll through the ancient city where men performed for love of state and pride, pushing themselves to the limits in what we now know as the Olympics. Explore the ruins of Delphi where the famous oracle, inspired by the god Apollo, and famous for centuries, bringing in kings and poppers alike. Walk within the shadows of Meteora, where the hanging monasteries loom over the city of Kalambaka, each built into the precipice of the monolith, standing tall, graceful, and pious over the expanse of valley and mountains beyond. You arrive in Athens for a short visit before boarding a cruise ship and traversing the glorious islands.
The first island you will discover is Mykonos, where the pristine beaches are second to none and the winding streets of the town are as beautiful as they are chic. On the shores of Kusadasi you can visit the ruins of the once prosperous city of Ephesus. The temples and pathways continue to decorate the lush valley as if they were meant as adornments instead of remains. In Patmos the white-walled village sits on the hilltop below the imposing monastery, built above where St. John the Divine wrote the Book of Revelations. Traverse the old city of Rhodes; a medieval castle continues to protect the city while the Ottoman structures offer a diverse flair to the culture of the island. Your final day along the water brings you first to the island of Crete, at Heraklion. Just outside of the city center takes you to the notorious Knossos Minoan Palace where you can search the grounds for the Minotaur’s labyrinth before arriving beneath the intimidating cliffs of Santorini. It is easy to sit along the cliff side and soak in the view of the caldera, the volcanic rock, and the essence of the island wrapped up in the whitewashed walls and blue roofs.
All Greece vacations are customizable, giving you the freedom to choose your excursions at your whim and delight, best visited between the months of April – October. No matter how you spend your days, you can be rest assured that your time in Greece will be spectacular, unique, classic, and completely yours.
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$2,745 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
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