Discovering Ancient Greek Cities Tour: Athens, Olympia, Delphi, Kalambaka

A 8 day trip to Greece 
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The Aegean Sea is a deep shade of cobalt blue. Athens’s ancient history towers over the contemporary city. Hidden monasteries decorate soaring monoliths, and the echoes of the prophecies from the Oracle at Delphi continue to resound in Greek mythology. Your tour of Athens, Olympia, Delphi, Kalambaka is custom tailored for you to experience the magical splendor of Greece, taking in the legends and landscape, culture and ruins. From the tomb of an ancient king to the flame of the Olympic games, you will find that the wonders of Greece intertwine in a unique portrayal of the past, present, and future.

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General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Athens, Olympia, Delphi, Kalambaka, Nafplio, Mycenae, Nafpaktos, Itea, Meteora, Hydra

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: The Mysticism of the Ancients

Athens is a city of contemporary beauty wrapped around ancient wonder. Iconic monuments and treasured museums intermix with energetic cafes and lively restaurants. The historic center looks and feels like an open-air exhibit dedicated to the antique beginnings of the city and Western culture. The chic neighborhoods of the more modern city contain art galleries and boutique shops with window displays lining the wide avenues and narrow lanes.

One of our Greece tour agents will arrange for a private transfer to meet you at Athens International Airport and escort you to your stunning hotel located in the heart of the old city. You have a view of Syntagma Square overlooking the Greek Parliament. The soldiers in front of the Parliament are dressed in the traditional Cretan clothing, with pleated skirts, leg tassels, and pompom shoes. Every morning at eleven, in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, you can see the changing of the guard. You can hear the beat of the soldiers marching down the lane to the base of the Parliament building. The commanding officer shouts out quick and forceful instructions. Three guards face the monument, waiting for the two guards on duty to relinquish their posts. They move in symbiotic motions parading from opposite ends of the square. It is a unique and powerful tradition to observe, and a wonderful welcome to the city.  

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Differences of Now and Then 

In the morning, you can see the slightly pink stone of the Greek Parliament shimmer in the light. The aroma of fresh Greek coffee accompanies breakfast. Numerous sweet and savory pastries are displayed, along with a collection of national and international cuisine. After your meal, your guide meets you in the lobby eager to lead you through the city on a private tour.

You traverse history, beginning with the most recent and making your way backward to the ancient lives of Athenians, beginning with an in-depth tour of Syntagma Square. You continue to Hadrian’s Arch and the Temple of Olympian Zeus before walking along the Plaka, the oldest neighborhood in the city. Antique mansions line the cobbled lane. At the top of Acropolis Hill, you can see the Parthenon shining like a crown. Your guide leads you up the hillside. The steps change from concrete to marble the closer you come to the Propylaea, the gateway into the plateau. The thick and tall columns bring a measure of tranquility to the impressive moment.

You can feel your heart racing with excitement. More than two millennium of history are within reach. You enter the plateau and find the Parthenon standing to your right. The temple was dedicated to the goddess Athena and was erected in the 5th-century BC. Your guide points out the east pediment. Elements of the original statues continue to adorn the structure. The east pediment offers a narrative of Athena’s birth, having been born from her father Zeus’s head.

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

Day 3: Visiting the Hydra

In the morning, the layers of sunrise cast various shades of pink and blue across the marble surface of the Parthenon. The shops and restaurants of the Plaka open their doors. Cafes along charming, narrow alleyways set out tables and provide locals with the Greek coffee they desire to start their mornings.

Your guide meets you after breakfast and leads you to the port district of Piraeus to board a ferry to Hydra. The island is set in the Saronic Gulf and is free of vehicles. The streets are lined with cobbled marble, and donkeys help carry heavy materials, from fish to construction material. Actress Sophia Loren and Musician Leonard Cohen are amongst the few who have uncovered the irresistible, yet secret, charms of Hydra.

The harbor fills with small fishing vessels belonging to local fishers. Quiet cafes provide opportunities to watch the island life go past you. The water carries a deep, clear cobalt hue. Stone houses in Hydra Town are well preserved with some of the structures dating back to the 17th-century. The steep slopes bordering the town offer a hint of the earthiness of the island. The marble roads become dirt paths. The rugged mountains have pockets of lush greenery. You have a private panoramic view taking in the harbor, the town, and the water.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 4: Interest of the Coastline

The aroma of fresh pastries emanates from the local bakeries before the sun rises. The train runs next to the remnants of the Ancient Agora. You notice the 2nd-century BC colonnade known as Stoa of Attalos. The American School of Classical Studies created the reconstruction in the 1950s, however, your private transfer points out that elements of the original structure remain visible.

You drive along the Coastal Road to the Corinth Canal. The light glints off of the crystal clear water. You stop in the town of Nafplio before reaching the ancient site of Mycenae, home of the infamous King Agamemnon. Nafplio is situated on a small port in the shadow of the Palamidi Fortress. Narrow streets wind around graceful Venetian homes. Neoclassical mansions stand beside unique museums. The city was Greece’s first capital after the country’s independence in the 19th-century. Nafplio’s roots as an important port date back to the Bronze Age.

The Palamidi Fortress sits atop the rugged citadel overlooking the harbor more than 700 feet above sea level. The Venetians erected the stronghold in the 18th-century and it has been regarded as a masterpiece of military architecture. It is easy to imagine the port carrying hundreds of ships departing for Troy to assist Agamemnon in defeating the distant city.

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

Day 5: Fit for an Olympian

The sunlight brings a verdant glow to the surrounding agricultural region of Elia. The fragrant aroma of cypress trees and olive groves blend in the breeze. The myths of the ancient city of Olympia continue to captivate people around the world, beginning with the legend of Zeus holding the first Olympic Games on the ancient site to commemorate his besting Cronus at wrestling. Lush greenery surrounds the historic ruins of Olympia. The spirit of the Olympics continues to thrive in the modern world thousands of years after the first games were held. Your guide leads you through the celebrated grounds of the city.

Three shaded ruins create a bold picture of the temples that once stood on the grounds. The first building you encounter is the gymnasium, which was erected in the 2nd-century BC. You can see the restored columns of the wrestling school. When you reach the Sacred Precinct of Zeus, your guide explains why it was the most important building in the city. The structure was built in the 5th-century BC with Doric columns. A single column from the original temple remains. The pillar stands more than 33 feet tall and hints at the tremendous size of the former temple. 

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

Day 6: Listening to the Oracle

In the morning, the sunlight stretches over the bluff on which the sacred city of Delphi once stood. The remains of the city are considered the second most popular ancient site in Greece, after Athens. After breakfast, your guide leads you up the slopes of Mount Parnassus overlooking the Gulf of Corinth. The rugged mountain landscape encircles the plateau. The aroma of cypress trees fills the air. The Sacred Way is the main avenue leading to the Sanctuary of Apollo, taking you from the gateway upwards more than 656 feet to the Temple of Apollo.

The monuments that once lined the walkway have disappeared, but the bases on which the monuments were erected and displayed remain. When you reach the Temple of Apollo, you find the foundations intact with a panoramic view of the rolling mountains across the chasm. The remains of the present temple were from the 4th-century BC and were erected over a 6th-century archaic temple. The Oracle was once the most trusted person in the ancient Western World, providing prophecies for kings and warriors. The spirit of antiquity is alive and well in the well-preserved ruins of Delphi and the perpetuation of the city’s illustrious mythologies.

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

Day 7: Up in the Monasteries

In the morning, the sunrise highlights the power and imposing height of the cliffs around the town of Kalambaka. After breakfast, your guide leads you to the base of the gigantic rocks and explains that sitting atop those boulders are Monasteries that date back 1,000 years. A network of steps leads to the top of the bluffs. The view the valley below is breathtaking. You can see beyond the foothills of the encompassing mountain to the valley beyond Kalambaka. The small mesas rise 984 feet above the valley floor. The Great Meteoron Monastery is the largest of the six remaining monasteries of the area. It was founded in the 14th-century and has preserved the historic frescoes glistening inside the church.

The tower structure with a timber roof holds a winch used to hoist supplies up the hillside. From below, the monasteries looked as though they were suspended in mid-air. From the top, you can wander around the jutting rocks and windswept grass. The frescoes showcase elements of Greek Byzantine art dating back to the 15th-century. The artwork in the nave depicts stories, with one being the Raising of Lazarus. The colors stand out in the dim candlelight. The stories are easily discernible. The unique placement of the churches, and their magnificent décor that exemplifies the monk’s dedication to their faith makes the monasteries at Meteora special.

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

Day 8: Taking the Legends Home

In the morning, the cafes in the neighborhood of Monastiraki set out tables and chairs on the sidewalk. The narrow streets lead to neoclassical homes. On Sundays, the marketplace brims with locals in search of antiques, clothing, and homemade cuisine. At breakfast, you sip on your Greek coffee and enjoy the frothy top layer and rich flavor.

Your private transfer meets you at the hotel after breakfast and escorts you to Athens International Airport for your flight home. Your journey through Greece may have ended, but you take the splendor of the culture and the myths of the landscape home with you.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer

Price

Price 

Your custom trip package will include accommodations, transportation within the country, guided tours and activities, unique experiences, trip planning, and 24X7 support during your trip. 

Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates!