Mystical Greece Tour: Personalized Odyssey

A 7 day trip to Greece 
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The legends of oracles and warriors continue to sweep through the mountains while the marble columns of ancient temples offer insight into contemporary life during your custom-tailored tour of Greece. The country remains a rich well of layered histories from the rise of the Mycenaeans to the fall of the Byzantine Empire. Classical sculptures adorn museum galleries and reflect a marvelous eye for humanistic detail as dramatic stone structures crown steep cliffs as a sign of devotion to the divine. Whether captivated by mythology or enthusiastic about mosaics, your Greek tour embraces the passion and the inspiration of traditional cultural treasures. 

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General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Athens, Thermopylae, Meteora, Kalambaka, Delphi, Olympia, Nafplio, Epidaurus, Corinth Canal, Acropolis 

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Athens – Welcome to Athens with the Remaining Day at Leisure

The city of Athens is the center of Western Civilization, with a history of more than 3,000 years still visible on the street of the city. The streets continue to bustle with a modern ambiance as the capital of Greece combines classical history with a touch of edgy modernity surrounding the ancient Acropolis. Your flight will land at Athens International Airport, and your private transfer will greet you upon arrival. Musicians play welcoming music in cozy cafes, and street art adds bursts of color to sporadic alleyways and avenues as you arrive to your accommodation.

The remainder of the day is at your leisure to enjoy the beauty of Athens at your preferred pace for an immersive time among the distinctive neighborhoods and history. The narrow, cobbled lanes of the Psiri Neighborhood lead to popular tavernas and charming cafes, while restaurants all around fill with the familiar sounds of Greek music.  Enjoy your introductory tour, and then settle into your accommodations after your first Greek dinner.

What’s Included: airport transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Kalambaka – Visit Ancient Thermopylae and Medieval Meteora

In the morning, you will quickly learn how seriously the Greeks take their coffee as the aroma of traditional coffee drifts through the hallways. Your private driver will greet after breakfast at your hotel in the heart of Athens and escort you out of the bustling city for an immersive exploration of Greek history beginning at Thermopylae. The quiet valley gained fame in 480 BC as a troop of 300 Spartans stood against the entire Persian army, which then allowed for the city-states of Greece to unite under a single banner and succeed against the great military of Xerxes I.

Continue to Meteora for a stunning view of the gigantic pinnacles of smooth rock carved out by the elements and supporting the fantastical monasteries standing atop the unique columns. Six of the original 24 monasteries remain with the oldest religious site dating back to the late-eleventh and early-twelfth centuries. The elaborate Monastery of Roussanou was erected near the end of the sixteenth century and decorated 30 years later. While at a lower elevation than the surrounding sites, the monastery retains its grandeur with marvelous wall paintings following the Cretan aesthetic depicting the Resurrection and Transfiguration amid a magnificent array of colorful glass windows.  After enjoying it all alongside your guide, you will continue to your accommodations for another great evening of Greek culture and food.

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

Day 3: Delphi – Travel Central Greece to Discover Fascinating Delphi 

In the morning, the sunlight washes over the valley beneath the hanging monasteries of Meteora. You will depart early from the comforts of your hotel and head south towards Delphi. Along the way, you can stop in Trikala, a quiet town along the banks of the Lithaios River where ducks and swans swim in the crisp, clean water. Locals row boats in the calm current, and the sixteenth-century Kursum Mosque connects the time of the Ottoman Empire in the region to the Byzantine Empire in the Kastro castle erected in the sixth century.

Halfway between Meteora and Delphi brings you to Lamia, a lively town with streets wrapping around vibrant plazas that are filled with cafes serving dishes like almond shortcake. The archeological museum is located inside the castle complex dominating the hilltop overlooking the Sperchios Valley. The galleries feature artifacts dating back thousands of years to the Bronze Age during the height of the Mycenaean Era, as well as stunning defensive walls erected during the Hellenistic period acting as the foundations to the preserved triangular stronghold of the medieval castle with ramparts reaching up to 42 feet tall.

Ancient Delphi has maintained a sense of mystique and majesty since its time spent as a religious center of the ancient Greek world with the slopes of Mount Parnassus and the Gulf of Corinth approximately 2,000 feet above sea level. Peasants and kings alike would travel to visit the Oracle who spoke for Apollo inside the god’s eponymous temple. The foundations of the structure erected in the fourth century with sophisticated Doric style remain and detail the late-Classical period. You will be able to discover these beautiful places alongside your guide at your own pace and will end your day back at your hotel with an evening to spend as you would like.

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

Day 4: Olympia – Transfer to the Peloponnese to Explore Ancient Olympia

After breakfast, you will continue south to the Peloponnesian Peninsula and the city of ancient Olympia. The historic birthplace of the Olympic Games retains its grandeur that rises out of the verdant agricultural landscape. The Olympics took place every four years for nearly a millennium before their abolition in the fourth century AD due to their pagan roots but revitalized in the nineteenth century to continue the same mission of competition in good spirits.

Much of the ancient city has fallen to earthquakes over more than 2,000 years but an outline of the majestic heritage and former glory of the city is still present. Trees shade the walkways and ruins around the historic site as your guide paints the picture of athletes covering themselves in oil and smoke billowing up from temples after a sacrifice made to Zeus. The classical temples connected to Zeus and Hera loom above the sacred enclosure of the Altis.

The ancient stadium was originally erected with a design intended to allow all spectators to view the events using the slopes of Mount Cronion to create a terraced seating with a capacity of 20,000 people. The racetrack stretched over 656 feet long with a starting a finishing point connoted by two stone markers. Nearby, the Archeological Museum contains one of the finest collections of antiquity in the country focusing on objects connected to the ancient site and the Olympic Games, including the preserved marble statue of Hermes and the Infant Dionysus, which was crafted in the fourth century BC.  Again, your itinerary for the day will be to your preference, as will your plans for the evening after taking it all in.

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

Day 5: Athens – Gorgeous Nafplio, Ancient Epidaurus, and Corinth Canal

You will depart from Olympia early to reach the charming ambiance of the seaside city of Nafplio, the first contemporary capital city of Greece. The mixture of neoclassical, Venetian, and Ottoman architecture overtakes the edge of Saronic Gulf beneath the dramatic looming figure of Palamidi Fortress. Charming cafes fill the air with the sweet aroma of freshly brewed Greek coffee and delicious baklava, which will be impossible to resist.

The streets along the historic city center are paved with marble leading to the foothills of the citadel. Akronafplia Fortress embodies the antique beauty of Bronze Age walls with the fifteenth-splendor of Venetian design rising above the ancient streets of town. As the oldest castle in the city, the distinct complex hosts the five brothers, a collection of five canons positioned on the headland to protect the bay from invaders. Their positioning also offers a marvelous view over the shimmering aquamarine water.

Continue to the nearby ancient ruins of Epidaurus, home to one of the best-preserved Greek theaters. The steep slope of the hillside and stone used for constructing the stadium seating allowed sound to reverberate without the need for added amplification along the 65-foot long orchestra. The theater could hold a maximum of 14,000 spectators and continues to attract visitors from around the world during major musical and theatrical events still staged in the enchanting ancient ambiance.

Before reaching Athens, you stop to view the fascinating Corinth Canal, which was completed in the late-nineteenth century upending millennia of ill-fated prophecy first administered by philosopher Apollonius of Tyana. The unique feature contains steep limestone walls reaching 300 feet above the water level but only 70 feet wide only allowing ships with a width narrower than 58 feet to pass through when connecting the Ionian Sea to the Aegean Sea. You watch as fishing vessels, small yachts, and classic boats pass through the four-mile-long flat-level canal used as a shortcut between the Saronic and Corinth gulfs.

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

Day 6: Athens – The Embodiment of Ancient Greece with a Tour of Athens

After a taste of traditional Greek coffee at breakfast, you will meet your guide in the hotel lobby ready to explore the heart of the ancient Western World. Your journey begins in the surprising location of the metro station beneath Syntagma Square, where a free museum gallery displays a collection of artifacts unearthed during the excavations to build the city’s metro. The wall contains a palimpsest of history with the layers revealing burial grounds, road markers, and the distinctive elements that mark the expansion of the ancient city outwards. Once at the Acropolis, you face the remarkable entrance to the summit of the ancient, renowned plateau at 512 feet above sea level.

The Propylaea has acted as the gateway onto the holy mountain summit since the fifth century BC. Marble steps lead between the gigantic ridged Ionic columns supporting the doorway and the six massive Doric columns supporting the pediment and framing the Parthenon beyond. As the image of Athens and the Golden Age of ancient Greece, the Parthenon was first erected between 447 and 338 BC as an offering to the venerated goddess of the city, Athena.

You will continue inside the Acropolis Museum for an engaging experience that will focus on the very interactive displays and artifacts. The dazzling museum sits at the slopes of the Acropolis imitating the design of the Parthenon with windows along the upper floors providing natural light and sensational views to the featured ancient architecture. Wander around the forest of statues on display in the Archaic Gallery immersing you in breathtaking figures crafted including a sixth-century BC statue of a youth bearing a calf, as well as a depiction of Hercules slaying the Hydra. The top floor takes on a different tone with the display of the Parthenon Marbles wrapping around the gallery with the missing sections of the bas-reliefs noted as being in different museums across the world, artifacts Greece has asked to be returned.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Athens – Depart for Home

Even after a full day exploring the beauty of ancient Athens along the Acropolis, inside the museum, and around the remarkable standing columns of Zeus’s temple in what was once Roman Athens, there is always more to see inside the captivating city. Depending on your flight schedule, you can explore a bit more before your departure, or you might begin your journey home earlier in the morning.  When your timing is right,  you will travel by private transfer to the airport for your flight home bringing an end to your enchanting cultural tour of Greece. 

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast 

Price

Starting Price 

$1,745
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.