Uncovering the History & Culture of Greece Vacation

A 14 day trip to Greece 
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This is the complete Greek history tour and an intimate journey through an ancient civilization along with all of the lesser-celebrated treasures from the last two millennia. From the Delphi oracle to a Byzantine citadel, immerse yourself in the Greek mainland’s 4,000 years of history. Imagine Mycenaean ruins, Venetian streets, traditional fishing villages, 2,500-year-old vineyards, and churches raided by pirates. You will live the history and step back into time-honored settings.

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General Information

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Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Athens, Acropolis, Erechtheion, Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Beule Gate, Acropolis Museum, Parthenon, Theater of Dionysus, Plaka, Anafiotika, Monastiraki, Ancient Agora, Temple of Athena Nike, National Archeological Museum, Syntagma Sqaure, Varvakios Market, Koukaki, Peloponnese, Corinth, Roman Odeum, Temple of Apollo, Mycenae, Mycenae Archaeology Museum, Epidaurus, Epidaurus Theater, Nafplio, Nemea, Mystras, Morea, Monemvasia, Aghia Paraskevi, Areopoli, Mani, Oitylo, Limeni, Towers of Mani, Pylos, Olympia, Sanctuary of Olympian Zeus, Nafpaktos, Lepanto, Delphi, Treasury of the Athenians, Temple of Apollo, Corinthian Gulf, Arachova, Mount Parnassus, Galaxidi

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Athens – Dining Beneath Mythology

Illuminated columns provide a famous welcome to Athens, the Acropolis softly lit as it stands above the city. Over the next three days, you will find this landmark to be a compass point, helping you make sense of where you are and what stories surround you. Touch down, check in, and take a wander through the neighborhood. It looks and feels like the 17th century, all narrow lanes, squat archways, quiet chatter, whitewashed houses, and floating smells. You will be in the heart of Athens, getting a feel for how the city ticks after dusk. Over the next two weeks, you will jump far back in history, but for now, just relax and feel how the history is able to flow right through you.

What’s Included: airport transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Athens – Ancient Greece to Lively Athenian Neighborhoods

Mythology seems to precede everything in Athens, where classical deities and ruins juxtapose with tightly packed neighborhoods. Today you can explore the myths, starting on Acropolis hill and the ineffable Parthenon. Travel through the landmarks, hearing the stories of Athena Nike, Zeus, Dionysus, and others. Wander around restored temples and stand beneath the glare of statuesque maidens. Take a look in the excellent Acropolis Museum, and then follow the path through the Agora, where stories resonate from the ruins. After half a day in Ancient Greece, your guide will take you into 17th- and 18th-century Greece to show you lively markets and streets covered in antique stores. Dotted about are smaller archaeological sites, like the Tower of the Winds, plus rooftops to take a break from it all.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Athens – Intimate Streets and Markets Food Tour

Phew! After a long day of Athenian history take it easy this morning, piecing together the eras over coffee at one of the city’s aromatic old coffee houses. Today’s focus will be on Mediterranean flavors, gastronomy one of the best threads for stitching Greece’s history together. Dive into an open-air market and taste your way around the stalls, baklava to souvlaki then olive oils, cheeses, cured meats, and local treats. Travel away from Plaka and Varvakios Market and towards narrow streets known for their home cooking, where exotic fragrances drift out, and you enjoy a home-cooked mezze platter. Walk off lunch in Koukaki, and begin your adventure with Greek wine, the neighborhood’s wine bars a lively place to welcome late afternoon. It will be a day with lots of food, but also lots of local sights and traditions.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Corinth to Mycenae to Nafplio – 4,000 Years Of History Comes Alive

To start understanding Greek history, you must visit Corinth and Mycenae, cities that came before the Acropolis and help you understand that Ancient Greece is an encompassing term that covers different civilizations. Corinth is all stone and ruins, a place that evokes just how old this land is. Mycenae is all Cyclopean walls and temple treasures, baffling to behold as the streets stretch on and on and on. Pass through Lion Gate, wander alongside the tombs, and get a feel for a place from which Western civilization grew. Photos do not do these places justice as these are sites rather than sights, places you feel as much as you look at. Nafplio provides a quiet seaside place to reflect on the experience through the evening.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Nafplio – Venetian History and an Epidaurus Performance

In Nafplio there are new scents, discoveries that extend from Mycenaean times to when this seaside town was the first capital of modern Greece. Enjoy the Ottoman fountains and the artistic details, and notice the Venetian vernacular architecture that roves through the streets towards Bourtzi Castle, a great defense from the 15th century. Connect the histories on a walking tour and end at Palamidi Castle, 1,000 steps above city and sea. This evening you can take a pre-dusk stroll through Epidaurus, ending at an enormous amphitheater. The theater still continues here, ancient plays in an ancient setting, just for 21st-century visitors. And while there are many great ruins on this tour, experiencing a ruin in action is something different entirely.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 6: Nafplio – Discovering Ancient Greek Viticulture

Nafplio is a cute town to walk without your guide, each street a mishmash of flowers, chatter, colorful balconies, and time-warped atmosphere. After the bustle of Athens, and before the excitement of the road trip, this is the town where you can fully unwind. Today’s half-day tour will take you to Nemea, where the wineries have been cultivating for some 2,400 years. Stroll the vineyards with a winemaker and understand the Greek red varietals, and then pair wine with local food over an indulgent lunch. Perhaps take a bottle of Agiorgitiko with you, or take your new Greek wine knowledge back to Nafplio’s Venetian wine bars. It will be a very leisurely day, and by evening time you should be fully attuned to the slow Peloponnese rhythm.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Mystras – The Wonderful Ruins of a Byzantine Citadel

Across the slopes of Mount Taygetos, you will go, the mysterious citadel of Mystras waiting on the other side of the peak. The medieval ruins here are superbly preserved and bring an open-air museum type experience. Byzantine beauty is illustrated in facades and frescoes while Ottoman flair can be found all over the Lower City. There is plenty of Venetian evidence as well, mingling through the Upper City and Metropolis. Spend most of the day walking around the hillside, through different eras and areas of this long-abandoned city. It’s been uninhibited since 1832, and you can imagine being here in that time, such is the quality of preservation.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Monemvasia – Beautiful Old Cobbles On the Coast

Monemvasia hides in a cliff face, a city of cobbles carved out from rock. Cannons point out towards dazzling sea colors. Cobblestone streets lead to 12th-century churches and a Byzantine castle. It feels isolated, cut off from the world, yet elegant and stylish, partly due to the complete lack of vehicles. For centuries Monemvasia was only accessible by boat and even today it hides from the visitor trail. Take a walking tour to understand the history, relax at a boutique hotel in the city’s heart, then spend the evening exploring the tavernas, where there’s a cozy atmosphere but a sense that you’ve found a place before it’s overrun by the super-yacht crowd.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 9: Aeropoli – Exploring Traditional Mani Peninsula Villages

While Mystras and Monemvasia are vestiges of the past, the Mani Peninsula is where tradition is being catapulted into the 21st century. Stone houses perch on the sea, whitewashed and whacked by waves. Seafood tavernas emit the most aromatic smells. Stone towers rise up from some of the houses, sea defense installed within the vernacular. These Mani villages are where you still see locals going around in their historical dress, meeting on small squares, shouting as the boats come back in, and then falling silent when the church bells chime. You will visit three different villages, and it will be a beautiful journey along the coast then down to Aeropoli, where you find the greatest abundance of tower houses, stone alleys, and 13th-century tradition.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 10: Pylos – Mycenaean Ruins and an Afternoon By the Sea

The Palace of Nestor evokes the words of Homer, who featured it and Pylos in both Iliad and Odyssey. Fortified walls have crumbled but not disappeared while myths whisper from Mycenaean facades, telling of gods and great battles at sea. At the palace, you must stop and stare, wondering how they constructed such a thing almost 4,000 years ago. Then as you walk around the town, you step forward into new eras, Hellenic and Byzantine, and then a little seaside chic. In half a day, you can really explore the history, leaving the afternoon for relaxing on smooth sands and getting a feel for a vacation spot that’s popular with the Greeks, not international visitors.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 11: Olympia to Nafpaktos – Ancient Greece on a Phenomenal Scale

Olympia stands amid olive trees and forest, columns and temple walls peeking above the groves. Such a hiding place can take visitors by surprise, as it appears that there is little there. But as you explore, you will find one of the world’s largest ancient sites. Sacrificial altars are tucked behind plane trees while a grand walkway takes you to the Olympic stadium, where the games took place for over a millennia. The Sanctuary to Olympian Zeus suggests faded grandeur, while the hillside helps you understand the size and scale of Olympia. It takes half a day to cover the main sights, closer to a full day if you want to hike around the outskirts as well. Often the highlight is how empty Olympia is, as the site absorbs visitors easily and you are often alone amid 3,000-year-old remains. From Olympia you drive to Nafpaktos, spending the night beneath an illuminated castle.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 12: Nafpaktos – Immersed in Ottoman and Venetian Eras

Nafpaktos, like Monemvasia, feels like it should be populated by tour groups and glamorous yachts, as its streets are so chic and stylish, and so old-world without trying. Instead, it is calm with a Venetian castle setting the scene as you gaze over the streets filled with mansions, mosques and small tavernas. Back in the 16th century, this was the scene of one of the largest sea battles ever seen, the Spanish and Venetians overcoming the Ottoman navy. Strolling around the harbor you can see why they would fight over Nafpaktos, but you will be wondering where everybody went. Very few foreign visitors come here, and it’s a lovely spot to dine al fresco and watch the locals go about their evening.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 13: Delphi to Galaxidi – A Fabulous Myth To Finish On

Apollo used to consult his oracle in Delphi if you can believe this mythologized godly tale. Over the centuries the pilgrims came in their thirst for knowledge, building homages to the gods and places to perform religious rites. The spiritual atmosphere has not gone away, so take the footpath to the temples of Delhi and the Corycian Grotto, and then discover all the marble and bronze remains that were salvaged and are now kept in the excellent on-site museum. Staying in the Greek mountains you stop in Arachova for lunch, and then spend your final night in Galaxidi, where the streets are neoclassical in design and the food is some of the country’s best.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 14: Galaxidi to Athens – Departure

After 14 days of evocative histories you wave farewell to Greece, taking a transfer back to Athens and the international airport. For late departures, there will be time to stop in Athens for shopping should you wish.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Price 

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