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If time is short, here’s a curated selection of the best parts of Greece. From the world-famous Acropolis in Athens to Greece’s first capital, the pretty seaside village of Nafplion, you’ll feel the Greek spirit is very much alive.
A visit to the Archaeological Museum of Athens is highly recommended. There are no activities planned today so you may arrive at any time. Please make your own way to the joining hotel (details are in your travel documents). In the evening you meet your tour leader and fellow travelling companions at a welcome meeting (this is usually at 6pm, but please check for the exact time and place in a noticeboard located near the reception at our hotel), where your tour leader will give us a briefing on what lies ahead on the tour.
This evening there is the optional visit to the famous Plaka area to enjoy a traditional dinner and show at an excellent taverna, where you can dine on typical Greek cuisine and watch performances of traditional dances from different parts of the country.
Hotel Hermes or President or similar
Next it’s on to the famous Acropolis – one of the western world’s most important historical structures. Your guided tour will start with an ascent to the top of this sacred rock via the towering entrance, the Propylaia. Once inside you will be confronted with the Parthenon – the greatest Doric temple in the ancient world.
The Temple of Athena Nike and the Erechtheion are also impressive. You will then drive to the Peloponnese, your first stop is ancient Epidaurus (Epidavros), the sanctuary of the god of medicine, Asclepius, and the most famous healing centre of the Greek and Roman world.
The highlight of Epidaurus is the 3rd century theatre – one of Greece’s best preserved classical structures. This theatre has incredible acoustics and is still used today for major performances.
You will then continue on to the delightful seaside town of Nafplion (Nafplio), which was the first Greek capital. Due to its strategic location on the Argolic Gulf, it was an important port town from as early as the Bronze Age.
In your free time you may choose to explore one of the town’s three fortresses or perhaps wander through the narrow winding streets, filled with Venetian houses and neoclassical architecture, and stopping at the centre of the old town – Syntagma (Constitution) Square. The seaside promenade is lined with a multitude of lively cafes and restaurants and is a great place to sit back and soak in the wonderful seaside atmosphere.
Nafplia Hotel or similar
Your guide will take you to explore the site including the Lion Gate and the Treasury of Atreus, a self supporting domed tomb. Being surrounded by mountains, sea and an expansive countryside of olive and orange groves, the site also offers wonderful views.
You will then drive further east of the Peloponese into the spectacular Lousios Valley, one of the most scenic places in the central Arcadia region.
You will discover the incredible working monastery of Prodromos. Hidden deep in the valley away from the threat of intruders, this wooden and clay structure was built precariously into a rock face.
The local monks will show you around on a tour of their home. Upon entering the chapel, you will be confronted with splendid 14th century frescoes decorating the rock walls. You will also visit the Byzantine monastery of Philosophou, built in 963 AD and the base for a secret school known as ‘Kryfo Scholio’, which was run by monks during Ottoman rule to teach Greek children their own language and religion.
You will then drive to the charming medieval village of Dimitsana, your base for the night. Built in the 7th century on two hills above Lousios Gorge, Dimitsana’s charm lies in its idyllic location, set amidst magical mountains.
Dimitsana Hotel or similar
Built between 400 and 420 BC on the site of a Archaic temple, the temple stands at a height of 1130m on Mt Kotilio and combines all three architectural styles; Doric, Ionian and Corinthian.
The temple is one of the best preserved monuments of the ancient classical world and is today protected by a giant tent. After your visit, you will drive on to Olympia where you will spend the night.
Neda or Antonios Hotel or similar
Over the centuries and during both times of war and peace, the games were held every four years without exception. Even during periods of battle, the ancient games were bound by a sacred truce that required city states to cease fighting and travel to Olympia to compete. On your guided tour you will see all the major sites including the main stadium, gymnasium, wrestling school (palaestra), priest houses (theokoleon), Temple of Hera, Temple of Zeus and the hippodrome, where chariot races were held.
After the tour, there is some free time to visit the museum which houses the impressive marble statue of Hermes of Praxiteles and sculptured head of Hera. You will board a minibus and drive to the town of Delphi next, at the foot of Mount Parnassus in picturesque Phocis Valley. After settling into your hotel, you will enjoy some free time to wander through the town’s lively main street.
Apollonia or Leto Hotel or similar
Legend tells that Zeus released two eagles from different ends of the world and Delphi was the spot where they met, Zeus threw the Sacred Stone at this same point, making Delphi the centre of the world. Your guide will lead you through the complex and you will explore the Temple of Apollo, the most important building of the site and the place were statues and offerings to the gods were housed and were cult rituals took place.
You will also see the Sanctuary of Athena, the 4th century BC theatre and the well-preserved stadium during your visit. There will be free time after the tour of the site to visit the Delphi Museum. Later in the afternoon, you will board the minibus and drive north to the town of Kalambaka in the centre of the country. This evening you can choose to have dinner at the hotel or maybe take a short walk into town to dine in one of the local tavernas.
Famissi Eden or similar
Over the years the monks climbed further up the rock face to inaccessible peaks and built the first monasteries by bringing building materials with basic baskets and ladders. In the 14th century when the Turkish occupation was in full force, the monks moved to the area to seek protection.
As the monasteries also attracted many writers, painters, poets and philosophers, it has been said that they were responsible for keeping Hellenic traditions, culture and religion alive, which may otherwise have been lost during Ottoman rule.
On your visit to Meteora, you will visit two of the monasteries, one of which will be the Moni Varlaam (Varlaam Monastery) with its fine examples of late Byzantine frescoes. This afternoon you will drive back to your starting point Athens, where you will spend the last evening of your trip.
Hotel Hermes or President or similar