Arrival to Athens
After your arrival to Athens airport, you will meet your bus and guide and proceed to the capital of democracy of the ancient years. You will have free time in the afternoon to explore the city center if time permits. Dinner and overnight at your hotel.
Today you will tour the city to visit the Parthenon, Erectheum and Propylaea over Acropolis Hill and admire Mars Hill, the place where Paul proclaimed to the Athenians about the one true God. On top of Acropolis Hill you will have a view to the Ancient Agora, the center of political, commercial, religious and cultural life of ancient Athens. A panoramic tour of the city will allow you to see most of the important sites of the city; the National University, the National Library, the Academy of Athens, the Parliament House, the Panathenaic Stadium, the Adrian’s Arch and the temple of the Olympian Zeus. Proceed to the hotel for dinner and overnight in Athens.
Today you will drive to ancient Corinth of the Neolithic era, 7th century BC, place of strategic location connecting the Balkan with mainland of Greece as well as the western Mediterranean with Asia. You will see the Peirene Fountain, the Temple of Apollo, the Temple of Asclepios, the Roman Odeon, Glauce Fountain, as well as the museum that hosts many ruins and sculptures. Ancient Corinth has an importance in Christianity due to St. Paul, who had established the first church during his stay of 18 months there on 49 AD. You will stop at the Corinth Canal, although had started to be dug in 67 AD, it was first used in 1893 and connected the Aegean with Ionian Seas. Then, you will continue to Mycenae, the Mycenaean civilization center, to view the Lion’s Gate, the Subterranean cistern, the Tomb of Agamemnon and part of the Cyclopean Walls that surrounded and protected the old city. Continue to Olympia for dinner and overnight.
Today you will visit Ancient Olympia, the city of the ancient Olympic Games founded in 8th century BC, celebrated every four years and dedicated to Zeus, father of all gods. You will see the Temple of Zeus, the Council House, the Prytaneion, the Stadium, the Gymnasium and the Workshop of Phidias, the sculptor who wrought the golden statue of Zeus, one of the Seven Wonders of the world. The archeological museum hosts a great variety of sculptures and bronzes, one of the richer collections of the world. Continue through the famous bridge of Rio to Delphi for dinner and overnight.
Visiting the Temple of Apollo of the 4th century BC, you will gain a greater understanding of the Greek heritage and its influence. Delphi was considered the center of the world, the omphalos (navel), and the most important cultural and religion center of old times. You will see the Athenian treasury, the Theater, the Castalian fountain, the Stadium and the Tholos of Athena Pronaia, as well as the museum that hosts a variety of items of that era. Continue to Kalabaka for dinner and overnight.
Today you will admire the unique hanging monasteries from the 11th century. There were 24 monasteries here, but only six are inhabited yet and you will visit one to have an idea of the monastic life through the years. Located over huge cliffs, the monasteries are accessible by stairs or pathways into the rocks. Afterwards, you continue to Vergina, the first capital of Macedonia and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for the Macedonian Royal Tombs. You will visit the museum and see the tomb of Philip II, father of Alexander the Great, as well as all the artifacts found at the site. Drive to Thessaloniki, the second larger city in Greece where you will see the most remarkable sites of the town like the White Tower, the Arch of Galerius, the Rotunda and the Byzantine churches of St. Demetrius and St. Sophia. Dinner and overnight.
After breakfast, we will follow the ancient highway of Via Egnatia to Philippi, named after Philip II of Macedonia, the father of Alexander the Great. You will visit the archeological site and see the Acropolis surrounded by fortification walls, the Theatre, the Roman Forum and the Octagonal church. Philippi was the witness to Paul’s first Christian converts. We see some old section of the Via Ignatia, St. Paul’s prison and the archeological museum. Visit Kavala, Ancient Neapolis, to see the harbor which witnessed the first visit of St. Paul to Greece and admire the church of St. Nicolas with its wonderful mosaic that depicts the story of Paul arriving in Kavala. Return to Thessaloniki for dinner and overnight.
Transfer to Thessaloniki airport for your departure flight.