Upon arrival in Athens we meet our guide outside luggage claim and we’ll be transferred to our hotel for check in. Time permitted, we may have some free time at city center. Dinner and overnight in Athens.
After breakfast we transfer to the port of Piraeus to board the ship for our 4-night Greek Island and Turkey Cruise. This afternoon we arrive to the mountainous island of Mykonos. You may disembark the ship to explore the island on your own and get a taste of this cosmopolitan place at its capital and Little Venice. Return to the ship for dinner and the evening entertainment.
Kusadasi, Turkey-Patmos, Greece
Today we visit the Turkish port of Kusadasi, and enjoy the tour to the ancient ruins of Ephesus, whose inhabitants were the recipients of Apostle Paul’s famous epistle (Acts 18:19-26). You will see the Odeon (concert hall), the Fountain of Trajan, the steam-heated Baths of Scolastika, the Temple of Hadrian and the Latrians, the Library of Celsus and The Great Theatre, where St. Paul preached, which is the largest theatre in antiquity having a capacity of 24,000 people. Return to the ship to sail to the Greek island of Patmos where we will visit the Monastery of St. John and the Cave of the Apocalypse, where John the Evangelist wrote the Book of the Revelation during his exile (Rev. 1:9-11).
We will spend the day in the island of Rhodes. We will drive along the picturesque south-eastern coastline, dotted with white-washed villages, to Lindos, one of the most important of the three great cities of ancient times. See how this entire city is guarded by medieval walls which were constructed by the knights of St. John in the 13th century. Within them stands the ancient Acropolis of Lindos, on the brink of a precipice 400 feet above the sea. From the Acropolis, we will see St. Paul’s bay, where the apostle cast anchor during his historic voyage to Ephesus. Proceed on foot uphill, to the Acropolis and Temple of Athena. Return to the old city of Rhodes to see the Gate d’Amboise where we will have walking tour through the medieval city of Rhodes to view the Palace of the Knights and continue walking down the Street of the Knights. Lunch is served on board and there is some free time to explore the city of Rhodes on your own.
Our ship arrives to the island of Crete where Paul arrived as a prisoner on his way to Rome and the final chapter of his life. Paul revisited the island of Crete before his death, placing Titus in charge of the church he founded. We will visit Knossos Palace, center of the Minoan Civilization and return to the city for a short walking tour. Sail to the famous volcanic island of Santorini. You may take part in the tour to Oia village, perched high on top of a cliff, to watch a Santorini sunset which some consider the most beautiful anywhere on the planet! OR to take cable car to reach the capital of the island, Fira, and see its unique beauty. We return to the ship for dinner before sailing back to Athens.
We arrive in Athens port early this morning, disembark and drive to Kalabaka to visit the breathtaking Byzantine monasteries of Meteora. Perched on a mountain of strangely shaped pinnacles in the Peneus Valley, they are far removed from the world and its distractions. Originally the only access was by means of very long ladders, steps have now been cut in the rock face. The monasteries are veritable Byzantine museums exhibiting superb icons, old manuscripts and unique mosaics and frescoes from the 11th century. Dinner and overnight in Kalabaka.
We will depart our hotel to drive to Veria (Berea) “As soon as night came, the believers sent Paul to Berea “(Act 17:10). We will see the Bema where Paul found people who eagerly received his message, “examining the Scriptures daily to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11). Then continue to Thessaloniki to visit the Byzantine churches of St. Demetrius and St. Sophia in the city center and have a panoramic view of the city. We will stay in Thessaloniki for dinner and overnight.
This morning we visit Philippi, named after Philip of Macedonia, father of Alexander the Great. In Philippi, St. Paul had saved the servant women of evil spirit “In the name of Jesus Christ I order you to come out of her…” (Act 16:18) and as result were thrown with Silas into jail “After a severe beating, they were thrown into jail…” (Acts 16:23). We’ll visit the place where Lydia had been baptized “One of those who heard us was Lydia… After she and the people of her house had been baptized...” (Act 16:14-15). The Epistle to the Philippians was written to the people of this city. Continue on to the modern city of Kavala or Neapolis, to see the sea port where “Paul had arrived from Troas through Samothrace” (Act 16:11) and the famous mosaic of St. Nicolas church. Dinner and overnight at Thessaloniki.
This day we will explore the second largest city in Greece, Thessaloniki, where St. Paul preached and founded a church and to whom he wrote two epistles (Acts 17:1-9; 1 Thessalonians and 2 Thessalonians). We will see the White Tower, the Arch of Galerius, the Roman Forum and Rotunda, as well as the Aristotle Square. Then we continue to Athens for dinner and overnight.
This morning we depart our hotel and drive along the coastal road to Corinth where Paul had met Aquila “There he met a Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, and recently come from Italy…” (Act 18:2). Continue along the wonderful beach of Kinetta, make a brief stop at the amazing human made Corinth Canal and from there to ancient Corinth. Visit the Museum, the Bema where “Paul gave his whole time to preaching the message...” (Act 18:5), along with the Doric Temple of Apollo, the Asklepion and the Agora. Paul stayed in Corinth for one and a half years “So Paul stayed there for a year and a half…” (Act 18:11). Afterwards we see the port of Cenchreae where he sailed to reach Ephesus “Before sailing from Cenchreae he had his head shaved because of a vow he had taken. “ (Act 18:18). We drive back to Athens to visit the important modern and archaeological sites of the city, the Acropolis Hill and neighboring monuments, including Mars Hill where Paul preached “So they took Paul and brought him in front of the city council, the Areopagus, and said…”(Act 17:19). Also, places of interest such as the University, the Academy, the National Library, the Temple of Zeus, the Panathenian Stadium, Omonia Square, Constitution Square and the Royal Palace, will be seen. We will see the Roman Cathedral of St. Dennis dedicated to Dionysius “Some men joined him and believed, among whom was Dionysius...” (Act 17:34). If time permits, we have some free hours to explore the ancient portion of the city, Plaka area, with its narrow paths, shops, taverns just at the foot of Acropolis. Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Early this morning we transfer to Athens airport for our return flight back home.