Journey through Ancient Greece

Itinerary: Southern Greece

Wednesday  fly to Athens on Aegean Airways at 1210 from Terminal 2, Heathrow. Coach to Hotel Cypria, just off Platia Syntagma and a few minutes walk from the Akropolis (about one hour from the airport).

Overnight Athens

 

The Parthenon marbles displayed in the new
 
Akropolis Museum;

 

Thursday We will spend the day in  Athens. In the morning we will walk through the Ancient Agora to see the Hephaiston, the most complete temple on the Greek mainland and then make our way up to the Akropolis where the famous buildings, including the Parthenon and the Erechthion, never fail to thrill. After a break for lunch we will visit the new Akropolis Museum; it is truly superb. The sculptures from the Parthenon, those which escaped the attention of Elgin and others, are most imaginatively displayed, in the relative positions in which they were placed on the Parthenon, with natural light from a huge glazed wall which looks out onto the Akropolis and the Parthenon. It is worth coming to Greece for this museum alone!

If you have been to Athens before you may prefer to visit the Kerameikon, the Benaki Museum, go to the flea market, shopping, or linger over lunch in the Plaka, (all within walking distance of our hotel). Overnight Athens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Temple to Hephaistos in the Ancient Agora

 

Friday will be spent in the region of Attika. We will visit the charming Sanctuary to Artemis at Vrauron (Vavrona), the ancient silver mines and theatre at Thorikos, the silver washeries at Agrilesa and end our day at Cape Sounion where we will have supper in a taverna on the beach (and a swim) before visiting the Temple to Poseidon for sunset, a truly magical experience.                                                                                      Overnight Athens    

 

 

On Saturday we will visit the magnificent National Archaeological Museum which contains treasures from all over the Greek world, including a fabulous collection of vases, sculpture and the frescoes from Thira (Santorini).  We can also go to the Kerameikos, the ancient cemetery, before leaving Athens in the afternoon for Delphi, in the most dramatic setting beneath Mount Parnassos, where we stay the night at the Akropole Hotel, http://www.delphi.com.gr/.                                                      Overnight Delphi                                                                                        

 

Theatre and Washery at Thorikos

 

 

On Sunday we visit the site of the ancient oracle and sanctuary of Apollo, a short walk from our hotel. With mountains towering above the sanctuary (sometimes with eagles soaring above) this is a truly dramatic place.  The 4th century BC sanctuary was the most famous of the cult sites in Greece. Among the many treasures in the museum are the fabulous bronze charioteer & some stunning gold & ivory items and beautiful archaic sculptures.  The site which is within walking distance of our hotel, opens at 0800. 

Leave Delphi 1400. From here we have a beautiful drive along the Gulf of Corinth, cross the Gulf on the new suspension bridge and travel to Olympia where we stay the night where we stay the night at the Olympic Village Hotel, http://www.hotelolvillage.gr/ .  There is an outdoor swimming pool here. The hotel is within walking distance of the site.   Overnight Olympia

                                                                

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tholos at the Marmaria or 'lower site'

On Monday we visit the wonderful & atmospheric site of Olympia, the 5th century BC Sanctuary of Zeus, the stadium where the first Olympic games were held in 776 BC, and the museum where you will see some of the superb sculptures from the temple of Zeus and the famous statue of Hermes by Praxitiles. The site is within walking distance of the hotel so you can go as early as you like! 

From Olympia we go to the Temple of Apollo Epkiourios at Vassae, set in the mountains, before driving to Nauplion, in the Argolid, where we will stay 3 nights in the Victoria hotel, in the old town. Nauplion is a lovely elegant Venetian port with no fewer than 3 castles, excellent museums, plenty of good restaurants, many churches, tempting shops & two beaches. It is an excellent base for visiting the many nearby archaeological sites. Overnight Nauplion at the Hotel Victoria in the old town: http://www.hotelvictoria.gr/index,

 

                                                                 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Temple to Apollo at Vassae

On Tuesday we will visit Mycenae, Homer's 'city of gold' built c.1500 BC, from where Agamemnon set off for Troy & where he was murdered by Klytemnestra; there is a fine museum here now with gold replicas of the treasures unearthed by Schliemann. Next we will go to nearby Ancient Nemea (where Herakles carried out his first labour of killing the lion) to visit the Sanctuary of Zeus, bath house, stadium (complete with tunnel) and superb museum. We can picnic on marble benches under the pine and olive trees here. Finally we will take a boat trip through the Corinth Canal, an awesome sight.              Overnight Nauplion

 

 

Temple to Zeus at Nemea

 

 

Wednesday After a morning in Nauplion we will go to nearby Lerna, where Herakles tackled the Hydra, to see remains of a house built around 2200 BC then visit 'wall girt Tyrins' and the magnificent theatre & Asklepion (healing sanctuary) at Epidavros. 

                                                                                                                   Overnight Nauplion

 

 

 

A view of the old town of Nauplion

 

 

Thursday We will leave Nauplion after breakfast for Ancient Corinth, site of one of the oldest temples on the Greek mainland, and the important Roman city where Saint Paul preached. We will then have lunch on the Gulf of Corinth at Loutraki before going to the airport for the early evening flight back to Heathrow.

Please note: We will give you a time to be back on the coach at each site. Feel free to join in a group or to wander at your own pace; you will have detailed information on each site. There is no pressure to do anything.

 Also although 'guiding' is forbidden Jane is always happy to answer questions at the sites.

Mary will help you with queries on hotels and 'domestic matters'.

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        The Philipeion at Olympia

 

Corinthian Pot, Corinth Museum