Greece and the Islands, September 6 - 17, 2024
Day 1, September 6: Arrive Athens
Put the 'oh' in opa and embark on an unforgettable exploration of an ancient land of gods and goddesses, myths and legends. Your springboard to your spellbinding holiday is the vibrant capital of Athens, an effortless mix of ancient treasures and modern verve, which you will have an opportunity to explore after being transferred to your hotel. This evening, join your Travel Director and travel companions for a Welcome Reception, including a light meal and welcome drink.
Meal(s):Welcome Reception Hotel(s): Divani Palace Acropolis or similar
Day 2, September 7: Exploring Athens
Today your mythical Grecian discovery encapsulates the intriguing history of ancient Greece. Begin with an exploration revealing the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Arch of Hadrian. Next, your Local Specialist takes you to the Acropolis, one of the most important ancient sites in the Western world. Crowning the top is the Parthenon, visible from almost everywhere in the city. See the Temple of Athena Nike, also known as the Temple of the Wingless Victory, and the six stone-carved caryatids that make up the Porch of the Maidens on the Erechtheion.
Continue to Thermopylae, famous as the mountain pass where King Leonidas led his Spartan army, along with fellow Greek soldiers, into battle against the Persians in 480 B.C. See the memorial dedicated to Leonidas and his courageous Spartans. Then on to your hotel in Kalambaka for a delicious dinner from a fresh, seasonal menu.
Meal(s):Breakfast Hotel(s): Amalia Hotel Kalambaka or similar
Day 3, September 8: The Pinnacles of Meteora
With your Local Specialist, visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Meteora, meaning 'in the air.' The massive pinnacles of smooth rock are ancient yet could also be the setting for a science fiction tale. Visit one of the monasteries, that adds to the strange and beautiful landscape and enjoy stunning views over the Peneios Valley. The rest of the day is at your leisure. Why not explore with a relaxed walk on the nature trails? Alternatively, you may wish to visit the Natural History Museum.
Day 4, September 9: The Sacred Way and onto Olympia
Travel south, stopping at the foothills of Mount Parnassus. Ascend the Sacred Way of Delphi with your Local Expert. Pass the Parian marble Treasury of the Athenians and Polygonal Wall, with its interlocking stones still perfectly intact after thousands of years. You'll approach the Temple of Apollo, where for 14 centuries the mysterious Oracle of Delphi breathed her enigmatic ‘words,' rumored to have successfully predicted events related to the Argonauts expedition and the Trojan War. Your travels continue to Olympia, where dinner is served in your hotel.
Meal(s):Breakfast, Dinner Hotel(s): Amalia Delphi or similar
Day 5, September 10: Ancient Olympia
It's all in the name. Ancient Olympia is the site where the Ancient Olympic Games began in 776 B.C., in dedication to Zeus. See the ruined Temple of Zeus that was built to honor the ruler of the gods. Continue your exploration through time to the athlete's gymnasium and the Ancient Stadium of Olympia with its characteristic arch. The start and finish points for the sprint track are still marked by stones and there is time to capture your own memory, with a photo at the starting line. In the evening, join a local chef for an entertaining cooking demonstration, showcasing classic Greek cuisine. Experience authentic Greek flavors, as you savor dishes prepared for an included
Meal(s):Breakfast, Dinner Hotel(s): Amalia Olympia or similar
Day 6, September 11: Mycenae and Nafplio
Today you leave the town of Olympia and begin your journey back to the Greek capital. Stop for a visit at the ruined city of Mycenae with a Local Expert. Walk through the Lion Gate, visit the royal beehive-tombs and see the giant Cyclopean stones, used to build the city walls. Later, join a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience as you meet the artisans at a family-run pottery studio and view beautiful works of art. Travel to the elegant town of Nafplio known for its beautiful architecture, colorful shops and vibrant cafes. Your journey continues,
following the shores of the Saronic Gulf to pass the Corinth Canal, dividing the Peloponnese and mainland Greece, before arriving in Athens where you will have a free evening.
Meal(s):Breakfast Hotel(s): Divani Palace Acropolis Athens or similar
Day 7, September 12: Cruise to Santoriini
We depart Athens via high-speed ferry and cruise to Santorini, where we'll spend the next two days exploring the island's dramatic beauty. Stroll through the volcanic island's quaint clifftop towns. Blue-domed whitewashed façades cling dramatically to the multi-colored cliffs providing a spectacular backdrop for exquisite sunsets. Join your companions this evening for a memorable meal of Greek cuisine.
Meal(s):Breakfast, Dinner Hotel(s): El Greco Resort & Spa Santorini or similar
Day 8, September 13: Santorini Your Way
View the magnificent caldera, see the island's ancient ruins or ramble through the winding streets of Fira and Oia - today is yours to enjoy a leisurely exploration of this beautiful island on your own. Indulge in a day of sunbathing and relaxation on one of its many beaches or shop up a storm at its boutique stores.
Day 9, September 14: Cruise to Mykonos
We take a short ferry transfer to Mykonos - its characteristic hillside windmills overlook the beautiful bay and stand as an enduring greeting to all who arrive. Enjoy an orientation before spending the rest of your day getting lost amidst the island's labyrinthine lanes, lined with whitewashed cottages and tumbling cerise bougainvillea. Take to the playground of the rich and famous and perhaps experience the island's vibrant nightlife.
Meal(s):Breakfast Hotel(s): Rhenia Mykonos Hotel & Bungalows or similar
Day 10, September 15: Admire Mykonos
Set your watch to island time and enjoy a glorious day soaking up the laid-back vibe of Mykonos. Spend your day relaxing on its beautiful beaches, sip champagne in the picturesque Little Venice waterside, or visit some of its historical treasures, including the 17th-century Church of the Paraportiani, the Archaeological Museum and the Aegean Maritime Museum.
Day 11, September 16: Cruise to Athens
We return to Athens, via a high-speed ferry. After being transferred to your hotel, you have free time for some last-minute souvenir shopping. Later tonight, enjoy a rousing Farewell Dinner with our travel companions and reminisce over an incredible journey through Greece.
Meal(s):Breakfast, Farewell Dinner Hotel(s): Divani Palace Acropolis Athens or similar
Day 12, September 17: Farewell Athens
We say a fond farewell to our newfound friends and the treasures of Greece after an unforgettable journey. You will have one group transfer that will take you to the Athens airport for your flight back home.