Greece. Ancient Theatre in Epidaurus (also Epidauros, Epidavros) built in 340 BC.

Highlights of Ancient Greece

8 days
from
$1,765 USD
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5 / 5 from 1 review >
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Trip code: 
AGM
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Culture & Discovery Holidays
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–16

Journey through thousands of years of history and major UNESCO Worldwide Heritage sites.

Starting in the capital city Athens, we’ll visit some of the most significant archaeological sites in the country, including the Acropolis, Ancient Mycenae and Epidaurus. We’ll also visit the mediaeval castle town of Mystras, Ancient Olympia, where the first Olympic Games took place, Delphi, where heaven and earth met in the ancient world, and the unique 'stone forest' of Meteora, one of the largest Orthodox communities in Greece and the Balkans. At the same time we’ll cover a large part of mainland Greece, including the Peloponnese Peninsula and Central Greece, enjoying both the beautiful coastline and lush forests and mountains!

Highlights

  • Explore the ancient sites of Mystras and Delphi
  • Visit Olympia, the site of the first Olympic Games
  • Enjoy spectacular Meteora- 'columns in the sky'

Key information

  • 7 nights 3-star hotels with en suite facilities
  • Group normally 4 to 16 plus leader. Min age 16 years
  • Travel by minibus

What's included

  • All breakfasts
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader and archaeological guide throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations

 

 

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Athens; afternoon walking tour of Athens.

    The group flight usually arrives into Athens in the early afternoon and you will be met and transferred to the start hotel. Land Only clients should aim to arrive at the hotel around noon. After lunch, there is a walking tour of Athens, the historical capital of Europe and the birthplace of democracy, dating back to the Neolithic Age, and the archaeological sites of major interest, including the Acropolis and the Museum of Acropolis, also known as the city’s historical centre will be visited. This walk is actually a journey through history itself, where you will see classic ancient history and all other periods, the architectural evolution and all phases of the city’s development until the 21st century (Classic period, Romaic period, Byzantine, Ottoman occupation, Neo classic times and 20th century).

    Accommodation: Arion Hotel or similar
    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 2

    To Nafplio, visiting Ancient Corinth and Mycenae en route.

    After breakfast, we will depart to Nafplio. On the way, we will stop at the impressive Corinth Canal, which separates the Peloponnese from mainland Greece and connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Aegean Sea. We will then visit the archaeological site of Ancient Corinth, which was one of the major cities in the antiquity and an important trade centre. Located at the northern foothills of the Acrocorinth hill, around the Archaic Temple of Apollo, the site was first inhabited in the Neolithic period (6500-3250 B.C.). Extended excavations have revealed the Roman Forum, temples, fountains, porticoes, baths, latrines and various other monuments. We will also visit the remarkable castle of Acrocorinth, one of the largest, if not the largest in Greece, located on the hill above Ancient Corinth, overlooking the ancient city.

    We will then continue on to the archaeological site of Mycenae, the kingdom of mythical Agamemnon and the most important and richest palatial centre of the Late Bronze Age in Greece. The archaeological site of Mycenae comprises the fortified acropolis and surrounding funerary and habitation sites, which are located mainly to its west and southwest. Most of the visible monuments date to the centre's great flourish period from 1350 to 1200 BC. Huge impressive Cyclopean walls surround the acropolis, which is accessed through the famous Lion Gate, a symbol of the Mycenaean rulers' power. The palace, a symbol of the power of Mycenaean rulers, dominates the citadel's highest point.

    We will continue to the picturesque town of Nafplio where we will spend the night.

    Accommodation: Pension Dafni or similar
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Morning explore Ancient Epidavros; afternoon visit the fortress of Palamidi.

    Today we will explore Ancient Epidavros (approx. 45min drive from Nafplio), where the Sanctuary of the god-physician Asclepius, the most famous healing centre of the Greek and Roman world, is found. Besides the sanctuary of Asclepius, we’ll also visit the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus, one of the greatest monuments of Ancient Greece. It is the finest and most renowned of its kind, perfectly combining acoustics with elegance and symmetrical proportions.

    In the afternoon, we’ll return to Nafplio and visit the impressive Venetian fortress of Palamidi, overlooking the town. This fortress was initially fortified by the Venetians during the second Venetian occupation of the area (1686-1715). In 1715 it was captured by the Turks and remained under their control until 1822, when it was liberated by the Greeks. The most important monuments of the site that we’ll visit are the castle, the church of St. Andrew and the prison of “Kolokotronis”, a hero of the Greek Revolution.

    Please note that on departures between November and March we will first visit the fortress of Palamidi and then Ancient Epidavros.

    Accommodation: Pension Dafni or similar
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Morning explore the UNESCO World Heritage site of Mystras; afternoon to Pylos, visiting Ancient Messene en route.

    After breakfast, we leave Nafplio and head towards Mystras, the ‘wonder of the Morea’, the most famous castle and mediaeval town in Greece and a UNESCO Worldwide Heritage Site. Mystras occupies a steep foothill on the northern slopes of Mt. Taygetos, dating back to the 13th century. It is a Frankish castle that after 1262 came under Byzantine control and in the middle of the 14th century became the seat of the Despotate of Moreas. In 1460 it was captured by the Turks, but it was liberated again in 1821. It was actually one of the first castles to be liberated during the War of Independence. We will explore the site on foot, including several beautiful Byzantine churches with different architecture, most of them built between the 12th and 15th centuries, the palaces of the Mystras Despots and some urban buildings. Unfortunately the castle itself is closed for reconstruction so we are unable to visit it.

    In the afternoon, we will head towards Ancient Messene, one of the finest and best restored, yet still relatively unknown, archaeological sites in Greece. Lying in a fertile valley, below Mt Ithomi, in Central Messenia, the site was first inhabited during the Late Neolithic or the early Bronze age. Amongst the site’s monuments, we will visit the ancient theatre, the agora and the asclepion. The stadium and the gymnasium are among the most impressive and well-preserved building complexes in Ancient Messene and are sure to captivate you!

    We will then drive to the seaside town of Pylos, where we will spend the night.

    Accommodation: Hotel Karalis or similar
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Morning explore the Castle of Pylos; afternoon visit seaside village of Methoni; to Karokole.

    After breakfast, we will visit the Castle of Pylos, which also hosts a fine exhibition and museum of underwater antiquities. Here you will find out more about underwater archaeology in Greece, how research, excavations and preservation of the antiquities take place. You will also see some contents from shipwrecks found in the sea near Peloponnese and Ionian islands.

    After this, we will visit the beautiful village of Methoni, on the southwestern most point of the Peloponnese peninsula. Picturesque Methoni overlooks the Ionian Sea and the island complex of Oinousses, and boasts a fine example of Venetian architecture in its castle.

    After lunch, we’ll drive all the way along the west coastline of the Peloponnese to the seaside town of Katakolo where we spend the night (approx. 2 hrs drive).

    Accommodation: Hotel Arethousa or similar
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Explore Ancient Olympia, the site of the first Olympic Games.

    After breakfast, we’ll drive (approximately 30 mins) to Ancient Olympia, the site that hosted the first Olympic Games. Dedicated to Zeus, the father of the gods, at the confluence of two rivers, in a lush, green landscape, near the west coast of the Peloponnese, Olympia is the most important religious and athletic centre in Ancient Greece. We will explore this major archaeological site, which includes the sanctuary of Zeus and the many buildings erected around it, such as an athletic premises used for the preparation and celebration of the Olympic Games, administrative buildings and other lay buildings and monuments (the Temple of Hera, the Council House, the Ancient Stadium and Gymnasium, the Altar of Zeus).

    After lunch, we will drive (approx. 3.5 hrs) to Delphi where we will spend the night.

    Accommodation: Nidimos Hotel or similar
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Morning explore the UNESCO World Heritage site of Delphi; afternoon visit Arachova on the slopes of Mount Parnassus; to Meteora.

    In the morning, we will head to the UNESCO Worldwide Heritage Site of Delphi. We will explore this magnificent archaeological site on foot, the place that in ancient times was considered the centre of the world, the place where heaven and earth met. The history of Delphi dates back to prehistoric times when the myths of the ancient Greeks took place. According to mythology, it is here that the two eagles sent out by Zeus from the ends of the universe to find the navel of the world, met. The sanctuary of Delphi, set within a spectacular landscape, on the slopes of Mount Parnassos, was for many centuries the cultural and religious centre and symbol of unity for the Hellenic world. Once at the archaeological site, we’ll have the chance to visit the Temple of Apollo, the Treasury of the Athenians and of the Siphnians, the ancient theatre, stadium and the ancient gymnasium as well as the Castalian spring that was considered the sacred source of Delphi.

    We’ll have lunch in the mountainous town of Arachova, on the slopes of Mount Parnassus, one of the most picturesque and well-known winter destinations in Greece. We will have the chance to taste some of the local products, such as “formaella” cheese, produced only in Arachova.

    After lunch, we head northeast to the UNESCO Worldwide Heritage Site of Meteora (approx. 4 hrs drive). Meteora is one of the largest Greek Orthodox communities in Greece, second only to Mount Athos. Situated over the town of Kalampaka, on the north-western edge of the Plain of Thessaly (in Central Greece), Meteora is one of the most imposing sights in Greece and a must-see for everyone visiting the country. Sandstone steep rocks, rising over 400 metres above the ground, were formed about 60 million years ago, as a result of a fluvial erosion, earthquakes and geological changes that followed over the centuries, and created this rare natural phenomenon and landscape. Besides being a marvel of nature, what makes Meteora even more astonishing are the monasteries spectacularly perched atop the rocky pinnacles. We aim to arrive in Meteora at sunset, going to several viewpoints where we can enjoy panoramic views over Kalampaka plain and the stone forest of Meteora.

    Accommodation: Hotel Meteoritis or similar
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Explore the UNESCO World Heritage site of Meteora; afternoon to Athens and end.

    After breakfast, we will visit one of the cliff–top monasteries of Meteora and learn more about their history and monastic life. The area of Meteora was initially inhabited by monks who lived in caves within the rocks during the 11th century. In the late 12th century, a small church called the Panaghia Doupiani was built at the foot of one of the rocks, but during the Turkish occupation it became less secure so the monks climbed higher and higher up the rocks to protect themselves from different conquerors. Numerous monasteries were systematically built on top of the rocks so by the end of the 15th century there were 24 constructed in total; today only 6 of them are still active. The monks had to climb up ladders or use baskets and ropes to transfer the material for the construction of these monasteries and until 1920 this was the only means for getting supplies.

    After lunch, we’ll return to Athens (approx. 4 or 4.5 hrs drive) where our adventure will end. Those on the group flights will be transferred to the airport in time for their flight to London.

    Meals included: Breakfast

Essential Info

Visas

Greece

British and other EU passport holders do not need a visa to visit Greece.

Vaccinations

Greece

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

Breakfast is included at all of the hotels.

Simple buffet style Greek breakfast consists of bread/toast, butter, jam, fresh juice, milk, local yoghurt, eggs and honey, and coffee/tea.

Other meals are not included, and we suggest you allow approximately €175-€250 to cover them, more if you include alcoholic or expensive fruit juice drinks with each meal.

Your group leader will normally assist in organising group meals at most stops so that you may benefit from better choice and good food.  For lunch and dinner we will go to different local tavernas and restaurants, where we can sample some typical Greek meze dishes, olives, fresh fish, vegetables…

Weather

February to March and November/December daytime temperatures 10-18º, night time 5-9º; rain and chances of snow on high mountains.

April, May and October daytime temperatures 17-27º, night time 12-17º; small chance of rain; ideal time to see spring flowers.

June and September: daytime temperatures 20-30º, night time 18-23º; very dry and warm, ideal for swimming.

Athens

Is this trip for you?

This is a cultural trip of Greece’s major archaeological sites, combining coastal areas in the Peloponnese Peninsula with several mountainous areas and villages in Greece. Beautiful landscapes, incredible history and culture are the highlights of this tour. A fair amount of travelling (by mini bus) is involved, ranging from 2 to 4 hours per day, well balanced though between sightseeing en route, visiting key sites, lunch breaks and some free time, usually upon arrival at each day’s destination. Most of the driving is on main roads, which are fast. In some places we follow the provincial roads, which are also sealed.  
The tour is not physically demanding, however at several sites (such as in Mystras, Delphi and Meteora), some walking is necessary to explore the places.
Since July and August are hot summer months in Greece, this tour is provided in autumn and spring time, when the weather is mostly sunny and mild, so you don’t have to worry about very cold or hot days.
Expect some early starts on departures November through March as many of the sites close at 3pm during these months and we want to insure there is sufficient time to visit them thoroughly.

Accommodation

Hotels

On this trip we will stay at small, comfortable, family run hotels where possible, choosing traditional hotels that highlight the local architecture of each destination. Most hotels will offer free WiFi. Some hotels also have a swimming pool.

In Delphi the hotel offers unique views to the surrounding mountains. In Meteora, you may wake up admiring the rock pillars! In Athens, the hotel is near the city centre and the places of archaeological interest, so that you can explore on your own and enjoy the highlights of the city.

 Single accommodation is available on this trip for a supplement; see dates and prices.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed April 2017
    Christine Mccormick

    Highlights of Ancient Greece

    Excellent trip covering a wonderful variety of Ancient archaeological sites in Athens and the Pelopponese. Good hotels throughout, friendly and competent guide and driver.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    This trip excelled because Elly, our archaeology guide stayed with us throughout and the depth of her knowledge was amazing. She made this trip with her explanations and dedication.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Lovely lady who worked constantly throughout and was very efficient in every way. Helpful and dependent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The only criticism l have is that the flights at both ends of the trip made it necessary for me to book hotels at both ends in Heathrow and having to check in at 5 am does not start a holiday well. I was too tired to enjoy our first day in Athens.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I suggest that the group flights arrive in Athens on the first day afternoon and that the Athens tour takes place the following day when everyone has rested up. Also, the return flight to arrive back to UK earlier on final day.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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