Journey back 2,500 years to world of the ancient Greeks and the origins of Western Civilization. This well-paced 15-day journey balances expeditions to Greece's most important Classical age monuments with ample time to bask in the sun amidst the whitewashed houses, narrow streets vineyards, elegant shops, marketplaces, workshops and beautiful beaches on the island paradises of Mykonos and Santorini. Feast on local cuisine, sample some of Greece's best wines, enjoy lively local entertainment and learn about ancient Greek art, architecture and culture while enjoying time to explore and relax on your own. Your comprehensive tour of Athens takes in the marble Parthenon, Olympic Stadium, and the incredible Acropolis. An overnight visit to Olympia, an important early religious site dedicated to Zeus - the mythological father of the Greek pantheon - includes a tour of the Olympic Stadium - the birthplace of the first Olympic games. Join a local expert in exploring Delphi, one of ancient Greece's most important religious centers dating back to the 8th century. Another important religious site in Greece is Meteora, a group of monasteries perched atop nearly inaccessible limestone rock towers. As early as the 11th century, hermits settled on these towers, which are as high as 900 feet. As you travel through the dazzling Peneios Valley, you will visit two of these remote holy places. Enjoy traditional Greek cuisine and entertainment at a local taverna located in Athens' historic Plaka district.
Day #1 Overnight Flight - Discover the beauty and timeless wonder found only in Greece. Your tour of Greece begins with an overnight flight.
Day #2 Athens, Greece - Tour Begins - Your tour begins in the capital city of Athens. This evening, join your fellow travelers for a welcome dinner in Athens’ historic district, known as the Plaka. In a traditional taverna you will feast on local cuisine, wine and enjoy Greek entertainment.
Day #3 Athens - LANGUAGE DISCOVERY: Today, your Tour Manager will help you discover the origin and history of the language(s) you will experience on your tour along with key words and phrases that will help you communicate with the locals. Touring Athens, see the ruins of the Temple of Zeus, the Royal Palace, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Olympic Stadium and the incredible Acropolis (UNESCO).
Day #4 Athens - Thermopylae - Kalambaka - Travel north through central Greece to the ancient city of Thermopylae where you stop to see a monument dedicated to Leonidas, who died defending the city against the Persians. Then, stop at a local studio to see painters creating beautiful Byzantine icons. End your day in Kalambaka.
Day #5 Kalambaka - Metéora - Kalambaka - Today you tour Metéora (UNESCO), a unique landscape of limestone rock “towers” that stand nearly 900 feet tall. Over 600 years ago, Byzantine monks chose to build their monastic community perched atop these virtually inaccessible rocks. As you travel through the dazzling Peneios Valley, stop and visit one of these remote holy places. Return to Kalambaka for some leisure time.
Day #6 Kalambaka - Delphi - Arachova - Continue on to the ancient city of Delphi (UNESCO), one of Greece’s most important religious centers during Classical times. It was here that the famous Oracle was consulted to foretell the destiny of Man. A local expert guides you on a visit to the Sanctuary of Apollo, the Doric Temple and the Theatre.
Day #7 Arachova - Olympia - Travel along the Gulf of Corinth before crossing into the Peloponnese and the historic city of Olympia (UNESCO), a testament to the grandeur of ancient Greek civilization. Your guided visit includes the sanctuary of Zeus and the Olympic Stadium, where the first Olympic Games were held.
Day #8 Olympia - Mycenae - Epidauros - Tolo - Enjoy spectacular scenery as you cross the Arkadian Mountains en route to the ancient city of Mycenae (UNESCO). A guided visit of the excavations features the Beehive Tombs and the Lion Gate. Continue to Epidauros (UNESCO) to view the spectacular 2,300-year-old open air theater. End your day in the charming seaside village of Tolo.
Day #9 Tolo - Nauplion - Tolo - Today, experience the seaside charms of Nauplion. Explore the old town and the imposing Palamedes Fort, situated high atop the city with commanding views.
Day #10 Athens - Mykonos - This morning you transfer* to the port of Athens and board the high speed ferry to Mykonos, the whitewashed jewel of the Cyclades Islands. Enjoy magnificent views as you sail across the Aegean Sea to this island paradise.
Day #11 Mykonos - Your day is at leisure. Perhaps you will visit a beautiful island beach or Mykonos Town, where traditional life continues amidst the bustling activity.
Day #12 Mykonos - Santorini - Bid farewell to Mykonos as you sail to the most spectacular destination in the Mediterranean, the island of Santorini. Upon arrival, visit a winery followed by a tasting of the unique wines of Santorini that have become world-famous.
Day #13 Santorini - Spend the morning exploring the cultural wonders and history of Santorini. Begin by traveling through a fascinating landscape of vineyards, whitewashed chapels and volcanic cliffs to the spectacular town of Oia, where the best views of the crater are found. Later, visit the Archaeological Museum** with its impressive collection of frescoes, Byzantine works of art and sculptures of the Hellenistic period. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day #14 Santorini - Athens - Bid farewell to the Greek Islands and fly back to Athens for your overnight stay. This evening, join your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner celebrating the end of a memorable trip to Greece.
Day #15 Athens - Tour Ends -