See the best of Greece’s ancient and modern mainland, then cruise to the beautiful islands of the Aegean and Kusadasi, Turkey. Spend the first two nights in Athens with guided sightseeing that includes the Acropolis as well as time at leisure. Cross the Corinth Canal and marvel at the perfect acoustics of the Epidaurus Theater and at the fortress of Mycenae. Visit Sparta and travel to Olympia, the legendary home of the Olympic Games. Cross the spectacular Rion-Antirion Bridge and spend time in mythical Delphi. Marvel at the extraordinary rock-top Meteora monasteries before returning to Athens. Next, embark your cruise ship and set sail for Mykonos with its “Little Venice” district, then Kusadasi, a bazaar town and seaside resort known for the Ephesus archaeological site. In Patmos, stop by the 11th-century monastery; stroll through the charming old walled city and souvenir stalls in Rhodes; see Heraklion in Crete; and marvel at awe-inspiring volcanic Santorini, the “Black Pearl of the Aegean.” Return to Athens for time at leisure—the ideal ending to your journey.
Day #1 Arrive in Athens, Greece. Check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to start exploring the Greek capital. Later, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers.
Day #2 Athens. A day to do just as you please. You could also join an optional day cruise to the islands of Aegina, Hydra, and Poros. In the evening, free time to enjoy the lively atmosphere of the tavernas and nightclubs in the old Plaka district with its narrow streets and sound of bouzouki music. (B)
Day #3 Athens–Corinth–Epidaurus–Nauplia. Join the included sightseeing tour of Athens, featuring the highlights of this ancient capital and a visit to the Acropolis. Next, westward to the Corinth Canal. Journey into the Argolis to make a stop in Epidaurus. Visit the open-air theater, which can still seat 14,000 spectators, then head for the coast and overnight in Nauplia. (B)
Day #4 Nauplia–Mycenae–Sparta. This morning, enjoy the included excursion with a Local Guide to Mycenae, a city fortress cursed by the gods but rich in gold and warrior kings. Motor south in the afternoon deep into the Peloponnese to Sparta for an overnight. (B,D)
Day #5 Sparta–Mystra–Olympia. Your morning highlight will be the included sightseeing of the medieval Byzantine citadel of Mystra, at one time known as the “Florence of the East.” In the afternoon, drive to Olympia. (B,D)
Day #6 Olympia–Patras–Delphi. Focus on Olympia, where the athletes of antiquity performed in honor of the king of deities. Learn more about the history of the Olympic Games on the optional sightseeing tour. In the afternoon, drive north towards Patras, the capital of the Peloponnese and the west coast’s largest port. Then, proceed through the picturesque fishing villages along the south coast of the mainland to mythical Delphi, crossing the spectacular Rion-Antirion Bridge. (B)
Day #7 Delphi–Kalambaka. Optional morning sightseeing of the archaeological site of Delphi. In the afternoon, drive north by way of Lamia and on to Trikala in Thessaly for an overnight in Kalambaka. (B,D)
Day #8 Kalambaka–Meteora–Athens. A short drive to Meteora, which is a cluster of monastic buildings perched in an unforgettable manner on a set of rising rock formations. Your included visit is certainly the day’s highlight. Later, drive south via Lamia to Athens for an overnight. (B)
Day #9 Athens. A full day at leisure to explore the unseen parts of the city, or maybe even join one of the many optionals available. (B)
Day #10 Athens–Piraeus/Lavrion (Embarkation)–Mykonos. Early morning embarkation and an afternoon spent cruising in the Aegean. Evening arrival in Mykonos, a granite island and the most typical of the Cyclades. Its cubic houses, windmills, and chapels seem to make the island’s light even more translucent. Spend some time visiting a taverna or just wandering around the town, enjoying its timeless beauty. (B,L,D)
Day #11 Kusadasi, Turkey & Patmos, Greece. Two ports of call today. First, Kusadasi on the Turkish coast. An optional morning excursion takes you to the fascinating Greek, Roman, and Byzantine excavations of Ephesus. Next, discover the tiny Greek island of Patmos, where St. John the Divine wrote the Revelation. The 11th-century monastery with its valuable manuscript collection is well worth a visit. (B,L,D)
Day #12 Rhodes. Dock in Rhodes, largest of the Dodecanese Islands and site of the Colossus of Rhodes, a 105-foot statue destroyed by an earthquake in 224 BC. All day is dedicated to the island of Rhodes. Explore the sights in the historic Old City with its ramparts and palaces built by the Knights of St. John during the Crusades. Another possibility: join an optional excursion to Lindos and the fabulous Temple of Athena. And if sightseeing is not your thing, Rhodes’ sun-drenched beaches and colorful shopping districts are within easy walking distance of the port. Sail from Rhodes around dinner time. (B,L,D)
Day #13 Crete & Santorini. Morning at Heraklion on the island of Crete. A few miles away is Knossos, the center of the 3000 BC Minoan civilization; an optional excursion can be booked. Next port of call (weather permitting) is Santorini, the “Black Pearl of the Aegean.” The optional shore excursion here takes you up to the cliff-top village of Oia for one of the world’s most breathtaking panoramas. (B,L,D)
Day #14 Piraeus/Lavrion (Disembarkation)–Athens. Early morning arrival in Piraeus; drive to Athens. More time to explore the unseen parts of the city or do some last-minute shopping. (B)
Day #15 Athens. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)