Grand Tour of Greece

Classical and Hellenistic Greece

About Grand Tour of Greece

Summary

A superb overview of Greece - classical sites plus the wonders of the North.

Activity code: GR-GRAND

Duration: 7 Days

START / FINISH - Athens

Highlights of the Grand Tour of Greece

  • Athens: Hadrian's Arch, Temple of Zeus, Odeion of Herodus Atticus and the sacred rock of the Acropolis crowned by the Parthenon. Don't miss the impressive Acropolis Museum, housing 4000 priceless finds. Soak up the atmosphere of Plaka with its busy winding streets, watch the changing of the guards at Syntagma Square. So much to see and do....
  • Corinth Canal: This feat of engineering joins the Ionian to the Aegean and helped make Pireaus into the international port it is today. The idea of a canal was first mooted during Roman times but it wasn't until the 1890s that it was actually constructed.
  • Mycenae: Homer wrote in the Iliad and Odyssey of a 'city, rich in gold', the capital of Agamemnon. The German businessman and archaeologist, Heinrich Schliemann, believed that many of the places in these works actually existed so he set about trying to find this golden city. He successfully located Mycenae and began excavations - what he unearthed there made Mycenae one of the richest treasures in the classical world.
  • Epidavrus: a stunning theatre, which dates from the 4th century BC. This 14,000 seat theatre blended so perfectly with its surroundings that it wasn't discovered until the 19th century. Nowadays many events are held here thanks to its fantastic acoustics.
  • Nafplion: one of the most beautiful and romantic towns in Greece. It boasts a wonderful mediaeval old town with cobbled alleyways, a lovely promenade and is overlooked by the Palamidi Fortress. From here you have stunning views over the bay and the Mycenae Plain (you do have to make some effort though as there are 999 steps to the top!) Nafplion is also known for 'Bourtzi' the Venetian fortress situated on a rocky islet just off the coast, originally this was built to protect Nafplion from sea attack, this became home to executioners in days gone by.
  • Olympia: enjoys a beautiful location in a valley with wild olive and plane trees. This is the birthplace of the Olympic Games. You'll see where the athletes trained, the Stadium, the wrestling school, the altars and the various temples.
  • Delphi: enjoys the most fabulous location on the slopes of a mountain terrace, dwarfed by Parnassus. In ancient times it was believed to have been the centre of the earth but it became most famous for its oracle. People used to journey there to consult the oracle on matters of love, business affairs or war.
  • Kalambaka: your base from which to explore Meteora. It is one of the holiest places on earth, huge monasteries built on top of granite boulders, 400m above the ground. The site was chosen as an escape from raiders but also as a place of solitude to be near to God.
  • Mount Olympus: Greece's highest mountain and home to the mythological gods.
  • Dion: the town at the foot of Mount Olympus. The Macedonian kings used to come here to make sacrifices before going into battle.
  • Thessaloniki: Greece's second city is steeped in history, a mixture of Byzantine and Ottoman. It was built in 316 BC by King Kassandros and named after his wife, the sister of Alexander the Great. For several centuries it was the second-most important city of the Byzantine Empire, played an important role for Christianity during the middle Ages and was decorated with impressive buildings. Nowadays, with a population of nearly one million, the city is the second major economic, industrial, commercial and political centre of Greece. In 1988, fifteen monuments of Thessaloniki were listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Edessa: the 'city of waters' famed for its waterfalls.
  • Vergina: or Ancient Aigai was the first capital of ancient kingdom of Macedonia. It is protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. The most important remains are the monumental palace and the burial ground. One of the royal tombs discovered in 1977, has been identified as that of Philip II and another one discovered a year later, as the tomb of Alexander IV, son of Alexander the Great. The underground museum contains the main treasures of the tombs of the Macedonian Kings.

This recommended and very popular holiday is a group Cultural Tour with qualified English-speaking guide; however if you are looking for a more independent holiday then we can also offer a completely tailor made itinerary.

What's included in this Greece Holiday:

  • 7 nights 4* hotel accommodation on HB basis
  • comfortable a/c transport throughout
  • Sightseeing and entry fees for sites listed on the itinerary
  • English-speaking guide / escort throughout

Not included:

  • Overnight Stay Tax In January 2018 Greece introduced an Overnight Stay Tax of 0.50 to 4 Euros per room or apartment per night, which is payable locally - the amount varies according to the category of the accommodation (i.e. most self catering and 1-2 star hotels = 0.50 Euros,  5 star hotels = 4 Euros).

Dates of Operation:

  • From April to October 2020: 23/APR, 14/MAY, 28/MAY, 11/JUN, 25/JUN, 16/JUL, 06/AUG, 10/SEP, 17/SEP & 24/SEP.

Contact us now to book this recommended Holiday for any dates.

Itinerary

  • DAY 1: Athens - Argolis - Olympia

    Leave Athens by the coastal road to the Corinth Canal where there will be a short stop. Continue on your journey and visit the renowned theatre of Epidavrus with its remarkable acoustics. Then proceed to the picturesque town of Nafplion where there will be another short stop before arriving at Mycenae where you will visit the archaeological site and Agamemnon's Tomb.

    In the afternoon you head from Olympia through the Central Peloponnese and the towns of Tripolis and Megalopolis. Dinner and overnight in Olympia, the cradle of the Olympic Games.

    • Overnight at Olympia.

  • DAY 2: Olympia - Delphi

    Visit the archaeological site of Olympia with the Sanctuary of Olympian Zeus, the Ancient Stadium and the Archaeological Museum. Then cross the plains of Iliad and Achaia until you reach the magnificent bridge crossing the Corinthian Bay from Rion to Antirion. Pass by the city of Nafpaktos (Lepanto) and Itea, arrive in Delphi.

    • Dinner and overnight in Delphi.

  • DAY 3: Delphi - Kalambaka

    In the morning visit the archaeological site and museum of Delphi.

    After lunch depart for Kalambaka, a small town located at the foot of the gigantic rocks of Meteora.

    • Dinner and overnight in Kalambaka.

  • DAY 4 - Meteora - Mount Olympus - Thessaloniki

    Visit the stunning area of Meteora with its ageless monasteries in which you can see exquisite examples of Byzantine art. Leave Kalambaka through the plain of Thessaly and the Valley of Tempi to admire the gigantic figure of Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece and home to the 12 gods in Greek mythology.

    After the visit leave for Thessaloniki, the second largest and most vibrant city in Greece.

    • Dinner and overnight in Thessaloniki.

  • Day 5: Thessaloniki

    Morning visit of the city that throughout the era of the Byzantine Empire was the 'co-reigning' city, second in population and prestige only to Constantinople. Visit its unique monuments and feel the glorious Byzantine past in some of the oldest and most characteristic churches of the Christian world as well as in the Museum of Byzantine Culture, awarded the Council of Europe's Museum prize in 2005.

    The rest of the day is free to enjoy time in the lively centre of the city.

    • Dinner and overnight in Thessaloniki.

  • DAY 6: Thessaloniki - Edessa - Naoussa - Vergina - Thessaloniki

    Depart in the morning for historical Macedonia.

    Your first stop will be at picturesque Edessa where you see the town's famous landmark, the waterfalls. Then proceed to Naoussa, to a site of exceptional beauty and importance: Aristotle's School, where the great philosopher taught ‘the doctrines of morals and politics' to Alexander the Great and the Macedonian youth. Then drive to Vergina (ancient Aigai), to live the experience of a visit to the unique Museum, created in the Great Tumulus covering the royal tombs of Macedonia. See the astonishing findings from the tomb of King Phillip II, Alexander's father, and feel the thrill of the greatest discovery of the 20th century. Only a few miles away is Veria (Biblical Beroea) and a visit to Saint Paul's Bema, and then stroll through the old Jewish neighbourhood and the colourful market area. Return to Thessaloniki.

    • Dinner and overnight in Thessaloniki.

  • Day 7: Pella - Dion - Athens

    Drive to Pella, the capital of Alexander the Great. See the exquisite floor mosaics of the 4th century B.C. villas in situ as well as in the new museum. Then visit the Archaeological Park of Dion (sacred city of the Macedonians, at the foot of Mount Olympus). After the visit you will start driving south  through Thessaly, Lamia, Thermopylae (a brief stop to see Leonidas' Monument) and Thebes, arriving into Athens late afternoon.

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