An Insight host will meet you at the airport and take you to the hotel, where there is time to settle in and relax. At 19:00, join your Travel Director for a Welcome Reception, and get to know your fellow travellers over a delightful evening of dinner and wine.
Today your mythical Grecian discovery encapsulates the intriguing history of ancient Greece. Begin with an exploration revealing the Temple of Olympian Zeus and Arch of Hadrian. Next, your Local Expert 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.
With your Local Expert, 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.
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,' rumoured 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.
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 honour the ruler of the gods. Continue your exploration through time to the athletes 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 flavours, as you savour dishes prepared for your Highlight Dinner.
Visit 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, colourful shops and cafes. Your journey continues, following the shores of the Saronic Gulf to pass the Corinth Canal, dividing the Peloponnese and mainland Greece, and arriving in Athens. In the evening, enjoy a hearty dinner in true Greek style, complete with wine and good cheer.
Board your cruise ship and set sail for the lovely island of Mykonos with its dazzling sugar cube houses and whitewashed windmills. Tonight, the maze of walkways, welcoming tavernas and nightlife are yours to explore. Late in the evening, your cruise sails across the Aegean to Turkey. While cruising, enjoy an exquisite variety of Mediterranean dishes as well as flavours, aromas and spices from around the world. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served onboard daily. Your cruise includes a selection of alcoholic beverages and non alcoholic hot and cold beverages are included.
Today explore the Turkish port of Kusadasi and visit the ancient ruins of Ephesus with a Local Expert. In the afternoon, sail to the island of Patmos where St. John the Devine was exiled by the Emperor Domitian. Later, your cruise sets sail for Rhodes.
Upon arrival at Rhodes, chosen by the Crusaders as their fortified headquarters, the day is yours to explore at your own pace. Join your Local Expert on an included walking tour of the old town surrounded by medieval walls and visit the Acropolis of Lindos or simply enjoy a relaxing day on the golden beaches. In the evening, your cruise continues to Crete.
In the morning, you dock at Heraklion in Crete. Perhaps join an optional visit with a Local Expert to the site of the ruins of King Minos' Palace of Knossos. Later, cruise beneath the sheer cliffs of Santorini. Explore the capital of Thira, with its clifftop restaurants and cafes, breathtaking views and amazing sunsets. In the evening you sail onto Athens.
Disembark in the morning and transfer to your hotel where you are at leisure. Relax, shop or bargain in the local market. Perhaps ask about an optional experience to the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion?
Bid farewell to Athens. Your journey ends with a transfer to the airport.