Venture back to a time when great philosophers roamed the halls of the Agora and gods competed for mythical supremacy. Your journey delving into the treasures of Greece begins in its vibrant capital, which you will have an opportunity to explore after being transferred to your hotel. Kick off your in-depth discovery of what was once the 'Cradle of Western Civilisation' this evening, when you meet your Travel Director and travel companions for a Welcome Reception.
We journey to a land of legends this morning. Our leisurely drive takes us to the scenic northeast Peloponnese and past the impressive Corinth Canal, which straddles two gulfs. Our first stop is the ancient Theatre of Epidaurus and the Sanctuary of Asclepius, God of Medicine, whose snake-entwined staff remains the symbol of medicine to this day. Take to the stage and hear first-hand the magnificent acoustics that would entertain over 14,000 spectators, then spend the rest of the day exploring the Venetian-inspired seaport of Nafplion. Amble past its Neoclassical mansions or enjoy a traditional meal against the scenic backdrop of the bay.
We continue our journey inland and join a Local Specialist for a guided visit of Mycenae, its ruins remain as a testament of what was once an important palatial centre of the late Bronze Age in Greece. Stroll through the Lion Gate and Agamemnon's Royal Palace, before seeing the tomb of this fearless Greek leader who commanded the Greeks in their battles against Trojan forces. This afternoon, we Dive Into Culture and sample delicious local vintages, gaining insights into wine production in the Nemea region. We'll have free time to stroll through the seaside retreat of Nafplion with a delicious Greek ice cream in hand.
Crossing the Peloponnese, we head towards the famous village of Olympia, where sacrifices were once made to the gods, and athletes competed for supremacy in the ancient Olympic Games. Visit the ruins of temples, the museum and the stadium, with our Local Specialist, imagining agile runners racing in honour of Zeus. This evening, we Connect With Locals joining the Karambellas family on their olive and wine farm for a traditional Be My Guest experience including dinner and dancing.
We leave the Peninsula and return to mainland Greece, continuing north past Amphilochia and Preveza, before arriving in Nikopolis to see where the Battle of Actium took place. Boarding a ferry, we cross to the beautiful island of Corfu where we have some time at leisure to admire its splendid architecture, arcades and Spianada, one of the largest and most impressive squares in Greece.
Begin your day with an orientation tour of the island, followed by a visit to the Venetian Castle and the Monastery of Palaiokastritsa. Later, we stop at the Phaeacian-styled Achilleion Palace, built by Elizabeth 'Sissi' Empress of Austria and Hungary, who so admired Greece and its culture that she decided to build an enchanting summer retreat here. Stroll through its Imperial Gardens and enjoy magnificent views of the lush valley and glistening Ionian Sea beyond before returning to your hotel for an evening on your own terms.
We bid farewell to island living on Corfu and sail back to the mainland, continuing to the lively lakeside city of Ioannina, where we spend the rest of the day at leisure. Stroll along the tranquil lakeshore and through the Old Town to admire its Ottoman and Byzantine treasures, including the imposing castle that overlooks Lake Pamvotis.
The delicious flavours of Metsovone cheese and wine provide a fitting start to our day. We continue to Kalambaka where a Local Specialist will reveal the famous Byzantine Monasteries of Meteora that stand almost impossibly perched atop colossal boulders. Pass the seaside town of Volos before arriving into Portaria.
Traversing the peaks of Parnassos and Giona, we stop in Thermopylae, the mythical entrance to Hades and the site where Leonidas and his 300 Spartans fought bravely against the invading Persians. Join a Local Specialist for a guided visit to Delphi, the seat of the most important oracle in the classical world. Walk the Sacred Way to the 4th-century Temple of Apollo and ramble through what remains of this ancient sanctuary, once the site of the Pythian Games, a precursor of the modern Olympics. The seaside village of Galaxidi is our final stop for the day.
We return to cosmopolitan Athens for a day of delving into antiquity, coming face-to-face with the treasures of Ancient Greece. We ascend to the Acropolis and join a Local Specialist for a sightseeing tour with magnificent views of Athena's Parthenon, the Agora, Royal Palace and Temple of Zeus. See Hadrian's Arch, built to celebrate the arrival of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, and view the stadium where the first modern Olympics took place in 1896. On our final evening together, we join our fellow travellers for a Farewell Dinner to celebrate the millennia and miles explored together on this epic voyage of discovery.
Board a high-speed ferry to the idyllic island of Santorini, your home for three nights. Transfer to your hotel with an orientation on arrival and spend free time exploring. Comprising of a small circular archipelago of volcanic islands in the southern Aegean Sea, Santorini is all that remains of an enormous volcanic explosion. The island's spectacular physical beauty coupled with its dynamic nightlife makes it one of Europe's most popular hotspots.
Santorini offers a wealth of exciting things to do. You might like to spend your time relaxing in the sun or wander down winding cobbled streets full of whitewashed houses. Admire breathtaking views across the caldera and witness a stunning sunset.
Santorini makes some of the Greek islands' best wines so perhaps take a tour of a winery and taste some for yourself. Consider a ride in a caique to the volcanic island of Nea Kamini to swim in the hot springs. Embrace the magic of Santorini.
Take a short flight back to Athens this morning. Say goodbye to Greece as you continue your journey home from Athens Airport.