22 days
Duration
Europe
Destination
Level 3 - Moderate
Activity

Greece must see affordable seniors small group escorted history tour

Greece must see affordable seniors small group escorted history tour.  Odyssey Traveller Australia's, Greece 22-day tour begins and ends in Athens. The tour explores the wonders of the Ancient World. It is designed for seniors and the active mature traveller.

Ancient Greece laid the foundation for many of the empires that followed. As we know, the Romans imitated Greek engineering and architecture. In addition, Greece gave the world great literature and thought via its playwrights, historians, and philosophers. Ancient Greece also made major contributions to the sciences, notably via Pythagoras and Archimedes.

As its political dominance faded, Greece became a focal point of the long-haul destination on the Grand Tour route of the 1700s-1800s. Revealingly, these Grand Tourists were encouraged to dwell on what had been lost, and draw lessons related to their own political circumstances. Similarly, on this fully escorted small group tour, we too wonder at what remains of the civilisation of ancient Greece.

Highlights of this small group tour of Greece:

The Greece Small Group escorted history Tour explores the birth of Western civilisation and mythology. As such, we experience first-hand the icons and heritage of Ancient Greece. The tour is fully escorted, with a program leader for the duration. Together, we draw on the knowledge of local experts and historians to understand the historic townships we visit. In doing so, we deepen our knowledge of the culture and heritage of modern Greece.

During the 22 days of the program, this tour stops in 9 different locations, staying between 1 to 4 nights in each. Several of these locations go well beyond the usual tourist route. As such, we will have the chance to explore areas where few other tourists venture. This is particularly true of the Kalamata region

This small group escorted history tour to Greece also takes travellers into the mountainous interior and the rugged coastline of the Peloponnese. Here, we visit three diverse Greek islands. We experience the fertile Ionian island of Corfu, with its rugged mountains. Afterwards, we take in the rocky sun drenched island of Mykonos. Finally, the group visits the Island of Delos in the Aegean. In addition, we also visit the ancient cities of Corinth, Delphi, and Olympia. There will also be ample time in Athens to discover the Acropolis, the Parthenon and the treasures of its wonderful new museum.

This tour is paired with the Odyssey Traveller New Zealand program to Turkey, details of which can be found here.  Moreover, we also offer an Odyssey to Greece short tour option. We have limited both Odyssey to Greece tours to a maximum of 18 travellers, with two departures per year.

For more details, click the ‘Top 5’ or ‘Itinerary’ buttons above! If you’re keen to experience this tour, please call or send an email. Or, to book, simply fill in the form on the right hand side of this page.

This tour is listed in the catalogue as Odyssey to Greece Small Group Tour.

Tour Notes
  • Group size is limited to a maximum of 18 participants.

PDF of Tour PDF of Reading List

1
Visit centres of mythology such as Mycenae, Mystras, and Olympia.
2
See Corinth and the Corinth Canal.
3
Explore Delphi and its Oracle.
4
Explore The Greek Millionaires’ Islands, once home to shipping tycoons such as Onassis and Niarchos.
5
In Athens explore the place where Western Civilisation began: the Parthenon and its museum.

Overview: Upon arrival in Athens we will make our way to the hotel individually. Our tour begins with a welcome meeting with our Tour Leader at the hotel, followed by dinner. Athens is the home of the Acropolis and ancient archaeological sites, such as the Plaka with its mix of neoclassical, Turkish, and Greek island architecture. Athens features a mixture of classical Greek, Byzantine, Ottoman, and modern architecture. Ringed by mountains and conveniently located near Piraeus (its Mediterranean port), Athens epitomises both ancient and modern Greece. Here we are introduced to Greek history as we experience this ancient city. We will learn about the influence of past civilisations and experience the many examples of ancient monuments which give testimony to the richness of the Ancient Greek culture.

Accommodation: Hotel Stanley or similar.

Overview: Today we learn about Greek history and culture with a visit to arguably the city’s most famous archaeological site, the Acropolis, dominated by the Parthenon. We also view the city’s major icons, including Constitution Square and the Plaka, with its medieval town and Byzantine monuments. The evening is free for us to explore the city at leisure.

Accommodation: Hotel Stanley or similar.

Overview: We depart Athens and and cross the famous Corinth Canal to the virtual island of the Peloponnese. We overnight in the beautiful port town of Nafpolio. There will be time to wander through the Old Town cobblestone alleys and admire the neoclassical buildings.

Accommodation: Hotel Amalia or similar.

Overview: Today we experience Epidaurus, famed for its UNESCO World Heritage Listed theatre, arguably the most outstanding in the ancient world. We then continue to Mycenae, site of the Lion Gate and Agamemnon’s tomb. We then continue to our base in the Peloponnese, the city of Kalamáta. Kalamáta, the most important city in the Peloponnese, has been occupied by the Franks, Angevins, Venetians, Byzantines, and Ottoman Turks. The area played an important role in the struggle for Greek independence. Its location enables convenient exploration of the southern Peloponnese and allows us to learn about the rich history and independent people of the southern Peloponnese.

Accommodation: Hotel Messinian Bay or similar.

Overview: Today we have a full day’s field trip to ancient Sparta, which was at the height of its power between the 8th and the 4th centuries BC, and Byzantine Mystras, with its many churches and Despots’ Palace.

Accommodation: Hotel Messinian Bay or similar.

Overview: A full day’s field trip takes us to the the 13th century BC Palace of the Mycenaean King Nestor, the Venetian port of Methoni, and the stylish town of Pylos with its medieval castle and fine natural harbour, site of the battle of Navarino.

Accommodation: Hotel Messinian Bay or similar.

Overview: Today we explore the spectacular natural phenomenon of The Diros Caves, as well as the coastal villages and outstanding scenery of the Mani Peninsula.

Accommodation: Hotel Messinian Bay or similar.

Overview: En route to the northern edge of the Peloponnese, we learn about the local production of wine and famed Kalamata olives at the Mercury Estate.The Mercury family is one of Greece’s most respected vintners. We learn about the production of cava in the wine cellar and small private museum and taste the Ktima Mercuris vintages. After we take a walk through the vineyards, we travel to Olympia, ancient home of the Olympic Games, to visit the Olympia Archaeological Museum and the Courbertin Monument.

Accommodation: Amalia Hotel Olympia or similar.

Overview: We start our day with a short introduction and tour of Patras, the largest town in the Peloponnese and second port of Greece. We visit St. Andrew's Church, dedicated to Patras' patron Saint. The town of Patras was converted to Christianity by St. Andrew during the reign of Nero. From here we cross the new Rio-Antrio Bridge over the the Gulf of Corinth back to mainland Greece. We travel north to the Island of Corfu. Our journey takes us past Mesolongi, where Byron’s heart is buried, Agrinio, and the traditional market town of Arta, before we board our ferry at Igoumenitsa to Corfu.

Accommodation: Hotel Corfu Divani Palace or similar.

Overview: Today we visit Archilleion Palace, with its imperial gardens and majestic views of the surrounding valleys and Ionian Sea. The island of Corfu, located in the Ionian Sea between Italy and the west coast of mainland Greece, is renowned as a popular tourist attraction. Its history reflects Western European influence with occupation since the 14th century by Venetians, French, and British. It is verdant with olive groves, mountains, and woodlands, providing a setting for picturesque scenery. Corfu’s massive forts and fine buildings reflect the architectural styles of Venetian, French, and British occupation, and we learn about the island’s place in European history. Today’s field trip allows us to explore some of the island villages such as scenic Palaiokastritsa with its 17th century monastery.

Accommodation: Hotel Corfu Divani Palace or similar.

Overview: This morning we have free time to pursue whatever most takes our fancy in the city. In the afternoon, we take a guided walking tour of Corfu, where we learn how it has enjoyed unspoiled renovation since many of its finest buildings were destroyed in World War II.

Accommodation: Hotel Corfu Divani Palace or similar.

Overview: After a return ferry to the mainland, we travel via the Ottoman stronghold of Ioannina into the mountainous heartland of Greece. Here we enjoy a short city tour and visit to the Island. We then continue to the mountain town of Metsovo before arriving in Kalambaka in the region of the Meteora.

Accommodation: 2 nights at Hotel Amalia or similar.

Overview: From the vicinity of Kalambaka we visit two of the ancient Meteoran monasteries, among the most memorable sights of mainland Greece. These monasteries, perched precariously on rock pinnacles, have been used by religious communities since the late 10th century. In previous times access was by ladder or rope, but roads and pathways provide better access today. Here we learn about their ancient origins and history and observe their rich collections of frescoes and icons.

Accommodation: Hotel Amalia or similar.

Overview: En route to Delphi we may pause in Trikala, the market centre for the fertile Plain of Thessaly, and capital of the 19th century Ottoman province. We pass the typical market town of Lamia and stop for photos at Thermopylae.

Accommodation: Hotel Anemolia, Arachova (near Delphi) or similar.

Overview: Believed by the Ancient Greeks to be the centre of the earth, Delphi is set on the slopes of Mount Parnassos. One of the most important religious centres in Greece, it is here that the Ancients consulted the “Oracle” at the sanctuary of Apollo. The rocky slopes, strewn with ruins, where olive, pine, and cypress tenuously seek out an existence, add to the mysterious aura which pervades the area, providing one of the most impressive experiences in Greece. Here we learn about the cultural significance of Delphi as we experience this ancient site. Our field trip today visits UNESCO World Heritage Listed Delphi Archaeological Site and Museum with its famous bronze Charioteer. There will be some free time to explore ancient Delphi.

Accommodation: Hotel Anemolia, Arachova (near Delphi) or similar.

Overview: En route to the island of Mykonos we may visit Thebes if time permits. One of the chief cities and powers of ancient Greece and Marathon, it is the only city in the world that has given its name to an Olympic sport. We board our ferry in Rafina to Mykonos.

Accommodation: Hotel K Mykonos Town or similar.

Overview: Mykonos is one of the major islands of the Cyclades. With its blue-domed Orthodox churches, white-washed villages and windmills, it is the archetypal postcard image of Island Greece. The island was under Venetian rule for many centuries, but flourished as a self- sufficient society under the community of Mykonians. The island once attracted a considerable number of European writers, intellectuals, and painters, but now is regarded as one of the glitziest islands of Greece. We explore the island and learn about its history. We also include a field trip to UNESCO World Heritage Listed Delos, with its famous Lion Terrace. There will be free time this afternoon in Mykonos to explore Mykonos town and island.

Accommodation: Hotel K Mykonos Town or similar.

Overview: We have a morning at leisure in Mykonos town, a maze of dazzling white alleys, fisherman’s dwellings, and convoluted streets, nooks, and crannies designed to confuse 18th and early 19th century pirates. Today the town’s layout has the same effect on visitors and getting lost in Mykonos town is all part of the experience. We may like to explore the Folk Museum with its collection of ceramics, embroidery, and Mykonian textiles plus the nearby 16th century Vonis windmill or visit the asymmetrical hodgepodge of 4 chapels which make up the oldest church in Mykonos – the Paraportiani – and stroll through Little Venice with its arcaded Venetian houses built to the water’s edge. In the afternoon we transfer to Athens.

Accommodation: Hotel Stanley or similar.

Overview: Today we explore the National Archaeological Museum. It is the largest museum in Greece and one of the world's great museums. Although its original purpose was to secure all the finds from the 19th century excavations in and around Athens, it gradually became the central National Archaeological Museum and was enriched with finds from all over Greece. Its abundant collections, with more than 11,000 exhibits, provide a panorama of Greek civilisation from the beginnings of Prehistory to Late Antiquity. The museum is housed in an imposing late 19th century neoclassical building, which was designed by L. Lange and remodeled by Ernst Ziller.

Accommodation: Hotel Stanley or similar.

Overview: After a morning at leisure we have an afternoon’s field trip to Cape Sunion, Homer’s “sacred headland,” dominated by the Temple of Poseidon. Our included dinner is at a local restaurant at the Cape.

Accommodation: Hotel Stanley or similar.

Overview: Today we explore sights of Athens at leisure and perhaps have the opportunity to explore the small tavernas of the Plaka. Tonight we enjoy a farewell dinner.

Accommodation: Hotel Stanley or similar

Overview: The tour concludes after breakfast in Athens.

What's included in our Tour
  • 21 nights of hotel accommodation offering en-suited share twin rooms.
  • 21 breakfasts and 12 dinners.
  • Transport, ferry travel and field trips as indicated.
  • Applicable entry fees and services of local guides.
  • Services of a Tour Leader.
  • Service charges and gratuities.
  • Detailed tour information booklet.
What's not included in our Tour
  • Return economy class international airfare and departure taxes.
  • Comprehensive travel insurance.
Athens, Acropolis - Greek Islands
Greece Odyssey

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