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The Peloponnese (8 days)
Ancient civilization and Greek mythology


Day 1:  ARRIVAL ATHENS 
Upon arrival in Athens international airport, you shall proceed to passport control and luggage claim. Our representative will be waiting for you and our staff will provide private transfer with our deluxe air-conditioned motorcoach to your hotel. Check in to your hotel. The rest of the day is free at leisure to get a first glimpse of the historical city of Athens. According to your available time you can enjoy some of the major sights, such as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in front of the Greek Parliament house, (former Royal Palace) and the Panathenian Stadium, location of the finish line of the classical Athens Marathon. The grandeur of the antiquities can be felt in the Temple of Olympian Zeus. All sights are located in walking distance from the hotel. Dinner and overnight in 5* hotel.
 
Day 2: ATHENS & ACROPOLIS TOUR 
After enjoying our buffet breakfast, you shall depart for our tour in the most important sight of the Ancient World, the world famous Acropolis and its superb new Museum. Once atop the Acropolis rock, one can have the best view of the whole of Athens including some of the original constructions of the classical era. A unique sight protected by UNESCO and recently nominated as one of the New Wonders of the Ancient World. At noon you’ll have your lunch in one of the restaurants in Plaka district. Plaka is one of the oldest quarters of Athens with narrow streets, numerous shops, cafés and restaurants. Return to our  hotel. Rest of the day free at leisure for shopping. Dinner and overnight in 5* hotel.
 
Day 3:  MYCENAE – EPIDAURUS - NAUPLIO  
Transfer to the Corinth Canal, passing by ancient Eleusis, the most sacred ancient locations of the Mediterranean. The Corinth canal, helped ships save time while navigating around Peloponnese. Arrival in Mycenae with its imposing ruins of the Mycenaean civilization, which dominated the eastern Mediterranean world from the 15th to the 12th century B.C. and played a vital role in the development of classical Greek culture. This city is indissolubly linked to the Homeric epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, which have influenced European art and literature for more than three millennia. Later, you shall drive to Nauplio, one of the most beautiful towns in the Mediterranean. Continue to Epidaurus, famous for Antiquity’s best theater. Even today, it is a great honor for an actor to perform in this legendary theater. The annual summer festival draws visitors from all over the world giving new life to this ancient site. What makes this site remarkable, is the world’s best acoustics in an ancient theater. Arrival in Nauplio, rest of the time free at leisure. The old quarter of the city is full of 19th century neoclassical buildings, making the stroll through the narrow streets a unique experience. Dinner and overnight in 4* hotel.
 
Day 4:  MONEMVASIA – MYSTRAS - SPARTA
We’ll drive through the dense olive groves of Peloponnese and arrive in Monemvasia. Nicknamed "the Gibraltar of Greece" or just “the Rock”, because of its strategic importance during the Middle Ages, Monemvasia was a virtual ghost town by the 20th century. Today, this rocky island just off the easternmost tip of the Peloponnese has a new lease on life: For some years, wealthy foreigners and Greeks have been buying and restoring old houses here. Furthermore, word is getting out that in addition to its medieval fortress, handsome churches, and drop-dead sunsets, Monemvasia has several of the most stylish small hotels in the Peloponnese, increasingly good restaurants and draws visitors year-round. Although Monemvasia is an island, it's connected to the mainland by a causeway that you can drive or stroll across. Once you step through the massive Venetian Gate that is Monemvasia's only entrance, you're in a separate world. Cars are banned here -- a wise decision, since the only approximation of a street on "the Rock" is barely wide enough for two donkeys -which bring in supplies - to squeeze past each other. Continue to Mystras. Mystras is an uninhabited city from the Byzantine era, with fortress, palaces, churches, monasteries and the houses of the wealthy and the poor. It is comparable only with Mount Athos in its concentrated essence of Byzantium. It was built by Guillaume de Villardhouin, and under the Byzantines it became a fortified town and a place of refuge in times of danger for the inhabitants of nearby Sparta. The last Byzantine Emperor, Constantine Paleologos, was crowned in the cathedral of Mystras. Following an unsuccessful revolt it was sacked in 1770 by the Turkish forces and it was never repopulated. The churches have particularly fine Byzantine frescoes; the cathedral of St. Dimitrios is where Constantine Paleologos had his coronation and there is a museum in its grounds. The palace of the Governors stands among the ruins of some 2,000 houses both grand and ordinary. And at the top of the 621m. hill, the castle of de Villardhouin remains along with the soldiers’ quarters and the reservoir. Arrival in Sparta, one of the most historical cities of Greece. Rest of the day, free at leisure.  Dinner and overnight in 4* hotel.
 
Day 5:  MANI – DIROS - KALAMATA
One of the most interesting stretches of road awaits us today. We’ll drive through the rugged scenery of Mani, to see the old tower-villages of the area. The people of  Mani claim to be direct descendants of the Spartans, the fierce warriors who chose to withdraw to the mountains rather than serve under foreign masters. We’ll also visit the breathtaking cave of Diros. The cave is impressive,     but what     has made it famous  is the Paleolithic and Neolithic remains found here. In short, the Diros cave is one of the oldest inhabited spots in Greece, and the pottery and bone tools found here has shed light on Greece's earliest history. Visitors are taken on a boat trip along the subterranean lake through narrow tunnels and immense caverns filled with myriad clusters of spectacular stalactites and stalagmites, in shades of rose, green, amber, black, blood red, and purple.  Further south, there are stark, barren mountains, broken only by deserted settlements of mighty towers. Vathia, the most dramatic of the traditional villages in this region, is a barnacle-like cluster of tower houses perched on a lofty rock. We’ll arrive in Kalamata, capital of ancient Messinia, in the evening. Dinner and overnight in 4* hotel.
 
Day 6:  KALAMATA – METHONI - OLYMPIA
Drive through the evergreen scenery of Southern Peloponnese to visit the fabulous castle of Methoni, built on a rocky promontory. Continue to world famous Olympia, home of the Olympic Games. One of the most important sanctuaries of antiquity, Olympia is the birth-place of the Olympic Games and also where they were held.  The area, of great natural beauty, has been inhabited uninterruptedly since the 3rd millenium B.C. and in the late Mycenaean period it became a religious center. In a tradition as old as history, athletes from distant lands gather to test their mettle before throngs of cheering fans. Indeed, the inaugural Olympic Games—held in 776 B.C. at the sanctuary of Zeus in Olympia—are widely believed to be the first precisely dated events in the annals of ancient Greece.  For more than a millennium, every four years, rival and often warring city-states put aside their differences and invoked a sacred truce. They sent their fastest, their strongest, their most skillful men to compete for personal bragging rights and homeland pride. The names of the greatest Olympic athletes were known throughout Greece, their likenesses re-created in sculpture and on pottery for the ages. During our tour we’ll visit this sacred place and we’ll admire the grandeur of the ruins. We’ll also visit the local museum with the treasure of the ancient site. Dinner and overnight in 4* hotel.
 
Day 7:  OLYMPIA – PATRAS - ATHENS
After our buffet breakfast, we’ll drive along the coast and via Patras, we’ll cross one the longest suspended bridges in Europe, to leave Peloponnese and pass to the mainland. We’ll stop at Galaxidi, a fairytale seaside town to enjoy a drink by the sea. We’ll arrive in Athens early in the evening.  Dinner and overnight in 5* hotel.
 
Day 8:  DEPARTURE
Transfer to the airport for international departure or continue to other Greek destinations.

Departure

All year round


What's included
Hotels 5* & 4* 
All transfers
Breakfasts & dinners 
Entrance fees
English speaking guides
Porterage in hotels
Insurance

What's not included
International airfare & tax
Extra meals
Personal expenses
Tips (for guides & driver)
Anything optional 
 
     
 
 
         
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