Journey through Ancient Greece

Itinerary: Mainly Peloponnese May 2018



Sunday  Fly to Athens with Aegean Airways at 1215 from Heathrow. Coach to Hotel Cypria, near Syntagma square, in the centre of Athens (about one hour from the airport.)                            

We will spend two full days in Athens in Athens

On Monday  We will walk through the Ancient Agora  to the Temple of Hephaistos (the most complete temple on the Greek mainland) and then up the Sacred Way to the Akropolis to the Parthenon and the Eréchtheum built by Perikles in the 5th century BC, the jewels in the crown of Classical Greece.            

Temple to Hephaistos in the Agora, Athens

After lunch we will visit the magnificent new Akropolis Museum. The sculptures from the Parthenon (those which escaped the attention of Elgin and others) are most imaginatively displayed, in the positions in which they were placed on the Parthenon, with natural light from a huge glazed wall which looks onto the Akropolis and the Parthenon. It is worth coming to Greece for this museum alone!
If you have been to Athens before you may prefer to visit the Kerameikon or the Benaki Museum (both within walking distance of our hotel).


Tuesday   In the morning we will visit the National Archaeological Museum which contains treasures from all over Greece, including a fabulous collection of vases, sculpture and the frescoes from Thira (Santorini).


The Parthenon marbles displayed in the new Akropolis Museum


On Wednesday we leave Athens & visit first the ancient site of Marathon where the Greeks defeated the mighty Persian army in 490 BC & will see the huge burial mound (see right), containing the remains of the 192 Greeks who fell in the battle.

We will then go to the island of Evia (Euboea) off the north coast of Attika. We will take the ferry across to Erétria where we will visit the 4th century BC House of Mosaics, which has some wonderful pebble mosaics, and ancient city. The small museum here has some exquisite pottery and sculptures and a Mycenaean period pottery kiln.

We then travel to Delphi, in the most dramatic setting beneath Mount Parnassos, where we stay the night at the Akropole Hotel,                                                                          Overnight Delphi

Thursday      We visit the Sanctuary of Apollo and museum of Delphi. The site, which is within walking distance of our hotel, opens at 0800. The 4th century BC Sanctuary of Apollo was the most famous of the cult sites in Greece and the shrine of the Oracle. The museum here has many wonderful finds from the site including the glorious bronze charioteer, some stunning gold & ivory items and beautiful archaic sculptures.

Leave Delphi 1400. From here we have a beautiful drive along the Gulf of Corinth, cross the Gulf on the new suspension bridge and travel to Olympia where we stay the night at the Olympic Village Hotel, . There is an outdoor swimming pool here. The hotel is within walking distance of the site.                                                                                                                                                                                   Overnight Olympia

The temple of Apollo at Delphi


Thursday   Visit Olympia, the wonderful atmospheric site of the 5th century BC Sanctuary of Zeus, the stadium where the first Olympic games were held c.776 BC and the magnificent museum where you will see some of the superb sculptures from the temple of Zeus and the famous statue of Hermes by Praxitiles (the site & museum are within walking distance of the hotel so you can go as early as you like).

From Olympia we will drive through the mountains to the dramatic site of the Temple of Epikourios at Vassae; built around the same time as the Parthenon this magnificent temple is now encased in an enormous tent while urgently needed restoration work is carried out.

The Philipeion at Olympia

From Vassae we travel to Nauplion a lovely elegant Venetian port with no fewer than 3 castles, excellent museums, plenty of good restaurants, many churches, tempting shops & two beaches. It is an excellent base for visiting the many nearby archaeological sites. We are staying at the Victoria Hotel,, in the old town.                 

Overnight Nauplion


A view of the old town of Nauplion

Friday  We will go to Mycenae, Homer's 'city of gold' built c1500 BC. Here, legend has it, Klytemnestra murdered Agamemnon on his return from the Trojan war; there is a fine museum here now with gold replicas of the treasures unearthed by Schliemann. 

Next we go to the Sanctuary of Zeus, bath house, stadium (complete with entrance tunnel) and lovely museum of Ancient Nemea (where Herakles carried out his first labour of killing the lion!). We will have our picnic lunch on marble benches under pine and olive trees at the stadium here.

Then we go to the Graeco-Roman city of Ancient Corinth, with one of the oldest remaining Greek temples in the Doric style (540BC) and extensive Roman remains from the first & second centuries AD.  We will of course stop at the Corinth Canal, an awesome sight, especially if there is a boat going through.                                                              

   Overnight Nauplion


Temple to Zeus at Nemea

Saturday   We will visit Tyrins with its stunning Cyclopean walled galleries, even older than Mycenae; the sanctuary of Argive Heraion, a peaceful site with views over the 'horse breeding plain' of Argos & the magnificent theatre & Asklepion (healing sanctuary) at Epidavros.






The Argive Heraion


Sunday   We will leave for Athens airport by coach (about 2 hours) to catch the1315 flight for Heathrow



Please note: We aim to give you plenty of time to explore the sites. We will give you a time to be back on the coach at each site. Feel free to join in a group or to wander at your own pace. There is no pressure to do anything. Also although 'guiding' is forbidden Jane is always happy to answer questions at the sites.

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