Journey through Ancient Greece

Mainly Peloponnese

24th September to 2nd October  2016


The theatre and agora at Messene

Day One

Fly to Athens on Aegean Airways at 1230 from Heathrow.

Coach from Athens airport to Loutraki,a Spa town on the Gulf of Corinth. A journey of approximately 1 hour.

Day Two

Visit the Sanctuary of Zeus, the stadium (complete with tunnel) and lovely museum of Ancient Neméa * (where Herakles carried out his first labour of killing the lion!). We will have our picnic lunch at the stadium here.

Then to nearby Mycenae *^*, Homer's 'city of gold' built c.1500 BC, where legend has it Klytemnestra murdered Agamemnon on his return from the Trojan war. There is a fine new museum here with gold replicas of the treasures unearthed by Schliemann.

Finally we will go to Ancient Corinth, site of one of the oldest temples on the Greek mainland, and of the important Roman city where Saint Paul preached.

Overnight in Loutraki








The Sanctuary of Zeus at Nemea

Day Three

We leave Loutraki for 'wall girt' Tiryns *, built 50 years before Mycenae and the birthplace of Herakles.

Next we drive south and west to the Asklepion and city of Ancient Méssene **, built at the foot of Mount Ithome in 369 BC to keep the Spartans out. The museum is now open after many years. This is a huge site, still being excavated and good place for a picnic lunch among the olive trees.
We go on to Pýlos, a pretty Venetian port set in the Bay of Navarino for the night.

Overnight Pylos Hotel Galaxy

Day Four

We visit King Nestor's palace * a short distance from Pylos, at Epano Englianos. Built c1300 BC it is a Mycenaean palace in a style very unlike others of the period. The finds from the palace, belonging to Nestor who accompanied Agamemnon to Troy, are in the lovely museum at nearby Hora.

Then to the temple of Apollo Epikourios at Vassae set in remote mountains, sadly now encased in a huge tent while restoration work takes place.

We should arrive in Olympia by 1830.

We are staying at the Olympic Village Hotel. There is an outdoor swimming pool here.

A view of the bay of Navarino, Pylos

Day Five

We visit Olympia **, 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 is within walking distance of the hotel so you can go as early as you like!

1400 We then drive up to the Gulf of Corinth crossing on the splendid new suspension bridge to Antirio for a beautiful drive along the coast to Delphi ^, in the most dramatic setting beneath Mount Parnassos, arriving by 1830.

We are staying in the Akropole Hotel 

The harbour at Pylos

Day Six

We visit Delphi, the 4th century BC Sanctuary of Apollo ^, which was the most famous of the cult sites in Greece and the shrine of the Oracle. The site is a short walk from our hotel and should open at 0730, it is beautiful at sun rise! The museum here has many wonderful finds from the site including the glorious bronze charioteer, some stunning gold and beautiful archaic sculptures.

From here we will go to Athens, staying at the Hotel Cypria  near Syntagma Square.

The Palaistra at Olympia

Day Seven

Free day in Athens. First thing in the morning we will lead a party through the Ancient Agora * to the Temple of Hephaistos (the most complete temple on the Greek mainland) and then up to the Akropolis *^*, to the Parthenon and the Eríchtheum, built by Perikles in the 5th century BC, the jewels in the crown of Classical Greece.

In the wonderful new Akropolis museum you can see some lovely archaic statues and the sculptures from the Parthenon that Elgin didn't take to London. (If you have a chance do get to the British Museum to see the wonderful sculptures there.)

After the culture you can go to the flea market, shopping, or linger over lunch in the Pláka. (all within walking distance of our hotel.)

The temple of Apollo at Delphi

Day Eight

Athens: Most of the day is free to maybe visit the National Archaeological Museum, the Benáki museum or the Kerameikós cemetery.

Return to Heathrow



* Level, not rough ground

** Level but rough ground

*^* Steep and rough

^ Steep but not rough

a view over Athens towards Mount Lykabettos

Please note: 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.

Although 'guiding' on the sites is forbidden Jane is always happy to answer questions and help you find your way around.

Mary will answer questions on practical matters.

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tips for a happy holiday