Journey through Ancient Greece

Itinerary: Southern Greece May 13th to 21st 2009

Wednesday Q Fly to Athens on Olympic Airways at 1220 from Terminal 2, Heathrow. Coach to Hotel Pythagorian, Konstántinou Street, in the centre of Athens (about one hour from the new airport).

Overnight Athens


Free day in Athens. We will lead a group 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 Eréchtheum built by Perikles in the 5th century BC, the jewels in the crown of Classical Greece.

I fervently hope that the much heralded new Akropolis museum will be open. It will contain some lovely archaic statues and the sculptures from the Parthenon that Elgin didn't take to London.
If you have been to Athens before you may prefer to visit the Kerameikon, the Benaki Museum, go to the flea market, shopping, or linger over lunch in the Plaka, (all within walking distance of our hotel).

Overnight Athens

Temple to Hephaistos in th Agora, Athens


Visit the charming Sanctuary of Artemis at Vrauron*, silver mines & theatre at Thorikos**, silver washeries at Agrilesa** and the Temple to Poseidon at Cape Sounion**. Swim at Sounion followed by supper in taverna overlooking the temple before watching the sunset

Overnight Athens

Theatre and Washery at Thorikos


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). After that you might like to take the ferry to the Island of Egina where there is the splendid Temple of Aphaia as well as an opportunity to swim.

Overnight Athens

Frescoes from Thira


We leave Athens to drive to the island of Evia (Euboea). We will take the ferry across to Erétria ** where we will visit the House of Mosaics, fine museum and ancient city. We then travel to Delphi, in the most dramatic setting beneath Mount Parnassos, where we stay the night at the Akropole Hotel. ( 0030 02650 82675

Overnight Delphi

Theseus abducting Antiope, Erétrea museum


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 tholos at the Marmaria or 'lower site'


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 & museum are within walking distance of the hotel).

The Philipeion at Olympia

Leave Olympia 1300. From here we will drive to Vassae, set in the mountains and site of the temple of Appollo. We then go to Loutraki, a spa town on the bank of the Gulf of Corinth.

Overnight Loutraki

Temple to Appollo at Vassae


Possibility of early morning swim for the brave! Then we will go to Mycenae,^, Homer's 'city of gold' built c1200 BC.
Here, legend has it, Klytemnestra murdered Agamemnon on his return from the Trojan war.

Next we go to the Sanctuary of Zeus, the 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 at the stadium here.

Then 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.

In the evening we will take a boat trip along the Corinth Canal.

Overnight Loutraki


To Athens airport by coach (2 hours) to catch 1320 flight for Heathrow

or local bus to Nauplion for week's stay at the Lito Hotel in the old town.

Temple to Zeus at Nemea

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. Also although 'guiding' is forbidden Jane is always happy to answer questions at the sites. Mary will help you with queries on hotels and 'domestic matters'.

* Level, not rough ground

** Level but rough ground

*^* Steep and rough

^ Steep but not rough

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