Arrival in Thessaloniki Welcome in Thessaloniki, the pearl of Makedonia! Meeting with our local tourist guide and transfer to hotel for accommodation, an information-cocktail and a common dinner. 2nd day: Philippi, Kavala, Amphipolis Your tour begins and your first stop is at Philippi, an ancient city in eastern Macedonia, established by Philipp II, father of Alexander the Great. When Paul reached the place for the first time, many women were gathered around him. They were the first in Europe hearing him preaching. Among them was Lydia, a noble woman who was the first to be baptized and helped remarkably to spreading the word of God. Here you will be guided through the theater; the Roman forum, the city’s administrative center in the Roman period; the Basilicas. Your next stop is at Kavala, the biblical Neapolis, where in the winter of the year 49, Apostle Paul lands on European land for the first time. On your return to Thessaloniki, we make a stop at Amphipolis, to take a look at the Lion’s monument. Finally return to hotel for accommodation and dinner.
Thessaloniki, Veria, Vergina Today you will visit Thessaloniki, the second largest city of Greece. Built at the back of the Thermaikos Gulf, Thessaloniki is considered an open-air museum of Byzantine art. Among others you have the chance to discover tourist sites like the ancient forum, the administrative center of ancient Thessaloniki; the triumph arch of Galerius and the neighboring Rotunda of St George; and the White Tower, the trademark and most recognizable point of the city. Finally you will visit some marvelous Byzantine churches like Agios Dimitrios and Agios Nikolaos Orfanos. It’s time to leave Thessaloniki for Veria, where Paul preached too. Afterwards you reach Vergina, for a visit at the Palace; the Grave of King Philipp; the Tomb of Persephone; and the Macedonian tomb of the free columns. Finally you arrive in Kalambaka for accommodation and dinner at the hotel.
Meteora, Delphi This ist the day for a visit the breathtaking landscape of Meteora, an astonishing geological phenomenon; these immense, solid rocks, split by earthquakes, weathered by water and wind over millions of years are nature’s authentic masterpiece. Only 6 of the monasteries have made it through the centuries, from an initial estimated number of 24. Mostly dating to the 14th and until the 16th century, these monasteries were built by monks who were previously hermits in the area, living in individual caves. You will have the chance to visit 2 monasteries of Meteora. Afterwards we drive south to reach Delphi for accommodation and dinner at the hotel.
Delphi, Ossios Loukas, Athens In Ancient Greece, people used to travel to Delphi to seek the wisdom of the famous Oracle. The Sanctuary of Delphi, set within a most spectacular landscape, was for many centuries the cultural and religious centre and symbol of unity for the helenic world. Your guide will lead you through the site; the Temple of Apollo, where the statues and all other offerings to the god were kept and the cult rituals took place; the Treasury of the Athenians, a small building which contains trophies from important Athenian victories and other votive objects dedicated to the sanctuary; the Ancient Theatre, where the musical contests of the Pythian games and other religious festivals took place; the Sacred Way, the main road leading from the entrance of the temenos to the altar of the Chians and the temple of Apollo; the Ancient Gymnasium, one of the most complete examples of an ancient gymnasium complex, which included the gymnasium proper, a palaestra and baths; the Ancient Stadium, one of the best preserved monuments of ist kind, situated above the sanctuary of Apollo, in the highest part of the ancient city and closely connected to the history of the Pythian games; the Castalian Fountain, where Pythia, the priests and the temple staff washed and where the water used to clean the temple came from; the Tholos of Athena Pronaia, perhaps the most characteristic monument at Delphi, a masterpiece of Classical architecture. The last part of your visit takes place at the Museum of Delphi, an archaeological museum which exhibits the history of the Delphic sanctuary. We drive then to Ossios Loukas for a visit of one of the most impressive Byzantine monuments of the Mediterranean Sea. Walking around the monastery, you can admire the amazing natural beauty in harmony with the surrounding landscape. Finally we take the road to Athens for accomodation and dinner at the hotel.
Athens, Acropolis & museum Today you begin with a tour in Athens. This sightseeing tour will give you the opportunity to observe the striking contrasts that make Athens such a fascinating city. Our guide will take you to see the Panathenaic Stadium, where the first Olympic Games of modern times were held in 1896. Pass by the Presidential residence, ex Royal Palace, guarded by the Evzones in their colorful uniform; the Temple of the Olympian Zeus; the Hadrian’s arch; the parliament and the memorial to the Unknown Soldier, also guarded by the Evzones; the Academy; the University; the National Library; and the Constitution Square. Your next stop is in Acropolis. Standing proudly on the “Sacred Rock” of Athens, Acropolis is the most important site in the Greek capital. Here we visit the architectural masterpieces of the Golden Age of the city: the Propylea, the monumental gateway to the Acropolis; the Temple of Athena Nike, resting on a rocky outcrop, positioned so the Athenian people could worship the goddess of victory Athena Nike) in hope for prosperous outcomes in the war’s endeavors; the Erechtheion, associated with some of the most ancient and holly relics of the Athenians; and finally we stop to admire the Parthenon, an enduring symbol of ancient Greece, the Athenian Democracy and the western civilization. Built exclusively with pentelic marble during the 5th century BC, when Athenian Empire was at its highest power, the Parthenon took its name Athena Parthenos, Athens’ patron goddess. A visit at the Acropolis museum follows afterwards. This brand new museum has been founded to exhibit all the significant finds from the Sacred Rock and its foothills. Finally you return to the hotel for accommodation and dinner.
Excursion Ancient Corinth, Mycenae, Epidaurus First visiting point for today is the Ancient Corinth, once most important port and effective place of Apostle Paul, who visited Korinth in his first trip two times and stayed there 18 months. He established in Korinth the largest christian community in Europe. You will visit also the small port in Lechaio, where Paulus first arrived in Corinth. Among others you can see the ruins at Pirini fountain, the courtyard of Apollo, the foundations of a significant Roman basilica, the temple of the goddess Tyche (Fortune) or Apollo Klarios, the stores in the agora, the temple of Apollo, the ruins of the theatre and the Lerna fountain. Next stop of your tour is at Mycenae with the ancient ruins, dating from 1350 to 1200 BC and described by Homer. Τhe kingdom of mythical Agamemnon, is the most important and richest palatial center of the Late Bronze Age in Greece. You will visit among others the Treasure of Atreus, the most impressive of the preserved Mycenaean tholos tombs; the Lion Gate and the Cyclopean Walls. You continue your tour to Epidaurus in order to visit the Sanctuary of the god-physician Asklepios, the most famous healing center of the Greek and Roman world. It is considered the birthplace of medicine and is thought to have had more than 200 dependent spas in the eastern Mediterranean. Afterwards you will stand at the Great Theater of Epidaurus, this amazingly well-preserved, 2300-year-old open-air theater in Epidaurus combines perfect acoustics with elegance and symmetrical proportions. On your return to Athens, you have a chance for short stop at Corinth Canal. Afterwards we drive back to Athens for accommodation and dinner.
Leaving Greece Full of memories and after a great and remarkable journey to the Greek world, you are ready for departure.