Highlights of Greece

Highlights of Greece

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8 Days
From

$2290

$2227

Highlights of Greece

8 Days Starting in Athens airport and ending in Athens airport

Visiting: Athens, Arachova, Delphi, Olympia, Nafplion, Archaeological site of Mycenae, Argos

Tour operator:

Explore!

Tour code:

GG

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

4 - 18

Physical rating:

FullOn

Age range:

16-99

Special diets catered:

Vegetarians, Vegans

Tour operated in:
English
Trip Styles:

Adventure Tours

Activities:

Sightseeing, Walking

From:
$2290
$2227 (USD) The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$63
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Tour Overview

Journey around the cradle of western civilization as we visit Delphi, Olympia, Mycenae and the delightful coastal town of Nafplion, all epicentres of the ancient Greece world. Spend time Athens exploring its famous Parthenon, spend the night in a mountain lodge and take a memorable train journey through tunnels, over heady ravines and past rushing waterfalls, to Kalavryta, a small village with a gigantic history.

Highlights

  • Athens - Explore the history and culture of one of the world's oldest cities including the impressive Acropolis

  • Delphi - Perched on the rocky slopes of Mount Parnassos, take a guided tour of the Temple of Apollo

  • Olympia - Birthplace of the Olympic Games, discover the magnificent ancient ruins including the arena.

Itinerary

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Day 1: Join Tour In Athens
Location: Athens
Accommodation: Hotel, Arion Athens

Arrive in Athens. The city is a mix of ancient and modern, having been the capital of Greece for less than 200 years, but with a history dating back over 3,000 years. Surrounded by mountains to the north and west and beautiful coastline to the south and east, the city itself is built on a number of hills, with our centrally located hotel a perfect base to explore the city.



For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 6.30pm and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner. Due to a number of flights arriving into Athens later in the evening, our welcome meeting will take place on the morning of day two. There are no other activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Athens at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Athens International Airport (ATH), which is about one hours' drive, depending on traffic.



If your flight arrives earlier in the day, perhaps you might choose to visit one of the cafes in the colourful Psyrri district which offer traditional Greek cuisine of scrumptious aubergines, tomatoes and cheese washed down with ouzo or raki. There are traditional rustic tavernas in the well-known Plaka area at the foot of the Acropolis.

Day 2: Walking Tour Of Athens Including The Changing Of The Guard At The Greek Parliament And The Acropolis
Location: Athens
Accommodation: Hotel, Arion Athens
Meals Included: Breakfast

After our Leader does an initial welcome meeting, we'll take a short walk to Monastiraki metro station, disembarking at Syntagma, home of the Hellenic parliament where we watch the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier.



From the crowds of Syntagma Square we'll head into the green oasis of the National Gardens for a stroll through the pristine park down to the Temple of Olympian Zeus, a former vast temple complex with well preserved columns offering great views of the Acropolis behind it.



Our next stop is the vibrant Plaka quarter, one of the oldest neighbourhoods of Athens and the markets around Monastirak. The streets are full of atmospheric tavernas with their tables spilling out onto the narrow cobbled streets and small traders selling all kind of specialties. Its a very picturesque area, an ideal spot to break for lunch with a wide choice of eating spots offering traditional Greek fare including Tiropita, Kolokithopita or Spanakopita a delicious spinach and feta filled snack.



In the afternoon we head for a guided tour of the Acropolis, deservedly one the wonders of the ancient world. Climbing up from Plaka to the Acropolis we pass through the Anafiotika district, where the architecture is more in keeping with Santorini than the Greek capital. We have a guided tour of the site including the Temple of Athena Nike, Pericles and the Parthenon tower and the monument most venerated by the ancient Athenians themselves - the Erechtheion.



Making our way back to our hotel late afternoon, the evening is free to further explore this great city, our tour leader can make recommendations for eating out tonight.



For those wishing to see more of Athens, it is well worth visiting the highly acclaimed Acropolis museum to see the layers of history painstakingly excavated right beneath your feet. It is now possible to see the ruins of the ancient Athenian neighbourhood that stood on this very site millennium ago, following a comprehensive refurbishment of the museum in 2019.

Day 3: Scenic Drive To Delphi, Walk And Picnic Lunch Offering Wonderful Mountain Panoramic Views. Overnight Stay In A Mountain Resort
Location: Arachova
Accommodation: Hotel, Anemolia in Arachova
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

A scenic drive northwest out of Athens this morning takes us through the largest olive grove in Greece to reach Delphi. Perched on the rocky slopes of sacred Mount Parnassos, Delphi was the perfect setting for mystery and religious prophecy, and was known throughout the ancient Greek world as the sanctuary of Apollo.



We make a brief stop at Arachova to have a coffee break and pick up provisions for a picnic lunch. We'll drive to Mount Parnassos, the largest and most visited ski area in Greece and take a short hike in the mountains to Corycian Cave for wonderful panoramic views of the plains of Livadi.



We aim to have a picnic lunch here before descending, re-joining our coach and driving to our mountain retreat hotel in the picturesque historic village of Arachova. The views from our hotel are beautiful, with wide vistas of the surrounding mountains. Offering a large indoor pool as well as cosy open fire places to take the chill away from the higher altitude, its an ideal base for tonight's overnight stay.



Late afternoon we make the short fifteen minute drive into Delhi to visit its acclaimed museum accompanied with a archaeological guide. The museum contains the much admired 'charioteer' widely regarded as one of the finest examples of Bronze sculptures in the ancient world.

Day 4: Tour Of Delphi Including The Temple Of Apollo. Journey Through The Vouraikos Gorge To Kalavryta On The Rack Railway
Location: Delphi
Accommodation: Hotel, Filoxenia
Meals Included: Breakfast

Returning to Delphi, we visit the site's famous antiquities early to avoid the crowds. Highlights include the Temple of Apollo, the theatre, stadium and Marmaria Sanctuary. We are accompanied by a local guide who will bring the story of this ancient religious sanctuary, dedicated to the Greek god Apollo to life.



Continuing our journey we drive south crossing the impressive Rion - Antirion bridge that spans the gulf of Corinth into the Peloponnese peninsular and onto Diakofto, where we board the historic rack railway to Kalavryta.



Travelling through the dramatic Vouraikos Gorge through tunnels, over heady ravines and past rushing waterfalls, its an unforgettable train ride to remember. Our destination is Kalavryta, a small village with a gigantic history; it was here that the Greek revolution began in 1821. In more recent times, it was the setting of one of Greece's most tragic encounters in WWII. On December 13th, 1943, in retaliation against the Greek resistance guerrillas who had been fighting around the area, the German troops invaded Kalavryta. After looting and setting fire to much of the village, they rounded up the town's entire male population of 451 men and boys, and executed them. Only 13 survived, after hiding under the bodies of the dead.



This tragedy is still very much alive in Kalavryta's collective memory, and on our arrival we will take a walk to the poignant site of the town's WWII holocaust memorial.

Day 5: Visit Olympia, Birthplace Of The Ancient Olympics
Location: Olympia
Accommodation: Hotel, Olympian Asty
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Our destination today is the monuments of ancient Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic games and one of Greece's most renowned historical sites, for a guided tour.



The site lies in an enchanting valley setting close to the modern day town of Nea Olympia. The first monuments to be constructed were in the Altis, or sacred grove, and date back to the 10th - 9th century BC. Estimates indicate the games first began in 776 BC, after the worship of Zeus was established.



Initially all the principal Greek cities took part in the Olympiads, which were held every four years.



As well as wandering through the remains of the gymnasium, wrestling school, stadium and the Temple of Zeus, you could visit the excellent Archaeological Museum (optional) which has many remarkable exhibits on view.



Our hotel today is on the outskirts of Olympia, offering fine views of Alfeios River and Kiparissia Bay and featuring a large terrace and swimming pool. Dinner is included tonight, which can be taken on the terrace.

Day 6: Coastal Road To Nafplion With An Orientation Walk On Arrival. Visit A Ouzo Distillery
Location: Nafplion
Accommodation: Hotel, Agamemnon
Meals Included: Breakfast

Taking the scenic coastal road, we travel to Nafplion, the first capital of modern Greece and one of the most beautiful coastal towns in the Peloponnese. Guarded by two imposing Venetian castles, the old town of Nafplion is a jumble of red roofed houses overlooking its expansive bay.



After checking-in to our centrally located hotel, we head out for an orientation walking tour of this charming town including the first Greek parliament and fine examples of Byzantine and Venetian churches and buildings, with ample time for a leisurely lunch.



Later in the day, visit a family run ouzo distillery to learn about the liquor most closely associated with Greece. Now in their fourth generation, the Karonis family have proudly produced ouzo for 145 years with ingredients produced locally, they also produce a cherry liquor sourced from produce in the Arcadia region. After our distillery tour we have the opportunity for tastings.



Returning to town, our hotel in Nafplion is ideally located within close walking distance to the town waterfront promenade. Perhaps enjoy a late afternoon stroll and watch the sunset followed by dinner at one of the many harbourfront restaurants.

Day 7: Visit Epidavros Theatre, The Mighty Ruins Of Ancient Mycenae And Skouras Winery. Overnight In Nafplion
Location: Archaeological site of Mycenae, Argos, Archaeological site of Mycenae
Accommodation: Hotel, Agamemnon
Meals Included: Breakfast

Epidavros is home to one of the greatest and best preserved of all ancient Greek theatres. With its backdrop of rolling hills, this 14,000-seat arena merges perfectly into the landscape, so much so that it was rediscovered and unearthed only in the last century. The acoustics of the amphitheatre are so incredible, it's said that even those sat on the highest tier will hear a coin drop on stage!



Dedicated to Asclepius, the healing god and legendary son of Apollo, the sanctuary here was one of the most important of the ancient world, and it remained a site of pilgrimage from the sixth century BC to Roman times.



Our next stop is the mighty ruins of ancient Mycenae. Perched on a hilltop overlooking the valley of Argos, Mycenae is connected to the legend of King Agamemnon who commanded the 10-year long expedition against Troy.



The site was unearthed by the archaeologist Schliemann in the 1870's and is prized for its Lion Gate and Royal Tombs. Equally impressive are the 'beehive tombs' which include the Treasury of Atreus, the lintel over the monumental Atreus door weighs over 120 tons. Inside, the structure is impressive. The principal chamber dates from about 1350 BC and emulates the grandeur of the Egyptian pharaohs.



We round the day off with a visit to a Greek winery near Argos, set amongst rolling hills the Skouras winery boasts a cellar of over one thousand barrels. The tour starts by heading out into the vineyard to learn about the different types of vines used and the yearly rhythm of production, we then head back into the winery to see the grape pressing and bottling area, finishing the tour with a tasting session.



Head back to Nafplion to enjoy our last night on the Peloponnese peninsular.

Day 8: Trip Ends In Athens
Location: Athens
Meals Included: Breakfast

After breakfast we drive back to the capital where our trip ends at Athens International Airport (ATH).



There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Athens at any time after 2pm. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at the airport. Its a 40 minute journey to the city by metro (line 3), the metro ticket cost is €18 return to to Syntagma Square.



Why not extend your trip with a week in the beautiful Cycladic islands? All dates are designed to synchronise with our eight day Highlights of the Greek Islands tour.



Alternatively it is possible to extend your stay in Athens by booking additional nights accommodation.

What's Included

  • Accommodation

  • Meals – Breakfast Only

What's Not Included

  • Tipping and Gratuities

  • International Travel

Check out our Q&As

  • I'm going on a walking/cycling trip-do I need to train?

    It will depend on the grade and how fit you already are. Check the trip page for details of the walking or cycling grade and how far you’ll be walking/cycling each day. For moderate or challenging trips in particular we’d recommend doing some walks or cycles before you leave to build up your fitness and prepare you for the distances being covered.

  • Who will be my travelling companions on the tour?

    We have a wide range of ages nationalities on our small group trips and they come from all walks of life.

  • Should I get travel insurance?

    Yes–it is a condition of booking that you are fully insured when travelling with us

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    At Explore, we're the experts in adventure travel. Our small group adventure holidays have been running since 1981. Today, Explore is one of the most trusted travel companies in the UK with over 500 trips to more than 120 countries.

  • Can I join the tour once it has departed?

    Yes, but there are no concessions for doing so, and we must have a record in your booking advising as such before the trip departs.

  • Am I contributing to any charity by booking the tour?

    Being a responsible company is a large statement, something that has to be entwined within the very fibre of a company. Discover the charities and partnerships we support as part of this at https://www.explore.co.uk/about/sustainability/charities-and-partners

  • What happens if I need to change my holiday date once I’ve booked?

    We want to be as clear as and as honest as possible about what happens if you decide to that you no longer wish to travel on your trip. Our booking conditions have details of the costs you’ll incur when you cancel-these charges depend on how long it is before your planned departure.

  • What is the accommodation like?

    We choose comfortable accommodation in the best locations possible. We opt for small, local and family-run accommodation where we can, as opposed to large chain hotels. We typically use hotels that are the equivalent of European 3-star, and you’ll usually have an en suite room. Occasionally, where we want to get off the beaten trail we may stay in more basic accommodation.

  • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    Sustainability is embedded within the fibre of Explore, it emanates from the inside out. But as we enter a new decade it is clearer than ever that our world needs help, and Explore has created a sustainability strategy based on the 2015 UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    Our flexible booking and safety policies mean you're protected before and during your travels with us. Receive a full refund if your trip is cancelled, transfer your trip free of charge up to 10 days before departure minus any irrocoverable costs.

  • Do I need to be very fit to book with you?

    All our trips require some level of active participation. This could be on a cultural trip, trek, safari, expedition or voyage. It is in the interests of all members of the group that everyone should be capable of fully participating in the activities of their chosen trip.

  • What documents will I receive before I travel?

    Final documents will include a comprehensive trip itinerary, climate and country information, budgeting and packing advice visa and passport information and details on optional activities available.

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Yes on most of our trips. Most trips are based on customers sharing twin-bedded rooms. If you book a group trip as an individual, you will share a room with someone of the same sex. However, on many trips we offer the opportunity to pay a supplement to pre-book a single room, known as our single room option. On some trips a single room will be provided every night, on others it will be provided o

  • Do we have to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to travel

    It’s now a condition of booking a trip with us that customers should have one of the following before they travel - — Be vaccinated against COVID, having received the full recommended course, and allowing enough time for immunity to take effect. Full vaccination includes any booster required to keep the vaccine valid. — Have taken a negative test (rapid antigen or PCR) within 72hrs of departure.

  • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    Explore will only offer hotels that have specific COVID-19 protocols in place and comply with local government guidelines. We will ensure these measures include; enhanced room cleaning, ventilation, social distancing, regular cleaning and disinfection of high frequency touch points in public areas, food safety, staff re-training and minimising contact within the properties.

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Excellent company

07-Dec-2022

Excellent company, there are so many trips, you really get looked after. Everything is dealt with by your Tour Leader, all logistics are taken care of and usually things go smoothly, I only use explore because I know what to expect each time, that makes me happy, with a stress free holiday

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May 26, 2024 - Jun 02, 2024
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Book with Confidence

  • Free Date Changes

    Explore! allows you to make 1 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 60 days before the start of the tour.

  • Low Deposit

    Explore! requires a minimum deposit of 10% or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 60 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of explore! charges.

    Up to 60 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 59 days before tour starts: Forfeit 30% of booking price.

    At 41 days before tour starts: Forfeit 60% of booking price.

    At 27 days before tour starts: Forfeit 90% of booking price.

    At 13 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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