As the cradle of western civilization, of democracy, philosophy, the theatre, and so much more, Greece has drawn visitors for centuries. All have extolled the purity of its skies, the overwhelming hospitality rooted in its ancient civilization and the zest for life of the Greeks themselves. Obviously, Greece is synonymous with antiquity, with Athens in particular a city of intriguing paradoxes - ancient yet modern; busy and frenetic but so laid-back; a capital city, yet in places as intimate as a village. And if one building can ever symbolise an entire nation, it is the Parthenon - but Athens is much more than this. The hugely acclaimed new Acropolis Museum succeeds wonderfully in displaying the outstanding ancient masterpieces within to the finest effect.
Our tour visits the very best of Classical Greece: firstly, you spend a night at the centre of the world! At least that's what the ancients believed Delphi to be - the world's navel, where mortals, via the 'oracle', communicated with Apollo. In complete contrast, Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic Games, is set in an idyllic pine-forested valley, and is the very spot where the modern Olympic torch is kindled from the rays of the sun. Then there's Mycenae, and a very different experience - a place of pre-classical Bronze Age myths and legends and of a fierce, untamed people so vividly depicted in Homer's epics. You also tour Epidaurus, the greatest healing centre and finest theatre in the ancient world.
We also stay for three nights in one of Greece's most charming and sophisticated small towns, Nafplion. Guarded by two imposing Venetian castles, the old town of Nafplion is a jumble of red roofed houses overlooking a wide sheltered bay. The town's air of quiet elegance draws weekend visitors from Athens and many of the older mansions have been sympathetically renovated, whilst the wide, palm lined promenade and charming central square are the perfect places to while away an afternoon.