8 day tour (Private tour)
Athens - Corinth - Mycenae - Epidaurus - Nafplion - Mystras - Monemvasia - Olympia - Delphi - Meteora - Thessaloniki - Vergina - Kavala - Athens
Day 1: Your 8 day tour will start with the drive through the National Highway to the Peloponnese. A stop will be made by the famous Corinthian Canal or else Isthmus that separates the Peloponnese from the Greek mainland, for pictures and coffee. Your journey towards Epidaurus will continue with a 40 min. scenic drive along the coast of the Saronic gulf. On the way your driver will point out for you to see the ruins of the ancient port of Kechries where St. Paul embarked his ship after preaching to the Corinthians to get to Ephesus. Reaching Epidaurus you will have a private tour of the spiritual sanctuary of Asclepius and the theatre with the most famous acoustics in the world. Leaving ancient Epidaurus you will continue with the drive to Nafplion, a picturesque sea port town on the Argolic gulf. This was the first capital of modern Greece; it's a city with beautiful monuments and neoclassical buildings as well as two famous forts Palamidi and Bourtzi, which is located on an island opposite the port. You will be able to stroll around, take pictures and have lunch in the "shade" of the tall neoclassical buildings next to Sydagma square. Continuing your journey in the afternoon you will also drive and visit Mycenae, the centre of power in the late Bronze Age till the 11th century BC. There lies the famous Lions Gate and the Acropolis where Agamemnon was murdered by his wife Clytemnestra and that is where you will be able to explore all of its pathways. Leaving the Acropolis you will also make a short stop by the treasury of Atreus, also known as the tomb of Agamemnon. Then you will drive back to Nafplion where you will spend the night.
Day 2: After enjoying your breakfast at your hotel you will drive to modern Sparta, a city that doesn’t look at all as simple and remote as the descriptions about the ancient one let us imagine. Unfortunately there isn’t much left of the ancient city itself, but you can get off and walk next to some of the ruins of the ancient city state. Soon after that you will start driving up the mountain to the ruined Byzantine city of Mystras. It is divided in 3 sections, surrounded by the ancient walls and has two gates, either to enter, or exit. There is one on the top level and one on the lowest one. Be prepared for extensive walking on a steep path made of stone and let your guide enter with you the most important of the remaining Byzantine churches, where you will see and hear explanations about the wall paintings and the floor mosaics. You will also see several houses of the nobles and the Palaces which are under restoration. Then drive to Monemvasia, the only archaeological site in Greece that is still inhabited. Discover a remarkable medieval fortified town, with time at leisure to explore the uniquely preserved Byzantine and Venetian architecture and experience the beauty of the natural setting. Visit the castle and the surrounding area. In the evening you can chill out at the balcony at one of the cafeterias overviewing the Myrtoon Sea. You will spend the night in Monemvasia.
Day 3: After having breakfast, you will drive from Monemvasia to Olympia. There, you will enjoy a private tour through the site-birthplace of the Olympic Games, where still lie the ancient gymnasiums, the temple of Zeus and Hera, the ancient Olympic stadium, the Philippeion, the workshop of Phedias and many more. A few meters away from the site is where you will visit one of the most impressive museums in the world, since it houses the originals pediments of the temple of Zeus and Hermes by Praxiteles. You will spend the night in Olympia.
Day 4: After enjoying your breakfast, you will begin your drive to Delphi, through the large and lush valley of Elis. Along the way you will pass the city of Patras and you will then cross one of the largest suspension bridges in the world that connects the mainland to the Peloponnese. You can then have a short coffee stop in the historical city by the sea called Nafpaktos, in the waters of which the famous battle of Lepando between the fleets of the Ottoman Turks and the Christian Alliance was fought. There you can admire the well preserved Venetian fortification of the small port and the statue of the famous Cervantes, author of Don Quixote, who also participated in the battle there. The rest of your drive will be absolutely impressive since you will be taking the coastal road having the sea on one side and the mountains of the Greek mainland on the other. Continuing your drive along the Corinthian gulf coastline you will pass some of the most beautiful fishing villages. Then you will continue your journey towards Delphi across the largest olive grove in Greece next to the city of Itea, before you start your windy drive, up to mount Parnassus. In the elevation of 600 meters (1800 feet) are built both the ancient sanctuary and the modern town of Delphi. There you will enjoy a private guided tour through the museum where the famous bronze charioteer is kept, as well as the site, where the ancient treasury houses, the temple of Apollo, the Oracle, the theatre and the stadium still remain. On the way down you will also have time by the Castalia spring, the gymnasiums and the temple of Athina Pronaia. You will spend the night at a hotel in the village of Delphi.
Day 5: In the morning you will enjoy breakfast at your hotel. Then you will begin your journey towards Kalambaka, driving by the central Greece towns of Amphissa, Lamia and Trikala. You will visit one of the most amazing places in Greece, Meteora. Meaning “suspended in air” the name Meteora soon came to encompass the entire rock community of 24 monasteries, the biggest and most important group of monasteries in Greece after those in Mount Athos. There were no steps and the main access to the monasteries was by means of a net that was hitched over a hook and hoisted up by rope and a hand cranked windlass to winch towers overhanging the chasm. Monks descended in the nets or on retractable wooden ladders up to 40m long to the fertile valleys below to grow grapes, corn and potatoes. Each community developed its own resources and by the end of the 14th century, the Grand Meteoron emerged as the dominant community. The rock monasteries have been characterized by UNESCO as a unique phenomenon of cultural heritage. You will spend the night at a hotel in the center of the village of Kalambaka, overlooking the rock formation of Meteora.
Day 6: In the morning you will enjoy breakfast at your hotel and then drive to Vergina to visit the Tomb of the King Philip and the famous “Vergina Treasures”, where the whole museum is located inside a tumulus. Then drive to Thessaloniki. In the afternoon you will enjoy a city tour of the second largest city in Greece. Driving around the city you will see the White Tower, the most famous landmark of Thessaloniki, and the Rotunda, the massive circular fortress dating back to the 15th century where you will also be able to get off the bus and enjoy the view of the whole city lying beneath your feet. You will also visit the famous church of St. Demetrius, the largest church in Greece, with the exquisite mosaics of the 5th century basilica. Your guide will give you all the information needed about the city, but also tips and suggestions for entertainment and other things you might be interested in. You will spend the night in Thessaloniki.
Day 7: After your breakfast, you will drive to Kavala, following the Egnatia highway, built on the path of the Roman “Via Egnatia”. Passing by the two lakes of Koroni and Volvi and the village of Asprovalta, we will optionally visit the famous Lion statue of Amphipolis. Further you may see the place where St. Lydia was baptized, as well as the archaeological site of Philippi, i.e. the “Forum Romanum”, ruins of the two early Christian Basilicas (the prison where St. Paul was held and preached in 50 AD), as well as the ancient Greek theatre. Later, you will arrive in Kavala, with an optional stop for lunch. A short tour around the town follows, where you may see the city of Kavala and the port. Early in the evening, you will drive back to Thessaloniki and your hotel where you will spend the night.
Day 8: After having breakfast at your hotel, you will return from Thessaloniki to Athens. On the way you will stop to visit the monument of Leonidas where the 300 Spartans fought against the Persian army at Thermopiles (Hot Gates). Continuing your journey, on the way you will have a panoramic view of the lake of Marathon. It is not possible to stop but you will be able to take pictures as you drive pass it. Return to Athens and drop off at the place of your preference.
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