GRAND TOUR OF BIBLICAL GREECE
13 DAY TOUR INCLUDING A CRUISE*
Day 1 – Wednesday Arrive Greece
Arrive in Athens and connect flight to Thessalonica. You will be met and transferred to your hotel. Dinner and overnight in Thessalonica.
Day 2 – Thursday Philippi, Kavala, Thessalonica
Visit Philippi where St. Paul delivered his first sermon in Europe, sowing the seeds of Christianity. “And from there (we went) to Philippi, which is the leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman Colony. We remained in this city some days…” Acts 16:12-18 Here St. Paul baptized a certain woman named Lydia, the first Christian convert in Europe. The Roman forum, completely excavated, is from after St. Paul’s time. Among the ruins, located on the rocky ledge above the town’s main road is the prison where St. Paul and Silas were thrown. Continue into the modern port city of Kavala, ancient Neapolis, where St. Paul accompanied by Silas, Luke and Timothy, first set foot in Europe. Dinner and overnight in Thessalonica.
Day 3 – Friday Thessalonica, Veria
Thessalonica city-tour. St. Paul preached in Thessalonica during the winters of 49-50 AD and wrote two epistles to the ancient Thessalonians. See the ramparts of the city, the triumphal Arch of Galerius starting at the Via Egnatia, once a strategic artery of the Roman Empire. Dinner and overnight in Veria.
Day 4 Saturday Veria –Kalambaka
Today we visit, the Beria of the New Testament built on a terrace on the foot of Mt. Vermion Here we visit the modern Monument, which corresponds to the Bema from which Paul had preached According to information, Paul’s audience here consisted mostly of gentiles and especially of the noble women. This was Paul’s last stop in Macedonia before continuing on to Athens. Visit Vergina a small town is better known for its remains of Aigai, the first capital of Macedon. It was here in 336 BC that Philip II was assassinated in the theatre and Alexander the Great was proclaimed king.
Aigai has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status as “an exceptional testimony to a significant development in European civilization, at the transition from classical city-state to the imperial structure of the Hellenistic and Roman periods”.
It became internationally famous in 1977, when the Greek archaeologist Manolis Andronikos unearthed the burial site of the kings of Macedon, including the tomb of Philip II, father of Alexander the Great that unlike so many other tombs had not been disturbed or looted. It is also the site of an extensive royal palace and of many rich ancient tombs. A museum now contains Philip’s tomb and a new museum is being constructed for the palace and other finds. The objects and paintings found in the tombs at Vergina are also of extraordinarily high quality and historical importance. Drive to Kalambaka. Dinner and overnight in Kalambaka
Day 5 – Sunday Kalambaka – Delphi
Visit Meteora Monasteries. Among striking scenery, perched on top of huge rocks, that seem to be suspended in mid-air, stand ageless monasteries where you can see exquisite specimens of Byzantine art. Continue to Delphi. For dinner and overnight –itea-Delphi
Day 6 – Monday Delphi – Athens
Visit Delphi, the centre of the ancient world (navel) of the earth, whose prestige extended far beyond the boundaries of the Hellenic world. On the slopes of Mount Parnassus, in a landscape of unparalleled beauty and majesty, lie the ruins of the Sanctuary of Apollo Phthios. Visit the site and the museum and continue to Athens.“ Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription “ to an unknown God”. What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you…”. Athens is one of the most glorious cities in the world and the cradle of western civilisation, as we know it today. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Athens.
Day 7 – Tuesday City Tour & excursion to Corinth
Today you will visit the Acropolis to see the ruins of the Parthenon, Erectheum and Propylae. For twenty-five centuries, the panorama of this city is dominated by the rock of the Acropolis; see the ruins of the Parthenon, the Erectheum and the Propylae. Afterwards, ascend Mars Hill where St. Paul spoke to the ancient Athenians about the one and only God. From here we have an excellent view of the ancient agora; former centre of the Athenian public life. Continue for a drive through the city to see the House of Parliament on Syntagma Square, the evzones in their picturesque uniforms guarding the Presidential Palace and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Also during the tour your will see the Library, the University, the Panathenaic Stadium where the first Olympics of the modern era were held, the temple of the Olympian Zeus and Adrian’s Arch. Visit the Byzantine museum, which is a must – free time in Plaka for a quick lunch and heading towards the Corinth Canal, you start your day with a scenic drive along the coastal road of the Saronic Gulf, before arriving at Nauplion, we arrive after 1hour and 30 minutes and on the way we stop at Corinth Canal to take some pictures of this magnificent work. In the afternoon stroll around to see the wonderful town of Nauplion, the first capital of Greece after the Greek revolution against the Turks 1921. Dinner in a typical tavern overnight at hotel
Day 8 Wednesday Corinth, Mycenae and Epidaurus
Escape the hustle and bustle of Athens and dive into the rich history of Greece on this full-day guided tour to Epidaurus and Mycenae. Discover the remains of the ancient city of Mycenae, which served as a major centre of Greek civilisation, see iconic sites and visit the small village of Epidaurus. Heading towards the Corinth Canal, you start your day with a scenic drive along the coastal road of the Saronic Gulf, before arriving at Mycenae, home to the kingdom of mythical Agamemnon. Explore the ruins of this archaeological site, see the Cyclopean Walls and the Treasury of Atreus—a magnificent 14th-century BC structure—and wander through the entrance of the Lion’s Gate and the Royal Tombs.
In the afternoon, head towards the seaport town of Nafplio, the first capital of modern Greece, with its Venetian fortress of Palamidi and the fortified islet of Bourtzi. Then, continue to Epidaurus and spend time at the ancient amphitheatre, famed for its classic Greek construction and astounding acoustics. Climb to the 55th row of seats and enjoy the panoramic views. Surrounded by lush greenery, this UNESCO-listed monument is a perfect blend of nature and architecture. Return to Athens for dinner and overnight
Day 9 Thursday Day at leisure
After breakfast full day of leisure to relax and enjoy Athens Dinner and overnight stay in Athens. (Or return home)
Day 10 Friday – Start of our 3-night Cruise Mykonos
Our first port-of-call is Mykonos; the whitewashed streets and windmills of this Cycladic island will simply enchant you. Mykonos combines in a unique way the luxuriant and sophisticated lifestyle with the simple and yet charming life of a Cycladic Island. Free time to stroll the winding narrow streets full of boutiques, visit tiny chapels and take pictures of the famous windmills. Or perhaps, just sit by the waterfront and enjoy the beautiful sunset!
Day 11 Saturday – Kusadasi (Ephesus & Mary’s House) – Patmos
Kusadasi is a lively Turkish port and the gateway to the ancient city of Ephesus, one of the most impressive ruins of the Biblical world. Drive to Mt. Koressos located behind the ancient city of Ephesus, where you will visit the house where the Virgin Mary is believed to have spent her last days. There will be time for prayer and reflection before travelling back down hill to Ephesus where you will enjoy a guided walking tour through one of the most magnificent excavations in the world. See the Great Theatre where St. Paul preached, which is the largest theatre in antiquity having a capacity of 24,000 people. Just outside Ephesus, view the Basilica of St. John, which was erected over his grave in the 6th Century AD by the Emperor Justinian. Before returning to the ship, enjoy free time in Kusadasi. Continue our journey to the island of Patmos, where we will enjoy a short ride up to the village of Chora where the monastery of St. John located. Visit the courtyard, the church with its outstanding frescoes and small museum which houses ancient books and manuscripts, mosaics, Icons, splendid medieval textiles and vestments as well as jewellery. Return to your coach and continue on to the nearby Grotto of the Apocalypse where the apostle, St. John wrote the Book of Revelations during his exile by the Roman State. Return to the port of Scala and enjoy some free time in this quaint and picturesque harbour before boarding the ship.
Day 12 – Sunday Heraklion – Santorini
In the morning we will visit Heraklion and see the fantastic ruins of the Palace of Knossos. Discovered in 1899 and partially reconstructed, the elaborate Palace is believed to be the mythical Labyrinth of King Minos and the seat of ancient’s Minoan culture. It is in Heraklion where Paul met the owner and captain of the ship who warned him of continuing his journey to Rome. In the afternoon we will cruise on to the idyllic island of Santorini, the most breathtaking of all the Greek Islands. Accessible by cable car or mule, the town of Thira reveals whitewashed houses, narrow streets, open-air cafes and glittering boutiques that cling to steep cliffs. Return back to the ship.
Day 13 -Monday Piraeus – UK
Today marks the end of our cruise. Upon arrival in the port you will be transferred to Athens airport for your flight home.