Athens, Mykonos, Santorini & Crete may/june 2017

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Day 1: Arrival in Athens

As you exit the gate of the plane you will meet your porter who will assist with your baggage, passport control and luggage. He will then introduce you to your driver and you will be transferred to your hotel.

Put the best of science, art and philosophy together in one creation and you have the definitive monument of human civilization. UNESCO calls it the symbol of World Heritage. The world calls it the Athenian Acropolis! The history of the Acropolis of Athens is long, with great moments, when democracy, science, philosophy and art flourished leading to its creation. The Acropolis, and the Parthenon in particular, is the most characteristic monument of the ancient Greek civilization.

Day 2: Full Day Tour of Athens

The Acropolis was first inhabited in the early Neolithic age around 6000 BC. Since then temples and dwellings were built, destroyed and reconstructed numerous times. During the Golden Age of Athens, in the 5th Century BC, most of the major temples were re-built under the leadership of Pericles, and great feats of architecture, such as the Parthenon, were created. As you make your way through the Propylaea -which was the fortified entrance to the Acropolis- you will discover a complex of temples which had been erected to glorify Athena, the city’s goddess and protector, and Zeus her father and king of the gods.
Built at the foot of the Acropolis, the museum is dedicated to the exhibition of artefacts found on the rock and the surrounding settlements. Here you will have the chance to view some of the finest sculptures which graced the life of Ancient Athens. As you enter the museum you will pass by the ‘Gallery of the Slopes of the Acropolis’ which is dedicated to artefacts found in the sanctuaries and houses which were located at the foot of the Acropolis, below the temples.
The Ancient Agora was the cultural, social and political center of Athens. This is the place where public life took place and where citizens would congregate on a daily basis. Temples, law courts, market places, a gymnasium and even schools of philosophy were to be found here. This site is unique in that it gives you a genuine taste of what life was like for Athenians over 2,000 years ago. Here you will also find the Museum of the Ancient Agora, which is particularly interesting because it contains elements of daily life from ancient Greece.

Day 3: Tour of Mycenae and Epidaurus

In the morning you will meet your guide and driver in the lobby of your hotel and you will be driven to Mycenae. (the drive time is 1 hour)

Mycenea was the home of the powerful Mycenaean civilization. In 2000 BC this city, which was in fact a fortified palace, dominated most of Southern Greece and its influence was felt throughout the Greek world. This was an ancient civilization which pre-dated the greatness of Athens, Sparta and Corinth. In the Trojan wars - as described in Homer’s Iliad - the leader of the attacking Greek forces was king Agamemnon, ruler of Mycenae.

After your visit of Mycenae you will be transferred to the Ancient site of Epiduaurus. (the drive time is 1 hour)

Epidaurus was the mythical birth place of Apollo’s son: Asclepius god of medicine and healing. It was an independent city state which was small compared to its prominent neighbors Argolis, Sparta and Corinth, but its place in mythology ensured that the city would thrive as a medical center. Indeed one of Ancient Greece’s most important healing temples was built there and the city grew rich from donations which were brought by ailing patients hoping to recover their health.

After your visit you will be driven back to your hotel where your tour will end.

OPTIONAL TOUR (ATHENS): Visit Meteora via Mercedes sedan or helicopter

Meteora is one of the largest and most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Greece and is included on the UNESCO World Heritage. All of these monasteries are perched on high cliffs and accessible by staircases cut into the rock formations. They were created to serve monks and nuns following the teachings of the Greek Orthodox Church. Much of the architecture of these buildings is Athonite in origin. Of the six intact monasteries, the Holy Monastery of St. Stephen and Monastery Roussanou are inhabited by nuns.

OPTIONAL TOUR (ATHENS): Visit Delphi via Mercedes sedan or helicopter

Delphi was the site of the Delphic Oracle which was the most important oracle in the classical Greek world, and a major site for the worship of the god Apollo. With evocative ruins surrounded by breathtaking mountain scenery, Delphi is surely the most beautiful ancient site in Greece. Landscapes on the way are wonderful and as you reach Delphi you will be amazed by the breathtaking views. After about 2 and half hours of driving you will arrive at the archaeological site, of which you will have a guided tour, along with its museum. After the tour you will enjoy Greek local delicacies at the traditional village of Arachova!

Day 4: Transfer to Mykonos

Mykonos is probably the most famous between the Greek islands… and not without a cause… With its giant whitewashed windmills and chapels scattered along the countryside, divine sandy beaches, unique Cycladic architectural style, wild, cosmopolitan nightlife, endless entertainment opportunities, yummy local delicacies and countless gastronomic restaurants!

Day 5: Private boat tour of Mykonos and visit of the Ancient site of Delos

Delos had a position as a holy sanctuary for a millennium before Olympian Greek mythology made it the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. From its Sacred Harbor, the horizon shows the two conical mounds that have identified landscapes sacred to a goddess in other sites: one, retaining its pre-Greek name Mount Kynthos, is crowned with a sanctuary of Dionysus. You will depart by private boat from Mykonos to Delos, where you will have a guided tour at its Archaeological Site.

Day 6: Transfer to Santorini

Santorini…amazing views, romantic atmosphere, wild landscapes and a mysterious aura will embrace your arrival! A chic island which perfectly combines the dark volcanic beaches with the cliff hanging whitewashed houses and unforgettable sunsets. You will taste awarded local wines in elegant restaurants, you can enjoy a day trip to the volcano and the beaches with your private yacht or you can just relax with a cocktail listening classic music at Franco’s… An introduction which will indulge all your senses!

Day 8: Day Tour of Santorini

In ancient Greece Santorini was known as ‘Strongili’ meaning: round. It was a large and wealthy island. However, about 3,600 years ago, at the height of the Minoan civilization, it was torn apart by a tremendous volcanic eruption. The devastating explosion literally ripped the island to pieces and where land stood, Santorini’s famous caldera was created.

You will drive south across the island and your first stop will be the archeological site of Akrotiri.

Akrotiri is a 5,000 year old Minoan settlement which has been preserved in ash. Indeed the town was entirely buried in the great volcanic eruption and remained untouched until it was discovered in 1967. This was possibly the most technologically advanced city of its time. The ruins are very well preserved: streets, buildings, stairs and even second floors of buildings are still visible. Here you can look at Minoan pottery and frescoes, and with a little imagination, feel what it would have been like to live in ancient Greece so many years ago.

After your visit you will proceed to the village of Pyrgos. This charming settlement dates from medieval times and is located on a hill overlooking the island. At the highest point stand the ruins of a Venetian castle and below it the village of Pyrgos.

You will then proceed a small distance to the village of Megalochori and the Venetsano winery which is located on its outskirts. Megalochori is one of the more traditional and quieter villages of the island. Here you will enjoy a short walk through the ancient streets of the village and discover Santorini as it once was. You will have the opportunity to see dwellings which were built in the traditional Cycladic architecture and to walk through the tight streets which were designed as such in order to make the village more defendable against pirate attacks.

Day 9: Day at Leisure

Day 10: Private catamaran sunset cruise

This cruise, which lasts about 5 hours combines swimming and snorkelling, dinner on board and sailing across the sea while the sun is setting. During your tour you will have the opportunity to visit the Hot Springs, sail past the Volcano and admire the beautiful coastline and beaches, while swimming at various locations at your leisure. As the sun is setting you will make your way back towards the port and enjoy the dreamy view. The cruise includes dinner and drinks on board.

Day 11: Transfer to Crete

Day 12: Tour of the Ancient site of Knossos

Knossos is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site in Crete and by all accounts it was the political heart of the Minoan Civilization. This city palace was the administrative and religious center of a civilization that dates back to over 4,500 years ago. Built in an elaborate maze-like structure, it is the mythical home of the Minotaur, a half-man, half bull creature which feasted on human flesh.

After the tour you will drive to Archanes village for a visit of this historic village, acclaimed as one of the most exceptionally restored in Europe.

Day 13: Visit the Ancient site of Phaistos

Phaistos was one of the most important centres of Minoan civilization, and the most wealthy and powerful city in southern Crete. It was inhabited from the Neolithic period until the foundation and development of the Minoan palaces in the 15th century B.C. The Minoan city covered a considerable area around the palatial centre. After the destruction of the palace in the 15th century, the city continued to be inhabited in the Mycenaean and Geometric periods, that is, until the 8th century B.C.

Day 14: Departure

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