Glorious Greece Tour
Experience the Glory of Greece while touring the Acropolis in Athens, Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus, Delphi, Olympia, and Mycenae and Tiryns
with Professor Jennifer Tobin
September 8 – 22, 2018
Why Take this Tour?
- Led by Professor Jennifer Tobin of Modern Scholar fame
- Private tour of Mycenae with the President of the Mycenaean Foundation and Asst. Director of the project
- Lunch with the archaeological staff of Mycenae in the new Mycenaen Center
- Tour five UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- Maximum 14 participants
(click to enlarge)
Glorious Greece Tour Daily Itinerary
Day 1: Depart the USA.
Day 2: Arrive Athens and tour the city.
Day 3: Athens.
Day 4: Athens.
Day 5: Corinth. Sanctuary of Epidaurus.
Day 6: Mycenae. Tiryns.
Day 7: Nafplio.
Day 8: Sanctuary of Olympia.
Day 9: Delphi.
Day 10: Temple of Athena. Transfer to Piraeus. Overnight ferry to Crete.
Day 11: Iraklio.
Day 12: Lato. Knossos.
Day 13: Ferry to Santorini. Mégaron Gýzi Museum. Akrotiri.
Day 14: Oia. Sigalas Winery.
Day 15: Fly to Athens. Fly back to the USA.
Greece is a land of rugged beauty that includes over 2,000 islands stretching from the Ionian Sea in the west to the Aegean Sea and Turkey in the east. A geographic crossroads, the area has been a turbulent battleground for millennia. Early Greek history portrays a multitude of internal struggles, from the Minoan and Mycenaean cultures to the city-states that began to emerge three thousand years ago. The scattered states were consolidated under Alexander the Great, designated a province under the Romans, became a powerful part of the Eastern Orthodox Christian world under the Byzantines, and was part of the Ottoman Empire for four hundred years until 1821 when it became an independent country.
Far Horizons’ 15-day tour through Greece includes viewing both the celebrated and more remote remains of the many civilizations that have passed across this land. Spend two days in Athens, travel through the Peloponnese Peninsula, visit the rugged northern part of the country, and sail to two islands – Crete and Santorini – and during each day’s exploration begin to unfold the countless layers of Greek history.
Jennifer Tobin received her BA in Classical Studies from Stanford University and her PhD in Classical Archaeology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1991. From 1992-97, she was Assistant Professor at Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey. In 1997, she returned to the United States and is now Associate Professor of History and Classics at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Professor Tobin has worked on archaeological projects in Israel, Turkey, Jordan, and Greece. She speaks Modern Greek, German, French, Italian and Turkish, and has published widely on everything from Roman architecture in Syria to Alexander the Great. Her books include Black Cilicia: A Study of the Plain of Issus during the Roman and Late Roman Periods and Herodes Attikos and the City of Athens. She has been a featured teacher for Learn Out Loud, recorded not-for-credit lecture courses taught by university professors, including the Glory that was Greece and The Grandeur that was Rome. Professor Tobin is also a two time recipient of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Silver Circle Teaching Award for excellence. Professor Tobin’s enthusiasm, marvelous teaching skills, and appreciation of the people and archaeology of Greece is infectious.
(B) breakfast, (L) lunch, (D) dinner
Day 2: Arrive Athens. This afternoon, visit the Acropolis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the great hill dominating the city of Athens. It has been occupied since the Neolithic period and in Mycenaean times there was already a palace and fortified citadel here. In the mid-5th century BC, the Athenians began an immense construction program that resulted in the construction of several extraordinary buildings that still stand today. Walk through the Propylaia, the enormous entrance to the Acropolis, and pass the Temple of Athena Nike, built to commemorate the Athenians’ victories over the Persians. View the Erechtheion, situated on the most sacred part of the Acropolis, said to be where Poseidon left his trident marks in a rock and Athena’s olive tree sprouted. See the Porch of the Caryatids on the south side of the Erechtheion with carved statues of women used in place of columns; it is considered one of the most beautiful works of architecture in the Greek world. The immense and lovely Parthenon, originally built to house the 40-foot high sculpture of the goddess, Athena Parthenos, is one of the world’s most famous buildings. The splendor of its frieze and perfection of its architectural techniques makes it immensely impressive even after 2,500 years of erosion, neglect and damage by bombs. The splendid Theater of Dionysus lies on the south side of the Acropolis and is still used today. Spend time in the Acropolis Museum, which contains the works of art found onsite. Gather this evening for our welcome dinner party in one of Plaka’s fine restaurants. Overnight for three nights in the Hotel Divani Palace Acropolis with spectacular views overlooking the Acropolis. (D)
Day 3: Athens has been a city for more than 3,500 years and much of the glory of ancient Greece can be seen in the many buildings and monuments that still survive. Begin today at the Arch of Hadrian, built by the 2nd century emperor of Rome who was a great admirer of classical Greece. The Agora formed the political heart of ancient Athens from 600 BC. In the 1930s, the American School of Classical Studies began excavations that have revealed a vast array of impressive public buildings. Nearby, see the Roman Forum and the towering Temple of Olympian Zeus, or Olympeion, the largest in Greece exceeding even the Parthenon in size. Also view the Tower of the Winds, an octagonal structure originally built as a water clock and weathervane by an astronomer in the 1st century BC. Move forward in Athenian history and pay a visit to the 12th century Little Metropolis church, or Panayia Gorgoepikoos (“Virgin Who Answers Prayers Quickly”). Dinner is on our own. (B/L)
Day 4: Visit the National Archaeological Museum, one of the world’s finest storehouses of ancient art, for an overview of the cultures we will see during our trip. In the afternoon, drive to Brauron, best known as the site of a sanctuary of Artemis, and one of the oldest sacred places in Greece. Here, Artemis, the goddess of nature and the protector of fertility and childbirth, was worshipped. According to the myths Iphigenia, the daughter of the Mycenaean king Agamemnon, established this sanctuary. Then it’s on to Marathon, the site of the battle of Marathon in 490 BC, in which the heavily outnumbered Athenian army defeated the Persians. The tumulus, or burial mound, for the 192 Athenian dead that was erected near the battlefield remains a feature of the coastal plain. Enjoy a visit to Cape Sounion for dinner and to watch the sunset. (B/L/D)
Day 5: Depart Athens and drive to Corinth. Along the way, pass through the four-mile-wide isthmus with a stop to see the canal, first begun by Emperor Nero, and the reason for the ancient city’s prosperity. Excavations show that Corinth was once the largest Roman township in Greece. Visit the Temple of Octavia where three ornate Corinthian columns still stand on a platform, the Glauke Fountain and its four cisterns that were carved from a huge monolith, the theater, and the Temple of Apollo, the most striking structure of the lower city. Continue to the Sanctuary of Epidaurus, a UNESCO World Heritage site and an extensive therapeutic and religious center dedicated to Asclepius, a mortal physician deified after his death by Zeus for retrieving a patient from the underworld. Drive to the lovely seaside town of Nafplio, lying in the shadow of a huge Venetian citadel. Overnight for the next two nights. (B/L/D)
Day 6: Today we travel to Mycenae, another UNESCO World Heritage site where we spend the morning with the Assistant Director of the archaeological project. The extensive complex, uncovered by Heinrich Schliemann, is one of the earliest examples of sophisticated citadel architecture. Surrounded by unbreachable fortification walls up to 46 feet wide, the city contained royal palaces and rich tombs. Walk through the imposing Lion Gate, erected in the 13th century BC, to reach the royal family’s shaft graves where 31 pounds of gold funerary goods were found, and where a piece of the royal throne of Agamemnon was recently discovered. After seeing the active excavations in the Lower Town, we join the archaeological staff and students in the new Mycenaean Center where we are hosted for lunch. Continue to the nearby UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tiryns, a 13th century BC citadel protected by a circle of cyclopean walls. (B/L/D)
Day 7: Begin the day in the Nafplio Museum, housed in a Venetian warehouse and containing pre-Mycenaean artifacts. Enjoy free time this afternoon before transferring to Olympia where we overnight for two nights. (B/L/D)
Day 8: The UNESCO World Heritage Sanctuary of Olympia enjoyed over a thousand years of esteem as a religious and athletic center. The city was famous for the Olympic Games which were held every four years at the late-summer full moon and were the most prestigious of all Hellenic competitions. Here, we begin in the site museum to see the plethora of artifacts found during excavations including the relief pediments recovered from the Zeus temple. The rest of the day will be spent seeing the exquisite structures of the city. The massive column bases and tumbled sections are proof of the former magnificence of the Temple of Zeus. Walk through the colonnade surrounding the central court at the Palaestra (the training center for wrestlers and boxers), the workshop of Phidias, the archaic Hera Temple, and the still-standing vaulted entrance to the stadium. (B/L/D)
Day 9: This morning, transfer from Olympia to Delphi, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Cross from the Peloponnese to mainland Greece via the Rion-Antirion bridge. According to ancient legends, Delphi was the center of the world. This was the home of Apollo and for more than 1,000 years and in antiquity people came here to consult the oracle of the god. Walk to the Castalian Spring, where citizens who entered Delphi for religious reasons were required to purify themselves. Water from these springs provided the cold baths in the Gymnasium for athletes who were in training. Enter the Sacred Way through the agora and pass the Bouleuterion, or Delphic Council House, and the Rock of Sibyl marking the place where the first prophetess of Delphi pronounced her oracles, into the heart of the sanctuary. Here lies the stunning Sanctuary of Apollo and one of the finest theaters of the ancient Greek world. Continue to see the marble quarry and the Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia, and the 656-foot long stadium partly hewn out of the rocks that would hold 7,000 sports enthusiasts. Overnight in Delphi for one night. (B/L/D)
Day 10: Experience the Temple of Athena before visiting the Delphi Museum, which houses a collection second in importance only to the Athenian Acropolis Museum. Enjoy lunch on your own. This afternoon we leave Delphi and drive to Piraeus Harbor. In the evening, board an overnight ferry from Piraeus to Crete. (B/D)
Day 11: From approximately 2,800 BC to 1,000 BC, Crete was the center of a brilliant civilization of mythical origin. According to Homer, Zeus was born here and his son, Minos, is credited as the great king of the Minoans. We arrive from our overnight cruise into Iráklio, or Heraklion, the island’s largest city and the port for Knossós. Through the ages, the city has been under the control of the Romans, Arabs, Venetians, and Turks, and each has left behind spectacular cultural remains. We will see the Venetian Arsenal found at the end of the colorful old port along with the 16th century fortress still bearing the Lion of St. Mark. The city walls are three miles long. Reinforced by seven large bastions, these bulwarks were designed by the same man who built the fortifications of Padua and Verona. In the outstanding Iráklio Archaeological Museum, examine magnificent finds from Knossós and other nearby Minoan cities. Dinner this evening is on our own to sample the local cuisine. Overnight for two nights in Heraklion. (B/D)
Day 12: An all day tour takes us along twisting mountain roads to the Lasithi Plain. Stop to look at Lato where traces of an ancient town lie scattered over the slopes with an awesome view down the mountainside to the sea beyond. The setting is extraordinary, in a saddle of land between two mountains each crowned by an acropolis, with the agora in the open space between. Next, proceed to Knossós where a maze of corridors, passages, hundreds of rooms and stairways make up the Palace of Knossós. Although there is controversy concerning the reconstruction done one hundred years ago, the complex illustrates the richness and complexity of the former civilization. Stunning painted frescoes covered the walls, light wells allowed air circulation, and the royal apartments were adorned with paintings and private bathrooms. Parts of the Royal Road, the paved thoroughfare from the harbor to the palace, are still visible. Dinner is on our own. (B/L)
Day 13: Board a ferry this morning to cruise across the sparkling turquoise waters of the Aegean to the island of Santorini, shaped by an explosion that created its dramatic appearance. What remains are broken pieces of the volcano’s rim encircling a deep lagoon. The exquisite whitewashed villages cling to volcanic cliffs above beaches of black sand. In the capital village of Fíra, or Thíra, visit the Archaeological Museum and the Mégaron Gýzi Museum, housed in a 17th century mansion with collections about the island including photographs taken before the devastating 1956 earthquake. Santoríni’s Pompeii is the Minoan town of Akrotíri, preserved for millennia under volcanic ash. This evening, gather to watch the spectacular sunset over the remains of the island’s volcanic cauldron. Overnight for the next two nights on Santorini. (B/L)
Day 14: Enjoy a walking tour of Oia, a quaint town that typifies the white-painted and blue-roofed houses one envisions in Greece. Next, stop at a local winery to savor several delicious and distinct white wines which are typical of the island. Lunch is on our own and the afternoon is free to explore the winding streets of Thira. Our farewell dinner will be in an elegant local restaurant. (B/D)
Day 15: Transfer to the airport for our early morning flight back to Athens to connect to our return flight to the USA. (B)
$9,495.00 (per person, double occupancy) includes domestic flight from Santorini to Athens; all hotels; most meals (as listed in the itinerary); entry fees; tips to guides and drivers; and all ground and sea transportation. Price is based upon the exchange rate for the Euro not going over 1.25. If the value of the euro increases, the price of the trip may go up.
Single Supplement: $995.00. Should a roommate be requested and one not be available, the single supplement will be charged.
Cost Does Not Include: International airfare; meals other than those listed in the itinerary; food, alcoholic and other beverages not on set menus; a separate donation check of $150.00 per person to a designated donation project; passport and visa fees; airport fees and taxes; excess baggage charges; gratuities to guides and drivers; email, telephone, and fax charges; laundry or other items of a personal nature.
Note on Donation: As a tour company that benefits from the cultural and natural riches of our destinations, we have a policy of donating to the scientific and cultural projects and museums we visit. This has created a bond between Far Horizons and the academic and local communities that has helped us establish an extensive list of lecturers and contacts in each of our destinations. We ask that each participant write a check to the noteworthy project we designate. The donation amount is $150.00 per person and is made by check directly to the donation project. We will be designating a donation project for this trip shortly. Note that the donation is required as part of your registration for the trip and that it is non-refundable.
Fuel Surcharges: Far Horizons must pass on price increases when additional fuel charges are levied.
A deposit of $500.00 to Far Horizons is required upon making your reservation, along with a completed and signed registration form. Final payment is due 90 days before departure. Upon receipt of your deposit and completed registration form, you will be sent initial travel documents. Click here to download our Registration Form.
Note About Itinerary Changes
Changes in our itinerary, accommodations, and transportation schedules may occur. A good book to read as well as a flexible attitude and a sense of humor are essential.
Cancellations and Refunds
Cancellations received in writing at least 90 days before departure will result in an administrative fee of $300.00. Cancellations received less than 90 days before departure will not receive a refund. If for any reason you are unable to complete the trip, Far Horizons will not reimburse any fees. Registrants are strongly advised to buy travel insurance that includes trip cancellation.
A group flight will be designated. If you do not fly on the group flight, you are responsible for all flight arrangements and transportation (including airport transfers) to join the group. If Far Horizons must change the trip dates or cancel the trip for any reason, Far Horizons is not responsible for any air ticket you may have purchased
Private Tours of Archaeological Sites
Private tours of archaeological sites and talks by specialists are scheduled in advance and include a donation to each. Specialists working at these sites are excited about showing their work to interested enthusiasts. However, please be aware that there may be times when the director or a member of the staff may not be onsite when our groups arrive due to other commitments.
Remember that Greece is a part of Europe and that hotel rooms tend to be ‘European size’, smaller than hotel rooms in the USA. We have chosen hotels that are charming and characteristic, but they are often simple and are not five-star.
Walking and Standing
The group will be walking into and around sites extensively, frequently over uneven paths. All participants must be in good health, physically active, and able to walk independently and unassisted for distances that may exceed a mile or more each day. As a courtesy to your fellow travelers, you must be able to keep up with the group during the daily outings. Please remember that many of the sites are on mountain tops and to reach them means climbing. Be prepared! Additionally, please carefully choose the footwear with strong support for your feet and ankles. If you are not physically strong, are walking with a cane, or have problems with climbing, please be aware that there will be no one to assist you.