Glories of Ancient Greece

Glories of Ancient Greece

Led by Historian Darius Arya

May 19-29, 2023 October 13-23, 2023
Meteora monastery, UNESCO heritage site, Greece

Overview

Trace 5,000 years of Greek history while exploring the country’s well-preserved archaeological treasures. Explore the iconic ruins of Athens, and then travel west across the Corinth Canal to visit the beehive tombs and the Palace of Agamemnon in Mycenae and the historic stadium at Olympia. Stroll the streets of ancient Delphi, discover the cliff-top monasteries of Meteora, and see the legendary Spartan battlefields at Thermopylae. Along the way, meet with local archaeologists and agriculturists. 

Highlights

  • Visit the incomparable Acropolis in Athens 
  • Journey throughout Greece to discover ancient archaeological wonders such as the Temple of Apollo, the Tomb of Agamemnon, the Bema, the Epidaurus Theater, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Temple of Hera, and the Sanctuary of Apollo 
  • Explore the Meteora Monasteries, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Travel to the island of Aegina to lunch on local dishes, overlooking the picturesque groves of pistachio trees 
  • Immerse yourself in Greek culture through cuisine and traditional Greek dancing
Trip Historian, Darius Arya

Trip Historian

Darius Arya

A Ph.D. archaeologist and historian, Darius Arya has led excavations (Rome, Ostia Antica) and taught university programs in Italy for over 17 years. He’s a Fulbright scholar, fellow of the American Academy in Rome, and guest scholar of Getty Conservation Institute. Darius directs the  American Institute for Roman Culture  and its online learning platform  Ancient Rome Live. 

He has rappelled down caverns and explored underground churches, wells and lost temples. Darius has crawled through some of the world’s oldest ancient sewers in his quest for history, discovery, and answering questions about the past. He has appeared as an expert or TV host for 15 years on The HISTORY Channel, National Geographic, Discovery, Smithsonian, PBS, Italy’s Rai5, and more. He’s also regularly featured as an expert on BBC4 Radio,  CBS Sunday Morning, and CNN. Darius is one of the few American Ph.D. archaeology experts on TV today, creating consistently accessible, engaging conversations, matched by his daily social media work on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube.  

Itinerary

After arriving in Athens, transfer by private coach to your downtown hotel with stunning views of Lycabettus Hill. Have time to settle into the surroundings before gathering as a group this evening for a welcome reception and dinner. 

Included Meal: Reception, Dinner
Accommodations: Athens Zafolia Hotel 

Following breakfast this morning, begin the day with a visit to the new Acropolis Museum, constructed over a once-flourishing ancient urban development, with remnants still visible through the transparent glass floor. While at the museum, you will have the unique opportunity to visit the restoration workshop.

Travel through the labyrinth of sights and sounds of the remarkable Plaka district, peppered with views of ancient archeological wonders. Stop to savor authentic Greek dishes during lunch in this bustling historical market area before journeying to the top of the astounding Acropolis. Ascend the meandering passageway leading up to the Beulé Gate, named after the French archaeologist, Charles Ernest Beulé who excavated the site in 1852. The classic Greek archway was originally built during the third century AD by Romans to serve as a defensive entrance to the Propylaia.

Continue on to the Ancient Agora of Athens, the once thriving gathering place for discussions on all things athletic, artistic, spiritual, and political. Explore the Agora with a local archaeologist who will share insight into the cultural significance of this central meeting place and will facilitate special access to the storage rooms. 

Included Meal: Breakfast, Lunch 
Accommodations: Athens Zafolia Hotel 

Begin the morning with a visit to the National Archaeological Museum. The Museum is home to countless ancient artifacts from prominent archaeological regions such as Mycenae, where the infamous “Mask of Agamemnon” was discovered in 1876.   Continue on to the Sanctuary of Eleusis, site of most famous of the secret religious rites of ancient Greece practiced by the cult of Demeter and Persephone. Travel along the coastline road to the city of Corinth, renowned in ancient times for its luxury and wealth. Explore the Ancient Corinthian sites including the Temple of Apollo, the Roman Forum, the Bema where the Apostle Paul defended himself.  Continue on to the charming seaside town of Nafplion, the first capital of Greece, and embark on a brief walking tour of the prehistoric city. Enjoy the remainder of the afternoon at leisure or explore the ancient architecture. Gather as a group this evening for dinner.    

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 
Accommodations: Amalia Hotel Nafplio

Journey to Mycenae for a morning exploration of regional wonders. Pass through the ancient Lion Gate to begin the ascent up the winding stairway of the citadel overlooking the plain of Argolis, with its impressive Cyclopean Walls. Conclude the visit at the grave circles, Agamemnon’s Palace, and the beehive tombs.Continue to Nemea, a region known for its wine production dating back to ancient times, for lunch and wine tasting at a local winery.

Following lunch, visit the city of Epidaurus, one of the most famous healing centers in antiquity and home to the best-preserved theater in Greece, known for its exceptional acoustics. The theater was constructed in the 4th century BC by Polykleitos the Younger, a renowned sculptor of ancient Greek athletes. The original theatre consisted of 34 rows of limestone seating, a critical design feature that assisted in filtering out low frequency sounds and amplifying high frequency sounds such as the actors performing on the stage.  Return to Nafplion late this afternoon for dinner and Greek dancing at a local taverna.   

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 
Accommodations: Amalia Hotel Nafplio

After breakfast, travel through Arcadia, an area named after the mythological character Arcas and residence to ancient Greek legend, the god Pan. En route to Olympia, pause to explore a local olive farm, followed by lunch on the farm. Arrive in Olympia, the location of the first Pan Hellenic games, held in 776 BC, in honor of Zeus. Visit the site and stadium where the first Olympics were held, as well as the Temple of the Olympian Zeus, the Temple of Hera, and the Museum known for the unique pediments from the Temple of Zeus. Check into the hotel and have time to settle into the surroundings before gathering for dinner.  

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations: Hotel Europa

This morning, drive along the coast through the city of Patras, the third largest port in Greece, and cross over the impressive modern bridge connecting the Peloponnese with mainland Greece on the way to Delphi, proclaimed by Zeus as the center of the earth. Stop in the charming town of Nafpaktos for lunch on your own and time to explore the picturesque Venetian harbor. 

Visit the Sanctuary of Athena Pronaea, constructed as the entryway into Delphi, honoring the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, law and justice, mathematics, strength, war strategy, and the arts. According to ancient inscriptions, one purpose of this sanctuary shrine was to protect the temple of Athena’s half-brother Apollo, and the Pan-Hellenic famed oracle.  Check into the hotel and have time to settle into the surroundings before gathering as a group for dinner.  

Included Meal: Breakfast, Dinner 
Accommodations: Amalia Hotel Delphi 

 

Spend the morning walking the sacred pathway to the Temple of Apollo, the site of the legendary oracle. Visit the upper sanctuary with its the impressive theater and stadium, before traveling down to the museum located in the lower sanctuary for a chance to admire the bronze statue of the Charioteer. Enjoy lunch as a group at a local restaurant before traveling to Arachova, a tiny village known for its weaving to visit with a local weaver for a demonstration.   

Continue to the Hosios Loukas Monastery, a true masterpiece of Byzantine architecture featuring exquisite and well-preserved mosaics, and home to local saint, Ossios Loukas. Enjoy a private reception in the garden of the monastery overlooking the breathtaking scenery of the valley and mountain range. Return to Delphi for the remainder of the evening at leisure.  

Included Meal: Breakfast, Lunch 
Accommodations: Amalia Hotel Delphi 

 

This morning, travel to Kalambaka, the quaint village nestled underneath Meteora, translated to “in the heavens above.”  Along the way, stop at Thermopylae, where the famous battle took place between the Athenians and Spartans against the army of Xerxes and the Persians.  Check into the hotel and have time to settle in before gathering as a group for dinner. 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner 
Accommodations: Hotel Amalia Kalambaka

 

Awake this morning and begin the day with visit to the “middle of the sky,” better known as the Meteora Monasteries. Built atop sandstone pillars, these rock formations are known for their well-preserved 15th-century frescoes, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Descend the ancient cliffs to Kalambaka and enjoy lunch in the nearby town before returning to Athens. Check into the hotel and enjoy the remainder of the evening at leisure.  

Included Meal: Breakfast, Lunch 
Accommodations: Athens Zafolia Hotel

 

Following breakfast this morning, journey to the port town of Piraeus, located within the Athens limits, stopping along the way to marvel at the Port of Piraeus, the largest Greek seaport, and birthplace to the Athenian fleet. View the ancient walls surrounding the port, modernly decorated in murals by Greek visual artist ‘INO’ before traveling by ferry to the island of Aegina. During ancient times Aegina was considered to be a great sea power and rival of Athens. Venture across the island to the Temple of Aphaea, the best-preserved 5th-century BC Temple. Enjoy lunch in a private home overlooking pistachio and olive trees. This afternoon, return to Athens by ferry. Gather in the evening to commemorate the journey with a farewell reception and dinner.  

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 
Accommodations: Athens Zafolia Hotel

 

Following breakfast, transfer to the Athens airport for individual flights home. 

Included Meal: Breakfast

 

Available Dates & Pricing

May 19-29, 2023

$ 6,595
Single supplement $875
  • $500 deposit to reserve your space

October 13-23, 2023

$ 6,595
Single supplement $875
  • $500 deposit to reserve your space
  • Comprehensive educational program by professional on-site guides
  • Accommodations and meals as outlined in the itinerary
  • Sightseeing and visits, including entrance fees, as specified in the itinerary
  • Ground transportation within the itinerary
  • Gratuities to porters, drivers, and guides
  • The assistance of an ATA tour manager for comprehensive logistical and customer service management on the trip
  • The assistance of an ATA professional travel team to assist with pre-trip questions, travel arrangements, including flights, extra hotel nights, and other services
  • Comprehensive pre-departure information about the destination and what to expect on the trip, including a suggested reading list
  • Fully vetted program that meets COVID-19 health and safety protocols
Athens Zafolia Hotel
Hotel Amalia Nafplio
Hotel Europa
Amalia Hotel Delphi 
Hotel Amalia  Kalambaka
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Accommodations

Athens Zafolia Hotel | Athens

Athens Zafolia is a contemporary four-star luxury property in the center of Athens overlooking Lycabettus Hill and within walking distance to many of the city’s top attractions. The property boasts a roof garden restaurant with panoramic views, pool-side bar, lounge, sauna, and fitness center. Large, bright, and sound-proof rooms feature modern furnishings, complimentary Wi-Fi, mini-bar, and flat-screen televisions.

Hotel Amalia | Nafplion

The Hotel Amalia is a neoclassical four-star property that combines modern luxuries with classical charm. The estate offers guests numerous amenities including a bar and lounge, pool, business center, laundry services, and access to the beautiful garden located on the grounds. Guest rooms feature complimentary Wi-Fi, mini-bar, flat-screen televisions, and garden views.

Hotel Europa | Olympia

Nestled within the breathtaking mountain landscape of Olympia, the four-star Hotel Europa provides guests with the peace and tranquility of a hill-top setting as well as access to the beauty of the city. The hotel is equipped with a restaurant, pool, business center and laundry service, while guest rooms are spacious and feature multiple amenities such as complimentary Wi-Fi, mini-bar, and air conditioning.

Amalia Hotel | Delphi

Ideally located at the foot of Mount Parnassus, the Amalia Hotel Delphi boasts picturesque mountain and valley views as well as unparalleled access to numerous ancient sites, including the Temple of Apollo. The hotel offers a contemporary atmosphere with modern amenities such as complimentary Wi-Fi, business center, restaurant and lounge, pool, and laundry service. 

Hotel Amalia | Kalambaka

Conveniently located to both Kalambaka and Meteora, the four-star Amalia Hotel Kalambaka reflects a combination of magnificence and beauty. This hillside property offers guests traditional comfort, as well as modern amenities including complimentary Wi-Fi, an Olympic-size swimming pool, garden terrace, bar/lounge, restaurant, business center, and laundry services.

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