Step back in time and marvel at the remnants of ancient history with 4-days of extensive exploring in Greece before hitting the Mediterranean for some fun in the sun. Athens, Olympia and Delphi will be uncovered through the wisdom of a Greek tour guide, and the islands of Greece will be discovered with 3-days cruising the Cycladic islands of Mykonos, Santorini and Crete, even stopping in Turkey to boot!
Welcome to Athens, Greek adventurers! The clock starts now on uncovering this ancient country and all its quirks. We're calling it now, that this trip is THE ancient history lovers dream. Settle in to your hotel before catching up with the crew, where a traditional Athens affair is on the cards for those wanting to get straight down to the business of being cultural. On our optional dinner we'll head to the city's old town and dinner, traditional dancing as you feast your eyes (and stomach) with mouthwatering Greek tastes, under the watchful eye of the Acropolis to complete the scene. We can't think of a better way to get right into the Greek way of life.
Not a second of today will go to waste. Europe’s oldest city will unfold itself this morning as we take to the Parthenon and the Acropolis with the knowledge of a local, then explore the first modern Olympic Stadium from the 1896 Games. That's some really old Olympic vibes right there.
Rugged mountains, cypress trees and citrus groves will pepper our pretty tour from Athens to Corinth, where we will stop to get a look at a man-made canal that squeezes ships through its tight cliffs in what seems like an impossible feat.
What was once a military hotspot is now a jaw-dropping archaeological site amidst the mountain ranges of Greece. Our Trip Manager will uncover the 4,000 year history of Mycenae and Agamemnon’s Palace in a tale of heroics, myths and curses.
And so the historical uncoverings continue as we land in Olympia, the place where the Olympic Games were birthed, and what is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Fun fact: the first Olympic Games was held in 776BC, let's just let that number sink in for a moment...Wow. Today our Local Guide will show us all the important sites of those games, giving you the chance to sit in the 45,000 seat stadium where it actually first took place. If that's not a spine-tingling moment, we don't know what is. We'll wrap it up at the Temple of Hera (Queen of the Greek Gods), and place where the Olympic flame is lit every four years. We'll also visit the ruins of Zeus' temple before we head off on our journey, where you'll be sure to feel the vibes of one of the most well known Greek gods.
The sacred lands of Delphi will be ours this afternoon, again allowing us the chance to uncover world history right here in Greece. Despite being a place of monumental importance, it happens to have a cute little bar scene, and is a great place to sample the national drink of ouzo.
Through the limestone columns of the Sanctuary of Apollo, we continue tapping into what was once the centre of the universe for Ancient Greeks. The remains of this Doric style building stands tall with it's remaining 6 (out of an original 15) pillars, and is the perfect spot to absorb the last bit of beauty that is the slopes of Mt. Parnassus before we jump on the trail back to Athens.
Well there you have it, the true scope of Greece's magnificence filed neatly into four incredible days. Walk away with a wealth of new knowledge and a new posse of friends, eager to get involved in yet another Contiki adventure.
Alright sailors it's time to hit the sea! We'll board a Greek ship and head straight for the crisp white isle of Mykonos.
Out on the Aegean with a sea breeze wiping stupidly happy looks on our faces, we arrive into Mykonos. On arrival we will suss out Mykonos town & see traditional Cycladic-style houses. Use the rest of the day to get beach side, tap into the island's party culture, or carry on exploring or hitting the shops and bars of Little Venice for some cute, Pinterest-worthy snaps.
As soon as you cast your treasure-hungry eyes on the shopping bazaar of Kusadasi, you'll be very pleased indeed that this an overnight stop. Carpets, silver, local antiques, this place is a haven for those keen to pick up some treasures to take back home.
Out of Kusadasi we drift on towards the rugged island of Patmos, quaint, known for it's seafood, we'll tell you straight up that the octopus is some of the best you'll ever try. Explore this holy hotspot with an optional excursion to Patmos’ UNESCO World Heritage sites of the 11th century Monastery of the Apocalypse and the Grotto of St. John. A must when you're in the area, dating back to 1088 as a protection from pirates! St John's Grotto is up next where part of the bible was written by St John himself. Nothing like a bit of history to keep things interesting. Back on the boat, a sundowner is calling, and maybe some of the ship nightlife before we wake up in Rhodes.
Some may say we've saved the best 'til last, with Crete and Santorini marking our finals. Crete is the biggest of the Greek Islands & home to the 4000 year old mythical Minoan Palace. Catch some sleep or explore it all morning with the option of exploring the Place of Knossos. As a quick 101, it's the home to the legend of the Minotaur, a half man half bull which lived in a labyrinth and was slayed by Theus. A great way to look into days gone by, and we're talking 2000BC. We then set sail from Crete, with Santorini in our sights as the next stop.
Another day waking up in another epic destination. Santorini, you're the perfect place to send us off with a serious bang.
Get a belt handy - you're going to need to strap that jaw up off the floor as the island of Santorini slowly becomes a reality. Those iconic blue–domed, whitewashed churches are enough to bring a tear to the eye. Set on a caldera, or old volcano, Santorini is literally towering over the landscape. And the best way to get the sheer scale of it all is by boat, and lucky for you sweet traveller, we give you the chance to do just that! After strolling the iconic island lanes dotted with shops and travellers all here for this memorable moment. Make sure your phone is on full charge, as an Instagram upload is a must tonight.
Our trip ends after breakfast - time to say bye to your new travel buddies!
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Trip Name: Spotlight on Greece
Duration: 8 Days
From Price: £1,616
Supplier Tour ID: 310.823/237734
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