6 nights starting from
• The island of Aegina with its majestic Temple of Aphaia
• Picturesque archaeological sites at Amphiareion and Brauron
• Lesser known but fascinating : Goulandris Museum of Cycladic Art and the Piraeus Museum
• Cape Sounion – we visit the Temple of Athena and the Temple of Poseidon
• Led by experienced historian, Rita Roussos PhD
Athens is world famous for its major sights such as the Acropolis and the Parthenon, but there are a wealth of sites waiting to be discovered that are little known to the outside world. This brilliant new tour, based just outside the city and on the coast at fashionable Vouliagmeni, takes us to some of the city’s undiscovered gems as well as some treasures from around the city including the island of Aegina and the superb museum at Piraeus.
|19 - October - 2022||£ 1450.00||Travel Info Book Now||booking-journey/#/start/UAT/19 October 2022/|
Departing: 19th October 2022 at 09:45
Returning: 25th October 2022 at 13:45
Day 1: Fly from London Heathrow to Athens
Transfer to Vouliagmeni (approx. one hour) for a six-night stay at the Amarilia Hotel. Welcome dinner at the hotel with short introductory lecture from Rita Roussos.
Day 2: Goulandris Cycladic Art Museum, Aristotle’s Lyceum and Amphiareion
Our first day takes us to central Athens to see the little-visited, but superb, Goulandris Museum of Cycladic Art, founded in 1986 to house the collection of Nicholas and Dolly Goulandris with a special emphasis on Cycladic Art of the 3rd millennium BC. We then visit the Lyceum where the philosopher Aristotle taught, once a gymnasium, it is now nestled within a public park, amidst lavender, oregano, thyme, and olive trees, right in the heart of Athens. This afternoon takes us to one of the least visited sites on the tour, but also one of the most picturesque, the healing Sanctuary of Amphiareion, which includes a 4th century BC temple and a beautifully preserved theatre.
Day 3: Acropolis Slopes, Temple of Zeus Olympia and Panathenaic Stadium
A morning tour around the slopes that lead to the Acropolis reveal a series of sights that most visitors simply bypass, including what is believed to be the world’s oldest theatre, Dionysos, as well as caves and a 35m fissure in the rock with a secret entrance near the Parthenon. In 1941, during the darkest days of the Nazi occupation, two teenagers somehow managed to scramble up the near-vertical shaft at night and took down the swastika from the Acropolis flagpole and replaced it with the Greek flag. Later we see what remains of the largest Greek Temple dedicated to Zeus Olympia and the beautiful marble Panathenaic stadium where, in ancient times, athletes raced, boxed and wrestled naked in honour of the goddess Athena. The stadium was rebuilt in 1896 to host the first modern Olympic Games and was used again in the 2004 Olympic Games.
Day 4: The island of Aegina
Peaceful during our out-of-season visit, the Island of Aegina, famed for its beautifully preserved 6th-century BC temple, dedicated to the mysterious goddess Aphaia, that is majestically set high over the pine-clad hills and sea. Here, we will examine the secrets of ancient temple-building, including how cranes lifted stone blocks into place with ropes fitted in U-shaped incisions. There will also be time for a leisurely seaside lunch and stroll along the picturesque waterfront.
Day 5: Eleusis
A morning visit to the ancient sanctuary and surrounding temples of Eleusis. Thought to have been in use for more than 2,000 years during the Ancient Greek period, this area staged the fascinating Eleusinian Mysteries - religious initiation ceremonies which took place each year for the cult of Demeter and Persephone. Afternoon at leisure.
Day 6: Cape Sounion, Thorikos and Brauron
A day out of the city to ancient Attica takes us to Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon perched high above the sea with stunning views. We also visit the area of the ancient Athenian silver mines, Thorikos and the Sanctuary of Artemis at Brauron.
Day 7: Piraeus Museum and home
Mysteriously, the Piraeus Museum is usually left out of tour itineraries, which is a great loss since it has an exquisite collection of original ancient Greek bronzes. Tucked away and very quiet the museum allows the visitor to experience the artefacts in a serene atmosphere. After our visit here, we transfer to the airport for the return flight to London Heathrow.
NB: Exact order of excursions may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion.
Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 25 passengers.
Amarilia Hotel, Vouliagmeni
Modern four-star hotel located close to the beach at Vouliagmeni, about a 20-minute drive from central Athens. Facilities here include a pool, garden, terrace and beach as well as a bar, restaurant and very comfortable bedrooms with all modern amenities.
3 nights from £999View
7 nights from £795View