Grand tour of Greece and Turkey - 21 day tour
Available every Saturday between May and October)
- Saturday - Day 1 – Arrival in Athens
Arrival in Athens KALOS ORISATE! Welcome to Greece! We will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. After a short briefing about your tour, you will have the afternoon free to rest and explore Athens on your own. Overnight in Athens.
- Sunday - Day 2 - Athens - (B)
After breakfast around 8:30 AM, we will meet you at your hotel for your guided tour of Athens. You will explore Temple of Olympian Zeus, Panathinaiko Stadium (where the first Olympic Games took place in 1896). After that, we will drive by the Prime's Minister's residence, the Royal Palace, (guarded by colorful Evzones), Zappion (Conference and Exhibition Hall), National Garden, Hadrian's Arc, St. Paul's Church, Parliament, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Schlieman's House (Numismatic Museum), Catholic Cathedral, Academy, University, National Library, Old Parliament, Constitution Square, and the impressive Russian Orthodox Church. At the ACROPOLIS, you will visit Propylaea, Temple of Athena Nike, Parthenon, Erechtheion and the Museum of the Acropolis. In the early afternoon, we will provide a transfer to your hotel, or we can also drop you off at the Plaka so you can wander and explore. Overnight in Athens.
- Monday - Day 3 - Athens to Olympia - (B)
After breakfast, you'll depart Athens by car. Our drive to Olympia will offer exciting scenery as we pass by Olympic Stadium, and the Corinth Channel, stopping for a small break afterwards. After that we will drive onto Epidaurus and visit the Ancient Theatre, famous for its impressive acoustics. Afterwards, we will continue onto Nauplia through the plains of Argos. Weíll arrive in Mycanea and visit the Tomb of Famous Agamemnon there. After another short break, we will also see both Tripolis and Megalopolis. After you arrive in Olympia, youíll check in at the hotel. Overnight in Olympia.
- Tuesday - Day 4 - Olympia to Delphi - (B/D)
After breakfast, you will start the day visiting the following famed archaeological sites: Temple of Zeus, Temple of Hera, The Altar of the Olympic Flame, The Stadium, and the Archeological Museum. After visiting these sites, we will drive along the coastal road towards Delphi, passing through Patras and Antirion. In the afternoon, weíll take a break and stroll around the charming mountain village of Arachova. Arrival in Delphi and check in the hotel. Overnight in Delphi.
- Wednesday - Day 5 - Delphi to Kalambaka - (B/D)
After breakfast, we will visit the ancient site of Delphi and the Museum of Delphi. We will then depart for Kalambaka (after a short break
at Lamia.) Kalambaka is a picturesque small town built at the foot of the Majestic Grey Rocks and crowned by the Meteora Monasteries overhead. Overnight in Kalambaka. Hotel:
- Thursday - Day 6 - Kalambaka to Athens - (B)
After breakfast, we depart Kalambaka and drive back to Athens, visiting Byzantine monasteries and the Monument of Leonidas at Thermopoli, Overnight in Athens. www.acropolishill.gr
- Friday - Day 7 - Athens to Chania - (Crete) - (B)
Very early in the morning, you will be transferred to Athens Airport, and put you on a flight to Chania.
08:55 - Athens --- El. Venizelos 09:45 Chania I. Daskalogiannis
Meet our representative at the airport and transfer to your hotel, after check in you will have rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight in Chania -
– Saturday - Day 8 – Chania – (B)
Breakfast at the hotel & Day at leisure - Assistance with optional tours to Imbros or to Samaria Gorge will be available.
Overnight in Chania.
– Sunday – Day 9 – Chania to Heraklion – (B)
In the morning we will depart from Chania and drive to Heraklion, upon arrival we will take you on a guided tour of Knossos.
Knossos (also known as the Knossos Palace) is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and was likely the ceremonial and political center of the Minoan civilization. The city remained important throughout the Classical and Roman periods, but its population shifted to the new town of Handaq (modern Heraklion) during the 9th century AD. By the 13th C, it was known as Makryteikhos ("long wall"); however, the bishops of Gortyn continued to call themselves the Bishops of Knossos until the 19th C. Today, the name is used only for the archaeological site itself.
After the tour you will check in to your hotel, overnight in Heraklion.
- Monday – Day 10 – Heraklion to Santorini – (B)
In the morning transfer to Heraklion Harbor, get on the morning ferry to Santorini.
Departure at 08:45 ----- Arrival at 10:20
Transfer to your hotel, enjoy rest of the day at leisure. Overnight in Santorini. www.villailias.gr/
– Tuesday – Day 11 – Santorini – (B)
After breakfast we will take you on a tour of Santorini. You will, hop on a boat to explore the caldera, take in the hot springs, view the ruins of Thirrassia, and afterwards you will be taken back to your hotelAround midnight, you will be transferred to Santorini Harbor for your overnight ferry from Santorini to Rhodes Island.
- Wednesday - Day 12 - Rhodes - (B)
Early morning arrival in Rhodes, check into your hotel and enjoy rest of the exploring the Island at your own pace. Overnight in Rhodes.
- Thursday - Day 13 - Rhodes to Marmaris then to Kusadasi - (B)
we will board a relaxing ferry to Marmaris, Turkey. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to the resort town of Kusadasi, where you will check into your hotel.
Overnight in Kusadasi.
- Friday - Day 14 - Kusadasi - (B/L/D)
We will visit some of Turkey's most impressive Roman and Biblical-era sites today, in what promises to be one of your most memorable days in Turkey!
Sites you'll see today:
* Ephesus is the best-preserved classical cities from ancient times, and was inhabited by Greeks, Macedonians, Romans and Turks. St. Paul lived here circa 60 AD, when it was at its most populated at 250,000. During your visit, youíll walk its stony boulevards, stand in the grand theatre, and marvel at the beauty and size of the Celsus Library, the agora, as well as the baths, giving you the unique chance to get up-close-and-personal with history by literally being able to walk into it.
Ephesus was one of the seven churches of Asia that are cited in the Book of Revelation. The Gospel of John may have been written here. The city was the site of several 5th century Ecumenical Councils. It is also the site of a large gladiators' graveyard.
* The Temple of Artemis is situated in serene countryside and celebrates the Greek goddess Artemis, the virginal huntress and twin of Apollo, who supplanted the Titan Selene as goddess of the Moon. This temple, known as Artemision in Greek times, was the largest of its kind at the world. Artemis was passionately venerated in an archaic, pre-Hellenic cult image that was carved of wood, and kept decorated with jewelry.
* The House of the Virgin Mary, (Meryemana Evi), high on a hill overlooking the town of Selcuk, is where it is believed that St. Mary came to live with St. John the Baptist in the later years of her life. Masses are held here on Sundays. Overnight in Kusadasi.
- Saturday - Day 15 - Kusadasi to Pamukkale - (B/L/D)
After breakfast, we will depart Kusadasi for our scenic 3-hour drive to Pamukkale, where you will have a guided tour of Pamukkale and Hierapolis.
* Pamukkale ("cotton castle" in Turkish) is the result of limestone formations created over thousands of years. Warm, calcium-rich mineral water from nearby thermal hot springs flowed over these travertine cliffs and, as these waters cooled, they deposited the calcium that we see today.
* Hierapolis is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was founded as an ancient healing care center in 190 BC, taking advantage of the mineral waters. It was one of the most important intellectual, artistic, religious and commercial centers of the Roman Empire. Overnight in Pamukkale.
- Sunday - Day 16 - Pamukkale to Cappadocia - (B/L)
After breakfast we will depart Pamukkale and drive on to Cappadocia, stopping to visit the Mevlana Museum in Konya.
* Mevlana Museum is a holy site for Muslims and features beautiful architecture and tile work; it was the former primary lodge of the whirling dervishes order.
(Note: a guided tour of the museum is not included, but you may explore on your own.)
In the afternoon, we will provide a transfer east to the Cappadocian region; after arrival you will check in at your hotel and enjoy the rest of the day to relax or explore Urgup. Overnight in Urgup - Cappadocia.
- Monday - Day 17 - Cappadocia - (B/L)
Today, we'll stroll through an amazing subterranean city where ancient Christians once hid from Arab invaders; we'll then wander through the Ihlara Gorge and spend time in a classic Anatolian village.
* Underground City of DerinkuyuóWeíll gradually make your way down into the depths of the earth of this ancient settlement that has 18-20 floors which boast depths as long as 40 meters. (But don't worry, we'll only go down to the 8th floor!) Youíll marvel at the fact that Derinkuyu is just one of 36 Cappadocian underground cities, which archaeologists date back to the time of the Hittites around 4,000 years ago.
* Ihlara Gorge is an oasis in the middle of the Anatolian plain. We'll explore the canyon and take in the beautiful green scenery as we stroll casually alongside the river. Here, you'll see ancient monasteries complete with pigeon holes carved into the cliffs by the monks; the pigeons acted as messengers to communicate with neighboring monks!
* Traditional Anatolian village -- You'll see head-scarved women in the fields (where they work from sun up until sundown) and the mustachioed, vest-wearing men hard-at-work playing cards or tavla (backgammon) in the kahvehane (coffee shop). You'll get time to stroll in a village such as this and see the average Turkish villager at work...or play. Overnight in Urgup - Cappadocia.
- Tuesday - Day 18 - Cappadocia to Istanbul - (B/L)
This day will be spent exploring more of the amazing sites of Cappadocia. (Those who have purchased the optional hot-air balloon tour: you will be transferred before sunrise to the launch site. You will then enjoy breakfast at the hotel.)
Sites youíll see today:
* Goreme Open-Air Museum - A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Goreme is an ancient town carved right out of the rock (tufa); you'll explore Byzantine-era churches, chapels and monasteries which house wonderfully-preserved 11th- and 12th-century cave frescoes.
* Fairy Chimneys--This strange geological phenomenon was created over millions of years, and were formed during regional volcanic eruptions. Reaching at times 40 meters in height, they are conical in shape and have a whimsical "hat" top to them.
* Devrent Valley--This valley is known as "the pink valley" because of the color of its soil. This is a lovely place to wander about and really take in the magical rock formations indicative to Cappadocia, including the Fairy Chimneys.
* Uchisar Castle, also known as Uchisar Fortress, is actually a formation of two gigantic rocks surrounded by smaller ones that together, form a natural fortress with towers. These formations were inhabited during both the Byzantine and Ottoman periods.
If there is time, we'll also visit local crafts people and learn the special art of making dolls and traditional pottery.
After the tour, we will provide a transfer to Nevsehir Airport for your 1-hour flight back to Istanbul. After arrival, we will take you to your hotel. Overnight in Istanbul.
- Wednesday - Day 19 - Istanbul - (B/L)
This will be a full day exploring Istanbul's most historical monuments. Weíll set off just after breakfast, around 8:30 AM.
Sites you'll see today:
* Blue Mosque/Sultanahmet Mosque (Camii) built during the reign of Sultan Ahmet I during 1609-1616. It is the only mosque in Turkey with six minarets. Due to its magnificent hand-dyed blue, green and white Iznik tiles it has been named the "Blue Mosque" by Europeans. The central dome is 43 m in height and is 33.4 m in diameter; it also boasts 260 windows.
* Hagia Sophia/Aya Sofya is a truly awe-inspiring, 1,400-year-old Byzantine cathedral which houses mosaics, relics and iron work. Hagia Sophia was, for nearly a thousand years, the largest enclosed space in the world, and still seen as one of the world's most important architectural monuments. It is one of Turkey's most popular attractions, drawn by the sheer spectacle of its size, architecture, mosaics and art.
* Hippodrome: the backdrop of chariot races and the center of Byzantine civic life.
* Topkapi Palace, the residence and administrative center of the Sultans during the Ottoman Empire, was constructed in 1459-1465 shortly after the establishment of Constantinople. You'll see the Treasury that houses the Topkapi Dagger, the 86-carat Spoon Maker's Diamond, and the jewel-encrusted bones of St. John the Baptist.
* Grand Bazaar (Kapali Áarsi ñ ìcovered bazaarî) is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with more than 58 covered streets and over 4,000 shops which attract between 250,000 and half a million visitors daily.
After the tour, weíll return to the hotel. Overnight in Istanbul
- Thursday - Day 20 - Istanbul - (B)
This will be a half-day exploring the historical sites of Istanbul.
* The Spice Bazaar/Egyptian Bazaar (Misir Carsisi) transports you back to the Silk Road days with its mystical aromas of various spices. Here, you'll also find other shops selling fruits, vegetables, teas, flowers, fish, and Turkish Delight (lokum).
* Bosphorus Cruise takes you though the waterway separating the two continents, Europe and Asia; along its shores, you can take photographs of marble palaces and antique wooden Ottoman-era villas that sit beside luxurious modern residences. You will also see Dolmabahce Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace, and Ortakoy Mosque during the cruise.
Overnight in Istanbul
- Friday - Day 21 - Istanbul to Home - (B)
Gule, gule! It's time to go home. We will transfer you to the airport and wish you well, asking that you keep
Turkey and all of us in your hearts. We hope that our paths cross again.
* * * Program ends * * *
We can customize this program and add more sights in both Turkey and/or Greece, or provide extra nights in Istanbul and/or Athens.
Total cost: ______ Euro per person, double room & ______ Euro, single supplement -
Contact us for price information
* Centrally located superior hotels
* All land transfers with comfortable vehicles
* All meals mentioned in the itinerary (B-breakfast, L-lunch & D-dinner)
* Professional, English-speaking tour guides
* Domestic flight tickets from Athens to Santorini
* Ferry tickets from Santorini to Rhodes
* Ferry tickets from Rhodes to Marmaris
* Domestic flight tickets from Cappadocia to Istanbul
* Admissions to: Acropolis, Parthenon, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Ephesus, Pamukkale, and
* All taxes and service charges
* International flight tickets to Athens and from Istanbul to your next destination
* Drinks with meals
* Optional tour in Crete
* Hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia (15% discount if booked with this tour)