Athens, Nafplion, Olympia, Delphi & Thessaloniki - With a fascinating history that spans across four millennia, Greece is a diverse country to explore. For anyone wanting a cultural experience Greece cannot fail to inspire - Romans, Arabs, Venetians, Albanians and Turks have all left their mark, and almost every town or village has a link to the past. Incorporating the classic highlights of Mycenae, Olympia and Delphi, this tour also explores Greece’s magnificent scenery and gives you the opportunity to taste many local flavours along the way.

Cultural Greece

Land Only Small Group Tour

Duration : 9 DAYSCountry : GREECE
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The Incredible monasteries of Meteora, Greece
Nafplio © Dimitris KarkanisThe Caryatids © Breathtaking AthensWhite Tower, Thessaloniki © Thessaloniki TourismCharming Accommodation: Pyrgos Mantania, Aspropotamos ***Enjoy a refreshing Greek SaladTemple of Poseido at Cape Sounion © Bobesh

Athens, Nafplion, Olympia, Delphi & Thessaloniki - With a fascinating history that spans across four millennia, Greece is a diverse country to explore. For anyone wanting a cultural experience Greece cannot fail to inspire - Romans, Arabs, Venetians, Albanians and Turks have all left their mark, and almost every town or village has a link to the past. Incorporating the classic highlights of Mycenae, Olympia and Delphi, this tour also explores Greece’s magnificent scenery and gives you the opportunity to taste many local flavours along the way.

Included in the price

  • 8 nights’ accommodation
  • Back-Roads tour leader
  • Driver & mini-coach transportation
  • European breakfast daily
  • 5 x evening meals, 1 x lunch
  • Greek cooking demonstration
  • Greek wine tasting
  • Included Entrances: Temple of Poseidon, Mycenae, Olympia Site & Museum, Delphi Site & Museum, two monasteries of Meteora, Monastery of the Holy Cross and Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum.

Day 1: Athens – Cape Sounion – Athens

Arrive in Athens at your leisure. This afternoon meet your LaCity Travel tour leader and fellow travellers and depart for Cape Sounion. En route we will stop for some wine tasting at Domaine Vassiliou, which has been producing quality wines since 1905. On arrival in Cape Sounion we visit the 5th century BC Temple of Poseidon, one of the most important sanctuaries in Attica. Tonight dine in a local seaside tavern, as the sun goes down. After dinner, we return to our hotel in Athens. (D) Accommodation: Electra Palace Hotel (or similar)

Day 2: Athens – Mycenae – Nafplion

Crossing the Corinth Canal, we visit Mycenae, considered to be one of the best archaeological sites in the country. Here we will see the Beehive Tombs, the Treasury of Atreus, the Lion Gate and the remains of Agamemnon’s Royal Palace. At a local winery enjoy a tasting of the famous Agiorgitiko red wine before arriving in Nafplion. With its neoclassical buildings, middle age fountains and labyrinthine streets, this colourful town is wonderful to explore. (B, D) Accommodation: Grande Bretagne Hotel (or similar)

Day 3: Nafplion – Olympia – Nafplion

Today is dedicated to Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games and known for the gigantic gold statue of Zeus that used to stand in the Temple of Zeus. Sculpted by Pheidias, it was named one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World until its destruction in the 5th century. During our visit we will see the temples dedicated to Zeus and Hera, the first Olympic Stadium and the Archaeological Museum. Back in Nafplion, enjoy an evening at leisure. (B) Accommodation: Grande Bretagne Hotel (or similar)

Day 4: Nafplion – Amfikaia Farm – Delphi

Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Delphi, visiting the Temple of Apollo, the Treasure of the Athenians and the Museum, which is home to an impressive collection of Ancient Greek sculptures. Later we drive to Amfikaia Farm, set on 200 acres of land with beautifully tended gardens. After a tour of the farm to see the infamous Thessalian Horses and a botany presentation, we enjoy a traditional homemade lunch using the finest local ingredients. Later enjoy an evening at leisure in Delphi. (B, L) Accommodation: Apollonia Hotel (or similar)

Day 5: Delphi – Kalambaka – Aspropotamos

Our drive this morning takes us across the Thessalian plains to Kalambaka. Here we visit two of the monasteries of Meteora. Lived in by monks for more than 600 years, the monasteries are decorated with unique icons and other items of Byzantine Art and were designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988. Our final destination today is Aspropotamos, an area of incredible natural beauty, away from the main tourist route. This evening, after a short Greek cooking demonstration, we sit down together for dinner. (B, D) Accommodation: Pyrgos Mantania Hotel (or similar)

Day 6: Aspropotamos – Thessaloniki

This morning we will explore the Aspropotamos region and visit the 18th century Monastery of the Holy Cross at Doliana. This afternoon we drive to Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece. Tonight we will dine in the historic quarter of Ladadika, with its narrow streets and characteristic coloured houses. (B, D) Accommodation: Les Lazaristes Domotel (or similar)

Day 7: Thessaloniki

On a panoramic tour of Thessaloniki we will see many Byzantine and Ottoman monuments including the 5th century Church of Agios Dimitrios and the famous White Tower. After visiting the Archaeological Museum the rest of the day is at leisure. (B) Accommodation: Les Lazaristes Domotel (or similar)

Day 8: Thessaloniki – Volos

Our journey today takes us south along the coastal district of Thessaly to Volos, which has a rich history with strong roots in Greek Mythology. After a panoramic tour of Volos we explore Mount Pelion. With a backdrop of olive groves, dense forests and lush fruit orchards, the 24 villages in the peninsula, with their traditional stone-built houses and bridges and Byzantine Churches and Monasteries, are the true gems of this region. This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner together in Volos. (B, D) Accommodation: Xenia Volou Domotel (or similar)

Day 9: St Volos – Athens

After breakfast, we transfer back to Athens where the tour ends. (B) [Pick-Up: The tour commences from the Electra Palace Hotel, 18-20 N Nikodimou St, Athens 10557, Greece, at 2:00pm. Please ensure you are at the meeting point at least 15 minutes prior to departure.] [Drop-off: 2:00pm at Electra Palace Hotel, 18-20 N Nikodimou St, Athens 10557, Greece. Please bear in mind that drop-off time is an estimate only – traffic can be unpredictable!]

Olympia

Olympia

If there is one destination that epitomises the spirit of ancient Greece, Olympia is it. From the first Olympic Games in antiquity to Roman and Byzantine occupations, the ruins of ancient Olympia represent every era of Greek civilisation making it a unique and fascinating stop on your Greek tour.
Archaeological site of Delphi

Archaeological site of Delphi

At the foot of Mount Parnassos, within the angle formed by the twin rocks of the Phaedriades, lies the Pan-Hellenic sanctuary of Delphi, which had the most famous oracle of ancient Greece. Delphi was regarded as the centre of the world.According to mythology, it is here that the two eagles sent out by Zeus from the ends of the universe to find the navel of the world met. The sanctuary of Delphi, set within a most spectacular landscape, was for many centuries the cultural and religious centre and symbol of unity for the Hellenic world.
Athens

Athens

Take a trip back to the beginnings of western civilisation and democracy with a visit to Athens, capital of Greece. From the stunning monuments of antiquity to first-class restaurants and shopping, Athens is a dream Greek holiday destination.
Acropolis archaeological site, Athens

Acropolis archaeological site, Athens

The greatest and finest sanctuary of ancient Athens, dedicated primarily to its patron, the goddess Athena, dominates the centre of the modern city from the rocky crag known as the Acropolis. The most celebrated myths of ancient Athens, its greatest religious festivals, earliest cults and several decisive events in the city's history are all connected to this sacred precinct. The monuments of the Acropolis stand in harmony with their natural setting. These unique masterpieces of ancient architecture combine different orders and styles of Classical art in a most innovative manner and have influenced art and culture for many centuries. The Acropolis of the fifth century BC is the most accurate reflection of the splendour, power and wealth of Athens at its greatest peak, the golden age of Perikles.
The incredible monasteries of Meteora

The incredible monasteries of Meteora

Above the town of Kalambáka, on the north-western edge of the Plain of Thessaly, the visitor encounters a breathtaking site of impressive monasteries “balanced” on massive detached stone pinnacles, 400 metres above the ground. Metéora is one of Christianity’s holiest places as well as a landscape of outstanding natural beauty. Thousands of visitors flock to this place every year, attracted by the daunting size of the rock formations where timelessness and beauty prevail, while they seek spiritual enlightenment far away from the earthly bustle.
Mycenae

Mycenae

Homer and other writers of ancient Greek tragedy committed their names to memories which have passed into the collective unconscious of humanity. Agamemnon and Menelaus, Danaë and Perseus, Pelops and Atreus are the apparent forefathers of all of Europe, and the birthplace of all of these historical figures, is golden Mycenae. The earliest archaeological fragments indicate that the site of Mycenae was inhabited since the 7th millennium BC, from prehistoric times. In a dominant, naturally fortified position between the tranquil sloping hills of Profitis Ilias, and Sara, with a plentiful water supply, it was an ideal place for man to settle and live a protected life.
Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki (520 km. north of Athens) is the second largest city of Greece and the most important centre of the area. Built near the sea (at the back of the Thermaïkos Gulf), it is a modern metropolis bearing the marks of its stormy history and its cosmopolitan character, which give it a special beauty and charm.
Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus

Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus

In the peaceful hinterland of Epidaurus, with its mild climate and abundant mineral springs, is the sanctuary of the god-physician Asklepios, the most famous healing centre of the Greek and Roman world. The sanctuary belonged to the small coastal town of Epidaurus, but its fame and recognition quickly spread beyond the limits of the Argolid. It is considered the birthplace of medicine and is thought to have had more than two hundred dependent spas in the eastern Mediterranean. Its monuments, true masterpieces of ancient Greek art, are a precious testimony to the practice of medicine in antiquity. Indeed they illustrate the development of medicine from the time when healing depended solely on the god until systematic description of cases and the gradual accumulation of knowledge and experience turned it into a science.
Nafplio

Nafplio

One of the most beautiful towns in the area of Argolis as well as one of the most romantic cities all over Greece, Nafplio was the first capital of the newly born Greek state between 1823 and 1834. According to mythology, the town was founded by Náfplios, the son of god Poseidon and the daughter of Danaus Anymone. The town’s history traces back to the prehistoric era when soldiers from here participated in the Argonautic expedition and the Trojan War alike. The town declined during the Roman times and flourished again during the Byzantine times. Frankish, Venetian and Turkish conquerors left their mark in the town and strongly influenced its culture, architecture and traditions during the centuries. Ancient walls, medieval castles, monuments and statues, Ottoman fountains and Venetian or neoclassical buildings mesmerize the visitor with their unique architecture and beauty.
LaCity Travel - Traveller Tips for Greece    

VISAS: Greece, as a member of the Schengen States, does not require Australians citizens travelling to Spain as tourists to obtain a visa prior to arrival. On arrival from a non-Schengen state Australian citizens will be issued with a short period visa, or the common ‘Schengen Visa’, which permits a maximum stay of 90 days over a six month period within the Schengen State area (that is, 90 days over six months in the entire Schengen State area, and not in each individual Schengen state).   

MONEY: 1 AUD = 0.65 € (20/02/2014). Payment using recognised international credit cards is also commonly available in Spanish shops. They usually have signs indicating this option at the entrance to the establishment. When you make a payment you should show your passport or ID card. Traveller's cheques, accompanied by a passport, are also accepted in many hotels, restaurants and shops.   

ELECTRICITY: The electric current used in Greece is 220 volts AC, alternating at 50 cycles. (Some larger hotels have 110-volt low-wattage outlets for electric shavers, but they aren't good for hair dryers and most other appliances.) Electrical outlets require Continental-type plugs with two round prongs.   

CLIMATE / WEATHER: Greece has a Mediterranean climate with plenty of sunshine, mild temperatures and a limited amount of rainfall. Due to the country's geographical position, its rugged relief and its distribution between the mainland and the sea, there is great variation in Greece's climate. In summer, the dry hot days are cooled by seasonal winds called the meltemi, while mountainous regions have generally lower temperatures. The winters are mild in lowland areas, with a minimum amount of snow and ice, yet, mountains are usually snow-covered. Moreover, a common phenomenon is the occurrence of different climactic conditions during the same season (for instance, mild heat in coastal areas and cool temperatures in mountainous regions).   

TIME DIFFERENCE: (GMT+02:00) Athens, Bucharest, Istanbul   

BEST TIME TO VISIT GREECE: Greece generally has a mild, Mediterranean climate, with July and August being the busiest months for tourism. With warm weather and plentiful sunshine, this is a great time for visiting the islands, swimming in the sea and lazing on the beach. Summers are generally hot and dry, with daytime temperatures rising to 30°-38°C (85°-100°F). Days are usually cooled by prevailing north winds, especially on the islands. By mid-September, temperatures begin to fall and crowds thin, but it can still be hot. The weather remains generally calm and balmy well into October. If you can't get to Greece in the spring, and beaches are not your primary goal, this is a fine time to visit. By late October, ferry service and flights are cutting back and most facilities on the islands begin to close for the winter. But the cooler atmosphere makes Athens and the mainland all the more pleasant.   

LANGUAGE: Greek is the national language, but English is widely spoken.   

FOOD / DRINK: LaCity Travel believes that one of the best ways to experience a country is by eating! Whether you're sampling street food, savouring a cheap eat or indulging in a banquet, there are endless options to choose from wherever you are in the world. Visitors to Greece will be spoilt with the very best of fresh produce and ancient cooking traditions.   

HISTORY: The early history of Greece is among the world’s most fascinating, and like the other ancient civilisations of Egypt and Rome, Greece has many monuments still standing after centuries. The Greeks have been both the conquerors and the conquered, withstood the Plague and other natural disasters, and birthed some of the greatest literature, scientific developments, mathematical formulas and thought movements. In 1821, the Greeks fought against Ottoman rule during the Greek War of Independence, which resulted in Greece being recognised as an autonomous region in 1828. This was a time of great upheaval for the Greek people, with political assassinations, battles and plundering. After autonomy was granted, many years of change followed, with continued war and confrontation alongside intermittent periods of relative peace. The two World Wars had a profound effect on Greece, with many battles fought in Greece during the early 1940s (during the Axis occupation). Athens was liberated from this occupation in 1944 and the Greek government was restored. Greece joined the United Nations (as a founding member) in 1945 and NATO in 1952. During this time, many Greeks started moving to other parts of the world in a mass wave of widespread migration. The USA, Australia and Europe were popular destinations in this move, which saw hundreds of thousands of Greeks immigrate to other lands. In 2004, Athens successfully hosted the Summer Olympics once again. Yet more recently, Greece has come under the shadow of the European debt crisis which has crippled the economy. Despite this, the spirit of the Greek people endures as it has for eons.   

SHOPPING: From public markets and designer boutiques to European chain stores, Greece has every aspect of retail cornered. In Greece, shop for pottery, lace, rugs, wines, embroidery, gold jewelry with Greek designs, and silver jewelry with precious stones. In Crete, look for handbags and harps. In Rhodes, ceramic tiles.   

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
New Years Day: 1st of January 
Epiphany: 6th of January. Sea water is consecrated in the area of Piraeus. The priests throw the Cross into the sea and young men dive to catch it. 
Ash Monday: 41 days before Easter. It is the day people begin the Lent. On Ash Monday Greeks fly kites, eat meatless food and celebrate Koulouma. Athenians gather on Philopappou Hill. 
Independence Day & Celebration of Evaggelismos: 25th of March. Military parade. 
Easter: From Holy Friday until Easter Monday. 
Epitaph (Bier of Christ): During the procession of the Epitaph the streets of every city or village in the country are full of people. It is a religious procession where everybody holds lit candles in their hands and sings hymns.
 
Night of the Resurrection: It is celebrated in midnight before Easter Sunday with fireworks and candles. 
Easter Sunday: On Easter Sunday Greeks eat barbecue lamb. The celebrations include singing and dancing all day long. 
Labor Day: 1st of May. Flower feasts all around Athens. 
Pentecost: It is celebrated 50 days after Easter. 
Assumption of the Virgin Mary: 15th of August. 
28th of October: National Celebration. Military parade. 
Christmas: 25th-26th of December.   

HEALTH: There are no specific health risks associated with Greece, but visitors who plan to walk through forested areas are advised to consider vaccination against tick-borne encephalitis. Travellers to Central Macedonia in the summer months should bring mosquito repellent to prevent exposure to West Nile Virus, as there was an outbreak in August of 2010. Medical facilities in Greece vary: those in major cities are excellent but many of the islands are some distance from a decent hospital. For this reason, it is best to take along any prescription medication you may require. Food and water are safe, but those visiting for short periods should consider sticking to bottled water.   

SAFETY / SECURITY: There is a safety risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks and visitors are urged to be vigilant in public places, including tourist sites. Recent austerity strikes have been widespread and can bring the country to a halt - transport networks particularly suffer during strikes. Thus far, strikes in Greece have inconvenienced travellers without turning violent; however, tourists are advised to stay away from political gatherings as there have been clashes between police and protesters. Greece is otherwise considered a safe destination, but the height of the tourist season does usually see an increase in petty theft cases, particularly in crowded areas. Visitors are advised not to carry valuables on them and to make use of hotel safes for valuables. Do not display conspicuous wealth and make sure your valuable possessions are not easily accessible to pick-pockets. Violent crime is infrequent, but there have been incidents on some Greek islands and lone visitors are advised not to accept lifts from strangers.   

EMERGENCY
In case of emergency call: 
Ambulance Service: 166 
SOS Doctors : 1016 
Duty Hospitals and Clinics: 1434 
Pharmacies: 1434 
Open Line for alcohol drug Addiction: 210 3617089 
Poisoning First Aid: 210 7793777 
Police: 100   

TIPPING: Restaurants include a 15% service charge, and additional tipping is always welcome, but not required.   

TRAVEL INSURANCE: All passengers must have comprehensive travel insurance. You can complete this with LaCity Travel if you wish. Check your Travel Insurance Policy for an Emergency number and details of services to be provided, Carry these details with you.   

Australian Embassy in Greece 
Level 6, Thon Building, 
Cnr Kifisias & Alexandras Ave, 
Ambelokipi, Athens 
Telephone: 210 870 4000 
Fax: 210 870 4111
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