Athens - Mykonos - Santorini - Crete
Ultimate Greece 10 Days igp 014
Athens - Mykonos - Santorini - Crete Ultimate Greece 10 Days igp 014
Athens - Capital of
Athens - Capital of Greece
Mykonos - Cosmopolitan and party islan d
Santorini - living on an active Volcano and the most romantic destination
Crete - History of the Minoan Culture
ARRIVAL IN “EL.VENIZELOS” ATHENS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT – PICK UP FROM THE AIRPORT AND TRANSFER TO HOTEL FOR CHECK IN – REST OF THE DAY FREE AT LEISURE – OVERNIGHT IN ATHENS
BREAKFAST AT THE HOTEL – PICKUP FROM THE HOTEL FOR CITY TOUR OF ATHENS WITH ACROPOLIS & NEW ACROPOLIS MUSEUM (NON PRIVATE SIT IN COACH TOUR) DROP OFF AT THE HOTEL – FREE TIME AT LEISURE – OVERNIGHT IN ATHENS (B)
BREAKFAST AT THE HOTEL –TRANSFER TO PORT FOR THE BOAT TO MYKONOS ISLAND – ARRIVAL AT MYKONOS ISLAND AND TRANSFER TO HOTEL FOR CHECK IN – FREE AT LEISURE – OVERNIGHT AT MYKONOS (B)
BREAKFAST AT THE HOTEL – FREE TIME AT LEISURE (OPTIONAL TOURS AT MYKONOS OR DELOS ISLAND TOUR) – OVERNIGHT AT MYKONOS (B)
BREAKFAST AT THE HOTEL – TRANSFER TO PORT FOR THE BOAT TO SANTORINI ISLAND – ARRIVAL AT SANTORINI ISLAND AND TRANSFER TO HOTEL FOR CHECK IN – FREE AT LEISURE – OVERNIGHT AT SANTORINI (B)
BREAKFAST AT THE HOTEL – FREE TIME AT LEISURE (OPTIONAL EXCURSIONS TO VOLCANO OR BUS ISLAND TOUR) – OVERNIGHT AT SANTORINI (B)
BREAKFAST AT THE HOTEL – TRANSFER TO PORT FOR THE BOAT TO HERAKLIO (CRETE ISLAND) – ARRIVAL AT HERAKLIO AND TRANSFER TO HOTEL FOR CHECK IN – FREE AT LEISURE – OVERNIGHT AT HERAKLIO (B)
BREAKFAST AT THE HOTEL – FREE TIME AT LEISURE (OPTIONAL EXCURSIONS HERAKLIO AND KNOSSOS ANCIENT SITE) – OVERNIGHT AT HERAKLIO (B)
BREAKFAST AT THE HOTEL – FREE TIME AT LEISURE – TRANSFER TO AIRPORT FOR THE FLIGHT BACK TO ATHENS – TRANSFER TO HOTEL FOR CHECK IN – OVERNIGHT IN ATHENS (B)
BREAKFAST AT THE HOTEL – FREE TIME AT LEISURE – PICKUP FROM HOTEL AND PRIVATE TRANSFER TO THE “EL.VENIZELOS” ATHENS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT FOR THE DEPARTURE FLIGHT (B)
ATHENS CITY TOUR WITH ACROPOLIS & NEW ACROPOLIS MUSEUM (ATHENS)
Daily except Mondays 08:45 – 13:30 (ALL YEAR)
During the tour you will be able to see the Panathenaic Stadium where the first Olympic Games of modern times were held in 1896 (short stop). Pass by the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Hadrian’s Arch, the Parliament at Syntagma (Constitution) Square and the memorial to the Unknown Soldier,
the Neoclassical Trilogy” of the city of Athens, the Acropolis hill & New Acropolis Museum.
The Panathenaic Stadium also known as the Kallimarmaro (meaning the “beautifully marbled”), is a multi-purpose stadium used for several events and athletics in Athens that hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. Reconstructed from the remains of an ancient Greek stadium, the Panathenaic is the only major stadium in the world built entirely of white marble (from Mount Penteli) and is one of the oldest in the world.
The Temple of Olympian Zeus also known as the Olympieion or Columns of the Olympian Zeus, is a colossal ruined temple in the centre of the Greek capital Athens that was dedicated to Zeus, king of the Olympian gods. The Arch of Hadrian is a monumental gateway resembling – in some respects – a Roman triumphal arch. It spanned an ancient road from the centre of Athens, Greece, to the complex of structures on the eastern side of the city that included the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
The Academy of Athens is the first of the so-called “Neoclassical Trilogy” of the city of Athens. It consists of aesthetically distinct parts that form a harmonic ensemble. A corridor connects the two lateral wings to the main body of the building, which is set-off by its Ionian-style entrance and its big pediment. The entrance has elements originating from the eastern side of the Erechtheion on the Acropolis. The predominant material on the facets is marble.
The National Library also forms part of the so-called “Neoclassical Trilogy” of the city of Athens. It consists of three solid parts, out of which the one in the middle, which is also the biggest, houses the reading room. To enter this part, one has to pass through a Doric-style row of columns (designed after the Temple of Hephaestus in the Ancient Agora of Thission, which served as its model), after climbing a monumental curved double Renascence style staircase.
The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens is the last part of the Neoclassical Trilogy. It was a design of the Danish architect Christian Hansen. The University of Athens in 1932 was officially named National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, in honour of Ioannis Kapodistrias, the first governor of Greece, after the nation’s independence. Today, this building houses the Rectorate, the Senate, the Great Hall of Ceremonies and important central services. Its forecourt, the Propylaea, is socio-historically significant as it has served as a main site for political rallies and demonstrations by students and other social groups involved in social rights movements.
On the hill of Acropolis we will visit the Architectural Masterpieces of the Golden Age of Athens: The Propylaea, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion and finally the Parthenon, a temple which is dedicated to the maiden goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their patron. Its construction began in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the height of its power. It was completed in 438 BC, although decoration of the building continued until 432 BC. It is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece, generally considered the culmination of the development of the Doric order. Its decorative sculptures are considered some of the high points of Greek art. The Parthenon is regarded as an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece, Athenian democracy, western civilization and one of the world’s greatest cultural monuments.
The Acropolis Museum is an archaeological site-specific museum, housing more than 3.000 famous artefacts from the Athenian Acropolis, the most significant sanctuary of the ancient city. Architect Bernard Tschumi’s new Acropolis Museum replaced the old Museum on the Rock of the Acropolis. The new museum has a total area of 25,000 square meters, with exhibition space of over 14,000 square meters, approximately ten times the size of the old Museum. A tailor made museum building with extensive use of glass ensures breathtaking views of the Acropolis, the surrounding historic hills and the modern city of Athens and immediate views of the archaeological excavation that lies below the Museum, visible through large expanses of glass floor. With the benefit of the changing natural light, visitors can discern and discover the delicate surface variations of the sculptures and select the vantage point from which to observe the exhibits.
· Due to certain restrictions in the visiting hours of the new Acropolis museum the order of the program can be changed.
· Clients staying at the coast will be transferred back to their hotels with the Cape Sounio Tour bus
· The New Acropolis Museum is closed on Mondays
The island of Mykonos is one of the most popular Greek islands and it belongs to the Cyclades islands group. Mykonos island, the Ibiza of Greece as it is called, is particularly famous for the picturesque town and the fantastic beaches. The main town is a characteristic sample of Cycladic architecture, with whitewashed sugar houses, lovely churches and cobbled streets. Little Venice is the most picturesque quarter of Chora, the capital of Mykonos island. With colourful houses that are constructed right by the sea, Little Venice is a popular spot with vivid nightlife and lovely cafeterias. The hill with the traditional windmills above Chora provides the best view of the village and the picturesque port. These windmills have been restored and have become the trademark of the island over the years. The chapel of Panagia Paraportiani is the most photographed church of the island. Located in Chora, this white, assymetrical church dates from the 15th century.
The most fabulous beaches are located on the southern side of Mykonos island. Super Paradise, Paradise, Platis Gialos and Lia amaze visitors with the soft sand and the crystal water. Beach bars are open all day and attract many visitors for swimming, kite surfing and other activities
Ano Mera is the second bigger village after Mykonos Town and is one of the oldest villages of Mykonos. It offers a few luxurious hotels and some rooms and studios for rent. It is a quiet village where locals are continuing their every day life without being interrupted by a crowd of tourists, as is happening all the time in the capital. Near Ano Mera is the interesting monastery of Panagia Tourliani which main church houses a superb collection of icons made by a Cretan painter and holy vessels and vestments. The wonderful bell-tower and marble fountain are in the courtyard of the monastery and are worth-seeing.
A must is a trip by boat to Delos Island. Delos is a tiny island that can be reached by boat from the port of Mykonos Town. Delos was a sacred island for the ancient Greeks as, according the mythology, god Apollo had been born there. Remains of an ancient sanctuary and a theatre have been found on the island, which is a great open site today.
Crescent-shaped Santorini (or Thíra), the precious gem of the Aegean, is actually a group of islands consisting of Thíra, Thirassiá, Asproníssi, Palea and Nea Kaméni in the southernmost part of Cyclades.
Did you know that the whole complex of Santorini islands is still an active volcano (the same as Méthana, Mílos and Nísiros) and probably the only volcano in the world whose crater is in the sea? The islands that form Santorini came into existence as a result of intensive volcanic activity; twelve huge eruptions occurred, one every 20,000 years approximately, and each violent eruption caused the collapse of the volcano’s central part creating a large crater (caldera). The volcano, however, managed to recreate itself over and over again.
The last big eruption occurred 3,600 years ago (during the Minoan Age), when igneous material (mainly ash, pumice and lava stones) covered the three islands (Thíra, Thirassiá and Asproníssi). The eruption destroyed the thriving local prehistoric civilization, evidence of which was found during the excavations of a settlement at Akrotíri. The solid material and gases emerging from the volcano’s interior created a huge “vacuum” underneath, causing the collapse of the central part and the creation of an enormous “pot” –today’s Caldera– with a size of 8x4 km and a depth of up to 400m below sea level.
The eruption of the submarine volcano Kolúmbo, located 6.5 km. NE of Santorini, on 27th September 1650, was actually the largest recorded in Eastern Mediterranean during the past millennium! The most recent volcanic activity on the island occurred in 1950. The whole island is actually a huge natural geological/volcanological museum where you can observe a wide range of geological structures and forms!
Santorini is considered to be the most sought after place for a romantic getaway in Greece, since there are not many places in the world where you can enjoy exquisitely clear waters while perched on the rim of a massive active volcano in the middle of the sea! The island has a growing reputation as a “wedding destination” for couples not only from Greece but from all over the world. A trip to Santorini with the other half is a dream for anyone who has seen at least one photo of the island’s famous Caldera and exchanging kisses beneath Santorini’s famous sunset is the ultimate romantic experience!
Firá is the picturesque capital of the island; perched high up on the edge of the Caldera, it looks like a marvellous painting. Firá, together with Oia, Imerovígli and Firostefáni located high above on a cliff, make up the so-called “Caldera’s eyebrow”, the balcony of Santorini, which offers an amazing view of the volcano. Other famous smaller villages are Akrotíri and Méssa Vounó, with their famous archaeological sites, Pýrgos, Karterádes, Emporió, Ammoúdi, Finikiá, Períssa, Perívolos, Megalohóri, Kamári, Messariá and Monólithos: some of the villages are cosmopolitan some more peaceful; they are surrounded by vast vineyards; whitewashed cliff-top towns with castles affording amazing views out over the Aegean. Soaking up the villages’ distinctive traditional atmosphere is a very rewarding experience.
A visit to Santorini is the ultimate gastronomic experience, as the island is a true culinary paradise! Treat your taste buds to some famous traditional products like cherry tomatoes, white egg plants, fava, caper and “hloró tyrí”, a special kind of fresh goat cheese found on the island, or why not try some of the exceptional wines produced from grapes grown in the volcanic soil of the island! Assyrtiko, Athyri, Aidani, Mantilaria and Mavrotragano are just some of the distinctive varieties that you can taste at the island’s famous wineries (some of them operate as a museum as well) or at restaurants.
Venture into Santorini’s seaside treasures and enjoy deep blue waters and beaches with white, red or black sand or volcanic pebbles, spectacular rock formations and impressive lunar landscapes.
Santorini, the youngest volcanic land in the Eastern Mediterranean, is waiting for you! You can reach it by plane or by ship from Piraeus. Don’t think twice! Experience for yourself the once-in-a-lifetime romance and charm of this pearl of the Aegean.
HERAKLIO – KNOSSOS
Heraklion is the largest city of Crete and one of Greece’s major urban centers. Its development begun in the wake of the 9th century AD (in antiquity, Knossos was the island’s most important centre, followed by Gortyn). In later times, Heraklion came under Arabic, Venetian and Ottoman rule; its conquerors initially gave it the name Khandaq or Handak which was corrupted to Candia. During the 2004 Olympic Games, the city of Heraklion provided one of the venues for the football tournament.
In the heart of the city there are many monuments dating to the Middle Ages, a period in which Heraklion witnessed great prosperity. From the port, ascending 25 Avgoustou (August) street, one reaches a square where the church of Agios Titos is found (built in 1872 at the site where a Byzantine church once stood), while next to it lies the Venetian Loggia (16th century), a magnificent, ornate arcaded Venetian building decorated with blazons, trophies, etc., which served as a meeting place for the Duke and other noblemen during the Venetian period.
A typical feature of Heraklion is its Venetian and Turkish fountains, scattered all around the city. The most famous one is the Venetian-style Μorozinifountain, also known as the Lions (1628), a landmark for local inhabitants and visitors alike. Other noteworthy Venetian fountains are the Bembo fountain (1552-1554) on Kornaros Square, the Sagredo fountain (1602-1604) built in the northwestern corner of the Loggia, and Priuli fountain (1666) located near the port.
The most interesting Turkish fountains are the Charity fountain (1776), next to the Bembo fountain, which today functions as a café, the “Idomeneas fountain” (behind the Historical Museum of Crete), the “Genitsar Aga Fountain” (on Ikarou street), etc.
Among the churches of Heraklion the one that stands out is the imposing and sizeable Metropolis of Agios Minas (on Agia Ekaterini Square), built between 1862-1895. Adjacent to it, stands the chapel of Mikros Agios Minas and on the northeast is situated the church of Agia Ekaterini (16th century), which functionsas a museum housing exhibits from the Cretan Renaissance. The church of Agios Markos (13th century) towers over Venizelou Square, while other important churches in the city are the Monastery of Agios Petros and Pavlos, the Panagia Akrotiriani, the Panagia ton Stavroforon, etc.
One should not miss out on a visit to the Archaeological Museum, one of the most important museums in Greece; it contains almost all the unique treasures of the Minoan civilization unearthed at Knossos, Phaistos, Malia and other sites. Other museums that are worth visiting are the Historical Museum, the Museum of Natural History and the Acquarium “Cretaquarium” (in the area of Gournes).
In the market of Heraklion, one of the richest in the Mediterranean, visitors can find all sorts of modern products, as well as traditional Cretan products such the famous Cretan olive oil, raki, local wine, honey, herbs, etc. Moreover, a modern golf course both for beginners and advanced players operates not far away from the city of Heraklion (in the area of Hersonisos).
Knossos was the most prominent centre of the Minoan Civilisation, one of the magnificent civilisations of human kind. The renowned ancient city with the palace is the largest and most typical archaeological site ever discovered on Crete. It is located at a distance of 6 km SE of Heraklion amidst olive groves, vineyards and cypress forests. According to tradition, it was the seat of the legendary king Minoa. Apart from being the royal family's residence, it was also the administrative and religious centre for the whole region. The Palace is also connected with thrilling legends, such as the myth of the Labyrinth with the Minotaur, and the story ofDaedalus and Icarus.
The first person, who conducted a systematic excavation at Knossos in 1878, was the lover of antiquity Minos Kalokerinos. However, luck was on the Sir Arthur Evans' side, the Englishman who first came to Knossos in 1894 and discovered the palace. The excavation works commenced shortly after Crete's independence in 1900 and continued with several interruptions for 35 years, by Evans personally and his associates.
The Palace of Knossos
The brilliant Minoan palace of Knossos (was constructed in two phases: first in 1900 B.C. and then in 1700-1450 B.C.) occupies an area 22,000 sq. m. You enter the central court via the south entrance. You then come across three wings. The throne room is situated in the west wing.
The eastern wing contains the royal chambers, the double axes room, the queen's megaron with the dolphin frescos, the workshop areas – where the stone carver's workshop holds an eminent place – and the storage rooms. At the north entrance is the custom's house with columns and pillars. To the North Westoutside the palace are the lustral basin, the theatre and the royal road that leads to the small palace. To thenortheast of the main palace you can visit the royal villa and 1 km further to the S is the royal tomb.