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Arrival Athens Airport, meet & assist and transfer to the hotel. Day free and overnight in Athens.
Breakfast at the hotel. Pick up in the morning for the Full day Athens private city tour, This tour gives you an opportunity to visit the city of Athens, the birthplace of Western Culture. We begin our city tour with perhaps the most perfect piece of architecture known which is the world-renowned acropolis, including visits to the Parthenon and Erechtheion.
We will proceed to nearby Mars Hill (Areopagus) (Acts 17:22) where Apostle Paul delivered his well known sermon. The tour continues with the highlights of modern Athens including the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Parliament House, Presidential Palace, Panathenian Stadium (first modern Olympic games 1896), Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Academy, the University and the National Library. We will visit the area of Monastiraki, Plaka, ancient agora, the roman agora and one of the many museums. We will spend a little time shopping in the many stores along the way. You will enjoy the remarkable panoramic view of Athens and Piraeus port from the Lycabettus Hill which is the highest point in Athens. Our tour will end with a visit Monastery of Kaisariani, founded in the 11th century A.D. and consecrated to the Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple which is just minutes outside the city.
The rest of the afternoon is at leisure. Overnight in Athens.
Breakfast at the hotel. Pick up in the morning and departure for Corinth, the largest city in the province of Peloponnesus. In Corinth St. Paul spent 18 months, preaching to the Jews and Gentiles. The site is overlooked by an Acropolis housing the remains of the Temple of Aphrodite, goddess of love. In Corinth, St. Paul worked with Aquila and Priscilla and his trial by Gallio took place in the agora. The community he founded here caused him much grief and prompted him to write at least four letters. St. Paul`s trial by Gallio took place in the agora (Acts 18:12-17). It is from Corinth, also, that St. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians. We celebrate our liturgy today in Corinth with a reflection on Paul the Missionary. We will visit the ruins of Cenchaeae, the harbour from which St. Paul sailed to Ephesus (Acts 18:18). We will then drive on to Mycenae, home of the cyclopean walls. The walls called cyclopean because they were thought to have been built by the like-named giants; the famous Lion Gate; and the beehive tombs excavated (1876-1878) by the German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, which are known locally as the Treasury of Atreus and the Tomb of Clytemnestra. Visit the tomb of Agamemnon (King of Mycenae and king of the kings who leaded the Greeks against Troy). We will proceed to Nafplion (the first capital of Greece after the liberation of the Turks starting the revolution against them in 1821).
We will continue driving to Epidaurus home of the one of the world`s best-preserved amphitheatres, with remarkable acoustics still in use today. We end our tour with our return to Athens. Overnight in Athens.
We will drive to Delphi after breakfast. Delphi was one of the two most important cultic centers in ancient Greece. People journeyed to Delphi from all over the ancient world to participate in religious ceremonies and to consult its oracle before making important decisions. Delphi has a rich mythology, religion, history and literature of ancient Greece, but, the beauty of the place itself demands that we pause and contemplate. We continue our private tour visiting the site and museum. Lunch will take place in Delphi or Arachova, a picturesque mountain village. After lunch we will drive to Meteora. Dinner .Overnight in Meteora.
Breakfast at the Hotel. Our tour continues with exploring Meteora, an area of strange rock formations rising from the plain. You will find your way through a forest of gigantic needle-like pillars, some as high as 1,820 feet above sea level. Back in the 14th century these inaccessible pinnacles offered a safe refuge to pious hermits and were later used as sites for hermits. We will visit Meteora Monasteries famous for their Byzantine museums perched precariously on huge finger-like rocks, exhibiting superb icons, old manuscripts and unique mosaics and frescoes. After Lunch we will drive to Thessaloniki.
Dinner & Overnight in Thessaloniki
The monasteries of Meteora are:
The Monastery of Great Meteoron. It is the biggest of the Meteorite monasteries.
The Monastery of Varlaam is the second, after the Great Meteoron, big in size monastery.
The Monastery of Rousanou. It is dedicated to ‘The Transfiguration’ but honored to Saint Barbara.
The Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapausas. It is the first to meet on our way from Kastraki to Meteora.
The Monastery of St. Stephen. It is one of the most attainable as we don’t have to cope with innumerable stairs to reach it.
The Monastery of Holy Trinity is very difficult to reach. The visitor has to cross the valley and continue high up through the rock before we arrive outside the entrance.
Breakfast at the hotel. Pick up in the morning for the city tour of Thessaloniki built about 315 BC by Cassander, brother-in-law of Alexander the Great, where St. Paul wrote two letters to the ancient Thessalonians. St. Paul established the first church here (Acts 17:1-10). Ruins of an early Christian church are near the Palace of Galerius. We examine in St. Paul’s letters to this community his unbounded determination to continue the Church. We will also visit the church and crypt of St. Dimiti and the church of St. Sophia. We will drive to the upper part of the Old City Walls where you will have excellent views of the city and the opportunity to take pictures. Continue this private tour on foot to visit the Vlatadon Monastery. Your private tour will end with a drive of the city viewing the White Tower, the Triumphal Arch of Galerius standing on the Egnatian Way. Afternoon at leisure. Overnight in Thessaloniki
Breakfast at the hotel. This morning we will drive south toward Berea. Following the footsteps of St. Paul, in his second missionary journey, the Apostle Paul successfully preached to the Jewish community in Borea (modern Veria) after fleeing Thessalonica. In Veria, you will view reconstructed steps of the bema (or rostrum) to commemorate the place where Paul was believed to have preached. Continue the tour to Vergina (ancient Aigai), the first capital of Macedonia, visit the most important tomb of Philip II of Macedonia, the father of Alexander the Great. We will arrive late in the afternoon in Thessaloniki. Overnight in Thessaloniki.
Breakfast at the hotel. We will depart in the morning for a full day excursion to Philippi named after King Philip II of Macedonia, where St. Paul delivered his first sermon in Europe and sowed the seeds of Christianity. Paul and Silas came to Philippi on the second missionary journey and St. Paul returned on his third (Acts 20:2-6). It was here that Paul baptized a certain woman named Lydia, the first Christian convert in Europe. The Roman Forum here, completely excavated, was built after Paul`s time. You will walk among the ruins, located on the rocky ledge above the town`s main road and view the Prison where St. Paul and Silas were thrown after exorcising a spirit from a slave girl. In the rocks, you will find inscriptions and carved reliefs of deities. It was in Philippi that Octavian and Antony defeated Brutus and Cassius, last defenders of the Roman Republic in 42 BC. Some ten miles southeast of Philippi is the modern port city of Kavala, ancient Neapolis, where St. Paul, accompanied by Silas, Luke, and Timothy, first set foot in Europe. To reach Kavala we will go Via Egnatia, a remnant of Rome’s highway system, viewing Roman and Greek tombstones and ruts of ancient chariot wheels. Upon arrival in Kavala, located like an amphitheatre by the sea, we will have the rest of the afternoon to explore this historical city. You may want to visit the Old City of Kavala including the Islamic Imaret, the lighthouse (which provides an amazing, full view of Kavala), the castle with its tower, and the famous Kamares, which is the Roman aqueduct that was reconstructed by the sultan Suleiman the Magnificent around 1550. You may also wish to visit the Modern City of Kavala, including the Heroe’s Monument next to the Public Garden, the Town hall, the Municipal Library, the building of the Byzantine Antiquities Authority and the Municipal Museum. The ruins of ancient Neapolis were built upon and the site became known as Christopholis because St. Paul travelled there in 50 A.D. Dinner and Overnight in Kavala.
Breakfast at the hotel. In the early morning, we’ll drive us back to Athens passing through the towns of Thessaloniki, Katerini, Tembi mountains, Larisa, Lamia, Thermopylae (visit the monument of Leonidas and the 300 Spartans) and we will end this tour following the footsteps of St. Paul in Athens late in the afternoon. Overnight in Athens.
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to Athens Airport for departure flight.