“Special Study Tour Athens”

Day 1: Arrival in Athens – Plaka: Window Shopping through Time

Arrival in Athens. Pick-up and transfer to the booked hotel. Hotel stay for 7 nights.
The romantic winding old city of Athens with its narrow streets, the numerous stairs, as well as the free-standing houses and churches has managed to retain until today its seemingly rural character. Plaka is a part of the city always preferred for visits with or without a guide; a place to live in and love. According to an old Greek saying “Time is the soul of the world”. The placid walk through the streets of Plaka is like a walk through time, because here basic parts of the Athenian history meet each other in every step of your way: ancient ruins, Roman columns, Byzantine churches, Turkish mosques… But the modern buildings have also this Greek charm matching with the lively rhythms of this city district. In cafés and taverns, where Greek music sounds in the evening hours, the locals meet each other for chitchat or business talks. With spices, drinks and music around them, the visitors can take a break from everyday life and enjoy the magic of Greek mythos to the fullest. However, maybe the temptation for you could be the rich variety of souvenir and gift shops. Visit Plaka according to your mood: you can either explore the old city by yourself, or just follow the guide through the paths of Greek history.

Day 2: Athens for Sightseeing Fans

 Experience the glory of important monuments from the bus perspective: the Panathenaic Stadium, where the first modern Olympic Games took place in 1896; the Presidential Mansion which was the Royal Palace until 1974; the Parliament House, palace of the first king of Greece, Otto von Wittelsbach; the numerous neoclassical buildings from the 19th century surrounded by the main streets of Athens… In the centre you can find the squares, where you can be part of the social life and nightlife of Athens. Take a deep breath of democratic history as you reach the Acropolis. The first part of the tour ends underneath the Acropolis, the landmark of Athens. On the more than 2,500 years old Greek monument you can admire the remnants of a glorious era: the marble Parthenon, the magnificent Propylaea, the delicate Erechtheion with the Caryatid Porch… The strong feelings in the fresh air of the altitude become stronger at the foot of Acropolis, as another absolute museum highlight is waiting for you after lunch: the New Acropolis Museum, which is included among the 10 most beautiful museums in the world and opened in 2009 under the oversight of the Swiss architect Bernard Tschume. In the museum you can find 300 statues and metopes, as well as 4,000 other smaller objects from the archaic period, the classical antiquity and the late antiquity, displayed till now in the Old Acropolis Museum on the hill of Acropolis or – because of lack of space – in magazine photos. The new museum is really a must for every museum fan!

Day 3: Boat Tour to Aegina, the Pearl of Classical Times

Brief mythology trivia: Zeus, the father of the gods and a widely known philanderer, once abducted Aegina, the graceful daughter of the river god Acheloos. Sisyphus, King of Corinth, gave Zeus away to Aegina’s mournful father and as a result he was punished by Zeus for his betrayal.  From myth to reality: The historic island Aegina with its precious relicts from glorious times is located in the center of the Saronic Gulf. After its release from the Turks at the beginning of the 19th century, Aegina town hosted the first independent Greek government. Nowadays, the island is not only known beyond the Greek borders for its fishermen and as a summer vacation place for the Athenians, but also for its high-quality pistachios which have fans worldwide… Almost the same popularity enjoy the Aeginian olives, wine and almonds. From Piraeus, a ferry boat takes you to the island in about one and a half hours. By bus you go to the northeast side of the island, where the temple of Aphaia stands on a densely forested hill. The very well-preserved building (510 B.C.) made of local chalkstone is thought to be the most perfect of the late Archaic times. The “Aeginites”, the marble gable figures of the temple found here in 1811, are one of the main attractions of the Glyptothek in Munich (they were taken by the royal family of Wittelsbachers to Bavaria). After lunch you can refresh yourselves and relax at the sea, before the ferry boat departs from Agia Marina to Piraeus. Otherwise, you can visit the monastery of St. Nektarios, one of the most famous monasteries in Greece.

Day 4: A journey through time – Benaki Museum & National Museum

Antonios Benakis was born in 1873 and was the son of the immeasurably wealthy Egyptian Salesman Emmanuel Benakis. He started to collect Islamic Art while still living in his hometown Alexandria.In 1926 Benakis moved to Athens, where he founded the Benaki Museum in 1930. One year later he willed the magnificent building with its collection to the State of Greece. His precious heritage was completed during the following years by means of private donations. During an entertaining, about 1.5-hour-guided tour through the museum you will learn about craftsmanship, sculptures, paintings and a lot more. The treasures of Greek culture with a history of about five thousand years will definitely excite you! Among them you can find exhibits from the Stone and the Bronze Age, as well as collector’s items from the Cycladic, Mycenae, Geometric, Classical, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine Period up to modern times.
After visiting the museum, you make a short stop to watch the traditional change of guards in front of the Parliament building. The Metro Station Syntagma is waiting for you, as it offers a real Museum’s atmosphere in modern ambience (built in 2004) – a historical scenario with wall paintings, exhibits and archeological relicts. Your museum tour ends with a visit at the National Archaeological Museum, one of the most famous museums worldwide. The museum has one of the richest ancient collections in the world. Especially its collections of the Mycenaean jewellery, the Greek sepulchral art, the archaic sculptures and the big bronze sculptures, as well as the geometrical vases are of unique beauty.

Day 5: Corinth and Mycenae

At the crack of dawn, drive to the port of Corinth and take the boat across the Corinth Canal: until 1893, seamen had to travel around the rugged shores of Peloponnese to land e.g. in Sicily. The spectacular cutting through of the Isthmus between the Saronic and the Corinthian Gulf clearly reduced the sea routes from Athens to the Mediterranean Sea. The builders blew up the rock at a length of 6.34 km, dug 60 m deep in the earth and created a shipping channel 24.5 m wide and 8 m deep. It is really something you have to see once from the boat perspective!
The visit of Old Corinth and the Acropolis of Mycenae are just the cherry on top…
Ancient Corinth was once one of the most important harbour and commercial cities of the ancient world and target location of Apostle Paul (Acts 18, 1-18): visit of the Doric Temple of Apollo, the Agora and the Lechaeum Road with the Fountain of Peirene.
At Mycenae you will visit Europe’s oldest fortress and the stage for Iliad, one of Homer’s bloody dramas. It all started in Aulis, where King Agamemnon sacrificed his own daughter Iphigenia, so that the Greeks could sail to Troy. After Agamemnon’s return from the Trojan War, Clytemnestra gave order to murder her husband. Her children Elektra and Orestes in turn assassinated their mother, to revenge the murder of their father. Among the Lions’ Gate, the Palace and the “Treasure House of Atreus” you will feel the myth and maybe… a light shiver running down your spine?
Nafplion, the first capital of modern Greece, is the last highlight of today’s tour. With its narrow streets, the beautiful view and the Venetian atmosphere, Nafplion is one of the most beautiful cities in Greece.

Day 6: Byzantium and Orthodoxy in Athens

From the demise of the Roman Empire in 476 A.D. till the conquest of Constantinople (later Istanbul) by the Ottomans in 1453, the Byzantine Empire had the control of the Mediterranean region for almost 1,000 years. The numerous churches, monasteries and palaces are the stony witnesses of a whole era. The Orthodox Church had great influence on the politics and culture of the Byzantine times and managed to leave an important legacy to posterity. In a wider sense, Byzantine art is sacred art. By visiting the Byzantine and Christian Museum, you get the feeling of the art era which is known as the Greek medieval times. Around 15,000 exhibits are waiting for you: precious icons, sculptures and similitudes, liturgical objects, mosaics, wall paintings, the mysterious Mytilene Treasure etc. 
The “Byzantine painting” of Athens will be completed with the idyllic landscape around Kaisariani Monastery, which is a popular excursion destination for the Athenians. You will understand the reason why, when you let your eye travel during the picnic before your visit at the monastery. The Kaisariani monastery is an abandoned monastery built approximately 1,000 years ago to honour Holy Mary, Mother of God and lies embedded between groups of old trees, at the slopes of Hymettos Mountain: a peaceful retreat only 20 minutes outside the city gates.

Day 7: Poseidon’s “Panorama Temple” & the Marathon

Drive to the southern point of Attica: there, 60 m over the sea, stands the famous and mighty Temple of Poseidon. The holy structure dedicated to the god of the sea is used as a milestone for the seamen for about 2,500 years. Ancient Athenians used the Temple of Poseidon as a control point for the incoming ships.
From Athens, we drive along the coastal street. The bus stops at a shining-green body of water in Vouliagmeni. Since the ancient times, this place was famous for its thermal spring with 25°C warm water. It supplies the lake through high rocks and thick clumps of trees and provides this body of water with pleasant temperatures even in winter. As we arrive at the rock of Cape Sounion, the pure Greek temple romance and the magnificent, famous panorama view over the dark blue sea is waiting for us… magic moments! From the once 34 Doric columns of the marble sanctuary, only half of them have resisted the ravages of time.
Marginal note: Experts believe that the column structure at Cape Sounion was dedicated to god Apollo, although an inscription dedicates the temple undoubtedly to Poseidon.
You will continue your tour to Marathonas, one of the most historic Greek sites and famous for its great battle where Athenians defeated the Persian army in 490 BC. The name of the athletic long-distance endurance race, the "marathon", comes from the legend of a Greek runner, who was sent from the town of Marathon to Athens to announce that the Persians had been miraculously defeated.

Day 8: Departure

Transfer to the Athens International Airport or transfer for extended stay.

0030 210 8981836
0030 210 8981837
0030 210 8981838

AgoraTravel S.A.
Vas. Georgiou Str. 71,
GR-16675 Glyfada-Athens
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