“Athens, a Lifetime Destination”

Athens, the eye of Greece, mother of arts and eloquence, native to famous wits.
– John Milton, “Paradise Regained”

Day 1: Arrival – Welcome to Athens!

Flight to Athens, arrival to Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos” and transfer to our booked hotel at the city center. After our information meeting with our tour guide, we will have the free time to explore the city center. 5 overnight stays in Athens.

Day 2: Athens & Cape Sounion

In the morning we start our detailed city tour through Athens. Our bus tour in the city of Athens starts from the Temple of Zeus, the Greek Parliament (once residence of Otto I, the first King of Greece), the Syntagma Square (where the Greek citizens rebelled and demanded a constitution – “Syntagma” in Greek – in 1844) and the Panathenaic Stadion (where in 1896 the first modern Olympic Games took place). First stop of the day: the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, 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 jewelry, the Greek sepulchral art, the archaic sculptures, the big bronze sculptures as well as the geometrical vases are of unique beauty.
After enjoying our lunch at a traditional tavern in Plaka, the old part of Athens, we drive along the coastal road to Cape Sounion, at the tip of Attica peninsula: there, on a rocky hilltop 60 m over the sea, stands the famous and mighty Doric 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. Nowadays, the site is the perfect destination for a warm and lazy afternoon, as it offers an absolutely breathtaking, panoramic view of the Aegean Sea.

Day 3: To the landmark of Athens – Acropolis

Today we will take a tour on foot and by metro (the Athenian subway), so get ready to feel the touch of the Greek sun! As we walk down to the platforms of the metro stations, we discover some small underground museums; during the construction of the metro lines and stations plenty of archaeological findings came before the constructors and thus they were preserved in glass display cases. In this way, we feel the connection between the ancient times and the next generations bearing a great name and history. We begin our tour with a walk through the narrow streets of Plaka and after a while we reach the pathway leading to the Acropolis. On the more than 2,500 years old Greek monument we can admire the remnants of a glorious era: the marble Parthenon, the magnificent Propylaea, the delicate Erechtheion with the Caryatid Porch… Walking down the hill of Acropolis we see before our eyes a second smaller hill opposite the Acropolis: this is the Areopagus Hill.
The place is famous for two reasons; the trial of Ares (the ancient Greek god of war) for the murder of Poseidon's son Alirrothios and the speech Apostle Paul gave to the Athenians about the existence of the one and true God. Last stop of our walking tour will be the ancient Agora, the center of political, commercial, administrative and social activity, the religious and cultural center as well as the seat of justice. The site was occupied without interruption in all periods of the city's history. It was used as a residential and burial area as early as the Late Neolithic period (3000 BC). Early in the 6th century, in the time of Solon, the Agora became a public area. On our way back to our hotel, we walk through the narrow streets of Monastiraki and the city center, come into contact with the merchants and taste their small treats.

Day 4: To the Island of Aegina

 Transfer to the port of Piraeus and ferry to the island of Aegina (ca. 1 hour). 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.By bus we drive to the northeast side of the island, where the Temple of Aphaia stands on a densely forested hill. The very well-preserved building (510 BC) 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). Further drive to the monastery of St. Nektarios (patron saint of Aegina), one of the most famous monasteries in Greece. During the time left we will have a delicious lunch at a traditional tavern of the island and then discover the city of Aegina. In the late afternoon, we will gather again and take the ferry back to Piraeus.

Day 5: Lycabettus Hill & Benaki Museum

In the morning we will have free time at our own disposal, so as to explore the city the way we want. In the afternoon we will drive to Lycabettus Hill which offers an outstanding panoramic view of Athens. Afterwards, we will visit the Benaki Museum, one of the most important Greek museums. 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 we will learn about craftsmanship, sculptures, paintings and a lot more. The treasures of Greek culture with a history of about 5,000 years are really exciting! Among them we can find exhibits from the Stone and Bronze Age, as well as collector’s items from the Cycladic, Mycenaean, Geometric, Classical, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine Period up to modern times. But this is not the end of the tour! Instead of going downstairs, we walk upstairs to the roof deck of the museum. There we will enjoy another kind of Greek art… The last dinner before our flight back home will be combined with a magnificent night view over the city. The perfect ending for a perfect trip.

Day 6: “Geia sas” – Flight Back Home

After enjoying our breakfast, transfer to Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos”. 

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