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Trace 5,000 years of Greek history while exploring the country's incomparable archaeological treasures. From the legendary Acropolis in Athens to the cliff-top monasteries of Meteora and the Mycenaean treasures of the Peloponnese, delve into the mythology and masterpieces of ancient Greece with local scholars and archaeologists.
This expedition was inspired by the National Geographic television series The Greeks, the July 2016 National Geographic magazine photo-essay, and the 2016 National Geographic Museum exhibition The Greeks: From Agamemnon to Alexander the Great.
In Athens, meet a classics professor for a tour of the ancient Agora, and then step behind the scenes of a nearby archaeology lab and restoration workshop.
Enjoy lunch at a family home on Aegina Island, and learn about olive oil production at a working olive oil press.
Explore the Temple of Apollo with an archaeologist who works at this active excavation site.
Itinerary - 11 Days
Day 1 — Athens, Greece
Arrive in Athens and transfer to our hotel near the charming Plaka neighborhood. Gather for a welcome reception and dinner on the hotel's rooftop, which offers breathtaking views of the Acropolis. Herodion Hotel (D)
Day 2 — Athens
Begin the day at the New Acropolis Museum, examining panels of the famous Parthenon frieze, along with many other ancient works. Visit the hilltop complex of the Acropolis, crowned by the magnificent Parthenon. Venture back into the Plaka neighborhood for a delicious lunch. At the ancient Agora, once frequented by Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, explore the origins of democracy with a professor of classical archaeology. In the evening, meet with a local expert to discuss the political and economic landscape of contemporary Greece. Herodion Hotel (B,L)
Day 3 — Athens/Náfplio
Visit the National Archaeological Museum, home to countless treasures including Mycenean gold masks, thousands of Greek vases, and evocative marble sculptures. Travel south over the Isthmus of Corinth to see the Temple of Apollo and the Forum with an American archaeologist who excavates the site. Continue to Náfplio
and cap off the day with a walking tour of this beautifully preserved Byzantine town that was
the first capital of Greece. Amalia Hotel Nauplia (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Náfplio/Mycenae/Epidaurus
Explore the fortified city of Mycenae, the center of the powerful Mycenaean civilization that flourished in the second millennium B.C. Enter the citadel through the Lion Gate, discovering an ancient grave circle, the royal palace, and the Tomb of Agamemnon—the largest of the tholos (beehive) tombs found here. Journey into the renowned wine region of Nemea for lunch and a wine tasting. Visit an olive oil press in the village of Lygourio and learn about the process for harvesting and pressing olives, then enjoy an olive oil tasting. Later, visit the theater of Epidaurus, renowned for its exceptional acoustics. Return to Náfplio for a festive evening of dinner and Greek dancing. Amalia Hotel Nauplia (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Olympia
Discover the picturesque mountain villages of Arcadia on our way to Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic Games and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore this evocative collection of ancient temples, altars, and a stadium. Visit the archaeological museum to learn about Olympia's origins as a sanctuary honoring Zeus. Hotel Europa (B,L,D)
Days 6 & 7 — Delphi
Depart the Peloponnese for mainland Greece. Arrive at the sanctuary of Delphi, considered by ancient Greeks to be the center of the world. Walk the sacred way to the Temple of Apollo and explore Delphi's awe-inspiring ruins of the theatre, a stadium, treasuries, and altars. Enjoy a weaving demonstration in the hilltop village of Aráhova. Stop in at the 11th-century monastery of Hosios Loukas, a masterpiece of Byzantine architecture.
Amalia Hotel Delphi (B,L,D; B,L)
Days 8 & 9 — Kalambáka/Meteora/Athens
Journey to the mountain pass of Thermopylae, where Persian and Greek armies clashed in 480 B.C. Continue through the fertile plain of Thessaly to Kalambáka, our base for exploring the extraordinary monasteries of Meteora. Built atop sandstone megaliths that rise some 1,200 feet from the valley floor, these monasteries offered refuge
from hostile attacks during the waning days of
the Byzantine Empire. Venture into chapels and courtyards adorned with beautiful frescoes. Take in panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, when on a clear day, you can see as far as Mt. Olympus. Upon return to Athens, enjoy a private visit to the archaeological research laboratory and restoration workshop at the American School of Classical Studies.
Grand Meteora Hotel; St. George Lycabettus Hotel or Electra Palace Athens (B,D; B,L)
Days 10 & 11 — Athens/Aegina
Travel to the port city of Piraeus, stopping to view a striking mural by the Greek visual artist iNO, whose artistic process was captured in the National Geographic television series The Greeks. Board a ferry to the island of Aegina, once an important maritime power. Explore the fifth-century B.C. Temple of Aphaia and have lunch at a family home, dining among pistachio and olive trees. Return by ferry to Athens and depart for the airport the next day.
St. George Lycabettus Hotel or Electra Palace Athens (B,L,D; B)
Kristin Romey directs field operations for a National
Geographic–sponsored archaeological project in Issyk Kul, Kyrgyzstan, described as the Atlantis of the Central Asian Silk Road. Kristin speaks fluent Russian, earned a graduate degree in nautical archaeology from Texas A&M University, and is a Fellow of the Explorers Club. She was one of the first westerners to survey and excavate in the former Soviet regions of the Black Sea. Her award-winning work as executive editor of Archaeology magazine covered topics ranging from the legend of the Golden Fleece in the Republic of Georgia to the legacy of Alexander the Great in present-day Uzbekistan.
Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives, or easy hikes, with options for more physical activities such as hiking, kayaking, snorkeling and biking.
Click here for a description of all activity levels.
National Geographic Explores Ancient Greece
This trip was inspired by National Geographic's PBS series The Greeks, the July 2016 National Geographic magazine photo-essay on ancient Greece, and National Geographic Museum exhibition, The Greeks: From Agamemnon to Alexander the Great.