The Greek Peloponnese: Beauty, History, and Culture

Follow in the footsteps of heroes and gods

Experience the most meaningful sites of classical Greece, the cradle of Western Civilization, the traditions of locals, and the stunning beauty of the mountains, islands, and sea.

14
Days
7
Cities
12-14
Travelers
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Tour Summary

Our two-week Greek journey will take us through some of history’s most defining moments. We will begin in Athens and bring us to many of Greece’s most important historical sites, including the Parthenon, Agora, Delphi, Epidaurus, Olympia, and Mycenae. We’ll also experience the hidden treasures of the Peloponnese, visiting islands, and uncovering the secrets of local artisans, olive farmers, and fishermen. We’ll have lessons on cooking and making wine. We’ll hike to ancient monasteries and classical sanctuaries. We’ll swim and sail through the crystal waters of the Aegean. And we’ll experience the timeless Greek wisdom of living simply and beautifully. Our travel to ancient sites will equally be an exploration through humanity’s richest discoveries of science, beauty, and the questions that search life’s meaning. It will not be enough to take pictures and gaze at beautiful sites, as we travel together we may equally consider how our own lives are made beautiful and given freedom by the Greek history we travel to see.

Tour Price:

$4,795

(triples or groups of four or more)

$4,995

(couples or friends)

$5,595

(single travelers)

Tour Dates:

April 27 - May 10, 2022

October 18 - 31, 2022

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Itinerary

Day 1

Welcome to Athens

Welcome to Athens, named for the Greek goddess of wisdom, this ancient city-state inspired ideas of beauty and democracy that still shape our world today. At 2:00 we’ll meet our Alithea guide for a welcome meeting in our hotel. Then we’ll set out on a walk with our local guide through Plaka, Athens’ bustling cobblestone center where we’ll uncover the layers of modern, medieval, Byzantine, Roman, and Greek civilizations before arriving at the ancient agora—the marketplace where democracy was first established and where many of our most precious ideas of science and philosophy were first discussed. Here we’ll see the wonderfully preserved temple to Hephaestus, the god famed as the father of craftsmen and famous for his marriage to the goddess of beauty. Greece is renowned for its mythology, theater, and poetry that recounts the beauty and mystery of what it means to be human. After an introduction to these ancient mysteries, we’ll conclude our day with a beautiful dinner and conversation with our new Alithea traveling family.

Walking: moderate, 4 miles

Day 2

Acropolis and Parthenon

We’ll set out after breakfast to meet our local guide for a tour of the Acropolis, the ancient sanctuary at the height of the city. This is the highest point of the city, the place of honor, clarity, perspective, and promise; it was here ancient Athenians came bearing gifts and saw divine possibilities in human actualities. Here we’ll visit the Parthenon, the temple dedicated to Athena who won the Athenians’ favor by giving them the olive tree, a symbol of peace, wisdom, and prosperity. This is not simply a visit to one of the most iconic world heritage sites, nor is it simply the beauty of the ancient temples and the elegance of the sunbaked columns. It’s an invitation to consider how the aspirations of a few fifth century B.C. citizens shaped the future trajectory of Western civilization. It’s the loftiness of an ambition that dares to ask what it really means to be human.

After free time to explore the Acropolis on our own, our local guide will bring us to the new Acropolis museum where we’ll conclude our morning with a tour of ancient Greek statues and the majestic reliefs of temples filled with the stories of heroes and gods. This afternoon we’ll be free to explore Athens on our own, to visit the temple to the Olympian Zeus, the Byzantine Museum, or the Panatheinaic stadium, or to browse the artisan shops of Plaka and the antique stores around Monastiraki.

Walking: strenuous, 4 miles

Day 3

The Oracle of Delphi

This morning we’ll meet our bus and journey north through the dramatic countryside towards Thebes, the city of Oedipus, before turning west to the hills and the ancient sanctuary of Delphi. Dedicated to Apollo, the god of knowledge, the Oracle of Delphi was considered the center of the world in antiquity. According to legend the spot was marked by the stone Zeus cast down from the heavens, the same stone that was used to trick the monstrous titans, a metaphor for human cleverness and the intelligence of the gods. This pilgrimage site has been famous for it’s purifying waters and the prophetic power of the oracle for more than three thousand years. Nestled below Montparnasus, the birthplace of the muses, the view of the surrounding mountains is truly glorious. Today we’ll see the temple to Apollo, the theater, the place that marked the center of the ancient world, and the archeology museum of Delphi.

After a mountain view lunch we’ll drive to Nafpaktos, a beautiful town on the Gulf of Corinth, where we’ll sleep for two nights.

Bus time: ~ 4.5 hrs.
Walking: strenuous, 4 miles

Day 4

Traditional Fishing, Boating, and Cooking on the Messolonghi Lagoon

This morning we’ll drive to nearby Messolonghi for a truly unique experience with locals. After taking in the spectacular view from the height of the ancient acropolis our local guide will introduce us to a community approach to ecotourism. Messolonghi’s lagoons are famous for their salt flats, for their biodiversity (including the famous flamingos), and for the flat-bottomed fishing boats, the priaria, that collect some of the world’s best caviar. This morning we’ll head out in the priaria with local fishermen in order to learn more about the local culture and to try fishing ourselves. We’ll also join a local environmentalist for an eco-tour..

For lunch today, we’ll continue our hands-on experience as we learn the local recipes and cook the catch of the day. We’ll eat and cook today in a pelades, a traditional water-house, and try the local ouzo after lunch.

We’ll be back in Nafpaktos in time for a quick dip in the sea, a late-afternoon stroll through town and an evening meal, or a glass of wine enjoying the romantic Venetian harbor.

Bus time: ~ 1.5 hrs.
Walking: moderate, 2 miles

Day 5

Birthplace of the Olympic Games, the Temple of Zeus, and Mountain Views

After an early breakfast we'll depart seaside Nafpaktos for a drive toward the beautiful sanctuary of Ancient Olympia. The place was sacred from at least the eighth century B.C. and takes its name from the mythic home of the gods. We’re familiar with the games that once took place in this Olympic stadium because they inspired our own modern games and the pursuit of excellence. The Olympic games took place here every four years for a thousand years from 776 B.C. to 393 A.D. After a guided tour of the museum and the massive temple stones now resting in the shade of tall oak trees and the quiet rustling of birds, we’ll enjoy a lunch of local delights.

This evening we'll arrive in Dimitsana, a mountain village nestled in the beautiful Arcadia. We’ll sleep here two nights. After checking into our hotel we’ll be free for dinner.

Day 6

Dimitsana, Cliffside Monasteries, and Greek Cooking Lessons

This morning we’ll meet our local guide to lead us on a pilgrimage-hike through the Lousios Gorge, famous for its stunning beauty and the musical hum of the nearby Lousios river. Throughout our hike we'll visit three monasteries. The oldest and now abandoned, Philosophou, or Philosopher, monastery dates back to the middle of the tenth century and its high sparrow perch on the cliff’s edge is indicative of a life of contemplation. For centuries this was a center of literacy and culture, housing a secret school during the Ottoman empire. Seven Patriarchs and seventy bishops were educated here. We’ll also visit the New Philosophou monastery, built in the middle of the seventeenth century, and frescoed with the colorful lives of the saints. Around noon we’ll arrive at the inspiring Prodromos Monastery built into the cliff's edge. Operating as a hermitage from the twelfth century, Prodromos, or the forerunner, referring to Saint John the Baptist is situated between the silence and indescribable beauty of nature. After lighting a candle for a loved one and contemplating the scenes of the frescoed walls we’ll regroup for a picnic lunch before returning to Dimitsana for a free afternoon. We’ll regroup this evening to a Greek cooking class followed by dinner.

Bus time: ~ 1 hr.
Walking: strenuous, 5 miles

Day 7

Seaside Pylos and the Traditional Greek Way of Life

After saying goodbye to Dimitsana and the mountain views of Arcadia we’ll head towards the southern coast of the Peloponnese, to the region of Messinia. World famous for the olives named after its capital, Kalamata, we’ll dedicate our morning and afternoon to an olive farm experience. We’ll discover the millennia-old culture of caring for olives and the nourishing traditions of the Greek-countryside way of life. A rich sense of belonging surrounds the small villages that dot the Messinian countryside, and an ancient sense of purpose gives meaning to the simple vision of life. We’ll experience this in countless ways as our host shares stories, provides a cooking demonstration, and invites us to share in wine, cheese, and other locally made delights.

After lunch we’ll continue our journey to the crystal waters of the Ionian sea. Tonight we’ll sleep in the seaside town of Koroni or nearby where we’ll stay two nights.

Bus time: 2.5 hrs.
Walking: easy, 1-2 miles

Day 8

Homeric Kings and Sailing on the Ionian Sea

Today’s activities will be weather dependent. If the weather is beautiful and sunny—as it usually is—and not too windy, we’ll head out by boat to explore the nearby islands, secluded beaches, and underwater ruins of ancient Greek columns and sarcophagi. This area is famous as the ancient kingdom of the wise King Nestor from Homer’s Iliad.

We’ll return to our seaside retreat for a late afternoon and easy evening, enjoying the sunset over the Ionian sea.

Walking: easy, 1-2 miles

Day 9

Nafplio, the Origins of Medicine, and Greek Theater

After breakfast we’ll continue our journey north towards Nafplio, the former capital of modern Greece. After lunch we’ll head toward Epidaurus. This ancient sanctuary is the legendary birthplace of the famous healer, Asclepius, the son of Apollo. In antiquity, it provided respite to those seeking a cure, similar, in some ways, to modern hospitals today. It also houses one of the best preserved and most impressive theaters from antiquity. In its day, 12,000 spectators could enjoy performances here with the marvelous acoustic that allows voices from the stage to be heard at even the highest seats at little more than a whisper. After our guided tour through the sanctuary, we’ll head towards the romantic town of Nafplio where we’ll sleep two nights. After checking into our hotel we’ll have a free evening to enjoy this charming seaside town, a one time capital of modern Greece.

Bus time: 3.5 hrs.
Walking: easy, 1-2 miles

Day 10

Mycenae, City of Heroes and Gods

This morning we’ll meet our local guide for a visit to the ancient hill-top city of Mycenae, founded according to legend by the hero Perseus. Here the size of the stones of the wall and the Lion Gate are so impressive that in later times they were said to be built by the one eyed-giants, the Cyclopes. It was from this Bronze Age civilization that King Agamemnon of Homer’s Iliad set out at the head of ten-thousand ships to besiege Troy. The civilization of Mycenae was so prosperous in its day that its name became eponymous with an age of heroes and a closeness to the Olympian gods. After a tour through the ancient ruins and envisioning an age of poets and heroes we’ll return to Nafplio for a free afternoon and evening. Consider exploring a few of Nafplio’s precious gems or climbing the 999 steps to enjoy the spectacular view from Palamidi Castle.

Bus time: 1 hr.
Walking: moderate, 2 miles

Day 11

Ancient Greek Art and Philosophy

We’ll say antio to Nafplio this morning after breakfast and make the last leg of our classical pilgrimage on the mainland Peloponnese as we return to Athens. Our first stop today will be the National Archeological Museum. Our local guide will lead us through the rich layers and geographic expressions of ancient Greek art. Here we’ll see some of the most beautiful tributes of the ancient world to the ideas and deities of beauty, wisdom, strength, and knowledge. There are few places in the world where we see the development of humanity and its ancient expressions of beauty so completely as in this wonderful collection.

After our visit to the museum we’ll check back into our hotel in Plaka, Athens’ historic center, for a free afternoon.


Bus time: 2 hrs.
Walking: moderate, 3 miles

Day 12

Ferry to Naxos and Dionysius the God of Wine

This morning we will wake early to catch the ferry from Athens to Naxos. Among the beautiful Cycladic islands, Naxos is the largest; it’s close to the famous Santorini and Mykonos but maintains a more traditional Greek island way of life. According to legend, Dionysios, the god of wine, was born here. It’s little wonder that they believed this, with the island’s thriving vineyards and beautiful coastline; it’s a befitting home to a god. 

After checking into our seaside hotel, we’ll be free to swim, relax, and explore the beautiful streets and beaches around Chora. We'll regroup in the late afternoon for a sunset walk and food tour through Chora's medieval town. We'll stop to sample local goods, learn about the medieval history, castle, and old town.

Walking: easy

Day 13

The Island Life: Sky, Sun, Sea, and Swim

This morning we will immerse ourselves in Naxos island life. We'll take a tour through the villages and mountains where we'll experience traditional island life and we'll see how different and yet connected Naxos is to the rest of Greece. We'll visit a ceramics workshop where we'll see the creation of objects traditionally used in everyday life. We'll be introduced to the art of weaving still practiced by local women and visit villages where the traditional way of working and farming still persists. We'll visit the temple of Demeter, the goddess of agriculture, and we'll enjoy the fruits of Dionysius, the god of wine as we conclude our morning with a lunch of local cuisine and locally produced wine.

This afternoon after returning to town we'll be free to relax on the beach or enjoy an afternoon of shopping for artisan goods in town. This evening we'll celebrate our classical journey through Greece with one last group dinner.

Walking: easy

Day 14

The Next Journey Begins

Breakfast is included this day but there are no planned activities. Catch a boat to the nearby and easily reachable Greek islands or head to the airport to connect to your next destination or to fly home. Your Alithea guide will be available to help with travel plans throughout breakfast.

Day 14
Day 15

The Island Life: Sky, Sun, Sea, and Swim

Day 15

What's Included

All breakfasts, and 11 lunches or dinners
All transportation to tour related activities, including our private bus, sailboats, and ferry.
13 nights in family-run, boutique style, or luxury hotels
The cost of all entrances, local guides, and tips to 14 different tour activities
Your friendly Alithea tour manager for the duration of the tour
COVID travel safety measures
A pre-tour consultation with an Alithea expert
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Tour Tips

Pack Light

Alithea hotels are boutique, family-run and centrally located in the historic centers where the ancient roads are too small for buses. That often means needing to walk between our bus and hotels. Between destinations we will be required to carry our own luggage which may include significant stairs and no elevator. We encourage our travelers to take a simple carry-on size bag with a small backpack for outings.

Come Prepared

Alithea tours are outrageously fun. Come prepared to live in the moment. We will walk, talk, celebrate, dine, and make beautiful discoveries together. When we’re not exploring with our local guide we’ll be encouraged to venture out on our own, to celebrate our discoveries with a glass of wine, to go for a swim or a walk on the beach, or simply to relax and take in the beautiful view. Of course, we can’t visit ancient and beautiful sites without getting there first, and sometimes that means significant walking. Our first two days on this tour are the most physically strenuous. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns before booking.

Bus and Travel Time

Like every great story, there is no possibility of discovery and of arriving at beautiful places without a journey to get there. On our Greek journey we will take the bus and boat in order to arrive at the spectacular destinations we’ll be visiting. We’ll not only use this time to relax and enjoy the view but also to prepare with our Alithea guide for the sites we’ll visit next. Of course, we can’t appreciate the gorgeous vistas of the mountains without significant driving on winding roads.

Reserve Your Place

Follow in the footsteps of heroes and gods

The Greek Peloponnese: Beauty, History, and Culture

To reserve a spot on this tour we ask that you pay a $500 deposit. All deposits are refundable within 30 days of payment.

 $500.00
Deposit
*Read our refund policy here