Tour Duration: 5 Days Tour Destination: Argolis, Olympia, Delphi, Meteora & Thermopylae
The 5-Day Tour of Argolis, Olympia, Delphi, Thermopylae & Meteora begins with a seaside drive around the port of Piraeus and to the west side of Athens through the industrial areas of Aspropirgos and Eleusina past the oiled derricks and the shipyards to watch the cruise ships and tankers arrive in the port of Athens from far away.
The island of Salamis is clearly visible on the way out of Eleusina and into the highway. While gaining height the bay between Salamis and mainland Athens is becoming visible. This is where the Athenians defeated the Persian empire once and for all in the naval battle of Salamis in 486 B.C.
The drive continues on the highway along the Argo-Saronic gulf past small towns and villages for about 30 minutes. Then Peloponnesus peninsula becomes visible and it’s time to make the first stop for approximately 15 minutes to explore the Canal of Corinth, Isthmus, that separates Peloponnesus from mainland Greece.
The tour then proceeds over Isthmus, on the highway for another 15 minutes until reaching the city of Ancient Corinth and Acrocorinth (Acropolis of Corinth). A short drive around the archaeological site is offered before entering, in order to see the highlights from a higher perspective, like the monolithic Temple of Apollo, the Agora, the Bema (Pontium) where Apostle Paul preached, the Imperial Temple and Fountain of Glafki. Visitor are free to explore the archaeological site for 60 minutes.
Next stop is the Fort of Acrocorinth located at 575m over the sea level. The occupies shows signs of Ancient Greek, Byzantine, Frankish and Venetian architecture due to several reconstructions and additions through different periods. Also known for its immorality the ruined Temple of Aphrodite is located on the highest location of the fort.
The next destination is Mycenae, located approximately 30 minutes away from Corinth. Mycenae is popular for The Mycenaean Fort that is located encircling a hill, The Lions’ Gate that was a show of strength and the trademark of Mycenae, The Cyclopian Walls that a legend had groups of Cyclopses helping in the construction, The Ruined Palace of Agamemnon in which the unfortunate king was murdered by his wife Clytemnestra, The Tomb of Atreus or "Tholos" where the body of the first king of Mycenae and his treasury is located and The museum of Mycenae for black figure pottery, coins and trading lines. A visit of 60 minutes is recommended for this archaeological site.
The final stop for the first day is Nafplio (At this point the visitors may decide to have lunch in the beautiful seaside town of Tolo before visiting Nafplion). Located 30 minutes away from Mycenae, Nafplio became the capital of the First Hellenic Republic and the Kingdom of Greece from the beginning of the Greek Revolution of 1821 until 1834. Nafplio is a seaport town on the Argolic Gulf popular for its Venetian style, pedestrian streets, shopping areas, The Venetian Fortress Palamidi located on a 200m high hill and accessible by 999 steps, Acronafplia (Acropolis of Nafplio) over Nafplio providing an impressive view of the old town and a Venetian fortification in the seaport named Bourtzi. The tour is finished in the evening and the visitors are free to enjoy and spend the night in Nafplion.
The day starts with a visit at Epidaurus, located 40 minutes away from Nafplion. The main attraction in Epidaurus is the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus with impressive acoustics, still used nowadays for theatrical performances of Ancient Greek comedies & tragedies, written by the best play-writers of antiquity. The second highlight this area is Asclepion. A ruined healing center dedicated to the god of medicine, Asclepius, where the patients were visited by their favorite god and told what to do in order to be healed. The average visiting time for this site is 60 minutes.
Leaving Epidaurus we drive away from the Argolis region to the west side of Peloponnesus over the mountains and gorges of Arcadia passing past breathtaking scenery and very old towns on the slopes of the mountain peaks for approximately 3,2-hours until we reach Ancient Olympia at the confluence of the rivers Alpheios & Kladeos. After a welcoming drive around the old town of Olympia the visitors are free to spend the rest of the day exploring the area and enjoy the view from the swimming pool of a 4-Star hotel.
The day starts with a visit at the Archaeological site of Olympia. This is the biggest archaeological site of the tour and requires approximately 3-hours of visiting. Ancient Olympia is popular for several buildings and facilities like the Olympic Games Museum in which visitors learn all about the Panhellenic Games of Greece, the Archaeological Museum of Olympia which houses relics from the early period of Olympia until its destruction, the Temple of Zeus that housed the Golden-Ivory Statue of Zeus, the Stadium where the Olympic Games were performed, the Workshop of Pheidias where the mentioned mastermind of sculpture who made the statue of Zeus that later became one of the wonders of antiquity. Several other almost complete buildings to see are Prytaneion, Heraion, Nymphaion, Treasuries, Metroon and Stoa of Echo.
The visitors may have lunch before the departure for Delphi. The drive to Delphi is approximately 4,5-hours along the Ionian Sea and the Corinthian Gulf. It passes through the region of Ilia, across the Gulf of Corinth over the Bridge of Rio Antirio that connects Peloponnesus with mainland Greece. A short stop is made in the port town of Nafpaktos to see the old old fortification of the port with the statue of Miguel de Cervantes, the writer of Don Quixote, who fought gloriously against the Ottoman Empire in the Naval Battle of Nafpaktos (Lepanto) in 1571 A.D.
Leaving the coastal area the drive takes you on the slopes of mount Parnassus to reach the final destination for the day with a welcoming drive around the town of Delphi and rest in a hotel overlooking the Valley of Pleistos and the Corinthian Gulf.
The site of Delphi popular for the Temple of Apollo, The Oracle and the Pythian Panhellenic Games. This archaeological site & museum recommended visit duration is 2,5 to 3 hours. While walking on the sacred way, expect to see the old treasuries of the Greek city-states, the ruins of the Temple of Apollo where the Oracle was located, the intact Amphitheater of Delphi, the Polygonal Wall of the old Athenian forum, the circular Temple of Athena Pronea, the Stadium and the Gymnasium where adults and children where training strength and spirit for the Pythian Games.
Later the travelers have the option for trying an authentic traditional lunch in a local taverna that offers a magnificent view over the whole valley of Pleistos with thousand of acres of olive trees and the city of Itea on the Corinthian Gulf.
Exiting Delphi the drive takes you over the sierras of Parnasus and Giona heading towards the east side for mainland Greece, along the Euboean and Maliakos Gulfs towards the final destination for the day in Kalambaka for approximately 2,5 hours.
Kalambaka rests around the pinnacles of Meteora. Before resting for the day the travelers may visit one of the easiest accessible monasteries and enjoy a breathtaking sunset.
The day starts by driving to the top of Meteora and start visiting the monasteries before the big groups arrive. The monasteries are 6 in total and some of them are closed for maintenance during the week but all stay open on weekends. The average visit time for each monastery is 30 minutes for the easiest accessible to 60 minutes for the hardest. The monasteries are St. Nicolas, Varlaam, Grand Meteoron, St. Stephan, Rousanou & Holy Trinity.
Around the middle of the day the drive back to Athens begins with a final stop in Thermopyalae. 2 hours are needed before reaching Thermopylae. The average visit time is 30-60 minutes and expect to see a museum which is completely interactive and equipped with 3D movies showrooms and touch screens in which you can learn every single detail about the Greco-Persian wars of 496 and 486 B.C., the monument of the legendary Spartan King Leonidas, the monument of the Tespians who fought along side with the Spartans, the battlefield and the Hill of Kolonos on which the Spartans made their last stand to meet their death.
This tour end with a relaxing highway drive back to Athens with the sun setting in the background.
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*Physical or printed ID or University pass is required for discounts.