Your Greece: Legends and Landscapes 2023 Package

Greece: Legends and Landscapes 2023

Back-Roads

 

  12 Nights

  Europe: Mediterranean

  Back-Roads

  DTC97GR




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Step into a world of myth and magic. Where ancient art and culture flourished. Philosophy was founded. And gods were made. From awe-inspiring archaeological sites to sleepy towns and coastal treasures, Greece rewards with every twist in the journey. Shrouded in secrets and stories, the legend lives on in this 12-day adventure.
Highlight 1

Learn from the masters in a traditional Greek cooking class

Highlight 2

Discover the charms of Naxos, an authentic gem within the Cyclades islands

Highlight 3

Uncover the secrets of sacred Delphi – a UNESCO World Heritage Site


Day 1 / Athens (Greece)

Athens: where myths are born and legends live on. Welcome to the start of our Grecian adventure! This evening, we’ll learn more about our like-minded travel companions over our first included dinner. Accommodation: Elia Ermou Athens Hotel (or similar)

Day 2 / Athens

Time travel back over 3,000 years: the iconic Acropolis awaits! This astounding temple complex stands guard over the city – an enduring symbol of Greece’s classical spirit and the blueprint for Western civilisations to come. We’ll uncover its secrets with a local guide, including the extraordinary Parthenon – dedicated to Athena, the goddess of war and reason. Wisdom topped up, the rest of the day will be ours for exploring! Discover more remarkable feats of the ancient world at the National Archaeological Museum, or settle into a traditional taverna for a hearty serving of moussaka. Accommodation: Elia Ermou Athens Hotel (or similar)

Day 3 / Athens – Naxos (Cyclades)

The piercing blue waters of the Aegean are calling! Following breakfast, our path will lead us towards Naxos – a lesser-explored and unspoilt gem of the Cyclades islands. We'll slow the pace with a scenic ferry journey, soaking up seafaring views as we go, before docking at the namesake island capital. This green, verdant island, hugged by mist-topped mountains, oozes authentic Greek charm. Take a stroll around the maze of lantern-lit cobbled streets before we dine together this evening. Accommodation: Hotel Xenia (or similar)

Day 4 / Naxos

There’s an exclusive local experience in store today as we make tracks towards a working family farm. Here we’ll sample a selection of flavourful local cheeses and homemade marmalades. Then: roll up your sleeves and dive in! We’ll prepare our own traditional Greek lunches under the guidance of the experts, before touring the farm and digging into our creations. Appetites satisfied, when we return to the city the evening is ours to spend as we please. Why not round off a day of local discoveries with a tangy glass of kitron – Naxos’ trademark spirit, made from the fruit and leaves of the citron tree. Yiamas! Accommodation: Hotel Xenia (or similar)

Day 5 / Naxos

Winding lanes blushing with crimson flowers. Neat sugar cube houses snuggling grand Venetian mansions. Twisted vines smothering cosy cafes. The treasures of Naxos are yours for the taking today! Meander up to the Kastro – a medieval citadel housing an archaeology museum. Or amble along the coast and indulge in a spot of people watching. As the sky transforms to pink, stroll along the causeway to Portara – or the ‘Temple of Apollo’ – a vast sixth-century marble doorway that stands proudly on a neighbouring islet. Behold as the sun sinks into the sea! And when darkness descends? Legend has it that Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, blessed Naxos with fertile land; so dine like gods and feast on the island’s bounty of rich cheeses and local meats! Accommodation: Hotel Xenia (or similar)

Day 6 / Naxos – Corinth Canal (Greece) – Nafplio

Westwards! Today we’ve got the handsome coastal city of Nafplio in our sights. Once back on the mainland, we’ll wind our way through mountainous, vineyard-speckled landscapes – stopping at the striking Corinth Canal as we go. Wedged between sharp cliff faces, this distinctive canal is the narrowest in the world; a streak of blue connecting the two bordering gulfs. Though most modern ships would find it tricky to navigate its 25-metre width! Upon our arrival in Nafplio, take a moment to admire Bourtzi Castle – an atmospheric Venetian fortress floating in the middle of the harbour – before sampling the local fare in a homely tavern. Accommodation: Hotel Grande Bretagne Nafplio (or similar)

Day 7 / Nafplio – Mystras – Gytheio

857. That’s how many steps it takes to reach the top of Palamidi Castle (or a short taxi ride!). Snaking up a hillside, this formidable fortress looms over the city and offers spectacular 360-degree vistas of the sea and valley. The perfect way to spend your free morning, if you so choose! After enjoying a spot of lunch at our leisure, we’ll regroup and make our way to mysterious Mystras. This fortified medieval city – once the Byzantine capital – perches along a steep mountainside, and harbours plenty of nooks and crannies to explore! Later the road will lead us to the peaceful port town of Gytheio, where we’ll share stories of the adventure so far over our included dinner. Accommodation: Stavros Tou Notou Hotel (or similar)

Day 8 / Gytheio – Diros Cave – Areopoli – Gytheio

It seems magical Diros Cave has leapt from the pages of a fairytale. After breakfast, we’ll delve into this subterranean wonderland with a local guide. A spellbinding maze of turquoise waterways and astonishing, lava-like rock formations, this otherworldly experience is truly unforgettable. Next: it’s back above ground as we pay a visit to the captivating town of Areopoli. Prepare to be charmed as our expert Tour Leader reveals the hidden corners of the rustic stone-built streets. When we return to picture-perfect Gytheio there's an abundance of seafood restaurants to choose from for dinner. And it would be rude not to visit a traditional ouzeri for a taste of the country’s renowned liquor, wouldn’t it? Accommodation: Stavros Tou Notou Hotel (or similar)

Day 9 / Gytheio – Kardamyli – Kalamata – Olympia

Beware of beasts! Today’s journey takes us deeper into the remote Peloponnese peninsula: the heartland of Greek legend. It’s here that the monsters and gods of mythology were born – and where the drum of traditional rural life beats slowly among neat rows of vineyards and snow-capped mountains. Kardamyli is our first port of call: a picturesque fishing town with a sleepy pace. After free time for lunch in nearby Kalamata, a traditional tasting awaits at a long-standing olive farm in Olympia – where we’ll receive a masterclass in the art of olive oil production. When our day of exploring comes to an end, we’ll reflect on the highlights so far over our group dinner. Accommodation: Amalia Hotel Olympia (or similar)

Day 10 / Olympia – Nafpaktos – Delphi

Limber up! Our day begins with a locally guided tour of legendary Olympia – the birthplace of sporting glory. This landmark archaeological site sparked off the Olympic Games in 776 BC – the world’s greatest athletic event founded on values of peace and healthy competition. As you wander the shaded ruins imagine the roar of the crowd ringing as the athletes entered the arena. Leaving Olympia behind us, our next stop is the lovely seaside town of Nafpaktos. Brimming with history, Nafpaktos is one of the locals’ best-kept secrets – sporting a dramatic Venetian castle and delightful, historic port. Finally, Delphi – considered the centre of the world by ancient Greeks – is a fitting end to an evocative day. Accommodation: Kastalia Boutique Hotel (or similar)

Day 11 / Delphi – Itea – Delphi

Start the day with sacred stories as a knowledgeable local guide shares Delphi’s secrets with us. This ancient mountainside site was the epicentre of religion and culture, as well as home to Pythia – the oracle or ‘high priestess’. Pythia made prophecies and was consulted about all major decisions taken in the classical world. Be sure to embrace the view of the stunning surrounding valley before we depart for our next destination – where a sweet treat’s in store! We’ll live out Winnie-the-Pooh’s fantasy with a delicious local honey-tasting experience in Itea. Later, upon our return to Delphi we’ll dine as a group for the final time and cheers to one extraordinary adventure. Opa! Accommodation: Kastalia Boutique Hotel (or similar)

Day 12 / Delphi – Arachova – Athens

This morning we awaken to the final day of our Greek journey. But it’s not over quite yet! As we take the scenic trail back to Athens, we’ll call in at the elegant town of Arachova, which nestles along the foot of mighty Mount Parnassus. Back in the capital, it’s time to say our goodbyes. Until next time!