Classical Greece Istanbul Vacation Package 12 days
Ancient Greece, Greek Islands and Fabulous Istanbul all in one.
Get cruise to Hydra, Poros and Aegina, 4 days Classical Greece Bus Tour with visits to Corinth, Mycenae, Epidaurus, Olympia, Delphi and Meteora, full day Istanbul sightseeing, Bosporus mini cruise, 2 continents tour and get back with lots of memories from two different cultures.
DAY 1: ATHENS
Classical Greece Istanbul Vacation package starts at the Athens international airport. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The balance of the day at leisure.
This tour is an opportunity to observe the striking contrasts that make Athens such a fascinating city. Our expert guides will take you to see the Panathenaic Stadium where the first Olympic Games of modern times were held in 1896 (shortstop).
Continue and pass by the Prime Minister’s residence (ex Royal Palace) guarded by the Euzones in their colourful uniform, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Hadrian’s Arch, the Parliament and the memorial to the Unknown Soldier, the Academy, the University, theNational Library, the Constitution Square (Syntagma). On the Acropolis visit the Architectural Masterpieces of the Golden Age of Athens: The Propylaea, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion and finally “the harmony between material and spirit”, the monument that “puts an order in the mind”, the Parthenon.
Tour will end by visiting the Acropolis and the new Acropolis Museum, “State of the art” in museum construction and very rich in content.
This small cruise will take you to Hydra, Poros and Aegina and bring you back in the evening full of fun and with the taste of the Greek islands.
Morning transfer to the pier of Piraeus, to embark your cruise ship for your full-day cruise to the islands of Aegina, Poros and Hydra. Good opportunity to know a little bit of Greek Islands and visit a small part of Ancient Greece in the optional tour to the temple of Aphea Athina in Aegina.
On the return trip, you enjoy a program with Greek music and songs and join the dancers on Greek folklore dancing. Included is the transfers to and from the port, port taxes and lunch on board.
Leave by the Coastal Road to the Corinth Canal (shortstop). Drive on and visit Epidaurus which was a small city in ancient Greece, at the Saronic Gulf. Reputed to be the birthplace of Apollo’s son Asclepius, the healer, Epidaurus was known for its sanctuary, the cult of Asclepius at Epidaurus is attested in the 6th century BC.as well as its theatre, which is once again in use today.
The Sanctuary of Asclepius at Epidaurus is a UNESCO world heritage site.
The theatre is marvelled for its exceptional acoustics, which permits almost perfect intelligibility of non amplified spoken word from the proscenium or scene to all 15,000 spectators, regardless of their seating.
Then proceed to the Town of Nauplion ( shortstop) drive on to Mycenae. and visit the Archaeological Site and the Tomb of Agamemnon. Departure for Olympia Through Central Peloponnese and the Towns of Tripolis and Megalopolis. Dinner and overnight in Olympia, the Cradle of the Olympic Games.
Olympia was a sanctuary of ancient Greece, known for having been the site of the Olympic Games in classical times, the most famous games in history.
The sanctuary, known as the Altis, consists of an unordered arrangement of various buildings. Enclosed within the temenos are the Temple of Hera (or Heraion/Heraeum) and Temple of Zeus, the Pelopion and the area of the altar, where the sacrifices were made. The Hippodrome and later stadium were also to the east.
To the north of the sanctuary can be found the Prytaneion and the Philippeion, as well as the array of treasuries representing the various city-states.
Olympia is also known for the gigantic ivory and gold statue of Zeus that used to stand there, sculpted by Pheidias, which was named one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World by the Antipater of Sidon.
Then drive on through the plains of Eliad and Achaia until the magnificent bridge which is crossing the Corinthian Bay from Rion to Antirion. Pass by the picturesque Towns of Nafpactos (Lepanto) and Itea, arrive in Delphi. Dinner and overnight.
Delphi was the centre of the Ancient World – the “Omphalos” (Navel of Earth) – whose prestige extended far beyond the boundaries of the Hellenic World.
On the slopes of Mount Parnassus, in a landscape of unparalleled beauty and majesty, lie the ruins of the Sanctuary of Apollo Pythios.
Visit the Treasury of the Athenians, the Temple of Apollo and the Museum containing such masterpieces of Ancient Greek sculpture as the bronze Charioteer and the famous athlete Aghias. Depart for Kalambaka, a small town situated at the foot of the astonishing complex of Meteora, gigantic rocks. Dinner and overnight.
Meteora is one of the largest and most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Greece, second only to Mount Athos. Among striking scenery, perched on top of huge rocks which seem to be suspended in mid-air, stand ageless Monasteries, where you can see exquisite specimens of Byzantine art. The six monasteries are built on natural sandstone rock pillars, at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Pineios river and the Pindus Mountains, in central Greece. The Meteora is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Return to Athens via Trikala, Lamia, Thermopylae (visit the Leonida’s monument). Arrive in Athens early in the evening.
DAY 8: ATHENS – ISTANBUL
According to departure flight transfer to Athens airport for the flight to Istanbul. Arrive in Istanbul and transfer to your selected hotel. The balance of the day at leisure.
After breakfast full day visit to Istanbul. We begin our tour from the Sultanahmet district, the heart of old Istanbul at Agia Sophia. Built by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century AD this church is one of the marvels of world architecture. Its massive dome dominates the skyline of old Istanbul. It is famed for its mosaics, including glittering portraits of emperors and empresses (closed on Mondays).
Next, we visit the Blue Mosque, which owes its name to the exquisite tiles adorning its interior. Dating from the 17th century, it is the only imperial Mosque with six minarets. The Hippodrome, the stadium of ancient Byzantium, held 100.000 spectators and featured objects from all corners of the empire.
The Grand Bazaar was the commercial heart of the old city and its 4.000 shops are full of treasures – including carpets and kilims, silks, jewellery, ceramics, icons and leather goods (Closed on Sundays).
Lunch in a local restaurant and continuation of our tour. Our afternoon will begin at Topkapi Palace which, from the 15th to 19th century, was the principal residence of the Ottoman Sultans (closed on Tuesdays).
Little Agia Sophia Mosque is known as one of the oldest standing churches in Istanbul dating back to the 6th century. It is an early domed-basilica architectural plan of the famous Agia Sophia which was applied here for the first time in history.
Half-day cruise through Bosporus, the majestic strait that runs through Istanbul, linking Europe and Asia. From our cruise boat, we view the dramatic sights lining the Bosporus’ wooded shores: mosques, a bridge that for a time was the world’s longest and Rumeli Hisari, a massive fortress built by Mehmet the Conqueror in just three months as he prepared to take Istanbul. Also noteworthy on this tour are the 19thcentury mansions of the Ottoman elite and the Sultans’ fanciful gingerbread palaces and hunting lodges Disembarkation at the European part of Turkey and transfer to your hotel.
Early departure for the intercontinental bridge of Bosporus, to continue to the Camlica hill at the Asiatic part of Turkey which affords panoramic views of Istanbul, Marmara Sea, Princes’ Islands and magnificent Istanbul. Then visit the Beylerbeyi Palace on the shore of the Bosporus, one of the most elegant of the late Ottoman palaces and boasts six sumptuously furnished reception halls. and a typical fish village along the coast of Bosporus with time at leisure for shopping.
DAY 12: ISTANBUL – AIRPORT
According to your departure flight, you will be transferred to the airport.
STARTING POINT: Athens
Every day except Tuesdays: April to October
Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday: November to March
TRAVEL PLAN:12 DAYS/ 11 nights
* 4 nights hotel accommodation in Athens
* 4 nights accommodation at Istanbul
* 3 nights/4 days Classical Greece tour in 3 or 4* hotels on half board basis
* Half day Athens sightseeing tour
* Full day cruise to Hydra, Poros, Aegina with lunch
* Full day Istanbul sightseeing tour with lunch
* Half day cruise to Bosporus
* Half day tour to both Continents
* Entrance fees during guided sightseeing in Turkey
* All transfers as mentioned
* Daily breakfast
* Hotel taxes in Turkey
* Government hotel taxes in Greece
* Special overnight tax of €4 for 5* hotels, €3 for 4* hotels, €1,5 for 3* hotels and €0,5 for 2* hotels per person per night to be paid by clients directly to the hotels in Greece.
* Air ticket Athens – Istanbul not included