Classical Option Travel Itinerary 2014

 


ANCIENT GREECE AND ROME: 
THE FOUNDATIONS OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION
OPTION ONE 2014 TRAVEL ITINERARY
 

September

27 S

         
London to Crete

Fly from London to Athens by British Airways scheduled flight. Catch the overnight ferry from Piraeus to Heraklion on the Island of Crete.
 

28 Su


Crete
Morning visit to Knossos & the Heraklion Museum to study the Minoan civilization, arguably the earliest real European culture. Lunch by the Aegean Seas prior to check in at the Elounda Aqua Sol Resort in Iounda. Dinner at the hotel.
 

29 M

Crete to Santorini

Catch the morning ‘flying cat’ from Heraklion to Santorini. The island has stunning panoramic views of the volcanic caldera - here we can discuss the issues surrounding the myth of Atlantis. Bed and breakfast in Firà, in the brilliantly located Kavalari Hotel.

 

30 T

           
Santorini to Mykonos
Morning visit to the fascinating Thera Museum to study the earliest flourishing of Aegean culture through the artifacts from the excavations at Akrotiri, 'the Pompeii of the Aegean'. Transfer by ‘flying cat’ to the vibrant island of Mykonos. Stay in Rhenia Bungalows
 

1 W

           
Mykonos to Delos
Day trip, crossing by local boat to the nearby island of Delos. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was, in myth, the birthplace of Apollo, and has excellent remains of Hellenistic Greek housing, along with many high quality mosaics. Return to Mykonos. Group dinner by the harbour.
 

2 Th

           
Mykonos to Athens
Morning at leisure. Afternoon ferry from Mykonos to Athens. Transfer to our hotel in Athens for check-in. This evening we will have our first views of the monuments of Ancient Athens.
Athens (Accommodation will be in the Hotel Herodion on the edge of the Plaka quarter of Athens, just below the Acropolis.)
 

3 F

           
Athens
Morning free. Whole afternoon devoted first to the Pnyx Hill, seat of Ancient Athens' democratic assembly, and then the sites of the Acropolis: the Propylaia, the Erekhtheion, the Parthenon, and, finally, the spectacular brand new Acropolis Museum. Group dinner in the Plaka.

 

4 S

           
Athens
Morning study of the Athenian Agora, site of the birthplace of democracy, and its fascinating Museum. Late afternoon study at the National Museum of Archaeology with its unparalleled collection of Greek antiquities.
 

5 Su

           
Athens to Nafplion via Aegina
Move down to Piraeus, the port of Athens. Travel by ‘Flying Dolphin’ to the nearby island of Aegina to visit the hill-top Temple of Aphaia. Swimming and refreshments at Aghia Marina, lunch in Egina, then late afternoon return to Piraeus by ferry. Continue by private coach to the Korinth Canal, and on into the Peloponnese. Arrive in Nafplion.
Nafplion (Accommodation will be for three nights in the Victoria Hotel in the beautiful town of Nafplion, the first capital of modern Greece).
 

6 M

           
Nafplion to Tiryns and Mycenae
Afternoon studying the architecture and culture of Bronze Age Greece at the crucial sites of Tiryns and of Mycenae. Dinner in a country taverna nearby. Return to Nafplion.

October

7 T

           
Nafplion to Epidauros and Perachora
After viewing the wonderful Dendra Panoplyl at the Nafplion Museum we will make a morning visit to the sanctuary of Epidauros with its magnificent theatre and early medical healing-centre. After a picnic lunch, continue to the little-visited but exquisite site of Perachora, with its remains right on the water’s edge. Optional swimming by the ruins. Return to Nafplion.

 

8 W

           
Nafplion to Olympia via Messene
Leave Nafplion for the impressive archaeological site of Messene situated in a hollow between three hills and surrounded by ruins of its fine city walls. Continue on to Olympia. Dinner, bed and breakfast at the Amalia Hotel.
 

9 Th

           
Olympia to Delphi
Morning visit to the site of Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic Games and location of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. View the stunning collection of sculpture in the Museum. Travel north to Delphi, via the magnificent new bridge over the Gulf of Korinth. Dinner, bed and breakfast in the Amalia Hotel, Delphi.
 

10 F

     
Delphi to Istanbul, Turkey via Vergina & Thessaloniki
Depart Delphi for Vergina to visit the stunning tombs of Philip II of Macedon, along with the incredible treasures found within them - amazing for their exquisite artistry and sheer opulence. Depart for Thessaloniki in the afternoon to catch the plane to Istanbul. Check into our hotel right beside the Top Kapi Palace.

 

11 S

Istanbul/Byzantium/Constantinople

A full day of activity in this scintillating city. Morning visit to Haghia Sofia, to study the construction and decoration of this most magnificent of Byzantine monuments. From there we will move through the monuments of the ancient Hippodrome to visit the Mosque of Sultan Ahmet I, the "Blue Mosque", and conclude in the great Byzantine cisterns of the city. Optional afternoon walk through the Grand Bazaar, begun in the 15th century by Mehmet the Conqueror. Group dinner in a fine Turkish restaurant.

 

12 Su

 Istanbul to Canakkale

In the morning, to prepare for our visit to Troy tomorrow, we will explore the Istanbul Archaeological Museum which houses important exhibits from the excavations at Hisarlik, as well as the fine "Alexander sarcophagus". In the afternoon we will drive by private coach along the Sea of Marmara, cross the Dardanelles, and check into our hotel in Canakkale.

 

13 M

Canakkale to Kusadasi via Ancient Troy and Pergamon

Morning departure for the archaeological site of Troy. Travel south by coach along the Aegean coast. After lunch at a Carpet Weaver's Association, where we will be shown the production techniques of Turkish carpet making, we visit the extensive ruins of the acropolis of Ancient Pergamon, one of Hellenistic Greece's most impressive cities. From Pergamon we drive to to Kusadasi, where we will stay for two nights in the historic Club Caravanserail.

 

14 T

Kusadasi to Didyma and Priene

Afternoon visits to the sites of Ancient Didyma, with its spectacular oracular temple of Apollo, and to Priene, to study Hellenistic city-planning. Return for a group dinner in Kusadasi.

 

15 W

Kusadasi to Pamukkale via Aphrodisias

Travel by private coach to the stunning site of Aphrodisias, which boasts an enormous stadium and a newly opened museum amonst its many treasures. Continue on to Pamukkale for our overnight stop.

 

16 T

Pamukkale to Antalya via Termessos

A brief stop to see the extraordinary "Cotton Castle" at Pamukkale, adjacent to the site of ancient Hierapolis. Then a full day's drive to Turkey's sourthern coast, stopping for a picnic lunch in the pine forest of the National Park. Hike up to the fabulously located mountain-top town of Termessos, which even Alexander the Great refused to attack. Finally move down to the city of Antalya, named after, and developed by, King Attalos of Pergamon.

Accommodation for next three nights in the Antalya Hotel in Antalya.

 

17 F

Antalya to Perge and Aspendos

Afternoon visit to the almost perfectly preserved Roman theatre at Aspendos, and then, in the footsteps of Alexander the Great and St. Paul, to the equally impressive site of Perge. Return to Antalya.

 

18 S

Antalya to Phaselis

Drive through the National Park to the sea-side settlement of Phaselis, for further insights into Greek civic architecture. Optional swim, then back to Antalya for a final Turkish group dinner.

 

19 Su

           
Antalya to Sorrento, Italy via Istanbul and Rome
Morning flight from Antalya to Istanbul, to connect with our flight to Rome. Transfer on arrival by private coach down to the exquisite Bay of Naples area. Bed & breakfast at Hotel del Corso, Sorrento.
Sorrento (Bed and breakfast in the Hotel del Corso in the centre of the town, for the next three nights.)
 

20 M

           
Sorrento to Paestum

Mid-morning departure by private coach to the archaeological site of Paestum, where we will study three splendidly preserved Doric temples, explore the fascinating tomb-paintings in the Archaeological Museum, and have a communal lunch of locally produced buffalo mozzarella at an Azienda Agicola e Caseificio.
 

21 T

           
Sorrento to Pompeii.
Our afternoon will be devoted to the extensive ruins of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Pompeii, concentrating on Roman city planning and domestic architecture including a visit to the newly opened House of the Chase Lovers, where we can observe the dig process as it happens.. Return to Sorrento for dinner in an excellent local restaurant.
 

22 W

           
Sorrento to Sperlonga via Herculaneum
Departure by private coach for the incredibly well-preserved remains of the town, which was buried in the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79. After lunch continue to Sperlonga, on the coast between Naples and Rome. Evening picnic on the beach. Bed & breakfast at the Hotel Aurora in Sperlonga.
 

23 Th

           
Sperlonga to Rome
Morning visit to the site of the curious Grotto of Tiberius, whose marvelous and highly influential sculptures are displayed in the museum. In the afternoon relocate to Rome and check in to our hotel, which is right in the ancient heart of the city.
Rome (Bed and breakfast in the central Albergo del Sole, near Campo de' Fiori, for the next four nights in Rome.)
 

24 F

Rome

Morning study of the civic architecture and urban planning of Rome moving through the Roman Forum, and on to the Colosseum. Group dinner in a fine Roman Restaurant.

 

25 S

Rome

Morning study at the Pantheon, one of the finest, and most influential constructions in world architecture, and at the important Ara Pacis Augustae.  In the evening, an exclusive private visit to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel after public closing times, to study the important Classical Sculpture collections and to see their influence on the art of Raphael and Michelangelo.

 

26 Su

Rome

Day free to explore the astonishing artistic riches of Rome at leisure.

 

27 M

           
Rome to London

Scheduled British Airwaysflight from Rome to London. Transfer, on arrival at Heathrow, into central London to the Lancaster Hall Hotel.
London (Bed and breakfast in the Lancaster Hall Hotel for the three nights in London.) N.B. The two option groups are re-united at this point.
 

28 T

London

Morning visit to the Houses of Parliament for a guided tour followed by a talk given by a Member of Parliament followed by lunch. Afternoon and evening free.

           

 

29 W

London

Final study visit to the Parthenon sculptures ('Elgin Marbles') in the British Museum and a specially arranged viewing of the sculptures from the Temple of Bassai.  Evening visit to see a ballet at the Royal Opera House followed by the Final Dinner. 

 

30 Th

London to Home

Morning transfer from hotel to Heathrow airport for flight to the United States.


 N.B. The above itinerary is complete as advance planning permits, but unforeseen circumstances may necessitate occasional adjustments.