- This expedition was inspired by the National Geographic television series The Greeks, the July 2016 National Geographic magazine photo-essay, and the 2016 National Geographic Museum exhibition The Greeks: From Agamemnon to Alexander the Great.
- In Athens, meet with a local expert to discuss the political and economic landscape of contemporary Greece.
- Enjoy festive farewell dinner at a family home in Athens.
Trace 5,000 years of Greek history while exploring the country's incomparable archaeological treasures. From the legendary Acropolis in Athens to the cliff-top monasteries of Meteora and the Mycenaean treasures of the Peloponnese, delve into the mythology and masterpieces of ancient Greece with local scholars and archaeologists.
Arrive in Athens and transfer to our hotel in the heart of the historic Plaka neighborhood. Gather for a welcome reception and dinner on the hotel's rooftop, which offers breathtaking views of the Acropolis.
Begin the day at the New Acropolis Museum, examining panels of the famous Parthenon frieze, along with many other ancient works. Visit the hilltop complex of the Acropolis, crowned by the magnificent Parthenon. Venture back into the Plaka neighborhood for a delicious lunch. Then discover the origins of democracy at the ancient Agora, once frequented by Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Enjoy the evening at leisure to explore the charming cobblestones streets of the Plaka neighborhood.
Visit the National Archaeological Museum, home to countless treasures including Mycenean gold masks, Greek vases, and evocative marble sculptures. Travel south over the Isthmus of Corinth to see the Temple of Apollo and the Forum. This evening, take a stroll along the waterfront in the charming town of Náfplio, then gather for dinner at a local taverna.
Explore the fortified city of Mycenae, the center of the powerful Mycenaean civilization that flourished in the second millennium B.C. Enter the citadel through the Lion Gate, discovering an ancient grave circle, the royal palace, and the Tomb of Agamemnon—the largest of the tholos (beehive) tombs found here. Journey into the renowned wine region of Nemea for a visit to an award-winning winery. Learn about the wine making process and enjoy a sampling of Greek wines over lunch. Later, visit the theater of Epidaurus, renowned for its exceptional acoustics. Return to Náfplio for an evening on your own.
Today we travel to Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic Games and a World Heritage Site. After lunch, explore this evocative collection of ancient temples, altars, and a stadium. Visit the archaeological museum to learn about Olympia’s origins as a sanctuary honoring Zeus. This evening, visit a local, family-owned olive farm and delve into the process for harvesting and pressing olives. Enjoy an olive oil tasting before an al fresco dinner.
Depart the Peloponnese for mainland Greece. Arrive at the sanctuary of Delphi, considered by ancient Greeks to be the center of the world. Walk the sacred way to the Temple of Apollo and explore Delphi's awe-inspiring ruins which include a theater, a stadium, treasuries, and altars. Later, have dinner at a local restaurant.
Begin the day with a visit to the 11th-century monastery of Hosios Loukas, a masterpiece of Byzantine architecture. Enjoy time at leisure in the hilltop town of Aráhova, taking in the panoramic views and picturesque architecture. This afternoon, journey to Kalambáka and have dinner overlooking the stunning rock formations the area is known for.
Spend the morning exploring the extraordinary monasteries of Meteora. Built atop sandstone megaliths that rise some 1,200 feet from the valley floor, these monasteries offered refuge from hostile attacks during the waning days of the Byzantine Empire. Venture into chapels and courtyards adorned with beautiful frescoes. Take in panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, when on a clear day, you can see as far as Mount Olympus. After lunch, venture into the surrounding forests to experience truffle hunting with a guide and specially trained dog.
This morning, travel to the mountain pass of Thermopylae, where Persian and Greek armies clashed in 480 B.C. Later, upon our return to Athens, meet with a local expert to discuss the political and economic landscape of contemporary Greece. Enjoy a free evening to explore Athens on your own.
Travel to the port city of Piraeus, stopping to view a striking mural by the Greek visual artist iNO, whose artistic process was captured in the National Geographic television series The Greeks. Board a ferry to the island of Aegina, once an important maritime power. Explore the fifth-century B.C. Temple of Aphaia and have lunch before returning by ferry to Athens. Gather for a farewell dinner this evening.
Transfer to the airport and connect with your international flight home.
- Santorini Extension4 days from $2,195
Post-trip, 4 Days
Discover the idyllic landscapes and archaeological treasures of Santorini, the jewel of the Aegean Sea. Explore the ruins of ancient Akrotiri, an important Minoan Bronze Age settlement once buried under volcanic ash, and examine treasures excavated from the site at the Museum of Prehistoric Thira. Explore the winding alleyways of picturesque whitewashed villages; learn the secrets of Greek cuisine during a private cooking lesson; stroll along stunning beaches of red and black sand; and much more.
Fly from Athens to Santorini, a crescent-shaped archipelago created from the remnants of a collapsed volcanic caldera. Settle into our elegant hotel, located in the quaint village of Imerovigli, then head to a local restaurant for a private cooking class. Learn about the time-honored traditions of Greek cuisine, and whip up delicious Greek classics for lunch, using organic local ingredients. Spend the remainder of the evening at leisure, exploring the winding cliffside lanes of Imerovigli or taking in a breathtaking sunset from one of the hotel's scenic terraces.
Wake up to spectacular views of the Aegean. After breakfast, set out on a walking tour of Fira, Santorini’s charming capital city. Visit the Museum of Prehistoric Thira—home to many archaeological treasures excavated from local sites—then explore the well-preserved ruins of Akrotiri with a guide. One of the most important prehistoric settlements in the area, Akrotiri was buried in volcanic ash some 3,600 years ago and rediscovered in 1967. Discover the multi-storied buildings, frescos, and drainage systems of this Minoan Bronze Age site; then venture to the Red Beach, where soaring red cliffs meet the sapphire blue waters of the sea. Stop for lunch at a trendy black-sand beach, and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
This morning, head to the monastery of Prophet Elias, built in the early 18th century at the highest point of Santorini island. Enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, then explore the romantic hillside village of Pyrgos. Later, visit a winery in Oia for a private tasting, followed by a guided stroll through town. Perched on rugged cliffs above Santorini’s caldera, this postcard-perfect village is one of the most photographed places in Greece, famed for its whitewashed buildings and blue-domed churches. Cap off the day with dinner at a local restaurant.
After breakfast, fly back to Athens and connect with your flight home.