Explore ancient Greece and its incredible legacy on this 17-day tour. The tour begins in Athens, with guided visits of its iconic monuments and excellent museums, before travelling to the spiritual centres of Greek civilisation at Olympia and Delphi and delving into the history and archaeology of the classical period on the Peloponnese. The tour also steps back in time to the Aegean Bronze Age, entering the world of Mycenaean kings with their forbidding palaces and monumental burial sites on the mainland and at Santorini, where there is also time to enjoy island life.
The extraordinary history of ancient Greece, preserved in its excellent museums
Icons of cultural achievement and their modern legacies: the Acropolis in Athens, Olympia and the Olympic Games
The fascinating Mycenaean civilisation, dating back to the 2nd millenium BC
Ancient legends and heroes and their stories: from the Delphic Oracle and King Agamemnon, to the Battle of Thermopylae
Spectacular landscapes and cultures of relaxation: Venetian Napflio and island life on Santorini’s volcanic caldera
The incomparable museums, acropolis and agora of Athens
Ancient feats of engineering: Epidaurus’ well-preserved 4th-century BC theatre, the citadel of Tiryns
Mycenae’s iconic Lion Gate and the world of Agamemnon
Olympia’s legacy and the values that have carried through to the modern era
The ruins of Sparta, evoking ancient military and political power
Mystical Delphi and its excellent museum, home to the most famous oracle in antiquity
Stunning Santorini, the perfect place to enjoy unique beaches, sunsets, museums and island villages
Days 1–3: Arrive in Athens; visit the Acropolis and its museum and the National Archaeological Museum.
Days 4–7: Admire modern engineering at the Corinth canal and enjoy Venetian architecture in pretty Napflio. Explore excellent archaeological sites at Epidaurus, Mycenae and Tiryns.
Days 8–9: At Olympia, survey the Temples of Zeus and Hera and take in the history of the games.
Days 10–11: Consult the oracle at Delphi, and visit the Persian War sites of Thermopylae and Marathon.
Days 12–14: Fly to Santorini, explore Minoan Akrotiri and Theran prehistory.
Days 15–17: Return to Athens for some free time before departure.
A limited number of places remain on this tour and as such, internet bookings are not taken. Please contact our travel consultant listed above if you wish to make a booking.
Emirates and Etihad have daily flights to Athens. Contact us for quotes and bookings.
Included meals are shown with the symbols B, L and D.
Monday 8 April: Arrive
The tour commences at the hotel in Athens at 6pm. Meet your tour leader and fellow travellers in the lobby of the hotel for introductions and drinks followed by dinner in the hotel. Overnight Athens (D)
Tuesday 9 April: Athens Agora and the Acropolis
We depart our hotel for a guided walking tour through the Agora, centre of the ancient city where citizens assembled for a wide variety of administrative, cultural, religious and political purposes. We continue our walk up to the Acropolis. The Parthenon, Erechtheion, and the exquisite temple of Athena Nike are the centrepieces of the ancient buildings on the Acropolis and encapsulate both the beauty and achievements of ancient Greece. We complete our tour with a visit to the Acropolis Museum where artefacts recovered from the site and spanning thousands of years are displayed. Our welcome dinner is in a local tavern. Overnight Athens. (B, L, D)
Wednesday 10 April: Athens Archaeological Museum
This morning we visit the National Archaeological Museum of Greece, with its incomparable collection of Mycenaean and classical period art and artefacts. Originally built to house finds from around Athens it has become a truly national museum with collections devoted to prehistory, sculptures, metallurgy and pottery. These pieces will remain with us during the tour as exemplars of many of the sites we shall visit throughout the country in the coming days. After lunch, we explore the labyrinthine streets in Plaka, the oldest district of Athens with neoclassical houses and pedestrian only streets before returning to the hotel on foot. Overnight Athens. (B, L)
Thursday 11 April: Mycenae
Departing Athens, we drive to the Isthmus of Corinth to see the canal that separates mainland Greece from the Peloponnese. We continue to Mycenae, the seat of Agamemnon who served as leader of the Greek coalition at Troy and a site that gave its name to a whole civilization. Walking through the site we come to the famous Lion Gate, see the Shaft Graves of Circle A and climb through the site to the crowning Megaron Palace where the Mycenaean king would have held sway over much territory. Blending back into the rocky hills, the ruins of this ancient powerhouse are in a spectacular location atop the citadel and ringed by well-preserved Cyclopean walls. A short drive takes us to our hotel to settle in before dinner. Overnight Nafplio. (B, D)
Friday 12 April: Nafplio and Epidaurus
This morning we visit the impressive site of Epidaurus, the location of the Asclepeion, one of the most famous healing centres of the Classical world. The well-preserved 4th-century BCE theatre is regarded as the best in Greece for its fine structure and perfect acoustics. Back in town we visit the Archaeological Museum to see the finds discovered from Tiryns, Mycenae and Epidaurus. After lunch in a local restaurant we wander through the narrow-cobbled streets of the old town of Nafplio, characterised by Venetian architecture and through Syntagma Square. This afternoon there is the option to climb the 913 steps to the baroque fortress of Palamidi, standing 216 metres above the town and named after Palamedes, the son of Nafplio and hero of the Trojan war. Overnight Nafplio. (B, L)
Saturday 13 April: Tiryns
Today we head to the small Mycenaean citadel of Tiryns. Celebrated by Homer for their strength, the walls of Tiryns still impress as does the well-preserved acropolis, cyclopean tunnels and gate house. Its location close to the sea made it an important city during the Middle Helladic period as it controlled the trade routes between the mainland and the Aegean. We return to Nafplio where the afternoon is at leisure. Overnight Nafplio. (B)
Sunday 14 April: Hydra
This morning we travel to the port of Ermioni and travel by fast ferry to Hydra in the Argo Saronic Gulf. Free of cars and motorised vehicles the island has a rustic beauty attracting artists, musicians and actors like Sophia Loren. We wander through the cobbled lanes; past beautifully preserved stone mansions and monasteries soaking in the atmosphere and enjoy lunch by the harbour. We return to Nafplio later in the afternoon. Overnight Nafplio. (B, L)
Monday 15 April: To Olympia
We depart for Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic Games and where the Olympic flame is still ceremonially lit every four years by the priestesses from the Altar of Hera using a concave mirror. We stop for lunch on the way, arriving in the early afternoon and settle in before dinner. Overnight Olympia. (B, L, D)
Tuesday 16 April: Olympia
This morning we visit the ancient site at Olympia, home to the Temple of Zeus, one of the Wonders of the Ancient World. The sanctuary not only lies in a beautiful and peaceful setting but its largely non-reconstructed remains allow a unique opportunity to visualise how this complex would have looked during its heyday. Also within the sanctuary is the ancient Temple of Hera while just outside the precinct are the gymnasium and well-preserved stadium. The archaeological museum is a treasure trove of artefacts excavated from the sacred precinct including superb architectural sculptures from the Temple of Zeus itself. Overnight Olympia. (B)
Wednesday 17 April: To Delphi
Today we travel to Delphi, chosen by the Greeks as the navel of the Earth and located on the spectacular cliff face of Mt Parnassus. This afternoon we visit the Delphi Archaeological Museum and view its collection of treasures including the marble Sphinx of Naxos and the marvellous Charioteer, one of the finest extant bronze statues from the classical world. Our visit also prepares us for our tour to the site tomorrow. We check in to our hotel and enjoy dinner in a local restaurant. Overnight Delphi. (B, L, D)
Thursday 18 April: Sanctuary of Apollo
Today we visit the impressive and mystical archaeological site of Delphi, home to the most important oracle of the ancient world whose influence on rulers and the ruled alike was profound. Political decisions were made and colonies around the Mediterranean were founded only after consultation with the Oracle. We examine the site today, exploring the Temple of Apollo, treasuries, the theatre, stadium and Altar of the Chians. This afternoon we travel to the walled monastery of Hosias Loukas. An important monument of the Middle Byzantine period the lavish frescoes and marble and mosaic decorations reflect the classic decorative style for this era. We also visit the crypt where the relics of St Luke are held. Overnight Delphi. (B)
Friday 19 April: Marathon to Santorini
Departing early today, we head to Marathon where the heavily outnumbered Athenians defeated the Persians in 490 BCE. Legend states that a Greek soldier ran from the battle site to Athens to proclaim the victory and gave rise to the Olympic event. We visit the monument dedicated to the 192 Greek soldiers who died in the battle and small archaeological Museum. We continue to Athens airport to board our flight to Santorini. Overnight Santorini (B, D)
Saturday 20 April: Akrotiri
Today we visit the Minoan Bronze Age site at Akrotiri. One of the most important prehistoric settlements of the Aegean, it was destroyed by the Theran eruption and buried in Volcanic ash and was possibly the inspiration behind Plato’s story of Atlantis. Excavations begun in 1967 have revealed a large settlement, extensive drainage systems and multi storeyed buildings painted with frescoes. After lunch we visit the Museum of Prehistoric Thira which houses artefacts and frescoes from Akrotiri and Neolithic and Cycladic era pottery. Overnight Santorini. (B, L)
Sunday 21 April: Santorini
This morning we travel to the north western tip of Santorini to Oia for spectacular views across the caldera and wander through the maze of streets past shops, cafes and whitewashed houses perched on the cliffside. We continue to Pyrgos, a fortress settlement and the highest point on the island and explore the ruins of Kasteli Castle. We explore Santorini’s famed black sand and pebbled beaches and enjoy lunch by the water. Overnight Santorini. (B, L)
Monday 22 April: To Athens
Depending on flight schedules we depart for Santorini Airport this morning and return to Athens. Any touring today will be designed around our arrival time into Athens once confirmed. Overnight Athens. (B, D)
Tuesday 23 April: At Leisure
Today is at leisure in Athens. We reconvene this evening for our farewell dinner. (B, D)
Wednesday 24 April: Depart
The tour concludes after breakfast. Passengers who have booked their international flights through Academy Travel will be provided with a transfer to the airport. (B)
Dr Jennifer Lawless
Has led tours to Turkey, Greece and Iran. Jenny has been awarded a Churchill Fellowship and a NSW Premier’s History Prize for her research and writing.
Jennifer has led tours to Turkey, Greece, Crete and Iran. Her main interest in travel is history, both ancient and more recent history such as the experiences of Australians at Gallipoli. Other cultures – and in particular their food and wine – also rate!
Jennifer has co-authored over ten books on ancient History that are widely used in senior History classes and has been awarded a number of scholarships and awards for writing and research, including a Churchill Fellowship, an Endeavor Research Fellowship for Turkey, and a NSW Premiers Award for History. Jennifer has lectured in History teaching method at Sydney, Macquarie and Western Sydney universities and was the Board of Studies History Inspector for 13 years. Her PhD concerned the experiences of the Australians captured as POWs during the Gallipoli campaign. This involved almost ten years of research and travelling over 8,000 kilometres through Turkey, locating the main POW camp sites. Ottoman documents that had never been translated into English before formed a solid basis for the research.
What is included in the tour price? Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:
Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate public transport is also used for short distance travel on some tours
All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
Services of tour leader throughout tour
All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
Local guides at some sites
Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals
Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.
What is not included in the tour price? Open-age tours do not include the following:
Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required
Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity
You will be asked to sign an acknowledgement of these conditions when you book a place on a tour.
A deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your booking on a tour. Final payment of the tour fee, insurance and any additional travel will be due 60 days before departure.
If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:
More than 60 days before departure: $500*
60-45 days before tour start: 25% of total amount due
44-15 days before tour start: 75% of total amount due
14 days or less before departure: 100% of total amount due
*This amount may be credited to another Academy Travel tour within 12 months of the original tour you booked.
Unused Portions of the tour
We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.
Academy Travel requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. We offer a comprehensive policy with a reputable insurer if required.
Passport and Visa
A valid passport is required for all international travel. If you do not hold an Australian passport you may require a re-entry permit. Some countries require a visa to be issued before you depart Australia. We will advise you of all passport and visa requirements, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet passport and visa requirements before you depart.
Will the tour price change?
If the number of participants in a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates Academy Travel reserves the right to amend the advertised price. If this occurs you will be given the option of cancelling your booking and obtaining a full refund. If an Academy Travel tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all monies paid.
Will the itinerary change?
Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of Academy Travel make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make slight amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes as soon as they occur.
Full and final payment for the tour, airfare travel, insurance and any additional travel you book is due 60 days before departure. Payment may be made by bank deposit, cheque, cash or credit card. Please note there is a surcharge for payments made by credit card.
Academy Travel reserves the right to decline the booking or terminate the holiday of any traveller.