GREEK AEGEAN ODYSSEY
On a day trip from Athens to the nearby island of Aegina we shall visit the ancient site of Kolonna and the Temple of Aphaia built in the early 5th century BCE. We then fly across the Aegean from Athens to the island of Rhodes. Here we shall walk in the footsteps of the Knights of St John who were based in Rhodes from 1309 to 1523. Their UNESCO World Heritage listed medieval capital is an outstanding example of Frankish and subsequent Ottoman architecture. There is a visit to the ancient acropolis of Lindos and a day trip to the island of Kos, home to the ancient healing sanctuary where Asclepius once practiced medicine.
From Rhodes we fly to the island of Mykonos, famous for its whitewashed houses and churches, and visit Delos, the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, an important religious sanctuary to the ancient Greeks and centre of the slave trade under the Romans.
A local ferry takes us from Mykonos to the island of Paros, famed in antiquity for its fine marble. We visit the ancient quarries as well as exploring churches and villages on the island. It is just a short ferry ride to Naxos, the largest of the Cycladic islands, where we spend the next three nights, and visit picturesque villages and archaeological sites, including unfinished monumental archaic statues.
A hydrofoil takes us across the Aegean to Santorini where we consider the Bronze Age society destroyed in a volcanic eruption in the middle of the second millennium BCE. We visit Acrotiri where archaeologists have unearthed a settlement frozen in time and see many of the artefacts from the site displayed in the Prehistoric Museum. We also take a sunset cruise in the volcano’s caldera and visit the spectacularly located classical site of Thira.
Crete is the last island visited and we continue our exploration of the Aegean Bronze Age here with the Minoans. There are visits to the Palace of Knossos and the Archaeological Museum as well as exploring the legacy of the Venetians in the island’s capital, Heraklion. From Heraklion we drive to Chania with a visit to the museum and site of Eleutherna, purported birthplace of the sculptor Timochares and the Arkadi Monastery en route. In Chania, once the capital of Crete, we explore the historic centre and visit the Archaeological Museum. Upon our return to Athens, where the tour ends, there is a visit to the Museum of Cycladic Art.
YOUR TOUR LEADER: Helen Nicholson is an experienced, well-regarded study tour leader and had led more than thirty tours to Europe and Asia, including Alumni’s Egypt, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia tours, and the AAIA’s 2015 and 2016 tours to Greece. She holds archaeology degrees from the University of Sydney and has delivered numerous lectures, courses and study days for adult, museum and professional audiences. Helen spent several years working at the Powerhouse Museum and has been a casual lecturer and tutor at the University of Sydney since 1995. She has worked on archaeological sites in Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Jordan, Cambodia and Uzbekistan, including three seasons at the AAIA’s excavations at Torone and Sydney University’s excavations at Paphos in Cyprus. Helen now works as an archaeological consultant in Sydney.
Optional weekend pre-tour (30 and 31 March) for those who have not been to Athens with visits to the Acropolis (leave hotel at 7.30 am to avoid the crowds), Acropolis Museum and the ancient Agora, accompanied by a local guide and your tour leader.
MON 01 APRIL ARRIVE ATHENS
Arrive Athens and transfer to hotel. After time to freshen up we take a late afternoon walk in the environs of our hotel and enjoy a welcome drink and dinner. (Meals in flight. D)
TUE 02 APRIL ATHENS – AEGINA – ATHENS
We take a hydrofoil this morning from Pireaus, the ancient port of Athens, to the island of Aegina in the Saronic Gulf. Upon arrival visit the Temple of Aphaia. This Doric temple replaced an earlier one destroyed in 510 BCE and its sculptural decoration straddles the archaic and classical periods. Afterwards visit the Archaeological Museum of Aegina and the ancient site of Kolonna. There is free time for lunch on the waterfront in Aegina town before returning to Pireaus where we see what survives of the 5th century BCE fortification walls of this port before returning to our hotel. (B,D)
WED 03 APRIL ATHENS – RHODES
After checking out of our hotel this morning there is a visit to the National Archaeological Museum in Athens where important finds from throughout Greece are displayed. Afterwards transfer to the airport for our late afternoon flight to Rhodes. The island is the showpiece of the Dodecanese and among the most popular of the Greek islands. (B,D)
THU 04 APRIL RHODES
An early departure for Lindos this morning in order to visit the ancient Acropolis and Sanctuary of Athena that are now within the walls of a medieval fortress. Afterwards we explore the UNESCO World Heritage listed Old City of Rhodes occupied by the Knights of St John from 1309 – 1523 and surrounded by impressive and well-preserved fortification walls. We walk along the Street of the Knights lined with the residences of the various nationalities of the knights. Among the monuments and buildings visited today are the Palace of the Grand Masters and the Archaeological Museum that was once the knight’s hospital. (B,D)
FRI 05 APRIL RHODES – KOS – RHODES
There is a day trip from Rhodes to the island of Kos today, where Hippocrates was born. Visit the remains of the Sanctuary of Asclepius and healing centre where he practiced medicine. After free time for lunch we visit 14th century Neratzia Castle right on the harbour, before catching our late afternoon return ferry to Rhodes. (B,D)
SAT 06 APRIL RHODES – MYKONOS
Our flight today from Rhodes to Mykonos arrives in the early afternoon. Upon arrival there is a visit to the Mykonos Archaeological Museum before we check into our hotel. (B,D)
SUN 07 APRIL MYKONOS – DELOS – MYKONOS
The island of Delos, the birthplace of the Greek gods Artemis and Apollo, was an important religious sanctuary in the first millennium BCE. Under the Romans it became an important trade centre and slave market with as many as 10,000 said to pass through it each day. We travel by boat to the island and walk along the sacred way flanked by lion sculptures as well exploring the religious and impressive residential areas on the island. (B)
MON 08 APRIL MYKONOS – PAROS
This morning is at leisure. Many regard Chora where our Mykonos hotel is located, as one of the most beautiful island towns, with immaculately whitewashed houses concealing hundreds of little churches, shrines and chapels. In the early afternoon transfer to the port for our ferry to the island of Paros. (B,D)
TUE 09 APRIL PAROS
We spend a full day exploring the island of Paros today, from picturesque villages in the interior to monuments and museums in the island’s capital Parikia. In antiquity the island was famed for its translucent white marble and we visit an ancient quarry site. In Parikia there are visits to Panagia Ekatontapyliani, the oldest church in the Aegean, and as well as the Archaeological Museum. (B)
WED 10 APRIL PAROS – NAXOS
The morning is at leisure. In the afternoon we take a short ferry trip to nearby Naxos, the largest of the Cycladic islands. (B,D)
THU 11 APRIL NAXOS
Today we explore sites and monuments in Naxos Town and its environs. We visit the interesting Archaeological Museum and the Kastro that sits on top of the classical and Byzantine acropolis. We also visit the Mitropolis archaeological area and Palatia where a monumental archaic doorway still stands. (B)
FRI 12 APRIL NAXOS
We continue exploring Naxos today. Near Flero we stop to see the remains of a monumental archaic statue and visit the Sanctuaries of the Chthonic Deities, the Sanctuary of Dionysos at Yria, the Sanctuary of Demeter and the Temple of Apollo, erected by the tyrant Lygdamis in the 6th century BCE. Our drive will take as through beautiful countryside and villages. (B)
SAT 13 APRIL NAXOS – SANTORINI
A mid-day ferry takes us from Naxos to the island of Santorini, or Thera, as it was known to the ancient Greeks. A volcanic eruption in the middle of 2nd millennium BCE blew the centre of the island out which left the crescent shaped island seen today. In the late afternoon we enjoy a sunset dinner cruise in the caldera of the volcano. (B,D)
SUN 14 APRIL SANTORINI
This morning we visit the Archaic to Roman period town of ancient Thira, spectacularly situated on top of a hill and well worth the climb up to the site. We shall then visit the Prehistoric Museum of Thera where a stunning collection of finds from Akrotiri are displayed. After free time for lunch we visit the site itself. Large scale excavations, commenced in the late 1960s, have brought to light a sophisticated, well preserved settlement ‘frozen in time’ by the volcanic eruption. (B)
MON 15 APRIL SANTORINI – HERAKLION
Late this morning, after checking out of our hotel we visit the traditional village of Oia where whitewashed houses appear to cling to the cliff face.
There is free time to explore Oia and enjoy a leisurely lunch before we drive to the port for our late afternoon ferry to Crete. Upon arrival we transfer and check into our hotel in Heraklion. (B,D)
TUE 16 APRIL HERAKLION
Heraklion, the capital of Crete, was ruled by the Venetians from 1205 until 1669 when it was taken by the Ottomans and this morning we explore this legacy on foot. Afterwards there is a visit to the outstanding Archaeological Museum that houses treasures from the whole island, including spectacular Minoan frescoes and objects that point to a rich, flourishing Bronze Age culture. In the late afternoon there is a visit to the Minoan palace at Knossos unearthed by Sir Arthur Evans in the early 20th century. (B)
WED 17 APRIL HERAKLION – CHANIA
We leave Heraklion this morning and drive east to Chania. En route there is a visit to the ancient site and museum of Eleutherna on the slopes of Mt Ida and the picturesque Arkadi Monastery where there was fierce resistance to Ottoman rule in the 19th century. We then continue to picturesque Chania, Crete’s earlier capital with a centre that retains much of its Venetian charm. The skyline is dominated by the nearby White Mountains. (B,D)
THU 18 APRIL CHANIA
This morning we explore Chania’s historic monuments on foot. The afternoon is at leisure to wander the maze of streets that surround the harbour. (B)
FRI 19 APRIL CHANIA-ATHENS
We fly from Chania to Athens this morning. Before checking into our hotel there is a visit to the Museum of Cycladic Art. This afternoon is at leisure and in the evening, we enjoy a farewell dinner in a local restaurant. (B,D)
SAT 20 APRIL DEPART ATHENS
After breakfast transfer to the airport for return flights to Australia. (B, Meals in flight)
GENERAL INFORMATION AND SPECIAL BOOKING CONDITIONS
Land Only per person, twin-share $9,820.00
Single Supplement $2,300.00
LAND ONLY TOUR PRICE INCLUDES:
• Twin-share accommodation in comfortable hotels with private facilities
• Transport in comfortable air conditioned coaches
• Domestic flights and ferry crossings within Greece as specified in the itinerary
• Breakfast daily and other meals as indicated in the itinerary
• All transfers, entrance fees and sightseeing as per the itinerary
• English speaking local guides as per itinerary
• Service of a Tour Leader throughout the itinerary
• All applicable tipping for group arrangements
• Alumni Travel Tour Booklet and Wallet
LAND ONLY TOUR PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE:
• Return international air travel from Australia to Athens
• Applicable passenger airport taxes
• Meals not listed in itinerary
• Porterage at ports
• Beverages with meals
• City taxes for hotels
• Airport to hotel transfers if not travelling on suggested flights
• Visa requirements of the tour member
• Travel Insurance
• Items of personal nature (telephone, laundry etc)
Please contact Tony (email@example.com) for the best airfares available at the time of booking.
I’m Interested…How Do I Book?
Fill in the online Booking Form, read and agree with our Terms & Conditions, select your payment option for your deposit of $450.00 per person to Alumni Travel and Submit. Upon receipt of your Booking Form and deposit, you will receive a confirmation of your place in writing.
DEPOSIT AND FINAL PAYMENT:
The deposit is accepted as a first installment of the tour cost and will be fully refunded if the arrangements can not be confirmed or the tour is cancelled by Alumni Travel. Final payment for the tour needs to be received at least 60 days prior to tour departure. An invoice will be sent to you about a fortnight before the final payment becomes due.
CANCELLATION AND REFUNDS:
Any cancellation from the tour needs to be done in writing. The cancellation date will be taken from the day your written cancellation is received by Alumni Travel. Because of the tour cancellation charges imposed by our various suppliers, the following cancellation charges apply, per person:
Over 60 days $100.00 – Administration Fee
59 – 40 days 25% of tour cost
39 – 10 days 50% of tour cost
Within 10 days 100% of tour cost
If a difference occurs between these cancellation conditions and those imposed by our suppliers, then the conditions of the supplier shall apply.
There is no refund before or after travel has commenced or for any unused portion of the tour, either in regard to the standard group arrangements or separate independent arrangements.
CREDIT CARD PAYMENTS:
Any payments by credit card will be subject to a 2% non-refundable Merchant Administration Fee.
It is now standard policy with our company that all our international travellers have some type of international travel insurance, so that you are covered for any unforeseen circumstances that may arise. A comprehensive Insurance brochure is available from Alumni Travel. The insurance brochure contains the terms and conditions under which insurance cover will be offered to you.
ADDITIONAL TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS:
If you would like Alumni Travel to assist you with any additional arrangements pre or post tour, please contact our office for assistance at time of booking. All arrangements need to be finalised at least 30 days prior to your departure.
An administration fee of $30.00 per amendment will be charged for any changes made to any reservation within 30 days prior to your departure. Any additional charges imposed by our suppliers will also be payable.
PASSPORT AND VISAS:
It is the traveller’s responsibility to ensure that they possess the necessary travel documentation for the tour, such as a valid passport and any required visas. Your passport should be valid at least 6 months beyond the end of your journey and have two clear pages for each country to be visited in your journey.
In the event that passenger numbers do not reach the minimum number of tour participants (approximately 10, excluding the tour leader) required for the tour, it may be necessary to either surcharge or cancel the tour. If such an event does occur, you will be notified at least 60 days prior to the tour departure.
This tour price has been calculated on the basis of exchange rates and tariffs at the time of print and is subject to change up until final payment has been received. At the time of final invoicing (approximately two months prior to the tour departure date), Alumni Travel reserves the right to re-cost the tour based on actual exchange rates. This could mean an increase or decrease to the above listed prices. Should you decide to cancel your arrangements on the basis of a change in the tour price, normal cancellation charges will apply.