All Inclusive Greece Tour 2019 with Optional Extension Greece Aegean Cruise or Italy
Greece With Aegean Cruise or Italy Extension Itinerary
(April, June, August, September only) Post Extension Aegean Cruise
This morning we are taken to Piraeus to start our Aegean Cruise. Late this afternoon we arrive at our first stop, Mykonos. Imagine a hilly, rock-ribbed island of 29 square miles, dotted with more than 350 tiny chapels built by 19th-century pirates for the protection of their patron saints. Picture dozens of quaint windmills and a small town of houses set neatly along narrow winding paths. Visit a fishing harbor with shops and boutiques selling handmade sweaters, dresses, fabrics, jewelry and other items at bargain prices. This evening we return to the ship for overnight and resume sailing.
DAY 9 – Tuesday: EPHESUS / PATMOS
In the morning we arrive at Kusadasi, Turkey. We will drive through the colorful town of Kusadasi to reach Mt. Koressos. Situated in a small valley, it is here where you will visit the humble chapel which lies on the site of the little house where The Virgin Mary is believed to have spent her last days. Despite the many controversies, the Christian World still favors this belief and the site has been officially sanctioned by the Vatican for pilgrimage. Continue on to Ancient Ephesus and accompanied by your guide, walk through the Magnesian Gate which is the entrance to the ancient city of Ephesus. Your guided walking tour will take you through one of the most magnificent excavations in the world. See the Odeon (concert hall), the Fountain of Trajan, the steam-heated Baths of Scolastika, the Temple of Hadrian and the Latrians, the Library of Celsus and The Great Theatre, where St. Paul preached, which is the largest theatre in antiquity having a capacity of 24,000 people. Walk back to your motor coach along the Arcadian Way, where Mark Anthony and Cleopatra once rode in procession. While driving back to Kusadasi and just outside Ephesus, view the Basilica of St. John, which was erected over his grave in the 6th Century AD by the Emperor Justinian.
In the afternoon we arrive at the beautiful island of Patmos, where St. John the Evangelist wrote the Revelation while in exile. We visit the ancient hilltop monastery with a spectacular view of the island and harbor. A brief stop along the way allows us to visit a cave thought to be where St. John lived while on the island. Return to the ship for our evening sail.
DAY 10 – Wednesday: RHODES
This morning we arrive at the island of Rhodes. Separated by a mere 10-mile strait from the Asia Minor coast, Rhodes is blessed by nature with exceptional gifts. Homer called it “the Bride of the Sun,” later poets “the Island of Roses.” In the Middle Ages, the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem established themselves at Rhodes and built a fortified city, now the best-preserved of its kind in the Mediterranean area. We drive along the medieval walls to the summit of Mount Smith, the Acropolis of ancient Rhodes. From the tumbled massive pillars of the Temple of Athena, the view encompasses the nearby Temple of Apollo, the stadium of Diagoras and the port, once protected by the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. The drive continues across the island to Philerimos. The summit of Philerimos was the site of Ialysos, one of the three ancient cities of Rhodes. Later sites include the restored Byzantine Church of Our Lady of Philerimos, a chapel with 15th century frescoes, and the ruined Castle of the Knights. After the visit and some free time, return to Rhodes and begin a guided walk of the old walled city to the Porte d’Amboise. It is a pleasure to stroll the street of the Knights with its medieval buildings, winding alleys, towers, turrets and emblazoned façades. You will then visit the impressive Grand Master’s Palace and have the chance to see the superb mosaics. The pleasant walk passes through the Marine Gate before you return to the ship.
DAY 11 –Thursday: HERAKLION / SANTORINI
This morning our cruise takes us to Crete, largest of the Greek Islands, and Heraklion, the largest seaport. Our shore excursion begins from the Venetian lion-guarded port of Heraklion with a drive through the city to the famous wine producing area of Peza, south of Heraklion. The drive is through breathtaking landscape of countryside and vineyards as old as Minoan times. The first stop is a modern winery, where you will see the updated methods of wine making and sample some of the delicious Cretan wines. The drive continues through rural villages to the village of Archanes, the municipality in the area. On the way, a photo stop is made at Vathypetro to view one of the oldest farmhouses in Crete, dating to the Minoan period 16th century B.C.. The tour continues through the island’s hilly countryside where olive groves and vineyards existed from as far back as 4.000 years. Arriving at the village of Archanes, which is situated 10km south of the Palace of Knossos, the quaint market town of Archanes has many restored sandstone houses dating from the Turkish period. At a taverna in the villages’ tree-shaded square, you can sample an assortment of Cretan snacks and locally produced wine, and a chance to mingle with many of the locals themselves while listening to typical Greek live music. You will have free time to browse before the return drive to the port of Heraklion and the ship.
This afternoon we arrive at Santorini, a sight that takes one’s breath away! Our excursion begins with a drive along the road you’ll have the unique opportunity to admire the panoramic view of the Aegean sea with the neighboring islands. A unique sight is also the various layers of lava that one can see on the face of the rock, each layer being another phase of the activity of the volcano. Built on the Caldera rim, Oia Village is an excellent example of Cycladic architecture. Accompanied by your guide explore the village walking along the cobble-stone streets and the white washed houses with blue shutters where one gets the impression that they are living in a beautiful travel poster. The tour will then proceed to the town of Thira, an attractive town perched on the Caldera rim. Here, you will have time to stroll along the lanes of the little town or relax over a coffee as you gaze down upon Kamenes, the two black volcanic islets in the Caldera bay. A short cable car ride will take you down to the pier to rejoin your vessel.
(February or November only) Post Extension #1 Athens to Rome
DAY 8 — Tuesday: ATHENS / MYCENAE / PATRAS
We disembark and go to the canal and visit Mycenae. The Mycenaean’s were fierce warriors and great engineers who designed and built remarkable bridges, fortification walls, and beehive-shaped tombs, all employing Cyclopean masonry and elaborate drainage and irrigation systems. Their palatial centers, “Mycenae rich in gold” and “sandy Pylos,” are immortalized in Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey.
DAY 9 – Wednesday: BARI / POZZUOLIThis morning we will disembark our ship and head to Foro Appio and Tres Tabernaes– Three Taverns, still on the Appian Way, you reach Pozzuoli. This is the same port where Paul landed…and after one day the south wind blew, and we came the next day to Puteoli. (Acts 28:13).
This afternoon we visit the area of the sea-port and the Roman Amphitheater in order to get a sense of what Paul experienced once he arrived on the mainland of the “Roman Empire”. Check into our hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 10 –Thursday, POMPEI / MINTURNO / FORO APPIOThis morning we go to Pompeii, and have an archeological journey through the ancient city. Pompeii, which was buried under a layer of lava by a sudden eruption of Mount Vesuvius in the year 79 A.D., is a town whose daily life of the Imperial Age has been petrified. It is as if it were under a spell in its gestures, secrets and in the panic felt by its inhabitants during its last moments. Visiting the “frozen city” creates a feeling similar to that experienced by Paul when he walked through similar streets from his time. Then we will visit the houses, shops, temples, squares, streets and also the “Lupanare” (which was a house of prostitutes with its frescos showing erotic scenes) and the “Suburbane Therm” (with erotic frescos, among which the only saffico-picture of the Roman world). Now you understand the anger of Paul shouting aloud against corruption and perdition of the Romans. Romans 1, 26…. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature
DAY 11 — Friday, FORO APPIO / TRES TABERNAE/ ROME
After breakfast, board boats, similar to the ones used during the times of Paul. This was a swamp when Paul arrived here, Go up the river, full of historical and spiritual meanings. Foro Appio, at “Mansio Hotel” is located in the same place where an ancient Roman “posta” (place where travelers could rest and change their tired horses before continuing their journey). This might be the place where the Sacred Writings remind us of the meeting of Paul with the Christian Communities Acts 28:14 (…”And so we came to Rome. The brothers there had heard that we were coming and they traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us.”) Depart Foro Appio late in the morning and travel towards Rome, stopping a few minutes at the Church of St. Paul (built in the place where he met the Christian Community) of TRES TABERNE – Three Taverns …and so we went toward Rome. (Acts 28:14.) Then we will continue to Minturno. Arrive Rome in the late afternoon and check into our hotel for dinner and overnight
DAY 12 – Saturday, ROME / VATICAN CITY / CATACOMBS
This morning we visit the Vatican Museum and Gallery, Raphael’s Rooms with their wonderful frescoes, the Sistine Chapel – where Michelangelo’s recently restored masterpieces adorn the ceilings and walls – and Pincio Garden. We continue into St. Peter’s Basilica and view Vatican City.
This afternoon we visit the Colosseum, St. Paul’s Basilica Outside the Walls, Palatine and Capitoline Hills, Imperial Forum, Roman Forum, Mamertine Prison where Paul was held, and the Church of St. Peter in Chains with the famed statue of Moses by Michelangelo. We visit the Old Appian Way and the Catacombs of St. Calixtus, then return to our hotel for dinner.
DAY 13 – Sunday: ROME / NEW YORK
We will be taken to the airport for our flight home. We will cherish the memories of Paul the Apostles life that changed the course of man.
Greece Tours & Greece Aegean Cruise 2019