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Antiquity to Byzantium

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Experience a harmonious balance between conventional cruising and private yachting, along with an exciting voyage of discovery, unravelling the wonders of Antiquity and Byzantium around the coast of the Peloponnese. Each day you will discover a new port of call, a leap back into ancient history to amaze you and rich cultural diversity to intrigue you. With the guidance and knowledge of an experienced lecturer and guide you’ll get to know the famous ancient theatre of Epidaurus, the Tomb of Agamemnon, and the Mycenae burial complex, as well as Ancient Olympia and famous Delphi. Visit historic and picturesque cities, such as Nafplio and Monemvasia, Gytheio and Pylos, all waiting to be discovered the best way: by small ship.

Clients Say:

This cruise exceeded every possible expectation. The small boat and small size of our group made it seem like a private tour. We loved it and will do another with the same company.
M. and R. Holtz, Alexandria, VA (2013 Antiquity to Byzantium Cruise)


Ships: M/S Galileo

About This Cruise

Itinerary Highlights

Marina Zea (Athens) - Palaia Epidaurus, Nafplio - Mycenae, Gythion, Pylos, Katakolon - Olympia, Itea - Delphi

Included:

  • Seven nights accommodation in double or twin cabins with private bathroom with shower and air conditioning
  • 2 meals per day
  • Regular (filter) coffee, tea and still mineral water free all day
  • Use of fishing and snorkelling equipment (subject to availability)
  • Multilingual Cruise Escort
  • Expert guest lecturers on Greek history and archaeology
  • Take an additional $50 per person off the prices below when you book with Ventures.

Air Options

While we have no specific air deals on this cruise, please call 1-888-868-6871 if you would like us to assist with your airfare.

Not included:

  • Drinks other than coffee, tea, mineral water (Cash bar on board. All onboard charges are in Euros.)
  • Shore excursions
  • Massage or spa treatments
  • Gratuities
  • Laundry
  • Port charges ($265.00 per person)
  • Airfare
  • Transfers to and from the embarkation/disembarkation port
  • Travel Insurance


Ships: M/S Galileo

Itinerary

Day 1 (Friday): Marina Zea (Athens) - Palaia Epidaurus
Embarkation between 14:00-15:00. Enjoy a welcome drink and meet your crew and fellow passengers. Sail for Palaia (old) Epidaurus. Evening arrival and dinner on board.
Day 2 (Saturday): Palaia Epidaurus (Excursion)
You leave the ship early in the morning to drive to Ancient Epidaurus. Epidaurus was known throughout the Greek world as a healing sanctuary. It was reputed to be the birthplace of Apollo's son Asclepius and for its theater, which is once again in use today. The sanctuary was looted by the Roman general Sulla by pirates and later by Goths in 395 A.D. and very little remains of it today. The prosperity brought by the Asclepieion enabled the residents of Epidaurus to construct civic monuments, including a huge theater (approximately 300 B.C.) renowned for its symmetry and beauty. Lunch on ship and afternoon sailing to Nafplio. Overnight at port.
Day 3 (Sunday): Nafplio - Mycenae (Excursion)
After a short walking tour of Nafplio, drive through the colorful city and the beautiful countryside of Argolis towards Mycenae. The importance of the city, which Homer calls "rich in gold" begins in 1650 B.C and ceases around 1100 B.C with the fall of the civilization to which it gives name. Visit the remains of the ancient glorious city including the Lion’s Gate, the Palace, the so called Agamemnon Tomb, and the museum. Lunch on ship and afternoon sailing to Monemvassia. Overnight sailing to Gythion.
Day 4 (Monday): Gythion (Excursion)
Early morning arrival to Gythion. Excursion to Mani peninsula and Cape Tenaro plus the spectacular DirouCaves with their stalactites and stalagmites. Ancient Gythion was inhabited during prehistoric times and was used later by the Spartans as a port, since by enlarging the natural harbor they made Gythion their naval base.

Leaving Gythion you will cross the scenic Mani Peninsula to reach Diros and visit the spectacular caves, discovered around the 60's, which are perhaps among the most important natural sites of Greece. After visiting the cave you will drive to nearby Areopolis for a short stroll through the town. Mani is at the tip of the Peloponnese, a distinctive area unlike any other area in Greece. A desolate region of underground lakes and rivers, windswept landscapes and towers who is strangely beautiful. Overnight at sea to Pylos.
Day 5 (Tuesday): Pylos (Excursion)
Pylos, is a picture-perfect seaside town on the southwest corner of the Peloponnese. In 1827 a fleet of Venetians and other city states defeated an Ottoman fleet in one of the most important naval battles in history. This defeat led to the independence of Greece, which occurred in 1829. After stopping to admire the scenery, you will continue up the road to Nestor's Palace. The remains of the prehistoric Palace occupy a scenic hilltop setting north of Pylos. The palace at Pylos belonged to Nestor and was discovered in 1939 by the American archaeologist Carl Blegen.

Highlights include the well-preserved royal apartments and a bathtub that archaeologists have speculated belonged to the old king himself. The palace, with its central courtyard, was originally two stories high and richly decorated with frescoes. Following your visit to the remains of the palace, you will make the short trip to the town of Hora where a superb archaeological museum holds thousands of artifacts recovered from the site. Overnight sailing to Katakolon.
Day 6 (Wednesday): Katakolon - Olympia (Excursion)
Early morning arrival in Katakolon. You will disembark the ship around 07:00. in the port town of Katakolo and travel by bus to Olympia, one of the most famous and important sites in the ancient world. Olympia is revered as the birthplace of the Olympic Games. In the ancient Greek world, it was also the greatest panhellenic sanctuary for the worship of Zeus. Olympia persisted well into Roman times until its demise in the 3rd century A.D. when fires, earthquakes and invading tribes from the north left the ancient site in ruins. From 1875 onward excavation work, spearheaded primarily by the German government, revealed the fantastic treasures from antiquity that sit today in the marvelous archaeological museum. The most thrilling site at Olympia is the stadium, which looks much like it did more than 2,000 years ago. You will also explore the Temple of Hera, the magnificent temple of Zeus the Philippeion, lodging place for the athletes who participated in the games.

You later visit the Olympia Museum, one of the most beautiful museums in the world. Following lunch in the town of Olympia, you’ll visit the Museum of the History of the Olympic Games of Antiquity. Unlike the main archaeological museum, this building houses statuary and a host of artifacts specifically related to the ancient Olympic games. After having time at leisure you will travel overland to Patras on the north coast of the peninsula, where you will re-board the ship and depart for Itea in the Gulf of Corinth. Overnight at Itea.
Day 7 (Thursday): Itea - Delphi (Excursion)
Morning excursion to Delphi, one of the most revered sites from the ancient world. You will disembark the ship early this morning and proceed to the ruins complex. Unlike other archaeological sites in Greece, Delphi is built on the side of a mountain. First-time visitors are awed as much for the stunning natural beauty that surround the ruins as for the ancient buildings themselves. In its prime, Delphi was revered for its wealth and reputation, attributes which grew from the site's location as hosting the most important oracle in the classical world.

Indeed, because everything in Greece is connected to mythology, Delphi became the premier site for the worship of the god Apollo. The oracle had the ability to prophecy the future and give advice. Visitors from across the Greek world traveled here to consult with the oracle, and responded by offering thanks to Apollo in the form of treasure. You will have a half day to walk around the ruins complex and visit the adjoining museum. Return to the ship and cross the Corinth Canal. Later in the evening you sail to Marina Zea. Overnight in Marina Zea.
Day 8 (Friday): Marina Zea (Disembarkation)
Disembarkation after breakfast.
Ships: M/S Galileo

Excursions for Antiquity to Byzantium

Shore excursions are sold on board in Euros. Prices are subject to change.

All excursions require a of 14 persons. They are subject to changes due to site restorations, weather, heavy traffic or other conditions. Major sites and museums might be closed on Mondays and alternative visits will be offered. The tours are active and require good physical condition. Due to slippery sites we recommend comfortable shoes, sun tan lotion, hats and water. Dress code for Church and Monastery visits.
EPIDAURUS – ANCIENT THEATRE--€55pp
Duration approx. 3 hours – Incl. Bus/Guide/Entry fee>

You leave the ship early in the morning to drive to Ancient Epidaurus. Epidaurus was known throughout the Greek world as a healing sanctuary. It was reputed to be the birthplace of Apollo's son Asclepius - and for its theater, which is once again in use today. The Asclepieion at Epidaurus was the most celebrated healing center of the Classical world, the place where ill people went in the hope of being cured. To find the right cure for their ailments, "patients" spent a night in the Enkoimitria, a big sleeping hall. In their dreams, the god himself would advise them what they had to do to regain their health.

The prosperity brought by the Asclepieion enabled the residents of Epidaurus to construct civic monuments, including a huge theater (approximately 300 B.C.) renowned for its symmetry and beauty. When full, the theater seats up to 15,000 people. As it did during the time of the ancient Greeks, the theater is still marveled for its exceptional acoustics, which permit almost perfect perception of spoken words from the stage floor to all spectators, regardless of their seating. Tour guides demonstrate the acoustical perfection of the theater using different means, such as dropping a coin or even whispering whereby anyone seated anywhere in the theater can easily hear the sound.
PYLOS – NESTOR'S PALACE
Duration approx. 3.5 hours - Incl. Bus/Guide/Entry fee

Pylos, is a picture-perfect seaside town on the southwest corner of the Peloponnese. The town sits on the backside of stately Navarino Bay the site of several famous naval battles in antiquity between the Spartans and Athenians during the Peloponnesian conflict. In 1827 a fleet of Venetians and other city states defeated an Ottoman fleet in one of the most important naval battles in history. This defeat led to the independence of Greece, which occurred in 1829. After stopping to admire the scenery, you will continue up the road to Nestor's Palace.

The remains of the prehistoric Palace occupy a scenic hilltop setting north of Pylos. Though most of the palace is long gone, the foundation remains surprisingly intact and the entire site is covered by a large shed-like structure to prevent further damage from the elements. We know about old king Nestor thanks to Homer who wrote of him in the The Iliad and The Odyssey. Nestor was an Argonaut king who, along with his sons Antilochus and Thrasymedes fought on the side of the Greeks during the Trojan War. He was perhaps best known for giving advice to younger warriors and for his attempts to mediate differences between Agamemnon and Achilles at a time when the tide of war had turned against the Greeks.

The palace at Pylos belonged to Nestor and was discovered in 1939 by the American archaeologist Carl Blegen. Highlights include the well-preserved royal apartments and a bathtub that archaeologists have speculated belonged to the old king himself. The palace, with its central courtyard, was originally two stories high and richly decorated with frescoes.

Following your visit to the remains of the palace, you will make the short trip to the town of Hora where a superb archaeological museum holds thousands of artifacts recovered from the site. Among the 3,000 year-old treasures are beautifully carved statues, pottery, and weapons.
NAFPLIO - MYCENAE
Duration approx. 4 hours - Incl. Bus/Guide

After a short walking tour of Nafplio, drive through the colorful city and the beautiful countryside of Argolis towards Mycenae. The importance of the city, which Homer calls "rich in gold" begins in 1650 B.C and ceases around 1100 B.C with the fall of the civilization to which it gives name. Visit the remains of the ancient glorious city including the Lion's Gate, the Palace, the so called Agamemnon Tomb and the museum.

Mycenae in legend was the royal seat of the ill-fated House of Atreus, and from Mycenae Agamemnon, "king of men", went off as leader of the Achaean expedition to war against Troy.
OLYMPIA
Duration approx. 8 hours. - Incl. Bus/Guide/Entry Fee/Lunch

A full day excursion starting in Katakolon and ending in Patras, where you re-board the ship.

You will disembark the ship around 07:00. in the port town of Katakolo and travel by bus to Olympia. Olympia is revered as the birthplace of the Olympic Games. In the ancient Greek world, it was also the greatest Pan-Hellenic sanctuary for the worship of Zeus. Olympia persisted well into Roman times until its demise in the 3rd century A.D. From 1875 onward excavation work revealed the fantastic treasures from antiquity that sit today in the marvelous archaeological museum. The most thrilling site at Olympia is the stadium, which looks much like it did more than 2,000 years ago.

You will also explore the Temple of Hera, the magnificent temple of Zeus the Philippeion and the Leonidion – lodging place for the athletes who participated in the games.

You later visit the Olympia Museum. It is filled with treasures that include the largest collection in the world of ancient armaments, vases, pottery, friezes, and statues.

Following lunch in the town of Olympia, you’ll visit the Museum of the History of the Olympic Games of Antiquity. (The History Museum visit is optional provided it is open in the afternoon.)

After having time at leisure you will travel overland to Patras on the north coast of the peninsula, where you will re-board the ship and depart for Itea in the Gulf of Corinth.
ITEA -DELPHI
Duration approx. 3.5 hours – Incl. Bus/Guide/Entry Fee

Itea is best known as the gateway to Delphi, one of the most revered sites from the ancient world.

You will disembark the ship early this morning and proceed to the ruins. First-time visitors are awed as much for the stunning natural beauty that surround the ruins as for the ancient buildings themselves. Behind the site, the bare limestone cliffs of the Phaidriades thrust several thousand feet up, towering over the archaeological site and museum, while to the south runs a deep and fertile river valley. The panoramic views from the road are truly inspiring.

Delphi was revered for its wealth and reputation, attributes which grew from the site's location as hosting the most important oracle in the classical world. Delphi became the premier site for the worship of the god Apollo. Visitors from across the Greek world traveled here to consult with the oracle, and responded by offering thanks to Apollo in the form of treasure.

You will have a half day to walk around the ruins complex and visit the adjoining museum. Some of the highlights include the Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia, the Castalian Spring, the Gymnasium, the Temple of Apollo, the Treasuries and the Stadium.
GYTHIO – MANI AND DIROS CAVE
Duration approx. 6 hours - Incl. Bus/Guide/Entry Fee

Ancient Gythion was first inhabited during prehistoric times. The Spartans used it as a port; enlarging the natural harbor they made Gythion their naval base. According to Homer, Paris and Helen spent their first night together here on a small islet in the bay.

Leaving Gythion you will cross the scenic Mani Peninsula to reach Diros and visit the spectacular caves, which are perhaps among the most important natural sites of Greece. The Paleolithic and Neolithic findings, many in display at the museum, mean that the caves were one of the earliest inhabited places in Greece. The human skeletons are those of unburied dead, suggesting that at the end of the Neolithic period or, at the beginning of the Bronze Age, a severe earthquake shook the area blocking the mouth of the cave, so that its inhabitants were walled up and died of starvation. The cave entrance remained sealed for about 4,500 years. The cave today is partially filled with water so you will board small fishing boats and explore the cave which is full of stalactites and stalagmites.

After visiting the cave you will drive to nearby Areopolis for a short stroll through the town.
Cruise Details | Itinerary | Excursions | Pre-Post-Trip Options
Ships: M/S Galileo

Pre/Post-Cruise Options

The Antiquity to Byzantium Cruise links well with our Greece - Nafplio Untour

There may be a few gap days between cruise and Untour. Inquire for details.

Dates and Prices


Not finding the date, cabin or price you are looking for? Call us at 1-888-868-6871; for some cruises and adventures, availability changes regularly.


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