No people or nation has had a greater influence on western civilization than the Ancient Greeks, nor have many cultures left behind such beautiful and atmospheric remains. In the company of Professor Tony Spawforth, author of The Complete Greek Temples, we visit many of the key archaeological sites, and trace the region’s extraordinary development – from the heroic age of the Mycenaeans to the flowering of democracy, philosophy and the arts in Athens. As we move between temples, sanctuaries, theatres and museums, a sense of artistic and intellectual vigour emerges, as well as an appreciation of the austere and magnificent landscapes that nurtured it.
We meet at our hotel in Athens at 3pm, before driving by coach to the little harbour town of Nafplio – one of the prettiest in the Peloponnese. Our first lecture is followed by dinner together.
By coach to Corinth, whose control of trade across the Isthmus of Corinth made it one of the richest cities of antiquity. Here we see the earliest standing Doric temple on the mainland, as well as evidence of Greece’s first large-scale pottery industry. Then on to Epidauros, home to the best-preserved of all Greek theatres. Return to Nafplio.
We spend the day at Mycenae, centrepiece of the Bronze Age civilisation of the Argolid. After a tour of the citadel and tomb of Agamemnon, we drive across the mountainous heartland of the Peloponnese to Olympia. Group dinner.
The morning at Olympia, home of the main sanctuary of Zeus, and the setting of the pan-Hellenic games. We visit the athletics stadium, the workshop of Phidias and the temples of Hera and Zeus. Transfer to Delphi.
Set on a high mountain terrace, beneath the peak of Parnassos, Delphi is a spectacular site. We visit the Sanctuary of Apollo and the museum, which evokes the extraordinary opulence of its heyday. Continue to Athens for an evening lecture.
For anyone with an interest in Ancient Greece, the first visit to the Acropolis in Athens is an unforgettable moment. The new landscaping around the site further enhances the experience. In the afternoon, we tour the Acropolis Museum, to see its spectacular recreation of the Parthenon’s decorative scheme.
Following a free morning, we head to the north of the city to see the unrivalled collection of sculpture, pottery, jewellery and frescoes at the National Archaeological Museum. We then return to the heart of Athens, and trace the outline of civic life in the Agora.
Our trip finishes at the hotel after breakfast.
£1,515 per person sharing in a double room. £1,780 for one person in a double room.
The price includes the speaker and a tour manager, accommodation with daily breakfasts, two dinners with wine, transport by private coach, admissions to sites as mentioned in the itinerary. Please note flights are not included.
This is one of our more demanding trips, with some long coach journeys, four hotel changes, and lots of walking on uneven ground.
There is no minimum number of clients required for this trip to run.
Please check www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice before you book to make sure you are happy with the advice for the places you are visiting.