No people or nation has had greater influence on western civilization than the Ancient Greeks. Nor have many cultures left behind such beautiful and atmospheric remains. On this eight-day trip we visit many of the key archaeological sites, as we trace their extraordinary development – from the heroic age of the Mycenaeans, to the great flowering of democracy, philosophy and the arts in Athens. Corinth, Epidauros, Olympia and Delphi are also on the itinerary. As we move between temples, sanctuaries, theatres and museums, a sense of extraordinary artistic and intellectual vigour emerges – as well as an appreciation of the austere and magnificent landscapes that nurtured them.
We rendezvous at a central location in Athens at 3pm and set off by coach to the little harbour town of Nafplio, one of the prettiest in mainland Greece. Our first lecture is followed by a group dinner.
By coach to Corinth, to see the earliest standing Doric temple on the mainland, and 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 morning at Mycenae, centrepiece of the Bronze Age civilisation, and reputedly Agamemnon’s capital. After a tour of the citadel, museum and Treasury of Atreus, we drive across the mountainous heartland of the Peloponnese to Olympia. Dinner together.
The morning at Olympia – home of the main sanctuary of Zeus and the setting for the pan-Hellenic games. We visit the athletics stadium, the workshop of Phidias and the temples of Hera and Zeus. Transfer to Delphi.
Delphi is the most spectacular of all ancient Greek sites. We visit the Sanctuary of Apollo, the Marmaria, and the museum, which evokes the extraordinary opulence of the Sanctuary in 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. We also tour the Acropolis Museum, and trace the outline of civic life in the Agora.
Following a free morning, we head to the north of the city, and the unrivalled collection of sculpture, pottery, jewellery and frescoes at the National Archaeological Museum. Group dinner at a restaurant.
Our trip finishes at the hotel after breakfast.
Professor Antony Spawforth
Professor Emeritus of Ancient History at Newcastle University, Tony has published eleven books on Greek and Roman antiquity, Versailles, and the courts of ancient monarchs. These include The Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization, The Complete Greek Temples, and Greece: An Oxford Archaeological Guide (with Christopher Mee). A former Assistant Director of the British School of Archaeology in Athens, he also presented eight documentaries in the BBC’s Ancient Voices series between 1996 and 2000. His journalism includes articles for The Times, The Observer, The Telegraph and The Spectator.
£1,270 per person sharing a double room or £1,490 for one person in a double room.
Accommodation and meals
Included meals: daily breakfasts and three dinners (with wine).
This is a lengthy trip with three hotel changes and long coach journeys. At several sites agility is essential.
There is no minimum number of clients required for this trip to run.
Maximum group size
Joining and leaving the trip
Flights and trains are not included, you make your own way to and from the starting and finishing point of the trip. British Airways flies directly from London Heathrow to Athens. Their flight is currently scheduled to depart at 6.55am, however timetables may change. Please note The Cultural Travel Company does not arrange international or domestic travel but we can assist with extra nights’ accommodation at the hotel in Athens if you arrive or depart on different dates.
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.