Day 12. PATMOS. Arrive 06:30. Sail at 11:00
Depart from the port of Scala and enjoy a short drive to the village of Chora, where the monastery of St. John is built within the walls of a strong fortification. As you walk uphill towards the entrance of the monastery marvel at this magnificentstructure,whichwasbuilt900 years ago. View the courtyard, the monks’ dining room and the old bakery before you visit the main church noted for its outstanding frescoes and interior decoration. Next, visit the small museum where priceless ecclesiastical treasures, books, manuscripts, mosaics, icons, splendid medieval textiles, vestments and jewellery are housed. Return to your motorcoach and continue to the nearby Grotto of the Apocalypse and the Monastery of the Apocalypse above it. Walk down the steps to the Grotto of the Apocalypse. Here you will see the niches in the wall that mark the pillow and ledge used as a desk by the author of the Book of the Revelation and the crack in the rock made by the voice of God honouring the Holy Trinity. Afterwards, drive back to the port of Scala and enjoy some free time in this quaint and picturesque town. REMARKS Tour not suitable for passengers with walking difficulties.
KUSADASI. Arrive at 15:00. Depart at 20:00
Drive through the colourful town of Kusadasi to reach Mt. Koressos. Situated in a small valley, the humble chapel 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 favours this belief and the site has been officially sanctioned by the Vatican for pilgrimage. Continue on to Ancient Ephesus 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, the largest one in antiquity with a capacity of 24.000 seats where St. Paul preached. Walk back to the 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 A.D. by Emperor Justinian. Before returning to the ship, enjoy free time in Kusadasi or get a cultural taste of Turkey by enjoying an exhibition of oriental carpets and jewelry. REMARKS Tour not suitable for passengers with walking difficulties.(B,L,D)
Day 13. RHODES Arr. 07:00. Depart at 18:00.
Drive along the picturesque south-eastern coastline, dotted with white-washed villages, to Lindos, one of the most important of the three great cities of ancient times. See how this entire city is guarded by medieval walls which were constructed by the knights of St. John in the 13th century. Within them stands the ancient Acropolis of Lindos, on the brink of a precipice 400 feet above the sea. From the Acropolis, marvel at the breathtaking views covering the great expanse of the Aegean Sea and St. Paul’s bay, where the apostle cast anchor during his historic voyage to Ephesus. Proceed on foot uphill, to the great staircase leading from the Hellenistic Portico to the Acropolis and Temple of Athena. Should you wish to make your way up by mule, a fee must be paid to the local muleteer. After the guided tour of the Acropolis, enjoy some free time on your own in Lindos village before meeting up with your motorcoach. Return to Rhodes city and enjoy a panoramic drive through the new part of the city before continuing to Mount Smith to see the ruins of ancient Rhodes, the Temple of Apollo and Diagoras Stadium. Afterwards your motorcoach will drop you off at Porte d’Amboise, the start of the walking tour through the medieval city of Rhodes. Follow your guide through the northern part where once lived the knights and their attendants. View the Palace of the Knights and continue your walk down Chevaliers Road to meet up with your motorcoach at the Marine Gate and return back to the ship. A short visit to a ceramic factory is included. (B,L,D)
Day 14. CRETE (Heraklion) Arrive 07:00. Depart at 11:30
Crete is the largest and the most rugged of the Greek islands. It is also the home of the great Minoan Civilization and the mythological home of Zeus. After a short drive through the town of Heraklion the tour will arrive at the Knossos excavations. Here, Sir Arthur Evan’s archaeological discoveries revealed a civilization dating back to 4000 B.C., when a great empire flourished on the island of Crete. Based on the wealth of artefacts that were found, Evans theorized that this was the site of the ancient Minoan Kingdom. These findings will be viewed in detail, as your guide will lead you on a journey of discovery to learn of the sophisticated culture that flourished thousands of years ago on this island.The Palace, decorated with frescoes and shields houses the Hall of the Royal Guard, the Hall of the Double Axes, the King’s Chamber with the alabaster throne, the Queen’s Apartment, beautiful courtyards and shrines. Having visited this remarkable site your coaches will take you to the heart of Heraklion where you will be given some free time to explore its beauties combining the facilities of a modern city with the unique Greek islands’ ambience. You will then re board your motor coach for the return journey to the Venetian lion-guarder port of Heraklion to rejoin your ship. REMARKS Walking in the archaeological site of Knossos will be on uneven gravel surfaces. Passengers may not be allowed to enter the site with big bags/rucksacks.
SANTORINI Arrive 16:30. Depart at 21:00.
Driving along the road you will have the unique opportunity to admire the panoramic view of the Aegean sea and the neighbouring islands. A unique sight is the various layers of lava that can be seen 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 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 (B,L,D)
Day 15. PIRAEUS/ ATHENS
Arrive in Piraeus at 07:00. Disembarkation after breakfast and transfer to Athens International Airport for return trip back to the USA (B)
B=Breakfast L=Lunch D=Dinner