Archaeological Treasures of Athens, Argolid and Corinthia
This well-researched and rewarding programme provides a deeply informative introduction to the archaeological wonders of legendary regions instrumental to the civilisation of Ancient Greece...
Our tours are conducted round the year and are all supported and escorted by our hand-picked specialist, licensed guides.
We are passionate believers in the miracle that is Greece and are equally passionate in the design and delivery of our programmes, all of which offer perspectives which resonate with the Εssence of Greece and which can foment thought, arouse the imagination and inspire interesting discussions during and after our tours.
This well-researched and rewarding programme provides a deeply informative and expert introduction to the archaeological wonders of legendary regions instrumental to the civilisation of Ancient Greece: the Argolid, Corinthia, and Athens.
The target audience of this programme will typically include avid admirers and discerning connoisseurs of classical Greek archaeology, ancient history and natural beauty who would relish the experience of seeing the most evocative sites and monuments at first hand.
Accommodation is at specially-selected, European standard high-class city and country hotels, all of which abound with character. Transportation is by modern, air-conditioned coach whilst the venues of lunch and dinner have been carefully chosen, not least with the hungry explorer in mind – but also to respect and reflect the ancient Greek tradition where eating is central to social interaction and happy bonding.
Points of Interest
Some of the points of interest include the following. Clicking on an underlined name will open a new tab rich in information on the respective point of interest.
We will be waiting to meet you at Athens International airport for transfer to your hotel, where the welcome dinner awaits. Overnight stay.
We will leave the hotel in the morning for Nauplio, travelling across the Corinth Canal, that magnificent feat of 19th-century engineering which transformed the Peloponnese from a peninsula to an island, where we have a short pit stop for photos. Just a short distance after the bridge, we visit the extensive archaeological site of Ancient Corinth, noted for its archaic Temple of Apollo and an impressive collection of ruins of public buildings. After visiting the site’s museum, we ascend the mighty castle on the craggy and foreboding hill of the Acrocorinth, which guarded the access to the Peloponnese for centuries.
Onwards to Ancient Nemea, the place where legendary hero and demigod Heracles (Hercules) made short work of the Nemean Lion with his bare hands, this being the first of his Twelve Labours. Nemea has always been famous for its superb, signature red wine (Heracles was evidently aware of that!) and we will sample this venerated vintage over lunch before proceeding to the upbeat coastal town of Nauplio. Free afternoon to explore this colourful town with its seafront promenade and vibrant shopping area in its quirky narrow streets and squares. We meet up later for dinner at a traditional local taverna.
Day’s approximate driving distance and time : 156 km / 2h 21 min
We start the day early with a visit to the impressive Archaeological Museum of Nauplio, a historic building itself, which houses illustrious finds from all over the Argolid from Paleolithic (as old as it gets!) times on. We then set off for the legendary ancient sites of the Argive Plain. The archaeological sites of Tiryns and Mycenae are the imposing ruins of the two greatest cities of the Mycenaean civilisation, which dominated the eastern Mediterranean world from the 15th to the 12th century BC and played a vital role in the development of classical Greek culture. Both Tiryns and Mycenae are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Our next stop is the Neolithic and Mycenaean citadel of Tiryns (the birthplace of mythical hero Heracles), followed by the important archaeological site of Argive Heraion, which affords a splendid view of the Argive Plain and then on to the renowned Bronze Age city of Mycenae. Mycenae was the city of King Agamemnon, with its Cyclopean walls, the Lion Gate and spectacular archaeological finds.
Then off we go south through the Argolid to the little-known Pyramid of Hellinikon, a mysterious structure of uncertain use dated to the 3rd millennium BC. Be ready for a hearty lunch nearby at the rustic little village of Kefalari. This is where ancient geographer Strabo reckoned that the waters welling from the spring in the centre of the village were an outflow of Lake Stymphalia, a fair distance away, high in the karstic mountains of Corinthia, northern Peloponnese. A far-fetched tale perhaps, but who knows?
Back to Nauplio, and free time to spend as you like. For the energetic, there’s always the option of climbing the 861 steps to the Venetian Fortress of Palamidi above the town!
Day’s approximate driving distance and time : 70 km / 1 hr 22 min
On our way to Ancient Epidaurus, we stop at the fascinating museum of Natural History at Lygourio, with its rich collection of local and regional fossils and its diverse and informative exhibits. That’s a brief but unique insight into Mediterranean and local geology, including the Epidaurean ammonites that lived 235 million years ago in the ocean of what is now the Argolid. We will then visit the nearby ruins of the Pyramid of Lygourio and the very interesting Chapel of Aghia Marina (18th century) which incorporates building blocks of the Pyramid.
We soon reach the Sanctuary of Asklepios, the God of Healing, at Ancient Epidaurus. The site, set in a peaceful, yet powerful landscape that might be a main constituent of its legendary therapeutic qualities, features the best-preserved ancient theatre in Greece, acclaimed for its precise acoustics that everyone is welcome to test out, and its perfect proportions – the latter related also to the mathematical ratio of the Golden Mean.
We then move on down to the laid-back seaside town of Palaia Epidaurus with its own ancient, yet recently-discovered, contrastingly compact and charming little theatre.
Lunch at a seaside taverna and return to Athens.
Day’s approximate driving distance and time : 170 km / 2h 16 min
We spend today exploring the iconic and unparalleled Acropolis of Athens – the site of that great temple, the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, and the Theatres of Dionyssos and Herodion on its slopes – along with the Kerameikos area and the New Acropolis Museum. Ranked as within the top-three archaeological museums in the world, the museum’s very foundations are glass-topped to reveal the city’s ancient architecture below. Apart from the plethora of antiquities within its walls, much of the museum exterior is also made of glass, which allows for stunning views of the Acropolis and surrounding area, plus some spectacular reflections when viewed from the streets outside. Free evening to experience the city as you choose.
This day is devoted to two of the most interesting archaeological and thematic museums of Athens: the massive National Archaeological Museum, whose exhibits include the treasures of the Mycenae, such as the controversial gold Mask of Agamemnon (or his father, Atreus); and the Museum of Cycladic Art. This interesting and rewarding day culminates in a relaxing afternoon trip alongside the Athenian Riviera to the south-easternmost tip of mainland Greece, Cape Sounion, with its magnificent Temple of Poseidon (Neptune) perched on the top of the final promontory jutting into the timeless Aegean Sea and also overlooking the Saronic and Euboean gulfs.
- Accommodation at specially-selected, European standard high-class city and country hotels, basis bed and breakfast and double sharing. Single occupancy subject to supplement.
- Five lunches and four dinners, including the Welcome Dinner on the first day and the Farewell Dinner on the last one
- Greek airport transfers on the first and the last day of the tour
- Expert, licensed Archeologist-Guide accompanying the group throughout the duration of the tour
- All tour legs by air-conditioned coach
- Archaeological site and museum tickets
- Bottled mineral water daily during the tours
- Free use of power packs for recharging mobile phone and portable devices on the move
- Hotel porter and restaurant gratuities
- Air travel to and from Greece
- Personal travel insurance
- Coach driver and guide gratuities
- Visas and travel document and formality costs, if and where applicable
Points to note
The tour is accompanied by an expert, licensed guide who is fluent in English. Transport is by air-conditioned coach, accommodation is at European standard four-star / five-star / high-class country hotels basis whilst the price also includes daily breakfast, lunch and dinner, Greek airport transfers, bottled mineral water daily, museum and archaeological site entrance fees and hotel porter and restaurant gratuities. The price is basis double-room sharing.
The programme does not include flights to and from Greece and personal travel insurance. An example of how to obtain travel insurance can be found here.
The final applicable price will depend on the number of participants of the tour.