Antiquity to Byzantium Cruise

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At a glance

Where: Greece
Places visited: Athens, Palaia, Nafplion, Gythion, Pylos, Katakalon, Itea, Corinth Canal Crossing
Duration: 7 Nights
Best for: Island hoppers and adventure seekers
Live the dream and take a holiday to Greece, where idyllic islands and ancient treasures make for the holiday of a lifetime. Take to the waters to discover the rich ancient cultures of Greece, with dazzling sunshine, exquisite cuisine and the clear blue waters of the Aegean Sea. On this magical Antiquity to Byzantium Cruise be as active or as laid back as you wish. Discover the traces of the Greek history will take you back in the time, heading to Epidaurus to witness one of Greece's best preserved ancient sites, visiting the ancient Gython and Pylos and finally exploring one of the ancient world’s most famous sites and home to the renowned oracle - Delphi. Breathtaking and memorable ancient world!

Day 1:

Friday - Marina Zea (Athens)

Arrive in Athens and embark the stylish M/S Galileo between 2-3 pm at Marina Zea, near the main port of Piraeus. Enjoy a welcome drink and have the opportunity to meet your crew and fellow passengers, before sailing for Palaia (ancient) Epidaurus.

Evening arrival and dinner on board. 

Day 2:

Saturday - Palaia Epidaurus (optional excursion)

You will leave the ship early in the morning to drive to Ancient Epidaurus for an optional excursion.

Epidaurus was known throughout the Greek world as a healing sanctuary. According to legend, it was the birthplace of Apollo’s son Asclepius, who gave his name to this sanctuary, the Asclepeion. The wealth this brought to the town enabled the residents to construct grand monuments, including a huge theatre, which was built in approximately 300 BC and was renowned for its symmetry and beauty.

The theatre has been restored to use, but very little remains of the sanctuary itself, which was looted numerous times by the Roman general Sulla, by pirates and later by Goths in 395 AD.

Lunch on board and afternoon sailing to Nafplion. Overnight in port. 

Day 3:

Sunday - Nafplion/Mycenae (optional excursion)

After a short walking tour of Nafplion, you will be driven through the colourful city and the beautiful countryside of Argolis towards Mycenae for an optional excursion.

Mycenae was not just a city, but was at the heart of an entire civilisation, which rose to power from 1650 BC, flourished and fell in 1100 BC. Homer describes it as ‘rich in gold’. The remains of this once glittering city include the Lion’s Gate, the Palace, the so-called Agamemnon Tomb and the museum.

Return to the ship for lunch and afternoon sailing to Monemvassia. Overnight sailing to Gythion.

Day 4:

Monday - Gythion (optional excursion)

Early morning arrival in Gythion. Ancient Gythion was inhabited during prehistoric times and was later used by the Spartans as a port. They enlarged the natural harbour and made Gythion their naval base.

From here, you can choose to take an optional excursion to the Mani peninsula and Cape Tenaro including the spectacular Dirou Caves with their stalactites and stalagmites.

Departing from Gythion, you will cross the scenic Mani Peninsula. Mani is at the tip of the Peloponnese, a unique, distinctive and bleakly beautiful area composed of underground lakes and rivers, windswept landscapes and towers. You will reach Diros, where you will visit the spectacular caves, discovered in the ‘60s, which are amongst the most important natural sites of Greece.

You will then continue the drive to nearby Areopolis for a short stroll through the town. Overnight at sea to Pylos. 

Day 5:

Tuesday - Pylos (optional excursion)

Pylos is a picture-perfect seaside town on the southwest corner of the Peloponnese. In 1827 one of the most important naval battles in history took place here, when a fleet of Venetians and other city states defeated the Ottoman navy. It was this defeat, which led to the independence of Greece in 1829. The scenery here is stunning!

You will have the opportunity to take an optional excursion to Nestor’s Palace, once the home of the Argonaut and King of Pylos, described in Homer’s Odyssey. The remains of this prehistoric Palace occupy a scenic hilltop setting north of Pylos. The site was discovered in 1939 by the American archaeologist Carl Blegen.

Highlights include the well-preserved royal apartments and a bathtub that is believed to have belonged to the old king himself. The palace, with its central courtyard, was originally two storeys high and richly decorated with frescoes. The artefacts which were recovered from the site are displayed at the superb archaeological museum of Hora, which will be your next stop, before returning to the ship.

Overnight sailing to Katakolon. 

Day 6:

Wednesday - Katakolon/Olympia (optional excursion)

Early morning arrival in the port town of Katakolon, where you will disembark the ship around 7:00 a.m.. An optional excursion takes you by bus to Olympia, one of the most famous and important sites in the ancient world. 

In ancient Greece, Olympia was the greatest Pan-Hellenic sanctuary for the worship of Zeus, and is also revered as the birthplace of the Olympic Games. Olympia survived 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 onwards excavation work, spearheaded primarily by the German government, revealed the fantastic treasures from antiquity that sit today in the marvellous 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.

We later visit the Olympia Museum, one of the most beautiful museums in the world. Following lunch in the town of Olympia, we’ll visit the museum of the History of the Olympic Games of Antiquity. Unlike the main archaeological museum, this building houses a host of artefact's specifically related to the ancient Olympic Games.

After spending some time at leisure, we will travel overland to Patras on the north coast of the peninsula, where we will re-board our ship and depart for Itea in the Gulf of Corinth.

Overnight at Itea. 

Day 7:

Thursday - Itea/Delphi (optional excursion) 

This morning sees an optional excursion to Delphi, one of the ancient world’s most famous sites and home to the renowned oracle. You will disembark the ship early and proceed to the complex of ruins.

Unlike other archaeological sites in Greece, Delphi is built on the side of a mountain. Its setting, surrounded by stunning natural beauty is as impressive as the ruins themselves! In Ancient Greece Delphi was the main site for the worship of the God Apollo, and became renowned for being home to the most important oracle in the classical world, which could prophesy the future and give advice.

The city became wealthy as visitors came from across the ancient world to consult the oracle and offered treasure to Apollo as thanks. You will have half a day to walk around the ruins complex and visit the adjoining museum.

Return to the ship for the crossing of the Corinth Canal.

Later in the evening we sail to Marina Zea. Overnight in Marina Zea.

Day 8:

Friday - Marina Zea (disembarkation): Disembarkation after breakfast. 

Transfer to the Airport for your flight back to the UK or extend your stay in Athens for extra nights to continue with your Greek adventure of discovery

Price Includes:
  • English speaking cruise escort
  • Return flights and private transfers
  • Port taxes & charges
  • Regular filter coffee, tea and drinking water free all day
Please note that the above price is given as guidance only and may be higher or lower at the time of booking depending on the chosen departure date and the cost of the flights. Price is per person and based on two people sharing a C Category lower deck cabin. Program is flexible and can be arranged any time of the year for min 2 people subject to hotel and cruise availability. For more details please enquire.

Price does not include:
  • Greece Tourist Tax payable locally 
  • Excursions and additional tours
  • On board tipping
  • Beverages other than the above mentioned
  • Any other service not included in the "price includes" section

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