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Voyages to Antiquity: Athens, the Isles of Greece and Istanbul

Program Number: 20322RJ
Start and End Dates:
4/11/2013 - 4/26/2013;
Duration: 15 nights
Location: Greece/Turkey
Price starting at: $5,190.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Ocean Voyages Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 40; 14 Breakfasts, 13 Lunches, 13 Dinners    
Meal Options: Gluten Free; Low Salt; Low Fat; Vegetarian    

From the rise of Corinth in about 685BC to the fall of Magna Graecia, the Greeks were responsible for one of the most brilliant and inspiring epochs in human history. Learn how they revolutionized every aspect of civilized life from art, literature and architecture to politics, philosophy and mathematics on this voyage to the isles of Greece and two great cities of antiquity, Athens and Istanbul.

Activity Particulars

Walking up and downhill, up to two miles per day. Standing up to four hours per day, with breaks; uneven terrain and steep stairs without railings at historic sites.

Itinerary At-a-Glance

Istanbul (Turkey), 3 nights; aboard Aegean Odyssey, 10 nights; Athens (Greece), 1 night.

Day 1:
Overnight flight from the U.S.A.

Days 2-5: Arrival Istanbul (Turkey) / embark Aegean Odyssey:

Discover the architectural treasures of Istanbul, including the Hagia Sophia, the Topkapi Palace and the Blue Mosque. Explore the Spice Bazaar and Grand Bazaar and enjoy a private boat excursion on the Bosphorus. Lodging: Four-star hotel.

Day 6: Lemnos (Greece):

Voyage from Istanbul through the Dardanelles en route to the island of Lemnos. Explore the town of Myrina, overlooked by the impressive Kastro castle, a stronghold in turn fought over by the Byzantines, Venetians and Ottomans.

Day 7: Mount Athos and Skiathos:

Sail past the so-called “Holy Mountain,” actually a long peninsula home to twenty major monasteries. Discover the picturesque town of Skiathos.

Day 8: Izmir and Ephesus (Turkey):

Discover the well-preserved ruins of Ephesus, one of the greatest sites of the classical world.

Day 9: Pergamon:

Venture to this important ancient Greek city — it once rivaled Athens and Alexandria as a center of culture and learning — and see its impressive theater.

Day 10: Delos and Mykonos (Greece):

Find the temples, buildings and famous lions of Delos, then continue to Mykonos for evening drinks and dinner.

Day 11: Santorini:

Embark on an expert-led excursion to exquisite Oia, a village of whitewashed houses, blue-domed churches and tavernas carved into the cliffs.

Day 12: Crete:

On the island of Crete, visit the Minoan palace of Knossos then explore Rethimnon’s Old Town with its well-preserved Venetian and Ottoman buildings and relax in one of the seaside cafes.

Day 13: Nauplia:

Explore the great Mycenaean culture at its heart: the ancient city of Mycenae, reputedly the capital of Agamemnon.

Days 14-16: Athens (Greece) / disembark / departure:

Discover the magnificent Acropolis and learn more about what you’ve seen at the Acropolis Museum. Lodging: Five-star hotel

Aegean Odyssey

The Aegean Odyssey is a premium-class ship especially rebuilt for sailing along shallow coastlines, among remote islands and into small, uncrowded harbors that larger ocean liners can’t reach. Public areas include several gourmet restaurants, library, Internet center, sweeping sun decks, outdoor pool, gym and spa.

Meals and Lodgings
   Armada Hotel
  Istanbul, Turkey 3 nights
   MV Aegean Odyssey
  MV Aegean Odyssey - At Sea, At Sea 10 nights
   Metropolitan Hotel
  Athens, Greece 1 night
 Armada Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The 4-star Armada Hotel is located in the historic peninsula of Istanbul, with views of two of the great masterpieces of world architecture; the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. The hotel offers modern comfort and convenience discreetly incorporated into the Turkish-inspired architecture, and period engravings throughout the hotel provide an insight into Istanbul's by-gone eras. The name of the Armada Hotel is a tribute to the memory of the renowned Ottoman Admiral Hayrettin Pasha Barbarossa. Located in the heart of the Old City, the hotel is within walking distance of museums, churches and other major attractions.
  Contact info: Ahirkapi Street 24
Sultanahmet, Istanbul,  34122 Turkey
phone: +90 212 455 44 55
  Room amenities: Each room has a mini bar, hair dryer, bathrobes, telephone, LCD television, safe box, free wireless Internet, 24-hour room service and air conditioning.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers two restaurants, a bar, lounge, meeting rooms, business center with computers and printers, library, free WIFI Internet access throughout the hotel, laundry service and air conditioning. The rooftop restaurants offer magnificent views of the area.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: N/A Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. 1-800-241-1404
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 MV Aegean Odyssey
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: The MV Aegean Odyssey offers boutique-style cruising at its best. In contrast to the massive vessels cruising to and from major ports, it is a midsized ship adapted for island and coastal cruising. The Aegean Odyssey can visit smaller, less crowded harbors and sail closer to the coast enabling you to really appreciate the magical views.
  Ship Information: Ship’s Tonnage: 11,563 Length: 461 feet Beam: 67 feet Draft: 20.5 feet Cruising Speed: 18 knots Passenger Decks: 7 Stabilizers: 2 Passenger Staterooms/Cabins: 198 Passengers – lower beds: 378 Classification: Lloyd’s Register Society London Ship’s Registration: Malta
  Contact info: Voyages to Antiquity
1800 SE 10th Avenue, Suite 230
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33316 USA
phone: 877-398-1460
  Room amenities: All cabins are equipped with a flat screen TV, air-conditioning, and personal safe. Particular importance is placed on the standard of bedding in cabins. Luxury bedding, including fine duvets, covers and sheets, ample soft pillows and quality towels can be expected. Also, shampoo, bath and shower gel, soap, and shower cap are provided. Your cabin steward is always available. Cabins and suites feature outlets with 220 voltage, using the “European” two round pin plug. Hair dryers are provided in your cabin and electric rollers, curling irons, electric shavers and other small appliances can be used in your cabin. For safety reasons, travel irons are not allowed.
  Facility amenities: Dining: MV Aegean Odyssey offers many dining facilities: The Marco Polo Restaurant is the ship's more formal restaurant, providing casual country-club elegance for lunch or dinner; The Terrace Cafe offers a combination of indoor and outdoor seating where you can indulge in breakfast, lunch and dinner from the grill or the sumptuous daily buffet. In the evenings, enjoy breathtaking views over dinner at Tapas on the Terrace. *There is a complimentary choice of wine, beer, or soft drinks with your evening meal. There will be a string trio, pianist and casual dancing before and after dinner. You may also wish to partake in afternoon tea, served in the Observation Lounge. Or perhaps an evening snack and cocktail, available in the Lido and Rendezvous bars. A limited room service menu is available. Special Diets: Please advise us at the time of booking of any special dietary requirements. The ship can usually meet most general requests such as those made with an air carrier; however, this cannot always be guaranteed. Services: Library; outdoor pool; spa; health center, saunas, massage and beauty treatment rooms and early morning yoga on the Lido Deck; elevators; Internet center (open 24 hours and a charge of $18 for 4 non-consecutive hours is applied, no wireless available); beauty salon; medical center; laundry and pressing services (order form and laundry bag is provided in cabin); lecture theater and cinema and on board shop.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Metropolitan Hotel
Type: Five-Star Hotel
  Description: The Metropolitan Hotel, with its unique cosmopolitan atmosphere, combines traditional hospitality and luxury in central Athens. With a view to both the Acropolis and the Aegean Sea, the fully renovated Metropolitan Hotel is ideally situated in front of the Faleron Olympic Coastal Park. It is only 10 minutes away from Syntagma square, the center of Athens and the port of Piraeus.
  Contact info: Leoforos Syngrou 385
Athens,  175-64 Greece
phone: +30 210 947 1000
  Room amenities: Each room has individually controlled air conditioning, satellite television, telephone, high speed Internet connection, radio, mini bar, hair dryer, safe box, and laptop and fax machine outlets.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a restaurant, lounge, bar, gift shop, fitness center, marble steam bath, outdoor heated swimming pool, business center, free wireless Internet access in lobby, and a hairdresser.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: N/A Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (800) 241-1404
  Check out time: 1:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Istanbul, Turkey. 6:00 PM Welcome meeting in the hotel lobby. You will be staying at Armada Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Athens, Greece. Program ends after breakfast on the last day. You will be staying at Metropolitan Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. The Voyages to Antiquity Guest Registration Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Istanbul
  Nearest city or town:  In town
  Nearest airport:  Atatürk International Airport
  Transportation to site: The Armada Hotel is located about 10 miles from the airport. A taxi ride from the airport to the hotel costs approximately $30 USD and takes approximately 30 minutes. To book a private transfer, please contact
  From End of Program
  Location:  Athens
  Transportation from site: You may take a taxi from the hotel to the airport; this will cost approximately $62-68 per car. Alternatively, take a shuttle bus from the hotel to Syntagma Square. From there take bus #95 to the airport.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Departures
(Thursday, April 11)
 In Transit: Depart US/Canada on international overnight flight.

Day 2: Welcome
(Friday, April 12)
 Afternoon: Arrival at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport (IST). Meet group outside of customs. Transfer to the Armada Hotel. Welcome Orientation at 6pm in hotel lobby.
 Dinner: Dinner in hotel dining room.
Accommodations: Armada Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Istanbul, Turkey
(Saturday, April 13)

Note: The excursions in Istanbul involve significant walking. As we will be visiting religious sites, please no shorts or sleeveless shirts. Ladies may be asked to cover their heads.

 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel dining room.
 Morning: Start the day by visiting the amazing church of Hagia Sophia, possibly the most important architectural monument in the city, standing gracefully since 537 AD. Field trip to the Hippodrome, the civic center of ancient Constantinople, where chariot races were run between the four teams of Blues, Greens, Whites and Reds. Then visit the 17th century Blue Mosque, world renowned for its exquisite Iznik tiles surrounding the interior of this wonderful mosque.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Explore the beautiful Underground Cisterns, built by the illustrious Byzantine Emperor Justinian in 532 AD to store water underground. A visit to the award winning Archeology Museum will broaden your horizons as you will witness an outstanding collection of artifacts spanning across millennia including the magnificent Sarcophagus of Alexander the Great.
 Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.
Accommodations: Armada Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Istanbul, Turkey
(Sunday, April 14)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Explore the Topkapi Palace and the Harem. The Topkapi Palace was the seat of the Ottoman Sultans for 400 years and a great testimony to the wealth and power of the Ottoman Empire.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon visit the Chora Church/Kariye Museum to witness its exquisite mosaics and frescoes from the 14th century, a period of Byzantine reawakening in arts.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Armada Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Istanbul, Turkey - Embark the MV Aegean Odyssey
(Monday, April 15)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: We embark on a private cruise on the Bosphorus to explore the stunning palaces, mansions, and fortresses dotted along the Asian and European shores of this marvelous strait. Afterwards, we visit the Rustem Pasha Mosque, built by the famous architect Sinan, a small but gem-like mosque demonstrating the most stunning examples of 16th century Iznik tiles.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Spend the rest of the day visiting the Spice Bazaar, where exotic aromas capture the visitors upon entering. Continue the day with a visit to the Grand Bazaar to discover its maze-like streets and alleys and 4,000 shops! Embark the MV Aegean Odyssey in the late afternoon. Late afternoon Road Scholar orientation to the ship in the "Observation Lounge."
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Cruising the Dardanelles / Lemnos
(Tuesday, April 16)

Note: This excursion is entirely on foot and includes up to three hours of walking.

 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: At sea. In the morning, the ship cruises through the Sea of Marmara and the Dardanelles. Leading from the Aegean in the west and providing access to the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and the Black Sea, the strategic importance of the Dardanelles has meant this waterway has played a vital part in Mediterranean military history for millennia. For many, though, it is the Gallipoli Campaign in the Great War for which the Dardanelles will be remembered forever. In 1914, the allied commanders were keen to relieve pressure on the Western Front and open a supply route to Russia. In November 1914, First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill proposed his plans for a naval attack on the Dardanelles based at least in part on what turned out to be erroneous reports regarding Ottoman troop strength. Initially, the attack was to be made by the Royal Navy alone, with only token forces from the army being required for routine occupation tasks. The plans, however, escalated and on April 25, 1915, British, French and ANZAC forces landed at Gallipoli. What followed is one of the most heroic and tragic campaigns in military history.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: After lunchtime, you arrive at Lemnos. The mythological landing place of Hephaistos, the god of metalworking cast out of Olympus by Zeus, Lemnos is appropriately volcanic; the lava soil crumbles into broad beaches and grows excellent wine and herbal honey. Controlling the approaches to the Dardanelles, the island was an important outpost to both the Byzantines and the Turks, under whom it prospered as a trading station. Successor to ancient Myrina, Lemnos’ second town in antiquity, modern Myrina sprawls between two sandy bays at the foot of a rocky promontory. Not especially touristed, it is one of the more pleasant island capitals in the North Aegean. Enjoy your walking field trip over its colorful cobbled streets through the unpretentious but charming markets and imposing, neo-classical houses. The most ornate of these cluster along the northerly beach, Romeikos Gialos. The south beach, Tourkikos Gialos, extends beyond the compact fishing port with its quayside tavernas. Your walk will bring you to the recently redesigned archaeological museum. Housed in an imposing 19th century mansion on Romeikos Gialos it is exemplary in its display of artifacts, some of them 6,000 years old, belonging to the four main ancient cities of Lemnos. After the visit of the museum a short walk will bring you along the Romeikos Gialos where your guide will offer more interesting commentary. From here you can choose to return to ship on your own or enjoy a refreshment either by the seaside or in town.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Evening departure for Mount Athos and Skiathos. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Mount Athos / Skiathos, Greece
(Wednesday, April 17)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: The MV Aegean Odyssey will sail past Mount Athos (weather permitting). The so-called "Holy Mountain" is really a long peninsula, which rises at its southern tip to a 6,000 ft peak. Dotted along its length are some twenty ruling monasteries, some dating from the 10th and 11th centuries. Women are strictly forbidden to set foot on the Mountain, together with - at least in theory - all female animals. Fortunately, most of the monasteries are on or near the coast and will be seen clearly from our ship. Attend a talk by your Road Scholar Group Leader.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon, we arrive at Skiathos, where you can spend the rest of the day relaxing in the picturesque little town. The westernmost island in the Sporades, Skiathos is famous for its splendid beaches. The shade cast by the tree-covered hills is said to have inspired the Pelasgians to give the island its name. Dionysus, the god of wine, was worshipped here. Herodotus wrote that the residents used beacons to notify the Greeks of the approaching Persian fleet in 480BC. Following the Peloponnesian Wars, the island endured successive waves of conquerors. Today, cosmopolitan Skiathos draws visitors from all over Europe. There are the superb beaches, the walled town of Kastro, and a lively town where you can sample the local olives, honey, and almond sweets.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Evening departure for Izmir. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Izmir, Turkey / Ephesus
(Thursday, April 18)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Attend a talk by your Road Scholar Group Leader. Aegean Odyssey arrives in Izmir at lunchtime. Founded around 3000 BC, the port of Izmir has been a major trading center since the 3rd century AD.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: The afternoon will be spent in Ephesus, the ancient Roman capital of the province of Asia and today one of the greatest sites of the classical world. The cosmopolitan city of Ephesus was, in its heyday, on a par with Athens and Rome. Once home to over 250,000 people, this site affords ancient snapshots of the daily lives of the Greeks, and their conquerors, the Romans. The seaside port that fueled the city's prosperity in antiquity has silted up, leaving the grand sites frozen in time in a state of remarkable preservation. Over the centuries, Ephesus was a sacred center to Artemis, a Roman stronghold, and later, a center of Christianity. There is evidence that St. Paul, St. John, and the Virgin Mary were in this city, along with a cast of characters that includes Croesus, General Lysimachus and those famous lovers, Mark Antony and Cleopatra. Highlights of your field trip include the Library of Celsus with its splendid columned facade, the Grand Theater where St. Paul once preached his sermons, the terraced houses, and the Temple of Hadrian. Few places bring antiquity so vividly to life.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Overnight in Izmir. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Izmir, Turkey / Pergamon
(Friday, April 19)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: This morning's field trip is to the Hellenistic ruins of Pergamon. Founded by the Greeks in the 8th century BC, Pergamon once rivaled Athens and Alexandria as a center of culture and learning. Here you will see the remains of the Altar of Zeus, the Temples of Dionysus and Trajan and the impressive Greek theater.
 Lunch: Road Scholar lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Next, explore what may be the world's first full-service health clinic: the Asclepion. Pergamon's rehabilitation center is named after the god of health, and was a site of pilgrimage for centuries, entered by a sacred road lined with columns. A sacred spring fed pools that were the basis for various water therapies. The Asclepion had latrines, a library, a theater, and treatments that included honey cures, a psychotherapy tunnel, and dream interpretation. Return to Izmir.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Evening departure for Delos. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Delos, Greece / Mykonos, Greece
(Saturday, April 20)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Discover the tiny, deserted isle of Delos, the religious center of the Cyclades, where columns lie glistening in the sun, and the Lions of Delos guard the Sacred Way. As the reputed birthplace of the god Apollo, Delos was once a principal religious and commercial center of the Eastern Mediterranean. Pilgrims, traders, politicians, and warriors alike came from all over the Mediterranean to this sanctuary. In fact, the "Cyclades," the name of this island group, means "those islands around Delos." In the 5th century BC, the Delphic Oracle decreed the island was to be purged of all the dead and that no person could either die or give birth on Delos to preserve the isle's sanctity. Some of the richest archaeological treasure troves in Greece await as you leave the Sacred Harbour on your guided walking field trip. Imagine the merchants in the Agora and the pilgrims entering the Sanctuary of Apollo. Walk along the spectacular Avenue of the Lions. Pay homage to the guardians of the Sacred Lake where Leto gave birth to the twin gods, Artemis and Apollo. And above all, savor the almost-mystical silence that pervades this haunting site of antiquity.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Contrast the sacred sights of Delos with the more worldly charms of Mykonos, a whitewashed resort that is the very image of a Greek Isle. The huge granite rocks you see strewn across the hilly landscape are said to be the graves of the Titans. The windmills are a later refinement, dating from the 16th century, used for grinding grain for shipment when Mykonos was a major seaport between Venice and Asia. In town, the streets are a delightful maze, designed to confuse attacking pirates, although eventually the island became the headquarters of the Corsair fleet and a place where pirates recruited for their ships. Today these winding streets are lined with tempting shops, galleries and boutiques that all exact their tribute. Along the waterfront, near the area called Little Venice, the seaside cafes are ideal for evening drinks. Enjoy a guided walk with your Road Scholar Group Leader followed by free time.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Late departure for Santorini.
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Santorini, Greece
(Sunday, April 21)

Note: Some walking is required between the cable car station and motorcoach – approximately 20 minutes. Sequence of places visited may vary.

 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: One of the Aegean’s most spectacular sights, the cliffs of Santorini rise from a great half-moon caldera; all that is left of the formerly circular island once called Strongyle. In 1600BC, here was the Minoan settlement of Akrotiri, an affluent society that farmed, built two-story homes and painted frescoes. This morning’s excursion includes a visit to Akrotiri and then a discovery drive around the island. A highlight is our visit to exquisite Oia, a village of whitewashed houses, blue-domed churches and tavernas carved in the cliffs. Wealthy sea captains built the pastel-colored mansions that now are home to cafes, boutiques and art galleries. From every direction the views are breathtaking.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant in Pyrgos.
 Afternoon: After a lunch in Pyrgos, you can wander around the colorful and rich in shops streets of Fira or proceed to the cable car for a panoramic ride directly to port. Return to ship for an early evening Road Scholar cocktail party.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Sunset departure for Rethimnon, Crete. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Rethimnon, Crete / Knossos
(Monday, April 22)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: An hour and 20-minute drive takes you from Rethimnon to Knossos. Even without the tales of a blood-thirsty Minotaur, this magnificent palace complex with its flamboyant decoration, courts, audience chambers, and residential areas is an impressive and inspiring site. Constructed around 1900BC, it was the administrative and religious center of the Minoan kingdom. Here King Minos held court and - so mythology holds - his wife gave birth to a half-man, half-bull creature that lurked in the palace's labyrinth. This fearsome beast was appeased only by human sacrifices. An earthquake destroyed the original complex; it was then rebuilt on an even grander scale, only to be destroyed again by the massive volcanic eruption on Santorini around 1500BC. Though periodically excavated by Greek archaeologists in the late 19th century, credit for the full excavation and restoration is given to amateur Victorian archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans. Roundly criticized for occasional mis-steps in restoration, Sir Arthur poured his fortune into the effort and did a remarkable job for the time period. Knossos today at least allows the visitor to visualize the palace as it once was and understand its intricacies. The guided field trip will take you through this legend-rich, entrancing complex that sprawled across five acres, where everything from throne room to royal living quarters is reconstructed with meticulous care.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Walking excursion of Rethimnon. Your adventure starts with a short drive from the ship along Crete's historic north coast to Rethimnon. Dominating the town is the star-shaped Fortezza, a 16th-century castle containing a church and mosque within its massive fortifications. Following your visit, enjoy a short walk to the pentagonal fort that houses the charming Archaeological Museum founded in 1887 by the Society of the Friends of Education. Then continue on a walking excursion of Old Town with its well-preserved Venetian and Ottoman buildings. Later, you'll have free time to explore or relax in one of the seaside cafes. If time allows, you may choose to remain in town a bit longer and make your own way back to the ship.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture. Late evening departure for Nauplia.
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Nauplia, Greece
(Tuesday, April 23)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Anchor off the port of Nauplia in time for breakfast. Tales of Agamemnon and the time of Homer's heroes take center stage today on our visit to Mycenae, one of the greatest cities of the highly-developed Mycenaean civilization. This culture dominated the eastern Mediterranean from the 16th to 13th century BC and laid the foundation for classical Greece. From the picturesque port of Nauplia, a scenic 45-minute drive across the Argolid Plain takes us to the imposing city of warrior merchants that Homer described as "rich in gold." The citadel that stands guard over the city is built high above two rock-strewn ravines, and legend holds that it was erected with the aid of the Cyclops. Enter Mycenae on foot through the Lion Gate, Europe's oldest piece of monumental statuary: it was here that the victorious, but battle-weary Agamemnon, was greeted by his wife, Klytemnestra, on his return from the long war with Troy, only to be murdered by her lover. Inside the gates, explore the Royal Palace, view the shaft graves and relive the tragic stories at an archaeological briefing in the Treasury of Atreus, also known as the Tomb of Agamemnon.
 Lunch: Lunch on board or explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Free time to explore the elegant town of Nauplia where you will find an excellent Archaeological Museum, housed in the impressive former Venetian Arsenal. This afternoon there is an option to visit Epidaurus, sacred to Asclepios, the god of medicine, and the site of the best preserved of all ancient Greek theaters (additional cost, bookable on board).
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Late evening sailing for Athens. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Athens, Greece
(Wednesday, April 24)

Note: The excursion to the Acropolis involves walking one or more hours over uneven terrain with multiple uphill segments.

 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: We will explore the recently opened Acropolis Museum.
 Lunch: Lunch at a restaurant in Plaka.
 Afternoon: A guided excursion through the ancient citadel of Athens, the Acropolis. Built during the - Golden Age - of Athens between 447-438BC under the orders of the great statesman Pericles, the Acropolis represents the magnificent achievements of Athenian culture during this remarkable era.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Cape Sounion / Disembark
(Thursday, April 25)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Disembark. Enjoy a guided excursion to Cape Sounion.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Free time to explore Athens on your own or with your Group Leader. Individual return to the hotel via hotel shuttle.
 Dinner: Farewell Dinner in the hotel dining room.
Accommodations: Metropolitan Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Departures
(Friday, April 26)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Transfer to Athens International Airport (ATH) for departures.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

1453, The Holy War For Constantinople and the Clash of Islam and the West

Author: Roger Crowley

Description: In this well-paced history, Crowley recounts with drama the events surrounding the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks.

A Literary Companion to Travel in Greece

Author: Richard Stoneman

Description: Poetry, prose and literature over the ages, arranged geographically with an excellent introduction and commentary. Stoneman artfully weaves together hundreds of short excerpts.

A Short History of Byzantium

Author: John Julius Norwich

Description: A richly detailed and evocative history of the tumultuous span of the great empire from the fourth century to the 15th, brimming with intrigue, skullduggery, palace revolution and other treachery.

Ancient Greece: Art, Architecture, and History

Author: Marina Belozerskaya, Kenneth Lapatin

Description: This lively illustrated guide covers the architecture, painting and sculpture of Ancient Greece from the third millennium to the end of the Hellenistic period. With 282 color and 28 black-and-white illustrations.

Art of the Byzantine Era

Author: David Talbot Rice

Description: Wide-ranging and literate, this thoroughly illustrated introduction to Byzantine art is an indispensable classic.

Crescent and Star

Author: Stephen Kinzer

Description: This insightful anecdotal report on contemporary life, culture and politics in Turkey comes from a former New York Times Istanbul bureau chief, who is especially attuned to the powerful geographic position of Turkey and its multiple identities in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.


Author: Barry Unsworth

Description: A travel memoir from the Booker prize-winning novelist, richly detailed and seeped in the millennia-old traditions, myths, literature and history of the island.

Eyewitness Guide Greek Islands

Author: Eyewitness Guides

Description: Color photography, excellent local maps and an island-by-island synopsis of attractions make this book the one to carry with you.

Eyewitness Guide Istanbul

Author: Eyewitness Guides

Description: This superb guide to Istanbul features color photography, dozens of excellent local maps and a district-by-district synopsis of the city's attractions. Handsome, convenient and up-to-date, this is the guide to carry.

Greece Map

Author: Michelin

Description: A colorful shaded map of Greece, the Greek Islands and the western coast of Turkey at a scale of 1:800,000.

Harem, The World Behind the Veil

Author: Alev Lytle Croutier

Description: A fascinating illustrated look at the culture of the Harem -- particularly the well-known quarters at Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. The author combines interviews, history and a wonderful selection of art in this intriguing book.

Ill Met by Moonlight

Author: W. Stanley Moss

Description: Better than fiction, Moss tells the story of the audacious World War II kidnapping of the German commander of occupied Crete with Patrick Leigh Fermor and fellow S.O.E. officers. Dirk Bogarde played PLF in the Powell movie.

Istanbul, Memories and the City

Author: Orhan Pamuk

Description: Nobel Prize-winner Pamuk writes with quiet grace of the city of his birth, celebrated in his many novels: a magical place of crumbling mansions and Ottoman riches, mingling Asian, Islamic, secular and European influences.

Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea, Why the Greeks Matter

Author: Thomas Cahill

Description: Cahill brings to life ancient Greek society and civilization through the lives and words of politicians, playwrights, a poet, philosopher and artist in this eloquent and absorbing tribute.

The Colossus of Maroussi

Author: Henry Miller

Description: Miller captures the spirit and warmth of the resilient Greek people in this inspired tale of a wartime journey from Athens to Crete, Corfu and Delphi with his friend Lawrence Durrell.

The Greek Myths, Complete Edition

Author: Robert Graves

Description: A new edition of Graves' classic collection illustrated by the comic book artist Ross MacDonald. This expert retelling by Graves, a poet, memoirist and the author of I, Claudius (ITL429), still remains the seminal modern translation of the mythologies of Ancient Greece.

The King Must Die

Author: Mary Renault

Description: A novel of Theseus, slayer of the Minotaur and King of Athens, including his Cretan adventures. The first in Renault's trilogy of well-researched page-turners.

The Middle Sea

Author: John Julius Norwich

Description: A marvelous writer who has already tackled Byzantium, the Normans in Sicily and Venice, Norwich spins his magic in this story of culture, trade and politics, royalty and rulers, wars and religion in the Mediterranean.

The Parthenon

Author: Mary Beard

Description: A lively tale of the construction, significance and many uses of the 2,500-year-old architectural marvel.

The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Greece

Author: Robert Morkot

Description: This pictorial survey of Greek antiquity, recording its culture and expansion, features dozens of full-color maps.

The World of the Ancient Greeks

Author: John Camp, Elizabeth Fisher

Description: Featuring hundreds of illustrations and inviting short chapters on topics from The First Greeks to The Heroic Age and Classical Athens. With modern color photographs of great ancient cities from Athens and Delphi to Knossos, Ephesus, Pergamum and Priene.

Turkish Reflections, A Biography of a Place

Author: Mary Lee Settle

Description: Settle's captivating travelogue is a richly detailed portrait of contemporary Turkey, its people, monasteries, myths, archaeological treasures and living traditions. Exemplary.

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