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The Jewels of the Cyclades

Program Number: 20441RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/6/2015 - 10/17/2015; 4/19/2016 - 4/30/2016; 6/14/2016 - 6/25/2016; 9/27/2016 - 10/8/2016;
Duration: 11 nights
Location: Greece
Price starting at: $3,699.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Small Ship Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 28; 10 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 10 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

A volcanic caldera rising from cerulean waters. Clusters of whitewashed houses where traditional village life thrives. Sacred ground on which Greek mythology tells us humans conversed with the gods. Discover these and more on a voyage through the Cyclades, a group of islands southeast of mainland Greece. Plus absorb the ancient history of Athens during three nights on shore.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles per day; uneven terrain including many hills and stairs without railings.

Please note that the April 2016 departure is an Active Activity Level.

Itinerary At-a-Glance

Athens, 3 nights; aboard M/S Galileo, 7 nights.

Coordinated by Road Scholar.

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

Days 2-5: Arrival Athens (Greece) / embark M/S Galileo:

Learn about the great archaeological treasures of the Acropolis. Examine priceless relics of Ancient Greece up close at the National Archaeological Museum. Enjoy a full day excursion to Delphi. Lodging: Centrally located hotel.

Day 6: Polyaigos and Folegandros:

Arrive first at tiny Polyaigos, inhabited only by goats but boasting magnificent beaches. Continue to Folegandros with its steep cliffs and visit its “upper town.”

Day 7: Santorini:

Go ashore on this famously beautiful volcanic island to discover the largest settlement, Fira, and the picturesque village of Oia.

Day 8: Paros:

Explore Paros including a lovely fishing village and the Church of Ekatondapiliani, one of the greatest early Christian monuments in Greece.

Day 9: Delos and Mykonos:

An on-site lecture illuminates the ancient history of Delos, site of one of the best known Sanctuaries of Apollo. Sail to cosmopolitan Mykonos for an afternoon of independent exploration.

Day 10: Syros:

Enjoy a shore excursion in Ermoupoli, the capital of the island and the Cyclades, to see its old mansions, neoclassical public buildings, grandiose marble squares, monuments and statues.

Day 11: Kythnos:

Take a swim in the warm waters of Kolanes Bay.

Day 12: Athens / disembark / departure

M/S Galileo

The 167-foot Galileo is a classic steel hull motor-sailer. Its spacious, well-appointed interiors were renovated in 2007. The Galileo always operates using motor power with sails used when weather and route allow. Public areas include a dining room, lounge bar, sundeck and two more outdoor seating areas.


More than one-fifth of Greece’s land mass lies offshore in the islands of the Aegean or Ionian seas, while the sites of Classical archeology, myth and literature dominate the mainland and the peninsulas. The Peloponnese, with its spine of mountains and treasures of the ancient world, complements the white-washed villages and turquoise waters of the islands.

Meals and Lodgings
   Athens Ledra Hotel
  Athens, Greece 3 nights
  Cruise, Greece 7 nights
 Athens Ledra Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Ship Information: n/a
  Contact info: 115 Syngrou Avenue
Athens,   Greece
phone: +302109300000
  Room amenities: High speed and wireless Internet access 24 hour room service Individual climate control Direct-dial telephone with volume control Free satellite TV In-room pay movies Mini-bar Hair dryer Iron and ironing board Safe deposit box Luxury Marriott bedding that includes fluffier pillows and thicker mattresses on American double beds
  Facility amenities: All public areas non-smoking Babysitting Barber/Beauty shop Buffet breakfast Car rentals nearby Cash machine/ATM Coffee/tea in-room Concierge Lounge Hours Concierge desk Continental breakfast Evening turndown service Foreign exchange Full American breakfast Gift/newsstand Housekeeping service daily Laundry on-site Limousine service Mobility accessible rooms Newspaper in lobby Room service Room service, 24-hour Safe deposit boxes, front desk Shoeshine Shoeshine stand Valet dry-cleaning Virtual Concierge Available
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: 140 Euro (subject to change) Additional pre nights are available for 140 Euro per night (includes breakfast and taxes), subject to change and availability.Please contact Road Scholar Adventures Afloat at or 617.457.5560 for availability.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

Type: Cruise Ship
  Ship Information: The Galileo is a 4 – deck motor-yacht that accommodates 32 passengers in outside cabins, all with en-suite bathrooms. Built in 1995 the vessel’s cabins are comfortably appointed with fine woodwork of Italian design and craftsmanship. Each room also has air conditioning and either windows or portholes, depending on the deck.
  Contact info: N/A
Athens,   Greece
phone: +8003197776
  Facility amenities: All cabins have private, nicely appointed bathrooms with showers. All cabins are air-conditioned and fitted with central music and with telephone for intra ship communication. There are hairdryers in each cabin. Almost all of Variety's ships have TV's, safe boxes, mini-fridges, and DVD players in the cabin. For more details, please visit Variety Cruises online.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Athens, Greece. Orientation begins at 6:00PM in the hotel. You will be staying at Athens Ledra Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Disembarkation is after breakfast approximately 8:30AM. You will be staying at Galileo the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. Passport. US citizens do not require a visa to Greece at this time. Participants holding other passport should check with the consulate regarding visa requirements.
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Athens
  Transportation to site: Taxi transfer from Athens Airport to the hotel is readily available for approximately €50. Public transport is also available but is more difficult for participants carrying luggage. Rate for Airport-Hotel transfer in Deluxe A/C pre-chartered Mercedes taxi and vice versa is Euro 69 per way, for maximum 2 guests. Public Transportation AIRPORT TO CITY CENTER 1st option: From the airport to the hotel take BUS X95 to the last STOP called SYNTAGMA square (City Center). Ticket costs €5.00 one way. 2nd option: At the Airport EL. VENIZELOS station take METRO Line 3 (towards Monastiraki). STOP at SYNTAGMA square (City Center). Ticket costs €8.00. CITY CENTER TO HOTEL 1st option: From SYNTAGMA square you can take a taxi which costs approximately €8.00. 2nd option: Take the METRO Line 2 (Ag. Dimitrios- Ag. Antonios) going towards -Ag. Dimitrios to stop at the SYNGROU FIX station.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Cruise
  Transportation from site: Taxi transfer from the ship to Athens Airport is readily available. Public transport is also available but is more difficult for participants carrying luggage. Independent travelers are welcome to join the Road Scholar departure transport from the ship to the airport at the end of the program.
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: International Flight
(Tuesday, October 6)
 Depart From: Depart the USA.

Day 2: Orientation and Welcome Dinner
(Wednesday, October 7)
 Arrive To: Arrive in Athens.
 Dinner: Evening orientation and welcome dinner.
Accommodations: Athens Ledra Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Acropolis
(Thursday, October 8)

Note: At Ancient Greek historical sites there may be walking over uneven surfaces stairs without railings. There may also be significant (1-2 miles) walking around the sites with limited shade in some areas. Popular sites may be crowded at certain periods.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: We begin the day with a visit to the top of Athens' Acropolis, home to a number of temples, most famous of which is the Parthenon. It was built to honor the city's patroness, Athena. We see the grand sun-bleached structure built by Pericles in the 5th century BC to celebrate the city's victory at Marathon and visit the nearby museum holding artifacts from the site. We also will visit the New Acropolis Museum.
 Lunch: Lunch in a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Continue your visit of Athens with some free time to explore on your own.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Athens Ledra Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Delphi
(Friday, October 9)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we begin our Greece adventure with a drive northwest via Thebes and Levadia to Delphi. We will then walk the sacred way, visiting the treasuries, the place of offerings, the Grand Temple of Apollo and the theater. The tour continues with a visit to the Museum housing many treasures.
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch on your own followed by some free time.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a free afternoon for some personal exploration before returning to the hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Athens Ledra Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: Embarkation
(Saturday, October 10)

Note: Please be aware that due to unpredictable weather conditions in the Aegean Sea, the ship's captain may have to alter the original itinerary in order to avoid high seas. This is done to ensure the safety of all aboard.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we begin our Greece adventure with a visit to the National Archaeological Museum, housing the most treasured relics from throughout the country. An expert-led visit reveals an impressive assembly of relics from sites all over Greece.
 Lunch: Lunch in a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Transfer to Marina Zea for the cruise portion of your journey.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner aboard the ship.
Accommodations: Galileo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Poliegos- Folegandros
(Sunday, October 11)

Note: While we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, please note that weather conditions may alter this itinerary. This is done with your safety in mind and the ship's captain will be vigilant about monitoring the sea conditions.

 Breakfast: Breakfast aboard the ship.
 Morning: We arrive in Poliegos, a very small island known for its amazing beaches. Stop for a swim.
 Lunch: Finish the morning with a B-B-Q lunch.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon arrive in Folegandros. Tiny Folegandros is a steep rocky island bursting with beauty and charm, truly a hidden gem. Upon arrival we disembark and explore picturesque Upper Town to view its winding streets and whitewashed houses.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Galileo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Santorini
(Monday, October 12)

Note: Due to port and weather conditions each day's sailing and docking schedule may vary. The captain will keep your group leader advised of any potential changes during the week.

 Breakfast: Breakfast aboard the ship.
 Morning: We arrive in Santorini to explore its unique capital Fira. Disembark for a short walk of the Capital and a visit at the Prehistoric Museum with its fascinating collection, models and wall paintings from Akrotiri excavations.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Board the bus for a pleasant drive through the village of Pyrgos, the northern coast, and arrive at Oia, the most picturesque village of Santorini. Notice its beautiful views over the Caldera. Explore the village with your local expert guide, have some free time and re-board the bus for your return drive to Fira.
 Dinner: Dinner aboard the ship.
Accommodations: Galileo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Antiparos-Paros
(Tuesday, October 13)
 Breakfast: Breakfast aboard the ship.
 Morning: This morning you will enjoy a swim stop in an enchanting bay of Antiparos.
 Lunch: Lunch aboard the ship.
 Afternoon: Leaving Parikia port, we will take the inland road and arrive at the enchanting mountain village of Lefkes, built in its own architectural style and many old chapels. After a short walk visiting the main square we will continue on to the lovely fishing village of Naoussa and its famous tiny port. Here we will visit its narrow streets, whitewashed houses, colorful harbor and many beautiful shops. On the way back to Parikia visit the famous Byzantine Church of Ekatondapiliani, one of the greatest early Christian monuments in Greece.
 Dinner: Dinner aboard the ship.
Accommodations: Galileo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Delos and Mykonos
(Wednesday, October 14)
 Breakfast: Breakfast aboard the ship.
 Morning: Early morning sail to the sacred island of Delos. Delos was one of the best known Sanctuaries of Apollo, God of the sun, music and poetry. Along with an onsite lecture, we will discover the impressive remains here including the Marble Lions, the Sanctuary of Apollo, the Temple of Isis and amazing mosaics. There will be some free time before rejoining the ship. After our exploration, we will sail a short distance to Mykonos.
 Lunch: Lunch aboard the ship.
 Afternoon: The afternoon is free to explore Mykonos on your own. Walk along the harbor, take in the trademark windmills or wander the narrow lanes with their Venetian style houses.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Galileo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Syros
(Thursday, October 15)
 Breakfast: Breakfast aboard the ship.
 Morning: Arrive in Syros, the capital of the Cycladic islands. Set out for an excursion to see the wonderful neoclassical architecture: old mansions, marble paved streets, grandiose marble squares, imposing churches, monuments, statues and well preserved neoclassical buildings.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: We will visit the magnificent Miaouli square, one of the most beautiful squares in Greece. It is surrounded by the superb Town Hall building which was designed by the famous Bavarian architect Ziller. The building was completed in 1898. Nearby, we will visit the Apollo Theatre which stands on Vardaki Square. It was designed by the French architect Chabeau and is a miniature version of the famous La Scala of Milan.
 Dinner: Dinner aboard the ship.
Accommodations: Galileo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Kythnos
(Friday, October 16)
 Breakfast: Breakfast aboard the ship.
 Morning: We will arrive in Kythnos where you will enjoy a swim in Kolones bay.
 Lunch: Lunch aboard the ship.
 Afternoon: Pack up and prepare for your journey home tomorrow as we sail back to Marina Zea in Athens via Cape Sounion where the temple of Poseidon is located.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner aboard the ship.
Accommodations: Galileo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Depart for the USA
(Saturday, October 17)
 Breakfast: Breakfast aboard the ship.
 Morning: Disembark and transfer to the airport for flights to the USA.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Mykonos Little Venice
Along the bay at the western edge of town, just below the windmills, wealthy local shipping merchants built a row of find windmills, wealthy local shipping merchants built a row of find mansions, with brightly painted wooden balconies, that seem to rise from the deep. While "Little Venice" is a bit of a misnomer, this is a particularly scenic corner of town.
  Old Town
Mykonos' Old Town seems made for exploring. Sometimes described as "cubist" for its irregular jostle of angular rooflines, Mykonos' townscape is a photographer's delight. Enjoy getting lost, then found again.
Mykonos is infamously windy, and Mykonians have special names for the different winds that blow through: "the bell-ringer," "the chair thrower," and "the unseater of horsemen." As in many Greek island towns, Mykonos' old-fashioned windmills harnessed this natural power in order to grind grain to supply its ships. Five of them stand proudly along a ridge called Kato Myloui at the top of the town, overlooking the Little Venice area.
  Athens "Acropolis Loop"
One of Athens' best attractions, this wide, well-manicured, delightfully traffic-free pedestrian boulevard borders the Acropolis to the south and east. One of the city's many big improvements made in preparation for its 2004 Olympics-hosting bid, this walkway immediately became a favorite local hangout, with vendors, al fresco cafes, and frequent special events enlivening its cobbles.
  Ancient Agora: Athens' Market
The Agora was for eight centuries the true meeting place of the city - a hive of commerce, politics, and everyday bustle. Everybody who was anybody in ancient Athens spent time here, from Socrates and Plato to a visiting missionary named Paul. Other than one very well preserved temple and a rebuilt stoa, it's a field of humble ruins.
  Temple of Olympian Zeus
This largest ancient temple in mainland Greece took almost 700 years to finish. The temple lay abandoned, half-built, for centuries until the Roman emperor Hadrian arrived to finish the job in A.D. 131. Although only 15 of the original 104 Corinthian columns remain standing, their sheer size is enough to create a powerful impression of the temple's scale.
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

A Traveller's History of Greece

Author: Timothy Boatswain, Colin Nicolson

Description: A nicely written survey from prehistory through the 1990s: wide-ranging, accessible and necessarily condensed.

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.

Corelli's Mandolin

Author: Louis De Bernieres

Description: This lyrical novel captures the humanity, quirks and loves of village life in the Greek islands. A satire of war, this charming and richly-colored novel is set on Cephallonia during the Italian occupation in the 1940s.

Culture Smart! Greece

Author: Constantine Buhayer

Description: A concise, no-nonsense guide to local customs, etiquette and culture with a short overview of the land and people along with practical travel advice.

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. Includes a chapter on Athens.

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.

Greece, A Traveler's Literary Companion

Author: Artemis Leontis (Editor)

Description: In this terrific anthology, 24 modern Greek writers offer a flavor of their nation, its culture and people, beautiful landscapes and rich history.

Greece, Land of Light

Author: Nicholas Gage, Barry Brukoff

Description: Brukoff's dramatic color photographs are paired with incisive commentary by award-winning author Nicholas Gage for this striking portrait of the people, land and history of Greece and the islands.

Greek, A Language Map

Author: Kristine K. Kershul

Description: This durable, foldout card, featuring 1,000 words and phrases, works as a quick and convenient reference for travelers.

Homer the Classic

Author: Gregory Nagy

Description: Harvard classics scholar Nagy considers how Homer’s poetry was greeted in its own day and in the centuries immediately following the great bard.

Honey from a Weed, Fasting and Feasting in Tuscany, Catalonia, The Cyclades and Apulia

Author: Patience Gray

Description: A knowledgeable, unfussy grand tour of the Mediterranean, its history and its foodstuffs, by Patience Gray, who traveled to Catalonia, the Cyclades, Apulia/Puglia and Tuscany.

It's All Greek to Me

Author: Charlotte Higgins

Description: With timelines, a who's who, charts and maps, this handy little primer is a thoroughly entertaining introduction to everything Greek, from poetry and drama to philosophy, history and culture.

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, a philosopher and an 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 Complete World of Greek Mythology

Author: Richard Buxton

Description: With hundreds of color illustrations, site plans, genealogies and maps, this handsome, encyclopedic reference illuminates the world of the Greek gods.

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: The first in Mary Renault's trilogy of well-researched page-turners features the tale of Theseus, slayer of the Minotaur and the king of Athens. Known for her exhaustive research, Renault is an acknowledged master of historical fiction.

The Most Beautiful Villages of Greece

Author: Mark Ottaway

Description: Organized geographically, this handsome oversize picture book is an illustrated portrait of Greece with hundreds of color photographs accompanying lively essays.

The Parthenon

Author: Mary Beard

Description: A lively tale of the construction, significance and 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 Search for Ancient Greece

Author: Roland Etienne, Francoise Etienne

Description: Lavishly illustrated, this pocket encyclopedia covers the archaeology and meaning of ancient Greece -- quite an accomplishment for such a slim book.

The World of the Ancient Greeks

Author: John Camp, Elizabeth Fisher

Description: Featuring hundreds of illustrations and invitingly short chapters on topics from the first Greeks to the Heroic Age and classical Athens. With modern color photographs of great Greek cities from Athens and Delphi to Knossos, Ephesus, Pergamum and Priene.

Travels With Epicurus

Author: Daniel Klein

Description: Daniel Klein's witty meditation on the ancients, life in the Greek Islands, his favorite philosophers -- and growing old gracefully -- is also a delightful romp through the Aegean.

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