Fly to Athens and drive to our excellent hotel in the Plaka just below the Acropolis.
Hydrofoil to the Island of Poros. Troezon, birthplace of Theseus, and the Mycenaean road bridge at Ligortino which connected the citadel at Mycenae to the sites on the east coast. Epidavros is home to the sanctuary of Asklepios, the god of healing, but it is best known for the finest theatre in all Greece. A full day walking around the site. Dinner will be booked in a delightful taverna near our hotel.
Lerna was famed as one of the entrances to the underworld and the lair of the 7-headed Hydra, whose attribute was that two heads grew back for each severed (no longer a threat to tourists thanks to Herakles...). Walk from Larisa to Argos Museum which houses rich collections of “narrative” painted pottery. On to the Skouras winery for a wine tasting and relaxing lunch before returning to Napflion for a free afternoon (or siesta?).
Walk in Agamemnon’s footsteps along the original road to the citadel at Mycenae (6 miles/3 hours). This is the centre of the Mycenaean Bronze Age civilisation of the Peloponnese. While there are strong connections with the Minoan world of Crete, this mainland power took a strikingly different approach to its palatial architecture. Visit the museum and famous shaft and Tholos tombs, (‘Treasury of Atreus’). These are famed for the gold masks, discovered by Heinrich Schliemann and now in the National Museum at Athens.
Mycenaean fortress at Midea, one of the largest and best preserved of the Bronze Age and the cemetery and Tholos tomb at Dendra which seems to be an associated site. The Argive Heraion is a most beautiful and evocative sanctuary, and it is easy to imagine the processions described by ancient authors. The sanctuary of Hera was built on three gigantic terraces cut into the hillside. A walk (approx. one hour) included here.
Museum at Nafplion then on to ‘High-walled Tiryns’ whose vast cyclopean walls made it one of the most notable fortresses of Mycenaean Greece. This was also reputedly the birthplace of Herakles. The city suffered the same collapse that destroyed Mycenaean civilisation at the end of the Bronze Age but remained a small but dwindling township into classical antiquity. A visit to the ruins of Asine will be a prelude to lunch by the sea and an opportunity to swim. Free time this afternoon in Napflion before supper in a fish restaurant on the seafront.
where Hercules slew the Nemean lion, as the first of his twelve labours. The Nemean games, one of the four great Panhellenic festivals, were held at the Sanctuary of Zeus. Continue to Athens airport, visiting the National Museum
along the way, then flight home to the UK.
Guests unfamiliar with Athens might like to take the opportunity to book their own flights and stay on to see the Acropolis and the splendid new Acropolis Museum.
- Flights - Scheduled flights with British Airways from London to Athens who offer the best available flights. We have to buy tickets from them directly online. This means that costs vary. Your local airport may also offer direct flights to Athens if you prefer to book flights independently
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach; hydrofoil Piraeus to Poros
- Guide Lecturer - Alexander (Sandy) MacGillivray. Not to be confused with "guest lecturers"! The guide lecturer will be with you from breakfast to supper, and probably even a drink in the bar afterwards. There is the occasional site where they may not be allowed to guide because of local regulations (we normally manage to circumnavigate these) but otherwise the guides are just that. They will have been chosen because of specialist knowledge and their ability to communicate and interest you. After 29 years of making tours worldwide, we are highly appreciative of the attributes of a good guide, and intensely critical of people who do not possess them
- Tour Manager - We never know how best to call the very special people whom we choose to accompany you on your tour. They are usually employed in this capacity only by us, and have been trained to do things in the Andante way - unobtrusive, friendly and quietly efficient
- Meals - All meals included (dinners with wine & water) except dinner Days 3 & 5. Some wine-tasting included
- Entries and Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
- Local Guide
This is not a 'walking tour', but includes the opportunity to really enjoy the glorious countryside and to approach some of these sites on foot. Most walks take around an hour, the longest - the original road to Myceanae (which you could avoid if you wished) - takes about 3 hours
1 night in a comfortable hotel in central Athens, conveniently located at the foot of the Acropolis, with views of the Parthenon from its roof top garden;
5 nights in a neoclassical town house in Nafplion which has been elegantly converted into a sophisticated hotel;
|Mon 5th - Sun 11th May 2014 with Alexander MacGillivrary