Day 1. Monday, April 20: Transatlantic flight
Board your transatlantic flight to Athens, Greece.
Day 2. Tuesday, April 21: Athens
Upon arrival, enjoy a panoramic view of Athens before arriving at your hotel for a welcome dinner and overnight. (WD)
Day 3. Wednesday, April 22: Athens
This morning, start your sightseeing of Athens by ascending the Sacred Rock and Mars Hill to visit the Acropolis (the Upper City) complex that contains the famous Parthenon. See the Areopagus Hill, where St. Paul delivered his sermon “On the unknown God” and gained his first convert Dionysius the Areopagite, who subsequently became the patron saint of Athens. Continue for a guided tour of the extraordinary Acropolis Museum, focused on the findings of the archaeological site of the Acropolis of Athens. This afternoon, enjoy free time to explore Athens. You may walk through the narrow streets of the Monastiraki with its bazaar and market stalls or visit the outstanding Benaki Museum containing Greek art and crafts that span over 5,000 years, or the Byzantine Museum devoted to ecclesiastical objects from Byzantine churches. Tonight, dinner is on your own to sample one of the excellent restaurants in Athens. (BB)
Day 4. Thursday, April 23: Athens – Corinth – Athens
Today travel to ancient Corinth. Here, under the shadow of the towering Acropolis, St. Paul preached and lived for two years. The vigorous and mostly Gentile church he founded here in 50 AD, caused him much grief and prompted him to write at least four letters to them. Visit the ruins of the ancient city where St. Paul worked with Aquila and Priscilla. See the remains of first-century shops, the agora where St. Paul was on trial at the Bema, the Fountain of Peirene, Temple of Apollo, and visit the museum filled with treasures from the ancient sites. Return to Athens to enjoy free time and an independent dinner. (BB)
Day 5, 6, 7. Friday, Saturday & Sunday. Three-night Cruise: April 24, 25 & 26: Piraeus – Mykonos – Kusadasi – Patmos – Heraklion – Santorini – Piraeus
Begin your beautiful three-night cruise. Mykonos is the most famous island in the Aegean Sea and the most popular destination in Greece. Sparkling white with a blue Aegean backdrop, the island’s architecture is one of a kind. Stroll through a maze of white-washed alleyways, admire elegant villas, and savor the exquisite Mediterranean cuisine. Mykonos’ other main attraction is its windmills, which stand facing the sea and at night are beautifully lit up. Next stop is Kusadasi to visit the famous archaeological site of nearby Ephesus, where St. Paul preached against the idols. Ephesus is the most significant monument of antiquity, boasting the largest Greek Roman excavations in the Mediterranean. There, visit also the house where the Virgin Mary lived with St. John the Apostle. On the island of Patmos, visit the monastery and cave where St. John wrote the Book of Revelation. Next, visit Heraklion, the capital of the Greek island of Crete, known for the Palace of Knossos, just outside the city. The huge archaeological site dates back thousands of years to the Minoan civilization and includes frescoes and baths. Finally, sail to Santorini with its beautiful beaches, spectacular scenery, ancient cities, amazing restaurants, some of the world’s best wine, and an active volcano. Time to explore the island on your own before returning to the ship. (BB, L, D)
Day 8. Monday, April 27: Piraeus – Thessaloniki
After disembarking, travel to Thessaloniki, the second largest city of Greece. It features the richest collection of Byzantine churches in Greece. Your sightseeing includes a visit to the Church of Agios Demetrios, the largest church in Greece. It marks the site of martyrdom and tomb of St. Demetrius, patron saint of Thessaloniki. Next, visit Agia Sophia. This church contains many mosaics and frescoes dating back to the 9th and 10th centuries. Pass through the Galerius Arch and the White Tower, remains of the Roman period ruins, which recall the presence of St. Paul. Dinner and overnight in Thessaloniki. (BB, D)
Day 9. Tuesday, April 28: Thessaloniki: Excursion to Kavala and Philippi
Your excursion today will take you to Kavala (ancient Neapolis), where St. Paul, St. Timothy, and St. Silas landed on the coast of Thrace. From there, visit Philippi, where St. Paul lived, preached, and was imprisoned, and the Baptistery of Lydia, where the first baptism on European soil took place. Dinner and overnight in Thessaloniki. (BB, D)
Day 10. Wednesday, April 29: Thessaloniki – Veria – Vergina – Kalambaka
Journey west to Veria to view the memorial to St. Paul. Nearby visit Vergina and the famous Museum of Royal Tombs, housing the tombs of the Macedonian Dynasty. Continue to Kalambaka for dinner and overnight. (BB, D)
Day 11. Thursday, April 30: Kalambaka – Athens
Visit the beautiful and strange geographical formation of Meteora, formed by hanging rocks on top of which several Byzantine monasteries were built between the 9th and 12th centuries. Visit two of those monasteries, which still reflect the real monastic life of the Middle Ages. In the afternoon, transfer to Athens. Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner with your travel companions. (BB, FD)
Day 12. Friday, May 1: Homebound flight
Transfer to Athens airport for your flight back to the USA. (BB)
Buffet Breakfast (BB); Lunch (L); Dinner (D); Welcome Dinner (WD); Farewell Dinner (FD)
* In case of unforeseen events, this itinerary is subject to change.
For questions or more trip information, please contact Catholic Heritage Tours.