Conquerors of Troy.

 (7-day in Peloponnese) (PEL13)

1st day: Athens – Corinth Canal - Epideurus - Mycenae - Nafplio
We’ll leave Athens at 08:00 towards the Corinth Canal, where we’ll have coffee and take photos of the canal connecting the Saronic to the Corinthian Gulf. With the view of the beautiful path of Korfos, we will head towards Epidaurus. Among all the ancient theatres, Epidaurus is the most famous, most beautiful and best preserved. Harmonious and beautiful, it was originally intended for the entertainment of his patients of Asklepios, the most important healing center of the Greek and Roman world with a capacity of 14,000 spectators. Today it is the dream and life purpose of countless actors and directors to visit it. Its acoustics are also considered exceptional. We will then continue towards Nafplio, one of the most charming and historic cities of Greece with the castle of Palamidi on hilltop overlooking the Mpourtzi, the “sea-castle”. The views are truly exquisite and the romantic atmosphere doesn’t retell the stories of repeat of sieges, battles, wars and tyrants. The dream-like wandering in the streets and squares, the architectural jewels, the lilies as well as the Venetian and the neoclassical buildings, will brings us to another era. We will arrive in Mycenae, the kingdom of the mythical Agamemnon, glorified by Homer in his epics and brought to light by Heinrich Schliemann in 1874, surprising mankind with its golden masks, weapons, jewelry and utensils that came with the Atreides, the dead kings in their funeral beds. During the tour we will admire the Lion Gate on a lintel of 120 tons, the Cyclopean Walls of dizzying proportions, the Royal domed tomb (known as the treasure of Atreus) etc. We’ll settle at the hotel.


2nd day: Nafplio - Astros - Leonidio - Monemvasia
After breakfast our journey will begin with the lovely coastal route via New Kios and Mylos until the scenic coastal Astros, where we will rest for a bit. The next part will be even better until Leonidio, since after the wetlands of Moustos and San Andreas, there is one of the most beautiful roads in the Peloponnese, with turns over fjords, beaches and olive groves, calm waters and little houses. It is like fabulous lace where the view behind every bend is at least stunning. If you want to swim, you will find countless coves with olive groves, cypress trees and emerald waters such as Kryoneri in Zaritsi and Tserfo. After Sabatiki the road leads to Leonidio, for many, the capital of Tsakonia. Here, usually during the last weekend in August, the town he lives in the taste and smell of eggplant with taste competitions, music and dance. We’ll stroll through the narrow streets of the town and visit the famous preserved mansion of Tsikalioti. It is a mansion of 1808, characterized by a unique circular two level bastion on the northern edge. We’ll continue to Monemvasia, one of the most romantic destinations. After settling in our hotel we’ll go on a delightful walk in the open museum where you will admire the medieval architecture and its many Byzantine churches until the top of the rock. We will walk along the path that crosses the upper town in the middle of ruined buildings and walls, Byzantine, Venetian and Turkish relics. The feeling is unique, the quietness is complete and the view is amazing. In the “Tapia tou Kritikou”, we will make a stop to observe the lower Monemvasia and then go west to the cisterns and the mosque. At the highest point of the castle, the legendary Acropolis, the view is fantastic. Enjoy the peace and keep those memories with wonderful photos. We will then go back to the hotel.


3rd day: Monemvasia - Neapoli - Gytheio - Kotronas - Lagia - Tainaro - Vathia - Alika
After breakfast we’ll leave for Neapolis, which is built almost on top of the ancient city of Boion which was destroyed by a powerful earthquake in 375 AD. There, near the shores of St. George, is submerged a prehistoric city where tomb chambers can be found. Αφού απολαύσουμε την εκτεταμένη αμμουδερή παραλία του όρμου της, we will meet the beautiful Gythio, the ancient and current seaport of Sparta on the Laconian gulf, with neoclassical houses that climb on the hillside of the "Akoumaros" mountain like an amphitheater, with narrow steep streets and stairs, the green island of Kranai (where Paris fled with Helen, according to mythology, before leaving for Troy), the imposing lighthouse and Tzannetaki tower. Entering Eastern Mani, there is Kotronas, the largest coastal settlement in the stunning bay on the site of ancient Tefthronis (which is now underwater). Through a route that exudes an otherworldly charm, filled with castle houses and villages "hung" on the slopes, we will continue on to Laya, one of the earliest settlements of Mani, with many towers and ruins of megalithic buildings. It is not a coincidence that out of the 118 traditional settlements of the Peloponnese, the 98 are located in Mani! Heading for Cape Tainaro, we will discern many mansions and ancient marble quarries. We will rest for coffee just before Tainaro, the southernmost point of mainland Greece and Europe. It is the place of the legends of ancient Laconia, with the sanctuary of necromancy of Poseidon – the descent into Hades. This is where Hercules and Orpheus descended, according to mythology, and a well preserved decorative mosaic is also located there, from a house of Hellenistic-Roman period (1st century AD), called "the Star of Aria". Our last visit will be the symbol and most famous fortified village of Mani, Vathia. This is the peak of Maniot architecture! Άφιξη και εγκατάσταση στο ξενοδοχείο μας.


4th day: Gerolimenas - Kita - Diros - Areopoli - Mystras - Sparta
After breakfast we will have time to enjoy the bay of Gerolimena, with its awesome rugged coastlines. We will cross Mani which is under the absolute sovereignty of mountains and rocks. Towers, forts and settlements reaching to the sea will accompany us almost everywhere. From a distance, we’ll see the village of Mezapou and the peninsula of “Tigani” with the ruins of the Byzantine castle of Maini. Our destination will be the Diros caves with their mystical charms that leave no one unmoved. The visit on the small boat that glides onto the quiet dark waters is simply a fabulous experience. We will continue to Aeropoli, the “eaglenest” of the Mavromichali, where we will tout the well-preserved historic center and the church of the Archangels. This is where the revolution of March 17th 1821 began! Nearby, behind the stone well, there is the traditional bakery "To Psomi Tis Milias" which is said to be the oldest of the Peloponnese (over 180 years old)! We’ll depart towards the Byzantine castle of Mystras, the capital of the Despotate of Morea which firmly retains its past glory. We will see the stone streets, the seven beautiful Byzantine churches with a unique architecture, the Byzantine coats of arms and the amazing frescoes in the palaces of Despots. Here in Agios Dimitrios, the cathedral of Mystras, Constantine Palaeologus, the last Byzantine Emperor, was crowned.  We’ll arrival at Sparta and settle in the hotel.


5th day: Sparta – Archeological & Olive Museums - Taygetos - Pylos - Methoni - Kalamata
Πρόγευμα μπουφέ και επίσκεψη στο the Museum of the Olive and Olive Oil, which is one of its kind in Greece, we’ll see the old mills with the huge wooden presses, the ancient millstones, old containers, hundredweights, the jars, models of old mills and we will also witness the evolution of the olive oil production technology from the antiquity until the early industrial era. Leaving Sparta, we will cross Taygetos to go to Kalamata. After a city tour of Kalamata and a visit at the Cathedral of the Visitation, we will settle at the hotel. We’ll get to Pylos, which has a very large and safe harbor, with a length of 4800 meters and a width of 3600m. In front of the harbor is the island Sfaktiria and south of it, is the small island of Pylos (or Fanari). There, in 1890 the French Republic made a monument in honor of the French who participated in the Battle of Navarino. Our next station will be Methoni, which retains its name since the the 4th century BC when there were temples of Athena and Artemis and strong fortifications, some of which we will see at the bottom of the sea next to the harbor, just below the Venetian walls. After passing the main gate, we will walk inside the castle, where there are ruins from the houses of the Venetian rulers, the Turkish baths, the Byzantine churches, as well as large monolithic granite columns on top of which stood the winged lion of Venice. Crossing the sea gate which forms two square towers of 16 meters, we’ll reach the imposing Mpourtzi, the last tower of the castle. Following the scenic route to Petalidi, we will pass by Koroni, built at the root of a rock, it is almost inaccessible! We’ll stay in Kalamata for the night.


6th day: Kalamata - Messene - Leontari - Psari (Arcadiani) - Karytaina - Stemnitsa - Dimitsana – Ancient Olympia
After breakfast, we’ll tour the highly impressive archaeological park of ancient Messene before visiting the pride of Arcadia, Leontari, which was built where the ancient Greeks had founded the settlement of Lefktro. You will see the Church of the Apostles of the 14th century, with a mix of royal and sophisticated Byzantine style, which is a masterpiece of Byzantine ecclesiastical architecture. It is decorated with frescoes of exceptional style, elegant marble temple and colorful mosaic floor. We’ll begin our visits at the center of local home cooking “Arcadiani” in the village of Psari, before visiting the historical stone-built Karytaina. We will have a chance for pictures with the legendary five-arched bridge and the Frankish castle of the 13th century as backgrounds. Later on the ancient Ipsous, we will walk to Stemnitsa, the old silversmith center of Arcadia, where we will see the Memorial of the 1821 Fighters and as well as the Folklore Museum. At Dimitsana, our next stop, we will see well-built mansions. We will see the house of the Patriarch Gregory V, the famous library of priceless relics. In the vibrant Museum of Hydraulic Energy, we will witness the power of water and learn about the powder mill, the fulling mill and the various tools of a tannery before learning how to make gunpowder. We’ll arrive and settle at our hotel in Ancient Olympia.


7th day: Ancient Olympia – Winery of Achaia Claus - Athens
We’ll tour the archaeological site of Olympia, where the human ideals of peace and sportsmanship were born. We will admire the ancient stadium and the priceless exhibits in the new museum such as Hermes of Praxiteles, the Nike of Paionios etc. After some time for lunch we will head north to enjoy a tasting tour in the historic winery of Achaia Claus just outside Patra. We will see the impressive stone buildings, the large carved oak barrels of Mavrodafni aging for a century, the wine cellar for the reception of visitors and of course the unique landscape with its stunning views! We’ll continue to Athens stopover to go to a hotel or for airport transfers.

 

7 day tour of the Peloponnese

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