Day 1 - Arrive Athens, Greece
Arrive in Athens, where you are met and transferred to
your hotel. Join fellow guests for a welcome reception
Day 2 - Athens
Wake in the world’s ancient capital, a veritable open-air museum filled with iconic architecture. Choose to begin your day at the Acropolis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you discover its Hellenistic ruins, among them the majestic Parthenon. Take in stunning views over the Plaka Quarter, the ancient Agora and the Theater of Dionysus, where the tragedies of Sophocles and Euripides were performed. Alternately, set out on a scenic drive to Peloponnese, pausing at the 19th-century Corinth Canal, an engineering marvel. Continue to the Argolis region, the land of Homer’s Golden Mycenae. Admire the Cyclopean Walls, the Lion’s Gate and the Royal Tombs, including the Treasury of Atreus and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Epidaurus, where you stand in awe of its acoustically impressive ancient theater. Should you prefer to experience Athens’s art scene instead, meet your art-focused guide and walk to a nearby gallery to learn about local contemporary artists. Proceed to the Benaki Museum, where you discover its eclectic, extensive collection of works from the Bronze Age. This evening, join your Expedition Team and fellow guests for a festive, private event on an Athenian street featuring a scenic view of the Acropolis, live music and dancing with folkloric entertainment.
Day 3 - Athens
After breakfast at your hotel, spend the morning at leisure.
Regroup with fellow guests for lunch at a beloved restaurant
overlooking the Acropolis and Parthenon. Afterward, join
a guided visit to the world-renowned Acropolis Museum,
seeing its antiquities that span the Bronze Age to the Roman
and Byzantine eras. Later, head to the port of Piraeus to
board stylish ‘Le Bougainville,’ your exclusively chartered
home for the next seven nights.
Day 4 - Crete
Disembark in Heraklion this morning and join one of three expert-led shore excursions. Choose to visit the famous Archaeological Museum, discovering its Minoan art and artifacts from the Neolithic period to Roman times. Proceed to Knossos for a guided visit to King Minos’s imposing Minoan palace, which dates back to the 15th century BC, and then sit down to an authentic Cretan lunch. Alternately, visit the Historical Museum of Crete, which showcases the cultural heritage of Crete from the Byzantine Empire through modern times. Soak in living history during a walking tour of the city, seeing fabled Lion Square and 25th of August Street with its stunning neoclassical architecture. After some time at leisure, set out on a scenic drive through the island and enjoy a lunch of local specialties. You may also choose to visit Heraklion’s renowned Archaeological Museum, followed by a scenic drive to a hilltop farm. Learn how to make cheese and grow olives; attend a hands-on cooking demonstration, kneading bread and making local dishes; and then enjoy lunch on the terrace overlooking the fields and sea. Each excursion concludes in the charming port town of Rethymnon.
Day 5 - Santorini
Reach Santorini and take in magnificent views of the caldera.
Partake in a guided visit to the Bronze Age settlement of
Akrotiri, its houses, streets, squares and workshops all
meticulously preserved in volcanic pumice since the 16th
century BC. Those looking to stretch their legs can take a
short boat ride to the island of Nea Kameni to ascend the
still-active crater on a vigorous guided hike, learning about
the volcano’s history as you go. Then, sail to the thermal springs of Palea Kameni, where you may enjoy a swim.
Wine lovers can sample the famed wines of the island with
a scenic drive through hilly Santorini, learning about the
particulars of vine cultivation on the windy, dry island. Visit
a local winery to experience Santorini’s winemaking process
firsthand. Later, sit down to a wine presentation and sample
an array of selected local vintages. The afternoon is at leisure
in the towns of Oia or Fira, which are dotted with white homes
and blue-domed structures.
Day 6 - Rhodes
Spend a full day on the island of Rhodes, perhaps exploring
its medieval fortifications on a guided walk. In the Old
Town, visit the Grand Master’s Palace, inspired by the Papal
Palace of Avignon, France. Stroll the Avenue of the Knights,
where knights once lodged, and then visit the Archaeological
Museum, which served as a knight’s hospital in the 15th
century. For a more active experience, take a drive toward
the ancient Doric town of Lindos. You may hike to its
acropolis, seeing the temple of Athenia Lindia and the
Byzantine church. Next, drive to a ceramic workshop, where
you watch local artists create pottery before attempting to
make pottery yourself. Alternately, pay a visit to the Grand
Master’s Palace and take a walking tour of Rhodes’ Old
Town before transferring to a rustic, beloved restaurant for
a hands-on cooking experience.
Day 7 - Patmos
Today, uncover the hidden gem of Patmos, one of the smaller islands of the Dodecanese and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Opt for a guided stroll through the hilltop village of Chora, visiting the House of Simandris and the historical Nikolaidis mansion. Alternately, visit the grotto of St. John, where the saint lived and is said to have had his revelation, and continue on to the Monastery of St. John and an exploration of the quaint village of Chora. Others may reach the Monastery of Evangelismos to learn about the humble lives of the nuns who inhabit it. For a more active experience, join a hike to the northern part of the island, reaching the hermitage of Zaroi and a secluded beach. Weather permitting, a beach break livens up the afternoon.
Day 8 - Mykonos
Today, you can explore the small, uninhabited island of Delos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the birthplace of the gods Artemis and Apollo. After a short boat ride, discover its remarkably preserved ruins, including government buildings, homes, the cistern and the amphitheater. If you stay in Mykonos, set out on a guided walk along its narrow, whitewashed streets. Otherwise, choose a panoramic drive through the island, taking in its sun-drenched beaches, quaint villages and nearby islands. Stop in the village of Ano Mera, where you visit the Monastery of Panagia Tourliani. Weather permitting, you may partake in a beach break this afternoon on a wind-sheltered beach, where lounge chairs, towels, snacks and beverages await.
Day 9 - Syros
Arrive in Syros, one of the smallest of the Cyclades Islands, where you join a guided walk. See the impressive Cathedral of St. Nicholas, the Vaporia Quarter with its neoclassical mansions and the Monument of the Unknown Soldier. End your exploration at the Apollo Theater, where you witness a rousing private performance. Enjoy a little time at leisure or opt to visit the Church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary to see an original icon by El Greco. Tonight, attend the farewell dinner aboard your luxury vessel.
Day 10 - Depart Athens
Arrive in Piraeus and disembark ‘Le Bougainville’ after
breakfast. Transfer to the Athens airport and board your
return flight home, or join our Treasures of Northern
Greece extension to visit Meteora.