The Ionian Islands of Greece: Kefalonia, Ithaca and Corfu plus Monemvasia and Olympia with George Spiridakis (May 29 -June 12, 2019)

Corfu Island.jpg
Corfu Island.jpg

The Ionian Islands of Greece: Kefalonia, Ithaca and Corfu plus Monemvasia and Olympia with George Spiridakis (May 29 -June 12, 2019)

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TOUR PRICE:  To be established in July, 2018.

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The Ionian Islands of Greece:  Kefalonia, Ithaca and Corfu plus Monemvasia Fortress, Ancient Olympia and Athens with George Spiridakis and Kevin Arawjo (late May/early June 2019)

DAILY ITINERARY:

DAY 1: Athens-Corfu

After arriving at the Athens airport, connect to your short flight to Corfu in time to check into your hotel and enjoy a dinner in the town.  Overnight in Corfu.

DAY 2:  Corfu

After breakfast at the hotel , we will spend the day enjoying Corfu and its environs.  We will visit Paleokastritsa, which is associated with Odysseus, and is one of Corfu's most beautiful bays.  We will also visit the local 13th century Monastery and the traditional village of Kassiopi, located in a picturesque location right on the sea water.  After some free time for lunch on your own, we will return to our hotel.  Overnight in Corfu

DAY 3:  Corfu

After breakfast, we will visit the late nineteenth century Achilleion Palace, built by the Empress of Austria Elizabeth of Bavaria, who loved the island of Corfu.  Named after the mythical hero Achilles, the palace is located in a commanding position overlooking the city of Corfu and the whole southern part of the island.  We will also enjoy a walk through the town of Kerkyra (Corfu) and then enjoy some free time and lunch on our own before returning for the third night to our hotel.  Overnight in Corfu. 

DAY 4: Corfu-Nafpaktos

After breakfast, we will travel by boat to Igoumenitsa on the mainland of Greece, where we will drive south along the beautiful western coast of Greece, having a nice view towards the Ionian Sea.  Since the journey to Kaffalonia is a fairly long one, we will relax by breaking up our journey by staying in the small coastal town of Nafpaktos for one night, which is a little known but important historical highlight of Greece.  On the way to Nafpaktos,  we will visit the town of Arta and its ancient stone bridge of the river Arahthos.  Built by the Romans 2000 years ago, the bridge was restored many times, the last reconstruction taking place in the 17th century by the Ottoman Turks, who were occupying Greece at the time.  This will be a perfect place for a coffee break.

Our next stop will be for lunch in a fishing village called Amfilochia. It is located at the Southeast corner of the biggest enclosed gulf in Greece known as Amvrakikos. The sea food is delicious here, as most of the people are still fishermen!

After lunch, we will continue our drive through the green valley of Petalas.  Driving along two lakes and through the natural refuge of Petalas, the only place in Greece where wild horses still exist, we will eventually reach the majestic town of Nafpaktos.  Our hotel will be very closed to the ancient harbor.  Overnight in Nafpaktos.

Day 5 - Nafpaktos-Kefalonia

After a relaxing breakfast, we will continue our drive, crossing the famous Rio-Antirrio suspension bridge and eventually arrive at the port of Killini, where will catch the ferry to Kefalonia Island.  After checking into your hotel, enjoy the whole day at leisure on this gorgeous island.  We will spend the next three nights on the island of Kefalonia, either in the center of town, or on the coast.  

DAY 6: Kefalonia

After breakfast at the hotel, we will have a full day to explore various sites on the island of Kefalonia.  We will visit Poros and the impressive Mycenaean Tzanata Tholos Tomb (circa 1400 B.C.), the Mycenaean Cemetery near Argostoli (Mazarakata) and, time permitting, the Archaeological Museum of Argostoli.  We will enjoy some free time and lunch on our own before returning to Kefalonia for our second night.

DAY 7: Kefalonia-Ithaca-Kefalonia

After breakfast, we will embark on an exciting day trip by boat to the island of Ithaca, the home of Odysseus! We will explore the island and visit the School of Homer and some of Ithaca's remote beaches before returning to Kefalonia.  We will enjoy our third and last night on the island of Kefalonia. 

DAY 8: Kefalonia-Olympia

After breakfast, we will take a ferry back to the Killini Port on the Greek mainland (1 hr and 20 mins).  We will then drive approximately 50 miles before reaching the the unbelievably beautiful archaeological site of Olympia, which was the center of the Ancient Olympic Games dating back to 776 B.C.  This is one of the most incredible and beautiful sites that I have every visited and I have traveled all over Greece.  We will visit the ancient site and its museum before checking in to our hotel.  We will enjoy a group dinner this evening at the hotel.  Overnight at the Olympian Asty Hotel in Olympia.  

DAY 9: Olympia

After breakfast at the hotel, we will have two choices of activities today. One, you may choose to enjoy a relaxing free day at the hotel, enjoying some swimming in the pool and/or taking the shuttle bus to the center of the town for shopping of for visiting the Archimedes Museum (on your own).  Or, the other option will be to drive to Vassai to visit the Temple of Apollo, which is the the highest temple in Greece at approximately 3500 feet.  The drive to the temple is majestic!  Dinner is again included tonight at the hotel.  Overnight at the Olympian Asty Hotel in Olympia.

DAY 10.   Olympia-Monemvasia

After breakfast, we begin our drive to the region of Laconia (home to the ancient Spartans) to stay in the magnificent Monemvasia Fortress, located on an island connected to the mainland by a short causeway.  Along the way, we will stop in ancient Sparta to pay our respects to these ancient warriors before continuing to Monemvasia.  We will spend the next two nights in this spectacular fortress which is like stepping back hundred of years in time.  Dinner on your own in Monemvasia village and overnight in Monemvasia in small hotels or palazzos.  

DAY 11.  Monemvasia

After breakfast, we will explore Monemvasia and its environs, with visits to the Byzantine Museum and a walk to the Monemvasia Acropolis.  Enjoy some free time to relax, shop and absorb the beauty of your surroundings.  Dinner on your own and overnight in Monemvasia.

DAY 12.  Monemvasia-Corinth-Athens

Today after breakfast we will travel north through the Peloponnesus to the plain of Attica in order to reach the city of Athens, where we will spend our last two nights.  En route to Athens, we will stop in ancient Corinth and at the famous Isthmus of Corinth to see the amazing canal that links the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf.  Enjoy the evening in Athens with dinner on your own at the base of the Acropolis under the glorious glow of the Parthenon.  Overnight at the Divani Palace Acropolis Hotel.

DAY 13. Athens

Following breakfast at the hotel, the full day is free for leisure for those of you who have previously been to Athens.  If you have never been to Athens, George will offer an optional tour of the Athenian Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum.  Overnight in Athens. 

DAY 14.  Athens-USA

After breakfast, travel to the Athens Airport for your return flight to the USA. You will take home with you some tremendous memories of this Greek Odyssey.  We hope you enjoyed the trip.