GREECE- ITALY- TURKEY
From the Rugged, sun-drenched outcrops of rock, anchored in azure seas and liberally peppered with snow-white villages and blue-domed churches that is Cyclades through the cooler climate, abundant olive and cypress trees and forested mountains of the Ionians islands, the magical tapestry of splendid beaches, ancient treasures, and landscapes encompassing vibrant cities and dreamy villages of Crete, ancient and modern, with equal measures of grunge and grace, bustling Athens, Greece has everything for everyone.
We will take you to Italy, Rome where you lap up the dolce vita lifestyle as you gorge on art and culture into the city’s Mediterranean rhythms and idling around the picturesque streets, to Venice whose garden islands and lagoon aquaculture yield specialty produce and seafood you won’t find elsewhere else and to Florence the birthplace of Gucci.
And finally to Turkey, whose Istanbul’s inclusive and expanding community is full of people who work and party hard, treasure family and friendships, and have no problem melding tradition and modernity in their everyday lives through Izmir whose city’s rich and fascinating heritage reflects the fact that it has been the home of Greeks, Armenians, Jews, Levantines and Turks over the centuries.
Below is a day to day fully customizable itinerary.
1st DAY: KENYA (NAIROBI)-ATHENS
Early flight arrival at El. Venizelos airport and transfer to central Athens then to your hotel. After some time for relaxation depart for a sightseeing tour around the most beautiful and interesting spots of Athens, the capital city of Greece, relating also to the biblical itinerary. Visit the sacred hill of Acropolis to see the ruins of Parthenon, Erectheum and Propylae. We shall also ascend Mars Hill, view the Agora. Lunch at a nearby tavern. Continue with the centre of the city to see the House of Parliament, the tomb of the Unknown Soldier and Hadrian s Arch. Time permitting, visit the New Acropolis Museum of Athens with some of the most exquisite exhibits from the prehistoric until the classical era.
Dinner and accommodation in Athens
2nd DAY: ATHENS-KEHREES-CORINTH-ATHENS
Breakfast and departure for a short day visit to Kehrees , the ancient port of Korinth and the ruins of ancient Korinth, the rich city-state on the Isthmus, the narrow stretch of land that joined the Peloponnese to the mainland of Greece. Corinth is known from the two letters of Saint Paul in the New Testament (First Corinthians and Second Corinthians). Here he lived for two years and founded a vigorous church in 50 A.D. visit the ancient site with the Agora, the fountain of Peirene, the Temple of Apollo and the “Bema. Lunch in nearby tavern. We continue with a short cruise of one hour, crossing the Isthmus of Corinth
Dinner and accommodation in Athens
3rd DAY: ATHENS- OSIOS LUKAS MONASTERY-METEORA-KALAMBAKA
Breakfast, departure for Viotia and the rich in byzantine mosaics monastery of Osios Lukas, built in 946 A.D. continue tour of the mainland with the impressive massive rocks of Meteora which have rightly been called the second in importance only to Mount Athos. Visit the most important monasteries which are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Lunch at a near by restaurant. Free time in the city centre of Kalambaka
Dinner and accommodation in Kalambaka
4th DAY: KALAMBAKA- VERIA-VERGINA-THESSALONIKI
After breakfast, depart for Veria, a city in northern Greece. It is an old city where Apostle Paul famously preached during his coming to the mainland and its inhabitants were among the first Christians in the Roman Empire. From here optionally visit the extensive and famous archaeological site of Vergina. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site containing the tomb of Philip II of Macedon. Lunch at a near by tavern. continue and arrive at Thessaloniki, late in the afternoon. Thessaloniki is home to numerous notable Byzantine monuments as well as several Roman, Ottoman and Sephardic Jewish structures. The city’s main university, Aristotle University, is the largest in Greece and the Balkans. We propose a walk around the vivid city centre of the second largest capital of the country. During the walk you will see the church of Hagios Demetrios, the Hagia Sophia, one of the oldest churches and one of several monuments in Thessaloniki included as a World Heritage Site in the UNESCO list and finish with the large two-terraced Roman forum and the imperial palace complex of the Roman emperor Galerius, located at Navarinou Square, right in the centre of the city. Free time afterwards
Dinner and accommodation in Thessaloniki
5th DAY: THESSALONIKI-AMFIPOLIS-KAVALA-ANCIENT FILIPPI- THESSALONIKI flight to PAFOS
After breakfast depart for the ancient city of Amphipolis. It is a municipality in the Serres regional unit of Greece and was a rich city in ancient Macedonia. It was famous for events such as the battle of the Spartans and Athenians in 424BC, and as the place where Alexander the Great prepared for campaigns leading to his invasion of Asia. We visit the Archaeological site and museum and see the unique and beautiful “Lion of Amphipolis” monument nearby which is a well-known destination for visitors. We continue with the town of Kavala, the principal seaport of eastern Macedonia which was built on the military Roman road Via Egnatia that passed through the city helped commerce to flourish. Here we stop for lunch and a nice stroll by the promenade and the busy marina. Lunch at a near by tavern. Our next visit is the archaeological site and museum of Philippi, a city in eastern Macedonia, established by Philip II of Macedon in 356 BC and abandoned in the 14th century after the Ottoman conquest. From the Acts of the Apostles and the letter to the Philippians, early Christians concluded that Paul had founded their community. It is believed to have preached for the first time on European soil in Philippi. The prosperity of the city in the 5th and 6th centuries was attributed to Paul and to his ministry. We return to Thessaloniki where we take the flight to Paphos.
Dinner and accommodation in Paphos
6th DAY: PAFOS – KOURIO-KOLOSSI-LIMASSOL-PETRA ROMIOU- NICOSIA
Breakfast and we start our tour in Paphos. We visit the archeological site protected by UNESCO since 1980. Free time for a stroll at the port and on our way to Larnaca we visit the most important sights of the island such as the very strategic niites castle of Colossi near Limassol built in 1210, the exquisite site of the “rock of Romios”, where from the depths of the sparkling blue waters of the Mediterrenean it is said that godess Aprodite was born! We lunch in Limassol and continue to Nicosia.
Arrival to our hotel, dinner and accommodation in Nicosia
7th DAY: LARNACA –AGIOS LAZAROS-AGIA NAPA-NICOSIA
Breakfast and early departure in order to visit the old church of Saint Lazarus, one of the most sacred and old ( of 10th century) Byzantine sites of Cyprus. The Church of Ayios Lazarus was built in the late 9th century to house the tomb of the saint. According to Greek Orthodox tradition, after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, the saint came to Cyprus and was later consecrated bishop of Kition by Paul and Barnabas. We continue with the very famous touristic resort of Agia Napa, where we visit the monastery, built in 1100, in honor of the Virgin Mary of Ayia Napa. We continue to Nicosia.
Arrival to our hotel, dinner and accommodation Nicosia
8thDAY: ROME (ITALY)
Breakfast and transfer to the airport to take the flight to Rome, Italy. Transfer to our hotel, short time for relaxation and have a pick up to go to the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls (Basilica Papale di San Paolo Fuori le Mura), one of the 4 major basilicas of the Roman Catholic Church. According to Christian tradition, the church was built over the tomb of St. Paul, the apostle, not far from the site of his martyrdom. Next, go to the site of the martyrdom of St. Paul at the Abbey of Tre Fontane. Today it’s a peaceful monastery in the heart of Rome, and one of the most venerated places for pilgrims. We end with the Mamertine Prison (Carcere Mamertino) where the Apostles St. Paul and St. Peter were imprisoned for 9 months. Free time in the city centre.
Return to hotel, dinner and accommodation in Rome.
9th DAY: ROME (ITALY)
Breakfast and departure for sightseeing tour of the Eternal city of Rome. First we visit the Sistine Chapel which is part of the Vatican Museums. The expansive St. Peter’s Square is located within Vatican City in front of St. Peter’s Basilica and is the heart of the Catholic Church, located on Vatican Hill. The location has long been considered holy as the Apostle Saint Peter is believed to have been buried here in 64AD. Next visit the Castel Sant’Angelo, a cylindrical colonnaded building covered with lush planted gardens and trees, on the edge of the River Tiber. The lively and popular Piazza Navona , with the three fountains built on the former Stadium of Domitian, was paved in the 15th century and used as a market place and a venue for special events. We continue with the impressive Pantheon, built on the orders of Hadrian between 118AD and 125AD and functioned as a temple to all the Roman Gods. The symmetry and mathematical skill used to create the Pantheon has been admired by artists and architects for centuries and remains an inspiration to artists and designers! Finally we visit the Colosseum, the most recognizable and iconic monument of Rome, used for official events and various public forms of entertainment. Today the amphitheatre is still the largest in the world and is the model on which the amphitheatres are based.
Return to hotel, dinner and accommodation in Rome.
10th DAY: ROME–ISTANBUL (TURKEY)
Breakfast and transfer to airport for the flight to Istanbul, Turkey. Upon arrival we settle in our hotel and depart for a sightseeing tour of the city. We will see the Blue Mosque, one of the most famous monuments of both the Turkish and Islamic worlds. Built in classic Ottoman style, the mosque has 6 towering minarets, 260 windows in its main chamber, and is decorated with more than 20,000 Iznik tiles, making it a truly breathtaking structure.
After the Blue Mosque, you’ll visit the great Greek Orthodox Byzantine basilica of Hagia Sophia, built in the 6th century by Emperor Justinian. Following the Ottoman conquest, the building was converted into a mosque, and now lives on as one of the world’s most magnificent museums, housing beautiful Byzantine mosaics. We will continue with the Basilica Cistern. Built in the 6th century this huge ancient cistern is most noted for the carved Medusa columns, but it s very size will take your breath away.
Next we visit one of the largest and oldest palaces in the world, Topkapi, the crown jewel of the Ottoman Empire which overlooks the Golden Horn. Lunch break at one of the many restaurants of the city. Finally, visit the Grand Bazaar, a covered market featuring 58 streets and more than 4000 shops. While there, take in the sights and smells of the jewellery, leather, spices and carpets on sale.
Return to our hotel, dinner and accommodation in Istanbul
11TH DAY: ISTANBUL-IZMIR
After arrival, day spent at leisure. Dinner and accommodation in Izmir
12TH DAY: IZMIR-PERGAMOS
Breakfast and transfer to airport for the flight to Izmir. From here we will visit the sites of the first Seven Christian churches of Revelation. Our first visit is the church of Izmir (Smyrna) and then departure for the memorable ancient city of Bergama. Visit the Church of Pergamum, the red-court, Acropolis, and walk through the Asclepius, the famous medical center of antiquity. After lunch, we drive to see the site of the Church of Thyatira (Akhisar) once a busy trading center and famous in dyeing of purple clothes. Return to Izmir.
Dinner and accommodation in Pergamos
Breakfast and departure from Izmir to visit the church of Sardis, one of the important cities of the Persian Empire and the metropolis of the province Lydia in later Roman and Byzantine times. As one of the seven churches of Asia, it was addressed by John, the author of the Book of Revelation, in terms which seem to imply that its population was notoriously soft and fainthearted. We move to the ancient city and ruins of the famous church of Sardis. You will be impressed by the massive scale of the Temple of Artemis, by the white marble Royal Road, by the gymnasium, and by the synagogue. Next we visit the remains of the church at Philadelphia, also one of the Seven Churches of Revelation. Our next stop will be at Laodicea. In the famous scripture from Revelation (3: 20-21), Jesus says to the Laodicean church: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock…”. Today, there are many acres of ruins to see, including the stadium and columned streets. Next we stop at Hierapolis or “holy city” an ancient city of pagan cults that was evangelized by Paul. The Apostle Philip lived and is said to be buried here. Overnight in Pamukkale which means “the castle of cotton” either due to the fine quality of cotton products or due to the sparkling white mineral residues on the rocky hills of the town.
Dinner and accommodation in Philadelphia
14TH DAY: PAMUKKALE-IZMIR
Breakfast and return to Izmir. Time permitting we may visit the beautiful ancient city of Aphrodisiacs on our way back to Izmir.
Dinner and accommodation in Izmir
15TH DAY: IZMIR- ISTANBUL – KENYA
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