Greece & Sicily 2018

Itinerary for Members’ Trip to Greece (with optional add-on to Sicily)

GREECE

MAY 30, 2018

Depart PDX: We are ready to begin our inspirational and camera-worthy journey.

MAY 31: Arrival/Free Time
Group L/D
After our arrival, a coach will transport us to the Athens Plaza Hotel on Syntagma Square, the heart of Athens. From here, there are gardens, shopping, museums, and antiquities within walking distance.

There will be a welcome lunch at the hotel and a chance to rest, or to join Lou for a walking tour of the Stoa of Attalos; Temple of Hephaistos, and Plaka area.

Our group dinner will be just a short walk to the area of the Plaka.

JUNE 1: Free morning/Tour Sounion/Depart for Hydra
Group B/D
After breakfast, choose to relax, explore on your own, or join Lou on a walking tour of the 1896 stadium (home of the modern Olympics), watch the elaborate changing of the guard at the Tomb on the Unknown Soldier, and have a taverna lunch of your choosing.

After lunch we have our first guided excursion to Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon, a beautiful historic spot.

After a picturesque group dinner, we will board a ferry for an overnight journey in comfortable staterooms to the island of the Minotaur–Crete.

JUNE 2: City of Heraklion, Crete, Palace of Knossos, Heraklion Archeological Museum/free exploration
Group B/D
Upon arriving at the port of Heraklion we will coach to town for breakfast, after which we will travel through time to the Palace of Knossos for a guided tour.

After the tour, we will have time to explore Heraklion and have lunch on our own before meeting at the Heraklion Archeological Museum for a guided tour of the art and artifacts discovered at Knossos and other important Minoan sites.

Our group dinner will include a taste of Cretan culture before heading back to our ferry.

JUNE 3: Transfer to King Saron Hotel/ free time/Nemea and Corinth Archeological sites
Group B/D
A private coach will take us to the King Saron Hotel located right on the beach of the Saronic Gulf. We’ll have a group breakfast and have time to swim, relax and explore the quiet area of Kineta/Isthmia.

Lunch will be your own experience at one of the hotel’s restaurants or a local taverna. Afterwards, we’ll depart for a guided tour of Nemea Archeological site and museum AND Corinth Archeological site and museum.

We’ll have a group dinner at the hotel and enjoy an evening swim, visit local tavernas for a nightcap, and maybe some Greek dancing!

JUNE 4: Mycenae and Epidaurus Archeological Sites
Group B/L/D
The greatness of ancient Greece is told in the Iliad. Today we’ll meet Agamemnon and Atreus through the excavations at the citadel at Mycenae.  After our guided tour through the Lions Gate, Beehive tombs, and site, we’ll stop for a group lunch. We continue our journey to Epidaurus Archeological site and museum where we’ll explore the cult of Asclepios, at this ancient center of healing.

On the way back to our hotel, we’ll stop at a restaurant on the beach for a group dinner. Back at the hotel, our evening is free.

JUNE 5: Delphi Archeological Site and Museum/Trokadero Hotel on the beach of Itea
Group B
Departing the King Saron, we’ll enjoy a scenic journey to the center of the ancient world, Delphi.

We’ll have time to explore the town and have lunch on our own before a guided tour of this most beautiful site.

We’ll check into the Trokadero Hotel on the beach in Itea for an evening of exploration in this small, Greek town.

JUNE 6: Return to Athens/National Archeological Museum/free exploration
Group B/L
After breakfast, we depart by coach to Athens and return to the Athens Plaza Hotel on Syntagma Square. After a group lunch, we’ll leave for our guided tour of the National Archeological Museum containing the most important finds of the ancient world. After our tour, we can explore the museum at our leisure and use the rest of the day to wander the Plaka, Monastiraki, or the rest of Athens. Shop, listen to Greek music, and find just the right dinner spot.

JUNE 7: Acropolis/Acropolis Museum/free exploration
Group B
The crescendo of any trip to Greece is a visit to the Acropolis and the new Acropolis Museum.

After our guided tour of the Acropolis, we will take the short walk to the Acropolis Museum for a self-serve lunch together and a guided tour of the museum. After the tour, we are free to further explore at our leisure. Dinner and the rest of the night are free.

JUNE 8: Day excursion to the island of Hydra
Group B/D
Every Greek adventure needs a trip to the islands. We will leave by coach to the port of Piraeus for a 90 minute ferry to Hydra. The day is completely free to walk, take a boat, or donkey, to explore the island’s beaches, shops, museums, and spirit.

We will gather for a GROUP FAREWELL DINNER before boarding the last ferry to Piraeus

JUNE 9: DEPART ATHENS FOR EXTENSION TO SICILY OR HOME
Group B
After our buffet breakfast, it will be time for check out and transport to the airport with a lifetime of memories.

PDX or Palermo, Sicily for the extension until June 14, 2018

ADD-ON TO SICILY

No journey through ancient Greece is complete without visiting Magna Greacia. First sons inherited land in Greece, so many subsequent sons headed west to find their fortunes. Today, the best and most complete examples of Greek architecture exist on the island of Sicily. We’ll continue our journey through ancient Greek world and transition to modern Sicily. From the Capuchin Catacombs to breathtaking mountain villages, this will be a very grand finale to our journey.

Beginning in the port city of Palermo and ending at the hilltop city in the shade of Mt. Etna, Taormina, we will explore, taste, shop, and relax the Sicilian way.

There will also be plenty of time for free exploration and adventures. Get ready for a completely different experience… and experiences to complete your trip!

JUNE 9: After departing Athens, travel to Palermo
Group B/D
The Phoenician name for Palermo may have been Zîz, but the Greeks called it Panormus, meaning all-port, because of its fine natural harbor. Palermo is widely considered to be the most conquered city in the world, meaning that there is a rich mosaic of cultures to explore during our stay.

After checking in to the Piazza Borsa Hotel, we will have an opportunity to stretch our legs in the area around our centrally located hotel for lunch. Nearby are piazzas, gardens, and gelato shops.

We’ll be treated to a welcome dinner as a group and we can relax to prepare for our tour the next day.

JUNE 10: Exploring Palermo, capital city of Sicily
Group  B
Our English-speaking guide will pick us up for a first tour of Sicily. Together we’ll visit Monreale and the Norman section of Palermo viewing architecture of the cultures long since conquered. Catacombe dei Cappuccini will bring new meaning to the idea of a Cappuccino. The Capuchin Crypt is a small space comprising of the mummified remains of Sicily’s monks, wealthy, and regular citizens…a silent reminder of the swift passage of life on Earth.

We will have the opportunity to visit markets or a great little restaurant for lunch on our own before a guided tour of the Regional Gallery of Sicily.

After the tour, we will have the option to continue touring, or wander the streets for our own adventure. Dinner will be part of that exploration. Maps and suggested stops will be available to everyone.

JUNE 11: Guided tour through “Magna Greacia”: Segesta; Selinunte; Agrigento
Group B/L/D
After breakfast, we will depart with our private vehicle and guide to visit the best preserved Greek temples in existence at Segesta, immortalized by American painter, Thomas Cole.

A short distance from Segesta, the sun, sea, and majestic columns join forces to create a magic experience in the most important Greek colony–Selinunte, where the Temple of Hera is joined by multiple other temples dating from the 5th to 8th century BCE.

Lunch will be as a group as we stop on our travels along the coast.

Next, we travel to The Alba Palace Hotel in Favara, an up-and-coming arts community. Favara is ready to give us an original Sicilian experience.

This hotel has an exceptional, not-to-be-missed restaurant where we’ll enjoy a group dinner.  Afterwards, relax at the hotel or let’s take an evening stroll to find the many murals in this very arts community.

JUNE 12: Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples
Group B/L/D
The Valley of the Temples is a splendid archaeological park consisting of eight temples (and various other remains) built between about 510 BCE and 430 BCE.

Lovers of horticulture should head to the Garden of Kolymbethra, situated between the Temple of Castor and Pollux and the Temple of Hephaestus. After years of abandonment, the Italian National Trust has brought the garden back to its former fertile beauty.

For dinner, it’s our option to choose a Sicilian cooking class ending with the meal we made, OR discover what happens in a local restaurant when a town is surrounded by almond, olive, and orange groves! Your choice is to eat what you make, or what you discover.

JUNE 13: Tour Taormina
Group B/D
With Mount Etna watching over, Taormina blends the Greek World and the Roman World as the perfect end to our journey. Check in to the Hotel Villa Diodoro will take your breath away.

Our morning walking tour of ancient sites with our English speaking guide will give us the opportunity to explore this beautiful post-card town. The view from the Greek Theatre is worth the entire journey! Lunch will be on your own to give you the opportunity for those last-minute mementos of this once-in-a-lifetime journey.

In celebration, we will share dinner together and toast the visit to our ancient roots.

June 14: Depart
Group B
After breakfast we will transfer to the airport and depart for home with a lifetime of memories and experiences.

Ciao, Sicilia!