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Athens to Istanbul

Trip type: 
Cultural
Adventure level: 
2. Gentle
Max group size: 
12
Avg user rating: 
Awaiting reviews
Greece, Turkey | 15 days
Trip code: 
ZMSJ
New
What's included: 

Transport - Metro, Public bus, Private Bus

 

Accommodation - Hotels (14 nts)

Meals - 4 breakfasts

Trip Highlights: 
Ancient historical sites of Greece
Remote Monasteries
Beauty and tradgedy of Gallipoli
Blending of cultures of Istanbul
see full itinerary >>

Trip Highlights: 
Ancient historical sites of Greece
Remote Monasteries
Beauty and tradgedy of Gallipoli
Blending of cultures of Istanbul
see full itinerary >>
What's included: 

Transport - Metro, Public bus, Private Bus

 

Accommodation - Hotels (14 nts)

Meals - 4 breakfasts

Trip Overview: 

Your journey begins in Athen's the capital of Greece and the birthplace of Western Civilisation which still oozes with ancient history. Travel onwards and visit the archeological site of Dephi and the temple of Apollo. Deeper into mainland Greece you take a monastery visit and go hiking in the hills at Kalambaka. Explore lakeside Kastoria's caves and undergound lakes with stalactities clinging to the roof. Thessaloniki is the 2nd largest city of Greece. Take a day trip to Pella the ancient capital of Macedonia during the time of Alexander the Great viewing historical sites including distinctive mosaic floors. Reaching the coast you visit Kavala and Porto Lagos enjoying some fresh seafood with your historical discoveries. Then into Turkey and you discover the beauty of Gallipoli which is tinged with such tradgedy from World War 1. Istanbul is a great finale to this adventure, a vast metropolis where west meets the east in an explosion of blending cultures. 

Itinerary: 
Day
1-2

Athens

Fly to Athens. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Kalimera! Welcome to Greece.

Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6:00pm on Day 1.

The birthplace of Western civilisation, Athens has an amazing array of historic sites to explore, including the National Gardens, the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the original Olympic Stadium.

Named after the goddess of wisdom, Athens has a weighty history that spills out over the modern city, represented most dramatically by the ancient Acropolis. There's much to be seen in the ancient capital of Greece, vibrant and refreshed following the 2004 Olympics, yet still retaining so much visible history. Make sure you take the chance to dine on delicious Greek cuisine and try an ouzo or two.

As there's not much time to explore Athens on this trip we recommend you spend a few extra days here to see the sights. Highlights include the renowned changing of the guard at Syntagma (Parliament) Square, the National Gardens, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the original Olympic Stadium and of course the Acropolis where you can enter the Parthenon and enjoy the view of the city from this unique vantage point. Many other options are available if you extend your time here, including day trips to the Peloponnese peninsula, taking in ancient Epidavros and the ancient Corinthian canal.

Optional Activities

  • Acropolis Pass for 5 sites - EUR12
  • Day trip to the Saronic Islands - EUR20
  • Dora Stratou - EUR15
  • Lycabettus Hill - Free
  • National Archaeological Museum - EUR7
  • Numismatic Museum - EUR3
  • Sightseeing Bus No. 400 - EUR5

Accommodation

Hotel (2 nts)

 

Day
3

Delphi

Travel by public bus to Delphi (3hrs)
Located on the slopes of Mt Parnassos. This modern town and ruins over look the Gulf of Corinth. 
The ancient Greeks regarded Delpho was the centre of the world and today is one of the countries inspiring archeological sites. 
Your tour leader will take you on an orientation walk of Delphi, then make the most of your afternoon by visiting The Temple of Apollo or the theater.

Accommodation

Hotel (1 nt)

 

Day
4-5

Meteora

Travel by public bus to Kalabaka (4.5hrs)
After leaving your bags at the hotel and a short orientation walk, you head to near by Meteora. Home to late 14th century monasteries that sit at the top of rocky pinnacles. Only 6 of the once 24 monasteries are still occupied. 
A strict dress code applies here: no bare shoulders or knees, and women must wear skirts. It is possible to borrow a long skirt at the door if you don't have one.

The following day, you head off up into the hills for some great views back over the town.

Included Activities

  • Meteora Monastery Visits - Kalambaka
  • Hiking in the hills - Kalambaka

Accommodation

Hotel (2 nts)

Day
6

Kastoria

Kastoria is situated on the western shore of Lake Orestiada, in a valley surrounded by limestone mountains. 2 hrs drive from Kalabaka. 
The town is full of interesting architecture, including old distinctive villas from the skin and fur trade times. 
While you are you here you will have time to walk along the lakeside, filled with Pelicans and ducks. before visiting the unspoilt Dragon Cave. One of the most impressive caves located next to the lake with its underground lakes and many stalactites. Or visit the Neolithic lakeside village site and reconstruction at Dispilio gives you a real feel for life in a village in the middle of the 6th Millennium BC.

Accommodation

Hotel (1 nt)

 

Day
7-8

Thessaloniki

After arriving by bus (2.5hr) you will have some time to explore the second largest city in Greece. Walk along the waterfront to the White Tower, take in the Byzantine churches and Roman ruins. This city comes alive in the evening with its lively cafe scene.

The following day you travel to Pella, ancient Macedonian capital during the time of Alexander the Great. See the ancient city well defined city blocks and mosaic floors that are still visible today. 

Included Activities

  • Pella Day Trip

Accommodation

Hotel (2 nts)

 

Day
9-10

Kavala

Kavala is the principal seaport of eastern Macedonia. There are plenty of fantastic beaches around so there will be some free time to enjoy these as well as delicious seafood with influences from Asia Minor.

You will visit The Archaeological Museum of Philippi, showing finds from the prehistopirc settlement at the Dikili Tash.

Included Activities

  • Archeological Museum of Philippi

Accommodation

Hotel (2 nts)

 

Day
11

Porto Lagos

Porto Lagos is a small scenic village, both coastal and lakeside due to Vistonida lake coasts were washed by the Thracian sea. A great place to relax, take in the bird life, from little egret, flamingos, pygmy cormorant and herons.
You will have time to visit Saint Nicholas Chapel, built on two small islands in the lake. A wooden bridge connects both St Nicolas and chapel of Pantanasas. 

Included Activities

  • Saint Nicholas Chapel Excursion

Accommodation

Hotel (1 nt)

 

Day
12-13

Gallipoli

Today you travel to private bus to Turkey.

Cosmopolitan cities brimming with modern delights, archaeological sites filled with ancient splendour, curious landscapes straight out of a storybook and picture-perfect coastlines frequented by the jet set… this is tantalising Turkey! Visitors won't be able to forget travelling through this exotic land which sits at the crossroads of Asia and Europe, yet displays a fair bit of Middle Eastern flair.

This afternoon you journey out with our guide to the Gallipoli Peninsula. The stunning natural beauty of Gallipoli makes it hard to believe that this is the site of one of the most tragic and fiercely fought battles of WWI. This is an opportunity to stroll through time; a moving experience for people from all nations. The battles fought on this land were a turning point in the creation of the Turkish Republic.

Included Activities

  • Guided Tour of Gallipoli Peninsula

Accommodation

Hotel (2 nts)

 

Day
14

Istanbul

This morning you travel by public bus to the metropolis Istanbul.

Istanbul is the only city in the world to straddle two continents, so it will come as no surprise that this vast metropolis is home to a beguiling mix of different cultures and traditions, blending the influences of both east and west. Originally founded by Greek settlers over 2000 years ago, Istanbul originally went by the name of Byzantium, then Constantinople when the Romans made it the capital of their eastern empire. Today, intriguing Istanbul is a bustling mega-city with a population of over 12 million people and a rich history and food scene waiting to be explored.

During the orientation walk you will discover the hidden charms of Istanbul, the city that bridges Europe and Asia, including the areas around Sultanahmet and Eminonu. This could include the narrow streets around the Spice Bazaar and Grand Bazaar - an amazing covered complex and maze of more than 4000 shops and Suleymaniye Camii - a mosque built by the great architect Sinan and sitting high above the Golden Horn (one of the world's greatest natural harbours flowing into the Bosphorus). You will see the myriad traders selling their wares and ferries departing for many destinations from the port of Eminonu. Each leader has their own hidden secrets to show you that they have found in their time in eclectic Istanbul.

The Topkapi Palace and harem, Istanbul's iconic Blue Mosque and the incredible ancient church of St. Sophia. The Archaeological Museum containing the tomb of Alexander the Great is also worth a look. After all that sightseeing, take a stroll down to the waterfront and hop on a boat up the Bosphorus, leaving the minarets and towers that give the city its distinctive skyline in your wake.

Optional Activities

  • Istanbul - Aya Sofia - TRY20
  • Istanbul - Grand Bazaar - Free
  • Istanbul - Spice Market - Free
  • Istanbul - Turkish baths - TRY30

Accommodation

Hotel (1 nt)

 

Day
15

Istanbul

Your adventure ends today and you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home.

 

 

Ancient Greece

As you explore Greece the ancient history of this land where Western civilisation began and great Gods were honoured comes alive. In Athens visit the Temple of Zeus, the original Olympic Stadium, the Acropolis and the Parthenon. In Delphi discover The Temple of Apollo. Discover relics of once glorious ancient cities and see the characteristic mosaic floors. Discover villages and coastal towns all filled with a unique Greek ambience.

Tantalising Turkey

Your exploration of Turkey begins in Galipoli where you will be absorbed by the natural beauty that is so tinged with sadness from the tradgedies here during World War 1, you cannot help but be moved by this experience. Arriving into Istanbul you meet an explosion of life in this vast city where the culture of the east meets the west in the only city in the world that straddles two continents. Narrow streets and busy bazaars, mosques, palaces, and a huge natural harbour make this city a feast for exploration.

Our Balkan Adventure trip is just one of our Europe tours. To find out more visit our Europe holidays page.