Greece Island Tour with 4-night Cruise
The first morning of our Greece island tour, we travel east to the amazing site of Philippi. We visit the Baptistery of Lydia, near the river where Paul baptized her. We also visit the ruins of the Forum of Philippi, the Christian Basilicas, the “Prison of Paul” and the Theater. We then drive to the coast, to the picturesque port of Kavala (ancient Neapolis) and view the Byzantine Castle and the Roman Aqueduct. We finish the first day of our Greece island tour with a panoramic city tour of Thessaloniki. The next morning of our Greece island tour, we drive south through the beautiful landscape of inland Greece. Our first stop is Berea where Paul planted a church that “studied the Scriptures” on a regular basis. Close by is Vergina, the burial place of Philip II (Father of Alexander the great), now a museum. In the afternoon, we drive through the scenic route over the mountains to Kalambaka. Weather permitting, we might see Mt. Olympus, the legendary abode of the Greek gods. The following morning of our Greece island tour, we see the world famous Byzantine monasteries that are perched precariously on summits of gray rock pinnacles of varied and beautiful shapes. Next, we drive to Thermopylae where the famous 300 Spartans, led by King Leonidas, fought with an alliance of Greek city-states against the large Persian army in 480 B.C.
Pythian and Olympic Game Stadiums
The next morning of our Greece island tour, we visit the ancient oracle of Apollo at Delphi. We will visit the local museum with its renown bronze statue of the charioteer and the stadium where the ancient Pythian athletic games were held every four years. Then we see the temple of Apollo where the young priestess Pythia gave her prophecies. Next we cross the famous suspended bridge into the Peloponnese, the southern peninsula of Greece. Here we will see the ancient sanctuary dedicated to Zeus, with its magnificent temples as well as the ancient original Olympic stadium. In the late afternoon, we drive to the picturesque coastline city of Nafplion the first capital of modern liberated Greece from the Ottoman Empire. We start this day of our Greece island tour by visiting the site of Mycenae, the legendary city rival of Troy, and described by Homer as “Mycenae rich in Gold.” We then continue to ancient Corinth, the once glorious city near the Isthmus. We visit the Archaeological Museum, the Forum, the Temple of Apollo, the Roman forum and the famous Bema where Paul stood before Gallio, accused by the Jews of Corinth and then we drive to Cenchreae.
4-Night Mediterranean Cruise
We sail this morning of our Greece island tour from Athens to the quaint isle of Mykonos, called the island of windmills. We will have time to experience the charming waterfront lined with shops and cafes and stroll the walkways through a maze of white-washed buildings. The next morning of our Greece island tour, we arrive in Kusadasi, Turkey. A short drive takes us to Ephesus, where Paul spent three years during his ministry. The impressive remains of Ephesus include the Agora, the Theater, the Stadium, the Library of Celsus, the ruins of the Temple of Diana (one of the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World”) and many more. Later, we sail for the island of Patmos where we visit the Monastery of St. John, on one of the island’s highest points. From there, we walk down to the Grotto of the Apocalypse, the site of the apocalyptic Revelations of St. John the Divine. The following day of our Greece island tour, the ship enters the port of Rhodes, which was once dominated by the Colossus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. We drive along the southeastern coastline on our way to Lindos, the most important of the three great cities of ancient times. We visit the Acropolis of Lindos, overlooking the Aegean Sea and St. Paul’s Bay. Afterward, we spend some free time in the small attractive village with the little shops and narrow streets. We drive back to the city of Rhodes for our walking tour of the city and stroll through the Medieval Old City, down through Chevaliers Road. Then, we view the Palace of the Knights of St. John. Our Greece island tour continues the next morning in Crete, the largest and most rugged of the Greek Islands. Optional Excursion to Knossos Palace and Heraklion City not included: During this excursion, we take a short ride through the town of Heraklion and then arrive at the Knossos excavations. Here, Sir Arthur Evan’s archaeological discoveries revealed a civilization dating back to 4000 B.C., when a great empire flourished on the island of Crete. Paul left Titus in Crete and gave instructions on appointing church leaders in the towns (Titus 1:5ff). Next, we spend an evening on what many would consider the most spectacular of all the Greek islands, Santorini. Optional Excursion to Thira & Oia Village not included: On this excursion, we follow a scenic coastal drive along the Aegean and arrive in Oia where we enjoy a guided walking tour of the village. The walk takes us along the cobbled streets to view up close the whitewashed homes, which characterize the ancient Cycladic architectural style. We continue on via coach to Thira, an attractive town perched on the Caldera rim. Here we will have time to stroll the cobbled lanes of this fascinating town or simply relax over coffee, as we gaze down upon Kamenes, the two volcanic islets in the Caldera Bay. A short cable car ride will take us down to the pier where we will rejoin the ship.
The next morning of our Greece island tour, we disembark the cruise in Piraeus. Afterwards, we will continue our sightseeing in Athens with a visit to the world-renowned Acropolis. Here we will see the Propylea, the Erechtheum and the Parthenon. We visit Mars Hill, where Paul delivered his speech on the “Unknown God (Acts 17).” Then we will look down to the Agora, the ancient center of the economic and public life of the city, where Paul preached to the skeptical Athenians. At the end of the day, an optional hike up to the top of Mt. Lycabetus (for the best view of Athens) will be offered. Our flight home is the following morning, the end of a great trip to the world of the New Testament.