A journey to Greece and its fabled islands in spring is a magical experience. While most travelers are aware of the importance of Greece’s history, culture and ancient sites and monuments, few are aware that it is home to a stunning number of plant species, making it the country with the richest
flora in Europe. On this journey that has been designed for National Trust travelers, we will explore some of the most important places in Greece, while witnessing the extraordinary display of wildflowers that cover the land.
- Pricing from
- Trip Type
- Group Travel Tour, International Land & Rail Voyages
- Departure Dates
Apr 20, 2024 - May 1, 2024
Fine hotel accommodations throughout:
Three nights at the Hotel Athens Capital, Athens
two nights at Rhodes’s Hotel Park
three nights at the Hotel Megaron, Heraklion, Crete
two nights at the Volcano View Hotel, Santorini
Dr. Helen C. Evans
Dr. Evans has curated the award–winning exhibitions The Glory of Byzantium (843-1261) in 1997, Byzantium: Faith and Power (1261-1557) in 2004, Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition in 2012, and most recently Armenia! in 2018. The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Apollo Magazine and others have praised the exhibitions as among the most important cultural events of their years.
CANCELLATIONS & REFUNDS: All cancellations are subject to a $300 per person administrative fee. Cancellations received 61-90 days prior to departure will be assessed a penalty equal to 50% of the total program cost per person. Cancellations received within 60 days of departure are subject to 100% cancellation penalties. Requests for cancellations must be made in writing. No refunds will be made for any part of this program in which you choose not to participate.
Saturday, April 20, 2024
Depart the United States for Athens, Greece.
Sunday, April 21 - ATHENS, Greece
Arrive in Athens and transfer to the Hotel Athens Capital, conveniently located near Syntagma (Constitution) Square, the center of the city. In the evening, enjoy a welcome dinner. (D)
Monday, April 22 - ATHENS & SOUNION
One of the world’s most venerable cities, Athens is the capital of Greece and Europe’s oldest city. Its ancient monuments are testimonials to a glorious past that gave birth to democracy as well as many other concepts and ideas that form the foundation of the Western tradition. In the morning, tour the Agora, the civic and commercial center of ancient Athens, followed by a visit to the National Archaeological Museum and lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, drive along the coastal road of the Athenian Riviera to Sounion to visit the 5th-century BC Temple of Poseidon, set magnificently on a headland above the sea. Dwarf bearded irises and other flowers cover the site. Dinner will be served at a restaurant near the site. (B, D)
Tuesday, April 23 - ATHENS
Spend the morning at leisure to explore Athens on your own. In the afternoon, tour the Acropolis, which rises dramatically out of the plain and dominates the modern city just as it did in antiquity. The incomparable Parthenon and other temples built in the 5th-century BC represent the highest achievement of architecture and art of the Classical period. Visit the superb Acropolis Museum, which houses an outstanding collection of sculpture and other artifacts.
Wednesday, April 24 - ATHENS/RHODES
Transfer in the morning to the airport for the flight to Rhodes (50 minutes), the enchanting island of Helios, the sun god, where the enormous bronze statue of the Colossus, one of the original Seven Wonders of the World, stood. Inhabited since the Neolithic period, Rhodes achieved the zenith of its power during the Hellenistic period, starting in the 3rd century BC, when it became the first naval power in the Aegean. From 1309 to 1523, the island was ruled by the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, whose strong influence can be seen in the Old Town. Upon arrival, enjoy lunch at a seaside restaurant, and then tour the evocative ancient site of Kameiros. The remarkably well-preserved remains include temples, private homes, public squares, and baths. Check in at the Hotel Park, which is located in the town of Rhodes, overlooking its medieval fortifications and palace.
Thursday, April 25 - RHODES
Begin the exploration of the island by driving to a hill above the modern city, the site of the ancient acropolis. Surviving from antiquity are the Stadium, Theater, and the Temple of Apollo. Continue to the Old Town, one of the best preserved walled medieval towns in Europe, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the imposing Palace of the Grand Master, originally built in the 14th-century, and walk the celebrated Street of the Knights to the Archaeological Museum. Afternoon at leisure.
Friday, April 26 - RHODES/HERAKLION, Crete
Drive in the morning to the village of Lindos, which presents one of the prettiest settings in the Aegean Sea. Spread between its towering ancient acropolis and a spacious bay are the white-washed cubic houses of the village. Visit the acropolis, crowned by the 4th-century BC Temple of Athena, and enjoy the superlative views. Time will also be allotted to explore the narrow village alleyways and to visit the church of the Panaghia, which is covered with frescoes dating from the 18th century. Enjoy lunch at the Mavrikos restaurant, one of the best restaurants in the Greek islands. In the afternoon, transfer to the airport for the flight to Heraklion, Crete (40 minutes). Upon arrival, transfer to the Hotel Megaron.
Saturday, April 27 - CRETE
Today’s excursion will explore southern Crete and the charming town of Rethymno. Start at the Minoan palace of Phaistos. Constructed in the second millennium BC, it is beautifully situated in the fertile plain of Messara, overlooking Mount Ida. Continue through the scenic Amari Valley to Rethymno, one of the island’s most atmospheric towns, known for its well-preserved architecture from the Venetian and Ottoman periods. Explore the town’s narrow alleyways before returning to the hotel. Lunch will be served in Rethymno.
Sunday, April 28 - CRETE
Morning at leisure. In the afternoon, tour the Palace of Knossos. Clustered around a courtyard, the palace contains a maze of rooms, passages and stairways that probably inspired the concept of the labyrinth. Hear about the many myths that have their origins on Crete, including the legend of the Minotaur. Continue to the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, whose exhibits reinforce the brilliance and refinement of Minoan civilization. Dinner at a restaurant specializing in Cretan cuisine.
Monday, April 29 - CRETE/SANTORINI
Sail in the morning aboard the fast Seajet to Santorini. Perhaps the Mediterranean’s most spectacular island, Santorini is known for the beauty of its white-washed main town, Fira, which is perched atop the 1,000-foot-high caldera. Known in classical antiquity as Thera, Santorini was a flourishing trading center inhabited by a sophisticated society during the Bronze Age. Upon arrival, visit the Museum of Prehistoric Thera, which provides a fine introduction to Santorini’s Bronze Age civilization, and whose exhibits include items found during the Akrotiri excavations, including murals that once decorated local homes. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Afternoon at leisure. Accommodations for the next two nights at the Hotel Volcano View.
Tuesday, April 30 - SANTORINI
In the late 17th century BC, a massive volcanic eruption collapsed half of the island and buried its main town, now called Akrotiri, in a thick layer of ash and pumice, preserving its houses, streets and squares as they existed 3,700 years ago. Some have connected the disappearance of half of the island with the legend of Atlantis. Starting in the 1960s, excavations by Greek archaeologists began to reveal the Bronze Age town that was buried by the eruption of the volcano. Explore Akrotiri, which is one of the world’s most important archaeological sites. Continue to picturesque and photogenic Oia, which commands the northern entry into the caldera. Afternoon at leisure. In the evening, enjoy a farewell dinner.
Wednesday, May 1 - SANTORINI/USA
Transfer to the airport for the return flight home.
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