Archaeology of the Peloponnese
The Peloponnese is a place of timeless beauty. From the 3000 year old relics at Mycenae to the classical ruins of Epidavros and the Byzantine churches of Monemvassia, the whole region reeks of history. In the hills above Argos, for example, it takes just the tiniest leap of imagination to look out over the sparkling waters and see the Mycenaen fleet sailing for Troy. The Greeks and the Spartans fought out the Peloponnesian war here, to be followed in turn by Romans, Goths and Slavs, Franks, Turks and Venetians. Nowadays the atmosphere is one of peace and tranquillity, but the connection with the past, with battles won and civilisations lost, is inescapable.
Archaeological highlights of our tour include the Lion’s Gate at Mycenae, the most ancient piece of monumental sculpture in Europe; the 4th century BC Temple of Apollo Maleatis and the Theatre with its awe-inspiring acoustics at Epidavros; the church of Agia Sophia in the Fort City of Monemvassia; the amazingly well-preserved site at Messene and the eerie, dead city of Mystras, casting its silent gaze over the plain around Sparta.
Your Departure date
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Day 1 -
Depart on a direct flight from London to Athens, where we are met by coach and transferred to our comfortable hotel in Nafplion, a charming little town and port, modern Greece’s first capital. Neoclassical buildings, historic squares, old churches, Venetian balconies and Turkish mosques reflect a colourful past. Dinner is included tonight.
Day 2 -
After breakfast, we depart by coach for a visit to Mycenae, one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece and the centre of the Mycenaen culture. The acropolis was built in the 13th century BC on a solid Cyclopean wall and its entrance, the Gate of Lions, is the most ancient example of monumental sculpture in Europe. The region was excavated by German archaeologist Henrich Schliemann, the richest discovery being the Tomb of Agamemnon. We return to our hotel in Nafplion in the afternoon. The evening is free with a wide variety of restaurants to choose from.
Day 3 -
Today after breakfast, our first visit will be to the Archaeological Museum of Nafplion, housed in one of the best-preserved Venetian buildings in Greece. The exhibitions cover a large period of time, from the Palaeolithic to the Roman Period.
We continue to nearby Tiryns with its Cyclopean walls praised by Homer, where we will tour the citadel. Besides Mycenae, Tiryns is one of the two greatest ancient cities of the Mycenaean civilisation with impressive archaeological remains.
In the afternoon we continue to Epidavros, where we visit the famous theatre in its forest setting. The theatre was built by architect and sculptor, Polykleitos, in the 4th century AD. Thanks to its clever positioning and design, the theatre has excellent acoustics, which never fail to impress the visitor.
We return to our hotel in Nafplion for our final night here.
Day 4 -
We leave Nafplion this morning after breakfast and head south via Argos, considered to be the oldest city in the world, with an imposing though neglected theatre, and Tripoli, where we will stop for lunch (not included), to our comfortable hotel in Sparta. Dinner is included tonight.
|Meals included||Breakfast, Dinner|
Day 5 -
We depart this morning, after breakfast, for the Fort City of Monemvasia. As the name suggests (moni=sole, emvasia=entrance), there is only one way in and out of the city, which made it easy to fortify and defend. Nevertheless, it changed hands many times, with Normans, Venetians and Turks all having occupied the site. Today, it is a wonderful time capsule where history unfolds before you, along the narrow cobbled lanes that wind among Byzantine churches and red-tiled houses. We return to our hotel in Sparta.
Day 6 -
After breakfast, we will explore the fascinating dead city of Mystras, which casts its silent gaze over modern Sparta. On the northern part there are palaces and homes of the nobility, and houses of publicans and churches to the south. At the end of the 13th century further house and churches were built around the outer part of the city wall. A unique atmosphere pervades this somewhat melancholic but beautiful site. The afternoon is free in Sparta.
Day 7 -
Following breakfast this morning we depart for the UNESCO-listed archaeological site of ancient Messene, which was founded in 369 BC by the Theban general Epaminondas (after the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC, which resulted in Spartan defeat and the establishment of the Theban Hegemony). It became the capital of the free Messenian state following a long period (about four centuries) of occupation of the Messenian territory by the Spartans. Today it is impressively well-preserved, with examples of all the elements that make up the ancient Greek way of life (secular, religious, political/administrative, residential, and funerary). We will also visit the nearby museum which displays statues and artefacts from the site.
In the afternoon we transfer to the coastal town of Kalamata, which features cobblestone streets and traditional cafés, and visit the Archaeological Museum of Messenia which displays the antiquities of Messenia from Prehistoric times until the Byzantine era. After some free time in Kalamata to enjoy a Greek coffee or a glass of ouzo we return to our hotel in Sparta. Dinner is included tonight.
|Meals included||Breakfast, Dinner|
Day 8 -
Sadly, after breakfast, we must check out of the hotel today and return by coach to the airport at Athens for our flight back to London.
Tour dates & prices
Included in your cost:
- Services of an archaeological expert as tour manager
- Comfortable coach travel throughout
- Meals - as per the itinerary
|Tour Departure||Tour ID||Departure date||Return Date||Guided by||Price||Deposit||Single Supp.||Offer||Availability|
|26 April 2021||BPEL210426||26 April 2021 (Monday)||3 May 2021 (Monday)||£1,495
|4 October 2021||BPEL211004||4 October 2021 (Monday)||11 October 2021 (Monday)||£1,495