Antiquity to Byzantium: Athens to Athens

8 Days

Antiquity to Byzantium: Athens to Athens

This 8-day Greece vacation introduces you to the world of ancient Greece as you cruise around the Peloponnesian Peninsula and visit significant archaeological sites.

Your Greek vacations begins in Athens, the country’s capital and one of the great historical centres of the world. After getting acquainted with Athens, board the M/S Galileo to begin your journey around the Peloponnesian Peninsula. First stop is Epidaurus, once a renowned healing sanctuary of the ancient world and mythical birthplace of Asclepius, son of the god Apollo. Today, Epidaurus is known for its ancient theatre, which remains one of the best-preserved relics of the ancient world. While in Epidaurus, you’ll tour the theatre and other ruins of civic monuments known for their symmetry and artistic beauty. Next excursion is Mycenae, former home to palaces and royal tombs that Homer wrote about over 3,000 years ago. Today, the ruins of the Lion’s Gate, the Mycenae Palace, and Agamemnon’s Tomb are the best remnants of this ancient City of Gold.

Continue your Greece vacation by heading to the Mani Peninsula. On the Mani Peninsula, you can visit the ancient site of Gythion, which the Spartans used as a naval base in Ancient Greece. In nearby Diros, head underground to explore magnificent natural caves that are some of the best geological sites in all of Greece. Close out by visiting Areopolis, which is known for its windswept landscape full of eroded natural towers and underground lakes and rivers.

Your cruise heads west and north as you round the Peloponnesian Peninsula and make for Pylos, where the city states of southeastern Europe defeated an Ottoman fleet, laying the groundwork for the independence of Greece in 1829. Chief among the landmarks of Pylos are the ruins of Nestor’s Palace, where you can see remnants of royal apartments and even a bathtub likely used by the ancient king. Continue along to Hora to visit the archaeological museum which boasts thousands of arefacts of the Hellenic world.

Your final two stops on your Greece vacation are among the best: Olympia and Delphi. Olympia was the birthplace of the Olympic Games. The ancient stadium exists to this day, as does the mighty Temple of Hero and Temple of Zeus the Philippeion. Visit the Olympia Museum if you want to learn more about the sports of Ancient Greece and their continuity with the Olympics of the modern day. Delphi was home to the Oracle of Delphi, who was renowned for her powers of prophecy. Beyond its importance to myth and history, Delphi remains a striking place to visit as the ancient buildings were built into the sides of mountains. After exploring Delphi, you’ll return to Athens to close out your journey through the ancient world.

2019 Mar 29; Apr 5, 12; Nov 1, 19

Prices are “from” per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request – please enquire.

Embark between 2-3 pm. Enjoy a welcome drink and meet your crew and fellow passengers. Sail for Palaia (old) Epidaurus, arrive in the evening and have dinner on board.

Meal Plan – Dinner

Duration 7 Nights

Accommodation – M/S Galileo

The M/S Galileo, built with the most stringent safety regulations, was launched in 1992 and was fully rebuilt in 2007. The latest renovation works of the M/S Galileo took place between November 2015- March 2016 and included significant upgrading of the guest accommodations as well as the indoor & outdoor public areas.

The elegant Galileo has operated cruises in the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean. The Galileo is always sailing under motors. Sails are occasionally used when weather and route allow.

Service on board is provided by your Captain, the Cruise Coordinator and your experienced Marine and Hotel crew members.

Leave your ship early in the morning to drive to Ancient Epidaurus for your optional excursion. Epidaurus was known throughout the Greek world as a healing sanctuary. It was reputed to be the birthplace of Apollo’s son Asclepius – and for its theater, which is once again in use today. The sanctuary was looted by the Roman general Sulla by pirates and later by Goths in 395 A.D. and very little remains of it today. The prosperity brought by the Asclepieion enabled the residents of Epidaurus to construct civic monuments, including a huge theater (approximately 300 B.C.) renowned for its symmetry and beauty. Enjoy lunch on ship and then sail to Nafplion in the afternoon. Overnight at port.

Meal Plan – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

After a short walking tour of Nafplion, drive through the colorful city and the beautiful countryside of Argolis towards Mycenae for an optional excursion. The importance of the city, which Homer calls “rich in gold” begins in 1650 B.C and ceases around 1100 B.C with the fall of the civilization to which it gives name. Visit the remains of the ancient glorious city including the Lion’s Gate, the Palace, the so called Agamemnon Tomb and the museum. Lunch on ship and afternoon sailing to Monemvassia. Overnight sailing to Gythion.

Meal Plan – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Early morning arrival to Gythion. Optional Excursion to Mani peninsula and Cape Tenaro plus the spectacular Dirou Caves with their stalactites and stalagmites. Ancient Gythion was inhabited during prehistoric times and later the Spartans used as a port, enlarging the natural harbor they made Gythion their naval base. Leaving Gythion you will cross the scenic Mani Peninsula to reach Diros and visit the spectacular caves, discovered around the 60s, which are perhaps among the most important natural sites of Greece. After visiting the cave you will drive to nearby Areopolis for a short stroll through the town. Mani is at the tip of the Peloponnese, a distinctive area unlike any other area in Greece. A desolate region of underground lakes and rivers, windswept landscapes and towers who is strangely beautiful. Overnight at sea to Pylos.

Meal Plan – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Pylos is a picture-perfect seaside town on the southwest corner of the Peloponnese. In 1827 a fleet of Venetians and other city states defeated an Ottoman fleet in one of the most important naval battles in history. This defeat led to the independence of Greece, which occurred in 1829. During your optional excursion and after stopping to admire the scenery, continue up the road to Nestor’s Palace. The remains of the prehistoric Palace occupy a scenic hilltop setting north of Pylos. The palace at Pylos belonged to Nestor and was discovered in 1939 by the American archaeologist Carl Blegen. Highlights include the well-preserved royal apartments and a bathtub that archaeologists have speculated belonged to the old king himself. The palace, with its central courtyard, was originally two stories high and richly decorated with frescoes. Following your visit to the remains of the palace, you will make the short trip to the town of Hora where a superb archaeological museum holds thousands of artifacts recovered from the site. Overnight sailing to Katakolon.

Meal Plan – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Early morning arrival in Katakolon. Disembark the ship around 7:00 a.m. in the port town of Katakolo and an optional excursion takes you by bus to Olympia, one of the most famous and important sites in the ancient world. Olympia is revered as the birthplace of the Olympic Games. In the ancient Greek world, it was also the greatest Pan-Hellenic sanctuary for the worship of Zeus. Olympia persisted well into Roman times until its demise in the 3rd century A.D. when fires, earthquakes and invading tribes from the north left the ancient site in ruins. From 1875 onward excavation work, spearheaded primarily by the German government, revealed the fantastic treasures from antiquity that sit today in the marvelous archaeological museum. The most thrilling site at Olympia is the stadium, which looks much like it did more than 2,000 years ago. You will also explore the Temple of Hera, the magnificent temple of Zeus the Philippeion – lodging place for the athletes who participated in the games. Later visit the Olympia Museum, one of the most beautiful museums in the world. Following lunch in the town of Olympia, visit the museum of the History of the Olympic Games of Antiquity. Unlike the main archaeological museum, this building houses statuary and a host of artifacts specifically related to the ancient Olympic Games. After having time at leisure you will travel overland to Patras on the north coast of the peninsula, where you will re-board your ship and depart for Itea in the Gulf of Corinth. Overnight at Itea.

Meal Plan – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Morning optional excursion to Delphi, one of the most revered sites from the ancient world. Disembark the ship early this morning and proceed to the ruins complex. Unlike other archaeological sites in Greece, Delphi is built on the side of a mountain. First time visitors are awed as much for the stunning natural beauty that surround the ruins as for the ancient buildings themselves. In its prime, Delphi was revered for its wealth and reputation, attributes which grew from the site’s location as hosting the most important oracle in the classical world. Indeed, because everything in Greece is connected to mythology, Delphi became the premier site for the worship of the god Apollo. The oracle had the ability to prophecy the future and give advice. Visitors from across the Greek world traveled here to consult with the oracle, and responded by offering thanks to Apollo in the form of treasure. You will have a half day to walk around the ruins complex and visit the adjoining museum. Return to the ship and cross the Corinth Canal. Later in the evening sail to Marina Zea. Overnight in Marina Zea.

Meal Plan – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Disembark after breakfast.

What's Included

  • Accommodation in double or twin cabins with private SH/WC and air conditioning
  • Full-board: Buffet breakfast and two meals daily, including a Welcome Cocktail, a Greek night Evening, and Captain's Dinner
  • Regular (filter) coffee, tea and drinking water free all day
  • Use of fishing and snorkelling equipment (subject to availability)
  • English-Speaking Cruise Escort


  • Beverages (except those mentioned above)
  • Shore excursions on the islands or other land arrangements
  • Crew tips
  • Passenger personal expenses
  • Wi-Fi (available at charge)

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

Antiquity to Byzantium: Athens to Athens