Multi-Day Tours: World Heritage Grand Extravaganza
The granddaddy of Greek road trips! This pre-planned six night/seven day guided tour takes you through visits to nine of Greece’s many UNESCO World Heritage sites, plus a few more that don’t make the list! This is our most inclusive tour, jam packed with as much of classic Greece as you can do justice to in a week.
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Vacation Style Holiday TypeCulture, Discovery, Family, Guided Tours, History
Group Size Large Group
Far and away this private escorted roadtrip is our most inclusive, most expansive tour, the World Heritage Grand Tour is for those of you who want to cover a lot of ground, without losing anything in the exhaustion of driving, navigating, booking hotels, and all the other little aches and pains that come with planning an international vacation. Starting and finishing in Athens, this trip takes you on a spectacular circuit around Greece’s lower half. From the breathtaking Saronic coast to the panoramic zig-zagging journey across the Peloponnese, up the coast of the Ionian Sea and deep into the mountains of Sterea Ellada (Central Greece), those who undertake it are sure to get the journey of a lifetime. Sites and locales visited include but are not limited to:
- Private driver
- Air Conditioned Vehicle with Bottled Water
- 6 overnight accommodations based on double occupancy
- Daily breakfast
- Price of Admission to Sites
After your arrival in Athens, your driver will meet you at the airport, ready to begin your adventure. You’ll start by crossing the Corinth Canal, one of Greece’s most ambitious engineering projects, on your way to Epidavros, just a few miles off the Saronic coast. Visit its famous ancient theater, which once held up to 17,000 people, and explore the shrine to Asklepios, Greek god of medicine, and the small, scenic modern coastal village Palaia Epidavros. You’ll finish off the day with fresh, delicious dinner and overnight in the nearby fishing town of Nafplion, with a view of the sunset that can’t be beat.
The Old Timers
The second day of your trip will take you around some of the oldest settlements and archaeological sites in all of Greece. Just a few miles apart from each other (and a few miles away from your loding in Nafplion), Tiryns and Mycenae are two of the oldest and best preserved ancient cities visitable today. Bustling metropolises of 20,000-30,000 hundreds of years before even the Trojan War, Mycenae and Tiryns feature some of the oldest continuously standing pieces of art and architecture in all of Europe. In fact, Mycenae’s “Lion Gate” is the longest-standing piece of art or sculpture in all of Greece, having stood watch over the city’s entrance for more than 3,000 years! After a long day at these sites, finish off the evening by enjoying the panoramic evening trip from the Argoloid to the Peloponnese in your air conditioned vehicle, finishing up the night with a stay in the village of Mystras, where you’ll start the next day’s exploration.
Across the Peloponnese
Mystras is a little bit different from most of your typical Greek sites and ruins. Dating to the 1200s CE and having only been abandoned in the 19th century, what is left is well-preserved, as the World Heritage website describes: “breathtaking medieval ruins, standing in a beautiful landscape.” Having held a role of significant political and cultural importance for the late Byzantine emperors, its abundance of unique Greco-Byzantine art and architecture make it an excellent modern destination. Your medieval morning will then give way to an ancient afternoon, with a stop at the ruins of ancient Messene, one of the most completely preserved ancient city sites in Greece, for a varied and fascinating example of civic, political, and cultural life in an ancient Greek city. After this, it’s only a quick drive to Pylos on the western coast of the Peloponnese, where you’ll spend the night and start the next day.
West Coast, Best Coast
The fourth day of your tour begins with a jaunt around eclectic Pylos, a city that has been alternatively built up, raided, and razed at least three times in the last 3,500 years or so. Your driver will then escort you up Greece’s west coast on the Ionian Sea to the Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae, one of the country’s most isolated and sublime ancient sites. Set under the picturesque backdrop of Mount Lykaion in the mountains of Arcadia, the temple at Bassae is one of the most untouched and authentic in all of Greece, having been forgotten for nearly two thousand years before its rediscovery. It remains a hub of archaeological research today, and one of the most fascinating and difficult to visit sites from Athens. Your day finishes with another short drive, northwest to famous Olympia, where you’ll spend the night and prepare to explore the ancient complex tomorrow.
Let the Games Begin
Birthplace of the Olympics! But Olympia has much more to offer than the original “Olympic Stadium.” The Games of ancient times were a religious event, and the temple of Zeus at Olympia was at the time the largest ever built, and once housed a supposedly forty foot golden statue of Zeus, one of the wonders of the ancient world. Between its temples, monuments, and public buildings, Olympia is one of the most well-rounded sites in the entire country, and will occupy a good chunk of your day. After this, you get to complete your circuit around the Peloponnese, with a dramatic evening drive along the Gulf of Corinth and across the Rio-Antirio bridge, one of the longest suspension bridges in the entire world. Finally, you’ll arrive at Galaxidi, the scenic port town on the gulf’s north side, where you’ll spend the night.
From Galaxidi, it’s just a quick run over to Delphi, perhaps the most important religious site in the ancient Greek world. Located on the slopes of Mt. Parnassos (legendary home of the muses), the sanctuary to Apollo is just one part of this huge site. Here, you might also walk through the Tholos, dedicated to Athena, and possibly one of the most beautiful temples in all of Greece. The many other interests of Delphi might include the Treasury of Athens, a classical gymnasium, a well-preserved 5,000 seat theater, and the Delphi Archaeological Museum. For the final leg of your trip, your driver will take you north, to the central Greek mountain town of Kalambaka, stopping on the way at Ossios Loukas, a Medieval Byzantine monastery with some of the best preserved art and architecture in all of Europe.
There and Back Again
Although Kalambaka holds many sights (a visit to the Mushroom Museum might be in order!), the true destination of your last day on this journey are the monasteries of Meteora, built almost impossibly on the jutting rock spires of the mountains above. Built between the 14th and 16th century by Orthodox monks as a refuge from Ottoman raids and invasions, there are six visitable monasteries in the complex, each set within an incredible vista of the surrounding Greek landscapes, still serving as a functioning home for the monks today. Words have difficulty doing this incredible site justice, and it will almost certainly be one of the trip’s biggest highlights, before your day finishes, and your driver escorts you back to Athens, where either more fun awaits (see our two day Athens addendum to this tour!), or you’ll have plenty of time to reflect on your week as you make your way home, wherever home is.
Have you already booked accommodations for your time in Athens? If not, let us take care of everything, and stay hassle-free! Our Greek apartments are centrally located, impeccably maintained, and include the possibilities to accommodate anywhere from 2 to 20 guests. All of our apartments come with luxury Posturpedic mattresses imported from the US, kitchens with fully loaded appliances, and, a rarity in central Athens, washing machines and dryers. Several have balconies or verandas, and nearly all have grand views of the city and its landmarks. For more details, see the Accommodations drop down menu above, and go check out our primary booking website at www.greekvacationrentals.com. In the meantime, feel free to browse your options here:
- 2 Bedrooms (sleeps up to 6), 1.5 Bathrooms
- 1 block away from Acropolis & Ancient Agora
- Private courtyard & garden
- Perfect for families
- 4 Bedrooms (sleeps up to 12), 4 Bathrooms
- All bedrooms include en-suite bathroom
- Veranda and rooftop terrace with unobstructed Acropolis view
- Fully stocked luxury kitchen
- Option for private chef and maid services
- 3 Bedrooms (sleeps up to 12), 3 Bathrooms
- Landscaped outdoor terrace (shared with our neighboring Acropolis View Beta apartment)
- Extensive common area/living space, perfect for large groups
- Recently rehabbed/renovated with brand-new kitchen, appliances, & plumbing
- 3 Bedrooms (sleeps up to 8), 2 Bathrooms
- Landscaped outdoor terrace (shared with Acropolis View AlphaPlus)
- 3 Museums within 1 mile; Acropolis & Old City within 2 miles
- Bedrooms are perfect for families with children
- Created especially for large travel groups: combines Acropolis View AlphaPlus & Beta to form 6 Bedroom, 5 Bathroom megasuite that sleeps up to 24 guests.
- 3 Bedrooms (sleeps up to 9), 2 Bathrooms
- Multi-level apartment, perfect for couples and families travelling together
- Two private verandas, plus roof terrace overlooking Acropolis
- Indoor parking included
- Fully stocked luxury kitchen
- 2.5 Bedrooms (sleeps up to 8), 2 Bathrooms
- Downtown location, walking distance to Acropolis
- Two private verandas perfectly overlooking Mt. Lykavittos
- Two farmers markets nearby – perfect for those who love home cooking!