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Journey through Jewish Greece (Copy)

from $4,990.00

Jewish History & Culture of Greece

A voyage through time, history and culture woven together with words, stories, and sites that touch the heart and excite the imagination.

In Athens, the birthplace of democracy, we’ll visit the Acropolis  and the ancient Synagogue in the Agora. We’ll visit the modern day Synagogues, the Jewish museum and the Holocaust memorial

No trip to Greece would be complete without island hopping. A 3 island cruise is just an introduction to the more than 6000 islands scattered throughout the Greek seas.

Chalkis, home to possibly the oldest Jewish settlement in Europe, is our next stop before Thermopylae were we learn why we can thank the 300 Spartans for their bravery in battle. We’ll see Mount Olympus, home to the Greek gods as we make our way to Thessaloniki, or Salonica

Museums, synagogues, mansions and above all, the warm Jewish community who will welcome us to Shabbat services and dinner, storytelling and song. We could spend years exploring Madre de Israel which until the 1940s was the largest Jewish community of Greece as well as the biggest Sephardic community in Europe.

Pella, the center of the world during Alexander’s time, the royal tombs at Vergina, and Veroia’s Jewish quarter and synagogue will fill the day that ends in the picturesque lakeside city of Ioannina.

Monasteries clinging to the rocks of Meteora, charming Arahova, the “winter Mykonos” are some of the places we will see before visiting Delphi.

Unfortunately we won’t be able to get the Oracle to give us his prediction about the future of the world, but we will see were Zeus decided the center, the “navel”, of the world was.

We’ll enjoy our farewell lunch overlooking the seaside by the magnificent cliffs of Sounion and the Temple of Apollo before we return to our hotel and prepare to leave from Greece tomorrow.

Not to worry, if you feel you missed things you wanted to see. You will be back to this magical

11 days/10 nights $4,990.00

Pre tour and post tour options & single supplement available
( Contact us for pricing )

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  1. Day 1 ATHENS ARRIVAL

    Kalos Oristate! Welcome to Athens, the capital of Greece!

    Arrival in Greece. Our home for the start of this journey is the Electra Metropolis. Located in the heart of the city’s historic center, the Plaka and the social center, Syntagma Square, just a short walk from the Jewish Museum of Greece. This art filled 5 star hotel features a rooftop dining room, pool and pool bar, with breathtaking Acropolis views.

    Syntagma - ParliamentAt tonight’s welcome dinner we’ll meet our Jewish guide, as we meet with our Jewish guide for the duration of our tour, an Athenian Jew whose own heritage combines the story of two unique Jewish communities that once thrived throughout Greece. We’ll meet our archaeology, culture and history expert, who will be traveling with us throughout our journey.

  2. Day 2 ATHENS

     

    Athens City Tour, Jewish Tour & Time to release your inner Zorba!

    Beth Shalom Synagogue - Stained Glass windowOur visit to the city of Athens starts with a lecture by our experts with a lens on Athens’ history as the birthplace of democracy and as home to a Jewish community that dates back to the 1st century (though some claim even longer, to the 6th century BCE!).

    Athens - SynagogueWe begin with a visit to the Jewish Museum of Greece, followed by a glimpse into the historical sites of the city center by bus before visiting the city’s two remaining synagogues and the Holocaust memorial.

     

    After lunch our guide will escort us back in time as we climb* Acropolis hill, where we’ll learn the history of this magnificent rock: beginning with the Propylaia,  the Erechtheion, the Temple of Athina Nike and the Parthenon.  We’ll continue into the Ancient Agora, once the city’s most vibrant market area, the administration center of the city as well as home to an ancient Synagogue, thought to be the oldest documented Jewish presence in the diaspora.

    Athens - Ancient Agora - Jewish SynagogueSyntagma, Evzones, Changing of the Guard, Athens, Greece

    Tonight we’ll experience Greek philoxenia (Greek hospitality, but soon you will learn it is a word that is much deeper – coming from the Greek word ”stranger” (xenos) and ”friend” (filos).  Dinnerlive Greek music & traditional dance at a taverna in the Plaka.

  3. Day 3 ATHENS - HYDRA, AEGINA, POROS

     

    One day, three islands, one thousand memories

    Today we’ll travel by boat to three islands:

    Aegina-PistachiosAigina-Temple-of-AphaiaAigina Synagogue MosaicAegina, with its fish markets and mountaintop 5th century temple & an ancient synagogue,

    Hydra - Ydra - Sea-viewHydra - Ydra - DonkeyHydra - Ydra - PortHydra, where the shops are many and cars are nowhere to be found, and

    Poros - Saronic Island - PortPoros - Saronic Island - Clock Towerlastly, to quiet, tranquil Poros.

  4. Day 4 ATHENS - CHALKIDA - THERMOPYLAE - SALONICA

     

    Athens to Salonica

    As we head out of Athens, our first stop will be Chalkida (or Chalkis), possibly the oldest Jewish settlement in Europe, dating back to the destruction of the 1st Temple in the 6th century B.C.E.

    Chalkis SynagogueChalkis SynagogueHeading north, we’ll stop in Thermopylae to learn why we can thank the 300 Spartans for their bravery in battle there,

    and then again in the shadow of Mount Olympus  for a light lunch.

    Mt.-OlympusWe’ll continue  to our home for the next several days: Greece’s second largest city, Thessaloniki, or Salonica; a city  once known as “Madre de Israel” and “Little Jerusalem”.  As we will learn over the next few days, this was once home to the largest Jewish community of Greece as well as the largest Sephardic community of Europe!

    Thessaloniki - White Tower

  5. Day 5 SALONICA

     

    Jewish Thessaloniki

    For more than twenty centuries, Thessaloniki was the shelter for the persecuted Jews of Europe. Uprooted throughout their long history from other historical centers of the Diaspora, they were transplanted to this city, creating a large and vibrant Jewish Community, indisputably one of the most important ones in the world, especially from 1492­-1943.  This was the golden era of Jewish life here. For 500 years the Jews comprised the largest ethnic population in this multicultural city of Christians, Muslims and Jews. By the end of the 19th century, the city was at least 50% Jewish and the ports were closed on Shabbat.

    Thessaloniki - Graffiti - Train StationToday we’ll learn the finer details of the Jewish history and influence on the city. We’ll visit the only pre-war synagogue and learn how it servived WWII, and we’ll visit the Jewish MuseumEleftherias Square, the Holocaust Memorial along with the site of the newly approved Holocaust Memorial Museum of Greece. We will also visit the Rotonda, the Ottoman Hammam and several other important buildings and monuments including  the symbol of the city, the White Tower.

    Tonight we’ll share in Kabbalat Shabbat services at Yad Lezicaron Synagogue followed by dinner with the community

  6. Day 6 SALONICA

     

    Shabbat in Salonica

    Option to return to the synagogue for morning services.
    Late morning choice from two included but optional walking tours.

    An art & street art walking tour or a tour of the Upper City,  Ano Poli (must be able to walk 4 km total, there and back).

    Free afternoon

    Thessaloniki - Umbrellas

    Dinner with live traditional Greek music in the Ladadika neighborhood.

  7. Day 7 SALONICA TO PELLA, VERGINA, VEROIA, IOANNINA

     

    Departure from Salonica

    Pella – Alexander the GreatPella – MosaicPella – MosaicThis day is filled with the glory of Alexander the Great, as we start our tour with a visit to Pella, his birthplace & the capital of the kingdom.

    We’ll continue on to Vergina, to view the royals tombs, including that of his father, Philippos, King of Macedonia.

    We’ll stop for lunch before continuing on to Veroia, where we’ll visit the Jewish quarter & the Synagogue and meet with a local docent who will share the story of the Veroia Jewish community and her work to keep the synagogue today.

    Ioannina LakeOur day ends early in the evening in Ioannina, once the largest Romaniote Jewish community in Greece.

  8. Day 8 IOANNINA, METSOVO, METEORA

     

    Ioannina, Metsovo, Meteora

     

    Ioannina– Lake Pamvotida – Mitsikeli Mountain

    Ioannina Lake

    Ioannina Lake - BoatsToday we’ll journey through the gates of Ioannina Castro, home to half of the city’s Jewish population at the beginning of the 20th century. The Jewish community of Ioannina, established 300 – 400 years after the destruction of the Second Temple, spoke Greek and Hebrew (not Ladino) and were known as Romaniotis.

    Ioannina – Synagogue

    Our guide will lead us through the narrow streets of the old Jewish quarter, to the magnificent Romaniote Synagogue “Kahal Kadosh Yashan” where we’ll learn about the unique traditions of the Romaniote Jews.

    Ioannina Island

    Ioannina – Lake Pamvotida –Island

    Since the Hazzan says no visit to Ioannina would be complete without a voyage on Lake Pamvotis, we’ll make a short excursion to the island in the center of the lake.

     

    Metsovo_Averof Winery

     

    Afterward we’ll head to the charming mountain village of Metsovo for a winery visit followed by lunch.

    A little before entering Kalambaka, we will see the imposing rocks of . If the weather and hour of day permits, we will drive up the rock formations to get our first experience of the unique landscape, and perhaps some sunset photos before heading to our hotel in the quaint village of Kastraki – just beneath the imposing rocks, for the night.

  9. Day 9 METEORA, TRIKALA, DELPHI

     

    Leaving Kalambaka, the road to Arahova & Delphi

    After breakfast we’ll follow the road up and around the imposing rock formations of Meteora for a closer look and a visit to one or two of the monasteries, but we won’t linger long, because just beyond we’ll visit Trikala, a beautiful city on the Lithaios river, with a small but very old and significant Romaniote Jewish community.

    Trikala SynagogueThe Synagogue is still there in the heart of the former Jewish quarter’s winding streets along with a new Holocaust Memorial nearby.

    After lunch, we will move on toward Mt Parnassos and Delphi – staying tonight at what’s known to the Greeks as the ”winter Mykonos”, a village called Arahova, just up the road from the archeological site we’ll visit tomorrow.

    Delphi IniochosDelphi, Greece

    Delphi

  10. Day 10 DELPHI, SOUNION, ATHENS

    Delphi – Off to see the Oracle

    Delphi IniochosAfter breakfast we’ll visit Greece’s second most important archeological site, Delphi, where the ancients came to consult the Oracle and his priestess, Pythia, possibly considered the most powerful woman in the ancient world.

    Temple of Poseidon Sounion

    Our final meal together in Greece will be a late lunch at a seaside fish taverna near Cape Sounion before we visit the Temple of Poseidon.

    We return to Athens for one final night back at the Electra Palace, where we can bid farewell to the city from the terrace overlooking the Acropolis.

  11. Day 11 DEPARTURE FROM ATHENS

     

    Outbound flights for the US or post trip extension (Crete or Peloponnese)

    A final breakfast at the hotel and it’s time to say our goodbyes. Those departing will transfer to the airport, and those continuing on the optional post trip extensions will head off to discover more of the glories of Greece.

Where will we stay?

Electra Palace Athens

Stately, with the air of an era long gone, the Electra Palace Athens, hospitable and aristocratic, awaits to welcome you in the heart of the city. Classical in its architecture and design, blending beautifully with the noble historical buildings of the Plaka area, the hotel’s elegant luxury is complemented by the majestic views of the Acropolis that can be enjoyed from the rooftop restaurant, pool, rooms and suites.

Marble-tiled bathrooms; soft duvets; Jacuzzi bathtubs; custom furniture; these are but a few of the details that make the Electra Palace Athens luxuriously enjoyable. The amenities of our hotel will leave you wanting for nothing more: for your comfort and enjoyment, here you will find free Wi-Fi internet connection, laptop size electronic safes and fully equipped bathrooms with hair dryer, bathrobes and slippers, magnifying mirror and more.

Mediterranean Palace – Thessaloniki

Mediterranean Palace - Thessaloniki - Logo

Mediterranean Palace - Thessaloniki - Premium RoomMediterranean Palace - Thessaloniki - Sea viewThe Mediterranean Palace is a 5 star hotel in Thessaloniki, in the city center, with 111 rooms and 7 suites; all meticulously decorated, and equipped with modern conveniences, next to the traditional district of “Ladadika”, and with an astonishing view over the Thermaikos Gulf.

Grand Serai Congress & Spa

Grand Serai Ioannina - Logo

Tradition and style in a luxurious hotel in Ioannina, Greece
Built on a land of 13.000 sq.m., in the heart of the town of Ioannina. The hotel “Grand Serai Congress & Spa” comes to offer a brand new perception of hospitality. This is a genuine palace, which combines the traditional style of Ioannina with elements of the Middle East. The incomparable luxury and the unique facilities guarantee a starling 5* stay. Grand Serai Congress & Spa, with attention to the details of the care and well being of our guests, invites you all year round to come and satisfy your need to “escape” from the daily routine.

Grand Meteora Hotel

Grand Meteora Hotel - Logo

Grand Meteora Hotel is located at the foot of Meteora, in the heart of the Thessaly plain. It is the most imposing and impressive accommodation in the area, next to the picturesque village of Kastraki, and only 3 kilometers away from the historic center of Kalambaka.
Its name is relevant to what the visitor expects to see when visiting the area. A fascinating experience of sight, colors and images in time. The hotel stands out for its special architecture and high aesthetics. Earth tones, stone and wood dominate the entire building and create the sense of a familiar and cosy atmosphere all around.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance.
The tour package inclusions

10 nights accommodations
All breakfasts, most lunches and dinners as specified
All activities (boat trips, cooking classes, wine tastings)
Admission to all archeological sites
Wines as mentioned in the itinerary.
Services of English-speaking, professional licensed guides (or experts where noted)
Private, air-conditioned vehicle with wi-fi hotspot and professional driver
All ferry transportation as specified
All land transportation as specified
Gratuities at restaurants where included in the itinerary

The tour package exclusions

International air
Gratuities for your private guides
Meals and alcoholic beverages not specified in the itinerary
Optional horsebackriding tour
Any items for personal use
Passport and visa fees
Travel insurance (recommended and can be arranged)
Any pre- or post-journey plans

Please visit individual trip pages to get details of what is covered. Each trip included all ground transportation (to and from), all domestic flights & ferries, local experts, licensed guides where available, daily breakfast, lunches & dinners where noted, curated experiences, and local transportation for experiences listed in the individual itineraries.

 

Yes! On most days we have included down time. Nothing is mandatory, but a lot will be included in the overall trip price.

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