Greece is suddenly a favorite destination in our tour program. We hope this smattering of photos gives you a helpful insight into this exciting 14-day tour which we're offering seven times between April and October in 2004. The photos are taken mostly by tour guide Colleen Schaffer (with a few of Rick's favorites tossed in too). Colleen just returned from Greece this October. If your travel dreams are taking you to this magical country lately, we'd love to have you on board!
In 776 BC, all wars were halted as the original Olympic Games were held at Olympia. In 2004 AD, as all eyes turn to Greece for the Olympic Games in Athens, we'll be lining up on those original starting blocks — bringing the ruins of Olympia to life.
While Constantinople ruled what was the Eastern Roman Empire through much of the Middle Ages, its second city was Mystra. Mysterious Mystra, stranded high in the Peloponnesus above the evocative town of Sparta, offers a fanciful playground. Imagine your private perch with a commanding view of olive groves, cypress trees, and the red-tiled roofs of a Byzantine capital that once numbered 40,000.
Mystra's churches are striking for their intricate use of brick and stone facades and elaborate frescoes. And rather than the typically stiff and stoic Byzantine art, these frescoes tell Bible lessons with lively scenes.
Disastrous medieval renovations destroyed much of the original Byzantine art of Mystra's 13th century cathedral. But some wonderful frescoes and icons survive, displayed in a small museum facing a delightful leafy courtyard.
The theater of Epidavros, the best-preserved and most famous ancient Greek theater, is famous for its marvelous acoustics. Sitting on the top row, you can hear your tour guide's watch beep as he brings these ruins to life.
A trail sprinkled with olive trees and desert flowers lead to Old Kardamilyli. Here, you'll be all alone among the 400 year-old ruins, making this an evocative ghost town. Peeking through the town's many abandoned doorways and windows, you'll admire the vistas of the rustic coastline below.
Exploring the mountainous Peloponnesus, travelers glimpse the traditional Greek way of life. Chatting with weathered farmers hanging out at their hometown taverna, you'll connect to a close-to-the-earth lifestyle that's uniquely Greek.
Perched in the heart of the rugged mountain peaks of Arcadia, Dimitsana is a small town delight. Imagine enjoying a fresh yogurt with honey in a town with no post cards and no hotels — just pure small town Greece.
Walking along Nafplion's palm-lined waterfront at sunset, you'll see the Bourtzi island fortress. Once guarding the city, today Bourtzi is the peaceful venue for Nafplion's folk music festival.
Nafplion's lively, pedestrian-friendly center is lined with cafes and inviting bits of shade. This is where the community gathers to chat over coffee or ice cream.
While Athens is a sprawling and noisy city of 4 million, its old center — crowned by the magnificent Acropolis — gives visitors a sense of how ancient Greek civilization provided a foundation for our Western civilization.
How do we get to the relaxing islands? By a relaxing boat ride.
Greek countryside is full of surprises. And spontaneity is key. If we see some grape pickers...we can stop the bus and join them.
History is etched on the faces of locals we'll meet.
Bring some hometown postcards to share with folks who've never seen our corner of the world.
If you really want to get away from it all, hop a pickup and head for the back side of the island.
For all the information, check out our 2004 Greece Tours!