Slideshow: Athens & the Heart of Greece in 14 Days

  • greece-athens-acropolis-sunset

    Rick Steves' Athens & the Heart of Greece in 14 Days Tour, Day by Day

    The Rick Steves Athens & the Heart of Greece tour is an odyssey of time-travel thrills, from Athens' majestic Acropolis to the must-see ancient sites of Delphi, Olympia, Epidavros, and Mycenae. You'll walk among marble monuments where Plato pondered, splash in the turquoise Aegean where Odysseus sailed, gaze up at god-dwelling mountains, sample family-crafted olives and wines — and maybe learn to play backgammon at a whitewashed taverna on the island of Hydra. Tag along on this day-by-day slideshow preview of our Athens & the Heart of Greece tour…let's go!

  • greece-athens-group-dinner-toast.

    Day 1: Welcome to Greece

    We'll gather at our hotel for a "Welcome to Athens" group meeting. Then we'll take a neighborhood orientation walk together and get acquainted with one another over dinner.

  • greece-athens-tour-group-at-acropolis

    Day 2: Athens' Acropolis

    This morning we'll hike to the top of Athens' legendary Acropolis, where we'll take a walking tour of its 2,500-year-old golden-age temples, dominated by the dramatic Parthenon. We'll then work our way down and tour the sleek new Acropolis Museum, custom built to showcase the amazing Parthenon sculptures. Your afternoon and evening are free for exploring Athens' marketplaces — the ancient Agora and the modern Plaka's labyrinth of inviting streets, squares, shops, and cafés.

  • greece-delphi-columns

    Day 3: Delphi

    This morning we'll leave the city behind and drive into the rugged countryside. In a dramatic setting on the flanks of 8,000-foot Mt. Parnassus, we'll enjoy the fresh air and tour the mystical ruins of Delphi. Here, 25 centuries ago, the celebrated oracle allowed mere mortals to converse with the gods. This evening we'll enjoy dinner together.

  • greece-lagkadia-folk-dancer

    Day 4: Peloponnese Mountains

    Today we'll cross over the Gulf of Corinth to the Peloponnese, where we'll temporarily leave our bus for a steep, scenic cog railway ride up to the historic town of Kalavryta, past the waterfalls and caves lining the narrow Vouraikos Gorge. Just beyond, at a riverside café in the mountain village of Planitero, we'll enjoy a lunch of freshly caught trout and other Greek specialties before our bus takes us to our destination high up in the Menalon Mountains.

  • greece-olympia-runners

    Day 5: Ancient Olympia

    This morning's winding mountain drive will take us to Olympia, site of the world's first Olympics over 2,700 years ago. There we'll take a vivid walking tour of Olympia's ancient athletic venues, temples, and museum, followed by lunch together. This afternoon's drive will take us along sweeping views of the Ionian Sea to a relaxed seaside village on the Mani Peninsula.

  • greece-mani-peninsula-beach-umbrellas

    Day 6: Seaside Discoveries

    The Mani is an ideal place to enjoy a "vacation from your vacation." After some orientation by your guide, the day is all yours. You might hike along the ancient cobbled paths that wind their way through the nearby hills, or just relax on the beach and end your day with a grilled seafood dinner and a view from the little taverna you've discovered.

  • greece-limeni-mani-houses-.jpg

    Day 7: Mani Villages

    We'll follow the coast to the isolated Mani Peninsula, home to generations-long clan wars, salt-of-the-earth villages, and unique pyrgospita — tower houses. If Greece had a Tombstone and an O.K. Corral, they'd be here. We'll enjoy lunch together, and after making a few off-the-beaten-path discoveries, we'll ride on to the dramatically set medieval town of Monemvasia, where you'll be free for dinner.

  • greece-momenvasia-village-rock

    Day 8: Medieval Monemvasia

    This morning we'll cross the causeway to tackle the massive rock that shoots straight up out of the blue-green Aegean Sea. After an orientation walk around Monemvasia's cozy little Lower Town, you'll have free time to wander more of the romantic walled town or take a swim in the Aegean. Those who want a workout can hike to the very top of the rock. You'll be rewarded with sweeping Aegean views and a chance to explore the ruins of the Upper Town — a living museum of Byzantine, Ottoman, and Venetian history. This evening we'll enjoy a cooking demonstration, followed by dinner together.

  • greece-mystras-couple-and-ruins

    Day 9: Byzantine Mystras

    Today we'll head up into the heart of the Peloponnese, where we'll tour the haunting ruins of the fortress town of Mystras and its still-standing group of Byzantine churches. After stopping in nearby Sparta for lunch, we'll visit a family-run winery to learn about the re-emergence of ancient traditions in Greek wines and sample their successes. Then we'll continue north to our destination: the delightful, fortress-topped harbor town of Nafplio, where after an orientation, you'll be free for dinner on your own.

  • greece-napflio-castle.

    Day 10: Mycenae and Nafplio

    After breakfast we'll take a short drive to mysterious Mycenae, the fortified city founded by Perseus a thousand years before the Parthenon was built. We'll take a walking tour through the grand Lion Gate, along the "cyclopean" walls, and into a remarkably domed tholos tomb. Then we'll return to Nafplio for a free afternoon to explore the colorful alleyways of the Old Town, ride a boat to the little castle island in the harbor, or hike up to enjoy a Venetian fortress view. Tonight we'll regroup for dinner and a traditional music performance.

  • greece-epidavros-theater-couple

    Day 11: Ancient Epidavros

    This morning we'll drive to nearby Epidavros, once the most famous healing center in the Mediterranean. Epidavros' star attraction today is its ancient theater, large enough to accommodate 14,000. We'll learn about the roots of medicine and drama here, before hopping a boat to the idyllic traffic-free island of Hydra.

  • greece-hydra-harbor-gelato-gal

    Day 12: Island of Hydra

    Your entire day is free to soak up the whitewashed architecture as you wander Hydra's narrow streets and harbor promenade. You might swim at a nearby beach, hike across the island, or try to make friends with a donkey. We'll cap our island vacation with a relaxing sunset happy hour.

  • Artemision Jockey, National Archaeological Museum, Athens, Greece

    Day 13: Athens' National Archaeological Museum

    This morning we'll take a ferry ride to Piraeus, where our bus will be waiting to take us to Athens' impressive National Archaeological Museum, home to amazingly preserved masterpieces in marble, bronze, and gold. Your afternoon is free to wander and shop through the Plaka, or explore other parts of this bustling city. Tonight we'll gaze at the floodlit Acropolis and enjoy a final dinner together, sharing travel memories and toasting new friends. Opa!

  • greece-hydra-cat-and-red-door

    Day 14: Tour Over After Breakfast

    You can easily catch a cab for the airport, or to nearby Piraeus where a fleet of ferries awaits to transport those with time to explore more Greek destinations. Antio!

    Ready to squeeze in a trip to Greece before July? Grab one of the remaining seats on our June departures and save $100! Learn more about and book our Athens & the Heart of Greece in 14 Days tour.