• Acropolis, Athens, Greece

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

    Greece is perfectly poised to make a comeback now — and why not? Greece has a rich history, amazing art, sunny weather, relaxing beaches, yummy food, and men who dance in skirts. Starting with the iconic Acropolis, here's a little day-by-day slideshow preview (without the skirts, sorry) of our Athens & the Heart of Greece in 14 Days tour. Let's go!

  • Greek salad, Mykonos, Greece

    Day 1: Welcome to Greece

    At 6 p.m. we'll meet at our hotel near Athens' pedestrian-friendly Plaka neighborhood for a "Welcome to Athens" get-together. Then we'll get oriented to our neighborhood and walk to a nearby restaurant where we can get acquainted over dinner.

  • Artemision Jockey, National Archaeological Museum, Athens, Greece

    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.

  • Tholos at Sanctuary of Athena Pronea, Delphi, Greece

    Day 3: Greek Treasures and Delphi

    This morning we'll tour Athens' impressive National Archaeological Museum, home to amazingly preserved masterpieces in marble, bronze, and gold. Then we'll leave the city 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 have dinner together and sleep in the town of Delphi.

  • Sky over Delphi, Greece

    Day 4: Peloponnese Mountains

    Today we'll cross over the Gulf of Corinth to the Peloponnese Peninsula, where we'll temporarily leave our bus for a steep, scenic cog railway ride past the waterfalls and caves lining the narrow Vouraikos Gorge. At a riverside café in the mountain village of Planitero, we will 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. Tonight we will enjoy dinner together from a wood-fired oven.

  • 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 the relaxed seaside village of Kardamyli.

  • Iced coffee, Kardamyli, Greece

    Day 6: Seaside Kardamyli

    Kardamyli 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.

  • Mani Peninsula, Greece

    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, here is where they'd be. We will 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.

  • 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, the rest of the day is free. You can 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 will 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.

  • Mystras, Greece

    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 continue north to our destination: the delightful, fortress-topped harbor town of Nafplio. We'll enjoy a Greek wine and ouzo tasting, and sleep in Nafplio.

  • Arvanitia Beach, Nafplio, Greece

    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. 

  • Day 11: Ancient Epidavros

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

  • Harbor, Hydra, Greece

    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, hire a boat for the day, hike across the island, or try to make friends with a donkey. We will cap our island vacation with a relaxing sunset happy hour at your guide's favorite taverna.

  • Day 13: Return to Athens

    This morning we'll take a ferry ride to Piraeus, where our bus will be waiting to take us back to our Athens hotel. 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!

  • Gythio, Greece

    Day 14: Tour Over After Breakfast

    Here's looking at you, squid! Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today. 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 even more Greek destinations. Antio!

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