Athens Monasteries: 8 Days
Day 1: Athens
Αrrive in Athens the capital of Greece and start your journey for a life-changing experience. Meet and assist at the airport and transfer to the centre of the city. On route to your hotel you will have a first glance of the ancient treasures and Christian history in a condensed city tour with the bus where our guide will point out the House of Parliament, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and Presidential Palace and the Panathenaic Stadium, also known as the Kallimarmaro (the "beautifully marbled"), an athletic stadium in the centre of Athens that hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. Check into your Hotel and have the remainder of the day free to relax or take a stroll along the streets of Athens to enjoy the flavour of the city. This evening you will enjoy the first of many delectable Mediterranean style dinners.
Day 2: Acropolis – Old city – Athens Metropolitan Cathedral – Panagia Kapnikarea
Following breakfast today you will visit Athens, the foundation of democracy. Early morning visit the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and Erectheum before viewing Athens atop Mars Hill where Paul stood and preached the truth to the Gentile nation. Additional sites include the Agora (ancient market place and centre of Athenian public life) and the fabulous New Acropolis Museum. A short walk through the narrow streets of the Old city, the famous Plaka with a multitude of shops and cafes. You cannot miss the little church of "Panagia Kapnikarea” one of the most important Byzantine monuments in Athens in the middle of Ermou Street that dates back to 1050 and the Annunciation Cathedral, the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens, popularly known as the "Mētrópolis" on Mitropoleos street. Evening Free.
Day 3: Dafni Monastery – Church of Corinth – Patras Saint Andrew Cathedral - Olympia
Following breakfast this morning you will depart Athens travelling west to the Peloponnesian peninsula. First stop will be only 11kilometres south of Athens for a visit at the Dafni Monastery declared a World Heritage Site in 1990 by UNESCO. After the 1999 earthquake in Athens, the monastery suffered serious damage and has remained closed for nine years. Now you will have access only to the court-yard where one can admire the unique architecture, because of the on going maintenance work still going on inside. Continue the route south to Peloponnese shortly to arrive to the ancient city of Corinth. Corinth is the city that inspired many of Paul's most familiar letters. You will visit the ruins of the church of Corinth and see the pillars, steps, and public worship place where Paul preached. After the visit to ancient Corinth, you'll travel further south to the city of Patras third largest Greek city and the place where Saint Andrew the "First called” disciple died on the Cross, you will visit one of the biggest basilica style churches in the Balkans. Late that day arrive to the village of Ancient Olympia, overnight
Day 4: Ancient Olympia -Nafpaktos- Monastery of Metamorfosis – Delphi
Early this morning you will start with a guided tour at the site of Ancient Olympia birthplace to the Olympic Games, and home of the Olympic Flame. After having a unique experience travelling back in history exploring the archaeological site and the museum in Olympia, you will drive to Patras and then to Rio, crossing the longest and most impressive suspended bridge in Europe, to Antirion. Short stop at the picturesque Nafpaktos and continuing just 5 km from the town visit the monastery of "Metamorfosis Sotiros” on top of the mountain. This is a modern monastery with their own radio station, a museum of Greek Orthodox tradition and a sophisticated module fish cultivation for the needs of the monastery. Afternoon arrival in Delphi, overnight.
Day 5: Delphi-Osios Loukas-Athens
In the morning you will be visiting the famous archaeological site of Delphi and the museum, where you can see the Temple of Apollo, the Bronze Charioteer of Delphi, the "Naval of the world” and other important remains of the Delphic era. Departing Delphi you will visit to the monastery of Osios Loukas which is one of the most important monuments of Middle Byzantine architecture and art, and has been listed on UNESCO's World Heritage Sites in Greece. Afternoon arrival in Athens, free time to your leisure, overnight.
Day 6: Full day excursion to Aegina island - Agios (Saint) Nektarios - Athens
Early in the morning departure for the port of Piraeus to take the boat for a daily trip to the island of Aegina. After a short boat ride arrive on the island which is well-known for its history, for its religiousness and beauty undisputable for many decades. First visit will be the monastery of Agios Nektarios which was built around 1904-1910 by the bishop Pentapoleos Nektarios who lived in the Monastery and died in 1920 known as Saint Nektarios of Aegina "the Wonderworker" was officially recognized as a Saint by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Konstantinople in 1961. Continuing the road up the mountain will visit the ruins of Ancient Temple of Afaia st in an idyllic spot with magnificent view to the Saronic gulf. Return to the picturesque port to enjoy some time to your leisure before you take the return boat to Piraeus port and back to your hotel in Athens, evening free.
Day 7: Athens-Monastery of Ntaou Pendelis
In the morning you will visit the famous Monastery of "Ntaou Pendelis” about 9kllm north of Athens which is founded in 1578 although the monastery buildings are modern. In the basement, you will be shown various sacred books and the place where one of the "secret schools" was, in which monks taught children during the Ottoman Empire. A flight of steps to the right leads into the monastery courtyard with its beautiful little church and ranges of cells. After our visit return to the center of Athens, to Syntagma sq. for some time to your leisure, last minute shopping and perusing on your own before returning to your hotel.
Day 8: Athens-Return flight
Transfer to the airport for your return flight.