Day 1 - September 24
Depart USA or Canada for Athens
Day 2 - September 25
After arriving at Athens International Airport, our private motorcoaches will take us to our 5-star hotel, the Grande Bretagne. With breathtaking views of the Acropolis and Parthenon, pine-clad Mount Lycabettus and the original 19th century Olympic Stadium, the multi-awarded hotel offers an unrivaled perspective on Athens.
In the evening, you are our guests at a festive Welcome Dinner. Meet and socialize with your fellow Carpenter travelers, and enjoy a buffet dinner and musical entertainment.
Day 3 - September 26
Athens City Tour. After a full buffet breakfast, we'll drive past the neo-classical buildings of the Academy, the University, and the National Library, and on to Omonia Square before moving on to Syntagma or “Constitution Square” (the heart of central Athens). Opposite is the Parliament building, thus the square’s name, where the National Guards (Evzones) in their colorful skirted uniforms and pompom shoes, guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We'll see the white marble Pan-Athenian Stadium where history was made as the site of the first modern Olympic Games.
Nearby, the Temple of Zeus is separated from modern Athens by Hadrian’s Arch. We'll also view the Pnyx (the meeting place for the Assembly of the ancient city of Athens), the Theseum and the Agora with the reconstructed Stoa of Attalos.
As we approach the Acropolis, we'll see the ancient theatres of Dionysos, and the still used Odeon of Herodes Atticus. Opposite is Philopapos Hill offering a magnificent panoramic view of Athens.
The highlight of our day is our comprehensive visit on the Acropolis, where we'll explore the splendor and timeless beauty of the Parthenon and the other ancient building on this sacred hilltop — the Propylaea, the Temple of Wingless Victory, and the Erectheum. The tour continues with a visit to the New Acropolis Museum which holds more than 4,000 ancient works, including some of the best-preserved classical sculptures that once adorned the Acropolis. In sharp contrast to the collection it houses, the striking new facility (226,000 square feet) is a modern wonder of glass and concrete.
After our visit of the Acropolis Museum, you will have free time to explore the historic Plaka neighborhood with its twisting streets and fascinating architecture before returning to the hotel.
Dinner tonight is at the Istioploikos Yacht Club. This restaurant is tucked away at the far side of Microlimano, the major yacht basin of Piraeus. The lower level dining area is open-air, and the sea breeze and view are enough to keep you sitting there for hours.
Day 4 - September 27
Full Day private cruise to Hydra & Aegina on the m/v Mantalena. Enjoy a delightful cruise to the Greek islands of Hydra and Aegina. Hydra is a beautiful island in the Argo-Saronic archipelago, with an extremely picturesque capital of red-tiled houses and stonepaved narrow alleys. It has long been popular with fashionable artists and has kept a highly cosmopolitan character. Aegina, once an ancient commercial port and the first capital of modern Greece, is today a favorite destination for Greeks looking for peaceful sun, sea, and beaches. It's also rich in beautiful classical monuments and famous for its pistachio nuts.
The m/v Mantalena is a luxury vessel with a spacious open deck and two covered decks and is fully air conditioned.
Day 5 - September 28
Full Day Tour to Corinth Canal, Mycenae & Nafplion. The Peloponnese —the peninsula connected to the Greek mainland by the Isthmus of Corinth — is a treasure-trove of ancient monuments and sites of historic importance. Argolis occupies the north-east region of the Peloponnese. It is a mountainous region surrounded on three sides by coastline, home to the ancient cities of Corinth, Mycenae and Nauplia. En route to Corinth from Athens, we'll drive along the seaside highway past the Scaramanga ship-building yards. After a short photo stop to view the amazing architectural splendor of the Corinth Canal, we continue on to Mycenae, site of the powerful stronghold of the Heroic Age. We'll see the Lionesses Gate, the tombs of Agamemnon (leader of the Greeks in the Trojan War) and his queen Clytemnestra, as well as the Palace. We'll then enjoy lunch before continuing to Nauplia, the beautiful waterfront city which became the capital of Greece for a short time after the War of Independence in the early 19th century. Here you'll have free time to shop and explore before heading back to Athens.
Dinner at the Dionysos Restaurant. One of the city’s most popular upscale restaurants, the Dionysos affords stunning views of the beautifully lit Acropolis. The Mediterranean fare here is as good as it gets!
Day 6 - September 29
Enjoy this day on your own to further explore Athens, shop, relax, stroll OR,
Join an optional morning Cape Sounion Tour. Take this opportunity to leave the hustle and bustle of Athens behind for a relaxing and scenic drive along the coast of the Saronic Gulf of the legendary Aegean Sea. View the splendid beaches and seaside resorts of Glyfada, Vouliagmeni, Varkiza, Lagonissi and Anavissos as well as dozens of natural bays, to Cape Sounion (near the fashionable resort), where you'll visit the Temple of Poseidon, overlooking the sea: a perfect site to honor that powerful deity, so important to the seafaring ancient Greeks.
Carpenter Gala Evening at Petreza Castle. Charming Petreza Castle is surrounded by a richly-wooded area at Spata, full of olive trees, cypresses and vineyards. Cleverly built in the ’90s with traditional materials collected from demolished buildings of the region, the Castle creates a fairy-tale environment reminiscent of distant ages. The impressive mansion, with its arches and antique inlaid materials, is a lovely spot for our farewell dinner. Great dining and musical accompaniment is on the agenda.
Day 7 - September 30
Enjoy your last breakfast before your departure from the hotel. We'll take care of the arrangements to get you to the airport for either your return home OR, our delightful extension in Mykonos.