Russia, Greece and the Greek Islands
Arrival in Moscow international airport, your journey begins! Meet with your guide and transfer via motorcoach to the city centre for a tour of Moscow. Transfer to the hotel for check in and overnight stay.
Enjoy buffet breakfast at the hotel. Meet with your guide and motorcoach for the day’s excursions. Begin with a walk through the Red Square with views of St Basil’s Cathedral, GUM, Mausoleum, Kremlin Walls before continuing through the Alexandrovskiy Garden. Alexander’s garden was one of the first urban public parks in Moscow. The park is comprised of three separate gardens which stretch along the length of the western Kremlin wall for 865 meters. Time for lunch before our excursion to the Kremlin (territory and cathedrals). Return to hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
Enjoy buffet breakfast at the hotel. Visit Izmailovskiy Vernisage market for some shopping and souvenirs. If you are looking for ancient relics or traditional Russian souvenirs, Izmailovsky market has it all. Matryoshkas, cheburashkas, Soviet paraphernalia, badges, winter shawls, fur hats, postcards, books, old electronics, watches, etc. Following the market, time for lunch before the Metro tour. Walk along Old Arbat street. In the 18th century, the Russian nobility came to regard the Arbat as the most prestigious living area in Moscow. It was almost completely destroyed by the great fire of 1812 and required rebuilding. In the 19th and early 20th centuries it became known as a place where petty nobility, artists, and academics lived. During the Soviet period, it housed many high-ranking government officials. Return to hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
Buffet breakfast at the hotel and check out. Transfer to Novodevichi Monastery with Cemetry (probably the best-known cloister of Moscow). Its name, sometimes translated as the ‘New Maidens' Monastery’, was devised to differ from an ancient maidens' convent within the Kremlin. Lunch at a local restaurant. Excursion to the Tretiakov art Gallery which houses some of the finest Russian art in the world. The gallery's history starts in 1856 when the merchant Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov acquired works by Russian artists of his day with the aim of creating a collection, which might later grow into a museum of national art. In 1892, Tretyakov presented his already famous collection of approximately 2,000 art works. Free time for shopping and afternoon rest. Embark on your ‘Illumination tour’ of Moscow. This is a walk through the illuminated streets of Moscow by night. Walk through the streets with your guide and experience the magic of the city lit up at night. End the excursion at Leningradskiy Railway Station, where you depart for St Petersburg by deluxe night train “Grand Express” № 54, at 23.40 pm.
Arrival in St Petersburg, Moskovskiy Railway Station from Moscow by train #54 at 08.14 am. Meet with your guide and enjoy breakfast in a local restaurant before the day’s excursions. Start with a city tour around St. Petersburg and have a break for lunch. Visit the world famous Hermitage Museum. This consists of six buildings constructed in the 18th and 19th centuries, among which the most significant is the Winter Palace, the former imperial residence. The Winter Palace, the Small Hermitage, the Old Hermitage and the New Hermitage display collections of culture and art of the ancient world, Western Europe, Russia and the countries of the East, as well as archeological and numismatic collections. The Hermitage Theatre and the Reserve House also form part of the Main Museum Complex. Transfer to your hotel for check in and overnight.
Buffet breakfast at the hotel. Meet with guide for an excursion to Pavlovsk (Palace and Park) - just over 30km south of St. Petersburg (as well as Pushkin, time allowing). If you have the time, however, it is well worth spending a leisurely day in Pavlovsk, taking in the full glories of the vast park. Enjoy time for some lunch in a local restaurant before continuing to Nevskiy Prospect walk for some shopping. Nevskiy Prospect is the main street in the city of St. Petersburg, named after the 13th-century Russian prince Alexander Nevsky. Planned by Peter the Great as the beginning of the road to Novgorod and Moscow, the avenue runs from the Admiralty to the Moscow Railway Station and then to the Alexander Nevsky Lavra.
Buffet breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to airport for departure flight to Athens, Greece. Upon arrival in Athens, meet our local representative, assist & transfer to your hotel in Athens. Check-in for overnight stay.
Enjoy our half-day sightseeing tour of Athens. We climb up to the marble-capped Acropolis, the sacred rock of Athens which was the citadel and sanctuary of the city in antiquity. We visit the famous Parthenon and the Erechteion. Our tour continues with the highlights of modern Athens: we pass by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Parliament House, the Academy, the University of Athens, the National Library, we view the Panathenaic Stadium, the Temple of Olympian Zeus and Hadrian’s Arch. In the afternoon, we have our excursion towards Cape Sounion, driving along the picturesque coastal road. A crowning feature of the tour is Cape Sounion, famous for its radiant sunsets and dominated by the Doric white marble Temple of Poseidon that overlooks the blue Aegean Sea. Return to the hotel in Athens for overnight.
At 8:00 a.m. we drive along the beautiful coastal road of the Saronic Gulf to ancient Corinth, passing by the Corinthian Canal; a four-mile narrow passage, connecting the waters of the Saronic with the Corinthian Gulf. It was from Corinth where the Apostle Paul lived and preached for a year and a half and to this church that he wrote two of his New Testament letters. We see all of the Greek and Roman sites associated with his ministry: The Agora, the Temple of Apollo, the Roman Odeon, the Bema, and Gallio’s Seat. The small local archaeological museum here is a must! Then we proceed to Mycenae to visit the remains of the prehistoric citadel fortified with the Cyclopean Walls, the Lionesses' Gate, the remains of the Mycenaean Palace and the Tomb of King Agamemnon in which we will actually enter. After lunch, we continue through Argos on to Nafplion, the first capital of modern Greece, where we stop for pictures. From here, we visit Epidaurus and the Sanctuary of Asclepius, ancient god of healing. Epidaurus is the best-preserved ancient theater in all of Greece, famous for the harmony of its design and the perfection of its remarkable acoustics, easily accommodating 12,000 people. Return to the hotel in Athens for overnight.
Enjoy a one-day cruise to 3 different islands in the Saronic Gulf, including a buffet lunch served on board and round-trip transfers by bus. Set sail at 8:00 a.m. from the port of Marina Flisvos. The first stop is Hydra, a fashionable artists' colony, retreat of intellectuals and a favorite film location. The amphitheatrical town rings the colorful harbor with well-preserved sea-merchant family mansions. We have time for a leisurely stroll, some shopping or swimming (weather and sea permitting). Return on board for buffet lunch. From here our voyage continues to Poros where the first naval arsenal of independent Greece was established. Poros provides delightful scenery marked by the low pine-wooded hills. Our last port of call is Aegina, an attractive and tranquil resort island. Here we can either join the optional guided excursion to the Temple of Aphaia; one of the finest and best preserved of Greek temples, or walk leisurely around the harbor and browse in small gift shops. Return back to Marina Flisvos around 7:00 p.m.
At 8:00 a.m. we depart from Athens by bus, driving through the fertile plain of Boeotia, crossing the town of Thebes (connected with the tragedy of king Oedipus). Next are the towns of Livadia and Arachova, famous for their colorful woolen rugs and carpets. Arrive at Delphi, the center of the Ancient world, or "omphalos" (navel) of the earth - whose prestige extended far beyond the boundaries of the Hellenistic world. On the slopes of Mt. Parnassus, in a landscape of unparalleled natural beauty and majesty, lies the archaeological site of Delphi. We visit the Sanctuary of Apollo, the Treasury of the Athenians and the Archaeological Museum containing such masterpieces of ancient Greek sculpture, such as the bronze Charioteer and the famous athlete Aghias. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant. During your visit to Delphi, there will be a brief visit to a local store where you can shop for a variety of gifts and souvenirs. Return to Athens for overnight at the hotel.
Free Day. You have the opportunity to visit a museum or monument that you saw on our bus tour, shop for gifts to take back home, and discover Greek cuisine or the vibrant Athens coffee culture. In the evening we will enjoy a traditional Greek dinner with folk dances, bouzouki music and songs in a typical tavern in the oldest and most picturesque district of Athens, Plaka. Return to hotel for overnight stay.
After breakfast, check out and transfer to Athens International Airport “Eleutherius Venizelos” for your departure flight home. As your journey comes to an end, we hope that the experiences, sites and memories that you acquired in this land of light, with its deep blue sea, friendly people, and legends of old, will inspire you for a lifetime and will bring you to Greece once more.