Greece Brochure

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Travel back in time to explore Ancient Greece with UC Santa Cruz’s Inspired Expeditions!Greece

Unearth the grandeur of the ancient world on this singular journey combining premier archaeological sites with the beauty and lore of the Aegean and her isles. As the ancient world comes alive in Athens and the Peloponnese, Crete and Santorini, we celebrate the glory that was Greece–and still is today.


Ancient Greece

Dates: May 29 – June 11, 2022

Please note, all prices are for a standard, double room unless listed otherwise.

Land Only (transfers not included): $5,395

From San Francisco*: $6,692

*Other cities listed on brochure, which can be downloaded on the overview tab of this trip. Airline prices are subject to change, and airline upgrades will be additional to the costs listed above.

Your Tour Price Includes:

  • Round-trip air transportation from listed cities (see brochure); all flights within itinerary
  • 12 nights’ accommodations in Deluxe, Superior First Class, and First Class hotels
  • 24 meals: 12 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 7 dinners
  • Extensive sight seeing as described, including all entrance fees
  • Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers

Travel Dates: May 29 – June 11, 2022

Sunday, May 29, 2022

This evening we depart the US for Europe with a connecting flight to Athens.

Monday, May 30, 2022

We arrive today in the Greek capital. Please note that as guests’ arrival times may vary greatly, no group activities have been planned for today. Dinner tonight is on our own, and our tour director will be glad to offer restaurant recommendations.

Accommodations: Elia Ermou Athens Hotel

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

This morning we get acquainted with the “cradle of civilization” on a city tour. A highlight is the Acropolis (“high city”), the crowning hill of Athens that is visible from almost anywhere in the city. Of the ancient buildings taht once stood atop the Acropolis–and still do today–the most famous and beautiful is the Parthenon, the largest Doric temple still standing in Greece. Built between 447 and 438 BCE to honor the goddess Athena for rescuing Athens during the Persian Wars, the Parthenon is considered the greatest Doric temple ever built. After first serving as a Greek temple, it later became a Christian church then a Muslim mosque. We also visit the highly regarded Acropolis Museum that houses and chronologically displays excavations dating from 6 BCE, and stroll the historic lower Plaka district near our hotel. We have time for lunch on our own, then this afternoon is free to explore more of Athens on our own. The city boasts myriad sights, monuments, and museums sure to capture the imagination. One option is the renowned Benaki Museum, with its vast collections illustrating the breadth of the Greek world and Greek life, from ancient times to modern. Another option, the ruins of the Agora, the hub of Athens’
administrative and political life in ancient times, lends insight into the day-to-day lives of early Athenians. Tonight we enjoy a welcome dinner together.

Accommodations: Elia Emrou Hotel

(B, D)

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Today we travel to the heart of the Greek mainland to Delphi, site of the Oracle that predicted, among other things, the fate of Oedipus. According to Greek mythology, the Oracle prophesized that Oedipus would kill his father then marry his mother. Despite his father’s attempt to kill the young boy, Oedipus grew up to do just as the Oracle predicted. In the end, his mother hanged herself and Oedipus blinded himself – the quintessential Greek tragedy that still resonates today. Beautifully situated on the slopes of Mt. Parnassus, the ancient site overlooks the Gulf of Corinth. Delphi was regarded by the ancients as the center of the earth; legend has it that when Zeus released two eagles at opposite ends of the earth, they met here. Delphi overflows with spectacular ruins, including the Sanctuary of Apollo; the Sacred Way, a road once lined with treasuries and statues; a magnificently preserved 4th-century BCE theater still in use today; the reconstructed Athenian Treasury; and the best-preserved stadium in Greece. Our touring here also includes the Delphi Museum, housing fragments from the Athenian Treasury along with the prized “Charioteer of Delphi” bronze dating from the 5th century BCE. We enjoy lunch at a local restaurant then return to Athens late this afternoon, where we have dinner tonight on our own.

Accommodations: Elia Ermou Hotel

(B, L)

Thursday, June 2, 2022

This morning, we visit the highly acclaimed National Archeological Museum. Considered one of the greatest museums in the world, the museum houses the richest collection of Greek antiquities on the planet, as well as collections dating from Roman, Mycenaean, and Classical times. We then depart by coach to the Peloponnesian Peninsula, Greece’s southernmost region, which is separated from the mainland by the Corinth Canal. We enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, then visit the evocative ruins and museum of Ancient
Corinth, one of the country’s largest cities in antiquity. Boasting a population of 90,000 in 400 BCE, Corinth was demolished by the Romans three centuries later, then rebuilt in 44 BCE by Julius Caesar shortly before his assassination. Today only low stone walls, foundations, and a few iconic Corinthian order columns stand as testament to the mighty city that once flourished here. In addition to its ties to Greek and Roman history, Corinth is well known for a strong connection to Christianity: Paul the Apostle wrote his two letters, First and Second Corinthians, to “the church of God which is at Corinth.” Paul also preached and made missionary travels here, and we see the very altar where this early Christian figure stood and delivered his message. After our touring here, we continue on to our resort hotel on the Peloponnesian coast, where we dine tonight.

Accommodations: Kandia’s Castle Resort & Thalasso

(B, L, D)

Friday, June 3, 2022

We embark on a full-day exploration of the Peloponnesian Peninsula today, beginning with the ancient city of Epidaurus. Small in size but standing tall in the history and culture of ancient Greece, Epidaurus was primarily known for two things: healing and the arts. Epidaurus was rumored to be the birthplace of Asclepius the healer, the Greek god of medicine whose snake-entwined staff is still seen as a symbol of
medicine today. We see the site’s museum, showcasing statues and ruins uncovered at Epidaurus, and marvel at the 2,300-year-old theater, a masterpiece of Greek architecture known for its perfect acoustics. Still in use to this day, the theater seats over 14,000, and its exceptional design allows every crowd member to hear unamplified sound from the stage with near perfect clarity. After lunch, we tour the imposing ruins at Mycenae, a hilltop UNESCO site that represented the pinnacle of Greek civilization from the 16th to the 12th centuries BCE – and is one of the oldest archaeological sites in Europe. In fact, this period of Greek history is called the Mycenaean, as this Peloponnesian city’s dominion extended throughout the whole of southern Greece. A key influence on the development of classic Greek culture (and hence Western civilization), Mycenae also is linked to Homer’s epics, Iliad and The Odyssey. Mycenae’s King Agamemnon is a central figure of Iliad, as he besieged Troy in an effort to recover his brother Menelaus’s kidnapped wife Helen. Our touring here includes the Tomb of Agamemnon, which laid claim to the title of world’s highest and widest dome for more than a thousand years. We also see the Lion’s Gate, Mycenae’s grand main entrance, and the only known Bronze Age monumental sculpture in Greece. Then we visit nearby Nafplion, a gem of a Venetian/Byzantine town with picturesque narrow streets, fortifications, and a bounty of waterfront cafés and restaurants, for an afternoon at leisure. We dine at a local taverna in Nafplion, then return to our hotel.

Accommodations: Kandia’s Castle Resort & Thalasso

(B, L, D)

Saturday, June 4, 2022

This morning we travel to the port of Metohi, where we board a private boat for the ride to Hydra, the car-free Saronic island where donkeys provide the transportation. Here we discover the compact port town, with its small, semicircular harbor and lovely whitewashed buildings. After lunch together at the local taverna, we have free time to enjoy this picturesque island as we wish; Hydra is studded with shops, markets, and galleries to explore. Late afternoon we return to our resort, where we have the evening free for dinner on our own.

Accommodations: Kandia’s Castle Resort & Thalasso

(B, L)

Sunday, June 5, 2022

En route to Athens this morning we stop to see the Corinth Canal, cutting at sea level through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth to the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean. This four-mile long, 70-foot-wide channel separates the Peloponnesian peninsula from the Greek mainland; Emperor Nero attempted (and abandoned) construction of the canal in the first century CE, and it was not completed until 1893. We continue on to
the Athens airport for the 50-minute flight to Crete, arriving mid-afternoon in Heraklion, the Cretan capital. After checking in at our hotel, we enjoy an afternoon at leisure in this town with a diverse and varied history. This evening we take a walking tour of the town center, where we can easily distinguish the traces of Heraklion’s Byzantine, Venetian, and Ottoman conquerors. Some of the monuments we pass include the Church of St. Titus, an Orthodox Greek church housed in what was originally an Ottoman mosque; the Venetian loggia, once home to meetings of nobility and announcements of state importance; and famed Lions’ Square with its lion-themed fountain designed by Doge of Venice Francesco Morosini. After this brief but fascinating walk, we enjoy dinner together at a local restaurant.

Accommodations: Aquila Atlantis Hotel

(B, D)

Monday, June 6, 2022

Today we visit the legendary palace of Knossos. The political center of Minoan civilization and legendary home of King Minos, the Labyrinth, and the Minotaur, ancient Knossos is considered Europe’s oldest city and the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete. After a morning spent exploring this wondrous site, we enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. We then return to Heraklion to spend time in one of Greece’s greatest museums: the Archaeological Museum, housing artifacts covering 5,500 years of Cretan history, from the Neolithic period to Roman times. Built in 1940, the museum is especially renowned for its Minoan collection of art and artifacts, including the mysteriously coded Phaistos Disc. Many pieces here were excavated from the palace of Knossos, so this stop lends more context to our touring from earlier today. We have the rest of the afternoon and evening at leisure.

Accommodations: Aquila Atlantis Hotel

(B, L)

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

We begin another full day of touring with a drive to Crete’s eastern coast and the tiny port town of Elounda. Here we board a wooden boat for a private cruise through the Bay of Elounda to Spinalonga, a former Venetian island fortress later occupied by the Ottomans then used as a leper colony from 1903 to 1957. Spinalonga sits at the mouth of the long bay, between mainland Crete and the uninhabited, mountainous Spinalonga Peninsula (which provides a dramatic photographic backdrop). On Spinalonga, we have time to explore some of the imposing fortifications which helped the Venetians retain control of the island for some 60 years after the Ottomans had conquered the rest of Crete. From here, we travel to the colorful harborside town of Agios Nikolaos, with its galleries, shops, cafés, tavernas, and tiny (but very deep) Lake Voulismeni, where, legend has it, the goddess Athena once bathed. We have time at leisure in Agios Nikolaos to explore and find lunch on our own. This afternoon, we visit a Cretan olive farm. Greece consumes more olive oil per capita than any other country, and we take a tour of the farm and have time to sample this staple of the Greek diet. We then we return to Heraklion where the evening is free for dinner on our own.

Accommodations: Aquila Atlantis Hotel


Wednesday, June 8, 2022

We depart this morning by high-speed ferry for Santorini, southernmost of the Cycladic islands. Once believed to have been the legendary lost island of Atlantis, Santorini (also known as Thera or Thira) attracts both Greeks and visitors alike with its stupendous setting of cubiform whitewashed houses sitting atop the jagged cliffs of a crescent-shaped caldera. Upon arrival, we visit a local, family-owned winery for a tour and tasting. The vineyard here covers nearly 300 acres, and its terraced, vine-clad slopes offer views across the island and over the azure caldera. We then have a free afternoon for lunch in the village of Firostefani, where our hotel is located, and to explore the island’s capital town of Fira, some 15 minutes’ walk from our hotel. Fira boasts a profusion of cafes and bars, as well as two small but fascinating museums: the Archaeological Museum of Thera and the Museum of Prehistoric Thera. This evening we gather for dinner
at our hotel.

Accommodations: Santorini Palace Hotel

(B, D)

Thursday, June 9, 2022

This morning we tour Santorini’s archaeological site of Akrotiri, a Bronze Age Minoan settlement that was decimated by the Minoan eruption in the 17th century BCE. One of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history, the Minoan eruption was four times larger than the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa, and was responsible for the creation of the vast caldera around which Santorini sits. It’s theorized that this massive eruption and Santorini’s resulting collapse set the groundwork for Plato’s story on the lost city of Atlantis. Fortunately for us, the site of Akrotiri was not lost, and now offers a rare clear glimpse some 3,500 years into the past. Akrotiri suffered much the same fate as Pompeii, as the ash from the eruption preserved the frescoes and artworks that we view here. We return to our hotel mid-day and enjoy free time for lunch before a late-afternoon excursion to Oia. Set along the northern side of Santorini’s inner coast, Oia is known for its iconic whitewashed architecture and brilliant sunsets. We take a walking tour to gain a full appreciation for the white-and-blue painted homes, shops, and incredible ocean views here, then enjoy dinner together at a local restaurant before returning to our hotel this evening.

Accommodations: Santorini Palace Hotel

(B, D)

Friday, June 10, 2022

After a late morning flight to Athens, we check in at our hotel then have time for lunch on our own, and to do some last-minute exploration of Greece’s capital. The city boasts myriad sights, monuments, and museums sure to capture the imagination, and our tour director will be able to give suggestions for the best ways to spend our afternoon. Tonight we enjoy a farewell dinner overlooking the Acropolis at the rooftop restaurant of our hotel.

Accommodations: Elia Ermou Hotel

(B, D)

Saturday, June 11, 2022

We transfer to Athens’ international airport this morning, where we connect with our return flight home.


B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

Please Note

Local Conditions and Physical Activity

We will do our best to adhere to our printed itinerary. Occasionally, though, unexpected obstacles – and opportunities – may arise that will force us to deviate from the itinerary as written. We would ask you to be open-minded and flexible should we vary the itinerary slightly. In addition, please note that airline schedules are subject to change. We will provide you with updated flight information closer to your
departure. Additionally, this trip involves considerable walking on uneven or cobblestone streets and at sites of ancient ruins, and you should be in good physical condition to enjoy the tour to the fullest.

Hotel Accommodations

Our hotels in Athens, Heraklion and Santorini occupy central locations in their respective cities, all of which are thickly settled, historic districts. Thus, the entrances to these three properties are not accessible by coach. To reach the hotels, you will be required to walk a short distance uphill upon arrival. As always, your luggage will be transported by hotel porters.

Audio Devices

Odysseys Unlimited provides state-of-the-art audio headsets for all guests to use on this tour. These devices enable you to hear the commentary offered by your tour director or guide during visits to museums, historic sites, and other stops on your tour where crowds may make it difficult to hear. They also allow you to stay a few steps behind as your group moves forward. Please note that a limited number of hearing aid-compatible headsets will be available as well.


Dean Mathiowetz

Dean Mathiowetz is Associate Professor of Politics at UC Santa Cruz. He is a political theorist with interests in democratic theory, the history of political economy, philosophy of language, and the politics of “mindfulness”. He is the author of Appeals to Interest: Language and the Shaping of Political Agency and numerous articles; he is currently working on a book project on the relation of luxury culture and democracy, including the reflections of ancient Greek thinkers on this relation.

Mathiowetz’s interests in political theory were sparked when he enrolled in Ancient Greek Political Thought as an undergrad at the University of Minnesota. He has been teaching his ever-evolving version of this course annually since his arrival at UC Santa Cruz in 2003.


Vaccination Requirement

For all tours departing from August 1, 2021 onward (until further notice), guests, tour directors, and long distance coach drivers must be fully vaccinated  to participate in an Odysseys tour. This means that travel must occur at least two weeks after their final vaccine dose (2nd dose in a two-dose series or 1st in a one-dose series). Please note that long distance coach drivers would include those with the guests for extended periods and/or multiple days (short airport and hotel transfers may not require driver vaccinations).

Guest Health and Safety Protocols (new Face Mask and Physical Distancing Guidelines)

As you have likely seen, on May 13, 2021,  the CDC released updated guidance clarifying the activities that fully vaccinated individuals can safely resume. The full CDC recommendations can be found here. In keeping with this new guidance, Odysseys Unlimited guests will no longer be required to wear a mask or practice physical distancing while on tour, including while on the motorcoach, except where required by local regulations and businesses.  Guests will still be required to wear a mask on international and domestic flights, in transportation hubs such as airports, and on other forms of public transportation. The updated Guest Health and Safety Protocols document outlines this further and is attached for your reference.

COVID-19 Guest Protocols Aug 2021-Beyond

Mask and Vaccine Update Sept. 2021-Dec. 2022 Guests

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