Today we embark on our Journey to the lands of ancient treasures and Christian history with an overnight flight to Athens. Prepare yourself for a life-changing experience. Get some rest on the flight. Tomorrow you will be walking where the apostles walked!
We arrive in Athens and check into our hotel. You will have the remainder of the day free to relax or take a stroll along the streets of Athens to enjoy the flavor of the city. This evening our group will enjoy the first of many delectable European style dinners. Dinner and overnight at the Titania Hotel, Athens.
CORINTH, CENCHREAE, ATHENS
Today, after an early morning departure from our hotel, we will stand on Mars Hill where the apostle Paul did and proclaimed, "I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you" (Acts 17:23). As you view the Agora (ancient market place and center of Athenian public life), recall that this was where the Apostle Paul preached "Jesus and the resurrection" (Acts 17:18) to the skeptical Athenians. Also see the House of Parliament, the Presidential Palace and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Enjoy the rich architectural splendor of the ancient city of Athens as your guide introduces you to the world renowned Acropolis, the Propylaea, the Parthenon and the Erectheum.
Our sightseeing today will include a visit to the Corinth Canal and ancient Corinth, the city where the apostle Paul met fellow tentmakers Aquila and Priscilla and received a vision from the Lord saying, "I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city" (Acts 18: 10). Crispus (chief ruler of the synagogue) responded to Paul’s preaching; he and many others believed and were baptized (Acts 18:8), establishing the church at Corinth to whom Paul later wrote his two epistles. Discover the Archaeological Museum, Market Place and Temples.
You will walk among the ruins, and stand on the Bema, where the apostle Paul stood before Gallio to face charges brought against him by the Jews. Stop briefly at the port town of Cenchreae from which Paul later departed for Syria (Acts 18: 12-18). Return to Athens and for dinner and overnight at the Titania Hotel, Athens.
We sail this morning from Athens to the quaint island of Mykonos, called the isle of windmills. We’ll get a chance to explore the shops and cafes by the waterfront and the maze of walkways by the whitewashed houses. Then we’ll return to the ship for dinner and the evening entertainment.
Docking in Turkey, we’ll walk the streets of ancient Ephesus, one of the largest restorations still in progress. The ruins reveal miles of ancient treasures. Ephesus was once a thriving port town of about 250,000 people. Today you can see the spectacular excavations of the major streets in this city including the agora, the Odeon, the library, the marble-paved main street, the baths, Trajan’s Fountain, the residences of the Patricians, the Prytaneum, and the Temple of Hadrian. The Great Theatre, built in the 4th century B.C., could accommodate 24,000 spectators and is famous even today for its acoustics. This afternoon we will visit the Isle of Patmos, under statutory protection as a historic monument. Here we’ll take a tour of the fortified monastery of St. John as well as the cave that is claimed to be the place where John received the Revelation. We’ll return to the ship for dinner.
Crete is the largest and the most rugged of the Greek islands. The Apostle Paul left Titus here with instructions to bring order to the churches on the island. You will tour to Heraklion and see the fantastic ruins of the Palace of Knossos. Discovered in 1899 and partially reconstructed, the elaborate Palace is believed to be the mythical Labyrinth of King Minos and the seat of ancient Minoan culture. This afternoon we will visit the island of Santorini, perhaps the most breathtaking of all the Greek islands. We’ll enjoy a panoramic bus tour viewing some of the most spectacular scenery of the Aegean. We’ll travel through villages and settlements with delicate architecture before arriving in the town of Oia. Here we’ll have some free time before returning to the ship for dinner.
We disembark the cruise ship. We will then travel northward past Thermopylae where we learn of the famous Spartan battle of 300. We continue through the mountains to Meteora. Here we see the world famous Byzantine monasteries that are perched precariously on summits of gray rock pinnacles of varied and beautiful shapes. Their history goes back to the 14th century when the monks sought refuge in the cliffside caves then fled higher to build the original wooden shelters, later transformed into monasteries. Our lodging this evening will be at the Amelia Hotel, Kalambaka, near Meteora.
VERGINA, BEREA, KAVALA
Day 8: Kavala (ancient Neapolis, where Paul first landed in Europe – Acts 16:11)
Traveling north this morning, our first stop will be a visit the royal tombs of King Phillip (Alexander's father) and Alexander the Great in Vergina, one of the most outstanding finds in all of Greece. We then make the short trip to nearby Berea to view the synagogue where Paul preached. We stop at the Bema surrounded by mosaics of Paul and the plaque of scripture regarding the "more noble" church. Continue to Kavala for dinner and overnight at the Emelia Hotel, Kavala, near the harbor.
KAVALA, PHILIPPI, THESSALONICA
Kavala is Greece's prettiest mainland port with a most elegant harbor. Paul landed here with his disciples, Timothy and Silas. Luke, the Evangelist, also came here from Troas. This ancient city of Neapolis was later renamed Christoupolis because it was the first European city to accept Christianity. Imagine walking in the prophetic footsteps as great apostles of Christ!
We will see the Roman Aqueduct and the ruins of the Acropolis in this beautifully located city, known since the 5th century as Kavala. Continue on to Philippi where Paul preached his first evangelical sermon and baptized the first Christians on European soil. We will view the baptismal site where Lydia surrendered her life to Christ and visit a crypt dating from the Roman period that is thought to have served as a prison for Paul. See the famous Acropolis, the Market Place, Basilica, and the Theatre. We then drive to Thessalonica for dinner and overnight at the Capsis Hotel near the harbor.
We begin the day by following the massive battlement Byzantine wall to the citadel for a panoramic view of the city. We will view the old city ramparts; the newly excavated Forum, St. George Church, an ancient Roman monument which was transformed into a church and the Galerius Arch which rises over the famous Via Egnatia. We will also see the White Tower and the Basilica of St. Demetrius. The New Testament books of I & II Thessalonians will come alive to us today as we tour in the delightful harbor city of Thessalonica. We then drive back to Athens. Dinner and overnight at the Titania Hotel in Athens.
ATHENS, TORONTO, HOMEWARD BOUND
We transfer to the Athens airport for our flight home.
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Single Supplements for hotels and ship
Comprehensive and Cancellation Insurance
Tips to Drivers, Tour Guides, City Guides, and Restaurant Staff of $60 USD per person to be collected on our first day in Greece
**THE ITINERARY IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE AND MAY VARY IN THE ORDER YOU VISIT**