Greece: Mediterranean Antiquities

October 11-20, 2018 • 10 Days • $3975 – 3 SPOTS LEFT!

With New Traveler Discount: $3575**

Our exploration of the fabled land of Greece spans the chronology of Western Civilization, bringing to life the legends of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and giving context to Greek mythology and history.

** New Traveler Discount: New travelers joining us for this international tour receive a $400 discount!

Turkish Delights Extension

October 20-26, 2018 • 7 Days • $2390 – SPACE AVAILABLE!

Turkey can be experienced along with the Greece tour or as a stand-alone trip!

This 7 day extension offers two major areas of interest – Izmir (with visits to Ephesus and Pergamum) and Cappadocia.

Exotic Istanbul Extension

October 26-28, 2018 • 3 Days • $850

Istanbul is one of our favorite cities! It houses an inexhaustible supply of exotic cultural intrigue. Extend your travels in Turkey with an additional extension exploring Istanbul!

NOTE: New Traveler Discount does not apply to Turkish Delights Only travelers.

View Daily Itinerary

Greece

Our exploration of the fabled land of Greece spans the chronology of early Western Civilization, bringing to life the legends of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and giving context to Greek mythology and history. We start at King Minos’ Palace of Knossos on the Aegean island of Crete; absorb some of the world’s most stupendous vistas from the rim of Santorini’s sea-filled caldera; continue to Mycenae, where Agamemnon marshaled the Greek armies for the Trojan War; and finish in Athens, pinnacle of Classical Greece.

Including:

  • Airport to hotel group transfers on first day
  • 2 domestic flights in Greece
  • Ferry from Crete to Santorini
  • Superior tourist-class or better hotel accommodations
  • All land travel as outlined
  • 14 meals: All breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 4 dinners as listed (BLD)
  • All listed walks
  • Fees for walking credit (if IVV approved)
  • Cultural & historical expertise of national guide throughout
  • Cultural & historical expertise of local guides at all archeological sites
  • WAI guide service throughout (2 guides)
  • All tipping for guides and coach drivers
  • Pricing is based on double occupancy; single rooms are available for an additional supplement of $450

Activities/Visits to:

  • Palace of Knossos (Crete)
  • Imbros Gorge (Crete)
  • Akrotiri Minoan Bronze Age town (Santorini)
  • Prehistoric Museum (Santorini)
  • Ancient Corinth (Peloponnese)
  • Mycenae Archeological Site (Peloponnese)
  • Epidaurus Amphitheater (Peloponnese)
  • Acropolis, including the Parthenon (Athens)
  • Acropolis Museum (Athens)
  • National Archeological Museum (Athens)
  • More fun stops than we can list!

Optional Excursions:

  • Introduction to Athens Walk (Day 1)
  • Santorini Sunset Cruise (Day 5)

Turkey Extension

This 7 day extension offers two major areas of interest – Izmir (with visits to Ephesus and Pergamum) and Cappadocia. The program ends in Istanbul and travelers have the option to fly home from there or spend two additional days exploring Istanbul, a city we believe to be one of the most exotic, fascinating, and historically relevant on the planet.

Including:

  • Flight from Athens, Greece to Izmir, Turkey
  • 2 domestic flights in Turkey
  • Superior tourist-class or better hotel accommodations
  • All land travel as outlined
  • 10 meals: All breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 3 dinners as listed (BLD)
  • All listed walks
  • Fees for walking credit (if IVV approved)
  • Cultural & historical expertise of national guide throughout
  • WAI guide service throughout (2 guides)
  • All tipping for guides and coach drivers
  • Pricing is based on double occupancy; single rooms are available for an additional supplement of $250.

Activities/Visits to:

  • Ephesus Archeological Site
  • Pergamum Archeological Site
  • Kaymakli underground city (Cappadocia)
  • Soğanlı Valley (Cappadocia)
  • Red Valley (Cappadocia)
  • Pigeon Valley (Cappadocia)
  • Göreme Open-Air Museum (Cappadocia)
  • Sword Valley (Cappadocia)
  • Cultural lunch in local home in Cappadocia
  • More fun stops than we can list!

Optional Excursions:

  • Hot air balloon – Cappadocia (Day 5)
  • Whirling Dervish exhibition – Cappadocia (Day 5)

Istanbul Extension

Including:

  • Superior tourist-class hotel accommodations in heart of Old Istanbul
  • All land travel as outlined
  • 3 meals: All breakfasts and 1 dinner as listed (BD)
  • 2 walks
  • Fees for walking credit (if IVV approved)
  • Cultural & historical expertise of national guide throughout
  • WAI guide service throughout (2 guides)
  • All tipping for guides and coach drivers
  • Pricing is based on double occupancy; single rooms are available for an additional supplement of $150

Activities/Visits to:

  • Hagia Sophia
  • Hippodrome
  • Blue Mosque
  • Spice Market
  • Topkapi Palace
  • Süleymaniye Mosque
  • More fun stops than we can list!

Map to be Updated

Adventure Pace

Tour Pace: 1 2 3 4 5
Walk Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5

Important Info

Group Size

25-30 travelers

Hotels

Strategically located Superior Tourist Class hotels or better

Meals

Breakfasts included with a selection of lunches and dinners. Letters BLD indicate which meals are included.

Airfare

Not Included. The start and finish point for the Greece tour is Athens. Travelers continuing to Turkey depart from Istanbul.

Transportation

Included. We use full-size motorcoaches with a seating capacity of 45+ seats.

Traveler Age

Our travelers usually range from 50–75 years of age. All ages welcome!

Your Guides

WAI Guide Scott IsomScott Isom has had a passion for the outdoors ever since his childhood days spent exploring the waterfalls and outstanding hiking trails of the Columbia River Gorge with his family. That sense of adventure continues with his wife, Debbie and their three girls on the terrific trails of Mt. Rainier National Park and in other natural wonderlands of the Pacific Northwest. Scott will be leading Greece & Turkey along with a WAI Assistant and support from a national guide.

Itinerary

Click on each day for more details.

Greece

Day 1-Oct 11: Arrive Athens, Greece (D)

Optional Introduction to Athens Walk – 7 km, rated 1B (unsanctioned)

Upon arrival into Athens, you will be met at the airport by a representative of WAI and transferred to our hotel in the heart of historic Athens. The first group activity will be a Welcome Orientation meeting and dinner this evening where you’ll enjoy seeing old friends or getting acquainted with new traveling companions as you share your anticipation of the exciting days ahead exploring Greece: Mediterranean Antiquities!

Optional Introduction to Athens Walk: Travelers who arrive a day early are invited to join us on a guided walk from our hotel that explores the highlights of central Athens including Syntagma Square, Greek Parliament and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Roman Forum and Tower of the Winds, and a host of other attractions dating from the ancient period, medieval era, and up to the 20th century. Estimated price: $15 per person.

Day 2-Oct 12: Athens - Rethymno, Crete (BD)

Myli Gorge & Rethymno Walk – 6 km, rated 2B

This morning, we fly over the island-studded, sapphire-colored Aegean Sea to the island of Crete. Upon arrival, we visit the Palace of Knossos, home of mythical King Minos, namesake for the advanced yet mysterious Minoan civilization which controlled much of the Mediterranean in the 3rd and 2nd millenniums before Christ. This afternoon’s walk is a two-part trail. Part 1 winds through a verdant ravine oasis hiding ruins of two villages formerly populated by millers who ground most of the region’s cereals. Springs continue to feed brooks which course over waterfalls into lovely hidden pools. Part 2 is a walking tour through fascinating Rethymno, clustered around a harbor on the Aegean Sea and our base for activities in Crete. The town has ancient origins dating to the Minoan period. Its rich and picturesque architecture bears witness to the key role it played throughout the 3,500 year history of this legendary island.

Day 3-Oct 13: Activities from Rethymno (B)

Imbros Gorge Walk – 7 km, rated 2D

We’ll explore a little-visited corner of Crete today on a walk through fascinating Imbros Gorge. One of the most dramatic gorge walks in Crete offers the fascination of narrow, shaded canyons and rich vegetation, with the bonus of an enchanting Cretan panorama overlooking the Mediterranean Sea at walk’s end. The scenic drive back to Rethymno provides us opportunities for a stop to sample the delights of small town Crete.

Day 4-Oct 14: Rethymno - Thira Town, Santorini (BL)

This morning we board a ferry bound for the Cycladic Island of Santorini. In the 17th century B.C., a violent explosion believed to have been eight times more powerful than the largest eruption in recorded history (Krakatoa) devastated much of the eastern Mediterranean. The massive eruption generated a tidal wave that rocked the Mediterranean, deposited a layer of ash more than 200 feet thick, and left behind a gigantic crater that filled with seawater when part of the rim was blasted away. Our hotel for the next two nights is positioned near the eastern rim of this crater. We look forward to two days of exploration on this fabled Aegean Island, starting with a visit to the Prehistoric Museum. The museum displays finds from the 1960s excavation at Akrotiri, a Minoan Bronze Age town buried by the eruption. Chief among the displays is a set of phenomenal 3600-year-old frescoes. Following lunch in a colorful local eatery, we visit the actual archeological site of Akrotiri, to wander and wonder what life was like in this advanced civilization 3,600 years ago.

Day 5-Oct 15: Activities from Thira Town (B)

Santorini, Jewel of the Aegean Walk – 10 km, rated 3C

This morning, we participate in an unforgettable walk along the caldera rim offering breathtaking and virtually continuous vistas out over the sea-filled shell of the volcano. This trail is a runaway candidate among WAI guides for the list of Top Ten WAI walks worldwide! We finish amongst the whitewashed villas of the town of Oia, on the northwestern tip of Santorini. Following free time for lunch, return to our hotel in Thira Town for a free afternoon and evening in this magical setting, or consider joining us for an optional sunset cruise in this spectacular Aegean Sea location.

Optional Sunset Cruise: This unforgettable 5-hour cruise crisscrosses the sea-filled caldera of Santorini! Departing from picturesque Ammoudi Bay, our small ship (55 passengers) makes stops for swimming and photos at a volcanic hot springs, Indian Rock & Venetian Lighthouse, picturesque Volcanic Red Beach, and finally at Mesa Pigadia and the White Beach. Following a Greek cuisine-inspired BBQ aboard ship, our final stop is back at Oia to witness a Santorini sunset. Estimated price: $130 per person

Day 6-Oct 16: Thira Town - Nafplio, Peloponnese (BD)

Following a morning flight to Athens, we depart for the Peloponnese, a large and historic peninsula surrounded by the Ionian and Aegean Seas. En route, we visit the ruins of ancient Corinth, recipient during the Roman era of two of the Apostle Paul’s many letters. Following an afternoon of travel through the beautifully varied scenery of the Peloponnese, we arrive for a 2-night stay in the charming, Venetian-era seaside town of Nafplio.

Day 7-Oct 17: Activities from Nafplio (B)

Mycenae Walk with Agamemnon – 9 km, rated 2B

This morning’s trail showcases the beauty of the Peloponnese countryside – olive groves, pastoral farm scenes, and the palpable aura of several millennia of history. The walk finishes at the ruins of Mycenae, home of the civilization immortalized by the Greek poet Homer in the Iliad. After lunch, we explore these evocative cyclopean ruins, fertile ground on which to imagine life here in 1200 B.C., and the epic saga of 1000 ships launched to battle Troy. Later this afternoon, feel free to explore lovely Nafplio from our centrally located hotel, or consider participation in one of the optional activities to be announced.

Day 8-Oct 18: Nafplio - Athens (B)

Nafplio Seaside Walk – 6 km, rated 1A

Today’s walk follows a coastal trail from our seaside resort, offering lovely Aegean views to the south. En route back to Athens, our guide demonstrates the near-perfect acoustical engineering of the Classical Age of Greece at the magnificent outdoor amphitheater of Epidaurus. We finish the day in Athens in anticipation of tomorrow’s completion of our chronological passage through Greek history. Our hotel for the next two nights is near the Acropolis and the ancient shopping lanes of the Plaka district.

Day 9-Oct 19: Activities in Athens (BD)

First on our list this morning is an ascent from our hotel to Athens’ iconic Acropolis for a tour of its proud and stately Parthenon, 2500-year-old icon of the Golden Age of Greece. Following a visit to the outstanding new Acropolis Museum, opened in 2009, and time for lunch and shopping in the Plaka, our final stop of the day is the National Archeological Museum. A guided tour of these fascinating artifacts provides a comprehensive review of the fascinating span of ancient history we’ve encountered together over the past 9 days.

Day 10-Oct 20: Return home from Athens (B)

Farewell to Greece! We return to our 21st century North American reality with a deeper, richer historical understanding along with a new appreciation for the natural wonders and intriguing cultural nuances of the Mediterranean Antiquities of Greece!

Turkey Extension

Day 1-Oct 20: Athens – Izmir, Turkey (BD)

An early morning bus ride takes us to Athens airport where we board a plane for Turkey. Following a brief layover in the Istanbul airport, we continue on to Izmir, on the western coast of Anatolia, the Asian portion of Turkey. Today is primarily a day of travel, but after checking into our centrally-located hotel, we’ll explore the historic core of Izmir. It was originally known as Smyrna, one of the 7 churches in the Biblical book of Revelation, so it has an ancient past as well as a prominent present as Turkey’s second largest city.

Day 2-Oct 21: Activities from Izmir (B)

Ephesus & the Temple of Diana Walk, 6 km, rated 2B

The Temple of Diana, just south of Izmir, was one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. Little remains of this architectural jewel and we spend most of our time nearby at the phenomenal archaeological site of ancient Ephesus. Our route here takes us down its marble streets past the Library of Celsus, Roman Baths, Gate of Hadrian, and the Roman Terrace Houses. The amphitheater where the apostle Paul was nearly executed almost 2,000 years ago during the riot of the idol-making silversmiths is still in good condition. The nearby mountain village of Sirince is our lunch stop for today. Settled first by Hellenistic Greeks, then Ephesian Christians, and finally by Muslims from Salonica, Şirince provides a delightful taste of rural Turkish village life.

Day 3-Oct 22: Izmir – Cappadocia (BD)

Ancient Pergamum Walk – 3 km, rated 2B   

From Izmir, we drive north this morning through Anatolian countryside to the ancient Roman city of Pergamum, containing some of Turkey’s most impressive Roman ruins dramatically situated high on a hill which we access by gondola. Here we visit the site of the greatest library of the ancient world, a theater with stunning views of the surrounding countryside, the famous Asclepion (hospital) of the renowned physician Galen, and the Church of ancient Serapium (7th century). A late afternoon flight takes us to Kayseri, on the edge of Cappadocia. We spend the next two days exploring this wondrous region in Central Anatolia, full of bizarre geology, eye-popping scenery, and enthralling history.

Day 4-Oct 23: Activities in Cappadocia (BD)

Soganli Snake Church Walk – 2 km, rated 2B
Red Valley Walk – 5 km, rated 2C

Our travels in captivating Cappadocia play heavily on the theme of human settlement carved out of the soft, volcanic tufa rock that covers much of the region. We begin with a descent into the stupendous underground city of Kaymakli, a maze of subterranean living quarters inhabited some 1,300 years ago by Byzantine Christians hiding from Arab Muslim invasion.  Next, we visit Soğanli Valley, a peaceful and picturesque monastic community famous for its pigeon houses and rock formations in the shape of donkeys, camels, and dolls. We end the day with an unforgettable, and at times contemplative, walk in the Red Valley through bizarre volcanic formations sculpted by the elements, and past rock-hewn hermit churches adorned with medieval frescoes and paintings.

Day 5-Oct 24: Activities in Cappadocia (B)

Pigeon Valley Walk – 8 km, rated 3B

An optional early morning hot air balloon ride over beautiful Cappadocia is an opportunity not to be missed! Gliding over the same fairyland rock formations through which we’ve been walking, sometimes descending in amongst them, is a magical, unforgettable experience. Estimated price: $175 per person.

Following breakfast back at the hotel, the walk of the day takes us through more surreal, delightfully eroded tufa stone formations between Pigeon Valley and Göreme. Early this afternoon, we visit the intriguing Open-Air Museum of Göreme with its impressive, 1,000-year-old, rock-carved Byzantine churches, covered inside with surprisingly bright frescoes.

A second optional activity this evening offers a rare opportunity to observe the ritualistic dance of the whirling dervishes, a splinter sect of Islam originating in Turkey in the 13th century. Estimated price: $55 per person

Day 6-Oct 25: Cappadocia – Istanbul (BL)

Sword Valley – 4 km, rated 2B

Our final walk in Cappadocia is an early-morning ramble past a series of goofy-looking rock towers that look like they’d make a good set for a science-fiction movie. After checking out of our hotel, we visit a nearby home for a taste of local hospitality during lunch with a Cappadocia family. This afternoon, we fly to Istanbul and the end of our journey in Turkey. Travelers returning home tomorrow are met by a representative of our in-country partner and will stay at an airport hotel this evening. Those opting for the Istanbul Extension are transported to our hotel in the heart of the city. Attractions near our hotel are numerous, including the labyrinthine tunnels of the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest (1461) and largest covered marketplaces in the world. Dinner in Istanbul is included for travelers participating in the Istanbul Extension.

Day 7-Oct 26: Depart Istanbul (B)

Turkey is one of the world’s most intriguing mosaics of historic and cultural influences. We’ve sampled just a few of the highlights of this geographic and cultural bridge between East and West, Asia and Europe, Islam and Christianity. We return home this morning from Istanbul with much to consider about Turkey’s place in the past, and the strategic role they play in the future of this region. Thanks for sharing the Adventure with us!

Istanbul Extension

Day 1-Oct 26: Activities in Istanbul (B)

Historic Istanbul Walk – 10 km, rated 2B

We explore Istanbul’s Turkish delights today on an all-day walking tour through world-class points of interest. Morning visits include the ancient Hippodrome (chariot racing), the spectacular Blue Mosque, and massive, 6th-century architectural marvel Hagia Sophia, first a Byzantine church, then a mosque, now a museum. Next we embark on a multifaceted stroll through exotic shopping districts, into the sensual feast of the Spice Market, over the Golden Horn on Gelata Bridge, and past the Mosque of Süleymaniye the Magnificent.

Day 2-Oct 27: Activities in Istanbul (B)

Strait of Bosporus Walk – 10 km, rated 1A

We begin our final day in Turkey with a memorable visit to an icon of the Ottoman Empire – Topkapi Palace. Tales of intrigue come to life as we view exquisite treasures amassed during the dominant reign of sultans who for centuries controlled huge portions of the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and North Africa. Our afternoon walk meanders from community to community along the picturesque north shore, the European side, of the busy Bosporus, that narrow, fabled waterway that strategically connects the Black Sea with the Mediterranean. Back at the hotel, the evening is free to enjoy the never-ending fascination of life in old Istanbul from our conveniently located hotel.

Day 3-Oct 28: Depart from Istanbul (B)

Istanbul is one of our favorite cities! It houses an inexhaustible supply of exotic cultural intrigue. It’s the center of world-changing events as the base of two great civilizations centered on two of the world’s monotheistic religions, spanning two millennia. We return home today still processing the multi-textured memories of our introduction to this incredible city. Thank you for joining us on this journey through Turkey and Istanbul!

More Details

How do I lock in my place on this Adventure?

To save yourself a spot on this Adventure, contact us to register with a $500 deposit as soon as possible! A maximum of 30 travelers will be accepted.

Registration Form and General Tour Conditions

To finalize your official registration, a completed and signed copy of the Registration Form is necessary. Please be sure to read all the fun stuff (the fine print) in the General Tour Conditions!

First Time Traveler Savings

In appreciation for joining us for your first Walking Adventure, we offer new travelers a $400 credit on Greece 2018!

NOTE: New Traveler Discount does not apply to Turkish Delights Only travelers.

Group Travel Credit

If you are part of a Group, remember that your full deposit of $500 is still required to hold your spot on this Adventure. Your group leader is responsible for submitting your name in writing to us before you register, qualifying you for the Group Travel Credit, but a full deposit is needed to officially reserve your place. Your Group Travel Credit will be reflected on your final statement.

Check out more information on the Group Travel Program.

NOTE: Group Travel Credit does not apply to Turkish Delights Only travelers.

Optional Turkey Extension

Turkey can be experienced along with the Greece tour or as a stand-alone trip!

An optional extension to Turkey will also be offered, departing from Athens on October 20 as the Greece adventure ends. This 7 day extension offers two major areas of interest – Izmir (with visits to Ephesus and Pergamum) and Cappadocia. The program ends in Istanbul and travelers have the option to fly home from there or spend two additional days exploring Istanbul, a city we believe to be one of the most exotic, fascinating, and historically relevant on the planet.

How is airfare arranged?

The official start and finish point for travelers on the Greece tour is Athens. Travelers continuing on to the Turkey Extension depart from Istanbul. We recommend that you contact Debbi Custer, the travel agent we work with, to help book your flight arrangements. In this age of airfare complications and airport uncertainty, using a travel agent is a good investment! More details about flight arrangements and travel agent contact information will be provided in the Adventure Advice flyer, mailed to you after you register for the Adventure. Please do not book your airfare prior to receiving the Adventure Advice flyer!

What about the walks?

We generally walk at a pace of 2 to 3 miles per hour. In most cases, we are not “strolling.” We are walking at a relaxed but steady pace. Your experience will be significantly affected by your level of physical fitness. The success of the walks is therefore predicated upon walkers having this minimum level of fitness. If not walking regularly at home, we strongly recommend that you make a priority of “training” beforehand in order to both enjoy the trip and avoid medical issues due to overexertion. If you have questions about your ability to participate, please talk with our office at 1.800.779.0353.

We have adopted a walk difficulty rating system which contains a numeric indicator for trail incline and an alpha indicator for trail terrain. The explanation for this system is presented below:

INCLINE

1. Very small hills or very little stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: up to 200 feet.
2. Some moderate hills and stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 200-1000 feet.
3. Some significant hill or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 1000-2000 feet.
4. Lots of significant hills or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 2000-3500 feet.
5. Many steep hills. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: more than 3500 feet.

TERRAIN

A. Almost entirely on pavement.
B. A significant part of the route is on well-groomed trails with very few obstacles.
C. A significant part of the route is on somewhat difficult terrain (rocky / rooted paths or soft sand).
D. A significant part of the route is on very difficult terrain.
E. The majority of the route is on very difficult terrain.

Travel Insurance

WAI believes strongly in the importance of travel insurance for financial and medical protection from any number of unforeseen circumstances that can arise before departure or during your Adventure. Many travel insurance providers are available for you to consider. Debbi Custer of World Travel Inc., a travel agent who provides air travel services to many WAI travelers, can provide travel insurance options for your WAI tour as well as your airfare (email [email protected] -OR- call 888-276-0925 / 503-231-9507). For those of you who purchase airfare through Debbi, purchasing your travel insurance from her as well may be the simplest option. As always, do some shopping to ensure you are getting the best value. Using the Insuremytrip.com website can be a good way to compare pricing.

Other options include:

  • Allianz
  • Travel Guard
  • Travel Insured International

We suggest purchasing from a reputable, well-established insurance company (avoid buying insurance from an unknown company found only online). In addition, be aware that some travel insurance policies contain time-sensitive provisions—i.e. some benefits are available only if the policy is purchased within a certain number of days of the purchase of the travel package.

What happens next?

Upon registering for this Adventure, you will receive a welcome letter and initial invoice. The Adventure Advice flyer will be sent soon after, with important information about steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you receive the Adventure Advice flyer. Final payment for the program is due 90 days before departure, and you will receive a final billing about 3 weeks prior to that point, along with a factsheet of additional information about the Adventure to help you get prepared! Then, about 3 weeks before departure, you will receive a final packet with all the details of the program, including hotel names and contact information, a list of fellow travelers, and a more detailed daily schedule.