Our odyssey will explore these maritime civilizations whose intrepid sailors and merchants linked pre- and ancient Greek and Roman cultures with the eastern civilizations of Anatolia, and the Levantine centers in Egypt and Mesopotamia. From Neolithic villages to the Bronze Age palatial cultures of the Minoans, Mycenaeans and Cypriotes, then on to Classical, Greco-Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic eras, our Aegean adventure unfolds a clear and sparkling development of cultural achievements.
- Explore some of the world’s most beautifully preserved Classical Archaeology
- Visits to Cypriote sites spanning some 9,000 years of history from Minoan palaces to Byzantine archaeology
- Sunny skies, excellent beaches and delicious Mediterranean cuisine will enhance our discovery of these ancient civilizations
- Visit the stunning Minoan art collection and Knossos in Crete and the ancient site of Thera in Santorini
DAY 1: TRAVEL
Today we arrive into Cyprus and enjoy time at our hotel to unwind ahead of tomorrow’s activities.
DAY 2: LARNACA
This morning, we come together as a group for a fascinating walking tour of Larnaca. This glorious city boasts palm tree-lined seafront and is home to several historic landmarks, including the late 9th century Church of Saint Lazarus.
DAY 3: KITION
We arise and are treated to an introductory lecture, where we discover more about this enchanting island country. Afterwards, we head to the archaeological site of Kition where the remains of the ancient city can be observed. Next, we visit the Mosque of Umm Haram, where the wife of Ubada bin al-Samit, a companion of the Prophet Muhammed, is buried. In the afternoon, we make a stop at the 11th century Byzantine Kiti Church and then move onto the Church of Saint Lazarus for a look at its unique interior. Our day ends at the fascinating Pierides Museum, the oldest private museum in all of Cyprus, where artefacts date from 4,000 BC to the 15th century AD.
DAY 4: LEDRA
Our day begins with a visit to ancient Ledra and then we go to the Cyprus Archaeological Museum, which is home to the most extensive collection of Cypriot antiquities in the world. It also hosts a collection of artefacts that were unearthed during excavations on the island. After lunch, we head to the Numismatic Museum, where a vast array – and almost the whole spectrum – of Cypriot coins can be discovered.
DAY 5: SOLI
We cross to north Cyprus this morning and make our way to the ancient city of Soli – one of the country’s ten ancient kingdoms. Here we can admire mosaics, a partially rebuilt theatre and a nymphaeum. We will also pay a visit to the palace complex of Vouni, which boasts impressive views over the water. Our afternoon will be a busy one, with tours of the archaeological site of Toumba tou Skouroi and Philia, and visits to see the prehistoric altar in Myrtou Pigades as well as the Museum of Natural History and Archaeology on the agenda.
DAY 6: SALAMIS
This morning we start at the ancient site of Salamis, famous for its archaic period “Royal Tombs” and Cellarka cemetery. We then move onto the Bronze Age city of Enkomi, which was once an important trading centre.
DAY 7: TROODOS
The largest mountain range in Cyprus, Troodos, is our first visit of the day and then we make a stop at the Agios Ioannis Lambadistis Monastery, which is a UNESCO-listed site. This monastery dates back to the 11th century and is home to colourful frescoes, a Byzantine museum and wonderfully preserved structures.
DAY 8: TALA
After breakfast, we explore the Agios Neophytos Monastery, which was founded in the 12th century by the monk Neophytos. He happened upon a cave in the mountains and excavated it further, decorating it with wonderful Byzantine frescoes. Later, we explore the House of Dionysos, the preserved ruins of a striking Roman villa where intricate mosaics can be seen.
DAY 9: LIMASSOL
We head towards Limassol, a city on Cyprus’ southern coast, this morning and en route we stop at Petra too Romiou, also known as Aphrodite’s Rock. Its mythological significance as the birthplace of Aphrodite makes this an important place to visit. We also discover the archaeological site of Kourion, where Greco-Roman theatre and remains of the Roman Agora can be seen. In the afternoon, we pay a visit to Kolossi Castle. Originally constructed in the 13th century and then rebuilt to the form we see today in the 15th century, this is a fine example of military architecture.
DAY 10: KHIROKITIA
After leaving the hotel, we travel to the prehistoric archaeological site of Khirokitia. This Neolithic settlement was occupied from the 7th to the 4th millennium BC and when we finish our exploration here, we move on to the village of Kalavasos. Later in the afternoon, we visit Amathous, one of Cyprus’ ancient city-kingdoms. Here we can see the Temple of Aphrodite, public baths and the Agora.
DAY 11: HERAKLION
Our day begins at a leisurely pace with some free time to unwind or explore independently before our afternoon flight to Heraklion via Athens.
DAY 12: HERAKLION
This morning we enjoy a walking tour of the historic port city of Heraklion. There will also be a trip to Heraklion Museum, which is considered the best in the world for its Minoan art collection.
DAY 13: KNO
It is time to marvel at the revered Palace of Knossos, a majestic Bronze Age complex with an intricate layout that nods to its connection with the legend of the labyrinth and the Minotaur. Afterwards, we continue on to the Minoan manor house and outbuildings of Vathypetro.
DAY 14: SANTORINI
This morning we take the ferry to glorious Santorini where whitewashed buildings set against clear blue skies welcome us, and then we explore ancient Thera. Here, we imagine the people whose lives were centred around the 800 metre-long main street and who attended performances in the enormous theatre or who worshipped the gods within the sacred grotto.
DAY 15: AKROTIRI
We start our day with a tour of Akrotiri, a Minoan Bronze Age settlement that was destroyed by a volcanic eruption in around 1,500 BC. The well-preserved Cycladic settlement here has earned this site the title of the “Pompeii of the Aegean”. We also pay a visit to Olia before returning to our hotel.
DAY 16: Travel
Today we return to the airport and catch our flights home, and then say goodbye to our group.