DAY 1: Athens is one of the great cities of the world. During the time of the Ancient Greeks it was the center of power, art, science, and philosophy in the world. Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world as well, with recorded history going back over 3400 years. It is the birth place of democracy and the heart of the Ancient Greek civilization.
DAY 2 - Athens is named after the Greek goddess Athena. She was the goddess of wisdom, war, and civilization and the patron of the city of Athens. Her shrine, the Parthenon, sits on top of a hill in the center of the city on the Acropolis. The Parthenon was also used to store the city's gold! The Acropolis was built on a hill in the middle of the city of Athens. Surrounded by stone walls, it was originally built as a citadel and fortress where the people could retreat when the city was attacked. Later, many temples and buildings were built here to overlook the city. It was still used as a fortress for some time, however. On the slope of the acropolis were theatres where plays and festivals were celebrated. The largest was the Theatre of Dionysus, god of wine and patron of the theatre. There were competitions held here to see who had written the best play. Up to 25,000 people could attend and the design was so good that all could see and hear the play.
DAY 3: Olympia The archaeological site in Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic games in 776 B.C., is the most beautiful on Greece's Peloponnese peninsula. The site encompasses remnants of the stadium that hosted the first Olympic contests. Did you know that in the first Olympic games hundreds of years ago, the athletes competed without any clothes on? Well, they did! Also found at Olympia is The Temple of Zeus, which housed one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: an enormous gold and ivory statue of the king of the gods. The site's best preserved monument is the smaller and older Temple of Hera.
DAY 4: Santorini Santorini, which has made Travel and Leisure magazine's World's Best Islands list multiple times, conjures images of stark white buildings against a bright blue Aegean Sea. The island is a volcanic caldera, the result of an eruption in 1650 B.C. that ranks among the most powerful in human history. ( A caldera is a volcanic feature formed by the collapse of a volcano into itself, making it a large, special form of volcanic crater.). The village of Oia is a prime spot for watching sunsets over the caldera Santorini's top archaeological attraction is the town of Akrotiri, a Minoan site believed to have been destroyed in the eruption, which is blamed for the demise of the Minoan civilization on Crete as well. Akrotiri is preserved inside a big room to protect it from weather --inside you will see the remains of the site, along with incredible frescoes which show what life was like in Akrotiri. Santorini also offers beaches with black and red volcanic sand and opportunities for snorkeling and scuba diving.
DAY 5: METEORA The Greek word meteora means “suspended in the air,” and this phrase aptly describes the spectacular cliffs that rise more than 1,200 feet into the air in the north central mainland of Greece. What makes these cliffs even more inspiring are the historic monasteries perched along the summits. Dating back to the 14th and 16th centuries, the monasteries at METEORA were built by monks seeking spiritual isolation and freedom from religious persecution. Today the monasteries welcome tourists!