Arrive in Athens, where you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
In the morning, admire the architectural miracles of ancient Athens, as you follow your guide to the world renown Acropolis, to see the Propylea, the Erectheum and the Parthenon. Visit Mars Hill where Paul, delivered his speech on the Unknown God. View the Agora, the ancient center of the economic and public life of the city, where Paul preached to the skeptical Athenians. During the bus tour, you see Constitution Square with the House of Parliament and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Temple of Zeus, the Old Olympic Stadium and the Neoclassical buildings of Athens. Then, you continue your trip to Ancient Corinth. This is the once glorious city near the Isthmus, where Paul met Aquilla and Priscilla and spent a year and a half preaching the Gospel. You visit the Archaeological Museum, the Forum, the Temples and the famous Bema, where Paul stood before Gallio, accused by the Jews of Corinth. Then, you drive to Cenchreae, the little harbour Paul sailed back to Asia from, thus ending his second missionary journey. Back to Athens for dinner and overnight.
This morning you get a taste of the beautiful countryside of Central and Northern Greece, as you drive from Athens to Veria, where you visit the Bema of the apostle Paul. Continue to Thessaloniki and get acquainted with the city of Jason and Paul; see the White Tower, the Rotonda, the Roman Arch of Galerius, the Byzantine Acropolis and visit the most famous church of Thessaloniki, the Basilica of St. Demetrius. Dinner and overnight in Thessaloniki.
Follow the route of the Via Egnatia and visit, like Paul and his companion, the area of Amphipolis, to see the famous funerary Lion of Amphipolis, and the site of Philippi. There, you visit the Baptistery of Lydia near the river, where Paul baptized her. Lydia was the first convert of Paul on European soil and the jailer followed. Also, visit the ruins of the Forum of Philippi, the Christian Basilicas, the Prison of Paul, and the Theater. Drive to Kavala (Neapolis), a picturesque city-port and view the Byzantine Castle and the Roman Aqueduct. Dinner overnight in Kavala.
Depart from Kavala and drive through the Greek part of Thrace, passing by the towns of Xanthi, Komotini and Alexandroupolis. Arrive at the border between Greece and Turkey and cross over to the Turkish part of Thrace. Your final destination is Istanbul (Constantinople), the city which straddles two continents. The capital of the Byzantine Empire for more than one thousand years and of the Ottoman Empire for more than five hundred years, Istanbul is famous for many beautiful places and museums, which you will have the opportunity to see the next day. Dinner and overnight in Istanbul.
Begin your Istanbul City tour. The tour starts with the Blue Mosque, the most splendid mosque in the city, distinguished by six slender minarets and the interior decorated with blue Iznik tile, and continues with a walk through the Hippodrom, the center of Byzantine civic life housing three ancient monuments. The Obelisk of Theodosius, the Serpentine Column and the Column of Constantine. Visit St. Sophia (Divine Wisdom), one of the greatest churches in the world, built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian. After the conquest of the city in 1453, it was transformed into a mosque by Mehmet the Conqueror and in 1934 into a museum by Ataturk. In the afternoon, visit the famous Topkapi Palace, where the rich collection of Ottoman Treasures can be seen. The palace with a base area of 700.000 msq is spread over the promontory called the Seraglio Point; view the Bosphorus, the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara. This legendary maze of buildings was the residence of the Ottoman sultans and the administrative heart of the Empire. Nowadays, it is one of the worlds greatest museums. Dinner and overnight in Istanbul.
Early in the morning, you fly to Izmir. From Izmir airport, you visit St. Polycarps Church and, afterwards, you drive north to the ancient city of Ephesus, where Paul spent three years during his 3rd missionary journey. The impressive remains of Ephesus include the Agora, the Theater, the Stadium, the Library of Celsius, the ruins of the Temple of Diana (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World) and many more. Later, you embark on your cruise ship and you sail for the island of Patmos, where you can choose to visit the Monastery of St. John, on one of the islands highest points. From there, you will walk down to the Grotto of the Apocalypse, the site of the apocalyptic Revelations of St. John the Divine. Overnight on board.
You will spend the day on the island of Rhodes, where you can walk around the medieval city with its impressive walls and the Palace of the Grand Master, which was built by the Knights of St. John. Also, you will have the option to drive to the picturesque town of Lindos to see the Acropolis and the little Bay of the apostle Paul.
Today, we wake up to discover, that we have arrived at the island of Crete and this mornings port of call, Heraklion. Crete is the largest of the Greek Islands and is known, in legend, as the birthplace of Zeus, father of the gods. Places of interest include the site of Knossos, with its restored Palace of King Minos (legendary home of the Minotaur) and the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion. Then, we depart for our final and probably most scenic port, Santorini. Take a donkey, or cable car, up to the whitewashed village of Fira, or, perhaps, join an excursion to one of the other towns on the island. In the evening, we sail to Athens.
Today, you disembark at the port of Pireaus, after your breakfast. You will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel. You have the opportunity to do many different things: explore the famous area of Plaka (the main shopping district in Athens), visit more sites, or museums of the city (the National Archaeological or the Benaki Museum), take the cable-car to the top of Lycabetus Hill (the tallest in Attica) and enjoy the great view and many more. Farewell dinner and overnight in Athens.
Day 11 - Fly back home with a new insight into Pauls life and teachings.