September 14—28, 2019
Presented by the New England Center for Photography at Camera Commons
On this journey, you’ll explore the ancient sites of Athens, hike the off-the-beaten path Mt Pelion (the land of the Centaurs), commune with the oracle at Delphi, and cross into the Peloponnese to knock at the door of the House of Atreus in Mycenae and speak of Sophocles at center stage in Epidauros. You’ll ferry to Sifnos, the island of Apollo, and Naxos, the island of Dionysus, and all along the way, you’ll turn your camera on the incredible beauty of Greece’s sites and landscapes in the unique light of Greece. Participate in daily photography discussions and review captures with your expert photography guides, Gary Samson and David Speltz. Enjoy private sightseeing tours, walking/hiking excursions with expert local guide Dimitris Varalis, a unique farm-to-table cooking class, a winery tour, and a marvelous sailing excursion aboard a RIB boat. All in all, you will travel in true Hellenic fashion as you enjoy a veritable feast for the body, mind, and spirit with camera in hand.
To learn more, read the summary information below and then contact Hellenic Adventures.
14 nights/15 days: September 14–28, 2019
Minimum/maximum participants: 12
Trip cost based on double occupancy = €7,999 per person
Est. $9,290 per person plus $557 travel insurance at $1 = €.861
Single Supplement: additional €1,241 (est. $1,441 plus an added $86 travel insurance at $1 = €.861)
Day One and Two: Athens (September 14–16)
Athens, the modern capital of Greece, was the cultural center of the ancient world as well as home to many notable Greeks, perhaps the best-known being the philosopher Socrates and the playwright Sophocles, author of Oedipus Rex. After a brief orientation, our journey will begin in the city center for late day, golden light street photography, including some remarkable graffiti, a stroll through a neighborhood on the way to the Acropolis and a walk on the pedestrian path that surrounds it, stopping for a light supper at a favorite restaurant along the way. Our time in Athens will include a visit to nearby Mt. Lycabettus, the highest hill in Athens. We'll take the Funicular to the top: the views from here are stupendous, allowing you to see the entirety of Athens and all the way to the Peloponnese on a clear day. We will also visit the National Archaeological Museum, the most important archaeological museum in Greece and one of the richest in the world concerning ancient Greek art. We will also visit the Acropolis Museum and the marbled temples of the Acropolis, the so-called "Sacred Rock" of Athens (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Photography discussions and a lovely Welcome Dinner help us to celebrate the beginning of the journey ahead. Before we depart, we'll visit a municipal market, a large covered building with more than 70 food stalls: an excellent opportunity for authentic street photography.
Day Three through Five: Portaria, Mt. Pelion (September 16–19)
Next we make our way to Mt. Pelion, the land of the Centaurs. We’ll spend the next three days exploring its beautiful villages characterized by winding cobblestone streets, blooming courtyards, flagstone-paved squares shaded by plane trees, and lovely houses in an architectural style particular to this region of Greece. There are more than twenty villages, some climbing up the slopes, some hidden in ravines, others spread along beautiful beaches, others at the peak: we'll be visiting Volos, Portara (our home base), Makrynitsa (the “balcony of Mt. Pelion”), Zagora, Tsangarada, and Dhamoukari, which is particularly proud of the role it played in the movie Mamma Mia. Leisure walks and delicious local foods will be the order of these days as well as photography discussions and review of captures using our LED projector. This areas offers fine opportunities for landscape, architectural and people photography. We'll also visit a local farm for a private cooking class, where we'll learn about the cuisine of Pelion, work together, and savor the fruits of our labor for dinner.
Day Six: Delphi (September 19–20)
Our next destination is sacred Delphi: en route, we will stop at Thermopylae, once a mountain pass where in 480 BC the brave Spartans held off an invading Persian army long enough to allow the Athenians to prepare their defenses and eventually defeat the Persians in the Battle of Salamis; this enabled Athens to enter the Golden Age of Pericles. We will also visit the village of Amfissa, sitting on the northern edge of the olive forest of the Crissaean plain, between Mt. Giona to the west, and Mt. Parnassos to the east. One of the highlights of our journey will be our tour of Delphi, the center of the ancient world (and a UNESCO World Heritage Site). With our guide, we will visit the charming, small archaeological museum and enjoy an exploration of this marvelous site: The Sanctuary of Apollo Pythios, the Castilian Spring, the Temple of Apollo, the treasuries, the theater, and the stadium, all situated on the slopes of Mt. Parnassos in a landscape of remarkable beauty and majesty. A photography discussion in this mystical location will provide inspiration for your free time as you work to capture the wonder of this landscape, nestled between the mountains and the sea.
Day Seven and Eight: Nauplion (September 20–22)
Our next home base is Nauplion, the first capital of modern Greece. We will drive along the coastal road, past Itea the ancient port of Delphi, toward the port of Nafpaktos. Afterward, we will cross the Antirion-Rion Bridge (the world’s longest cable-stayed bridge; it was completed in 2004). Here we will visit the bridge exhibition, then across the “Little Dardanelles” to the Peloponnese. We’ll drive to a renowned winery near Argos where we will be warmly welcomed for an introduction to several of its finest wines during a lovely lunch. While in Nauplion, when we're not reviewing our captures, we'll explore two nearby UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
First, we’ll visit the ancient citadel of Mycenae that Homer describes as “rich in gold.” Mycenae was the most powerful city-state in Greece up to 1100 BC when it was destroyed by fire. Thereafter its history became rich fodder for the great poets Aeschylus (e.g., Agamemnon) and Sophocles (e.g., Electra). The Acropolis of Mycenae stands on a low hill that is wedged between sheer, lofty peaks but is separated from them by two deep ravines. Highlights include the famed Lion’s Gate, the beehive tomb once thought to be that of Agamemnon, and many priceless relics including a gold mask, again once thought to be Agamemnon’s.
Next, we will visit Epidauros, the sanctuary of Asklepios, the god of medicine. Like Delphi, this site is an excellent example of the ancient Greeks’ interest in centers that developed the body (hence the gymnasium and stadium), mind (the theater), and spirit (the temples of the gods). The Asclepieion of Epidauros was the most celebrated healing center of the Classical world. The theatre of Epidauros, the most famous and best preserved of all the ancient theaters in Greece, is built into the hillside within the sanctuary and boasts perfect acoustics.
Day Nine through Eleven: Sifnos (September 22–25)
After a class session, we will depart for Piraeus port. En route we will view the Corinth Canal, a 4.6-mile long canal between the Gulf of Corinth and the Saronic Gulf. In Piraeus, the port of Athens, we will board our fast boat to Sifnos, the island of Apollo. Lacking an airport, Sifnos is a bit off the tourist track (that’s a good thing) and we can enjoy its turquoise beaches and unspoiled settlements away from the crowds. Sifnos is known for its food as well as its local artisans in pottery, weaving, and folk dancing. Our time here begins with a ‘Welcome to the Islands’ Dinner at a lovely spot on the sea.
While here's explore nearby islands by RIB boats (weather permitting). Islands includes Polyegos, the largest uninhabited island in the Aegean, at least by people! Herdsman from the nearby islands of Kimolos and Milos lease land here for grazing their goats. There are many beautiful beaches, and we’ll stop for swimming as we explore the coastline en route to Kimolos, a carefree and peaceful island where we will have free time to enjoy a leisure lunch at a traditional fish taverna on the beach. Next up: Milos, the jewel in the crown of this small island grouping. Milos is unique for its astonishing lunar landscape, which creates unbelievable and imposing rocky formations and sea caves colored in deep red, brown or glimmering white. Bring your tripod! There are more than 70 beaches, each one distinctive in its own right. Milos may be best known for its greatest artistic export, the Milos Aphrodite, better known as the Venus de Milo.
We'll also spend time touring Sifnos and its lovely villages. This includes the picturesque church in Chrysopigi on our way to Katavati. We’ll walk from there to Apollonia and then stop at the village of Kastro with free time to get refreshments. We’ll stop at Artemonas with its neoclassical houses and visit its very traditional pastry shop, Theodorou, near the main square and then meander through the cobblestone alleyways with magnificent panoramic views to Apollonia. Our time here finishes with another photography discussion.
Day Twelve through Fourteen: Naxos (September 25–28)
Our final destination is the island of Naxos, the largest and most fertile of the Cycladic islands. In mythology, Naxos is the island of Dionysus, god of wine, and Ariadne, who was jilted and left there by Theseus. Amidst more photography discussions, we’ll set out to explore some of the picturesque villages of Naxos, visiting local sites and museums along the way. The villages are each of distinctive interest. First, visit the Kouros statues, waiting for you since 6th century B.C. Afterward, explore the village of Chalki including stops at a local distillery and a noted ceramic shop. Next, drive on to the village of Apiranthos. Here you will visit the small archaeological museum that houses the finds of the nearby cave of Mt. Zas, where Zeus was once worshipped. You will also have free time to stay at our hotel to enjoy the pool or private beach, go into Chora to explore the Kastro, the medieval fortress within it, do your last-minute shopping, or visit one of the lovely beaches of Naxos. Our time here concludes with a gathering for our Best of the Best photograph review and then a Farewell Dinner.
Day Fifteen: Travel Day (September 28)
Private transfer to the airport to board your flight to Athens. [End of services with Hellenic Adventures]. Connect to your outgoing international flight home. Enjoy the journey!
- 2 nights Athens, Athens Hilton
(5* luxury hotel, guest rooms, Acropolis view)
- 3 nights Portaria, Mt Pelion, Xenia Palace Hotel
(4* hotel, panoramic sea view rooms)
- 1 night Delphi, Amalia Delphi Hotel
(4* hotel, classic rooms)
- 2 nights Nauplion, 3Sixty Hotel & Suites and new sister hotel
(4*superior boutique hotel, junior suites)
- 3 nights Sifnos, Elies Resort Hotel
(5* luxury hotel, superior rooms, sea view)
- 3 nights Naxos, Villa Marandi
(4*superior hotel, suites with pool view or sea view)
Your 14 night/15 day journey consists of the following services as per itinerary: accommodations in 4* to 5* luxury hotels; transfers and land transportation provided by private, air conditioned vehicles; all breakfasts at hotels and 14 additional lunches or dinners (multi-course) at lovely local restaurants or special locations excluding beverages except bottled water and coffee/tea; however, the Welcome and Farewell Dinners, the cooking class, and winery lunch include wine and non-alcoholic beverages; private sightseeing tours, walking/hiking excursions, full-day private sailing excursion, cooking class, winery tour, all public transportation by ferry or flight as per itinerary – all fully escorted by an expert, English-speaking local guide; all entrance fees to sites and museums as per itinerary; and all tips and taxes for the services noted above.
Note: We strongly recommend the purchase of the comprehensive travel insurance offered to protect your travel investment and that of your traveling companions.