Spend two nights in Athens, the beautiful capital city of Greece, discovering the city’s history, including the ancient Acropolis, home to the Parthenon and also the superb Acropolis Museum. Then board Aegean Odyssey for a voyage through the Middle Sea, calling at destinations of fine history, including Santorini, Chania, Malta’s Valletta and Sicily’s Palermo. Filled with many enthralling excursions which will undoubtedly remain etched in your memory for a lifetime, visits include the Minoan Palace of Knossos - a key fortress in Greek mythology - Monreale Cathedral, Segesta’s ancient Roman amphitheatre of Neapolis or the unique hill-top town of Erice.
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home for your journey to London Heathrow or Gatwick Airport and a scheduled leading airline flight to Athens. On arrival, you will be met by Voyages to Antiquity representatives and transferred to your hotel.
Today we have a choice of excursion; the first takes you to the Acropolis, the ancient citadel located on a spectacular rocky outcrop above the modern city of Athens. Constructed in the 5th century BC under the authority of Pericles, today this remarkable structure exists alongside the 226,000-square-foot Acropolis Museum. Alternatively, discover the Byzantine influence over Athens, with a tour of Illissia Mansion, home of the Byzantine and Christian Museum exhibiting art from the 4th to the 19th centuries; before visiting the mighty Monastery of Kaisariani to see its 11th century church, 14th-18th century frescoes and impressive 11th century bathhouse.
This morning is at leisure to explore Athens at your own pace; or join an optional excursion to the National Archaeological Museum, the largest archaeological museum in Greece. Dedicated to ancient Greek art, you can expect to see enticing collections of Cycladic, Minoan, Mycenaean and Classical Greek art including sculptures, artefacts, antiques and rare clay wares. This afternoon we transfer to Piraeus to embark Aegean Odyssey (4T), with time to settle in before dinner.
Today’s full-day excursion takes us to the Minoan settlement of Akrotiri, stopping en route to visit several of Santorini’s villages. We disembark and drive to the northern end of the island where the picturesque village of Oia lies and stroll through the pretty cobblestone streets, whitewashed houses and blue-domed churches. At the southern end of the island is the magnificent archaeological site of Akrotiri. Destroyed in an earthquake and then buried under volcanic ash in the 17th century, archaeological excavations began in 1967 and are still ongoing. Continue to the once-capital of Pyrgos, view a distant Venetian castle and complete the day with a visit to the scenic capital, Fira. Ship to shore tender service.
We arrive in the port of Heraklion this morning to visit the spectacular Palace of Knossos, a complex alive with tales of the mythical half-man, half-bull creature known as the Minotaur. This fearsome monster was thought to roam the palace’s labyrinth being fed only on human sacrifices until it was slayed by Theseus. Today’s enriching guided tour sees the incredible complex spread over five acres, including the throne room and royal living quarters. On our return journey, we call at the insightful Heraklion Archaeological Museum, dedicated to Minoan art and artefacts.
On a discovery of Chania, our first destination is the tomb of the island’s national hero, Eleftherios Venizelos, who was instrumental in the island’s struggle against the Ottomans. We continue to the city of Chania for a look around the archaeological museum, where artefacts include western-Cretan pottery, sculpture and mosaics. To conclude, enjoy a leisurely walking tour around the old town and market of Chania, followed by free time to explore before returning to Aegean Odyssey.
Spend time relaxing on board, as we sail to Malta.
Join a walk through Malta's capital of Valletta, a city packed with historical interest. This World Heritage Site is dominated by two magnificent buildings: the Baroque St John's Co-Cathedral and the Grand Master's Palace. Next, we drive to Mdina, Malta's former capital, where much of the architecture dates from the Middle Ages. Around AD 60, the Apostle Paul was shipwrecked off these coasts and lived in a cave near Mdina. Stroll the narrow streets to visit St Paul's Cathedral, then stop for a panoramic overview from the ramparts.
There are two choices today. Visit the ancient heart of Syracuse at the archaeological park of Neapolis, a 16,000 capacity Roman amphitheatre cut into the hillside. This extraordinary site was originally used for gladiator fights, circuses and the staging of entertaining naval battles known as naumachia. Visit the Greek Theatre, once the centre of the city’s political and cultural life; its excellent acoustics made it ideal for the oratorical and theatrical performances of the day. Continue to Ortygia for a walking tour of this quaint island-town’s best attractions, including the Piazza Archimede, the Cathedral and the Arethusa Spring. Alternatively, visit Taormina, perched on a terrace overlooking the sea. It has a delightful medieval character and during a stroll around the city we will see the Palazzo Corvaia and the 3rd century BC Greek Theatre. Stroll along the Corso Umberto, the main street of Taormina; before a short sightseeing drive through Via Etnea and Piazza Duomo. Ship to shore tender service.
Travel just a short distance out of Palermo to discover Monreale Cathedral, considered by many to be the most beautiful Norman church in Italy. The exterior’s thick walls and powerful towers have the look of an austere fortress, but the interior is this cathedral’s true glory, with 12th century gold mosaics that cover over one and a half acres of wall space. Also, visit the Benedictine cloisters, comprised of Romanesque and Arab architecture, before free time in the main square.
An hour’s drive from Trapani is Segesta, once an advanced centre of the Elymian civilisation. Thought to have been founded in the 5th to 4th century BC by a combination of exiled Trojans, Phocaeans from Greece and Sicans of Sicily, it was well defended, located on a vast plateau between two peaks and surrounded by walls. Presiding in splendid isolation is a stunning Greek theatre and 5th century BC Doric temple. A short, albeit steep, walk from the temple takes you to the Greek (and later Roman) theatre, an open amphitheatre that also provides views for miles over the valleys below. As the site of an ancient and important town which was only abandoned in the Middle Ages, Segesta also boasts the archaeological remains of many other times and cultures. There are the ruins of a Norman castle, a small church and a mosque.
Two days spent relaxing at sea as we sail towards Málaga.
We disembark and transfer to Málaga Airport for a scheduled leading airline flight to London Heathrow or Gatwick Airport. Upon arrival you will be met and guided to your Titan vehicle, for the journey home.
Why Titan Travel?
Scooping 21 awards at the 2016 British Travel Awards, you can be sure that a touring holiday with Titan Travel will be something special. Among others, Titan received gold awards for Best Escorted Tours Holiday Company and Best Special Interest Holiday Company, so they are perfectly placed to provide that exceptionally epic tour to any corner of the globe.
A Titan holiday begins and ends at your front door with chauffeur-driven transfers, scheduled international flights and the most memorable form of touring transport. Where this is a coach, they provide the best available. Titan pride themselves in providing tours that enable you to see all the sights of the area you visit as well as giving you the option for plenty of free time, optional excursions and extra nights here and there to tailor-make your holiday and make it extra special. The choice of destinations and interests are extensive including gems such as a wildlife tour of Sri Lanka, exploring the musical history of the Deep South, grand tours of North America, China, South America, Italy, Asia and Kenya, searching for the Northern Lights in Iceland and Norway, and a cruise to discover Japan and Russia.
Escorted tours are not simply limited to coaches. Titan is also one of the UK’s leading rail specialists and a number of their holidays incorporate journeys on iconic trains that transport you not only through some of the most dramatic and beautiful landscapes in the world, but also back in time to a nostalgic ‘golden age’ of luxurious and stylish travel. If you are undecided between the elegance and relaxation of a cruise and the enthralling insight of an escorted tour, Titan’s Cruise & Tour holidays could be the perfect choice. You can cruise with some of the most respected names in the industry, including Fred.Olsen and Holland America, around regions of awe-inspiring beauty and then head ashore for an extra land-based touring adventure. The waterways of Europe, Egypt and China link the most spectacular cultural gems in picturesque fashion and a river cruise is an excellent way to appreciate wonderful destinations from a different and more relaxed perspective.