Delphi to Macedonia

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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
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Travel with Ancient historian Jeremy Paterson, to the heartland of Macedon, home of Philip II and his son Alexander the Great. We visit the spectacular tombs of Philip II at Vergina, ancient Aigai. Discovered in 1977, the tombs now lie under a brilliant recreation of the tumulus which originally covered them, surrounded by an underground display of the gold and silver objects buried with the dead. We will also visit Pella, the Macedonian capital, where Alexander the Great was born, to see the rich houses of the Macedonian elite with their remarkable pebble mosaics. On our way south we go to the site of Dion, the Macedonian religious centre, where Philip and Alexander celebrated their victories.

For the first few days we will be based in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second city, and will explore a range of the great Byzantine churches in the city as well as its Byzantine Museum. To remind ourselves that until the 20th century Thessaloniki was a city where Greeks and Muslims lived side by side with the largest Jewish community in Europe, we will visit the Jewish Museum, and the house where Ataturk, the creator of Modern Turkey, was born.

As we travel to the heart of Northern Greece we have the opportunity to spend a full day amid the breath-taking and unforgettable sights of the Meteora. Here, from the 14th century onwards, Orthodox monks, fleeing the insecurity of the times, built their monasteries on soaring pinnacles of rock.

Other visits will include the pass of Thermopylae, site of the 300 Spartans’ resistance to the invading Persians, and the great sanctuary of Delphi.

The group size on this tour is limited to 25 passengers to ensure that all sites are accessible and that you get a high level of attention at all sites visited.


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More Info

Your Lecturer

Jeremy Paterson
Jeremy taught Greek and Roman history for over forty years at Newcastle University. He has travelled widely in Greece and the Mediterranean. His enthusiasm for the ancient world was first inspired by reading Homer and then by his fascination with the archaeological discoveries at Mycenae and Knossos. He is much in demand as a speaker at home and in many of the classical countries of the Mediterranean, where he has accompanied many groups to sites and museums.

Lectures will be as follows:

Day 1: 'Macedonian Gold'. Short Introduction by Jeremy Paterson
Day 2: 'Philip and Alexander'
Day 3: 'City at the Crossroads: Greek, Roman, Ottoman, and Jews in Thessaloniki'
Day 4: 'Closer still to God'; Greek Orthodox Monasteries
Day 6: 'Delphi; Centre of the World'

FLIGHTS

Please note that all flight times are provisional and subject to airline schedules and changes.

HEALTH & INSURANCE – EHIC CARD
Please note that EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) only allows access to the same state-provided healthcare as a resident of the EU country they are temporarily visiting. It is NOT an alternative to travel insurance and will not provide the same level of cover as a travel insurance policy. The EHIC will not cover any private medical healthcare or the cost of things such as repatriation to the UK or lost or stolen property. It is also important to note that each country’s healthcare system is slightly different, so the EHIC might not cover everything that would be generally free on the NHS. On the EHIC application website, there is a section called Access to Healthcare Abroad which clarifies all the conditions and inclusions.

Places of Interest

Thessaloniki
The city of Thessaloniki was founded in 315 BC by king Cassander of Macedonia. It got its name from Thessaloniki, wife of Cassander and half-sister of Alexander the Great, who, in turn, was named like that after her father, king Philip II of Macedonia, to commemorate his victory over the Phocians with the help of Thessalian horsemen. Thessaloniki, in greek, actually means the "victory of the Thessalians".

Roman Times
Thessaloniki became an important and fortified urban centre because of its location. After the Romans conquered Greece, in the 2nd century BC, it became the capital of one of the four Roman districts of Macedonia. The Romans built a spacious harbor and set the foundations for the city's flourishing. In the 1st century AD a Jewish community thrived in Thessaloniki. Later on, the Apostle Paul would preach in the Jewish synagogue, establish a Christian church and write two letters to the Christian community of the city, known as the Epistles to the Thessalonians.

Byzantine times
After Constantinople was made the capital of the Byzantine Empire, Thessaloniki would progressively turn into the second largest city of the whole Empire. The population started to increase and trade was the main occupation of its residents. Unfortunately, a severe earthquake in 620 AD damaged the Roman market and many buildings. However, the city managed to recover in the decades to come. In the seventh century, the Slavs tried to occupy Thessaloniki but they failed. To prevent such an attack again, the Byzantines tried another strategy: the Byzantine Emperor Michael III sent the brothers Cyril and Methodium, who were born in Thessaloniki and later were declared saints of the Greek Orthodox Church, to teach the Slavs the Christian religion. In 904 AD, the Saracen pirates of Crete attacked the city and took 22,000 people as slaves. In 1204, after the Crusaders had conquered Constantinople, they also conquered Thessaloniki. However, the Byzantines managed to gain it back in 1246. It is actually remarkable how Thessaloniki, through all this difficult period, managed to maintain a large population and a flourishing commerce. The wonderful churches of that period, their frescoes and the scripts of some scholars illustrate an intellectual and artistic development.

Ottoman occupation
The Byzantine Emperors of the early 15th century were unable to protect the city from the Ottoman Empire and sold it to the Venetians. However, the Ottomans managed to siege Thessaloniki in 1430. They reformed the Castle and built many mosques and baths, some of which survive today. Although the city suffered five centuries of Turkish occupation, its development didn't stop and people would take advantages of the Ottoman reforms. The population continued to increase and consisted predminantly of Greeks Muslims and Jews.

Liberation
Thessaloniki was set free from the Turks on October 27th 1912, during the First Balkan War. King George I of Greece settled in Thessaloniki to emphasize the greek possession of the city but was murdered near the White Tower in March 1913. In 1916, in the middle of World War I, Eleftherios Venizelos, the Greek prime minister, launched the Movement of National Defense, formed a new government and made Thessaloniki the capital of the Greek state, to show both his disagreement with the pro-German king of Greece and also Greece's support to the Allied forces.

Recent times
In 1941, the German forces got into the city and occupied the city 1944. Their bombs destroyed a large part of the city and most of the Jewish population were slaughtered. When the war ended, the city was rebuilt and became a modern European city. The industry and trade developed in the decades that followed. On June, 20th, 1978, an earthquake destroyed many buildings, but, again, Thessaloniki managed to recover. In 1988, the Early Christian and Byzantine sites of Thessaloniki were declared World Heritage Monuments by UNESCO and in 1997, it became the European City of Culture. Today, Thessaloniki is a modern city with flourishing economy and a strong connection to its glorious past, through the many ancient sites around the city.

The royal burial cluster of Philip II - The eternal residence of King Philip II
The funeral of Philip II in 336 BC was performed, as imposed by tradition, in Aigai. It was the most lavish funeral ceremony of the historic times held in Greece. In a monumental death chamber, laid on an elaborate gold and ivory deathbed wearing his precious golden oak wreath, the king was surrendered, like a new Hercules, to the funeral pyre. Alexander is now the king of Macedon. A “high priest” and a mystis (the initiated one), a hunter and a “symposiast”, an army leader and a legislator, Philip, the hero, descends to his eternal residence, which is reached by a ramp and has the form of an underground barrel-vaulted building with two chambers and a monumental façade. The concept of the “Macedonian tomb”, similar to the platonic concept of the leaders’ burial in an ideal state, interweaves a palace and a temple. The portraits of the two kings, father and son, are depicted in the hunting scene of the tomb’s façade, as well as on the gold and ivory deathbed in the chamber. In the tomb’s antechamber, Philip’s Thracian wife, Meda, is buried with him.

Ancient Dion
Originally a harbour before it was silted up, Dion was the sacred city of Macedon, built at the foot of Mount Olympos, the home of the gods, with sanctuaries dedicated to Zeus, Demeter, Artemis, Asklepios and the Egyptian goddess Isis. At the end of the 5th century BC King Arkelaos I, founder of Pella, built the sanctuary to Zeus (from whom Dion gets its name), and also a stadium and theatre, where the Olympic Games of Dion were held in honour of Olympian Zeus and the plays of Euripides performed. It was to Dion that the Macedonian kings came to make sacrifice before going into battle and where they celebrated their victories; Philip II came after his victory at Olynthos and Alexander made sacrifice before setting off on his conquests. The magnificent bronze sculpture by Lyssipos, commissioned by Alexander as a memorial to his 25 Companions who died at the Battle of Granikos, was erected here but later taken to Rome. In around 43 BC Roman colonists arrived here and after the Battle of Actium (31 BC) Augustus organised a mass transportation of Italians. In the 2nd century AD there was a burst of building activity the results of which we see today. In the Byzantine period two Christian basilicas were built on the ruins of the ancient city. In its heyday 15,000 people lived here.

Meteora
In a region of almost inaccessible sandstone peaks, monks settled on these 'columns of the sky' from the 11th century onwards. Twenty-four of these monasteries were built, despite incredible difficulties, at the time of the great revival of the eremetic ideal in the 15th century. Their 16th-century frescoes mark a key stage in the development of post-Byzantine painting.

Delphi
The pan-Hellenic sanctuary of Delphi, where the oracle of Apollo spoke, was the site of the omphalos, the 'navel of the world'. Blending harmoniously with the superb landscape and charged with sacred meaning, Delphi in the 6th century B.C. was indeed the religious centre and symbol of unity of the ancient Greek world.

Accommodation

City Hotel, Thessaloniki
This eco-friendly four-star hotel is perfectly situated right in the heart of Thessaloniki, which provides ease of access to both the city’s commercial and historical centre. The hotel embraces the eco-friendly style of operating and has been awarded the ‘green key’ for its eco-design.

The comfortable rooms are classically furnished and feature wooden floors. Each is equipped with bathroom with shower or bath, hair-dryer, air conditioning/heating, tea and coffee making facilities, TV and mini-bar. Guests benefit from free Wi-Fi access in all hotel areas.

The rooms we have selected are ‘inner view’ rooms. ‘City view rooms with balcony are available at a small supplement.

City Hotel Website

Hotel Kastraki, Meteora
The three-star Hotel Kastraki is located at the foothills of Meteora rocks in the village of Kastraki, just 2 km from Kalambaka town. The hotel has 27 comfortable and elegant rooms tastefully decorated with earthy tones and dark-coloured wooden furnishings. Room facilities include air-conditioning, TV, Safe, air-conditioning/heating, fridge, bathroom with shower or bath, hairdryer and balcony.

The public areas include a spacious lounge, TV room and cafeteria. Free Wi-Fi is available in all areas. A small section of Taverna’s are located close by.

Hotel Kastraki Website

Amalia Hotel, Delphi (October departures)
The Amalia Delphi has a superb location at the foot of mount Parnassus offering fantastic panoramic views across a green valley, all the way to the sea. Hotel facilities include a pool, restaurant, café-bar and pool bar. The classic guest rooms are located on four levels and are mostly twin bedded. Facilities include bathroom with bath or shower, hair dryer, TV, fridge and safebox. Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel.

Amalia Hotel Delphi Website

Likoria Hotel, Arachova (November departure)
At 990 metres above sea level, the comfortable four-star Likoria Hotel is situated in the heart of the picturesque mountain village of Arachova. Each spacious and tastefully decorated room has a private balcony with views over the valley of Delphi. Hotel facilities include a bar, sauna, steam room, heating/air-conditioning and wi-fi. Rooms all have a private bathroom with bath or shower, balcony, TV, mini-bar and kettle. There is a good choice of tavernas within easy reach on foot from Likoria and some great local shopping too!

Likoria Hotel Website

Destinations
  • Europe
  • Mycenae
  • Temple of Olympian Zeus
  • Athens
  • London
  • Delphi
  • Sofia
  • Thessaloniki
  • Greece
  • Kalambaka
  • Arachova
  • Macedonia
Tour Types
  • Seniors
  • Art/History Tours
  • Air Tours
  • Art
  • History
  • 50 plus
Departure Points
  • London Heathrow

Your Lecturer - Jeremy Paterson
Jeremy taught Greek and Roman history for over forty years at Newcastle University. He has travelled widely in Greece and the Mediterranean. His enthusiasm for the ancient world was first inspired by reading Homer and then by his fascination with the archaeological discoveries at Mycenae and Knossos. He is much in demand as a speaker at home and in many of the classical countries of the Mediterranean, where he has accompanied many groups to sites and museums.

15th October and 2 November 2017 Itinerary

Day 1: Fly from London Gatwick to Thessaloniki. On arrival transfer to Thessaloniki (approx. 30 mins) for a four night stay at the City Hotel. This evening there will be a brief introductory talk by Jeremy.

Day 2: Byzantine Thessaloniki. Thessaloniki was, for many centuries, the second-most important city of the Byzantine Empire, this legacy has left some wonderful monuments, many of which are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Visits today will include the churches of Saint Demetrios (7thC), Acheiropoietos (5thC), Agia Sofia (8thC), Hosios David (5thC), and, if time, Vlatadon Monastery (14thC). Today will be spent mostly on foot. Overnight in Thessaloniki. This evening there will be a talk by Jeremy (please see the More Info tab for details of the talks).

Day 3: Macedonian Day – Vergina and Pella. The city of Aigai, the ancient first capital of the Kingdom of Macedonia, was discovered in the 19th century near Vergina. The most important remains are the monumental palace, lavishly decorated with mosaics and painted stuccoes, and the burial ground with more than 300 tumuli, some of which date from the 11th century B.C. One of the royal tombs in the Great Tumulus is identified as that of Philip II, who conquered all the Greek cities, paving the way for his son Alexander and the expansion of the Hellenistic world. Overnight in Thessaloniki. This evening there will be a talk by Jeremy.

Day 4: The sites of Thessaloniki.  We spend another day in Thessaloniki exploring more of its historical sites. Our visits will include the Castle (Heptapyrgion), which offers great views across the old city, the Roman Forum, the Byzantine Museum, Jewish Museum and the house where Ataturk was born. Overnight in Thessaloniki. This evening there will be a talk by Jeremy.

Day 5: Thessaloniki to Kalambaka. On the way to Kalambaka we will visit the site of Dion. Very much a place of religious importance, Dion became the religious centre of the Macedonian kingdom in the 5th century BC as well as hosting important games. In the 4th century BC, Alexander the Great offered sacrifices at the Temple of Olympian Zeus in Dion before setting out on his campaign against the Persian Empire. Our drive takes us through the Vale of Tempe, offering wonderful views towards Mount Olympus. Overnight in Kalambaka.

Day 6: Meteora. A day spent amidst these magnificently located monasteries. Overnight in Kalambaka. This evening there will be a talk by Jeremy.

Day 7: Meteora to Delphi. We drive south towards Delphi, visiting along the way the battlefield of Thermopylae, where the great battle took place between the Spartans and the Persians in 480 BC. Overnight in Delphi (October departure) and Arachova (November departure).

Day 8: Delphi and Osios Loukas. Our visits conclude at the breath-taking ruins of Delphi, hidden in the folds of Mount Parnassus, the site of the most revered oracle in the Greek world. We also have the opportunity to see one more magnificent Byzantine monument, Hosios Loukas, one of the finest Byzantine monasteries in Greece. Overnight in Delphi (October departure) and Arachova (November departure).

Day 9: Transfer to Athens Airport for return flight to London Gatwick. Time permitting, we will try to visit, en-route to the airport, Chaeroneia, the site of Philip II’s victory over the Greek city states, and the nearby site of Orchomenos.

NB: Exact order of itinerary may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion.

Please note this tour involves some walking and standing, particularly at archaeological sites, which can be uneven underfoot.

The maximum group size on this tour is 25 passengers.


25th October 2017 Itinerary

Day 1:
Fly from London Heathrow to Athens. On arrival transfer to the Amalia Hotel, Delphi (approx. 2 hours). Time permitting, we will try to visit enroute to Delphi, Chaeroneia, the site of Philip II’s victory over the Greek city states, and the nearby site of Orchomenos. Overnight Delphi.

Day 2: Delphi and Osios Loukas. Our visits begin at breath-taking ruins of Delphi, hidden in the folds of Mount Parnassus, the site of the most revered oracle in the Greek world. We also have the opportunity to see one more magnificent Byzantine monument, Hosios Loukas, one of the finest Byzantine monasteries in Greece. Overnight Delphi.

Day 3: Delphi to Meteora. We drive north to Meteora, visiting along the way the battlefield of Thermopylae, where the great battle took place between the Spartans and the Persians in 480 BC. Overnight Kalambaka.

Day 4: Meteora. A day spent amidst these magnificently located monasteries. Overnight Kalambaka.

Day 5: Kalambaka to Thessaloniki. Our drive today takes us through the Vale of Tempe, offering wonderful views towards Mount Olympus. On the way to Thessaloniki we will visit the site of Dion. Very much a place of religious importance, Dion became the religious centre of the Macedonian kingdom in the 5th century BC as well as hosting important games. In the 4th century BC, Alexander the Great offered sacrifices at the Temple of Olympian Zeus in Dion before setting out on his campaign against the Persian Empire. Overnight Thessaloniki.

Day 6: Byzantine Thessaloniki – a day of churches. Thessaloniki was, for many centuries, the second-most important city of the Byzantine Empire, this legacy has left some wonderful monuments, many of which are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Visits today will include the churches of Saint Demetrios (7thC), Acheiropoietos (5thC), Agia Sofia (8thC), Hosios David (5thC), and, if time, Vlatadon Monastery (14thC). Today will be spent mostly on foot. Overnight Thessaloniki.

Day 7: Macedonian Day – Vergina and Pella. The city of Aigai, the ancient first capital of the Kingdom of Macedonia, was discovered in the 19th century near Vergina. The most important remains are the monumental palace, lavishly decorated with mosaics and painted stuccoes, and the burial ground with more than 300 tumuli, some of which date from the 11th century B.C. One of the royal tombs in the Great Tumulus is identified as that of Philip II, who conquered all the Greek cities, paving the way for his son Alexander and the expansion of the Hellenistic world. Overnight Thessaloniki.

Day 8: The sites of Thessaloniki. We spend another day in Thessaloniki exploring more of its historical sites. Our visits will include the Castle (Heptapyrgion), which offers great views across the old city, the Roman Forum, the Byzantine Museum, Jewish Museum and the house where Ataturk was born. Overnight Thessaloniki.

Day 9: Transfer to Thessaloniki Airport for return flight to London Gatwick.

NB: Exact order of itinerary may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion.

Please note this tour involves some walking and standing, particularly at archaeological sites, which can be uneven underfoot.

The maximum group size on this tour is 25 passengers.

INCLUDED

  • Return flights from London Heathrow to Athens and from Thessaloniki to London Gatwick
  • Four nights' bed and breakfast at the four-star City Hotel, Thessaloniki, based on shared occupancy of a twin/double room
  • Two nights' bed and breakfast at the three-star Kastraki Hotel, Kastraki, based on shared occupancy of a twin/double room
  • Two nights' half-board at the four-star Amalia Hotel, Delphi (October departures) or the Likoria Hotel, Arachova (November departure), based on shared occupancy of a twin/double room
  • Five lectures
  • Return transfers from the airport to hotel
  • Full touring itinerary as detailed
  • Tour manager, local guide and lecturer throughout

NOT INCLUDED

  • Single room supplement
  • Upgrade room supplement
  • Holiday insurance
  • Meals other than those stated
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls
  • Porterage and gratuities

You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.

Dates Price Single Availability
06-May-2022
8 Nights
Standard Room Flight Included View live deal View live deal

Touring with Travel Editions

Offering a wide range of extended tours and cultural short breaks for the discerning traveller, Travel Editions was established in 1994 and is now one of the leading specialist independent escorted tour operators in the UK. The company started with the idea of creating itineraries that were not readily available on the high street, and the team still remains focused on offering escorted tours that appeal to travellers rather than tourists.

Over the years, Travel Editions has developed and diversified its range of escorted tours to include rail tours, air tours, history tours, Christmas tours and even specialist interest tours that have specific appeal for walkers, foodies, art lovers, music addicts and flower enthusiasts. From enjoying wonderful walks and tasty local cuisine in Crete to visiting the art nouveau buildings of Milan and exploring the architectural gems of the Netherlands, Travel Editions creates amazing tours to suit every budget and interest.

As rail transport is one of the most environmentally friendly ways to travel, the company has carefully developed nearly 30 exciting escorted rail tours that include trips to France, Spain, Brussels, Arnhem, Luxembourg and the Italian Riviera. Travel Editions believes that the journey becomes part of the holiday, and is why this specialist tour operator also offers a range of tours by air, such as Delphi and Mount Pelion in Greece, the beautiful Italian city of Florence, and Paphos, Nicosia and the Troodos Mountains in Cyprus. Whatever the escorted tour or the destination, Travel Editions provides holidays that are packed full of cultural and historic treasures, as well as plenty of free time to relax and soak up the local atmosphere and the regional food and wine.

One of the best things about Travel Editions is that the team can tailor-make all tours to your group’s budget and specification, be it shopping till you drop in New York or tasting the most delicious gastronomic delights of Sicily. Not only can the activities be tailored to meet your requirements but so can the travel options, hotel selection (three, four or five-star hotel) and the whole itinerary. Alternatively, you can simply pick one of the many carefully curated escorted tours listed on the Travel Editions website.

In almost all cases, daily excursions are included in the price of a trip, and all excursions are taken by private coach. The size of the group varies depending on the escorted tour, and Travel Editions limits some holidays to lower numbers to suit the nature of the specific holiday. Walking, culinary and special interest tours are limited to approximately 20-30 passengers, and the Europe by Rail and Europe by Air holidays are limited to a maximum of 35 passengers. Then there’s the UK British Heritage Tours with a maximum capacity of 49, however, some are much less than this. No matter which tours you choose, you will never feel as though you are in a big group.

Travel Editions is passionate about delivering a personal service every step of the way, and its team of experts will arrange your holiday with minimum fuss and maximum effort. Customer service and attention to detail are at the heart of everything they do, plus you will always be treated as an individual and get the benefit of affordable prices by travelling as a group. Another bonus is that Travel Editions is ABTA and ATOL protected, which means your money and your holiday will be protected from the moment you book.

In addition to offering extended tours and cultural short breaks, Travel Editions offers a large range of special events in the UK that bring the culture and history of the United Kingdom to life. These events can be found in the Art & History Abroad programme and include expert speakers, entertaining concerts and impressive dinners in historic locations.

 

 

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tour details

This tour is operated by Travel Editions

8 nights from pp exc.flights; per Night
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Start:London Heathrow
Finish:London Heathrow
Group size:0 - 26
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