We’re truly excited to add this escorted tour of the dramatic Peloponnese to our collection. The itinerary has been designed to walk participants through a rich tapestry of Greek culture, taking in some of the country’s most important archaeological sites. An esteemed historian and archaeology expert, Dr Christina Hatzimichael has been leading tours since 2009, and her depth of knowledge and relaxed, easy style allows her to facilitate a truly memorable experience for all.
Explore Ancient Greece on Our Escorted Tour of the Peloponnese
The Peloponnese peninsula is a destination steeped in ancient Greek mythology and legend. This raw, beautiful landscape has been home to some of history’s most important civilisations and is famous as the site of the inception of our modern Olympic Games. Prestige Holidays is proud to offer a 10-day guided exploration of the dramatic Peloponnese, accompanied by historical expert Dr Christina Hatzimichael.
“Dr Christina Hatzimichael has been leading tours since 2009, and her depth of knowledge and relaxed, easy style allows her to facilitate a truly memorable experience for all.”
Discover History in the Peloponnese
As with all our escorted tours, the Prestige Holidays tour of the Dramatic Peloponnese is an all-encompassing travel experience. With a focus on the ancient history and mythology of this unique region, under the guidance of Dr Hatzimichael you’ll be immersed in the heritage of the ancient lands of Attica and the Peloponnese, visiting the Sanctuary of Delphi, Olympia, Cape Sounion, the Byzantine towns of Monemvasia and Mystras and more.
Discover Ancient Politics at the Athenian Acropolis
The iconic temples of the Athenian Acropolis are the crowning glory of one of the most significant historical sites in the world. It would be impossible to come to the modern day metropolis of Athens and not visit the Parthenon. This imposing structure looms large over Athens, as an enduring symbol of Greek Antiquity and the world’s most advanced civilisation. Dating back to the 5th century BC, the main buildings of the Acropolis were commissioned by the prominent Greek statesman Pericles, in honour of the spirit and achievements of the people of the city. As well as the Parthenon, the rocky hill is home to the Erechtheon, the Propylaea and the smaller temple of Athena Nike. In addition to exploring the Acropolis, you’ll experience the ceremony of the changing of the guards at Syntagma Square and have time to wander the picturesque streets of the Old Town of Plaka.
Visit the Sacred Site at the Sanctuary of Delphi
Delphi has been called “the navel of the Earth” and this highly significant sacred site enjoys spectacular sweeping views across the Pleistos Valley. Throughout history ancient religious rituals have taken place here at the Temple of Apollo, which dominates the south-western slope of Mount Parnassus. The existing temple was not the first to be built on the site and its many incarnations have, according to Greek legend, included those made of laurel branches, beeswax and feathers, bronze and stone.
The Doric columns of the last temple, believed to have been completed in around 330 BC, constitute most of what remains today. Ornate decorations and sculptures at the eastern end depicted Apollo’s epiphany as he reached Delphi, while the western end depicted the most important battle in Greek history – the clash between the giants and the Olympian gods, known as the Gigantomachy. Today only a few crumbling stone figures remain, comprising two horses, a giant, a male figure and the figure of Athena. With the inimitable Dr Hatzimichael as guide, the Gigantomachy truly comes to life at this incredible site.
Immerse in the Drama of the Theatre of Epidaurus
One of the absolute highlights of this escorted tour is a visit to the theatre of Epidaurus, and the opportunity to witness an ancient Greek production in situ. Set on the eastern plain of Argolida on the slope of Mt Kynortio, in ancient times the site was believed to possess healing powers, and people came from all over the country to receive treatment from the priests. During the 4th century, the site was expanded to include temples, baths and the first stage of the impressive theatre. The second stage was completed during the second century, and the finished theatre has a capacity of around 14,000 people. It is blessed with outstanding acoustics due to the construction of the stone steps, which filter out background noise and create a superior clarity of sound. The theatre was raided by the Goths in 396 AD and remained covered until 1881, when excavations took place to reveal its hidden history.
You’ll visit first be treated the memorable, once-in-a-lifetime experience of attending an authentic production in its original setting in the evening, then you’ll return the next day to explore the site and learn about its history.
In the Hands of an Expert
Dr Christina Hatzimichael (BA,MA, PHD) is a learned and eminent expert in Greek art, religion and archaeology, having studied Archaeology and Art History at Thessaloniki and Toronto and Cambridge universities. She lectures in Classical Archaeology, Aegean Prehistory and Greek Art and Religion at Cardiff University, and serves as the Assistant Director on the Praisos Project in Crete.
Dr Hatzimichael has been leading tours throughout Greece with her signature vibrant style since 2009. She takes great pride in using her deep personal knowledge to create an absolutely authentic cultural experience for Prestige Holidays’ clients.