Grecian Fables

Greece & Eastern Mediterranean

Regional Journey

Grecian Fables Standard (Summer 2019)

Duration: 15 days Visiting: Greece, Turkey

Prices from {{lowPrice}}

Menu
  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Highlights
  • Optional experiences
  • Accommodation
  • Reviews
  • Dates & prices

This multi-layered journey showcases the temples and arenas of ancient Greece and Turkey with a highlight 7-day cruise to the glittering isles of the Aegean Sea.

  1. Day 1

    Welcome to Athens.

    An Insight host will meet you at the airport and take you to the hotel, where there is time to settle in and relax.
    At 19:00, join your Travel Director for a Welcome Reception, get to know your fellow travellers over a delightful evening of dinner and wine.

  2. Day 2

    Athens, City of Gods.

    Your exploration reveals the Temple of Olympian Zeus and Arch of Hadrian. Next, your Local Expert takes you to the Parthenon, built atop the Acropolis. See the Temple of Athena Nike, also known as the Temple of the Wingless Victory, and the six stone-carved caryatids that make up the Porch of the Maidens on the Erechtheion. Continue to Thermopylae, famous as the mountain pass where King Leonidas led his Spartan army, along with fellow Greek soldiers, into battle against the Persians in 480 B.C. See the memorial dedicated to Leonidas and his courageous Spartans, then on to your hotel in Kalambaka for dinner.

  3. Day 3 - Relaxed Start

    The pinnacles of Meteora.

    With your Local Expert, visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Meteora, meaning 'in the air.' The massive pinnacles of smooth rock are ancient, yet could also be the setting for a futuristic science-fiction tale. Visit one of the monasteries, that adds to the strange and beautiful landscape and enjoy stunning views over the Peneios Valley. The rest of the day is at your leisure. Why not explore with a leisurely walk on the nature trails? Alternatively, you may wish to visit the Natural History Museum.

  4. Day 4

    The Sacred Way and onto Olympia.

    Travel south, stopping at the foothills of Mount Parnassus. Ascend the Sacred Way of Delphi with your Local Expert. Pass the Parian marble Treasury of the Athenians and Polygonal Wall with its interlocking stones still perfectly intact after thousands of years. You'll approach the Temple of Apollo, where for 14 centuries the mysterious Oracle of Delphi breathed her enigmatic ‘words,' rumoured to have successfully predicted events related to the Argonauts expedition and the Trojan War. Your travels continue to Olympia where dinner is served in your hotel.

  5. Day 5

    Ancient Olympia.

    It's all in the name. Ancient Olympia is the site where the Ancient Olympic Games began in 776 B.C. in dedication to the god Zeus. See the Temple of Zeus, the athletes gymnasium and the stadium of Olympia. The starting and finishing markers for the sprint track are still marked by stones and there is time to capture your own memory with a photo at the starting line. In the evening, join a local chef for an entertaining cooking demonstration, followed by a dinner of authentic Greek flavours.

  6. Day 6

    Mycenae and Nafplio.

    Visit the ruined city of Mycenae with a Local Expert. Walk through the Lion Gate, visit the royal beehive-tombs and see the giant Cyclopean stones used to build the city walls. Later, meet the artisans and view beautiful works of art at a family-run pottery studio. Travel to the elegant town of Nafplio, known for its beautiful architecture, colour shops and cafes. Your journey continues following the shores of the Saronic Gulf to pass the Corinth Canal dividing the Peloponnesse and mainland Greece, and arriving in Athens. In the evening, enjoy a hearty Celebration Dinner in true Greek style, complete with wine and good cheer.

  7. Day 7 - Relaxed Start

    Cruising to Mykonos.

    The morning is at your leisure. Late afternoon, board your cruise ship and set sail for the lovely island of Mykonos. While cruising, enjoy an exquisite variety of Mediterranean dishes as well as flavours, aromas and spices from around the world. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served on-board daily. Your cruise includes a complimentary drinks package featuring a selection of alcoholic and soft-drinks, and hot beverages.

  8. Day 8 - Relaxed Start

    Mykonos.

    The full days is yours to relax and explore Mykonos, with its dazzling sugar cube houses and whitewashed windmills. Tonight, the maze of walkways, welcoming tavernas and nightlife are yours to discover.

  9. Day 9

    Milos.

    After a pleasant morning cruising the blue waters of the Aegean, arrive in Milos where you enjoy plenty of time to venture through this gorgeous island, with its crystal waters and white cliffs. Later in the evening, you set sail for Santorini.

  10. Day 10 - Relaxed Start

    Santorini.

    Wake up in Santorini with a full morning at leisure to relax. Gaze at the sheer cliffs of Santorini and dazzling panorama. Explore the capital of Thira, with its clifftop restaurants and cafés, breathtaking views and amazing sunsets. Later, join a Local Expert for a visit of the Cycladic village of Oia, one of the most authentic and unspoiled villages of the island.

  11. Day 11 - Relaxed Start

    Santorini.

    Enjoy another full free day to relax, enjoy your vessel's facilities or explore more of what Santorini has to offer.

  12. Day 12 - Relaxed Start

    Cruise to Crete.

    Sail to Crete, home to the birthplace of Zeus according to the Greek mythology. There is time at leisure to explore the capital, Heraklion, site of King Minos' Palace of Knossos.

  13. Day 13 - Relaxed Start

    Kusadasi.

    This morning explore the Turkish port of Kusadasi and explore the ancient ruins of Ephesus with a Local Expert. In the evening, sail back to Athens.

  14. Day 14 - Relaxed Start

    Athens.

    Disembark in the morning and transfer to your hotel where you are at leisure. Relax, shop or bargain in the local market. Perhaps ask about an optional experience to the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion?

  15. Day 15

    Depart Athens.

    Bid farewell to Athens. Your journey ends with a transfer to the airport.

Highlights

 

INSIGHT EXPERIENCES

  • Mycenae: Meet the artisans of a family-run pottery studio and learn about their unique traditional methods.
  • Oia: With you Local Expert, explore this village of Santorini during your included shore excursion.
  • Ephesus: Travel from Kusadasi to reach this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Led by your Local Expert, enjoy your time exploring the famed excavated site of this Greco-Roman treasure.

TOP RATED HIGHLIGHTS

  • Athens: Ascend the Acropolis with a Local Expert to admire the Parthenon, built in 5th century B.C. Steps away you'll see the Temple of Athena Nike, also known as the Temple of the Wingless Victory, and the six stone-carved caryatids that make up the Porch of the Maidens on the Erechtheion.
  • Athens: See the Arch of Hadrian, erected in honour of the Roman Emperor and used as a divider between the ancient city and the new Roman district, along with the remaining columns of the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
  • Thermopylae: See the Leonidas Monument dedicated to the brave warrior and his 300 Spartans.
  • Kalambaka: Your Travel Director will provide an orientation of this town situated at the base of the extraordinary Meteora rocks.
  • Meteora: With a Local Expert, visit one of the remarkable centuries-old monasteries of Meteora, teetering on towers of rock and arguably the most spectacular place to visit in Greece.
  • Delphi: With your Local Expert, walk to The Sacred Way once lined with offertory temples. See the reconstructed Athenian Treasury and pass the superb Polygonal Wall to reach the Temple of Apollo, where the people would seek divine wisdom from the mysterious Oracle.
  • Olympia: The stadium of Olympia hosted the ancient Olympic Games and the Heraia, the women's games in honour of Hera. See the Temple of Zeus, athlete's gymnasium and the stone marker where the sprint began.
  • Mycenae: Walk through the Lion Gate past the royal beehive-tombs where Schliemann uncovered golden treasure, while hearing tales of Agamemnon from your Local Expert.
  • Corinth Channel: Cross the amazing rock-cut channel dividing the Peloponnese from mainland Greece.
  • Nafplio: Join your Travel Director in an orientation of this beautiful seaport town and see why it is named one of Greece's prettiest spots.
  • Mediterranean Fables Cruising: Visit the Greek Islands of Crete, Mykonos, Santorini, Milos. Explore the Turkish port of Kusadasi.

AUTHENTIC DINING

  • Olympia: Join a local chef and savour the regional specialties in a fun, exciting introduction to Greek cooking.
  • Athens: Toast the culmination of your journey in true Greek tradition at a lively Celebration Dinner with wine.
  • Cruising: While cruising, enjoy an exquisite variety of Mediterranean dishes as well as flavours, aromas and spices from around the world. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served on board daily. Your cruise includes a complimentary drinks package, featuring a selection of alcoholic, soft drinks and hot beverages.
  • Dining Summary: 14 Breakfasts (B), 7 Lunches (L), 10 Dinners (D) and 2 Dinners with Wine (DW), all with tea or coffee. Your cruise includes a complimentary drinks package featuring a selection of alcoholic and soft drinks, and hot beverages.

STAY IN STYLE

  • Athens: An elegant hotel fantastic access to the key highlights of Athens. A member of the Leading Hotels of the World, offers luxury and style in the heart of the historical city of Athens.
  • Kalambaka: Located in Laspes Kastrakiou, Grand Meteora Hotel offers accommodation with views over the Meteora Rocks and is a short distance to Kastraki Village and Kalabaka Town.
  • Kalambaka: This hotel is the most modern hotel in Meteora, but still retains its traditional roots. It offers unique comforts and splendid spaces of relaxation that characterize them the detail and the originality in the decorative assiduity.
  • Olympia: This is a unique place that combines the energy, the space, the serenity of Ancient Olympia, set in a green landscape filled with olive trees. From every corner of the white marbled spacious lobby, guests enjoy the endless green scenery along with the open air terrace of the lounge café.
  • Olympia: Built in the hill above Ancient Olympia, this hotel exhales good taste.

INCLUDED INSIGHT SERVICES

  • Our highly-skilled Travel Director will ensure your journey is seamless, serving as your expert guide, consummate organiser, and friend overseas. In Athens, your knowledgeable local Insight host will ensure your time in this city is seamless.
  • Enjoy the comfort of Insight's luxury, air-conditioned, 40-seat coach with onboard washroom. Alternate vehicles without onboard washroom or 40 seats may be used on occasion.
  • On departures with 8 or more guests, personal radio headsets give you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating commentary.
  • We carry your bags for you and promptly deliver them to your hotel door.
  • Hotel and restaurant tips are included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. We also include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi (where available).
  • From time to time, your Travel Director will enchant you with an Insight Flourish, which is a local specialty representing the destination.
  • 7 nights aboard your mid-size cruise ship featuring air-conditioned cabins with private facilities, outdoor pool, fitness centre, beauty salon, casino, bars & restaurants.
  • You will enjoy the services of a Cruise Director, while on board, and all port taxes and crew gratuities are included.
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served daily onboard your ship and we provide a complimentary drinks package, featuring a selection of alcoholic, soft drinks and hot beverages.
  • Transfers are included between Insight hotels and cruise port. Complimentary transfers from/to Athens Airport are available on arrival and departure days, or with additional accommodation booked through Insight Vacations.

Optional experiences

Most Insight trips already include a host of bonus highlights and comprehensive sightseeing. There may also be an exciting array of Optional Experiences which will turn an already amazing experience into the trip of a lifetime! These are entirely optional and can be booked through your Travel Director/Local Representative at the commencement of your trip. Please note, many Optional Experiences are operated by independent third party suppliers, not Insight Vacations.

Prices and availability of Optional Experiences are subject to change.

Lively Trikala Town And Dinner

Experience the picturesque and lively town of Trikala, considered to have been the birth place of the “God of Medicine” Asclepius. Enjoy an orientation of the town; walk along the river side and the pedestrian streets in the company also of the locals out socializing for the evening. Afterwards Dine at a local restaurant Greek family style, and taste a variety of sumptious dishes all served in the middle of the table, accompanied by plenty of wine!

Adult Price: EUR 45.00

Code: TRI0001

Mykonian Countryside Tour With Hora & Little Venice

We set off from Mykonos town (Chora) with our local expert and stop at the beach of Ornos, a picturesque fishing harbour and then on to the small beaches of Agia Anna and Kalafatis. Afterwards we'll visit the traditional village of Ano Mera and the monastery of Panagia Tourliani, founded in 1542. The pretty village square is a perfect spot for a short break. Returning to Chora, we'll stop at Paraportiani, a famous whitewashed church complex. A few metres down we'll meet the Mykonos Folklore Museum, which is housed in an old two-storied merchant baron’s house. We continue towards the “Little Venice” of Mykonos, Alefkandra, with its windmills and the almost otherworldly sunsets where our trip culminates.

Adult Price: EUR 67.00

Code: MYK0005

Step Back In Time

Step back in time with us on the incredible volcanic island of Milos, one of the most beautiful places on earth. A short drive takes us to Sarakiniko, an inlet of pure white almost lunar stone. This startlingly otherworldly spot is one of the island’s many wonders and one of the most photographed places in the Cyclades. We'll continue along the dramatic coastline to the cobblestone streets and alleys of Plaka, a classic Cycladic village of white stone houses and bougainvillea flowers. Then, it's off to the ruins of ancient Melos and its Roman amphitheater, which is cut into a rocky slope near the ancient agora. Finally, we'll visit the award-winning Mining Museum to understand how the rich geology of Milos shaped the island’s history.

Adult Price: EUR 74.00

Code: MIL0001

Minoan Palace Of Knossos - 1st European Civilization

The ancient city of Knossos the residence of the wise King Minos and the Minotaur, with constant habitation from the Neolithic era until the 5th century A.D., is beyond doubt the land that “gave birth” to the first civilization of Europe, the Minoans. The palace of Knossos spreads around a large Central Court. You will reach the awe inspiring Throne Room, the fresco of the “Prince of the Lilies”, the imposing Grand Staircase, the Queen’s Megaron. Walking through the apartments of the Knossos palace and observing the finds even as passers-by, you will feel part of this cultural heritage.

Adult Price: EUR 74.00

Code: HER0001

Pythagoras Island: Culture, Scenery, Winery

Starting from Pythagorio and heading towards Vathy, the capital of the island, our first stop is the Samos Wine Museum. We'll discover the tradition, procedure and artistry of the local wine production processes. We'll also learn about the vats and the process behind creating the local white Muscat variety, which reigns supreme over this land. Next, after navigating an amazing, verdant route, is the seaside village of Kokkari. It is one of the most developed villages of Samos and its picturesque qualities are seen through its alleyways and houses, its little port and its enviable beaches. Here you will have the free time to stroll around and search out interesting shops and places.

Adult Price: EUR 67.00

Code: SAM0005

Dinner "Meze" Style In Psiri

Enjoy a lovely dining experience at a wonderful restaurant located in the lively area of Psiri. Dining is “meze style”, giving you the opportunity to taste many Greek cuisine dishes, which are served in the centre of the table. Also enjoy the local free-flowing wine! (Casual dress).

Adult Price: EUR 50.00

Code: ATH0001

Traditional Greek Taverna Meal With Entertainment

This is an evening excursion to a taverna in the centre of Athens. Excellent traditional Greek food in a lively atmosphere, entertained through dances and music from all parts of the country. Wine, beer and soft drinks are also included. Although the venue does have an official ending time, guests are more than welcome to stay on in the taverna, to join in with the local residents! (Casual dress)

Adult Price: EUR 55.00

Code: ATH0003

Cape Sounion

Take a relaxing trip down to the southernmost tip of Mainland Greece to see the fifth century B.C Temple of Poseidon at Sounion. See if you can spot where Byron carved his initials on one of the temple’s sixteen columns. Marvel at the sheer rugged beauty of the coastline and the ancient temple perched above a 197-foot drop down to the Aegean Sea below. Stand above the site of the world’s first lighthouse, overlooking an area steeped in classical Greek history, ever since the tragic King Aegeas threw himself from the rocky precipice into the sea below, thereby giving his name to the Aegean Sea.

Adult Price: EUR 40.00

Code: ATH0005

Accommodation

 

Divani Caravel Hotel/Crowne Plaza Athens City Center, Athens.

Santorini (Contemporary/Resort) - Greece

An elegant hotel fantastic access to the key highlights of Athens. A member of the Leading Hotels of the World, offers luxury and style in the heart of the historical city of Athens.
Crowne Plaza Athens City Centre is located in the central Athens suburb of Ilissia, named after the hidden historic river that still flows below the main road. Your traditional, yet comfortable room offers all modern amenities to ensure you stay, whether short or long, is most enjoyable.

Divani Meteora Hotel/Grand Meteora Hotel/Meteora Hotel, Kalambaka.

Kalambaka (Traditional) - Greece

Surrounded by the majestic, towering rocks known as Meteora, in the charming village of Kalambaka.
Located in Laspes Kastrakiou, Grand Meteora Hotel offers accommodation with views over the Meteora Rocks and is a short distance to Kastraki Village and Kalabaka Town.
This hotel is the most modern hotel in Meteora, but still retains its traditional roots. It offers unique comforts and splendid spaces of relaxation that characterize them the detail and the originality in the decorative assiduity.

Arty Grand Hotel/Amalia Hotel Olympia.

Olympia (Traditional) - Greece

Built in the hill above Ancient Olympia, this hotel exhales good taste. 
This is a unique place that combines the energy, the space, the serenity of Ancient Olympia, set in a green landscape filled with olive trees. From every corner of the white marbled spacious lobby, guests enjoy the endless green scenery along with the open air terrace of the lounge café.

MV Celestyal Crystal (or similar)

Athens (Cruise) - Greece

Celestyal Cruise ships operating in the Eastern Mediterranean typically embody local style and are smaller than many ocean-going vessels – which is also reflected in cabin size. However, these ships are well-suited to the Greek islands, allowing easier access to the ports of call. All mid-size cruise ships feature air-conditioned cabins with private facilities, outdoor pool, fitness centre, beauty salon, casino, bars & restaurants.

Guest Reviews & Experiences

Our guests rate us 4.5 out of 5 based on
11450 independent user reviews received during the past year.

  • 16 November, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Couple of days were so loooooooong.

    Service: Our Tour Director, Nikos, was amazing! Always there when we needed him, great stories, culture and history of Greece shared throughout the entire trip. Wonderful sense of humour and so kind to all of us. The itinerary was a bit arduous at times, but on the other hand we say in one week what most anyone else could only hope to experience in two! The cruise portion with Anna was absolutely restorative. Anna was an angel! I had never cruised before, but am quite sold on it now :). The time on the island was perfect, the ship was great, the crew attentive and seemed to really care.

  • 13 November, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Need to add a day to the land portion to cut down on the time spent on the bus. 12-14 hours on the bus each day, which is too much. Arrived at the hotel in the evening with no time to rest up or clean up before dinner. Island part on the crusise was fine, except they were extreamly crowded. Not sure what can be done about that, but it made the visits to the islands less than it could have been.

    Service: Overall the trip was very good, but several areas need improvement. On the land portion, you need to add a day to the trip and cut down the time spent on the bus. Three days on the bus were 12; 14; and 12 hours. That is too long. For the cruise part of the trip, you need to provide more information before we leave. I had no information about the cruise, except for what is available to the general public on the cruise companie's web site. The ship needs a complete overhaul. The staff was great, but the ship was old and showed it's age in many places.

  • 22 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: The itinerary was the perfect balance of land and island locations. The cruise ship wasn't up to Insight Vacation standards though. The bar service was slow and we were made to feel we were putting out the servers by ordering a drink (which were so watered down). We started ordering our mix on the side to make sure we were getting alcohol.

    Service: The tour director Erin was amazing. She was professional, organized, knowledgable, bubbly-I could go on and on! I would definitely recommend Insight Vacations to all my friends and family!

  • 14 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Loved everthing, BUT we were so close to "Mary's house" at Ephseus and it wan't mentioned or given time to explore for ourselves

    Service: Would definitely recommend Insight Vacations to everyone! This last trip was a little irritating because our very learned guide stopped to "lecture" on one site/museum piece and verbally get irritated at anyone who wondered around to look at other things -while listening to her- and then leave us with 10 min of "free time" We will never go back to Greece and I personally prefer to wonder to look and read whatever interests me. Also, this last trip, the hotel misspelled our last name and refused to give us a room until another Insight guide who was there greeting her travelers helped us. Our guide didn't show up until later that evening. This was a land-island tour. Our island guide, Nikos Kontogiannis, was excellent. He handled some difficult situations/ travelers efficiently and calmly - had a sense of humor too!

  • 12 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: It was a good combination of mainland tour and islands tour.

    Service: I would buy from them again.

  • 09 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: All inclusive tours but too much instruction leaving no time to explore areas of interest on my own.

    Service: Always polite and ready to help with any question.

  • 05 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Excellant itinerary. I don't think we missed a thing!

    Service: Erin our land guide was terrific...Nikos or cruise director was incrediably bad. He was hard to find, spent a litlle time as possible with us and directed me to the wrong table for our group dinner....seating us as a table a with non-english speaking tour group...he argued that he just suggested we sit there....took no responsiblity...friends we had made in the group were also upset by his doing this, epecially since he sat people not on our tour with them. Tour Directors from other companies spent much mor times with their groups and gave them a great deal more information....I have detailed this with my written review turned into Nikos. If you want mor info, please contact me 1-727-645-5295

  • 04 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: See comments I made above.

    Service: Yes, the tour and all its service and organization were great. However, there was misinformation on the website tour description indicating an option between a tour of Ephesus and a tour of Crete palace of Knossos which I needed to argue persistently to get a satisfactory outcome. This annoyance brought my overall experience downward.

  • 03 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Covered lots of varied places that gave a good overview of the country.

    Service: Insight had the trip very well organized and packed lots of adventures into the time frame. The personnel were outstanding. Our guides,Erin and Nickoes were delightful and gave us wonderful background information.

  • 03 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Good tour and very organized. Ship food was a bit of disappointment but we did have a nice stateroom.

    Service: yes

  • 02 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: The itinerary was full of places to visit. I saw all the places that I wanted to see, Acropolis, Parthenon, Crete and much more.

    Service: It was a great experience. Everyone was very helpful.

  • 28 September, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: We saw so many great archaeological sites and nice local experiences of food, dance, culture

    Service: Guides provided were informative and we felt taken care of.

*Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking. Prices displayed reflect available discounted rates such Early Payment Discount or Last Minute Deals (discounts are not combinable). Discounts may be withdrawn at anytime, book early to confirm space. All trip information is correct at time of trips going live, however is subject to change, please confirm all details at time of booking. For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Conditions page.