Category Archive : Private Tours

Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus

Let a local tour expert organize your tours and make your dream come true. Locals know better.

The tour to Argolis is a popular one day tour.

The region of Argolis is one of the longest occupied regions in Greece, with evidence of Neolithic settlements.
It’s no surprise that Mycenae, mentioned in Homer’s Iliad, today is an essential stop in every trip to Greece. Attractions such as Agamemnon’s fortress with the hilltop acropolis and Agamemnon’s Palace, the famous Lions’ Gate, the royal cemetery, the Treasury of Atreus, the sanctuary of Asclepius, the god of medicine with the amazing theatre of Epidaurus, and the elegant city of Nafplion, draw huge crowds of people.

NOVEMBER – MARCH the tour is organized on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays. Sites/museums close at 15:00

Our prices


PRICES: We are sure that our discounted prices are not matched. After 60 years organizing tours throughout Greece we have secured the best deals in all aspects of travel.
Our discounted prices are:
1) Nov-Mar the price without lunch = 59.00 + 12.00 entrance fees = 71.00 € per adult
2) The child’s price for the tour = 45.00 € (no entrance fees apply)
3) The Student price, (only for ISI card holders), without lunch and without entrance fees = 49.00 €.
ONLY holders of International Student Identity Cards are eligible to this price. CLICK and see what we call “Students Enabler” price.
We offer you the best price in the market.

Fill the booking request and start the communication. We shall get back asap.
– Bookings within the last 48 hours can only be done in our premises in the centre of Athens.

DISCOUNTS:
– Juniors under 19 and E.U. students, are free of charge.
– Students from other countries and E.U. seniors over 65, pay 12.00 €

– Lunch (3 course menu) is served in a restaurant in modern Mycenae village and costs 10.00 € extra for everybody.

MORE OFFERS and DISCOUNTS (only one discount allowed – the highest one):
a) GROUP DISCOUNT: Make a team of 5 full paying or more passengers and gain 5%
b) ARGOLIS & 1 day CRUISE Combine the tour to Argolis with the One day cruise to 3 islands and pay 135.00 € for both.

The prices quoted are per person, and include:
– transportation on modern air-conditioned buses
– Pick up / drop off from or near your hotel (See the list of hotels in the footer of the website)
– Entrance fees to Mycenae and Epidaurus sites and museums.
– The services of the professional tour guide all along the tour.

The ONE DAY tour to ARGOLIS can also be organized as a private trip (cost shared between the passengers):
Transportation of 1-4 passengers = 260.00 €. 5-8 passengers the extra cost is 10.00 € per person.
In this private tour a) entrance fees, lunch, and drinks are not included in the price, plus
b) a local professional tour guide, can be arranged to meet you in Mycenae at the extra cost.

Trip advisor review us WRITE A REVIEW ON OUR SERVICES. Your feedback helps us offer a better service.

Copied from a client’s blogspot:
The tour which I joined was organized by G.O.TOURS. Information about the tour can be found at their website at http://www.gotours.com.gr/en/
However I did not book through their website. I booked it through ASTORIA TRAVEL https://astoriatravel.gr/
After browsing through the web, I found that ASTORIA TRAVEL offers the cheapest tour packages in Athens. Initially I was quite skeptical. How can this tour agent offer such a low price (20% cheaper) compared to the travel company’s price? Is this a scam? Well, believe it! It was not a scam. I even booked my first two nights in Athens at Hotel Arethusa (next to Syntagma Square) at a very cheap price through ASTORIA TRAVEL.

Highlights

The Corinth canal

The canal of Corinth – the mythical fortified city of Mycenae with the Lions’ Gate, the palace of Agamemnon and the tomb of Atreus – The Epidaurus, with the sanctuary of Asclepius(the god of medicine), and the famous for its amazing acoustics theatre of Epidaurus & a short photo stop at the romantic and beautiful “Venetian” old town of Nafplion.

Ancient Mycenae

Mycenae was the kingdom of mythic Agamemnon. Myths related to history have inspired poets and writers over the centuries from Homer and the Greek tragedies of the classical period. The site was uncovered in 1874 by Heinrich Schlieman, who also found and excavated the site of Troy. You enter the citadel through the famous Lions’ Gate.

Beautiful NAFPLION

Modern architecture hasn’t spoiled the old town of Nafplion, which is a feast for the eye. It was the capital of the Greek state in the early 1830s. Here, is the first residential place for the young Bavarian Prince, Otto, the first king of the new country after the revolution against the Turks. The old town is beautiful, with old mansions and paved roads. The town’s fortresses, the Palamidi and the Acronafplia, played a key role during the war of independence. The Venetian influence is everywhere justifying the town’s name as the “Greek Venice”.

Amazing theatre of EPIDAURUS

The priests of the sanctuary of god Asclepius were excellent surgeons. Today, next to the sanctuary of Asclepius, there is a small museum, displaying the instruments and tools used by the priests to perform even brain operations.
The administration of the sanctuary decided to build a theatre on the ground of the sanctuary, to entertain the patients.

Itinerary


1 day tour to Argolis Corinth canal-Mycenae-Nafplion-Epidavros

Time plan of the day tour to Argolis

TIME TOUR PLAN SERVICES
07:30 Start the pick up from the hotels Departure from the terminal at 08.30
10:00 Arrival at Corinth canal Short photo stop
11:15 Arrival in ancient Mycenae Visit ancient site & museum
13:00 Lunch in a local restaurant Lunch is optional. See the price paid.
14:15 Drive on to “Venetian” Nafplion Short photo stop at Nafplion
15:15 Arrival at the site of Epidaurus Visit the museum & the theatre
18:30 Arrival in the centre of Athens Drop off at your hotel by 19:30

After Nafplion we continue to EPIDAURUS and visit the ancient theatre. The UNESCO’S world heritage listed monument is the birthplace of Apollo’s son Asclepius, the healer, and was the most popular healing center of the classical world. Epidaurus is most famous for its theatre, one of the best preserved classical Greek buildings and still used today due to its amazing acoustics.

Map


Map for one day tour to Argolis (Mycenae-Nafplion-Epidaurus)

One day tour to Argolis (Mycenae-Nafplion-Epidaurus)

One day tour to Argolis (Mycenae-Nafplion-Epidaurus)

Ancient Mycenae


Mycenae, the home of the Atreides royal family, is situated on a hill-top on the road leading to Corinth and Athens. The site was inhabited since Neolithic times (about 4000 BC) but reached its peak during the Late Bronze Age (1350-1200 BC), giving its name to a civilization which spread throughout the Greek world. During that period, the acropolis (= highest point of a city) was surrounded by massive “cyclopean” walls which were built in three stages (1350, 1250 and 1225 BC). The outer fortifying walls, are large stones and must still look similar to 3500 years ago when they were built.

We enter the citadel of Mycenae through the famous Lions’ Gate, because of the two lions above the entrance way, the first monumental sculpture in Europe (13th century BC). Immediately on to our right we come to Grave Circle A, a royal cemetery in which Schliemann found six shaft graves, 19 skeletons, and the incredibly rich burial furnishings which made his discovery one of the great archaeological finds of all time. This is where Schlieman found the ancient mask, which he called “the Mask of Agamemnon” but turned out to be the face of an unknown king from a period 300 years earlier. That mask is probably one of the most recognized ancient artifacts in the world and is still unofficially known as “the mask of Agamemnon”.

The rest of the site is interesting if you know what you are looking at, so take the time to read the material available in guidebooks. A ramp and stairs lead up from the grave circle to the palace on the top of the hill; unfortunately little remains of the palace except for a Great Court and a megaron (a room with central hearth and inner columns). The view when you get to the top of the hill is spectacular. You are really commanding the valley all the way down to Argos and Nafplion. From here you can follow a path down the back of the site to the Postern Gate and the Secret Cistern, a pitch-dark tunnel leading down some 80 steps through the solid rock. We can then return to the Lion Gate around the north side of the hill.

Outside the city walls, and across the road from Mycenae is the Royal grave or treasury of Atreus, which is one of the most impressive parts of ancient Mycenae. You walk through a passageway into an enormous bee-hive tomb dug into the ground. This is known as “a Tholos tomb” and this was the way the ancient Mycenaean’s began to bury their dead after the 15th century BC. The size of this tomb is incredible, and the stones are so massive that it’s believed that engineers who built Egyptian pyramids must have served as consultants when the Mycenaeans began constructing these “treasuries.”

A second tholos near the grave of Atreus was excavated by Mrs. Schliemann and is called the Tomb of Klytemnestra; it is one of the latest and most finely constructed of the tholoi. The third one called the Tomb of Aegisthus. is much earlier and its roof has collapsed. Returning down the modern road about a km we come to the most famous tholos, the Tomb of Agamemnon; the half-columns, which decorated its doorway, are in the Mycenaean Room of the National Museum.

Do not leave from the site without a visit to the museum of Mycenae. From the jewellery found in the graves some are displayed at the site’s museum and some in the Athens Archaeological Museum.

Agamemnon


In myth Mycenae was the home of Agamemnon, commander of the Greek army, which fought against Troy, and historically it was the most powerful Greek state during the last third of the Bronze Age (1600-1100 BC), which is why this period is called Mycenaean. Heinrich Schliemann excavated here in 1874-76 and found in Royal Grave Circle A the rich treasures which proves that Agamemnon really lived and that Homer’s story of the Trojan War was history, not myth.

The myth of Mycenae is the story of the Pelopid dynasty. Pelops, who gave his name to the Peloponnese (=Island of Pelops), had two sons, Atreus and Thyestes. Atreus, being the older son, became king of Mycenae but later he punished his brother, who had an adulterous affair with Atreus’ wife Europe, by forcing him to eat his two sons for dinner.

Atreus had two sons, Menelaus and Agamemnon, who married 2 sisters; Menelaus married Helen(the beautiful Helen of Troy) and Agamemnon married Klytemnestra. When Helen ran off with the Trojan prince Paris, Agamemnon and Menelaus became commanders-in-chief of the great expedition, which fought and won the Trojan War. When Agamemnon returned from the war, Klytemnestra was not overjoyed to see him; she had taken a lover (Thyestes’ son Aegisthus) and Agamemnon, who had earlier, at the beginning of Trojan war, sacrificed his daughter Iphigeneia so that favourable winds would blow his fleet to Troy, now drove up to the palace with his new concubine, the Trojan princess Kassandra. Klytemnestra therefore invited Agamemnon to come in and take a bath; she gave him a garment to put on (with no holes for his head and arms) and while he stood there with this bag on his head she killed him with three blows of an axe. Later Orestes, the exiled son of Agamemnon and Klytemnestra, returned to Mycenae and killed his mother to avenge his father; for his crime of matricide he was driven mad by the Furies (mythic emblems of guilt) until finally, in the Attic version, he was acquitted at the first Areopagus trial, under the Acropolis.

Video


In the footer of this website you find the “4 steps to make a booking”. If our offer looks interesting, please send us the booking form.

CLICK here and see ALL THE GUIDED TOURS that start from Athens. Detailed information on each tour is included.

 

Guided tour to Delphi

We want you to have a memorable time in Greece! Let a local tour expert organise your tours and make your dream come true.

Delphi is one of Greece’s premier tourist attractions all year round.

The sheer magnificence and grandeur of the location strikes you. Below the site, a valley ringed by mountains, provides breathtaking views from any location within the site. Delphi was the most sacred place in the ancient world. A temple dedicated to god Apollo was built there in the 7th c BC. and housed the Oracle of Delphi, the greatest source of income for a thousand years. Delphi became a religious centre. Kings and common people, came to consult the priestess called PYTHIA. In a secret room below the tripod of the Pythia, the priests of Apollo, interpreted her vague and wild cries, and put them into ordered language. The idea was: build a treasury house for your city state, bring your valuables and we shall keep them for you in it.

The archaeological site today with the treasuries, the ancient temples and the shrines, is one of the best in Greece, making Delphi one of Greece’s premier tourist attractions all year round. It is a 2.30 hour drive from Athens making the visit to Delphi a comfortable 1-day trip.

The museum in Delphi houses impressive statues, jewelry and other wares that have been unearthed from the site. There are free admission days for everyone throughout the year. See the dates in our Home page.

Unless you are a history guy you need a full hour to explore the ancient site. The Sacred Way starts at the ticket booth. It winds up past a number of Treasuries and leads to the Temple of Apollo, where the Oracle was sitting.

Days & prices


NOVEMBER – MARCH the tour operates 4 times per week; every Monday-Wednesday-Friday & Sunday

PRICES: Our discounted prices are not matched. We offer the best price in the market.

The price of the tour services without lunch are:
1) Nov-Mar: The adult price for the tour = 59.00 € + 6.00 € entrance fees = 65.00 €
2) The child’s price for the tour = 45.00 € (no entrance fees apply)
3) The Student enabler price (ONLY for ISI card holders) = 49.00 €. CLICK and see what we call “Student Enabler” price
ONLY holders of International Student Identity Cards are eligible to this price.

Lunch(3 course menu) is served in a restaurant outside modern Delphi and costs 10.00 € extra for everybody.
Fill the booking request and start the communication. We shall get back asap.

The tour services include:
– transportation on modern air-conditioned buses
– the services of the professional tour guide all along
– entrance fees to the sanctuary of Apollo and the archaeological museum in Delphi, and
– Pick up/drop off from or near your hotel (See the list of hotels in the footer of this website).
– Short stop in the picturesque village of Arachova , a popular winter destination in Greece.

MORE OFFERS and DISCOUNTS (only one discount allowed – the highest one):
a) GROUP DISCOUNT: Make a team of 5 full paying or more passengers and gain 5%
b) DELPHI & the 1 day CRUISE Combine the Delphi tour with the One day cruise to the 3 islands and pay 135.00 € for both

The ONE DAY DELPHI TOUR can be organised as a private excursion (cost shared between the passengers):
– Transportation of 1-4 passengers = 260.00 € (5-8 passengers the extra cost is 10.00 € per person).
In this private tour a) entrance fees, lunch, and drinks are not included in the price, plus
b) a local professional tour guide, can be arranged to meet you in Delphi at an extra cost.

Trip advisor review us WRITE A REVIEW ON OUR SERVICES. Your feedback helps us offer a better service.

Copied from a client’s blogspot:
The tour which I joined was organized by G.O.TOURS. Information about the tour can be found at their website at http://www.gotours.com.gr/en/
However I did not book through their website. I booked it through ASTORIA TRAVEL https://astoriatravel.gr/
After browsing through the web, I found that ASTORIA TRAVEL offers the cheapest tour packages in Athens. Initially I was quite skeptical. How can this tour agent offer such a low price (20% cheaper) compared to the travel company’s price? Is this a scam? Well, believe it! It was not a scam. I even booked my first two nights in Athens at Hotel Arethusa (next to Syntagma Square) at a very cheap price through ASTORIA TRAVEL.

 

POPULAR TOURS: 1 day Argolis | 2 days Delphi-Meteora | 3 day explore Meteora | 4 day classical & Meteora | 5 day explore Meteora | 1 day cruise

 

HOW TO BOOK A TOUR | BOOKING FORM | PAY ONLINE | CONTACT US

 

Itinerary

Time Tour Plan Services
7:30 Start the pick up service and come to the terminal Depart from the terminal at 08.30
11:30 Arrival in modern Delphi village On the way, 20 mins break near Levadia
11:45 Visit the ancient site & the museum Entrance fees – See the price you paid
14:30 Drive to a local restaurant 3 km from Delphi Lunch, is optional – See the price you paid.
15:30 Start the return towards Athens Stop at the village of Arachova
18:30 Arrival in the centre of Athens Hotel drop off by 19.30

History

If there is a site to visit in Greece then Delphi is this place. The sheer magnificence and grandeur of the location strikes you. God Apollo had chosen the best spot to build his temple. Below the site, a valley ringed by mountains, provides breathtaking views from any location within the site.

Delphi was considered to be one of the most important cities of ancient Greece. It was believed to be home to the goddess Gaia, or Earth, and later to Apollo after slaying Gaia’s son, the snake Python. The Pythian games—similar to the Olympic Games—were held here every four years to honour Apollo’s slaying of the Python dragon.

According to the myth, Zeus released two eagles. The one flew east and the other one flew west. They both met over Delphi, determining that the centre of the world was there. A temple dedicated to god Apollo was built there in the 7th c BC. The Temple of Apollo housed the great Oracle of Delphi, the world’s greatest source of income for a thousand years. The Oracle was the most eminent feature of Delphi, and some of the most important people from all over Greece—including demigods, according to Greek mythology—visited her to seek advice. The oracle of Apollo became a religious centre where common people and kings alike, came to consult “Pythia”, the priestess of the sanctuary. In a room, below the Pythia, the priests listened and interpreted her vague and wild cries, and put them into ordered language.

Above the entrance to the temple the visitor reads ‘Know Thyself’ and ‘Nothing in Excess’. These sayings were read and pondered upon by all of the great kings, warriors and noblemen who came here for advice. The true wisdom of the Oracle lies not within the words of the Oracle’s priestess, but within the walls of the temple itself.

The Pythian Games held in Delphi were one of four Panhellenic games held in ancient Greece, and they attracted competitors from all over the Greek world. Founded in the 6th c. BC and held in honour of Apollo the Games originally centered around the talents the god exemplified – music and poetry. However soon, athletic competitions were added as well. The best known was a great chariot race, held in the stadium of Delphi. The winners of the Pythian Games received a laurel wreath.

The 6th c. BC saw the political rise of Delphi ushering in a golden age that lasted until the arrival of the Romans in 191 BC. Numerous treasuries were built in the Sanctuary of Apollo to house votive offerings of grateful pilgrims. In the 4th century BC, a theater accommodating 5,000 spectators was constructed nearby. It was restored in 159 by king Eumenes II and later by the Romans.

The oracle of Delphi was abolished in 393 AD by Theodosius of Byzantium, the emperor who made Christianity the official religion of the Byzantine Empire. No longer used, the temples fell into disrepair and their materials were plundered for new buildings.

Site & Museum


Delphi was the most sacred place in the ancient world and thousands of pilgrims visited here, from kings and philosophers to common people to hear the prophesies of the Oracle and to watch and compete in the ancient games held here, the Pythian Games, similar to the Olympics.
The archaeological site is one of the best in Greece with ancient temples and shrines placed along the sacred way, making Delphi one of the best places to visit all year round. The site consists of the temple of Apollo, the treasury houses of the City States, the ancient theatre, the stadium at the top of the hill, the gymnasium, and hippodrome. The sanctuary was built in an imposing location, on the slopes of Mt. Parnassus. The Temple of Apollo, the treasury house of the Athenians, the Polygonal wall, the treasury houses of the different city States — where treasures from all over Greece were kept, and the Theatre are some of the most important building.

The remaining part of the ancient site, bellow the road, with the temple of Athena Pronaia, the Tholos (a circular structure with 3 of its original 20 doric columns restored), the gymnasium and the sports facilities, used for training for the athletes that took part in the “Pythian or Delphian Games”, is not visited in the guided tours. Choose the tour without lunch and when the group is having lunch you can visit them on your own, without the tour guide.

Today, next to the archaeological site, there is an impressive museum, displaying findings from the local excavations, that started 1892, masterpieces of Ancient Greek sculpture. The highlights are offerings by the oracle visitors, such as the famous bronze statue of the Charioteer, the statue of Antinoos, the famous athlete Aghias, the two “kouros” statues, the Roman “omphalos”, being the sculptured stone that represented the navel of the world, and many others.

When you finish with the sightseeing, you proceed to a local restaurant for lunch (optional), and after lunch the driver stops for 40 minutes at the nearby traditional village of Arachova. The bus arrives in the centre of Athens at +/- 18.30.

Testimonials


By Provoensis, United States, 11 posts, 38 reviews. Re: Astoria Travel, Jul 31

My experiences with Astoria Travel have been varied in scope, but ALWAYS extraordinarily positive. I cannot praise Kosta and his team highly enough. From small-scale arrangements for my wife and me to multi-day academic tours for groups of 30+ university students, our experience has always been top notch.
I regularly travel with a university group to Greece, and other colleagues from my university (in USA) have been booking arrangements through Astoria Travel since 2003, sometimes 2 – 3 groups per year. Kosta’s heartfelt inclination to provide a high quality academic experience for our students really shows. Above all, his reliability and his determination to help us provide an affordable program for them is apparent from beginning to end. On each program he has been constantly calculating how we can shave down costs to the students’ advantage. He really tends to the smallest details.
Trustworthiness may be the most important aspect of a travel agent’s involvement with a group. In the many facets of our several tours arranged by Astoria, I have yet to be surprised by any bill or expenditure. Everything has been transparent and anticipated.
I recommend to all my colleagues at my university to work their Greek travel arrangements through Astoria Travel. For us Greece means Kosta.
______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Re: Astoria Travel Meteora trip Reviews.
Hi SomeGirl111. All the bus tours in Greece are organized by three Tour operators. The travel agents do not organize, they sell these guided tours at discounted rates. So, whoever you decide to buy your tour from, you will end up sitting in one of the T.O. buses. All three T.Os. use modern, air conditioned buses., and knowledgeable professional tour guides. You travel in the same bus with visitors that paid the full brochure price. Astoria Travel was established 1958 and is still operating and prospering. So, your question should be: is the price that they sell the tours organized by G.O.Tours, CHAT or KEY Tours, good? What differs between the travel agents, is how fast they reply to you, and the way they answer to your request. Being in the travel trade for such a long time, I am sure that they know the way to satisfy their clients.

Booking request


[booking startmonth=’2019-3′]


In the footer of this website you find the “4 steps to make a booking”. If our offer sounds interesting, please send us the booking form.

CLICK here and see ALL THE GUIDED TOURS that start from Athens. Detailed information on each tour is included.

 

Meteora by train

SEE ALL THE TOURS that visit Meteora in guided tours or train trips.

You choose the monasteries to visit and how long to stay in each one.

Question: Is it possible to visit Meteora, see the monasteries, and return to Athens all in one day? The answer is: Yes. In Kalambaka you have 5 hours to drive on the rocks and visit 2-3 monasteries at the maximum.

If your visit to Greece is too short, this is your chance to visit Meteora.

You realize why the first hermits chose this location to create their monastic community and seek communication with God. See the 4 monasteries and the 2 nunneries, and visit two of them. Learn about the everyday life of the monks, admire their architecture and gaze at the priceless relics and treasures of the monasteries, a cultural heritage to all Christian religions.

Finish your sightseeing return to Kalambaka, have a light lunch, board the train and return to Athens at 21:30

Itinerary


* You collect your tickets from us and settle the account, at least a day before departure.
* Be at the LARISA railway station in Athens at least 30 minutes before the train departure.
* Your train comes at 07:10 am. Find your carriage and your seat.
* 07:20 – The train departs and following a scenic route it travels straight from Athens to Kalampaka(last stop).
* 11:30 – Arrive in Kalampaka and meet our English speaking driver outside the railway station.
* 11:45 – Drive to Meteora. Visit up to 3 monasteries. See old hermitages and cloisters in the caves.
* 16:45 – Return to Kalampaka. Stop at a local restaurant for a light meal (not included in the price).
* 17:00 – The train departs from Kalampaka and arrives in Athens (LARISA station) at +/- 21.30.

To make a booking you deposit 40.00 euro per person and you settle the balance when we meet in Athens.

CANCELLATION POLICY: 15.00 € p.p. is not refundable. In case of a strike the full amount is refunded.

Price & Inclussions


The price for the 3.30 hours private tour of Meteora includes your return B class train ticket and the taxi hire from the moment that you arrive until the moment that you tell the driver that you have seen enough and want to get back to Kalambaka and have something to eat.

– 1 passenger: Train ticket B class, 86.00 € | A class, 98.00 €
– 2 passengers: Train ticket B class, 82.00 € p.p. | A class, 94.00 € p.p.
– 3 passengers: Train ticket B class, 76.00 € p.p. | A class, 88.00 € p.p.
– 4 passengers: Train ticket B class, 69.00 € p.p. | A class, 81.00 € p.p.

To secure your booking, please, click and see the terms, find the pay on line link in the footer, and, deposit 40.00 € p.p.

THE PRICE INCLUDES:

* Return train ticket. Pay 12.00 euro, and upgrade the train ticket to A class (recommended).
* Upon arrival you meet our taxi driver and for 4 hours, you visit up to 3 monasteries.
* Visit hidden beauties & explore the area with a local, English speaking taxi driver.

NOT INCLUDED in the price:
* No professional tour guide service is included. It’s you and the taxi driver.
* 3.00 euro per person, being the entrance ticket to each monastery, and
* Your lunch and drinks in the train and while you are in Kalampaka.

Options to visit

CLICK and see all the options to visit the Meteora

We also offer packages for 2 or 3 days. During the extra day, join a Hiking Tour and explore the natural beauty. Discover the geology of the region and follow the trails that the first monks used centuries ago. Hike on the well paved paths from the monastery of Grand Meteoron or the monastery of Varlaam all the way to the village of Kastraki and Kalambaka.

If the hiking tour is a difficult exercise, join the 4 hour morning tour and learn about the monasticism at Meteora. Discover their cultural wealth and have a personal experience of the monastic community.

Our BEST SELLER is the 3 days/2 nights Meteora and Delphi, independent trip by train/taxi and bus.

Last minute bookings are difficult to work. Plan in advance and get the best seats in the train.
We stop issuing tickets 48 hours before the departure from Athens.

Testimonials


KSL13, Level 6 Contributor, TripAdvisor member since 2005, From USA
Kosta is an all service travel agent
I booked a tour to Meteora via train with Astoria travel at a significant discount from other agencies. Kosta also picked us up from the cruise port and took us to our Airbnb. He also gave us lots of advice about life in Greece. He knows so much! And he truly loves his job and he is proud of his country. I hope that lots of people use his services! I did not feel that he was exploiting tourist dollars, like most guys did. He is honest and reliable.

contact us

Astoria Travel, (Est. 1958)
48 Stadiou street, Athens 10564, Greece.
Tel. +302103250380, +306932888585.
Click here and send us a message

Travelling to Meteora by train is a comfortable and efficient way. A smooth and scenic ride.

Tour the sites and museums at your own pace and then spent some time walking around the beautiful town of Nafplion before returning to Athens. Such a private tour is advisable for people that do not like to be confined to a preset schedule or travel with a large group of people.

ITINERARY
We start from your lodging in Athens, arrive after one hour at Corinth Canal and cross to the island of King Pelops. the peninsula of Peloponissos.
Arriving in the ancient city of Corinth, we explore an ancient city that several empires fought over throughout the centuries.
Continue to Mycenae, a mighty kingdom of ancient Greece, leader of the Greek city states during the Trojan war, according to Homer “a city of gold”. You will walk in through the  Lions’ Gate, see the Cyclopean walls, the remains of Agamemnon’s Royal Palace, the Beehive Tombs, and the Treasury of Atreus before arriving in the romantic Venetian town of Nafplion, one of the most beautiful cities in Greece, Have lunch in a traditional taverna in the charming old town and after lunch we proceed to Epidaurus to visit the ancient theatre and view the Sanctuary of Asclepius, the God of Medicine, whose snake-entwined staff (caduces) remains the symbol of medicine to this day.
Return to Athens at +/- 19:00

Cost shared between the passengers:
Transportation of 1-4 passengers = 260.00 €. 5-8 passengers the extra cost is 10.00 € per person.
In this private tour a) entrance fees, lunch, and drinks are not included in the price, plus
b) a local professional tour guide, can be arranged to meet you in Mycenae at the extra cost.

CLICK and see the One day guided tour to Argolis and the promotional price of 59.00 euro per person

ELEFSIS was an ancient center of religious rites celebrating life, death, and rebirth.It resembles the year time cycle on earth. Here was the Sanctuary of Demeter, scene of the secret cult of the Elefsinian Mysteries of Demeter from 1500 BCE until 525 CE. There are extensive remains here from the Mycenaean era to the Roman, including the Anaktoron, the holiest part of the site, the Telesterion, a temple which held several thousand people during the rites, and the Plutonion, the cave of Hades, thru which Persephone returned to earth are the most important monuments.
The monastery at Daphni not far from Athens on the way to Elefsis has outstanding Byzantine mosaics.

Archaeological Museum of Olympia – Overview

Olympia Archaeological Museum of Olympia


One of the top 3 museums in Greece. A collection of marble sculptures that are very well preserved. The highlight of the museum are the East and West pediments from The Temple of Zeus together with the beautiful “Hermes of Praxiteles” sculpture. A collection of ancient artifacts, tools, glass, armor, weapons and other items. Expect to spend at least an hour in the museum.

The three museums of Olympia, 1) the Archaeological Museum, 2) the Museum of the Ancient Olympic Games and 3) the Museum of the History of the Excavations at Olympia, are within minutes walk from the modern Olympia town and the archaeological site.

The Archaeological Museum was founded in the 19th c. to house the finds that the excavations brought to light. As a growing wealth of artifacts kept accumulating, even after a century-long archaeological research, it became apparent that the elegant 19th-century building would not suffice. A new museum was built 1966-1975 and underwent a reorganization in 2004, in view of the Athens 2204 Olympic Games.

The museum’s collections are exhibited in 12 halls and over 3,500 years of history, from the 3rd millennium BC when humans first settled at Olympia to the end of Zeus’ sanctuary in the 7th c. AD. The Archaeological Museum of Olympia ranks among the most important museums in Greece. renowned for its sculptures and collection of ancient Greek bronzes, which is the richest in the world.

The two pediments from the Temple of Zeus are among the most magnificent examples of ancient Greek sculpture, and indeed from the period of its zenith. The east pediment shows the preparation for the mythical chariot race between Pelops and King Oinomaos, while the west shows the beloved subject of the struggle between the Centaurs and Lapiths, with the superb figure of Apollo at the centre.

The metopes of the temple represent the Twelve Labours of Heracles, the offering of the Stymphalian birds to Athena, Atlas bearing the apples of the Hesperides to Heracles, and so on. Paionios’ statue of Nike descending from heaven, an ex-voto of the Messenians and Naupactians in 421 BC, is one of the most significant sculptures of Classical times.

Other outstanding exhibits in the Museum are the terracotta group of Zeus with Ganymede, the colossal head attributed to the cult statue of Hera and the “diamond of Olympia”, the famous statue of Hermes with the newborn Dionysus, an original work by Praxiteles, displayed in a hall to itself.

Among the dedications to Zeus by the city-states in gratitude for their victories are bronze tripod cauldrons, vessels, armors, helmets and shields.

Collections

The collection of bronzes

More than 14,000 bronze artifacts, the largest number ever found in a region of the ancient Greek world were buried in the soil of Olympia. Human and animal figurines constitute a popular category of those metal works, dating back as early as in the 9th century BC. They often depict warriors, charioteers and, of course, athletes such as the mid-6th century BC statuette of a discus thrower or the early-5th century statuette of a runner.
An impressive group of the museum exhibits comprise the large bronze cauldrons, often decorated with griffins or sirens, imaginary and daemonic beings inspired by the Orient. Those were luxury offerings to the sanctuary manifesting the prosperity and artistic level that Archaic Greece had reached by the 7th and 6th centuries BC.
Apart from pilgrims and Olympic winners, warriors returning victorious from battlefields expressed their gratitude to Zeus by donating their weapons. Thus, Olympia turned out to be a repository of ancient Greek weaponry with a long series of helmets, shields, cuirasses, spears and other parts of armour recovered from the site and now on display in the museum. Of immense historical siginificance is the helmet of the Athenian General Miltiades, the winner of the battle of Marathon against the Persians (490 BC). A unique example of ancient war instrument is a battering ram of the 5th century BC.

The collection of sculptures

The Museum of Olympia houses masterpieces of classical art such as the sculptures of Zeus’ temple and two celebrated works of Graeco-Roman antiquity, the statues of Nike by Paeonios and Hermes by Praxiteles.
The temple of Zeus dominated the sanctuary not only due to its size but also due to its magnificently decorated pediments and metopes. The centauromachy scene with the emblematic figure of Apollo and the Labours of Hercules are considered the finest sculptures of the so-called Austere Style of the 5th century BC.
No later than 420 BC, Paeonios created his winged goddess Nike, the statue that became synonymous with the iconographic allegory of Victory and has shaped its representations in western art ever since: the statue of Nike is the one featured on the Olympic medals from 1896 to date.

Around 330 BC, the great master Praxiteles sculpted Hermes carrying the infant god Dionysus. This is one of the few superb original statues of the 4th century that survived, as the most celebrated works of this period are known to us solely through their Roman copies.
The statue of Hermes is one of the most magnificent art pieces of the ancient world. It is a symbol of beauty and aesthetics. It is the work of sculptor Praxiteles and depicts the god Hermes holding the infant Dionysos in his left arm. It was discovered during the excavations in Olympia, in 1877 by German archaeologists. The statue is a product of the 4th century B.C. and reflects the features of that period. The image of the god exudes peace and relaxation and his body has athletic characteristics that reflect harmony and eurhythmy. The Hermes of Praxiteles is one of the exhibits of the modern Museum of Olympia with the highest visit rate and is considered as the quintessential model of male beauty.

Pheidias and his workshop

Pheidias and his workshop

When the priests of Olympia decided that the temple of Zeus needed a new cult statue, Pheidias was the very man to be sought for. The artist whose sculptures beautified Athens, came and settled in Olympia and by 430 BC he delivered the colossal gold-and-ivory statue of Zeus, which would be listed among the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. Both the chryselephantine Zeus and its counterpart statue of Athena in the Parthenon vanished in the Middle Ages, however Pheidias’ workshop was discovered during the excavations at Olympia and its contents are on display in a special hall of the Archaeological Museum. Raw material residues, tools, jewels and casts offer a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the sanctum of a leading ancient Greek sculptor who took the trouble to sign his personal cup, inscribing upon the base “I belong to Pheidias”; another unique exhibit at the Museum of Olympia.

The castle or the rock of Monemvasia

The castle or the rock of Monemvasia

The rock of Monemvasia or Gibraltar of Greece

The castle or the rock of Monemvasia

The castle or the rock of Monemvasia

The island of Monemvasia, known as the “Gibraltar of Greece,” is a massive rock rising from the sea and connected to the mainland by a causeway. The medieval town of Monemvasia dominated by a protective fortress can be reached only through a tunnel; Its name, comes from the words moni, meaning “single,” and emvasi, meaning “entry.” It is truly an amazing sight.

As you approach from over the hills you are hit with the image of an enormous rock in the sea, connected to the land by a narrow bridge. From the land it looks like just a mountain and if you look more closely you may see a tiny church perched on the top.

However if you cross the bridge and walk around the side of the mountain you will suddenly come to a wall stretching from the sea to the mountain.

Behind the wall is an ancient town protected from all sides by sea, wall and mountain. Explore the narrow, cobbled streets of this charming town, which was the commercial center of Byzantine Morea in the 13th century.

History

2000 years ago people built up a town at the top of a 300 meter rock to be protected from the barbarians.

The Rock was separated from the mainland by an earthquake in 337 AD and today the Monemvasia rock with its castle is actually an island accessible only through an entrance which many years ago used to be a portable, wooden bridge. This causeway links Peloponessus with the Rock of Monemvasia.

The settlement on the rock is divided into two sections, built at different levels, each with a separate fortification. The neighborhood on top of the cliff (300m) was named upper town, while the neighborhood close to the sea also protected from walls, was named lower town.

The castle fall to the Franks in 1249 after 3 years of surrounding but they gave it back to the Byzantines in 1262 after the battle in Pelagonia. The Byzantines kept it until 1460. Those two centuries where the golden ages for Monemvasia. The people of Monemvasia where very wealthy at that time due to the extensive trading, the privileges they had from the emperors of Costantinople (Istanbul), and due to the fleet they owned. The Monemvasians were trading a sweet red whine called Malvasia, produced from the surrounding area.

When Greece was occupied from the Ottomans (Turks) the Monemvasians preferred to pass their town to the Venetians and that was the first occupation by the Venetians, 1464-1550. During that period the Venetians transplanted the wine Malvasia in Crete, Italy and Malta where you may find this kind of wine with small variations.

Later, the castle passed to the hands of the Turks. A small period of Venetian occupation followed again 1690-1715 and finally Monemvasia was liberated in 1823 during the Greek revolution.

Remains of Byzantine and post-Byzantine buildings are preserved in the area of the Upper Town, not inhabited today.
The first building as you enter Lower Monemvasia is the house of Greek poet and writer Yannis Ritsos (1909 – 1990). He was born in Monemvasia in a family of landowners. His grave is not far from this house.

More info about Ritsos: http://www.mikis-theodorakis.net/ritsos_e.html

What to see and do

What to see and do

After breakfast, walk up to the church on the edge of the cliff atop Monemvasia castle and try your hand at throwing a small iron or steel metal object to the sea (it will be drawn in towards the side of the hill, never reaching the sea, due to a magnetic field emanating from the rocks below).

Beaches: To the north and south of Monemvasia there are beaches 2-3 km from the causeway at Gefyra. Some well liked beaches slightly further away are at Plytra (20 km) and the stretch from Viglafia to Neapoli (35 km) both of which on the west side of the peninsula, across from Monemvasia. The island of Elafonisi has some of the more scenic beaches.

Archaeology: The Richia Museum of Folklore: Richia, about 25 km from Monemvasia in a building of 1875, which was the first school in the village. With farm tools, spinning wheels, clothing and woven items.

Monastery of the Annunciation of the Virgin and Agios Georgios of Gerakas near Gerakas village, founded in 19th century.

There are many caves within easy reach:  Kastania – at Kastania Voion (south of Monemvasia near Neapolis).

Vri Cave is north of Monemvasia with a precipice which you can climb down. You can find the entrance on the south west side and there is a lake below with crystal clear water.

21 km farther a very neat place to visit is Porto Geraka, a small village which landscape reminds small Fiord of the south.

Where to eat & drink – Monemvasia

If want to stay close, choose one of the four tavernas in Monemvasia. Inside the castle there is the Cafe Angelo which is at night a bar and in the morning breakfast is served, with the sound of classic music and a wonderful view. There are also two cafes to enjoy your coffee.

The tavernas on the seafront, over the causeway, at Gefyra, offer good food at good prices. A little further in the new town of Monemvasia you must taste the octopus fried with Ouzo. As there is just one “main” street – only about 200 metres long – you will find the shops, cafes and restaurants in one stroll through the castle.

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See the video on Monemvasia

Map


Most of Monemvasia’s residents today live by the port (Gefyra), which is a modern town with supermarkets, travel agency, bus connections and other services. The Rock is about 2 km from the modern port of Monemvasia, about a 20-minute walk or a few minutes by car. Cars aren’t allowed inside the walls of the old town and the parking is outside of the fortifications.

Most of the old town’s buildings are made from stone, and many have been renovated as summer homes for Greeks and foreigners. It’s a sunny town of tiled-roof houses, attractive shops and cafes, pleasant squares, and churches.

 

The castle or the rock of Monemvasia

The castle or the rock of Monemvasia

The castle or the rock of Monemvasia

The castle or the rock of Monemvasia

Ancient Messene, known also as Ithome, is an impressive archaeological site that must be included in your itinerary.

Ancient Messene


Messene, the 2nd largest state of Peloponessus, was the capital and cultural center of Messinia, a very significant city-state in antiquity. The area is extremely fertile and lush, and many battles were fought for the control of this region.

A 9km stone strong wall, with towers and battlements, built in 370BC around it, made it one of the most strongly fortified places in ancient Greece. The ruins of the archaeological site, are very impressive, spread out across the peaceful valley of Messinia. With the Arcadian mountains on one side and the valleys down to the sea on the other, the beauty of the scenery is amazing and the view breathtaking. The site, is one of the best preserved in Greece, includes a theatre – one of the biggest in antiquity- the Arsinoe fountain house, an agora surrounded by stoas, which covers an area of about 40 acres with temples of Zeus and Poseidon, the sanctuaries of Demeter and Dioskouroi, an Asclepieion, a beautiful stadium with the gymnasium, a funerary monument, public buildings, houses, the monumental fortifications of the city etc. It also includes an early Byzantine Basilika.

The real jewel is the archaeological site, not only for its undisputed historical value but also for its sheer size. It is a place where you can get a sense of what an ancient Greek-state looked like. Coming to the ancient site, you drive through the massive, well preserved gateway that enables you to form an impression of the fortified wall that surrounded the city. This Arcadian Gate is a marvel among defensive fortifications. A double set of gates separated by a circular courtyard. Huge blocks of stone! How did they transport them, how did they raise them and how did they position them with such accuracy? The answer: this was a culture with an advanced level of technology. They knew about hoisting machines, they knew how to multiply power by mechanical means, they knew how to cut the stone and of course they knew all about its properties.

The main ancient source on Messene is the ancient writer Pausanias, who describes the city in details (155-160 AD). He writes that its walls were stronger than the famous walls of Byzantium and of Rhodes, he represents the Asklepieion as a museum of art works, and he mentions of theatres, temples, sanctuaries, statues, public buildings, springs, tombs, agora, gymnasium…

For a relatively quick visit, you will need at least two hours, since the ancient ruins are widely scattered and you will surely want some time for inner reflection in the theatre-like Ecclesiasterion and the sprawling stadium.

Extensive excavations have been carried out as well as some remarkable restoration work which allows visitors to form a vivid picture of the Asklepeion, the very well preserved Ecclesiasterion and the impressive stadium and gymnasium. Equally impressive are the techniques used for water management, including a stone aqueduct and irrigation system. In 2013, the theatre of ancient Messene, after 2 millennia of silence, opened its doors again to the public. Ancient Messene is included in the Greek list of monuments submitted to UNESCO and is expected to become part of the World Heritage Site Catalogue.

Peloponessus is full of important archaelogical sites. Mycenae, Epidaurus, Olympia, Nafplion, Mystras, Monemvasia. Combine the visit to ancient Messene in a 2 day tour with another of these amazing archaeological sites and “discover Peloponessus”, or, combine it with something quite different and visit the enchanting gorge of the lakes and waterfalls of polylimnio Messinias.

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Acropolis

Athens’ City guided tour, with a visit to the Acropolis & the New Acropolis museum.

Athens city fully guided sightseeing tour, visiting Acropolis and the New Acropolis museum. (entrance tickets are included).

 

Athens' City guided tour, with a visit to the Acropolis & the New Acropolis museum.

Athens’ City guided tour, with a visit to the Acropolis & the New Acropolis museum.

Acropolis

Acropolis

The tour :
Depart for PANATHINAIKO STADIUM, where the first modern Olympic Games took place in 1896 (short stop).
Pass by the Prime Minister’s residence and the Ex Royal Palace (guarded by colourful Evzones),
the Zappeion Conference and Exhibition Hall and the National Gardens,
The temple of Olympian Zeus, Hadrian’s Arch, St. Paul’s Church,
The Parliament and the Tomb of the Unknown soldier,
Schlieman’s House (today Nomismatic Museum), the Catholic Cathedral,
The ACADEMY, the University and the National Library,
the Old Parliament, Constitution Square, the Russian Orthodox Church, proceed to the
ACROPOLIS (visit Propylaea, Temple of Athena Nike, PARTHENON and Erechtheion, and finish the tour at about 01.30pm, with a visit to the New Acropolis museum.