Founded in 315 BC, Thessaloniki is a city whose historical importance and legacy can be said to rival that of Athens. In antiquity, the city served as both Macedonian and Roman capital. The streets of Thessaloniki are rich in the monuments of this illustrious past; the palace and mausoleum of Emperor Galerius, Byzantine walls, ancient Orthodox churches, and Ottoman mosques.
Thessaloniki is also home to numerous churches and mighty city walls from the Byzantine period. On tour, we enjoy special access to glorious frescoes of the Church of St Nicholas Orfanos. We also venture beyond the city walls to picturesque ancient Dion and the Enipeas Ravine, at the foot of Mount Olympus.
- Discover a selection of vibrant Byzantine churches and a historic old town
- Visit ancient Dion, extensively excavated and site of a temple to Zeus
- Enjoy six nights in one of the best hotels in the city - perfect for exploring
- We enjoy special access in Ancient Mieza to the Macedonian tombs found along the road which once led from Pella to Mieza
- Historic Churches
- Great Cities
- Cultural Excursion
- Ancient Greek
- Special Access
- Just One Hotel
- All Inclusive
We arrive in Thessaloniki, transferring straight from the airport to our lovely hotel in the heart of the city. This afternoon we visit the White Tower, a cylindrical waterfront monument housing the fascinating Museum of Byzantine Culture. We continue on to the Hagia Sophia, one of the oldest surviving churches in the city. Tonight we enjoy a welcome meal and drinks at our hotel.
We spend a full day exploring Thessaloniki, beginning at the ancient Agora and Forum. We then delve into the city’s Roman imperial past at the palace complex of Galerius. Built in around 300 AD, the site is home to the Arch of Galerius, a formidable representation of the Emperor’s power and influence. Later today we visit the Byzantine Museum and the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, one of Greece’s largest museums. Don’t miss the Derveni Krater, a superb bronze urn widely considered to be the most outstanding example of Hellenistic art in existence.
Pella is our destination this morning. This was once the second Macedonian capital, and lay undiscovered until the 1950s. The birthplace of both Philip II and Alexander the Great, Pella is renowned for its exceptional mosaics, made from carefully-selected natural pebbles. We continue to the original capital, Verghina, or Aigai, where Great Tumulus mounds are believed to contain the remains of the mighty Macedonian kings. En route we enjoy special access to the painted tombs of Mieza - an unmissable chance to view some of ancient Greece’s most magnificent murals.
We have special access to the remarkable Macedonian painted tombs. We view the equally beautiful gold and precious grave goods, displayed in the site museum.
This morning we drive to Olynthus, a site often referred to as the “Pompeii of Classical Greece” thanks to the exceptional insights it can give us on every day life and town planning in both archaic and Classical Greece. The site has been extensively excavated since the 1920s, and an informative museum houses the various finds uncovered during these investigations. Following this we return to Thessaloniki for a relaxing walk along the city walls. Our day draws to a close with a visit to Agios Dimitrios Church, a cherished UNESCO World Heritage site, in which the remains of Roman baths are thought to have held the executed body of Saint Demetrius.
Today we drive out to ancient Dion. Located on the borders of Thessaly at the foot of Mount Olympus, Dion was once the site of an important temple dedicated to Zeus, and has been extensively excavated since the 1800s. Our journey then leads on to the green and rural village of Litochoro, where we pause to eat lunch at a traditional Greek taverna. This afternoon we take a short walk in the Enipeas Ravine, an unspoilt forested valley where one can easily imagine the Greek gods lounging among waterfalls and pools... We return to Thessaloniki for a farewell evening meal with the group. A wonderful way to cap off our final full day.
After some free time in Thessaloniki we make our way to the airport for our return flight home.
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Tour Manager
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Meals - All meals included with wine at dinner
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
- Field Notes
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