East of Thessaloniki are the mountains and plains of Thrace. Its ancient kingdoms were alternately at war with and allied to Persians, Greeks and Macedonians. Discover the strategic cities that grew up in the wake of passing conquerors; Phillipi, Mesembria with its Romano-Thracian chariot burials, and catch a glimpse of the city of Amphipolis.
Thrace’s landmark archaeological sites and Byzantine, Medieval, and Ottoman monuments add to its rich cultural heritage. This wild land is notable for the peaceful co-existence of Christian and Muslim traditions.
- Discover traces of Roman, Medieval and Ottoman history
- Explore the costal ruins of Mesembria, the ancient Greek polis of Zone
- Visit the famous Classical sanctuary of the Great Gods in Samothrace
- Enjoy special access to magnificent decorated Thracian tombs at Mikri Doxipara-Zoni
- Historic Churches
- Ancient Greek
- Special Access
- Low Single Supplement
- All Inclusive
We arrive in Thessaloniki via the much heralded site of Amphipolis. This was once Athens’ main power base on the Thracian coast.
We visit the site of Kavala, an important Roman city and later a Byzantine fortress. The town is famous for its large, originally Roman, aqueduct which was rebuilt by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. We continue to Phillipi and its museum. This was an important early Christian centre, right up to the 14th century. Remains here include an early Christian basilica and a good stretch of the Via Egnatia.
We travel over the water to the island of Thasos and visit the remains of the classical city, acropolis and the Limenas Museum. This was originally a Parian colony, enriched by its gold and silver mines. Marble was the island’s other commodity, and some of its beaches are composed of white marble sand.
We explore Abdera, once an important member of the Delian League. The city was heavily involved in the politics of the Persian and Peloponnesian Wars. After lunch we explore the picturesque Xanthi old town, once an important trading city, which played a big part in the wealthy Balkan tobacco trade. Happily, much of the traditional architecture has survived here.
We head east to Komotini with its Byzantine fortress and archaeological museum. We continue to Alexandroupolis, named not for Alexander the Great, but Alexander I, King of Greece. The King succumbed to the effects of a monkey bite, dying at the age of 27. We catch a ferry to Samothrace this afternoon.
We spend the morning exploring the famous Classical sanctuary of the Great Gods on Samothrace. This was one of the most important religious complexes in Greece, set up in honour of the “Great Gods” of Samothrace before the arrival of Greek colonists. We also visit Choravillage, which is now the capital of the island. It is dominated by the ruins of an imposing castle which was built by the Galluzzi family in the 14th century.
We visit Didymoteicho, the birthplace of several Byzantine Emperors, and scene of the first Ottoman Turkish victory in Europe. A number of fine Ottoman monuments survive, including the Ҫelebi Sultan Mehmet Mosque built by Mehmet the Conqueror.
We have special access to the decorated tombs of Mikri Doxipara Zoni tumuli – a series of burial mounds dating to the Roman period.
We explore the beautifully situated ruins at Mesembria, on the coast near the mouth of the stream Shabla Dere. Remains here include a small sanctuary of Demeter and a temple of Apollo, and an important find - a set of inscribed potsherds bearing the first decipherable texts in the Thracian language.
We return home.
- Tour Manager
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Meals - All meals included with water (wine with dinners)
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in program; tips included
- Field Notes
- Hotels - 4 nights in central Kavala, in a hotel boasting panoramic views from its rooftop lounge, 1 night in a simplistic hotel situated on rugged Samothrace, 3 nights in Astir Egnatia Alexandroupolis, in a hotel located among pine forest
- Flights - London to Thessaloniki; Alexandroupolis to London
4 nights in central Kavala, in a hotel boasting panoramic views from its rooftop lounge
1 night in a simplistic hotel situated on rugged Samothrace
3 nights in Astir Egnatia Alexandroupolis, in a hotel located among pine forest
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Over 140 Journeys into the Ancient World
At Andante, we are driven by a passion for the past. Founded and run by archaeologists over 30 years ago, Andante remains unique among travel companies... putting archaeology at the heart of everything we do.
However far-flung or close to home the destination, our ethos remains the same: a real holiday, led by an expert guide, where every day is spent in good company, amid beautiful landscapes, immersed in the stuff of past lives...