Greece & Turkey
Day 1: Depart U.S.A.
Our spiritual pilgrimage begins as we depart on our transatlantic flight to Turkey. Meals and refreshments will be served aloft.
Day 2: Arrive Istanbul
Upon arrival in Istanbul we will be met by our guide who will give us a brief orientation of the city before driving to our hotel.
Day 3: Istanbul
Visit the famous Blue Mosque with its six minarets and sparkling interior. Next, visit Topkapi Palace, the residence of the Ottoman Sultans, where we will view the Treasury and the world’s biggest emerald. Proceed to the Grand Bazaar, the oldest and largest covered market in the world where over 4,000 shops sell everything from herbs to gold. In the afternoon embark on a cruise along the Bosphorus, the winding strait separating Europe and Asia.
Day 4: Istanbul / Canakkale
Visit the Hagia Sophia which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and has a history dating back to the 4th century. Then depart Istanbul and drive along the Sea of Marmara and across the Dardanelles to Gallipoli, the famous site of the World War One battle. Continue on to legendary Troy to see the city made famous in Homer’s poems and visit Troas where St. Paul had a vision in which he was called to Macedonia. Proceed on to Canakkale for overnight.
Day 5: Canakkale / Izmir
Visit Pergamum, the most favored of the Seven Churches where Christianity was introduced very early. Here we will see the Temple of Zeus, the Temple of Athena, the fabled Acropolis and the Royal Gate. We will also visit Asclepion, one the foremost healing centers of the ancient world. Continue on to Thyatira, another of the Seven Churches. Then visit the Church of St. Polycarp, which is the oldest church in ancient Smyrna and is dedicated to one of the first Christian martyrs. Proceed to Izmir for overnight.
Day 6: Izmir / Pamukale
Dive to Sardis, the Lydian capital city where money was first minted, to visit the Roman Gymnasium and the remains of the Artemis Temple which symbolized one of the Seven Churches. We will then stop at Philadelphia which was referred to as the “New Jerusalem”. Proceed to the spa city of Pamukale where we will see the cascading water from the cliffs forming crystallized, dazzling white “frozen waterfalls”. Visit the ruins of the Roman health spa of Hierapolis and see the magnificently preserved Necropolis, the Main Street and Gates. Overnight in Pamukale.
Day 7: Pamukale / Kusadasi
Visit Laodicea, one of the Seven Churches where Christians were chastised by John for being lukewarm. Then proceed to Ephesus to visit the site of the Temple of Artemis which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Paul spent two years in Ephesus and it was to this community that he wrote his Epistle to the Ephesians. Paul implored the Ephesians to cease their worship of Artemis and to turn to Christianity. We will see the great theater where Paul addressed the crowds and visit the site of the scene of the riot from which Paul escaped. Visit the Church of the Virgin Mary, the House of Mary, and the Tomb of St. Luke. While driving to the colorful port of Kusadasi, we will visit the Basilica of St. John, which was erected over his grave in the 6th century A.D. by the Emperor Justinian.
Day 8: Kusadasi / Patmos
This morning we will transfer to the pier at Kusadasi to embark on a three-day cruise of the Greek Isles. This afternoon we will arrive to the island of Patmos where St. John received the mystical Revelation which forms the last book of the New Testament. You may wish to visit the island on your own or take an optional excursion to the Grotto of Revelation and the 11th century Monastery of St. John which houses the original script of the Gospel.
Day 9: Heraklion / Santorini
This morning we arrive to the port of Heraklion on the island of Crete, the southernmost of the Greek Isles and the legendary birthplace of the Greek god Zeus. Heraklion, the capital of Crete and its principal commercial port, is just three miles away from the fantastic ruins of the Palace of Knossos which is believed to be the mythical Labyrinth of King Minos. You may wish to visit the island on your own or take an optional excursion. After visiting Crete we will set sail and arrive on the island of Santorini. Take time to explore this gorgeous island and stroll through its quaint winding streets and whitewashed alleys and enjoy the local flavor of its many cafes and tavernas.
Day 10: Piraeus / Athens
After disembarking at Piraeus we will drive to ancient Corinth, the city that inspired many of St. Paul’s most familiar letters. We will stand in the midst of the ruins of the church of Corinth and seeing the pillars, steps, and public worship place where Paul preached will enhance our understanding and love of I & II Corinthians. We’ll celebrate Mass in Corinth before proceeding to Athens for check-in at our local hotel.
Day 11: Athens
This morning we will enjoy a tour of Athens starting with a visit to the ancient Acropolis with its Parthenon. We’ll stroll through the Ancient Agora where Socrates, Plato, and much later St. Paul spoke to the people of Athens. Then we’ll head over to the National Archeological Museum for a guided tour of one of the world’s greatest museums. The remainder of the afternoon is free.
Day 12: Athens / U.S.A.
Transfer to Athens airport to catch our return flight home.
The above itinerary is only a small taste of what we have to offer.
Customized itineraries and competitive quotations will be furnished upon request.