ATHENS TO CORFU
Day 1 Arrive in Athens in the evening. Drive to hotel in the Plaka district on the slopes of the Acropolis.
Day 2 Make an early visit to the Acropolis followed by the new Acropolis Museum. Lunch near the Agora and then an hour or so in the National Archaeological Museum in order to get to grips with the rudiments of Greek sculpture. In the afternoon set off for Delphi, a two hour drive north. Stay in Delphi.
Day 3 Visit the site and enjoy the incredible location of the site at Delphi, then spend some time in the museum before lunch. In the afternoon go for a walk in the mountains behind Delphi which provide even more spectacular views of the Gulf of Corinth and beyond.
Day 4 Drive south to Nafplion. On the way visit the monastery church of Osios Loukas at Stiris to admire its exquisite 11th century mosaics. Further south pause and walk up to the 5th century BC fortress at Eleutherai, the border of ancient Attica, and look across at Mount Cithaeron, the mythical playground of the followers of Dionysus. Weather permitting, stop for a swim by the ruins of the Heraion before peering into the Corinth Canal. Stay in the beautiful port town of Nafplion, the first capital of Greece.
Day 5 Visit Mycenae, the citadel of Agamemnon, in the morning, before going tothe weekly market in Argos to buy our lunch. Picnic lunch at the Temple of Hera overlooking the Plain of Argos, then visit Tiryns, another Mycenaean fortress and the mythical birthplace of Hercules. In the evening walk up the 600-odd steps to Palalmidi Castle in Nafplion before having dinner in the Venetian town square. Stay in Nafplion.
Day 6 A very early start in order to enjoy the theatre at Epidavros in solitude. Then drive west along the north coast of the Peloponnese and north up the west coast of the mainland to Parga. Stop on the way for lunch and a swim in the ‘Sacred City’ of Mesolongi, where Lord Byron died during the War of Independence. Visit Byron’s grave and museum. Stay in the lovely port village of Parga, looking across at the island of Paxos.
Day 7 visit the Nekromanteion, a small Hellenistic site where Odysseus paused on his travels to commune with his dead comrades; and have lunch in the gorge of the River Acheron, one of the ancient rivers of the Underworld. In the afternoon visit the sites of Nikopolis, built by the emperor Augustus to celebrate his victory over Anthony and Cleopatra at the battle of Actium, and Kassope, a beautifully located Hellenistic site with incredible views over the Ionian islands and the Ambracian Gulf, which Augustus emptied of its population in order to fill up Nikopolis. Take the ferry from Igoumenitsa to Corfu in time to have dinner in Corfu. Stay in the old town of Corfu.
Day 8 Wander the streets of the old town and visit the fortress and/or the Byzantine and archaeological museums before heading to the airport. Depart.
An extra day can be added to this trip to allow for a day in Albania visiting the fabulous site of Butrint, which boasts monuments from every historical period from the 4th century BC to the 19th century AD.