Today we embark on our Journey to the lands of ancient treasures and Christian history, departing from Dublin Airport. Upon arrival in Thessaloniki, we will be met by our local guide and bus driver who will transfer us to our hotel. Prepare yourself for a life-changing experience!
Day 2 Byzantine Thessaloniki
Today we will experience the brilliant showcase of Byzantine art and architecture found in Thessaloniki, spanning centuries of the city’s remarkable history of strategy, struggle and survival. Our City Tour will include a visit to the Agia Sofia Church, the Church of Agios Dimitrios (UNESCO World Heritage), the Byzantine Museum, the White Tower of Thessaloniki, the walls of the City and the Vlatadon Monastery (same location of Jason’s Home where St Paul lived - Jason of Thessaloniki was a Jewish convert and early Christian believer – he is venerated as a saint in Catholic and Orthodox traditions).
Full day tour to Philippi where St. Paul baptised the first Christian woman, Lydia. Lydia’s large town house (or ‘villa’) became Paul’s headquarters in Philippi. We will visit the Baptistry of St. Lydia which, is host to impressive works of art, icons and stained glass by famous masters as well as an amazingly beautiful mosaic on the walls and arches, depicting scenes from the life of the Apostle Paul. We will also visit Kavala Port (formerly known as Neapolis) where Paul docked. Return to Thessaloniki.
Visit to numerous stunningly beautiful churches in Thessaloniki, all of which are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List – our tour will include a visit to the Agios Nikolaos Orphanos which, is covered in outstanding Byzantine frescoes, the Church of Agioi Apostoloi, a late Byzantine church with original frescoes and mosaics and the Rotunda of St. George.
Visit to the Bema of Apostle Paul in Veria, a place of worship, where Veria's citizens heard about Christianity first from the St. Paul. This will be followed by a visit to the Old Metropolis, an early 11th-century Byzantine basilica, dedicated to Saint Paul which is home to unique iconography. We will continue to Kalambaka, which is situated on the foothills of an extraordinary geological phenomenon, the giant cliffs of Meteora. Check-in to hotel and dinner.
Visit some of the 6 Meteora monasteries perched on the huge cliffs which can only be described as serene, spiritual, mystical, extraordinary, breath-taking, immense, inspiring and impressive. Followed by a visit to an Art studio and the workshop of Father "Pefki" and his colleagues.
We will visit the remainder of the Monasteries of Meteora before driving on to Athens, with a stop at the Osios Lucas Monastery which, is beautifully decorated with numerous frescoes and mosaics, all perfectly preserved.
Our tour of Athens will include a visit to the Acropolis, Mars Hill where St Paul talked to the Judges. Followed by a visit to the Benaki Museum whose collection gives a captivating overview of Greek history throughout the ages. We will also visit the Church of Panagia Kapnikarea which, is one of the oldest churches in Athens and admittedly one of the most significant Byzantine edifices, to admire works of greatest Greek iconographer Fotis Kontoglou. Our day ends with a visit to the Church of Genniseos Christokopidou.
A visit to the Byzantine & Christian Museum, which hosts a trove of religious art and artefacts from the Byzantium, housed in an enchanting monastery-style building and gardens. Followed by a visit to UNESCO world heritage site Byzantine Daphni Monastery in Athens, which was first built in the 6th century and hosts exquisite architecture and stunning mosaics.
Transfer to Athens airport for our flight home.
*It is our intention to follow the itinerary as outlined above, however due to many factors like local holidays, traffic or weather conditions it may be necessary to make changes to the order of events or even the cancelation of certain events.