The Wonder of Ancient Greece:
Athens and the Peloponnese





May 18-27, 2020

In the company of Sarah Lawrence faculty member Cameron Afzal, trace 5,000 years of Greek history while exploring the country’s well-preserved archaeological and religious treasures. Discover the iconic sites of Athens, including the Acropolis, Agora, and Aristotle’s Lyceum, and learn their fascinating history. Tour the Benaki Museum, the only museum in Greece that brings visitors through all ages of Greek culture and history. Travel west across the Corinth Canal to visit the beehive tombs and the Palace of Agamemnon in Mycenae and the historic stadium at Olympia. Stroll the streets of ancient Delphi, and sail to the island of Aegina for lunch at a private Greek home.

Program Highlights

  • Morning visit to the incomparable Acropolis in Athens
  • Private tour of Ancient Corinth, including a recently-excavated site, with Greek-American archaeologist Iulia Tzonou-Herbst
  • Immersion in Greek culture through cuisine and traditional Greek dancing
  • Private tour of the Agora with Professor Steven Diamant, an expert in Greek history and classical archaeology, as he discusses civic identity in Ancient Athens
  • Private lecture by Ministry of Foreign Affairs Hellenic Republic representative Dr. Stelios Zachariou
  • Day trip to the island of Aegina for lunch in a private family home surrounded by olive and pistachio trees


Herodion Hotel, Athens

Centrally located steps away from the famous Athens Acropolis, this four-star property provides breathtaking views of the awe-inspiring landscape as well as convenient access to all that Athens has to offer. Guest rooms are comfortable, contemporary, and equipped with modern amenities, including complimentary Wi-Fi, business center, restaurant and rooftop bar/lounge. (6 nights)

Hotel Amalia Nafplion, Nafplio

This neoclassical 4-star property combines modern luxuries with classical charm. The estate offers guests numerous amenities including a bar and lounge, pool, business center, laundry services, and access to the beautiful garden located on the grounds. Guest rooms feature complimentary Wi-Fi, mini-bar, flat-screens televisions, and garden views. (1 night)

Hotel Pelops, Olympia

A family-run hotel located in the heart of Ancient Olympia, this charming property provides a comfortable stay in a peaceful place. The hotel features a large courtyard and a lounge area, where guests can sit and relax after a long day of sightseeing. Each room has a balcony overlooking the village below, as well as a Wi-Fi and satellite TV. (1 night)

Hotel Amalia Delphi, Delphi

Ideally located at the foot of Mount Parnassus, Amalia Hotel Delphi boasts picturesque mountain and valley views as well as unparalleled access to numerous ancient sites, including the Temple of Apollo. The hotel offers a contemporary atmosphere with modern amenities such as complimentary Wi-Fi, business center, restaurant and lounge, pool, and laundry service. (1 night)

Trip Itinerary

Our exploration of Southern Greece will take place from May 18-27, 2020.

Monday, May 18: Welcome to Greece!

After arriving in Athens, transfer by private coach to the neighborhood of Thissio, named after the ancient Greek temple of Hephaestus and located near the Acropolis. Check into the Hotel Herodion, in the shadow of the ancient citadel. Have time to settle into your surroundings before gathering as a group this evening for a welcome reception and dinner on the hotel’s rooftop, with gorgeous views overlooking the Acropolis.

Reception, Dinner

Tuesday, May 19: Athens

Gather later this morning for an orientation lecture, where you will learn about the trip and what’s to come. Journey to Aristotle’s Lyceum, one of the three oldest gymnasia in ancient Greece, located in the heart of Greek capital. Founded in 335 B.C.E. as a Peripatetic School, due to Aristotle’s love of teaching while walking, the school focused on cooperative research and was student-run. After lunch, visit the Benaki Museum for a guided tour led by Eleni Zachariou. This former family mansion in downtown Athens, founded in 1930, houses Greek art from prehistoric to modern times and is the only museum in Greece that brings visitors through all ages of Greek culture and history. View Greek regal costumes, Byzantine icons and reconstructed reception rooms from stately homes in Greek Macedonia.

Breakfast, Dinner

Wednesday, May 20: Athens

Following breakfast, journey to the top of the world-famous Acropolis. Ascend the meandering passageway leading up to the Beulé Gate, uniquely named after the French archaeologist, Charles Ernest Beulé, who excavated the site in 1852. Pass through the classic Greek archway that was originally built during the third century AD by Romans to serve as a defensive entrance to the Propylaia.

Continue on to the Ancient Agora of Athens, the once thriving gathering place for discussions on all things athletic, artistic, spiritual, and political. Explore the Agora with Dr. Steven Diamant, a professor in Aegean and Anatolian pre-history, classical archaeology, and Greek history. Travel through the labyrinth of sights and sounds of the remarkable Plaka, peppered with views of ancient archaelogical wonders. Stop to savor authentic Greek dishes during lunch in this bustling historical market district.

Then, continue with a visit to the new Acropolis Museum, constructed over a once-flourishing ancient urban development, with remnants still visible through the transparent glass floor. While at the museum, you will have the unique opportunity to visit the restoration workshop.

Breakfast, Lunch

Thursday, May 21: Athens

This morning journey to Kerameikos, an area of Athens that was once the potter’s quarter of the city. It is from the Latinized name of the area, Ceramicus, that we get the English word ‘ceramic’. Explore the area and learn about ancient pottery techniques.

Afterwards, visit the American School of Classical Studies for a tour of the school and lunch with the Director Dr. Jenifer Neils. After lunch, visit the National Archaeological Museum. The museum holds one of the world’s most significant collections of ancient artifacts, including the “Mask of Agamemnin,” discovered in Mycenae in 1876. Tonight, meet as a group for a lecture focusing on contemporary Greece by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Hellenic Republic representative, Dr. Stelios Zachariou.

Breakfast, Lunch

Friday, May 22: Eleusis/Corinth/Nafplio

Travel along the coastline road to the Sanctuary of Eleusis, where the secret religious rites of the cult of Demeter and Persphone were performed. Continue on to the city of Corinth, renowned in ancient times for its luxury and wealth. Meet with Iulia Tzonou-Herbst, a Greek-American archaeologist, who will accompany you on a private tour of Ancient Corinthian sites including the Temple of Apollo, the Roman Forum, the Bema where the Apostle Paul defended himself, and through a site recently excavated by the American School of Classical Studies in Athens.

Continue on to charming seaside town of Nafplio, the first capital of Greece, and embark on a walking tour of the prehistoric city. Enjoy the remainder of the afternoon at leisure. Gather as a group this evening for dinner at a local taverna.

Breakfast, Dinner

Saturday, May 23: Mycenae & Epidaurus

Spend the morning in Nafplio before journeying to Mycenae for an exploration of this renowned archaeological site. Pass through the ancient Lion Gate to begin the ascent up the winding stairway of the citadel overlooking the plain of Argolis, with its impressive Cyclopean Walls. Conclude the visit at the grave circles, Agamemnon’s palace, and the beehive tombs. On the way to Epidaurus, stop to explore a local oil press and olive oil farm.

Then visit the city itself, one of the most famous healing centers in antiquity and home to the best-preserved theater in Greece, known for its exceptional acoustics. The theater was constructed in the 4th century BC by Polykleitos the Younger, a renowned sculptor of ancient Greek athletes. The original theatre consisted of 34 rows of limestone seating, a critical design feature that assisted in filtering out low frequency sounds and amplifying high frequency sounds such as the actors performing on the stage.

Drive this afternoon to the ancient site of Olympia and check into your hotel. Dinner tonight will feature a troupe of Greek dancers, who will perform traditional Greek dances and teach you the basics of their craft.

Breakfast, Dinner

Sunday, May 24: Olympia

This morning, tour Olympia, the location of the first Pan Hellenic games, held in 776 BC, in honor of Zeus. Visit the site of the first Olympics, the stadium, Temple of the Olympian Zeus, Temple of Hera and the Archaeological Museum of Olympia known for the unique pediments from the Temple of Zeus. Drive along the coast through the city of Patras, the third largest port in Greece. Cross over the modern-day bridge connecting the Peloponnese with mainland Greece en route to Delphi, proclaimed by Zeus as the center of the earth. Continue on to Delphi and check into your hotel.

Breakfast, Lunch

Monday, May 25: Delphi

Start the day in Delphi. Spend the morning walking the sacred pathway to the Temple of Apollo, the site of the legendary oracle. Visit the upper sanctuary with its the impressive theater and stadium, before traveling down to the lower sanctuary museum, where the bronze statue of Charioteer is located.

Then, visit the Sanctuary of Athena Pronaea, constructed as the entryway into Delphi, honoring the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, law and justice, mathematics, strength, war strategy, and the arts. According to ancient inscriptions, one purpose of this sanctuary shrine was to protect the temple of Athena’s half-brother Apollo, and the Pan-Hellenic’s famed oracle. Return to Athens this evening.


Tuesday, May 26: Athens to Aegina

Following breakfast this morning, journey to the port town of Piraeus, located within Athen’s city limits, stopping along the way to marvel at the port, the largest Greek seaport and birthplace to the Athenian fleet. View the ancient walls surrounding the port, modernly decorated in murals by Greek visual artist ‘INO’ before traveling by ferry to the island of Aegina. During ancient times Aegina was considered to be a great sea power and rival of Athens. Venture across the island to the Temple of Aphaea, the best-preserved 5th-century BC temple. Continue on to the home of the Zachariou family for lunch among pistachio and olive trees with family friends. This afternoon, return to Athens by ferry. Gather in the evening to commemorate the trip with a farewell reception and dinner.

Breakfast, Lunch, Reception, Dinner

Wednesday, May 27: Adio Greece

After breakfast, depart on individual flights home.


Your Don for This Trip

Cameron AfzalCameron C. “Ron” Afzal is your faculty don and lecturer for this exploration of Southern Greece. A dedicated educator who has extensive experience teaching in Athens, Ron has been a member of the Religion faculty at Sarah Lawrence for more than 25 years, and served recently as Associate Dean of the College. He holds a BA from Grinnell College, an MA from McGill University, an MDiv from Yale, and a PhD from Columbia. Ron is an active member of the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Academy of Religion, as well as the Catholic Biblical Association. He has taught broadly in the fields of the New Testament and Early Christianity, Judaism in the Second Temple Period, the Hebrew Bible, and Late Antique Christian Mysticism.


  • $5,995 per person, sharing a double room
  • $6,710 per person, single room
A $500 deposit is required

What's Included

  • All accommodations, 8 meals and receptions as outlined in the itinerary, including welcome and farewell receptions and drinks with meals
  • Group transfers on arrival between Athens Airport to the Hotel Herodion
  • Group transfers on departure between the Hotel Herodion and the Athens Airport
  • All sightseeing, special access, and entrance fees as specified in the itinerary
  • Comprehensive educational program by professional on-site guides
  • Gratuities to porters, guides, drivers, wait staff in restaurants during group meals, and housekeeping in group hotels
  • MedEvac insurance and political and natural disaster evacuation coverage for all participants and staff
  • An ATA Tour Manager for comprehensive logistical and customer service management on tour
  • Wireless listening devices during all visits
  • Bottled water for all bus rides

What's Not Included

  • International airfare to and from Greece
  • Travel and trip cancellation insurance
  • Meals not specified in the itinerary; food and beverages not part of the included meals
  • Personal items such as telephone, fax and internet charges, laundry, room service, alcoholic or other beverages not specified as included
  • Gratuities for non-group services
  • Expenses incurred in making individual travel arrangements in conjunction with the tour

Join Us!

To reserve your place on this trip, please contact our partners at Academic Travel Abroad at 800.556.7896 or