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Greece

Following in the Footsteps of St. Paul (11 days)

Welcome to an 11-day scenic tour following St Paul’s route from landing in the northern port of Neapolis to preaching his famous sermon introducing the unknown God in Athens. We travel the length of Greece visiting Philippi, Thessaloniki, Berea, Athens and Corinth and offer optional worship in some ancient and very special locations. As well as the Pauline sites and the history of Ancient Greece we see stunning landscapes as we journey through the Pindus Mountain Range to the engineering marvel of the Corinth Canal and stay in the heart of Athens with the opportunity to explore nearby islands.

Highlights include an introductory tasting tour in Thessaloniki; experiencing a living monastery, where the sisters are always happy to discuss their monastic way of life; a wine tasting on the southern foothills of Mount Olympus; Delphi where the Oracle was consulted by both states and individuals and highlighted the religious background to St. Paul’s preaching of the gospel; from the Acropolis walk down to the site of St. Paul’s sermon on Mars Hill (Aeropagus) where Paul had a mixed reception in making known the ‘Unknown God’. We then visit Agora the centre of public life in Athens at the time of Paul.

With time taken to take in the ancient sites, absorb the story of St. Paul and how Christianity started to spread west from Asia into Europe, relax with some free afternoons to sit back and contemplate as well as enjoy the Greek way of life.

Itinerary

  1. Travel to Thessaloniki (D, DR)

    Meet your fellow travelling companions and Tour Leader at your UK Airport and check-in for your flight to Thessaloniki.

    Afternoon: on arrival you will be met at Thessaloniki Airport by our expert Local Guide who will be with you throughout and transfer to your hotel to check-in for a three-night stay.

    Evening: welcome drinks get-together with an introductory talk, on the ancient sites that lie ahead and the story of St. Paul’s time in Greece, from your local guide followed by dinner in the hotel with water and tea or coffee included.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  2. Kavala – Neapolis – Church of Philippi (B, L, D)

    Morning: drive to the town of Kavala, the principal seaport in eastern Macedonia and the first place St. Paul stepped foot on the Greek Mainland. We continue to Neapolis where St. Paul and Silas were imprisoned and visit the Church of Philippi, the most supportive of all to St. Paul. We take worship in these inspiring surroundings.

    Afternoon: included lunch in a local taverna prior to visiting the stream and church in the village of Lydia, where Lydia of Thyatira was baptised, the first recorded baptism in Europe.

    Evening: dinner in a local taverna with water and tea or coffee included.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  3. Pella Museum, Veria (Berea) and Vergina (B, L, D)

    Morning: depart Thessaloniki and visit Pella the capital of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia and birthplace of Alexander the Great. Over one thousand tombs have been discovered, some containing elaborate artefacts from ceramics to precious metals, weapons and jewellery.

    Afternoon: after an included lunch in a local taverna we continue to Veria (Berea) where Philip II was assassinated and Alexander the Great became king. Paul and Silas’ visit here saw that its inhabitants were the first Christians in Europe. After, continue to your hotel in Vergina for an overnight stay.

    Evening: dinner in the hotel with water and tea or coffee included.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  4. St. Pauls Monument, wine tasting, Agia Paraskevi – Larissa (B, L, D)

    Morning: depart for Larissa and visit the spot in Veria where it is said that St. Paul stood and preached. The so called "Apostle Paul's Podium" is now an imposing monument. Later, we visit the 13th century Byzantine Castle of Platamon at the foot of Mt Olympus amidst stunning scenery.

    Afternoon: we continue for lunch and an included wine tasting at Rapsani on the southern foothills of Mount Olympus, the home of the gods in Greek mythology. The mountainous, sunny terrain in this part of Thessalia is well suited to the production of red wine and vineyards are scattered across the landscape. After, we continue to Larissa with a stop at the Holy Shrine of Paraskevi in Tempe for optional worship. The shrine is built into the rock and reached by an ornate bridge crossing a picturesque river setting. After, arrive in Larissa and check-in to your hotel for a three-night stay.

    Evening: dinner in the hotel with water and tea or coffee included.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  5. Kalabaka and the great Meteora Monasteries (B, D)

    Morning: visit the Natural History and Mushroom Museum before continuing to the extraordinary Meteora Monasteries perched high on gigantic rocks. The monastic history of Meteora dates back to the 11th century and the monasteries themselves date back to the 14th century. We shall visit at least three of these unique locations.

    Afternoon: visit a local church for a coffee break, take in the scenery and take optional worship before returning in the late afternoon to Larissa.

    Evening: dinner in a nearby local taverna with water and tea or coffee included.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  6. Farsala, Ancient Thermopylae & Delphi (B, L, D)

    Morning: depart Larissa and pass the lower slopes of Mount Parnassos to Farsala, an agricultural town famous as the birth place of Achilles, before continuing to the ancient site of Thermopylae where the Greeks fought the Persians in 480 BC at this scenic and truly narrow mountain pass, with hordes of Persians on the one side and a handful of Greeks on the other. You can almost hear the clash of steel and the screams of the wounded! Today Thermopylae has become a byword in Greek history for heroism and glory, and of dying for the idea of freedom.

    Afternoon: an included late lunch at Bralos Village where in October 1917, during World War I, the 49th Stationary Hospital was established along with rest and recuperation camps for Allied troops. It remained in use until April 1919. Many of the dead from the hospital—chiefly from the influenza epidemic—are buried in the British Cemetery. Bralos was also the site of fighting between British Commonwealth troops and the Germans in the Battle of Thermopylae (1941). Later check in to your hotel near Delphi for a two-night stay.

    Evening: dinner in the hotel with water and tea or coffee included.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  7. Pilgrim walk in Delphi and the Temple of Apollo (B, L, D)

    Morning: deeply engraved on the record of Greek history, Delphi was a place of incalculable religious and political importance which attracted pilgrims from all over the Hellenic world. Here the Oracle was consulted by both states and individuals; it highlights the religious background to St. Paul’s preaching of the gospel. Walk around the sights and be guided as your guide brings this ancient site to life.

    Afternoon: included lunch in a local taverna followed by optional worship in the setting of the ancient amphitheatre. After return to the hotel in the mid-afternoon to relax.

    Evening: dinner in a nearby local taverna with water and tea or coffee included.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  8. Hosios Loukas Monastery – Athens (B, L, D)

    Morning: depart from Delphi for the drive to Athens stopping first at the Hosios Loukas Monastery meaning “Esteemed Saint Luke”, not built in honour of Luke the Evangelist, but was established by the Greek monk Loukas. He was buried in the crypt of the monastery when he died in AD 953. Attached to the abbey is a large church, Katholikon, which in its turn is attached to a smaller temple, or Theotokos, erected between 997 and 1011 to honour the Virgin Mary. The temples are beautifully decorated with numerous frescoes and mosaics, all perfectly preserved.

    Afternoon: included lunch in a local taverna in this mountain region before continuing for the afternoon drive to your hotel in Athens and check-in for a four-night stay.

    Evening: dinner in the hotel with water and tea or coffee included.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  9. Half day Athens city tour and the Acropolis (B, D)

    Morning: a later breakfast before your tour on coach and foot taking in the Hellenic Parliament with the “Evzones” Presidential Guard found outside the Hellenic Parliament. They have become synonymous with the city of Athens and were originally founded in 1868 as a regiment of the Greek army. We then continue to the historical neighbourhood of Plaka, a labyrinth of streets with neoclassical architecture clustered around the northern and eastern slopes of the Acropolis. known as the "Neighborhood of the Gods" due to its proximity to the Acropolis and its many archaeological sites. We continue to the Acropolis, the Temple of Athena Nike, the foremost site of Classical Greece, with the Parthenon. We walk down to the site of St. Paul’s sermon on Mars Hill (Aeropagus) where Paul had a mixed reception in making known the ‘Unknown God’. We then visit Agora the centre of public life in Athens at the time of Paul.

    Afternoon: free leisurely afternoon to enjoy lunch (at own cost) wander the Plaka to shop, maybe visit the National Archaeological Museum of Greece or numerous other museums or head to the waterfront and marina in Piraeus. Your guide as always will advise of plenty of options.

    Evening: dinner in a local restaurant with water and tea or coffee included.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  10. Kingdom of Korinthos and Epidaurus (B, L, D)

    Morning: we head out of Athens for the day and cross the Corinth Canal making a stop to view this engineering marvel. We then visit the ancient town of Corinth where St. Paul stayed for 18 months and wrote two letters to Corinthians, which are mentioned in the New Testament, of whom he is the patron saint. An impressive church has been built in his honour. The remains of the city include the marketplace and Temple of Apollo and clearly show the importance of Corinth in ancient times. After, we make a short stop at the site of the ancient port of Cenchreae from where St. Paul departed for Ephesus.

    Afternoon: an included lunch of simple and fresh local produce before continuing to Epidaurus with its Great Theatre with its great acoustics, Sanctuary of Asclepius and join together in optional worship at this great location.

    Evening: dinner in a local restaurant close to your Athens hotel with water and tea or coffee included.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  11. Depart for the UK (B)

    After breakfast transfer to Athens Airport for the return flight to the UK, bid farewell to your Local Guide, Tour Leader and fellow travelling companions.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

Essential Information

Included excursions & walks

  • Thessaloniki: local produce market tour
  • Neapolis and Church of Philippi
  • Church in the village of Lydia, where Lydia of Thyatira was baptised
  • Pella; capital of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia, birthplace of Alexander the Great
  • St. Pauls monument in Veria
  • Wine tasting at Rapsani on the southern foothills of Mount Olympus
  • Meteora monasteries
  • Ancient site of Thermopylae
  • Delphi with optional worship in the ancient amphitheatre
  • Hosios Loukas Monastery
  • Athens city tour and the acropolis
  • Kingdom of Korinthos and Epidaurus

Optional excursions

None! All excursions and extras as listed above and below are included!

Included extras

  • Hotel baggage porterage
  • Local guide and drivers’ gratuities
  • All restaurant, hotel and many small local gratuities
  • Personal audio guiding system
  • Services of a knowledgeable Local Guide with you throughout

Included meals & drinks

Meals: all breakfasts, which will be buffets in the hotels, and all evening meals. Some evening meals are in the hotels and some will be in atmospheric local tavernas normally within walking distance of your hotels. Also, eight lunches are included, one is a packed lunch and all others are in local tavernas during your sightseeing visits.

Drinks: welcome and farewell drinks are included and drinks with the farewell gala dinner evening. All our included meals will include water and tea or coffee. All other drinks are at your own expense.

Our team in Greece

This holiday includes a qualified local guide to bring the history of Greece, St. Pauls time in Greece, as well as the wonders of Ancient Greece, to life. They will be staying with you and escorting you throughout.

Your journey

Direct flights are available from Heathrow with British Airways and from Gatwick or Manchester with easyJet to Thessaloniki, returning from Athens. Regional flights to London from some UK airports can be arranged at a supplement. An overnight stop may be required which we can assist you with. Please enquire at time of booking.

Outbound

Flight departs Heathrow: 07:55                                 Arrives Thessaloniki: 13:15

Inbound

Flight departs Athens: 14:30                                       Arrives Heathrow: 16:30

Length of flight to Thessaloniki: approximately three hours

Flight times are subject to change and confirmed with your final paperwork

Your hotels

11 nights nights in three- and four-star hotels based on occupancy of a double or twin room. Double rooms for sole occupancy are available for a supplement.

THESSALONIKI – PLAZA HOTEL (3*Superior) – Three nights

Situated in the heart of the ‘Bride of the North’, in the famous area Ladadika, opposite the Port, the Plaza Hotel has been a constant reference point for visitors for many years. With refurbished facilities and constantly renewed high quality services, it welcomes its guests and offers comfortable, pleasant and quiet accommodation, with modern facilities and direct access to all parts of the city.

Hotel facilities: a 24 hour front desk service, room service and drinks and afternoon coffee can be taken in the relaxing surroundings of the Ristretto Café bar.

Your room: air-conditioning/heating, flat screen TV, safe, fridge, iron and ironing board and complimentary WiFi.

Your bathroom: bath or shower, hairdryer, slippers and complimentary soap, shampoo and shower gel.

 

VERGINA – HOTEL MAKEDONIA (3*) – One night

A simple yet comfortable hotel in the centre of veria, overlooking the town, for this one-night stop. Just 39 rooms and a friendly family-run establishment.

Hotel facilities: café and bar as well as a roof-top terrace bar

Your room: air-conditioning/heating, balcony, flat screen TV, fridge and complimentary WiFi.

Your bathroom: bath or shower, hairdryer, bathrobes and complimentary soap, shampoo and shower gel.

 

LARISSA – HOTEL DIONISOS (3*) – Two nights

Dionysos Hotel is located in the city centre, a short distance from the two central city squares and the shopping centre. There are 84 comfortable, bright and contemporary rooms.

Hotel facilities: a 24-hour front desk service, room service and drinks and afternoon coffee can be taken in the bar.

Your room: air-conditioning/heating, balcony, flat screen TV, safe, fridge, tea and coffee making facilities and complimentary WiFi.

Your bathroom: bath or shower, hairdryer, slippers and complimentary soap, shampoo and shower gel.

 

DELPHI – FEDRIADES HOTEL (3* Superior) – Two nights

Ideally located in the heart of Delphi, the friendly family-run Fedriades Delphi Hotel offers incredible views of the Corinthian Gulf from almost every angle. The panoramic sea view and the olive groves of Pleistos valley become your daily background, embracing them into the splendour of Delphi and all the archaeological wealth of the surrounding area.

Hotel facilities: Epikouros Restaurant serves a variety of Greek and Mediterranean dishes with views of the Corinthian Gulf. A Greek breakfast in buffet style is prepared daily. There is a piano at the lobby area that can be used by guests.

Your room: air-conditioning/heating, balcony, flat screen TV, safe, fridge and complimentary WiFi.

Your bathroom: bath or shower, hairdryer, slippers and complimentary soap, shampoo and shower gel. 

 

ATHENS – ACROPOLIS SELECT HOTEL (3* Superior) – Three nights

Conveniently located in the heart of Athens and only a short walking distance to the Acropolis pedestrian walkway, leading to many of the city's main sights and attractions, the Acropolis Select Hotel is the perfect home away from home, for your next visit to Athens. A short five minute stroll from the hotel will bring guests to the ancient site of the Acropolis, the New Acropolis Museum and the Plaka District, while other major landmarks such as Syntagma Square, the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Monastiraki Market, as well as, the city's shopping hotspots of Hermou Street and Kolonaki are all within easy reach. Just a few meters from the property you will find metro, light railway and bus stations, making traveling around the city and its beach suburbs extremely convenient.

Hotel facilities: the 180 degree West Lounge Restaurant has an unforgettable and stunning view of the Parthenon and the Zeus Barwith its comfortable seating areas is open daily from 07:00 to 23:00.

Your room: air-conditioning/heating, flat screen TV, safe, fridge and complimentary WiFi.

Your bathroom: bath or shower, hairdryer and complimentary soap, shampoo and shower gel.

 

Practical information

Entry requirements

British Citizen and EU Citizen Passport holders can currently enter Greece freely with no restrictions or other documentation required. Stays within the EU can be up to 90 days (can be spread over multiple visits) within any 180-day period.

Please note your passport must be valid for six months after your return from Greece.

Full details of entry requirements and any required vaccinations will be detailed in your final paperwork 14 days before departure.

For the latest and most up to date travel advice including entry requirements please consult the Foreign & Commonwealth Development Office travel advice website.

www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Health & wellbeing

For travel within the EU you should ensure that you have the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) which is free of charge.  You can apply for the GHIC card by calling 0191 218 1999 or applying on line at…

www.nhs.uk/ghic

The level of cover offered by the GHIC card varies by country visited and is only applicable in state-run health facilities. In some countries coverage may just be a partial contribution.

Adequate insurance cover will be required for all hospital emergencies and doctors’ visits.

Climate

In Thessaloniki and Athens the average daily lowest and highest temperature range during your tour in September should be around 17-26 degrees centigrade. When travelling in the Pindus Mountains temperatures will be a few degrees cooler particularly in the mornings and evenings. Rainfall is rare at this time of year and usually just the odd short thunderstorm.

Clothing

Dress is cool and casual throughout your time in Greece. You may wish to take one or two smarter items for the evenings. Casual clothing is recommended in the day-time with evenings being smart/casual. As this tour requires a certain amount of gentle to intermediate walking, we suggest you take a pair of lined shoes or boots with decent grip. Sports shoes or trainers are fine as well as walking boots. It is advisable to bring just a couple of warmer items for the evenings as well as coastal walks where the wind may reduce the temperatures.

Mobility

There is a certain amount of walking, light undulations with just one or two steep sections but a number of stairs involved on a daily basis during your time in Greece so please make sure you pack comfy footwear for this so that you are prepared. Your Local Guide will keep you updated on a daily basis with what to expect the following day. If you are finding it difficult to keep up then please make sure you tell your Local Guide who can help you to find places to rest and relax and then you can re-join the group at a later stage.

Some streets in towns and villages that you will visit will be cobbled and ancient sites can have some uneven ground. We suggest you take a pair of comfortable shoes with good grips or trainers.  You must be prepared to be on your feet for up to 90 minutes without the necessity to sit down and walk up to a mile miles unaided. Hiking sticks are fine.

The McCabe Educational Trust

The McCabe Educational Trust is an independent registered charity with the aim of helping inspiring people we meet on some of our pilgrimages. As ‘the haves’ encounter the ‘have nots’ the Trust has become a practical tool for one to help the other.

McCabe Pilgrimages invite all travellers to become partners in this work. A £20 voluntary donation to the Trust’s work is added to every pilgrim’s invoice and all money raised in this way is given in full to the projects the Trust supports. This scheme is voluntary and confidential with nobody put under any pressure to participate.

Travel insurance

Ensuring that your holidays are appropriately protected is one of our main priorities. That’s why we have specifically chosen Holiday Extras as our *preferred travel insurance provider to ensure that you are protected before and whilst you are travelling. Holiday Extras offer McCabe Travel guests favourable rates for single trip, multi-trip and annual policies.

For more information or to obtain a quote click below for their website

https://www.holidayextras.com/travel-insurance

Or call them on 0800 083 3551 to speak to a friendly advisor.

Please quote AG628 upon calling to receive the best rates

Full financial security

All money paid to McCabe is fully secure. Holidays including flights are covered by our ATOL license from the Civil Aviation Authority, and holidays without flights are protected by our membership of the ABTOT bonding scheme. If a pilgrimage is cancelled, for instance through lack of numbers or for political considerations, McCabe will promptly refund all monies paid.

AITO Quality Statement

McCabe Pilgrimages is a member of the Association of Independent Tour Operators. The Association represents Britain’s leading independent tour operators and encourages high standards of quality and service. McCabe abides by the Association’s Code of Conduct and adheres to the AITO Quality Charter.

You can read McCabe reviews on the AITO website here

Read reviews

Dates

Our Programme Tour Leader Tour Dates Availability
Exeter Area Pilgrimage 11 Day Greece Departing From Gatwick Prices from £2999 pp Right Revd Bishop Nick McKinnel & Venerable Nick Shutt 15/04/2024 for 11 days

On Request

Download brochure Make an enquiry
In the footsteps of St Paul, with the Cookham pilgrims 11 Day Greece Departing From Heathrow Prices from £2999 pp The Revd David Joynes 04/06/2024 for 11 days Download brochure Book now Make an enquiry

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