Day 1: Depart for Turkey
- Board your overnight flight, arriving the following day.
Day 2: Arrival in Istanbul
- Meet at the Istanbul Airport and transfer to hotel. Founded 3300 years ago, Istanbul straddles two continents, Europe and Asia, separated by the Strait of Bosphorus.
- This afternoon we enjoy a private cruise along the Bosphorus, viewing 19th century mansions and palaces.
- In the afternoon we return to the hotel.
- Dinner and overnight in Istanbul.
Day 3: Istanbul
- We explore the Old City, starting at the Hippodrome, scene of chariot races in the Roman period.
- We then visit the 17th-century Blue Mosque, famous for its six minarets and magnificent blue-tiled interior.
- We continue to the Topkapi Palace of the Ottoman Sultans, which houses the riches of 700 years; we shall see the crown jewels and a unique collection of Chinese porcelain.
- In the afternoon we visit the Basilica of Saint Sophia, built by Justinian the Great in the 6th century. With its massive dome (176 feet high!) and its golden mosaics, Saint Sophia has never ceased to astonish.
- Our day of history and architecture will end with a visit to the Grand Bazaar, where Genoese and Venetian merchants plied their wares through the Renaissance.
- Exploring the aisles of the 500-year-old mall, we hunt for bargains in handcrafted souvenirs from oriental rugs to antique jewelry.
- Then we return to the hotel.
- Dinner and overnight in Istanbul.
Day 4: Istanbul – Canakkale
- After checking out of the hotel, we drive west along the northern shore of the Sea of Marmara on the Thracian peninsula, the European part of Turkey.
- On reaching the Strait of the Dardanelles, we cross the Gallipoli peninsula, which witnessed some of the harshest battles of World War I.
- We cross the Dardanelles by ferry and continue to Tevfikiye, where we visit what remains of Troy, the city sung by Homer. Founded 5000 years ago, Troy controlled the Dardanelles until the Roman era.
- Early in the evening we reach our hotel.
- Dinner and overnight in Canakkale.
Day 5: Canakkale – Assos – Pergamum – Akhisar – Izmir
- We start the day with a delightful drive through olive orchards, reaching the ancient port of Alexandria Troas, from which St. Paul set sail to Macedonia.
- Heading south, we pass Assos, where Paul met Luke while traveling to the Holy Land for Passover. The ruins of Assos lie under the modern-day fishing village of Behramkale.
- Early in the afternoon we reach Pergamon, the church that John both affirmed and chastised (Rev. 2:12-17), calling it the site of Satan’s throne. Pergamon was the capital of a Hellenistic Kingdom of that name, which ruled western Asia Minor.
- In the afternoon we continue to Akhisar, ancient Thyathira, hometown of the New Testament Jezebel. The church of Thyatira was praised for its increasing faith but criticized for its tolerance of Jezebel (Rev. 2:18-28).
- Dinner and overnight in Izmir.
Day 6: Izmir – Sart – Alasehir – Pamukkale
- This morning we tour Izmir (Smyrna), whose story goes back 5000 years. Two of its churches won high praise in Revelation 2:8-11. Among the first martyrs of Asia Minor was its bishop, Policarp, during the reign of Marcus Aurelius.
- We continue our drive, through robust vineyards, to Sardis, “you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead” (Rev. 3:1-6). The ruins of Sardis, dating from the Roman period, still convey its wealth.
- We then continue to Philadelphia: “See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name” (Rev. 3:8). Today’s Philadelphians still make their living from viniculture, as in Bible times.
- We then drive to Pamukkale, home to spectacular hot springs.
- We visit the nearby ruins of Hierapolis, an important seat of early Christianity.
- Dinner and overnight in Pamukkale.
Day 7: Pamukkale – Laodecia – Ephesus – Kusadasi
- We start the day with a short drive to Laodecia: ” I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.'” (Rev. 3:15-17). The city was indeed rich from textile production. The Laodiceans washed their wool in the waters of the nearby river, Lycus, which gave the product a special sheen. Thanks to their wealth they never needed assistance from Rome, even after their city was twice destroyed by earthquake. Recent excavations have revealed the Roman road and theater, both in very good condition.
- We continue with a pleasant drive to Ephesus, one of the Bible’s most significant cities (Rev. 2:1-7). The Apostle Paul visited in 53 A.D, and, according to tradition, the Apostle John wrote his Gospel here.
- We visit the house where the Virgin Mary is believed to have spent the last days of her life with John.
- We then take a short drive to the abundant ruins of the ancient city. As capital of the Roman Province of Asia Minor, Ephesus was the scene of many political intrigues. Paul carried out his mission here for two years.
- We walk on the Marble Road through the city, noting temples dedicated to the emperors Domitian and Hadrian. The Library of Celsus adorns the most impressive square.
- We tour the ancient residential section, observing the luxury in which some Ephesians lived. The theater is the largest surviving from the Roman period. This massive building was the scene of an uprising provoked by a merchant named Demetrius against St.Paul and his teachings (Acts 19:23).
- Finally, we visit the Basilica of John, built in the 6th century on the traditional tomb of John the Evangelist. One of the greatest Christian shrines, it was constructed using stones from the Temple of Artemis, visible from its outer gardens.
- Dinner and overnight in Kusadasi.
Day 8: Last day in Turkey
- Departure from Kusadasi back to Istanbul.
- Free time for shopping and exploring.
Day 1: Depart for Israel
- Depart on your overnight flight to Israel, arriving in Tel Aviv the following day.
Day 2: Arrival: Arrive at Ben Gurion Airport.
- After passport control and baggage claim you will meet your guide and board your bus and begin your first day in Israel with a brief tour of Joppa, the ancient seaport.
- It is here where Jonah fled from his responsibility and where Peter had his vision opening the church to the gentiles.
- We then drive northward to Tiberias and check into our hotel for three nights.
Day 3: Caesarea, Cana, & Nazareth
- After breakfast, we travel by private motor coach along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea to Caesarea, where Gentiles first heard the Good News from Peter and were baptized.
- We’ll see the Roman Amphitheatre and aqueduct, and then journey on to Mt. Carmel, where Elijah challenged King Ahab and the prophets of Baal.
- Next we travel through the Jezreel Valley to Megiddo, the Armageddon Battlefield, where archaeologists have unearthed 20 levels of civilization.
- We drive through the area of Cana and Nazareth, the boyhood home of Jesus, where we visit the Nazareth Village – a wonderful recreation of Biblical times with costumed guides.
- We end our day at the Arbel Cliff for an overview of the Sea of Galilee and the sites of the early Ministry of Christ around the lake before we drive down to our.
Day 4: Sea of Galilee and Upper Galilee
- Following breakfast, we drive on the western shores of the Sea of Galilee to the City of Tiberias.
- We continue driving along the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum, where we visit the synagogue and the place where early Christians remembered Peter’s house.
- We continue to Tabgha (short for Heptapagon, “seven springs”) to view the mosaics in the Church of the Loaves and Fishes.
- Ascending the Mt. Beatitudes, we listen to Jesus’ teachings.
- On an ancient trade route, we pass Hazor and then go on to Dan. Here we do a nature walk and visit the high place where Jeroboam son of Nebat set up a golden calf.
- We continue to Caesarea Philippi ( Banias ), where Peter answered Jesus’ question, “Who do you say that I am?”
- Our route then takes us over the Golan Heights, skirting Mt. Hermon, with a view toward Damascus.
- We end the day with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee.
Day 5: The Lower Galilee and the Jordan Valley
- This day we visit three major sites: Beth Shean, Ein Harod and Jericho.
- We begin our day with a visit to the Jordan River Baptismal site.
- We then down into the Jordan Valley and to the startegic crossing point between the Jordan Valley and the Jezreel is located the city of Beth Shean (aka Scythopolis). Here we shall climb the tel and view the setting for the death of Saul (I Samuel 28 – II Samuel 1).
- We shall then survey the magnificent Roman and Byzantine ruins: theatre, bathhouses, ancient rest rooms, market areas, colonnaded streets.
- We then drive down through the Jezreel Valey west to Ein Harod. Judges 7 describes Gideon’s actions in thinning his army out. He brought the men to his army out. He brought the men to the spring and sorted them on the basis of how they drank from the water.
- We then drive east into Harod’s Valley. This fantastic view is filled with biblical history. From this location on Tel Jezreel looking east, one can yet imagine the crowned Jehu “driving like a madman,” on his way to killing the kings of Israel and Judah. 900 years later, Jesus healed the 10 lepers, probably somewhere in this valley.
- We continue east back to the Jordan Valley and then south to Jericho.
- At Jericho, we visit the tell of this oldest city and view the traditional mountain of Jesus’ temptation.
- We continue driving south through the Rift Valley and driving along the western shores of the Dead Sea.
- Then it is on to the Qumran Caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.
- We will have a short stop at the Dead Sea for a dip in the therapeutic waters of the Dead Sea before we continue on to Jerusalem and check into our hotel where will be staying for two nights.
Day 6: Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, & Bethlehem
- Today we will walk where Jesus walked.
- Begin with a panoramic view of the city, Mount Moriah, and the Dome of the Rock from atop the Mount of Olives and then the Garden of Gethsemane.
- We will drive to Bethlehem, where Jesus Christ was born, to visit the Church of Nativity and the Shepherds’ Fields, which commemorate the fields where the angel appeared to the shepherds to lead them to where Jesus Christ was born.
Day 7: Old City
- Transfer to Dung Gate and walk to the Southern Wall excavations.
- Examine the ruins near the south side of the Temple complex, including steps where we are certain that Jesus and the disciples walked.
- Walk up to the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site.
- Ascend to the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site of Islam, located on the traditional site of the Temple.
- Just to the north we find the Pools of Bethesda (John 5) and St. Anne’s Church, perfectly preserved from the Crusader period.
- Pass through the Jerusalem markets.
- From there we board our bus and transfer to the Garden Tomb for a special visit and communion before having dinner and departing for Ben Gurion airport where we board our flight back home.
Day 1: Depart for Europe
- Depart on your overnight flight to Europe, arriving in Athens the following day.
Day 2: Arrival
- Arrival at Athens airport.
- After meeting our guide and driver, we drive 20 miles to the city.
- The rest of the day is at leisure.
- Dinner and overnight in our hotel.
Day 3: Athens and Corinth
- We explore the Athenian Acropolis with its Parthenon.
- We continue to the Areopagus and Mars Hill, where the Apostle Paul delivered his famous sermon (Acts 17).
- Then we take a bus tour through Athens, seeing the library, the university and the parliament.
- In the afternoon, we make our way to ancient Corinth, where Paul lived and preached—as we know from his epistles to the Corinthians. Here he established the first entirely Gentile church.
- We also visit the archeological museum and the temples.
- Heading back toward Athens, we stop to visit the ancient ports of Lechaion and Cenchrean, as well as the Corinthian Canal.
- Dinner and overnight in Athens.
Day 4: Cruise to Mykonos
- This morning we take a cruise ship to Mykonos, arriving around 6:30 p.m.
- We explore the famous island with its multitude of shops.
- Our ship departs at 11 p.m.
Day 5: Cruise to Ephesus and Patmos
- We sail to Kusadasi in Turkey, where we visit ancient Ephesus and the House of the Virgin Mary.
- We return to the ship and sail to Patmos, the beautiful rocky island where St. John in exile received the Revelation that forms the last book of the Bible.
- We visit the 11th-century monastery and the traditional Grotto of Revelation.
- We head back to our ship and head for Greece’s biggest island, Crete.
Day 6: Crete and Santorini
- We awaken in the Cretan port of Heraklion, where we visit the remains of Minoan Civilization, which reached artistic glory 4000 years ago.
- Returning to the ship, we sail to Santorini, site of an epochal volcanic eruption that some connect with the legend of Atlantis—it blew up the Minoan land mass, leaving the islands we see today.
- We may take an optional tour to picturesque Oia village.
- We then return to the ship and spend our last night on the water.
Day 7: To Delphi and Kalambaka
- Today we leave our ship, meet our guide and drive with the bus to Delphi. Here ancient leaders came to consult the Oracle.
- We visit the Temple of Apollo, the Athenian Treasury, the Theater, the Archaeological Museum, and the monument to the “One God.”
- We continue to Kalambaka for dinner and overnight.
Day 8: Kalambaka-Veria-Thessaloniki
- At Kalambaka, perched on cliffs as if suspended in air, stand medieval monasteries sheltering exquisite specimens of Byzantine art. Six of the 24 are inhabited, and we shall visit one or two.
- We continue to Veria (Berea), where Paul found a warmer welcome than he had at Thessaloniki.
- We see the monument, known as the Bema, built in honor of the Apostle.
- We continue to Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city.
- Here we see the White Tower, the Arch of Galerius, the churches of Demetrius and Sophia, and the Roman forum.
- We then proceed to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 9: Thessaloniki-Philippi-Kavala
- We follow the route of the ancient Via Ignatia to Philippi. Named after Philip II of Macedonia, the father of Alexander the Great, the city was witness to Paul’s first European converts.
- We see an old section of the Via Ignatia, followed by the place shown as St. Paul’s prison and the archaeological museum.
- Then we visit the river where Lydia became the first European woman to be baptized.
- We drive to Kavala, site of ancient Neapolis.
- Here we visit the harbor where Paul first landed in Greece.
Day 10: Return to Athens
- Make our way back to Athens, including stops along the way at the fabled Mt. Olympus and coastal villages.
- One last evening in Athens.
Days 1, 2
- Depart the United States.
- You will be met in Athens and will be transferred to your hotel for a relaxing night enjoying Athens in the evening.
- Begin your tour of Athens – the cradle of Western Civilization.
- Visit the ancient Acropolis and see the Parthenon, Mars Hill, the Temple of Athena, the Theatre of Dionysus, and tour the National Archaeological Museum.
- See Hadrian’s Arch, the ruins of the Temple of Olympian Zeus, and the sight where the first modern Olympic Games were held.
- There will also be free time for shopping in the Plaka district and the Agora marketplace.
- In the afternoon, enjoy an optional journey to Sounion to visit the famous Temple of Poseidon, and/or in the evening opt to experience the popular Sound and Light show that will literally illuminate Athen’s past.
- Travel to the ancient city of Delphi, considered by early Greeks to be the center of the world and also mentioned by Homer in his writings.
- Your visit will take you along the Sacred Way to the Athenian Treasury, the Theatre and the Temple of Apollo.
- You will also visit the Delphi museum while there.
- Use the same road used for millennia as you walk along the marble Sacred Way.
- Visit the rock forest of Meteora where famous Byzantine monasteries were built precariously on the spectacular, sheer rock pinnacles there. Centuries ago, monks retreated to the cliff-side caves there, and eventually built monasteries in the same locations. You will get to visit one of these monasteries.
- Travel to the region of Philippi, like Paul and Silas, and see the ruins of the Christian basilicas there.
- You’ll visit the place where Paul baptized Lydia, the first Christian to be baptized on European soil.
- You’ll also see a crypt dating from the Roman period which may have served as a prison for Paul.
- You’ll see the famous Acropolis, the Market Place, Basilica and the Theatre.
- You’ll also visit Neapolis (Kavalla), one of Greece’s most picturesque ports, and the very place where Paul landed with Timothy and Silas.
- While there, you will also see the Roman Aqueduct and Acropolis.
- Travel to Thessalonika you will visit the the Archaeological Museum, St. George Church, and the Galerius Arch which rises over the Via Egnatia.
- You will also see two beautiful basilicas in the city: St. Sophia and St. Demetrios.
- Then travel to Veria (Berea), where Paul discovered the Jews had accepted the Christianity along with some Greeks.
- Next, travel through the Olympus Mountains and the beautiful Greek countryside.
- We will be traveling via the Thermopylae Pass, the site of an historic Greek victory against the Persians.
- We then arrive in Corinth, where you will visit the Archaeological Museum, the Market Place, the Bema and Temples.
- Explore Athens on your own or enjoy an optional one-day cruise (additional $70).
- Or, take a three day cruise extension to Ephesus.
- Cruise through the Aegean Sea to the Turkish port of Kusadasi, where you can take an excursion to the ancient city of Ephesus, and also visit Patmos, primarily known as the place where St. John received the book of Revelations.
- Return to Athens on the evening of Day 11.
- Return home with a new understanding of Greece and the Apostle Paul’s life.