From Athens we’ll pass through Livadeia, Arachova and the ancient town of Thebes. At Delphi, visit the Sanctuary of Apollo Pythios, and learn the story of this brave god’s triumph over the dragon that guarded the omphalos. This mysterious ‘navel stone’ gave the Delphic oracle her powers. Visit the Treasury of the Athenians, built to store offerings of gratitude to the god. See the stadium where the ancient Pythian Games, precursors to our modern Olympics, were lost or won. Then explore the on-site museums where you can see the omphalos stone itself as well as masterpieces of ancient Greek sculpture. Then it’s on to Kalambaka, gateway to the Meteora, for dinner and an overnight stay.
Explore the monasteries atop the awe-inspiring Meteora. These hermetic retreats were built under impossible conditions, often with only a rickety winch or some treacherous rock-cut stairs for access. Nonetheless they are full of priceless Byzantine treasures, including exquisite murals, Orthodox iconography and precious manuscripts. Return to Athens via Trikala, Lamia and Thermopylae. Here we stop to visit the Leonidas Monument commemorating the routing of the Persian invaders at the Battle of Thermopylae. Arrive back in Athens early in the evening.