Ancient World: Greece/Turkey
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Date(s) - 01/07/2020 - 11/07/2020
All Day

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The Ancient World and Beyond: Greece & Turkey

JULY 1-11, 2020 (SOLD OUT) AND
SEPTEMBER 12-21, 2021

Take an unforgettable journey along the beautiful coasts of the Aegean to visit the sites that gave birth to the Western world. So much of what we claim as Western (indeed, world) civilization is anchored in this relatively small area, the meeting point of Europe and Asia. We will explore over 3,000 years of history, from ancient Mycenae to today’s modern cities.

A three-day pre-trip extension will allow guests to relax in the sun-drenched Aegean and/or explore the fascinating Minoan culture from which Europe emerged. This will depend upon the group’s consensus of Crete (sun and Minoans) or Mykonos or other island (sun and Classical & Hellenistic world).

We will begin in Athens, Greece, and explore the beautiful and culturally rich cities, towns and landscapes of the south, including Corinth, Thebes, Delphi, Nafplion, Thermopylae and others. From the dawn of history with Homer, Thucydides and Herodotus to the beginnings of drama with Aeschylus and Sophocles and more, we will visit the sites that created our shared world.

We will then cross over into Asian Turkey and from Izmir we will depart back into time for a visit to Ephesus, the most complete ancient city in Europe and the Mediterranean. From there we journey into the heart of Anatolia to the magical landscapes around Cappadocia before continuing on to the city of Istanbul, the city that bestrides the Europe-Asia linkage like a colossus. Napoleon said, “If the World was a country, Constantinople would be its capital.” There we will explore from Roman times to the present.

Our two-day post-tour extension is a journey to Nicaea, Homer’s Troy and Alexander’s first great victory at the Granicus River. In the ancient city of Troy, we will see where fought Paris and Achilles, Hector and Agamemnon. We will then cross the narrow   water separating the continents, the Hellespont, and hike the incredible Great War battlefields of the Gallipoli Peninsula, scenes where the narratives of the three modern nations – Turkey, Australia and New Zealand – were forged in bitter battle. For those who do not wish to walk through Gallipoli, an alternate option is enjoying a day at Bozka island, famed for its clear waters and fabulous wine-tasting and seafood.

Throughout, there will be incredible experiences with food, drink, art, culture and history. From the Acropolis and Parthenon to the Delphic Oracle, from the pass at Thermopylae to the Hagia Sophia, and so much more! The Christian faith journey will be brought into stark and warm relief as we visit the sites where Paul preached (Ephesians, Galatians, Corinthians) and Gospel writers John and Luke lived, wrote and died, along with the last home of Mary and the first church in her name, and the site of the first great council that gave us the Nicene Creed. The art and architecture that defined the Hellenic world and inspired our modern one will be at close hand as we explore the ancient sites. We will experience the sparkling azure waters of the Aegean as well as hike the olive-and grape-clad mountainsides, visiting small hill villages of thousands of years to bustling modern metropolises, this truly will be an epic adventure – Homeric even!

In both Greece and Turkey, we will enjoy the insights and guidance of a local tour guide, as required by law in both countries. This trip is a partnership with Essential History Expeditions with Aegean Aurora Travel Designers in Greece and Baltic Tours in Turkey.

Expedition highlights include:

  • The cities that helped create the western civilization – Athens, Corinth, Mycenae, Thebes, Ephesus and Byzantium/Constantinople/Istanbul and more
  • The architecture, artwork, literature and theatre that shaped how we see our world
  • The battlefields that shaped world history – Troy, Thermopylae, Salamis, Plataea, Leuctra, Gallipoli and more
  • Spectacular meals, drinks and natural beauty
guided history tour greece
Greece History Tour
Greece History Tour
Turkey History Tours
Turkey History Tours


While the ancient world of Greece and Turkey are, of course, accessible to American travelers on their own, fully understanding the ancient history that formed our Western heritage requires months if not years of preparation. A professional, guided experience is essential in comprehending the complexities of the events and their timing, specific locations and cultural influences. Tours are available throughout the region. What sets Essential History Expeditions and Dr. Brian DeToy apart is his unique experience with 14 years as a university professor including teaching history and strategic studies at West Point, 28 years as a US Army officer with combat experience, and 26 years of leading groups at throughout the world. Brian’s many tours, both large and small, include military leaders, West Point professors and cadets, business leaders of international companies, history buffs and many families. Brian’s combined experience as a scholar soldier brings the events of history to life.

Additionally, this trip is a partnership with Essential History Expeditions and Aegean Aurora Travel Designers in Greece and Baltic Tours in Turkey.

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Pre-Tour Extension: Greek Isles

Join us in Athens for as we depart by boat to relax and explore one of the gorgeous Greek islands! As the trip draws closer, we will survey guests to determine which island — Santorini, Mykonos or similar — we will visit. This pre-tour extension may be two to three days, depending on guest preferences.

greece tour
Greece History Tour
Greece History Tour

Day 1: Welcome, Overview & Temple of Poseidon

  • Those who enjoyed a relaxing few days in the islands will join our newly arriving guests at Athens’ International Airport in the afternoon.
  • Together, we will explore the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, critical to seafarers for millennia, and then dine on the waterfront with spectacular sunset views of the temple.
  • Drive along the coast and check-in to central Athens hotel underneath the Acropolis.

Day 2: Athens

  • We tour the incredibly rich city of Athens – thousands of years of history, culture, art, and architecture, from ancient Acropolis to modern metropolis.
  • We will visit the world-renowned Acropolis Museum, and walk the sites of Olympian Zeus, Hadrian’s Gate, the Parthenon and other buildings atop the Acropolis, St Paul’s Rock where he debated the Athenian philosophers, Hadrian’s Library, the Olympic stadium and more.
  • We will have a rooftop dinner from which we can admire the Acropolis in magnificence at sunset.

Day 3: Thermopylae, Delphi and Arachova

  • In the morning we depart Athens and drive along the coast northward to Thermopylae. Here, 300 Spartans and their allies, under King Leonidas, defied the might of the Persian host of Xerxes for three days. Their sacrifice bought time for the rest of the Greeks to gather their forces and defeat the Persians at Salamis.
  • Then, it’s on through the gorgeous mountains to the most iconic temple of all – Delphi. From here, in her mountain fastness, the Oracle made her pronouncements for a thousand years, affecting men and states. The Greeks consider the Temple of Apollo at Delphi to be the heart of Greece and center of the World.
  • We spend the night in the exceedingly charming mountain ski village of Arachova.

Day 4: Osias Loukas, Thebes, Corinth and Nafplion

  • We visit the incredible Byzantine monastery of Osias Loukas (10th c) in the morning and then drive by Thebes and its nearby battlefields of Plataea and Leuctra where the Persians, and then the Spartans lost their power over Greece.
  • In Thebes we will also, of course, talk Sophocles and his trio of plays about the great Oedipus, King of Thebes, as well as the last city of Luke the writer of the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles.
  • Then, we enter the richness of the Peloponnese – home to the Corinthians, Spartans and more. Today we will visit ancient Corinth, home to a great colonizing power and where Paul preached and founded a church. Paul’s subsequent letters to the Corinthians continue to inform to this day.
  • We spend the night on the coast at Nafplion, whose old town is a fabulous warren of restaurants, museums and shops and is known as one of Greece’s most beautiful coastal cities, down to its marble pavement in the lovely town square.
Greece History Tours
Greece History Tour
Greece History Tours
Greece History Tour

Day 5, JULY 7: Thermopylae, Thebes & Delphi

  • In the morning, we visit the ruins at Mycenae (home to King Agamemnon and others of Trojan War fame) from which one of the world’s greatest ancient cultures spread as a civilization.
  • Nearby is the ancient theater at Epidaurus, the greatest in all of Greece.
  • The afternoon is for relaxing in the seaside town of Nafplion.
  • OR depart for Athens airport after Mycenae and take 1840-1935 Aegean Air flight to Izmir. (Much depends on the timing of flights from Athens to Izmir. It could mean two nights in Nafplion and one in Ephesus, or one night in Nafplion and two in Ephesus, or one night in each and reduce trip by another day. It all depends on the time of the flight on the 5th or 6th. We will also consider a ferry from Athens to near Izmir.)

Day 6: Nafplion and Transfer to Turkey

  • Relaxing day in Nafplion for shopping, sailing, wine-tasting or hiking before a short evening flight from Athens to Izmir.
  • OR the ferry to Izmir
  • From Izmir, we drive a short distance south and check into our phenomenal mountain hotel outside of Ephesus.

Day 7: Ephesus and Cappadocia

Ephesus is the most complete ancient city in the European/Mediterranean world. Its museums and structures tell so many stories – from the Roman empire to the early Catholics, like Saints Paul and John and Mary.

In the afternoon, we return to Izmir for the short flight to Kayseri (ancient Caesaria) in the central Anatolian highlands.

We then drive an hour to the mountain fastness of Cappadocia and check into our five-star lodgings carved into caves.

Day 8: Cappadocia

  • Early in the morning we take a magical contour balloon flight (optional) through the valleys of Cappadocia.
  • Then, it’s a day of exploring the surreal landscapes and caves of the early Catholic dwellers of these caves. St Basil is most important here and the people received Paul’s letter to the Galatians.
  • After a phenomenal sunset dinner, we spend one more night in the caves.
Turkey History Tour
Turkey History Tours
Istanbul history tours
Turkey History Tour
Turkey history tours Essential History Expeditions

Day 9, JULY 11: Istanbul History

  • In the morning, we return to Kayseri and take the short flight to Istanbul.
  • After checking into our lodgings in the Old Quarter, we explore the ancient squares and streets. A rooftop restaurant with a fabulous view of the Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque for cocktail hour and dinner caps the evening.

Day 10: Explore Istanbul

  • We explore Istanbul and its multi-layered thousands of years of history, from pre-Roman through Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires and on through to today.
  • We will tour the magnificent Hagia Sofia, the Sultan’s Topkapi Palace (from which the Ottoman Empire was led for centuries), the Golden Horn, the Hippodrome, the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market, today’s revolutionary Taksim Square, and the Blue Mosque among so much more.
  • In the evening we will enjoy a splendid dinner as we overlook the city, and the watery trace that spans centuries, empires, continents and civilizations.

Day 11 and Day *1: Onward Journeys and *Post-Trip Extension

  • In the morning, we transfer our guests to Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport for their return flights home.
  • Those continuing on the extension, will cross the Bosporus and re-enter Asia, driving south along the beautiful Sea of Marmara to the ancient city of Iznik (Nicaea). Here, in 325 AD, Emperor Constantine gathered the leaders of the early Catholic Church, from all regions, and in a synod created the Nicene Creed and basic systems still in use to this day.
  • We will also visit a museum where local people still make the Iznik blue tiles, that more than any other adorn the monuments of Istanbul and the Aegean.
  • Then, further along the coast, we will stop at the Granicus River, scene of Alexander the Great’s first battle and victory against the Persians as he made his way east toward India.
  • In Canakkale, on the shores of the Dardanelles, we will have dinner and check-in to our lodgings.

Day *2: Troy and Gallipoli or Bozka

  • We start the day visiting the ancient city of Troy, famous for its siege by the Greeks (and their wooden horse!) – Hector and Paris, Agamemnon and Achilles, Priam and Helen and so many more.
  • Then, our group splits with some enjoying a beach day on the nearby island of Bozka for a relaxing beach day, while the rest cross the Dardanelles to the Gallipoli Peninsula back on the European side.
  • For those visiting Gallipoli, we will examine numerous sites in this critical 1915 campaign and its effects on the modern world. The sensibilities of the Turkish, Australian and New Zealand peoples were so shaken by this battle that their modern nations trace their debut to it. We will also pay our respects at the Lone Tree Commonwealth Cemetery and Memorial, where thousands of soldiers are interred in a spectacularly beautiful setting. Then we will rejoin the others for one final dinner in Canakkale.
Greece tours


  • Eleven days and ten nights of in-depth guided tours, led by an expert historian and local guides with Aegean Aurora Travel Designers in Greece and Baltic Tours in Turkey
  • Luxury/boutique accommodations for 10 nights
  • All transportation after joining the group Athens through Istanbul (flight to Europe not included; note: flight into Athens and out of Istanbul)
  • Majority of all meals as indicated on the itinerary
  • All museum and activity entrance fees
  • Personalized tour support
  • Alcoholic drinks are excluded
  • Itinerary still subject to slight modifications
Greece history tours


  • Let’s set up a conference call! We would love to chat with you to answer any questions you may have!
  • Just complete the contact form below and let’s set up a call.


  • Pricing July 2020: $TBD per person, double occupancy; $500 single occupancy supplement. (SOLD OUT)
  • Pricing September 2021: $4,950 per person, double occupancy; $500 single occupancy supplement. (pricing subject to slight change)
  • Down payment: $1,000 per guest due upon registration.
  • All active duty and career retired military, and current and career retired educators will receive a 10 percent discount on the Ancient Greece/Turkey tour.
  • All repeat guests of Essential History Expeditions receive a 10 percent discount on all future expeditions.
  • Please see Terms and Conditions for payment schedule and cancellation policy.
Ancient World: Greece/Turkey 01/07/2020 - 11/07/2020 All Day Ancient World: Greece/Turkey Ancient World: Greece/Turkey So much of what we claim as western (indeed, world) civilization is anchored in this relatively small area, the meeting point of Europe and Asia. We will explore over 3,000 years of history, from ancient Troy to today’s modern cities. We will begin in Athens, Greece Mission Critical Systems 01-07-2020T00:00 01-07-2020T23:59 Active Active 01-07-2020 Active $0.00 01-07-2020
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