A Christian Tour Leader throughout the holiday
Return Economy Airfares to Europe
3 Night Aegean Cruise with CFT shore excursions
Quality hotel accommodation with private facilities
Sightseeing as outlined and all entry fees
Luggage assistance at hotels
We begin our journey with an evening flight from Australia (Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth). We arrive in Dubai in the early morning and have arranged for the hotel rooms to be ready on arrival.
Following an early morning transfer from the airport to the hotel you will have time for a shower and change in our hotel rooms that will be arranged to check into early. Later in the morning you’ll enjoy a guided tour of this amazing new city resplendent with stunning skyscrapers and towers: an architectural oasis in the desert. Tonight, we will enjoy our first group dinner together when we dine in a local restaurant overlooking the dancing fountain show.
After breakfast, we will be transferred to the airport for our flight to Athens, the capital of Greece and the heart of its ancient empire. On arrival in Athens we will be met and transferred to our hotel. Athens was an important stop on St Paul’s missionary journey and it is from here that we start our own travels in his footsteps.
Today we visit Corinth (Acts 18:1-18), a city that inspired Paul’s most familiar letter. You’ll visit the Archaeological Museum, the Market Place, the Temples, and walk among the ruins and stand on the Bema where Paul stood. Whilst there we’ll read some of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians and visualize his address to the Gentiles as he began the task of building Corinth’s church. Take time to imagine where Aquila and Priscilla lived and where they had their tent making business.
Enjoy a cruise along the Corinth Canal before our return to Athens.
This morning we will enjoy worship and then, in the afternoon, you can explore the city of Athens on your own using our “buddy system.” You may like to visit one or two museums near the city centre or go shopping for souvenirs. Return to the hotel by taxi at your own time and cost.
After breakfast we start our tour to Northern Greece. Here we visit Delphi, whose famed temple and oracle was so important in the ancient world that the site was known as the “Omphalos” (navel) or centre of the earth. We visit the ruins of the Sanctuary of Apollo, Pythios and its museum, set in a landscape of unparalleled beauty on the slopes of Mount Parnassus. We travel onto Kalambaka, a picturesque town located at the foot of the incredible rock formations of Meteora.
In the morning visit the famed Meteora Monasteries, one of the most important religious complexes in Greece. Set on top of a series of giant sandstone pillars, the monasteries appear to be suspended in mid-air. Dating from the 11th Century these are still active religious communities and offer us insights into the historic church as well as exquisite examples of Byzantine art. On the way to Thessaloniki we will drive to Veria (ancient Berea), visiting the memorial that commemorates Paul’s preaching to the local Jews in 54AD (Acts 17).
Today we visit Philippi where Paul delivered a sermon that sowed the seeds of Christianity. A moving and special time will be spent remembering the baptism of Lydia, the first baptism on European soil, as well as the imprisonment and conversion of the Philippian gaoler (Acts 16:11-15;16- 34). Amongst the ruins, located on the rocky ledge above the town’s main road is the actual site of the prison where Paul and Silas were thrown. This is the Bible truly coming alive! From Philippi we continue on to the modern port city of Kavala, once ancient Neapolis. It was here that Paul first set foot in Europe, accompanied by Silas, Luke and Timothy.
Paul first came to Thessaloniki in 50-51 AD during his second missionary journey and it was here that he established the second Christian community in Europe (after Philippi) and wrote his letter to the Thessalonians.
This morning we will explore Thessaloniki, visiting the Agora where Paul preached and Byzantine Churches, including the Church of St. Dimitris, the caves and Well of Apostle Paul, the House of Jason and the Monastery of Vlatadon. Other highlights include the ancient walls that once surrounded the town, the White Tower, the Roman Market, theatre and baths and Arch of Galerius.
In the afternoon we fly back to Athens where our cruise will depart the following day.
After breakfast, we will be transferred to the “Celestyal Olympia” where we will begin our 3-night cruise around the Aegean. Our first port of call is Mykonos; the whitewashed streets and windmills of this Cycladic Island will enchant you. Free time to walk the winding narrow streets or enjoy the beautiful sunset from the waterfront! We will then set sail for the Turkish city of Kusadasi.
From Kusadasi we visit Ephesus, the most impressive archaeological site in Turkey; its excavated remains reflect centuries of history, from classical Greece to the Roman Empire to the spread of Christianity. In the 1st Century AD the Apostle Paul spent 3 years in Ephesus preaching the Gospel and we will tour the Great Amphitheatre where the crowds chanted for two hours in protest of Paul’s preaching. Nearby is the legendary House of the Virgin Mary that we will also visit.
This afternoon we cruise to the island of Patmos, known as the “Holy Island” for the Christian faith. We’ll visit the grotto where the Book of Revelation was written during John’s exile from the Roman Empire, and see the 11th Century Monastery of St John, home to over 300 beautifully preserved early manuscripts, including a Gospel of Luke.
Heraklion is Crete’s largest city and one of Greece’s major urban centres. Titus travelled here from Corinth to present the Apostle Paul’s fundraising letter and it is believed that he remained in the city of Candia (present day Heraklion) until his death. Crete was once the centre of the Minoan civilization (2700 to 1600BC), an empire that stretched to other Aegean Islands such as Santorini. This afternoon we will travel to Santorini, a breathtaking island believed to be the lost continent of Atlantis. In the early evening, we will embark the ship for the return trip to Athens.
After breakfast we disembark in Athens for a wonderful day of sightseeing. We begin with a visit to the ancient citadel of the Acropolis that dominates the city skyline; these 5th Century BC ruins include the famous Parthenon. It is a great moment when we ascend the nearby Areopagus (Mars Hill) where Saint Paul delivered his famous “Men of Athens” speech (Acts 17:15). This site is just south of the ancient Agora or market place. We will also drive past the House of Parliament, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Presidential Palace, Hadrian’s Arch, and the Panathenaic (Olympic) Stadium, before arriving at the airport for our flight home. This afternoon we will travel to the airport for our flight to Dubai. On arrival in Dubai we will be transferred to our hotel for two nights
Today is a full day of leisure in Dubai. You might like to visit the famous Dubai Mall, explore the Gold and Spice Souks or choose one of the many optional tours (available on tour). Tonight will be a fitting end to our holiday as we enjoy a dinner cruise along the historic Dubai Creek. What a wonderful experience of faith and fellowship we have shared.
After breakfast we will be transferred to the airport for our final flight home to Australia.
We arrive in Australia Thursday morning. Our holiday may be at an end, but we hope that your personal spiritual journey has been enhanced having followed in the Steps of the Apostle Paul.
25 September 2019
10 October 2019
25 September 2019
10 October 2019