A 12-day Pilgrimage in the Footsteps of St. Paul in Greece and Turkey

Footsteps of St. Paul Pilgrimage Sites, Including:

Athens, Corinth, Mykonos, Ephesus, Patmos, Crete, Santorini, Delphi, Kalambaka, Meteora, Berea, Thessaloniki, Philippi, Kavala, Istanbul & more.

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Day 1 Tuesday
Our journey begins as we depart the United States on our flight to follow the footsteps of St. Paul, beginning in Athens, Greece. Meals are served in-flight.

Day 2 Wednesday
Today we arrive in Athens and are met by our Pilgrimage Tours’ tour director prior to embarking on a driving tour of classical Athens prior to checking into our hotel. Dinner and overnight in Athens.

Day 3 Thursday
This morning we drive along the picturesque Corinthian Gulf to Corinth, where the Apostle Paul lived and from where he sent his first and second letters to the Corinthians. We visit the market place where Paul preached to the Corinthians. To stand in the midst of the ruins of the church of Corinth and see the pillars, steps and place of public worship where Paul preached, will enhance your understanding and love of Corinthians I, II. We also visit the sixth century BC Temple of Apollo, the Museum of Corinth and the Bema Seat of St. Paul. We continue on to Cenchreae, the ancient seaport from where Apostle Paul set sail for Ephesus. In the afternoon we return to Athens and visit the legendary Acropolis to see the spectacular Parthenon and the Temple of Athena and its Winged Victory statue. Next we visit the Areopagus or Mars Hill where Paul was brought before the council and made his famous “Men of Athens” speech on the “Unknown God”. Here we celebrate Mass. We continue on with a driving tour where we see such sites as Constitution Square, the House of Parliament, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Temple of Zeus, the Old Olympic Stadium and the neoclassical buildings of Athens. Dinner and overnight in Athens.

Day 4 Friday
Late this morning we board our Louis Olympia Cruise ship. In late afternoon we arrive at our first stop, Mykonos. We see a hilly, rock-ribbed island of 29 square miles dotted with more than 350 tiny chapels built by 19th-century pirates to invoke the protection of their patron saints. We visit a fishing harbor with shops and boutiques selling handmade sweaters, dresses, fabrics, jewelry and more at bargain prices. Overnight at Sea.

Day 5 Saturday
This morning we arrive at the port of Kusadasi to enjoy a tour of Ephesus, the best preserved of the original Seven Churches of Revelation. Ancient tradition holds that Mary the Mother of Our Lord lived here with St. John. The Apostle Paul spent two years in Ephesus and wrote his First Letter to the Corinthians here. We visit the ruins of St. John’s Basilica where tradition suggests St. John is buried; the Temple of Diana, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world; and the theater where St. Paul preached. Next we sail to the Island of Patmos, where St. John wrote the Book of Revelation. Overnight at Sea.

Day 6 Sunday
This morning we dock in Heraklion, the capital of Crete. The Apostle Paul ended up in Crete because of severe winds (Acts 27:7). A short ride takes us to the fantastic ruins of the Palace of Knossos, which is believed to be the mythical Labyrinth of King Minos. At the Archaeological Museum well see displays of many of the treasures found during the excavation of this ancient city. Many travelers believe that our next stop, Santorini, is the most breathtaking of all the Greek isles. Whitewashed houses, narrow streets and open-air cafes cling to steep cliffs that are accessible by cable car or mule. In Akrotiri, recent Minoan excavations have led scientists and archeologists to believe that Santorini may be the fabled lost continent of Atlantis. We depart Santorini for our overnight sailing to Athens. Overnight at Sea.

Day 7 Monday
Morning drive to Delphi, the center of the Ancient world, the omphalos (navel) of the earth whose prestige extended far beyond the boundaries of the Hellenic world. On the slopes of Mount Parnassos, in a landscape of unparalleled natural beauty and majesty, lies the archaeological site of Delphi. We visit the Temple of Apollo, the Treasury of the Athenians and the Archaeological Museum containing such masterpieces of ancient Greek sculpture as the bronze Charioteer and the famous athlete Aghias. After the tour we continue on to spectacular Meteora with its thousand-year-old Byzantine monasteries perched precariously on huge finger-like rocks. The view from here is breathtakingly beautiful. Dinner and overnight in nearby Kalambaka.

Day 8 Tuesday
We depart Kalambaka and enjoy a taste of the beautiful countryside of central and northern Greece. We arrive in Berea, modern day Veria, on the terraced foot of Mount Vernon to see the Monument where Paul preached. Next we depart for Thessaloniki where Paul also preached and to where he sent his first and second letters to the Thessalonians. Here we enjoy a panoramic drive to the Old City Walls where we have excellent views of the city and the opportunity to take pictures. During our driving tour we see the White Tower, the Rotonda and the Triumphal Arch of Galerius standing on the Egnatian Way. Next we see the Byzantine Acropolis before stopping for a visit to the Basilica of St. Demetrius. Dinner and overnight in Thessaloniki.

Day 9 Wednesday
This morning we follow the route of the Via Egnatia to Philippi, where Paul established the first church in Europe. Here we see the river where Lydia was baptized by Paul and the ancient forum and jail where Paul and Silas were imprisoned. We then drive to the beautiful port city of Kavala (Neapolis), where Paul landed when he sailed from Troas. Here we celebrate Mass. Dinner and overnight in Kavala.

Day 10 Thursday
Today we drive from Kavala to the Greek-Turkish border, passing the towns of Xanthi, Komotini and Alexandroupolis. We say goodbye to our Greek guide and driver and we continue our journey with our Turkish guide and driver. We continue on to Istanbul, ancient Constantinople, where we arrive for dinner and overnight.

Day 11 Friday
Formerly called Byzantium, the center of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire for more than 1,000 years, this city is built on seven green hills and situated astride two continents. We enjoy a full day of sightseeing that includes the popular Sultan Ahmed or Blue Mosque with its six minarets and thousands of blue tiles, followed by a visit to the Basilica of St. Sofia, (church of the Divine Wisdom), now a museum, converted to a mosque from a Christian basilica after the fall of Constantinople in 1453. In the afternoon we visit the famous Topkapi Palace with its collection of Ottoman Treasures. This legendary maze of buildings was the residence of the Ottoman sultans and the heart of the Empire. From Seraglio Point we have a wonderful view overlooking the Sea of Marmara. Finally, we visit Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, a place where numerous merchants have items for sale. Dinner and overnight in Istanbul.

Day 12 Saturday
This morning we leave the ancient New Testament lands of Greece and Turkey for home. Though our pilgrimage has come to an end, its blessings and memories are sure to last a lifetime.