Texas Exes Flying Longhorns
April 30 - May 10, 2020
$3,895 per person, land only
Santorini Island | May 10 - 14
IMMERSE YOURSELF IN THE INVIGORATING SPIRIT OF THE GREEK PEOPLE
Custom designed for the Texas Exes Flying Longhorns, this one-of-a-kind itinerary was created to give you the true Greek experience. Rather than shuffle you through regimented cruise excursions, our Greek-Texan family invites you to soak up the life-giving culture, history, and cuisine that have made Greece a beacon to the world for over 3,000 years. Go off-the-beaten-path as you spend three nights on the picture-perfect, car-free island of Hydra, wander the neo-classical streets of Nafplio with its Venetian and Ottoman roots, marvel at 3,000 year old golden burial goods and larger-than-life bronze statuary, enjoy hand-selected menus at our favorite local tavernas, and stand in the shadow of the brilliant Parthenon on this unforgettable journey to the heart of Greece. With personal attention and engaging guiding as our hallmark, this is an immersive trip through Greece like no other.
A NOTE FROM YOUR TOUR LEADERS
Yiasas! We are so excited to offer our fifth Authentic Greece tour for the Texas Exes. With a mother from Verea, Greece and a father from Irving, Texas, I take great pleasure in sharing my Greek heritage with my fellow Texans. Since our family started leading tours to Greece in 1984, our boutique company has been defined by one unique trait: personal attention at every stage of the tour. Rather than hand you off to a series of disjointed local guides, I look forward to personally guiding you through every site, creating a comprehensive narrative that will bring the 3,000 year history of the Greek people to life. My wife, Blake (UT ‘04), will answer every question you have before the tour and personally select every dish at every restaurant. We guarantee you the highest quality experience in Greece as we share with you the country and people that we love. Come travel with us!
- Adam and Blake Sparks
“Five gold stars for the Texas Exes in getting the Sparks on board. The best tour guides we have ever experienced.”
- Darlene and Wilson Cozby, Texas Exes Authentic Greece 2013
• Test the acoustics of the world’s best preserved ancient Greek theater
• Hear the words of the Apostle Paul in their original context in Athens
• Sail on a private catamaran through off-the-beaten-path Greek islands
• Ride a horse to an unforgettable cliffside nunery on car-free Hydra
• Sample ancient wine varietals at a countryside, family run vineyard
• Admire the crowns of Homeric kings and arrowheads from Thermopylae
• Discover the ancient elegance of the Greek Orthodox Church
• Dine seaside in the picturesque, Venetian-built town of Nafplio
• Small group travel limited to twenty-six participants
• Embrace the land that has been the soul and inspiration of Western Civilization for over 5,000 years
11 DAY ITINERARY
3 NIGHTS IN NAFPLIO
Mainland Greece’s most beautiful town, Nafplio is the perfect base to begin exploring Greece. The modern town, with its picturesque bougainvillea lined walkways, is an exotic mix of Venetian and Ottoman architecture. Enjoy the stunning sea views from your hotel room, located just steps away from the charming main square of the quaint historical center of Nafplio.
Day 1 and 2 - Arrival
Depart USA, arrive Athens and transfer to Nafplio, Greece. After a welcome reception and introductory meeting, we walk into town and enjoy dinner al fresco at a family-run taverna for our first taste of authentic Greek food. (D)
Day 3 - Nafplio | Epidavros
In the morning, we begin with an introductory meeting and a cultural orientation to life in Greece. We then set out to the ancient healing center of Epidavros, home to the magnificent Theater of Epidavros, the best preserved from the ancient world. After learning about the origins of Greek drama and comedy, we explore the adjoining Asklepion healing complex where doctors like Hippocrates first established western medicine. In the afternoon, enjoy a leisurely seafood lunch in a picturesque seaside fishing village. Then, return to Nafplio for free time in this idyllic town before gathering for a grand waterside dinner to the accompaniment of traditional musicians. (B,L,D)
Day 4 - Mycenae | Peloponnesian Vineyard
Our day begins high above Nafplio at the haunting Palamidi Fortress. Built by the Venetians and subsequently taken by the Ottomans and Greeks, this ruined fortress offers stunning views of the blue waters of the Aegean Sea. We then visit the palace citadel of King Agamemnon, leader of the Trojan War, at Mycenae. We tour the Bronze Age site, including the throne room and the remarkable underground beehive tombs, as we hear the words of the Athenian playwright Aeschylus who most famously told Agamemnon’s story. We then visit a countryside, family-run vineyard for a tour of the complex, a sampling of the wines, and a sumptuous feast. Enjoy a free evening in Nafplio with time to shop in the designer boutiques and relax along the cafe-lined harbor promenade. (B,L)
3 NIGHTS IN HYDRA
Hydra is like a dream. Nearly unchanged from it’s 18th and 19th c. heyday as Greece’s first modern naval port, Hydra maintains a remarkable authenticity and charm. With no motorized transportation on the island, all goods are still transported by donkey along the narrow, white-washed streets. Stay in the former home of an 18th c. shipping magnate as we soak up the relaxed culture of this one-of-a-kind island.
Day 5 - Spetses | Hydra
Departing Nafplio, we set out on the most quintessentially Greek experience: sailing the beautiful waters of the Aegean Sea. Our first stop is the picturesque island of Spetses, home to the naval commanders that fought in the Greek War of Independence. After an elegant lunch at one of Greece’s most famous restaurants, we take carriages along the waterside to Spetses’ serene Old Harbor with its picturesque shipyard. After a relaxing stroll, we set sail again, this time stopping for a swim in a hidden cove along an uninhabited island. In the late afternoon, we arrive in unforgettable Hydra. We check into our hotel and gather together along the picture-perfect harbor to watch the sunset and enjoy a quintessentially Greek evening of fresh seafood, plentiful wine, and good company late into the evening. (B,L,D)
Day 6 - Hydra
In the morning we are introduced to beautiful Hydra as we learn about its impressive history on a walking tour of town. Visit the beautiful cathedral and Orthodox Museum, the Historical Archives with their amazing collection of 18th and 19th century naval artifacts, and the preserved house of the Greek painter Panagiotis Tetsis. In the early evening, we gather together for a drink as we watch the sun set over the endless waters of the Aegean. (B)
Day 7 - Hydra
The day is at leisure to enjoy magical Hydra. For an unforgettable experience, sign up to take a horseback ride on ancient paths high above Hydra town. At the end of the journey, visit a 150 year old convent and potentially share a coffee with the two elderly nuns who still care for the nunnery. After returning, spend the day shopping in the local boutiques, admiring the island’s famous art displays, or soaking up the sun on a pristine beach. Overnight Hydra. (B)
3 NIGHTS IN ATHENS
Few cities on the planet have shaped the course of history like Athens. Its 5th c. BC Golden Age set the foundations for all of western history that followed. Now the capital and major city of Greece, we enjoy the quaint neighborhood feel of our hotel’s location at the base of the legendary Acropolis. Enjoy one of the city’s best Parthenon views from our hotel’s unforgettable rooftop garden and bar as we trace the unique legacy of this remarkable city.
Day 8 - Athens | Piraeus, Athens, Acropolis Museum
Departing Hydra, we arrive in the port of Piraeus, home to the main Greek naval fleet since ancient times. After lunch in a refrubished traditional stoa, we take a quick journey to Athens, the greatest city of both ancient and modern Greece, as we check in to our hotel at the foot of the Acropolis. Our exploration of this city’s matchless heritage begins at the impressive Acropolis Museum, as we examine the world famous Parthenon Marbles up close. In the evening, we gather on our hotel’s wonderful roof garden for drinks and the world’s best views of the Parthenon before heading to the Plaka traditional marketplace district for dinner. (B,L,D)
Day 9 - Athens | Acropolis, Parthenon, Areopagus, Plaka
We begin our exploration of the Acropolis at the Theater of Dionysus, the birthplace of all drama and comedy. As we ascend the dramatic rock of the Acropolis, we pass the Odeon of Herod Atticus, Propylaea, and Temple of Athena Nike before standing in the shadow of the architecturally stunning Parthenon. After admiring its optical refinements and the panoramic views of Athens, we continue to the Areopagus and hear the words of the Apostle Paul’s 1st c. sermon to the Greek pagans in its original setting. We continue to lively Monastiraki Square for lunch before free time to shop in the festive Plaka traditional marketplace. The afternoon and evening are free to continue exploring this cosmopolitan city. (B,L)
Day 10 - Athens | National Archaeological Museum, Cape Sounion
The morning is free to shop in the boutiques of the Plaka, tour one of Athens’ amazing museums, hike on the nearby Hill of the Muses, admire the grandiose Temple of Athenian Zeus, watch the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, or simply enjoy a coffee at one of the myriad streetside cafes. In the afternoon, take a visit to the National Archaeological Museum, home to the world’s single greatest collection of ancient Greek antiquities. We then head out to unforgettable Cape Sounion, where we enjoy a festive final dinner and closing meeting at a seaside taverna. We then visit the beautiful Temple of Poseidon, located on a promontory high above the Aegean Sea at the edge of mainland Greece, as we watch the stunning sunset over the distant waters of the Aegean Sea. (B,D)
Day 11 - Depart
Depart for stunning Santorini for an optional 4 day extension, or depart Greece as lifelong lovers of this legendary land!
OPTIONAL POST TOUR EXTENSION TO SANTORINI
Rightly considered one of the most beautiful places on the planet, the island of Santorini is the crown jewel of the legendary Greek islands. Enjoy three unforgettable nights in world famous town of Oia at your traditional cave house perched high on the rim of an ancient volcano with breathtaking views of the picturesque whitewashed chapels, and take a catamaran cruise over the crystal clear waters of the Aegean Sea.
Stunning 5-star hotel with amazing views and private terraces
Sumptuous daily breakfast and pool in a remarkable setting
Flights and airport transfers from Athens
Sunset catamaran cruise through the caldera with dinner
May 10 - 14, 2020
$2,395 per person
Suite upgrades available, please inquire
“I have never had tour guides as wonderful, gracious, knowledgeable and friendly as the Sofia Travel team. They made the tour fabulous and I would definitely travel with them again.”
- Carolann Smith, Texas Exes Authentic Greece 2013
RESERVE YOUR SPOT ON THIS TOUR
We'd love to travel with you!
If you'd like more information about this tour, please contact us or give us a call at (214) 493-3027.