Discover the most ancient Jewish Communities in Europe, and the history of the Jewish presence in Greece. The beautiful country of Greece is the birthplace of western civilization and democracy.
Your fascinating journey to the Greek cities of Jewish interest explore the coexistence of Jewish philosophy and Greek culture since the 3rd century B.C.E. It is tailored to all those who are interested in learning about the roots of the Jewish presence in Europe, which covers more than 2,300 years. For more than 20 centuries, Thessaloniki (honored by the title “Mother of Israel”) was the shelter for the persecuted Jews of Europe. Uprooted throughout their long history from other historical centers of the Diaspora, they were transplanted in this city creating a large and vibrant Jewish Community, indisputably one of the most important ones in the world, especially during the period 1492-1943! Our tour is a journey to all the Jewish sites of Greece. It is a journey through timeless roads, much traveled. It is a homecoming!
2017 Land Cost Per Person (double occupancy)
Available Anytime – $6009
Single Supplement – $1309
This tour operates with a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 10 travelers. Other group rates available on request.
- Round trip airport/hotel/airport transfers including baggage
- 14 nights first class hotels – rooms with private facilities
- Buffet breakfast daily at the hotels
- 22 Meals as indicated
- Touring as above itinerary, deluxe bus, guide, entrance fees
- RT ferry to Crete in twin outside cabins
- RT ferry to Aegina
- All taxes, services charges, VAT and waiter gratuities
- English-speaking guide throughout the tour
- Planning and operation of tour
Price Does Not Include:
- Airfare (unless otherwise arranged)
- Departure and custom fees
- Gratuities and individual daily expenses
- Additional beverages
- Travel insurance
- Trip cancellation
- Medical and luggage insurance are recommended for coverage against all unforeseen circumstances
Day 1: NEW YORK – ATHENS
Fly today from New York JFK to Athens on overnight flight. Dinner served.
Day 2: ATHENS
Arrive in Athens in the morning. Meet and greet and transfer to hotel. Afternoon at leisure. Welcome Dinner. Overnight. (D)
Day 3: ATHENS
Orientation at the Jewish museum. Lecture on the Jews of Greece and tour. Visit the Beth Shalom Sephardic Synagogue, Athens’ main synagogue, and view the Romaniot Synagogue across the street which is primarily open for the high holidays. See the Holocaust Memorial. After lunch visit the Acropolis, and see Constitution Square, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Hadrian’s Arch, the Theatre of Dionysus and the Palace. Stroll through the Plaka, the historic area of Athens. The present day Jewish community of Athens dates from the end of the 19th century. It is made up of both Romaniote and Sephardic members. Dinner and overnight. (B, L, D)
Day 4: ATHENS
Enjoy a morning in Athens visiting Jewish Communal and Youth Center, the Monastiraki district, the Benaki Museum, and Hadrian’s Library. Afternoon at leisure. Friday night services at Beth Shalom, dinner and overnight. (B, D)
Day 5: ATHENS – HALKIS – LARISSA
Early departure for Halkis (Chalkkis) on the Island of Evia (1.5 hours). Halkis had a community that claimed to have been founded by none other than Alexander the Great, when he sent back Jewish slaves from Judea. Visit the 19th-century synagogue for morning services. This synagogue has been rebuilt at least six times on its original foundation dating back 1500 years. See the most important Jewish site in Halkis which is the pre-war Jewish cemetery (the second oldest in Greece) with tombstones from the 16th-century Ottoman period. People come from all over the world to visit it. Also, there is a very impressive Holocaust Memorial. Lunch and continue to Larissa (4 hours). Dinner and Overnight. (B, L, D)
Day 6: LARISSA – THIKKALA – KALAMBAKA
Visit the synagogue in Larissa, located in central mainland of Greece. After our visit, depart for Thikkala (1 hour) to visit the Romaniot Synagogue and a very interesting old Jewish pre-war cemetery with 800 recently restored tombstones. Then continue to Kalambaka (30 minutes). Overnight. (B, L, D)
Day 7: KALAMBAKA – THESSALONIKI (SALONIKA)
Morning visit of Meteora and see ageless monasteries suspended between earth and sky atop huge granite rocks. You ponder how these centuries-old structures were built. Pause to view the priceless, exquisite specimens of Byzantine art that they protect. Continue driving through beautiful countryside, traditional towns and villages, through the breathtaking Valley of Tempi, to arrive in Thessaloniki (3 hours). En route stop in Volos to see the synagogue and Holocaust Monument in Riga Ferreou Square. Overnight Thessaloniki. (B, L, D)
Day 8: THESSALONIKI
Your day in the province of Macedonia starts with a morning bus tour of Salonika and a visit to the Yad Lezikaron Synagogue. Upstairs is the Center for Historical Studies with Jewish artifacts. Then visit the Jewish History Museum. After the expulsion from Spain, Spanish and Portuguese Jews arrived in great numbers and over 32 synagogues marked the Jewish quarter. The Jewish Mystics, legalists, poets, and rabbis were famous throughout the near east and Europe. Without a doubt Thessaloniki was a Jewish city in its heart until World War II and was rightly claimed “Mother of Israel.” Dinner on your own. Overnight. (B, L)
Day 9: THESSALONIKI
Today you will visit the Square of the Jewish Martyrs, the Old and New Jewish Cemeteries (where gravestones salvaged from the former cemetery are on view), Holocaust Memorial, YadL’zichron Synagogue, Synagogue of the Monastrinotes, Jewish Community Center, Archaeological Museum (former synagogue), National Byzantine Museum, and Palace and Arch of Galerius. Afternoon tour to Kastoria (125 miles) to see the Holocaust Memorial near Plateia Dexamenis. Dinner on your own. Overnight Thessaloniki. (B, L)
Day 10: VERIA and VERGINA
Depart for day trip to Veria (1 hour) to visit the Synagogue, 18th-century Jewish quarter, and the Jewish cemetery. The Jews of Veria were Sephardic and strongly connected with those of Salonica. They inhabited a Mahalasi (quarter) that survives almost completely intact, though today empty of Jews since the Nazi action of 1943. This afternoon visit Vergina a small town which became internationally famous in 1977, when the a Greek archaeologist unearthed what he claimed was the burial site of the kings of Macedon, including the tomb of Philip II, father of Alexander the Great. The finds established the site as the ancient Aigai. This is a UNESCO Heritage site. Overnight Thessaloniki. (B, L, D)
Day 11: IOANNINA
Morning departure for Ioannina (2.5 hours). In Ioannina there is the oldest Jewish cemetery of Greece (pre-war) with tombstones of the 14th century. Also, see a very old Jewish quarter inside the castle and a moving Holocaust Memorial. There are also plenty of very important secular sites. Overnight. (B, L, D)
Day 12: IOANNINA
Attend services at the Ioannina Synagogue (Kal Kadosh Yashan). From the medieval times until the Holocaust, the Jewish community of Ioannina was one of the leading centers of the Levent. Overnight. (B, L)
Note: OPTIONAL DAY TRIP TO CORFU driving from Iaonnina to Igoumenitsa and a ferry crossing to the island of Corfu. Here you would see the Scuola Greca Synagogue and cemetery, built in the 17th century, the Jewish Quarter, and the Community Center.
Day 13: ARTA – ATHENS – CRETE
Depart for Arta for a short visit to a 17th-century synagogue, one of the oldest in Greece, and continue to Pireaus Port (7 hours). Embark a beautiful ferry. Overnight in Crete. (B, L, D)
Day 14: HERAKLION – CHANEA (HANIA)
Enjoy a day in Crete. Visit the Etz Hayyim Synagogue in Hania in the old Jewish Quarter called Evraki (the synagogue was built in the 17th century and restored in 1994) and the historical Museum of Crete in Heraklion, formerly a Jewish residence, built on the site of Heraklion’s last synagogue. Three Hebrew inscriptions on marble are displayed on the ground floor and on the 3rd floor is a folklore collection that includes Judaica. Also see the War Cemetery which includes four graves of Jewish soldiers killed in WWII and the Konaki Restaurant in Hania, which is on the site of Beth Shalom Synagogue, destroyed in WWII. Late evening overnight ferry back to Pireaus Athens and overnight in Athens. (B, L)
Day 15: PIREAUS – AEGINA – ATHENS
Morning dock at Pireaus and transfer to another ferry nearby for your short ride to Aegina (1 hour.) See a 4th-century synagogue found by archaeologists in 1811. In the afternoon return by ferry to Athens. Overnight Athens. (B, L, D)
Day 16: Depart for USA
Depart Athens in the morning for New York. Clear US Customs and Immigration procedures.
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