It also gives participants the opportunity to see some of the most fantastic inland and coastal scenery of Attica whilst savouring top-notch local cuisine and wine, true to the tradition of ancient Greek symposia.
The tour is accompanied by a licenced guide-archaeologist and includes irresistible food at a picturesque taverna featuring fabulous dishes.
The day is off to an early start with our visit to Vravron, with its delightful museum and celebrated, open-air archaeological site. This coastal location, in such a tranquil setting next to the Vravron Wetlands nature reserve, was actually occupied from as far back as the Early Bronze Age. The sanctuary is said to be the place where Agamemnon’s daughter, Iphigenia, with her brother Orestes, allegedly sought refuge after Artemis spared her from sacrifice by her father before the Trojan War. While the site is easy to reach by car now, just imagine how, on a four-yearly basis in ancient times, a procession of worshippers, especially women and children, would walk or ride from Athens along the sacred road to this sanctuary to take part in the Arkteia (little bears) festival.
Our visit to the site and the adjacent Archaeological Museum of Vravron will shed more light on the history of the cult of Artemis and give us a first-hand impression of what drew ancient peoples to settle and worship the goddess here.
We then proceed south-east to Thorikos, inhabited since the 5th millenium BC and subsequently an important fortified city guarding the all-important regional silver mines which enabled Athens to become the great maritime and geopolitical time that it was during its apogee. Notable are the 5th-century BC theatre with its unusual rectangular orchestra as well as the remnants of tombs dating back to the Mycenaean period, ‘the industrial quarter’ of Thorikos and the traces of houses, gateways and fortification walls.
Following a hearty and delicious meal at our hand-picked venue, we return to Athens via Cape Sounion and its celebrated temple perched on the final promontory of Attica and of mainland Greece, jutting into the Aegean Sea as would befit mighty Poseidon (Neptune), the god of the Sea of the Hellenic pantheon and patron deity of this superb temple.
Our return route will follow the coastal road of the Athenian Riviera and the fabulous views it affords.
Day’s total driving distance and indicative time: 162 km (101 mi) / 3 hours and 11 minutes. Routeing, distance and time subject to change depending on external factors.