Gods, Games, Greek Art and the Parthenon Controversy with Archaeologist/Art Historian Rolf Winkes


Join Archaeologist/Art Historian Rolf Winkes on a unique journey to Greece exploring the significance and history of iconic sites such as the Parthenon and modern day controversies.  The tour concludes with a traditional Greek Easter celebration on the small island of Hydra.

If you are interested in art, history, ancient Greece, Greek culture and cuisine, mythology, archaeology, and/or would like to learn more about the international controversy over the Parthenon Marbles-this tour is for you!

This is a small group tour limited to approximately 10 participants.

The tour will begins and ends in Athens, Greece.

Sites to be toured include Delphi, Olympia, Nafplio, Epidaurus, Mycenae.  The last three days of the tour will be on the small island of Hydra, where we will experience a traditional Greek Easter celebration.

Dates: April 17-29, 2019
Early Booking Price per person:
$4599 US*
Single Supplement:
$1195 US

Opt to share a room with same sex traveler and SAVE
At this time we have a share available for a female traveler.

*After October 15, 2018 add $175 per person

For more information or to sign up email us.

Tour Itinerary

ATHENS 2 nights:
Our journey begins in Athens, in the old part of the city known as the Plaka. From our hotel’s rooftop, enjoy views of the Acropolis during our welcome reception with refreshments. Our welcome dinner is at a nearby restaurant to which we will walk through this charming part of the city. (Welcome reception & Dinner with local wine)

Neoclassical architecture of the Plaka, Athens, Greece

Neoclassical buildings of the Plaka district in Athens

On our first full day in Greece, we will tour the Acropolis archaeological site and the new Acropolis Museum. This state of the art museum, opened to the public on June 21, 2009, was built to house the sculptures of the Parthenon, known as the Parthenon Marbles or Elgin Marbles, attributed to the ancient Greek sculptor Phidias (c. 480 – 430 BCE). Today the sculptures are in the British Museum in London. In hope of the Marbles being returned to Greece, the Acropolis Museum was designed with a beautiful display space for them in the same dimension and orientation as the Parthenon. Floor to ceiling windows provide natural lighting in a controlled environment with views of the Parthenon, which is only 300 meters away. After lunch, we will walk up to the Acropolis to see the actual site from where the sculptures were removed in the early 19th century and shipped to the UK by Lord Elgin. Learn about the historic and aesthetic significance of this icon monument and the controversy over the removal of these masterpieces from the building. (Breakfast & Lunch)

Copies of the Parthenon Marbles

Copies of the Parthenon Marbles in Athens, Greece.


We will meet Paulina Tzeirani Representative of the Melina Mercouri Foundation.  The foundation is dedicated to the modern Greek actress and politician who served as Greece’s first Cultural Minister in 1981.  The international movement to return to Greece the Parthenon Marbles was initiated by Melina Mercouri, a cause to which she dedicated her life.


DELPHI 2 nights:
Next we will travel to Delphi (3 hrs), the site of the oracle of Apollo, stopping for lunch en route. Enjoy an afternoon visit to the Museum of Delphic Festivals, which is housed in the old two-story house of the American Eva Palmer and Greek playwright and poet Angelos Sikelianos. This small museum, perched on a hill overlooking Delphi, tells the story of the Sikelianos couple and the Delphic Festivals first held in 1927 and again in 1930. This two-day event involved performances of ancient Greek tragedies, dances, athletic contests and music all with the goal of fostering global understanding. (Breakfast & Lunch with local wine)


The following morning we will tour the archaeological site of Delphi, a sanctuary second in importance only to the Acropolis of Athens. On Delphi’s slopes are the temple of Apollo, an ancient theater, the stadium, the sanctuary of Athena Pronaia, the Kastalia spring, and the various treasuries that line the sacred way. After touring the site, visit the Delphi Archaeological Museum, which houses important artifacts from the excavations at the site, including the Charioteer of Delphi, one of the best preserved examples of classical bronze casts. (Breakfast)

Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia at Delphi, Greece

The Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia at Delphi

OLYMPIA 2 nights:
From Delphi we continue our journey to Olympia. We will travel by minibus (3.5 hours) along the scenic coast of the northern coast of the Gulf of Corinth to Olympia. This was the sacred site of the first Olympic games held in honor of Zeus every four years. En route we will stop for a lunch of local specialties and wine tasting at a family-run winery.(Breakfast & Lunch with local wine)

The next morning we begin our exploration of Olympia with a tour of the fascinating Museum of the History of the Olympic Games of Antiquity. More than 400 exhibits, dating from the prehistoric period to the 5th century CE, trace the historical evolution and religious importance of the Olympic games and the other panhellenic festivals. Next we will walk to the Olympia archaeological site, where the Olympic games were first held in 776 BCE. The archeological evidence indicates the use of the site as early as 2000 BCE. According to tradition, the deity worshiped here originally was Gaea (the earth goddess and mother of the gods). In the archaic period, a temple of Hera was erected and in the classical period a temple to Zeus. The latter housed one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, a gigantic gold and ivory statue of Zeus seated, which was almost 12 m (40 feet) high. This statue was crafted by Phidias, the sculptor of the Parthenon Marble friezes and the statue of Athena that was in the Parthenon. But like the statue of Athena, it has been lost and only ancient descriptions survive. In the Archaeological Museum of Olympia finds from the site are displayed, including the famed statue of Hermes attributed to the sculptor Praxiteles, the most celebrated Attic sculptor of the 4th century BCE. (Breakfast & Lunch)

Statue of Hermes by the sculptor Praxiteles, Olympia, Greece

Statue of Hermes attributed to the sculptor Praxiteles


NAFPLIO 3 nights:
From Olympia we will drive to Greece’s first modern capital, Nafplio (3 hours). With Nafplio as our base, we’ll tour the surrounding area, including the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of ancient Mycenae and Epidaurus. The ancient Greek city of Mycenae, according to Homeric epic, was “rich in gold” and ruled by King Agamemnon, who led the Greeks in the Trojan War for the return of his brother’s wife, the beautiful Helen of Troy. Homer’s epics the “Iliad” and the “Odyssey” have inspired innumerable works of art throughout antiquity and into modern times. Visit the legendary Lion Gate and Treasury of Atreus, which date to the 13th century BCE. (Breakfast & Lunch)

Lion Gate at Mycenae 13th century BCE

The Lion Gate at Mycenae 13th century BCE

In the ancient Greek and Roman periods, Epidaurus was renowned as a center of healing. The theatre at Epidaurus epitomizes Greek artistic expression. This architectural masterpiece beautifully integrates perfection of portions with acoustics. From the top bench of the theatre it is possible to hear a coin drop on the floor of the orchestra floor below. The finds from the site include ancient medical instruments, which are on display at the small museum located there. (Breakfast & Lunch)

Tour Epidaurus, Greece

The theatre at Epidaurus, Greece

On our last day in Nafplio there will be time to explore this charming 19th century city and its lovely waterfront. (Breakfast)

HYDRA 3 nights:
From Nafplio, we will drive to Metoxi (1 hour) for a water taxi (10-minute boat ride) to the island of Hydra, known not only as an inspiration for artists and it art galleries, but also for its Easter (Páscha) celebration. Since the island is a popular Easter destination for Greeks, as well as some tourists, most shops and restaurants are open during the holiday weekend. In the evening on Good Friday villagers carry candles and follow the procession of the Epitaph (symbolizing the tomb of Jesus), as it is carried into the sea to bless both the sea and the people. We will have a welcome dinner at a lovely traditional taverna. (Breakfast & Dinner with local wine)

Travel to Hydra, Greece

Harbor of the island of Hydra, Greece

The following day enjoy exploring, hiking and/or being part of the festivities. The Saturday Midnight Mass celebrating the resurrection is a happy occasion and the small island bursts with joy and excitement. (Breakfast)

Easter Sunday we will enjoy a traditional Easter meal of roast lamb (prepared outdoors on a spit). A Greek Easter tradition is to crack red eggs against each other, and the person with the last uncracked egg is supposed to have good fortune. The feast lasts into the early evening and sometimes into the night. (Breakfast & Easter meal)

Beautiful sunsets seen from Hydra Greece

Sunset view from the Island of Hydra, Greece

Morning of 29 April: Ferry back to Athens (2 hours) in time for international flights after 1 pm. Optional over night in Athens can be arranged for those with morning flights.  (Breakfast)

Rolf Winkes grew up in Germany, where he did his graduate study in Classical Archaeology, Ancient Greek, Ancient and Prehistoric Archaeology, as well as Egyptology and Early Christian Art and Philosophy. In 1969, he was invited to Brown University, where he taught art and archaeology until 2008.  He co-founded the Center for Old World Archaeology and Art, later renamed the Joukowsky Institute, which is one of the leading archaeological institutes in the world, and has traveled to two dozen countries on three continents. Rolf spent 12 seasons excavating the Palaipolis of Corfu, beginning in 1986, and later worked at the site of Tongobriga in Portugal. He has taught and published on a diverse number of subjects ranging from the early Greek period until the rise of Christianity, and the influence of the ancient world on later periods. He is now Professor Emeritus of Classical Archaeology, the History of Art and Architecture, and Old World Archaeology and Art at Brown University. He and his wife Mary, a painter, live in Damariscotta, Maine, where he volunteers his time teaching courses at Coastal Senior College.

Throughout the tour our guide Smaro Touloupa will accompany us.

Smaro, a native of Greece, is a Professional Licensed Tourist Guide for Greece and an Independent Researcher. She received her MA in cultural heritage theory at University College in London and a degree from the School of Tourist Guides in Athens, she is fluent in English, Italian and has basic knowledge French.

Smaro has been guiding in Greece since 1998 and has lead tours for Stanford, Harvard and Yale Alumni, Princeton, Swan Hellenic, Abercrombie & Kent, the British Museum, the London Museum, the National Geographic Society and Lindblad Expeditions, the American Institute of Archaeology, the Biblical Archaeology Society, the Smithsonian Institution and other specialized groups including Eurynome Journeys and WanderWoman® Tours, and private tours.

This small group tour is limited to 12-16 participants allowing you to experience, not only personalized tours, but also opportunities to experience modern Greek Culture and history. We will tour by air conditioned motor-coach, but some walking is required to fully partake in this tour. You should be comfortable walking at a relaxed pace with rest stops for 1 to 4 hours. We will be visiting archaeological sites and walking ancient ways where the terrain can be uneven. Some climbing of stairs is required, for example to go to the top of the Acropolis in Athens. Thus this tour is not suitable for those with limited mobility.

The group will meet at our centrally located hotel in Athens, Greece.  Although international airfare to Athens is NOT included, we will gladly help with making your flight arrangements. Also we can assist you with any pre- or post-tour arrangements in Greece and beyond. The tour concludes at Athens Airport in time for afternoon flights home.

The accommodations in Athens are at a 5-star boutique hotel within walking distance to the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum. In Delphi our hotel is a charming Greek-style 3-star property in the city center. The 4-star hotel in Nafplio is in a restored 17th‒18th-century stone building.  In Hydra the hotel is a 5-star property in the town.  All of the rooms have a private bathroom, direct dial telephone, TVs, safe, minibar, refrigerator, and blow dryer. The hotels are within walking distance to restaurants, shops, and points of interest – giving you freedom to explore right out the door!

Price is based on double occupancy for reservations received by 15 October, 2018.  After this date add $175 per person.
Single supplement for private room: $1195 US-
Opt to share a room and pay no single supplement-Room share available for a female traveler

Price includes: 12 nights accommodations in Greece; domestic transportation within Greece as per the itinerary including ferry and air-conditioned coach. Also included are healthy Mediterranean-style dinners as noted above (drinks and alcoholic beverages are not included, other than water and breakfast beverages, unless specified above).

To reserve your space email us for an enrollment form.  At time of booking a $900 per person deposit is required.

Coastal Senior College

In February 2019 Rolf will teach a course on the rituals and games of the ancient Olympics at Skidompha Library in Damariscotta, Maine.  If you are in midcoast Maine area and would like to take the class, for more information visit: http://coastalseniorcollege.org

FREE Lecture at the Camden Opera House on March 27, 2018

The Parthenon: The Curse of Minvera, History and Controversy
Free to the public: Parthenon Lecture
Greek appetizers and wine will be served
For lecture details visit our event listings: https://eurynomejourneys.com/news-events/

© Eurynome Journeys 2018