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Table of the Gods:  A Cultural & Gastronomical Adventure in Greece

Discover Greece’s incredibly rich culinary lineage and magnificent vineyards with New York Times’s Chief Wine Critic and Foodie, Eric Asimov

Departure     June 14 – 24, 2020

“Dress your hair with fine extracts of perfume…………. and while you are drinking let these tasty dishes be brought to you.”  – Athenaeus, 2nd century BC

More than 2500 years ago, the Greeks laid the foundations for the now-celebrated Mediterranean diet.  The ancient Greeks considered cooking an art and a science, and they made gastronomy a subject of serious study.  Amazingly, the cuisine of modern Greece traces its origins to the ancient past and draws its inspiration from it.  No other country in Europe can claim such a long and uninterrupted culinary tradition.  As Greeks established colonies throughout the Mediterranean, they introduced vine cultivation and wine making in the lands they settled, including Italy, France and Spain. During the Middle Ages, Greek wines were among the favorites of Europe’s royal courts.  Continuing on this long tradition, Greece today produces award-winning wines from indigenous ancient and modern varieties.

The area of concentration of this unique journey is northern Greece.

Why Travel with Thalassa Journeys

Thalassa Journeys was established by the principals and managers of Travel Dynamics, the company that 50 years ago pioneered the concept of educational travel for America’s educational and cultural institutions. The belief that travel is primarily a learning experience forms the core principle of Thalassa Journeys.

Each Thalassa Journey is constructed around a particular theme. Unlike most tours, each of our journeys are intimate, and led by lecturers who are truly subject-matter experts for each theme. Although many other companies claim to have expert lecturers, few truly have accomplished, renowned experts in their fields, like Thalassa.

Itinerary

Day 1 : Jun 14 - Depart the USA

Depart from the US for Athens, Greece

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 2 : Jun 15 - Arrive ATHENS

Arrive in Athens to transfer to the elegant Hotel King George. Located on Constitution Square, the center of the city, the hotel provides easy access to many of Athens' attractions. In the evening, enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 3 : Jun 16 - Tour Athens

One of the world's most venerable cities, Athens is the capital of Greece and the oldest city in Europe. In the moring, explore Keramikos known for its vibrant food scene, old and new.
Today is the weekly market day when the neighborhood becomes a cornucopia of smells, flavors and colors. Enjoy lunch at a restaurant serving classic Greek dishes. In the afternoon, tour the Acropolis and its celebrated monuments. The incomparable Parthenon and the other temples and structures built in the 5th century BC represent the highest achievement of architecture and art of the Classical period. Also visit the Acropolis Museum which houses an outstanding collection of sculpture and other artifacts.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 4 : Jun 17 - Tour KAVALA/DRAMA

Transfer in the morning to the airport for the flight to Kavala. Upon arrival, drive to Drama, a prosperous town built at the foothills of a mountain, and check-in at the Hotel Hydrama. The area around Drama is home to notable vineyards which we will explore. After lunch at a typical local restaurant, visit the Oenogenesis Estate whose vineyard is spread beautifully on the slopes of Mount Falakro. Enjoy dinner at this superb winery, accompanied by its exquisite wines.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 5 : Jun 18 - Tour DRAMA/PHILIPPI

In the morning, explore Philippi, an ancient site of major importance. Interested in the nearby gold and silver minds, Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great, took over Philippi in the mid-4th century BC, and named the town after himself. In AD 49, St. Paul spent time in Philippi. After exploring the site, enjoy lunch in Kavala, known for its fresh seafood, continue to the Kostas Lazaridis vineyard, a sprawling estate with a winery that includes a spectacular underground cask cellar and bottle-ageing facilities. Visit the impressive facilities and taste the wines.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 6 : Jun 19 - Tour PELLA/VEROIA

Leaving Drama in the morning, we first stop at Biblia Chora, a fabulous state-of-the-art organic vineyard producing premium wines. After tasting the wines and enjoying lunch, continue to Pella, the capital of ancient Macedonia at the height of its power, and the birthplace of Alexander the Great. After exploring the site and visiting the Museum, with its collection of superb mosaics, drive to Veroia. Accommodations at the boutique Hotel Kokkino Spiti ("Red House").

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 7 : Jun 20 - Tour VEROIA

Built on a plateau backed by a mountain, Veroia, the Biblical Berea, as been a prosperous and important city since antiquity that was home to a sizeable Jewish community. St. Paul spent three months here. In the morning, explore Veroia's quaint old quarter. Here we find the remnants of the Roman Byzantine walls, the 14th-century church of Christou, the 19th-century synagogue, and the Bema of St. Paul, the spot where he preached. At least since the 1500s, this part of Greece is one of its most important wine producing regions. In the afternoon, visit the Kyr-Yannis vineyard and learn about the region's wine history, followed by dinner.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 8 : Jun 21 - Tour VERGINA

Not far from Veroia is Vergina, the ancient Aigai, which we will explore in the morning. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Aigai was the royal burial place of Macedonian kings, including that of Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great. His tomb yielded incredible treasures in gold, which are housed in the local Archaeological Museum. After lunch, visit the Dalamaras Estate, a highly-regarded family-owned vineyard with a history of making quality wines that goes back to 1840. Taste Dalamaras' wines and return to Veroia for dinner.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 9 : Jun 22 - Tour EDESSA / AMYNTAIO / THESSALONIKI

Leave Veroia in the morning for Edessa, situated on a cliff that rises above the plain of a river. Edessa is known for its streams, lined with stately plane trees, that meet at a place to form an impressive waterfall of 82 ft. Enjoy a coffee-break at a cafe by the waterfall, and then continue to the superb Alpha Estate, in Amyntaio, beautifully located on a sprawling hill near a pristine lake. Alpha Estate produces some of the finest wines of Greece, which we will have the opportunity to taste. After lunch, drive to Thessaloniki. Hotel Makedonia Palace.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 10 : Jun 23 - Tour THESSALONIKI

Vibrant and cosmopolitan Thessaloniki, the biblical Thessalonica, also known as Salonica, was named after the half-sister of Alexander the Great. Built at the head of a spacious bay and against the slopes of a mountain, Thessaloniki is the pre-eminent Byzantine city of Greece, known for its outstanding monuments dating from late antiquity and the medieval periods. The city was also a major center of Jewish life and learning from the middle ages to World War II. In the morning, visit the Gerovassiliou Estate. Located near the city, this is a meticulously tended vineyard in an area that has been producing wine for at least 1,500 years. Gerovassiliou is known for its high-quality wines which we will taste during our visit. Return to Thessaloniki for a tour of the city's principal sites. The city, with its multicultural influences, is considered Greece's culinary capital. We will have the opportunity to experience its cuisine during lunch and our farewell dinner.

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Meals Included

Day 11 : Jun 24 - THESSALONIKI / USA

Transfer to the airport for return flight to the USA

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Meals Included

Tour Price

$TBD per person, double occupancy

Single room supplement: $TBD

Inclusions

Expert Guest Lecturer

Eric Asimov

Eric Asimov

Eric Asimov is the chief wine critic of The New York Times and the author of “How to Love Wine: A Memoir and Manifesto,’’ published by William Morrow, and “Wine With Food: Pairing Notes and Recipes From The New York Times,’’ written with recipes by Florence Fabricant and published by Rizzoli. His weekly column appears in the Food section of The Times. Naturally, he is on Twitter and Instagram, too, @EricAsimov. A collection of his columns is included in “The New York Times Book of Wine’’ published by Sterling Epicure. Before he started writing full-time about wine in 2004, Asimov wrote primarily about restaurants and food. He created the $25 and Under restaurant reviews in 1992 and wrote them through 2004. He is a co-author of five editions of The New York Times Guide to Restaurants, and published four editions of “$25 and Under: A Guide to the Best Inexpensive Restaurants in New York.’’ In 2013 he was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America. Asimov is a graduate of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., and did graduate work in American Civilization at the University of Texas at Austin. He is married to Deborah Hofmann, has two children, Jack and Peter, and lives in Manhattan.

Call/Email us to book

E-Mail : Reservations@ThalassaJourneys.com

Phone : +1 866.633.3611