Program Highlight

Working near the Hexamilion Wall in Isthmia, 2008

One of our early evening seminars in the village of Ancient Korinth, at Café Marinos, overlooking the Korinthian Gulf, while discussing Aeschylus' plays.


Photo Galleries

Students on SMP Presentation Day

Although clothed and with shoes, we recreate a footrace at the original stadium at Nemea.  Professor Taber did retain from ancient times, however, the threat that cheaters would be beaten. Click here to see photos from previous tours.



May 31 through June 24, 2014

Ancient Korinth, Isthmia, Nemea, Sparta, Mystras, Nauplion, Mycenae, Epidaurus, Olympia, Delphi, the island of Santorini, and Athens

Professors Linda Hall and Michael Taber   [This itinerary was created in consultation with our long-time Athenian travel agents Educational Tours and Cruises.]

The itinerary for the Greece Study Tour for summer 2014 (25 days; 24 nights, including one on the flight to Greece) is divided into two portions:

  • A stay of 9 nights in the small and welcoming village of Ancient Korinth (a few kilometers from the modern city of Korinth)
  • A circuit tour of 6 stops (over the succeeding 14 nights) on a chartered, air-conditioned coach and via ferry, with nights spent in Sparta, Nauplion, Olympia, Delphi, the island of Santorini, and Athens

This division allows students to acclimate themselves to Greek ways and the Greek language in the context of a friendly village with a century of familiarity with American scholars, and with many years familiarity with St. Mary's College of Maryland. The shopkeepers and cafe owners are warm and generous people, who take a special pride in hosting us. This is measured not only in the discounts offered in the village gift shops to those who are from St. Mary's College of Maryland (you won't need to identify yourself as such; they'll know!), but more lastingly in the smiles and conviviality of the merchants. (For our part, we WILL act as though we neither deserve nor expect such treatment. The Greeks take an ancient pride in ensuring that guests leave with warm memories, and such heartfelt hospitality is to be treated as itself a gift, graciously, without any hint of the international stereotype of the ugly American.)

[We in the U.S. occasionally hear about protests in Athens stemming from the Greek efforts at economic reform, and located in front of their parliament building (Syntagma Square) or in their university area.  Both of these are interesting areas that we like to show the students, but neither is integral to our itinerary.  In fact, both are somewhat out of the way of our itinerary. In the summer of 2010, which was a time of demonstrations, our  Athenian travel agent keep us apprised of possible troublespots.  We turned out not only to not encounter any protests, but not to see even any evidence of protests.  Ditto for 2012.
We will monitor the activity there, and in the unlikely event that the entire area of central Athens were to become restive, we could improvise an alternative itinerary for the days scheduled for Athens.  It would be a shame to miss Athens' acropolis and its Parthenon, but there is no shortage of other delights to show students outside of Athens.
Unfortunately, we DON'T hear about the fact that tourism to Greece has been up the past two years.  Or how the decline in buying power of the euro is lowering prices for those from places such as the U.S.]

Here is a more detailed itinerary:

Day 1 Saturday May 31: departure from USA
Our flight departs in the late afternoon or evening from a DC-area airport (Dulles or BWI).  (D)

Day 2 Sunday June 1: ATHENS – CORINTH
After arriving in Athens, transfer by pre-arranged private coach to Ancient Corinth (1½ hrs.), arriving there to check into Rooms Marinos (proprietors Vasili and Chrysa).  If time allows, group lunch at Taverna Marinos (proprietors Vasili and Katerina).  Then a walk to small chapel of the Theotokos, with its cemetery, and the Temple of Apollo gift shop (aka “Yianni-World”).  Then return to Rooms Marinos for showers and post-flight naps.  Dinner (included) at Rooms Marinos at the usual time, 9:00. Stay at Rooms Marinos in the village of Ancient Corinth for 9 nights, departing after breakfast on June 9.  (B,L,D)

Day 3 Monday June 2: ANCIENT CORINTH
Seminar 1: Meeting after breakfast in the courtyard at Rooms Marinos about Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians (and excerpts from Acts and Romans).  Followed by morning walk through village, and then to archaeological site and museum of Ancient Corinth. Group picnic lunch.  Optional afternoon trip to the New Corinth beach, via public bus.  Evening seminar 2 (6:30-8:30 at Taverna Marinos): Euripides' Medea.  (B,L,D)

Day 4 Tuesday June 3: ACROCORINTH
After breakfast, early walk up to fortress on Akrokorinth, used by classical Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans, Venetians, and during Greece’s war for independence (1820's).  Spend late morning and early afternoon exploring the extensive remains there in small groups; bring flashlight or headlamp. Group picnic lunch upon people’s return. Evening seminar 3: Aeschylus' Agamemnon.  (B,L,D)

Day 5 Wednesday June 4:  CORINTHIA
Private bus to remains of Lechaion Basilica, Diolkos, Monastery of St. Patápios, Sanctuary of Hera Akraia and temenos of Hera Limenia in Perachora, and ending at Blue Lake, for lunch and afternoon swimming. Stopped at the Corinth Canal on the way home.  Evening seminar 4: Miller's Arete: Greek Sports from Ancient Sources, columns 1 & 2 from chart (about Isthmia and Nemea).  (B,D)

Day 6 Thursday June 5: ISTHMIA
Morning bus to Isthmia, for orientation tour of the archaeological site, the museum, and the excavation house, with Dr. Timothy Gregory of The Ohio State University.   Group picnic lunch at the dig house. Evening seminar 5: remainder of Aeschylus' Oresteia trilogy: The Libation Bearers and The Furies.    (B,L,D)

Day 7 Friday June 6:  ANCIENT CORINTH
Post-breakfast site reports. Group picnic lunch. Evening seminar 6:  Thucydides, through Thucydides’ judgment of Pericles.  (B,L,D) 

Day 8 Saturday June 7: NEW CORINTH
We take the public bus to New Corinth, for shopping at the Laïki and swimming at the beach.  Return via public bus or taxis, in small groups.  (B)

Day 9 Sunday June 8: ANCIENT CORINTH
After optional church service (Church of St. Paul, of course), 10:00 morning walk to the Asklepeion & Fountain of Lerna complex. (Wear clothes that can get dirty, shoes that can get wet, and bring a flashlight or headlamp.) Group picnic lunch. Free afternoon.  Evening seminar 7:  Thucydides, through the Melian dialogue. (B,L,D)

Day 10 Monday June 9: ANCIENT CORINTH
Free day (last day in Ancient Corinth). People can stay in Ancient Corinth, return to New Corinth, or revisit Akrokorinth. Evening seminar 8: Miller’s Arete, columns 3 & 4 from chart (Olympia and Delphi).  (B,D)

Day 11 Tuesday June 10: NEMEA – SPARTI
Depart at 8:00 a.m. with private bus for Nemea, the site of the Nemean games.  Then we visit Skouras winery ( to learn about wine-making in the Peloponnese. Then continue to Sparti, appr. 2 hours drive (stop at Sparta’s acropolis). Check in at the hotel and then walk to small archaeological museum and the Museum of Olive and Greek Olive Oil in Sparti. Evening seminar 9: Plato's Apology (skip Euthyphro and Crito) and death scene of the Phaedo.  Dinner and overnight at Hotel Maniatis or similar in Sparti. (B,D)

Day 12 Wednesday June 11: MISTRA – NAUPLION
Morning trip by bus to high side of remains of Byzantine city of Mystras, to arrive at its 8:00 opening, walking gradually down the hill to meet up with our bus three hours later. Quick sandwich lunch at a restaurant outside of Mistra. Then drive on to Nauplion, a charming, small city that combines Greek and Venetian influences, and was the first capital of Greece when it won independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1830. We arrive and check in to the hotel, and then take the bus to the top of the hill overlooking the town center, to explore the Palamidi fortress. Before groups split up for dinner, we meet in hotel lobby to take an orientation walk through Nauplion, to Captain Michael’s boat, which we take to the island fortress, the Bourtzi, in the Nauplion harbor.  Overnight at Hotel Marianna or similar at Nauplion. (B)

Day 13 Thursday June 12:  NAUPLION – EPIDAURUS
Morning departure for Epidaurus (two-hour visit) home of the most famous theater in the Greek world, as well as its neighboring medical site sacred to the healing god Asclepius.  Return to Nauplion for lunch, with optional walk to small archaeological museum or to Folklore Museum, or bus trip to nearby Karathona beach. Group dinner (included) at “Fanaria” tavern, with Greek folk dancing performance.  Overnight in Nauplion at hotel Marianna or similar. (B,D) 

Day 14 Friday June 13: NAUPLION – MYCENAE – OLYMPIA
We leave early for the mountaintop citadel of Mycenae (three-hour visit; bring flashlight or headlamp), which houses the palace of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, with the dramatic "beehive" tombs nearby.  Site reports on the Lions’ Gate, Grave Circle B and tombs of Aegisthus and Clytemnestra, and Linear B.  From Mycenae, we depart for Olympia, 3 hours away, plus stopping for lunch somewhere.  Evening seminar 10: Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus. Group dinner (included) at the hotel. Overnight at Hotel Europa or similar in Olympia. (B,D)

Day 15 Saturday June 14: OLYMPIA – DELPHI
Morning visit to archaeological site and archaeological museum, followed by lunch and small shopping in village.  Afternoon departure for four-hour ride to Delphi, across the Corinthian Gulf. Overnight at the Hotel Leto or similar in Delphi. (B)

Day 16 Sunday June 15:  DELPHI - OSIOS LOUKAS – ATHENS
Morning visit (3-4 hrs.) to the archaeological museum and site: the treasuries, the temple of Apollo, the theater and the stadium of the upper site, and the Athena temple and the tholos temple at the lower site, washing our hair at the Castilian spring in between.  When finished, we depart for an hour-long visit of the Monastery of Osios Loukas, then, after a highway stop at snack place like “Everest” for lunch, on to Athens (arrival by 4:30 p.m.). Meeting at 5pm for visit of the Acropolis Museum (reservation for 5:30-7:45; no backpacks) and then orientation walk to Plaka. Overnight at Hotel Philippos or similar in Athens. (B)

Day 17 Monday June 16:  ATHENS – SANTORINI
(NOTE: we may store large suitcases at the Athens hotel, to which we'll return after Santorini, thereby traveling more lightly and taking only carry-on bags onto the ferry.)  Early morning departure (6:30 a.m.) –after breakfast-by private bus to reach the port of Piraeus. Departure at 7:25 a.m. (Blue star ferries, with arrival at 2:50 p.m.). Upon arrival, transfer to hotel. Overnight at Hotel Melina or similar in Santorini. (B)

Day 18 Tuesday June 17:  SANTORINI
Bus island tour (8hours max). Visit Acrotiri site, a local winery ("Santo" or other), for wine tasting such as the awarded sweet "Vinsanto" wine. Evening seminar 11: Sophocles' Antigone.  Overnight at Hotel Melina or similar in Santorini. (B)

Day 19 Wednesday June 18:  SANTORINI
Free day. Optional: Island tour by small yacht  to visit the island of Kammeni, where you will hike to the crater of the volcano, then swim in the hot springs; extra cost, for half- or full-day tour.  Overnight at Hotel Melina or similar in Santorini. (B)

Day 20 Thursday June 19:  SANTORINI
Free day. Optional: Leisurely four-hour walk along the caldera (now, the shore) from Fira to Oia with spectacular views, lunching there, and returning via public bus to Fira (30-min. ride). Or stay in the village and watch the famous sunset from Oia, and dining there at a restaurant like Neptune. Overnight at Hotel Melina or similar in Santorini. (B)

Day 21 Friday June 20: SANTORINI – ATHENS
Morning at leisure to explore Fira. Opportunity to visit the Nomikos Foundation with large photo/replicas of the Acrotiri frescoes and visit the Museum of Prehistoric Thera . Visit the small folklore museum of Fira, in Kontochori (walking distance from hotel, featuring a typical cave house, winery, workshops etc, ticket cost: 3€ per person). Afternoon transfer to port to embark return ferry arriving in Athens, via the port of Piraeus; departure at 3:30 p.m. with Blue Star, arrival in Athens at 11:15 p.m.  Transfer by private bus to Athens hotel, Hotel Philippos or similar. (B)

Day 22 Saturday June 21: ATHENS
After breakfast, a 90-minute morning walk (from the hotel by the Arch of Hadrian, to the Columns of Olympian Zeus, photo op at the Panathenaikon stadium, past the president’s house) to the Benaki Museum (90 mins.; no backpacks), to the Goulandris Museum of Cycladic Art (40 mins.), and to the Byzantine &Early Christian Museum (90 mins.), including its gardens, which includes the site of Aristotle’s school, the Lyceum.  Bring map of area, for walking back to hotel. Free for lunch and afternoon, with optional visits to the Eleutheroudakis bookstore and/or the Numismatic Museum of Athens, located in Heinrich Schliemann’s mansion, across the street from the Attika department store. Evening seminar 12: Marcus Aurelius' Meditations. Overnight at Hotel Philippos or similar. (B)

Day 23 Sunday June 22:  ATHENS
Morning walk to the Acropolis (2 hrs.) and then downhill to the Agora and its museum (2 hrs.). Site reports on Theater of Dionysus, temple of Athena Nike, and the Erechtheion.  After lunch on our own in or around Monastiraki Square, we take the subway to the National Archaeological Museum (2 hrs.; no backpacks). Return to hotel area via subway. Overnight at Hotel Philippos or similar. (B)

Day 24 Monday June 23:  ATHENS
Free day. Group farewell dinner (included). Overnight at hotel Philippos or similar. (B,D)

Day 25 Tuesday June 24: ATHENS – USA
After breakfast, morning transfer by private bus from hotel to Athens airport for departure to the U.S., arriving on the evening of the same day. (B,L)