Ancient Greece Study Tour

This tour has already taken place and is now here as an archive
James McDonaugh

This tour is an introduction to the riches of classical Greece, its architecture, sculpture, history and literature. We will also explore how wider themes of western European art and culture trace their origins to Greece. To help us understand the flowering of the arts in the 5th century BC, we examine the pre-classical civilisations, including Homer's Mycenaean heroes and the Cycladic cultures of the Greek islands. We visit some of the greatest sites of antiquity, including Athens' Acropolis, Sounion, Delphi, Olympia, Epidavros, and Mycenae. In Athens we visit two of the greatest archaeological museums in the world, and there are extraordinary smaller collections at Delphi and Olympia. We read Herodotus as we drive through some of Europe's most dramatic and beautiful landscape, including Arkadia, the northern Pelopponese and southern central Greece. We will spend three nights in Athens where we experience one of Europe's most vibrant capital cities, and one night each at the tranquil small towns of Olympia and Delphi.

Your Lecturer

James McDonaugh is an art history lecturer focusing on Italy, Turkey and Greece. He has led tours for academic bodies in the UK and America including the Art Fund, The Courtauld Institute and Historic New England. Combining a deep knowledge of art, literature, history and theology, his aim is 'to bring to life some of the most beautiful objects and places of interest in Europe'. James has an MA in Philosophy and Theology from Oxford, a diploma in Art History and an MA in Architectural History from the Courtauld Institute. He runs his own business, Art Tours, for private clients. James led the hugely successful tour of Istanbul for The Course in October 2009.

Delphi, Greece

Your Hotels

Central Athens Hotel view website »

Centrally located in the heart of the Old City of Plaka overlooking the Acropolis. Each room has a private bathroom, safety deposit box, TV, hairdryer, direct dial telephone, internet access, fridge.

Olympion Asty Hotel view website »

Ideally situated just minutes from all the archaeological sites, the hotel is surrounded by beautiful gardens. Each room has a private bathroom, safety deposit box, TV, telephone, fridge.

Amalia Hotel Delphi view website »

Located at the foot of the mountain, it has breathtaking views to the sea overlooking the village of Galaxidi. Facilities include private bathroom, safety deposit box, TV, telephone and fridge.

Book your place

This course has already taken place and is here as an archive. If you are interested in taking part in a future study tour, please get in touch:

Mary Bromley
020 7266 7815
E Mail:

Ancient Greece tour outline

Day 1

Athens - Arrival

8.20 am
Depart London Heathrow (flight times subject to confirmation)
2.00 pm
Flight arrives in Athens. Met by private deluxe coach and local guide
2.45 pm
Depart airport
3.45 pm
Settle into Central Athens Hotel
4.30 pm
Depart for the ancient Agora

Visit the Ancient Agora & Museum

We begin in the heart of the classical city touring Greek and Roman architecture and learning how the politics of Athens worked. Highlights include the best preserved temple in Greece, the Temple of Hephaistion, and wonderful views up to the Acropolis. There is a superb small museum we will also visit.


Day 2

Ancient Athens & Sounion

9.00 am
Depart by private coach

Visit The Acropolis

the Parthenon and Erechthion with breathtaking views over the city. Here we chart the architecture and history of classical Athens . Visit the New Acropolis Museum filled with sculptures from the Acropolis.


2.15 pm
Visit the National Archaeological Museum

Visit the National Archaeological Museum

one of the greatest archaeological museums in the world and the perfect spot to chart the history of Greek sculpture. We will also see the wonderful gold treasures from Mycenae and wall paintings from the island of Santorini c.1500BC

Drive to Sounion

Visit Temple of Poseidon at Sounion (visiting time may vary depending on time of sunset): over looking the sea, this 5CBC Ionic temple is one of Greece's most beautiful sites. We will read Byron while watching the sunset.

Return to Athens having had dinner by the sea

Day 3

Peloponnese: Epidavros & Mycenae

9.00 am
Depart by private coach for Epidavros

Stop at the Corinth Canal for views

Nero tried building a canal with slaves, but only in the 19th C was this vast project carried out. Visit Epidavros: a stunning drive along the sea brings us to this marvel of ancient Greece. Here we will learn how Greek theatre worked, reading from the great tragedies and poets, while sitting in the best preserved Greek theatre in existence.

Picnic Lunch

2.30 pm
Drive to Mycenae

Visit the Archaeological site & Treasury

The site of Homer's heroes, c.1200 BC ,one of the most evocative set of ancient ruins in the world. Highlights will include the 'Lion's Gate' and the Treasury of Atreus.

Drive to Olympia (through Arkadia)


Day 4


9.00 am
Depart by private coach for Olympia

Visit the archaeological site

Highlights include the Temple of Zeus, Phidias' workshop and the great stadium of the Olympic Games, and a host of other buildings from the Roman to Paleo-Christian eras.

Break at the Museum cafe.

Visit the museum

Along with the museum at Delphi, this is the best small museum in Greece and is along with the museum at Delphi filled with treasures from the site of Olympia, including the metope & pediment sculptures from the Temple of Zeus, which are among the finest of their type from the classical world


2.00 pm
Depart Olympia by private coach for Delphi

Stop at the Rio-Antirrio bridge for views

Arrive at the hotel in modern town of Delphi


Day 5


9.00 am
Depart by private coach for Delphi

Visit the archaeological site

this was the centre of the Greek world and home to Apollo. It was the richest sanctuary of the ancient world with a sea of golden sculptures, treasuries and temples. It is also the most dramatically situated of all the ancient cities in Greece.

Break at the Museum Cafe.

Visit the museum

Many delights await including 'The Charioteer' one of the most beautiful Greek bronze sculptures in existence. There are treasures here that date from the 8th CBC to the height of imperial Rome

1.15 pm

Return by private coach to Athens

Farewell dinner in Athens

Day 6


9.00 am
Depart by private coach

Visit the Benaki Museum: this museum has treasures from each period of Greece’s history and will be a wonderful way for us to finish, tying together many themes from the tour

Visit the Gulandris Museum of Cycladic art: we will pay a brief visit to this small but spectacular museum, which houses finds from the Greek island civilisations c.2500 BC

1.00 pm
Lunch in Plaka and time for shopping and markets: we will leave time for a relaxing afternoon in Athens’ famous shopping district before going to the airport
7.00 pm
Return flight to London Heathrow (flight times subject to confirmation)
9.00 pm
Arrive London Heathrow