OPTIONAL EXCURSION — ATHENS:
Acropolis Museum and the National Archaeological Museum
FRIDAY, JUNE 25   (€ 159*)

The Parthenon and its Acropolis setting are stunning, no doubt about it. They don’t require interpretation and compose the perfect DIY Athens excursion. On the other hand, visiting the new Acropolis Museum and the National Archaeological Museum with a skilled guide who’s on your wavelength adds immeasurably to the experience. We suggest you join us on a focused trip. You’ll see the Parthenon frieze, exquisite sanctuary relics and Archaic sculpture at the Acropolis Museum (picture below; as you can see, the museum sits just below the Acropolis).

Lunch, of course, is tucked away at a taverna favored by Athenian families. For dessert, we’ll visit the richest array of Greek antiquities anywhere — at the National Archaeological Museum.

NOTE: we are not going to the Acropolis itself. We are visiting the Acropolis Museum at the base of the Acropolis, where archaeological material from the Acropolis is displayed. If you would like to climb the Acropolis and see the Parthenon up close, please plan to do so on your own.

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Download the 2-page overview of the Acropolis Museum.

OPTIONAL EXCURSION — EPHESUS:
Ephesus, Terrace Houses, and the Ephesus Museum in Selcuk
SUNDAY, JUNE 27   (€ 159*)

Bright Horizons edits the highlights of our ports with an optional tailored excursion in Ephesus.Many civilizations have left their mark at Ephesus (SLIDE SHOW). It has a complex and many splendored history, often oversimplified. We pull together three important aspects of understanding Ephesus which are rarely presented together. Join us! You’ll meander the Marble Road, visit the legendary latrines, check out the Library, and visit the political and commercial centers of the city. A visit to the Terrace Houses (SLIDE SHOW — click image above) will enliven your picture of Roman-era Ephesus. We’ll take a break for Mediterranean cuisine in the Selcuk countryside, and then visit the Ephesus Museum in Selcuk, where finds from the excavation of the city are showcased, and you get a fuller look at local history, from the Lydians to the Byzantines.
 

OPTIONAL EXCURSION — ISTANBUL:
Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, and the Archaeological Museum
WEDNESDAY, JULY 7   (€ 219*)

Istanbul is impossible to describe, and has mesmerized travelers for millennia. Layered, amalgamated, flowing. Ancient and modern, secular and sacred. Plunge into Istanbul’s cultural whirlwind with our expert staff, who have been there, done that. On your itinerary: The Blue Mosque — defined by its 20,000 Iznik tiles. Onward to our learning lab in Turkish hospitality doing lunch at Topkapi Palace’s former guard-house (the very highly rated Karakol Restaurant). Then we’ll immerse ourselves in the context and treasures of Topkapi, including the Treasury, Harem, and Holy Relics sections. Risking total sensory overload, we’ll conclude our day at the Istanbul Archaeological Museum.


*The prices for the tours are quoted in Euros, per person. Included: all transportation to/from our ship, entrance fees, tours by licensed guides, all gratuities, and lunch.