This journey to Athens, Crete, Malta and Sicily not only offers you the opportunity to visit some of the greatest sites of antiquity but also the possibility to enjoy some much needed Spring sunshine. The usually good weather points to the importance that climate played in the development of the great classical civilisations: the short, mild winters and long, warm summers created the perfect conditions for these remarkable societies to thrive.
Springtime in Greece is truly wonderful: the wild flowers are starting to bloom, the temperatures are warming up and the crowds have not yet descended on the major sites. This is the perfect time to explore the treasures of classical Athens including, of course, the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum. The countryside surrounding the ancient city of Mycenae and the Byzantine churches of Monemvasía will be coming to life adding to the splendour of these remarkable places. The relative lack of crowds will be a real bonus for those who take the option of visiting the magnificent theatre at Epidaurus.
As your journey continues to Crete and Malta, you will see the remains of two early civilisations: the Minoan Palace at Knossos dating from the second millennia BC and the even earlier Megalithic Tombs of Malta (c5000BC). It is your final destination before returning home, however, that demonstrates the importance of environmental and geographical factors on the development of Mediterranean civilisation.
With its benevolent climate and superb strategic position, Sicily has been coveted, fought over and colonised. The Phoenicians, Athenians, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Byzantines and Bourbons have all made their mark on this astonishing island. The architectural and artistic legacies of these great civilisations have left Sicily with a number of unique buildings and archaeological sites. Sicily is a celebration of the greatest achievements of western civilisation: the superbly well-preserved Greek temples of Segesta, the Norman Royal Palace and Palatine Chapel in Palermo and the dazzling mosaics of Monreale Cathedral.