Greece in the Footsteps of St. Paul, Fatima, Spain & Lourdes19 days
Your trip includes
- Round-trip airfare from your desired Airport
- All airport taxes & fuel surcharges
- Centrally located hotels: (or similar)
- ~ 2 nights: Hotel Capsis, Thessaloniki, Greece
- ~ 1 night: Hotel Amalia, Kalabamka, Greece
- ~ 1 night: Hotel Amalia Delphi or Nafsika Palace , Delphi, Greece
- ~ 2 nights: Hotel Divani Palace, Athens, Greece
- ~ 3 nights: Cruise on Celestyal Cruises Cruise Lines , (outside cabin)
- ~ 1 night: Marques de Pombal or Mundial, Lisbon, Portugal
- ~ 2 nights: Santa Maria Jardim, Fatima, Portugal
- ~ 1 night: Abba Fonseca, Salamanca, Spain
- ~ 1 night: Abba, Burgos, Spain
- Transfers as per itinerary
- Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner while on Cruise
- Breakfast and Dinner daily
- Wine with dinners
- Transportation by air-conditioned motor coach
- Assistance of a professional local Catholic guide(s)
- Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary
- Catholic Priest available for Spiritual Direction
- Mass daily Spiritual activities
- Luggage handling (1 piece per person)
- Port taxes & fees
- All tips included while on cruise
- Shore excursions while on ship include:
- ~ Mykonos - Walking tour
- ~ Kusadasi - Ephesus & the house of the Virgin Mary
- ~ Patmos - Monastery of St. John & Grotto of Apocalypse
- ~ Crete - Palace of Knossos
- ~ Santorini and Thira & Oia Village
- Flight bag & portfolio of all travel documents
- Lunches, Meals not mentioned, Tips to your guide & driver, Items of a personal nature.
Depart for Greece
Make your way to your local airport where you will board your overnight flight(s). Your meals will be served on board.
Upon landing at Makedonia Thessaloniki Airport, make your way to the baggage claim area and collect your luggage. Proceed to the arrival's hall, where you will be greeted by your tour guide and/or driver. You will be escorted to the bus to be transferred to your hotel. Enjoy some time to relax after check in. This evening enjoy a delicious meal. Overnight in Thessaloniki.
Philippi - Kavala - Thessaloniki
After breakfast start your journey in Greece with the first stop of the day in Philippi. Philippi was the city to where Saint Paul the Apostle delivered his first sermon and where he established the first church in Europe. "And from there (He went) to Philippi, which is the leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman Colony. We remained in this city some days..." (Acts 16:12-18). Also, it is the site of where Saint Paul baptized a woman named Lydia, the first convert to Christianity in Europe. Visit the Roman Forum where Saint Paul cast a spirit out of a fortune-telling woman. While here, you will have the opportunity to view the prison (now in ruins) of where Saint Paul and Silas were thrown into by the owners of the fortune-tellers. Continue to the modern port city of Kavala, which was once the ancient Neapolis. This port is where Saint Paul, Silas, Luke and Timothy landed when they sailed into Europe. After enjoying this city by the sea, return to Thessaloniki for a delicious meal and restful overnight.
Thessaloniki - Meteora - Thessaloniki city-tour - Kalambaka
Start the day with breakfast at the hotel. In the winter of 49-50 A.D., Saint Paul wrote two epistles to the Thessalonians. These letters urged Christians to "live blamelessly" and to refrain from living idly while they wait for the second coming of Christ. While in Thessaloniki, you will witness a number of ancient artifacts, such as the triumphal Arch of Galerius that is found at the start of Via Egnatia. Due to the convenient location, this arch was once a strategic artery of the Roman Empire. It was originally constructed in order to honor the Roman Emperor Galerius following the Roman victory over the Persians. Following your city-tour, transfer to Kalambaka. This evening, you will have a wonderful meal and a relaxing overnight in Kalambaka.
Kalambaka - Delphi
After breakfast we will go for a short drive to the Meteora Monasteries. In the eleventh century, there were monks who settled within caves. However, as the occupation of the Turkish increased, the monks were forced to move their settlements higher upon the rocks until they were unreachable by any opposing enemy. These settlements became Monasteries by bringing building, and living, materials by ladders and baskets. The Meteora Monasteries are notorious for preserving not only the Hellenic religion, but also, their academics and arts. During your visit, you will be able to view stunning Byzantine art, as well as the breathtaking scenery that surrounds the Monastery. Continue to Delphi for dinner and overnight.
Delphi - Athens
Visit Delphi, the center of the ancient world (navel) of the earth, whose prestige extended far beyond the boundaries of the Hellenic world. On the slopes of Mount Parnassus, in a landscape of unparalleled beauty and majesty, lie the ruins of the Sanctuary of Apollo Phthios. Visit the site and the museum and continue to Athens.“ Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription “ to an unknown God”. What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you…”. Athens, is one of the most glorious cities in the world and the cradle of western civilization as we know it today. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
Athens - Excursion to Corinth
After a nice breakfast at the hotel we will start with a tour of the oldest city in the world, Athens! Visit the rock that has dominated the panorama of Athens for twenty-five centuries, the Acropolis. At the Acropolis, you will see the ruins of the Parthenon, Erectheum, and Propylae. After, you will ascend Mars Hill of where Saint Paul spoke to the Athenians. At this site, Paul spoke to the Athenians about the one and only God (Acts 17:22). While in this city, you will be able to view the ancient Agora, the former public center of Athenian life. It held the focus of a political, commercial, social, religious, and cultural center. As you are in the former political center, proceed for a drive through the city to view the House of Parliament on Syntagma Square. Also, you will have the opportunity to view the University of Athens, the oldest higher education institute in Greece, as well as, the National Library of Greece that holds 4,500 Greek manuscripts. Then, visit Panathenaic Stadium, the beautifully marbled multi-purpose stadium. It is home to the Olympian Zeus, and is the site of the first modern era Olympics (1896). Following your visit in Athens, you will proceed to the ancient Corinth. Under the shadow of the towering Acropolis, Saint Paul lived in Corinth for two years. While here, Saint Paul felt great grief over the way that the Gentile Church in Corinth has become. As a result, he was prompted to write four letters, all with the overarching theme of love. In Corinth, you will have the opportunity to view the remains of the first century shops, the site of Saint Paul's trial by Gallio, the Fountain of Peirene, and the Temple of Apollo. Following your visit to Corinth, return to Athens for a delicious meal and overnight.
Athens - Start 3-day Cruise (Celestyal Cruises Cruise Lines) to Mykonos
Following breakfast, you will proceed to the Piraeus port where you will board your 3-day cruise. Your first stop will be the Island of Mykonos, the most cosmopolitan of the Greek islands that attracts visitors from all over the world. After docking, transfer to Hora, the island's capital. Upon arrival in Hora, you will enjoy a walking tour that will take you on the narrow cobbled streets of the city. Pass by chic boutiques, elegant nightclubs, and white washed houses to arrive in Alefkandra. This section of Mykonos is known as the "Venice of Mykonos", as the homes have wooden balconies and are built on the sea. Historically, these homes were of the wealthy merchants and captains. Return to the cruise ship for dinner and overnight.
Kusadasi - Ephesus (Mary's House) - Patmos
After breakfast on board, arrive at the lively Turkish port of Kusadasi. Transfer to the small village of Mt. Koressos. While in this village, you will visit the small stone chapel that is situated upon the site of where the Virgin Mary spent her last days following Christ's crucifixion. Following this visit, your group will walk through the Magnesian Gate to the ancient Ephesus. Begin your walking tour, which will take you through the most magnificent excavations in the world. Some of the sites include the Odeon (concert hall), the Fountain of Trajan, the steam-heated Baths of Scolastika, the Temple of Hadrian and the Latrians, andthe Library of Celsus. The last stop on the walking tour is to the Great Theatre, the largest ancient theatre that had a capacity of 25,000 people and is a site of where Saint Paul preached. On the return of your walking tour, follow the exact route that Mark Anthony and Cleopatra once rode in procession via the Arcadian Way. This main street runs from the Great Theatre to the main city's harbor. On your transfer back to Kusadasi, you will have the opportunity to view the Basilica of Saint John. In the sixth century, Emperor Justinian erected this structure over the grave of the evangelist, John. Upon arrival in Kusadasi, enjoy free time to explore on your own before returning to the ship. When you embark on the ship, your journey will continue to Patmos, where you will transfer to the village of Chora. While in this island's capital, visit the monastery of Saint John the Theologian. This marvelous structure was built nine-hundred years ago, and continues to be supported by the walls of a strong fortification. In addition to the stunning main church that contains outstanding frescoes, you will have the opportunity to view the beautiful courtyard, dining room, and the bakery. Your tour continues to the small museum, where you will view priceless ecclesiastical treasures such as books, manuscripts, mosaics, icons, textiles, vestments, and jewelry. Board the bus, which will take you to the Monastery and Grotto of the Apocalypse. In this grotto, experience a once in a lifetime opportunity to view the site of where the Book of Revelations was written. The silver niches in the wall mark the pillow and ledge that were used as a desk by the author of the Book. Additionally, view the three-fold crack made by the voice of God who emphasized the importance of honoring the Holy Trinity. Your day will culminate with a transfer to the port of Scala. While in this quaint and picturesque harbor, you will enjoy free time before returning to the ship.
Heraklion - Santorini
This morning you will awaken and transfer to the largest city on the island of Crete, Heraklion. While in this administrative capital, visit the ancient ruins of the Palace of Knossos. These ruins were discovered in 1899, and the palace is currently partially reconstructed. This ancient palace is believed to have been the mythical Labyrinth of King Minos and the seat of ancient Minoan culture. Additionally, it is the site of where Saint Paul met the owner and captain of the ship who warned him of continuing his journey to spread Christianity in Rome. Following this historical visit, you will embark the ship that will take you to the idyllic island of Santorini. Santorini is definitively the most breathtaking island of all of the Greek Islands. Upon arrival in Santorini, visit Thira with its iconic white-washed houses, narrow streets, open-air cafes, and glittering boutiques that cling to steep cliffs. This evening you will return to the ship for your last dinner and overnight on your cruise.
Piraeus - Athens – Lisbon
Today marks the end of our cruise. After disembarkation you will be transferred to Athens airport where you will board your flight to Lisbon. Upon arrival in Lisbon you will find your luggage and exit the baggage claim into the arrivals hall where you will be greeted by a tour guide and/or driver. You will be escorted to the vehicle which will then take you on a sightseeing tour of this beautiful Portuguese city. We will visit the Cathedral, St. Jerome's Monastery, Saint Anthony's Church (the patron saint of lost objects), Belem Quarter, the Belem Tower, 25 April Bridge, and Discoveries Monument. Our drive will also take us through the Basilica of the Star, Rossio Square, Commerce Square and Marquee of Pomba Square. We arrive at our hotel in time for dinner.
Lisbon - Santarem - Fatima
After breakfast depart for Santarem, one of the oldest cities in the world. We will walk through its narrow streets to the Church of St. Stephen, containing the oldest recorded Eucharistic miracle. This miracle has been on continuous display since 1269 A.D. We will celebrate Mass at this holy site. We then continue on to Fatima, where the Blessed Mother appeared in 1917 to three simple shepherd children and exhorted mankind to pray for world peace. We arrive in time for dinner and retire for a restful evening.
After breakfast, we begin our day celebrating Mass at the Little Chapel of the Apparitions. After Mass we begin our tour of Fatima where we will experience the beauty of this spiritual town. We will see the Basilica, the site of Francesco and Jacinta's graves, the Hamlet of Aljustrel, where the children lived, and Valinhos, the site of Our Lady's appearance after the children's return from prison. Experience Christ's love as you walk and follow the Stations of the Cross along the Via Sacra (The Sacred Way) culminating in the Chapel of Calvary, which overlooks all of Fatima. Join your prayers with those of pilgrims from around the world as you pray for the sick, drink water from the miraculous well. Attend the blessing of the sick and participate in nightly candlelight processions requested by Our Lady. Time for private devotions before dinner and a restful night's sleep.
Fatima - Salamanca
After a filling breakfast we depart towards the city of Salamanca. Salamanca is the most graceful city in Spain and for four centuries it was the seat of one of the most prestigious universities in the world. We will have a chance to see many of the city's sights including the grand Plaza Mayor, the hub of Salmantine life; the vast Baroque church of La Clerecía; the Casa de las Conchas (House of Shells), named after the rows of carved scallop shells symbol of the pilgrimage to Santiago which decorate its façade; the University; the cathedrals; the Roman Bridge; San Marcos and San Martin churches, and more. We will enjoy a delicious dinner in a local restaurant before continuing to our hotel for a restful overnight.
Salamanca - Alba de Tormes - Ávila - Burgos
After breakfast, we will depart to the quaint village of Alba de Tormes. Here we will visit and celebrate Mass at the Carmelite Monastery, where Saint Teresa died in 1582 A.D. and is buried. In the little museum of the Carmelite Monastery we will be able to see the incorrupt heart and left arm of the St. Teresa. We enjoy free time for lunch before we continue our journey to Ávila. Two things distinguish Ávila: the perfectly preserved eleventh-century walls which surround the old town, and the mystic writer Santa Teresa, who was born here and whose shrines are a must see for all Catholic pilgrims! Ávila's atmosphere has changed very little since the days of Santa Teresa, the first woman to be named a Doctor of the Church, to whom the city is dedicated. During our tour of Ávila we will see the Cathedral and San Vicente church. We will visit the Incarnation Convent, where St. Teresa became a nun and home to the most comprehensive museum dedicated to her life. We also visit La Santa Monastery, built on the site of the house where she was born, and San José Convent, the first monastery founded by the Saint. After walking in the footsteps of St. Teresa we depart for Burgos, the historic capital of Old Castile. After dinner you will have free time to explore Burgos, and admire the magnificent limestone Cathedral.
Burgos - Loyola - Lourdes
After breakfast, we depart Burgos for Loyola, the birthplace of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits. Here, we will see the 17th-century Basilica dedicated to St. Ignatius. We will also visit his family home behind the sanctuary. We will have time to pray at the most venerated room where Ignatius at age 30, was brought following his serious wounding at the Battle of Pamplona. After free time for lunch we motor through the spectacular Pyrenees Mountains. Nestled in the mountains stands picturesque Lourdes, the birthplace of St. Bernadette to whom Our Lady appeared in 1858 near the Grotto of Massabielle. We arrive in time for dinner at our hotel before retiring to our rooms for a restful night's sleep.
During the next two days in Lourdes you will have time to pray with your fellow pilgrims from around the world. During your trip you will have an opportunity to: Attend Mass at the Grotto, watch a video presentation telling the story of Lourdes, and walk in the footsteps of St. Bernadette. See Boly Mill where St. Bernadette was born, and the "Cachot," an abandoned prison where Bernadette's impoverished family lived. Join your prayers with those of pilgrims from around the world as you pray for the sick, drink water from the miraculous spring or submerge yourself in the healing baths. Experience Christ's love as you walk the life-sized Stations of the Cross overlooking the holy Grotto.Kneel in the chapel built on the very rock of the Grotto, in obedience to the request of the "Immaculate Conception." Evenings are free for optional Blessed Sacrament Procession before dinner. Your role in the universal church will have new meaning as you join the candlelight procession and group rosary. (candle light procession and group rosary April through October only).
Lourdes - USA
Early morning transfer back to Toulouse, Pau or Lourdes airport for your return flights
About your trip
About Greece and Saint Paul
The important role that Greece has played in history is widely known; philosophy, the arts, medicine, democracy. But there is also a great page in the history of Christianity: early days of Christianity and the ministry of the Apostle Paul! This amazing man, moved by the Holy Spirit preached "good news" to Jews and Gentiles. Traveling along the major trade routes of the Roman empire and visiting large thriving communities of Asia Minor and Greece his mission was accomplished; Christianity became the biggest religion in the world. Our tours are not just tours; they are an inspiring journey to the actual places where the Apostle Paul lived and preached God's word. Travel with our bible-oriented guides down timeless roads; take time to pray and rejoice in the ancient biblical sites; visit thousand-year-old churches and temples; and encounter a unique spiritual experience that will help you to better understand "The Steps of Paul" selecting bible-oriented guides, incorporating lectures and providing printed material, for people to achieve a deeper understanding of the Apostle Paul and his work.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima is one of most famous Marian shrines in the world. Drawn by apparitions of the Virgin Mary to three local shepherd children in 1917. Four million people visit Fatima each year. The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to shepherd children on the 13th day of six consecutive months in 1917, starting on May 13th until October 13th. The events at Fatima gained particular fame due to their elements of prophecy and eschatology, particularly with regard to possible world war and the conversion of Russia.
Saint Teresa and Saint Ingatius both hailed from Spain. Saint Teresa of Ávila, also called Saint Teresa of Jesus, was a prominent Spanish mystic, Carmelite nun, and writer. Saint Ignatius of Loyola was a Spanish knight who became priest and found the Society of Jesus and became its first Superior General.
She came for you and for everyone of us! 6 million pilgrims come to Lourdes each year and 10,000 visit this site daily. At the foot of the Pyrenees mountains in southwestern France, nestled between the spectacular mountain river, Gave de Pau, is Lourdes, one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the World. Lourdes is the birthplace of St Bernadette to whom Our Lady appeared in 1858 near the Grotto of Massabielle. Our pilgrimage and tour of Lourdes includes visits to the sanctuary and the Basilica of St Pius X, the world's largest underground church. Drink from the spring that the Virgin directed Bernadette to locate at the base of the grotto, which has flowed uninterrupted since 1858. Wash yourself in the baths where hundreds of miraculous cures have taken place. Contemplate Christ's Passion as you pray the unique three-dimensional Stations of the Cross. Attend the blessing of the sick, and participate in nightly candlelight processions requested by Our Lady. Daily Mass, and Mass at the Grotto on Sunday will be followed by a video presentation telling the miraculous story of Lourdes. Visit Lourdes and experience a spiritual journey from which many have claimed healing and conversion.