Archeological Expedition – Greece & Turkey (2025)

May 20 - June 2, 2025
Available: 13 seats
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United States
Greece & Turkey
Max People : 15
Tour Details

This trip will be led by Dr. James D. Rietveld

Currently at both California State University, Fullerton and Cal Poly Pomona, Dr. James D. Rietveld received his PhD from Claremont Graduate University School, in Religious Studies in 2006, combining this discipline with History and Archaeology. His specialties include the History of Christianity in the Early, Medieval, and Byzantine periods, New Testament Studies, Anatolian Archaeology, and Greco-Roman religions. Also at Claremont, Rietveld minored in Islam and Hinduism, focusing upon Hindu goddess traditions in the latter field of concentration. Before that, Rietveld received both his Bachelor of Arts and his Masters of Arts in History at California State University Fullerton in 1991 and 1998 respectively.

Rietveld was Editor-in-Chief of “Sacred History Magazine” from 2005-2010, related to the interactions of history and religion, distributed in every major bookstore in the English-speaking world. Rietveld also ventured into radio, having his own show entitled “Explorations of Religions, Myth & Spirituality” from 2009 to 2014. Soon he decided to bring so much of this exciting information to the general public, beginning his bi-monthly public lectures in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas in 2013 and continuing these presentations today, with many of them also posted on his YouTube channel: “Dr. James Rietveld Salon Lecture Series. Rietveld fervently believes that too much vital important information resides within the “ivory tower” of academia and needs to be shared!

Author of over twenty articles, in 2012, Rietveld published a mini-book on the London fire of 1666 entitled “London in Flames,” which was soon followed by his “Artemis of Ephesus: Magic, Mysteries, and Sacred Landscapes” in 2014, focusing on the decipherment of local beliefs related to the city of Ephesus and especially in connection to their famous goddess. Most recently, in 2022, Rietveld was featured on three episodes of the History Channel’s “Crazy Rich Ancients”, speaking about Caligula’s yacht, Nero’s Golden house, and Justinian’s Hagia Sophia. In the past, he was both on A&E and OWN TV.

Rietveld is currently conducting more research into the fascinating world of Anatolian archaeology, focusing especially on the interactions between the Minoans, Mycenaeans, the Hittites, and the Luwians on the western coast of Asia Minor–inclusive of studies related to Ancient Troy and the origins of the Sea Peoples.

Departure & Return Location

Any major United States Airport (contact for quotes from smaller airports)


All ages


Day 1
Travel Day

We depart from the United States to Athens, Greece.

Day 2
Athens – Acropolis, The Temple of Athena & Parthenon

Upon arrival, take a moment to settle into your accommodation and recharge.

Embark on your exploration at the Acropolis, where you’ll wander through the ancient marvels like the Temple Athena and the grand Parthenon.

Break for a satisfying lunch at a nearby local eatery, immersing yourself in the rich flavors of Greek cuisine.

As the day transitions into evening, enjoy a leisurely stroll around the surroundings, absorbing the historical ambiance. Conclude the day with a delightful dinner.

Day 3
Athens to Delphi - Journey to the "Navel of the Earth"

After a hearty breakfast, embark on a journey to the mystical “Navel of the Earth” – Delphi.

Depart Athens and traverse the lush plains of Central Greece, offering panoramic vistas from the majestic Mount Parnassus. Witness the awe-inspiring ruins of an ancient sanctuary, once enriched as the revered seat of the oracle.

Explore the remnants of the Sanctuary of Apollo Pythios, marvel at the Treasury of the Athenians, and stand amidst the remaining columns of the Temple of Apollo. A visit to the Delphi Archaeological Museum unveils treasures, including the legendary Charioteer of Delphi – an exquisite bronze sculpture from the ancient world.

Immerse yourself in the modern village of Delphi before later driving back to the vibrant city of Athens. Today promises to be a captivating blend of ancient wonders and contemporary allure.

Day 4
Corinth Day Trip Adventure from Athens

Start your day early with a scenic drive from Athens to Corinth, roughly an hour away. First stop: the impressive Corinth Canal. Take in the views and learn about its fascinating history.

Next, head to Ancient Corinth, exploring ruins like the Temple of Apollo and the Roman Odeon. Don’t miss the Acrocorinth for panoramic views.

Refuel with a traditional Greek lunch at a local taverna. In the afternoon, visit the Archaeological Museum of Ancient Corinth to dive deeper into the region’s history. Later, explore the Corinth Castle (Acrocorinth), an ancient fortress with captivating surroundings.

As the day winds down, begin your journey back to Athens in the early evening. If time allows, make a pitstop at a charming village or scenic spot on the way back.

Day 5
Crete - Heraklion

Ease into the day with a relaxed start. Post-breakfast, make your way to the airport for a flight to Heraklion. Upon arrival, check-in to your hotel and savor a delightful lunch at a local cafe.

The afternoon unfolds with a leisurely walking tour of Heraklion, allowing you to immerse yourself in the charm and history of this captivating city.

Day 6
Crete - Knossos & Vathypetro Exploration

Start your day with a hearty breakfast, setting the tone for a day of exploration. Embark on a scenic drive to the archaeological marvel, Knossos. Wander through the historical site, absorbing the rich tapestry of ancient culture.

After the visit, indulge in a leisurely lunch, fueling up for the next adventure. Continue your journey to the Archaeological site of Vathypetro, delving into its historical significance.

As the day unfolds, with memories etched from two remarkable sites, return to the vibrant city of Heraklion.

Day 7
Crete to Istanbul - Iconic Istanbul Exploration

Today, board a flight from Crete to the enchanting Istanbul. Upon arrival, dive into the city’s rich history with visits to the awe-inspiring Hagia Sophia and the serene Blue Mosque.

Continue your exploration with a journey through the grandeur of the Topkapi Palace, a residence that echoes with centuries of Ottoman history. Immerse yourself in the treasures of the Archaeology Museums complex.

As the evening unfolds, take a leisurely stroll through the historic Sultanahmet Square, absorbing the vibrant atmosphere. Conclude your day with a traditional dinner at a local restaurant, savoring the flavors of Istanbul.

Day 8
A Day of Underground Marvels and Tranquil Travels: Istanbul to Canakkale

Start the day with a delicious breakfast, gearing up for an extraordinary adventure. Our first stop is the Basilica Cistern, the largest of Istanbul’s underground palaces. Immerse yourself in the subterranean world, discovering the enchanting Medusa Pillars and the mysterious Hen’s Eye columns.

As the day unfolds, we’ll set out for Canakkale, embarking on a journey that promises scenic views and cultural richness. Soak in the landscapes as we travel to this charming destination, ready to uncover more treasures along the way.

Day 9
Ancient Odyssey: Troy, Pergamum, and Ephesus Expedition

Start your day with a delightful breakfast, preparing for a day filled with ancient wonders and captivating stories. Immerse yourself in the legendary tales of the ancient city of Troy, where the echoes of the Trojan War still resonate.

Following this enriching experience, embark on a journey to Pergamum (Bergama). Explore the historical richness of this ancient city, uncovering its archaeological gems and cultural heritage.

As the day progresses, continue your travels to the remarkable Ephesus. Immerse yourself in the well-preserved ruins and the historical significance of this ancient city. Let the day unfold with the beauty of these three historical destinations, each offering a unique glimpse into the past.

Day 10
Ephesus Exploration

Following a delightful breakfast, continue your exploration of Ephesus. Today we will visit the Isa Bey Mosque, immersing yourself in its historical significance and impressive architecture.

Explore the nearby St. John’s Basilica, where the belief in John the Apostle’s final resting place converges with history.

Take a scenic drive to Sirince Village for lunch, discovering its narrow streets, traditional houses, and indulging in the local wines that characterize this charming village.

Conclude your day with a visit to the House of the Virgin Mary, a sacred pilgrimage site believed to be the last residence of Virgin Mary. As the sun sets, reflect on the echoes of history and the tranquility of sacred sites that have shaped your day.

Day 11
Day Trip Delights: Priene, Miletus, and Didim Discovery

Start the day with a hearty breakfast, setting the tone for an exciting day trip from Ephesus. Your first stop is Priene, an ancient city boasting well-preserved ruins and a fascinating history. Explore the archaeological wonders and immerse yourself in the ancient ambiance.

Next, venture to Miletus, another historical gem with its impressive theater and ancient structures. Dive into the rich cultural tapestry of this once-thriving city.

After Miletus, continue your journey to Didim. Explore this captivating destination, known for its archaeological sites, including the Temple of Apollo. Absorb the historical significance and architectural marvels that Didim has to offer.

As the day draws to a close, drive back to Ephesus, reflecting on the day’s discoveries.

Day 12
Enchanting Excursion: Pamukkale and Aphrodisias Adventure

Begin your day with an early start, fueled by a satisfying breakfast, as you embark on a day trip from Ephesus. The first destination is Pamukkale, a mesmerizing site known for its terraces of carbonate minerals. Explore the unique travertine pools and absorb the natural beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Continuing the journey, visit Aphrodisias, an ancient city dedicated to Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Immerse yourself in the wellpreserved ruins, including the Temple of Aphrodite, the stadium, and the theater. Experience the historical richness and cultural significance of this enchanting site.

As the day unfolds, soak in the diverse landscapes and historical wonders before driving back to Ephesus. Reflect on the day’s adventures and discoveries during the return journey.

Day 13
Last Day in Istanbul: A Perfect Blend of History and Shopping Extravaganza

After breakfast, fly back to Istanbul to embrace your final day in this vibrant city. Immerse yourself in the captivating narratives of Byzantine art at the Chora Church. Marvel at the intricate mosaics and frescoes that bring ancient tales to life.

In the afternoon, navigate through the centuries-old Grand Bazaar, a treasure trove of Turkish craftsmanship. Lose yourself in the labyrinthine alleys, discovering traditional carpets, spices, ceramics, and jewelry that reflect the rich heritage of the region.

For a modern shopping experience, explore Istiklal Avenue. Wander along its bustling street, where contemporary shops, boutiques, and cafes provide a chic backdrop for your shopping spree.

Conclude your Istanbul adventure with a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. Delight in the diverse flavors of Turkish cuisine, savoring the memories of a trip filled with history, culture, and the warmth of Turkish hospitality.

Day 14
Fly back home

Price Includes

  • All Inclusive
  • Rountrip AirfareFrom any major U.S Airport
  • Airport Fees/Taxes/Transfers
  • Hotels
  • Meals
  • Translator
  • Museum/Historical Site Admission Fees
  • Transportation
  • Tour Guide(s)

Price Excludes

  • Private ExpensesSnacks, gifts, shopping, etc.
  • Alcohol not included

Payment can be made in full or following the payment schedule below.

Total Price




Due: December 1, 2024

Final Payment


Due:  February 1, 2025