On 6 April 1941, the German Army launched its attack against the Greeks on the Metaxos Line and the Allied Expeditionary Force located at Florina. The Allied Force, including the 6th Australian Division, were withdrawn from mainland Greece and so began the Battle for Crete. You are invited to join us as we commemorate the 77th Anniversary of our 2nd Generation ANZACs witnessing Dawn Service in Athens on ANZAC Day then follow the World War 2 campaign from the northern border of Greece where the Germans first entered the country, through Greece and across to Crete. Visit the battle sites, each with an informative briefing, and view the resting places of our fallen.
As we travel Greece, you will also see spectacular scenery and the classic white architecture set against the bluest of seas. We dine in traditional tavernas and enjoy the culture of a warm and friendly people. We cruise at the relaxed pace of the inter island ferry from Pireaus to Crete and by air conditioned coach between locations. The ambience of Greece is legendary, with its food, its music and the simple quality of its lifestyle. With a history dating back thousands of years, it is one of the most fascinating and inspiring travel experiences that you will ever have. Relaxed, friendly and enjoyable is the theme of this tour. An experienced and knowledgeable Greek guide will also explain the significance of the legends that inhabit every site.
The April 2018 tour is open for booking.
Costs: 19 days, 18 nights. Based on share twin, or share double will be approximately $5,995 per person, single supplement $750. (Price may vary due to volatility of the Australian Dollar on the international currency market.)
Day 1 - 8 April 2018 Athens: Arrivals throughout the day and free time in this wonderful city, particularly where our hotel is located near the Plako. The Plako with its narrow streets full of shops and restaurants is a wonderful place to spend a leisurely afternoon.
Day 2 - 9 April 2018 Delphi: An early start as we head to Delphi, visiting the Castalia Springs and Athena Sanctuary. In Delphi our guide will take us through the history of the Oracle and we will visit the special museum that is on the hill overlooking the location where the Oracle was housed. That evening we enjoy dinner together in those famous hills of Delphi. B/D
Day 3 - 10 April 2018 Meteora: After our night in Delphi we head north to Kalambaka via Brallos Pass and Domokos. Domokos was a major defensive position and we take time in the village to overlook that defensive position. In Kalambaka we will visit the famous monasteries on the mountains. Kalambaka was also a major blocking position during the withdrawal to cover our forces withdrawing through Larissa south towards the evacuation beaches . It was not required in the end as the withdrawal proceeded past the bottleneck earlier than expected. B/D
Day 4 - 11 April 2018 Meteora: A further day viewing this historic area as well as the location of the Savige Force blocking position before returning to our hotel in Kalambaka where we will dine together in our hotel or at a local restaurant. B/D.
Day 5 - 12 April 2018 Florina: We are now moving into the area where the 6th Division deployed prior to the German invasion. We are not far from the Albanian Border and it was out here that the Greek Cavalry Regiments acquitted themselves so well. They were not defeated by the Germans but bypassed and left to their own resources to either try and re-join the main Greek Army or melt into the countryside. We will be at Vevi 75 years to the day that the Germans attacked. B/D
Day 6 - 13 April 2018 Florina: Today we revisit the areas where the 6th Division propped and waited for the German assault. On the actual ground we will discuss those positions and the battles that followed. Ptolemaida will be among our visits today. Not only will we walk the ground of those actions, but we will take time out to enjoy some of the culture of this part of Northern Greece. Tonight we have dinner in our hotel in Florina. B/D
Day 7 - 14 April 2018 Kozani: A special day as we commence our withdrawal to the south. If possible we will take time for a couple of unusual and exciting visits. B/L/D.
Day 8 - 15 April 2018 Platamon: We leave Kozani and head down to the area east of Larissa on the route taken by our troops as part of their fighting withdrawal. We settle into our hotel for our two (2) nights in the coastal town of Platamon. This lovely seaside town was the area where the 21st New Zealand Battalion put up such a wonderful defence. B/D
Day 9 - 16 April 2018 Platamon: This will be a special day visiting the Pinios Gorge and sites of this important action. We also visit a small village in the mountains behind Platamon, a village that has only local vehicles allowed and looks out over the town to the sea beyond. We return to Platamon for dinner. B/D
Day 10 - 17 April 2018 Athens: We return to Athens via Volos, Lamia, Thermopylae and Thebes. Dinner in a restaurant near the harbour and then we board the ferry for our overnight trip to Crete. B/D
Day 11 - 18 April 2018 Crete: Early arrival in Chania, early breakfast before we meet our guide for our tour of the Chania/Maleme Area. In the early afternoon we tour Souda Bay War Cemetery prior to settling into our hotel in Rethymon. B/D
Day 12 - 19 April 2018 Crete: Today we head across the island where we will traverse the evacuation route and visit the evacuation beach at Sfakia. We then proceed east along the coast past small villages until we arrive at Preveli Monastery where so many of our men were given shelter prior to evacuation via submarine. We return to our hotel in Rethymon for dinner. B/D
Day 13 - 20 April 2018 Crete: Breakfast in our hotel, before being able to use this extra day here on Crete to look more closely at the battlefield of Rethymon. A visit to the Army Museum before a free afternoon in Rethymon to complete some shopping in this quaint old pirate town. Dinner in our hotel. B/D
Day 14 - 21 April 2018 Crete: We enjoy breakfast at your hotel before we set out to visit the battlefield at Heraklion. While down this end of the island we will visit the Knossos Palace that was the centre of the Minoan Civilization. We return to Heraklion for dinner, prior to us boarding the ferry for our overnight cruise back to Athens. B/D
Day 15 - 22 April 2018 Olympia: After breakfast we say farewell to Athens as we drive out to Olympia via the Corinth Canal and Argos. Corinth was the location of the German para drop that secured the crossing into the Peloponnese and Argos was one of the last evacuation beaches. Overnight in Olympia B/D
Day 16 - 23 April 2018 Olympia: This morning we will be taken through the historical Olympia site and stand in that first ever Olympic arena, see the area where the current Olympic Games flame is lit prior to its journey to the country holding the modern games. The temples, training areas and museum are very well maintained and tell a wonderful story of history. Following lunch in the village we head out to the coast where will visit a military museum that has been established by a retired Military family. Dinner in our hotel. Overnight in Olympia. B/D
Day 17 - 24 April 2018 Athens: An early start as we head back to Athens where we will enjoy a morning tour of Athens with our guide including the Acropolis and the Museum. The afternoon is free for further exploration. The evening is at leisure. B
Day 18 - 25 April 2018 Athens: ANZAC Day, this is a very special day on the 75th Anniversary of the battles that were taking place near Athens as the Australians were gathering to evacuate to Crete. This will be, we believe the 5th actual Dawn Service as many ANZAC Day Services in the past have been at 1100. An early wake up call before coffee and tea in our hotel lobby then off to the Service. On arrival you will be ushered into an area towards the front of the Service area. At the completion of the Service there will be time at the Cemetery to inspect the area before our coach arrives to take us into Athens for our special breakfast. There may be additional activities that we attend before the afternoon free time for you to further enjoy this city as tomorrow we leave Athens. B
Day 19 - 26 April 2018 Athens: Following breakfast our group either transfers to the Airport for departure before we say farewell to those who will be staying on in Athens. The tour ends this morning. B
Your Tour Leader Colonel Graham Fleeton RFD
Colonel Graham Fleeton RFD served 44 years with the Australian Army Reserve, and had a parallel career with the Sydney County Council then as a consultant. He has a degree in history, chairs the Army Museum of New South Wales Foundation and has hosted battlefield tours since 1999. Grahams military knowledge and familiarity with the sites you will visit is unsurpassed.