HAA-CHS Spring Break Trip to Greece

Group on trip

Join Professor Gregory Nagy and a group of students, HeroesX participants, and alumni, March 15–23 2019, on the Harvard Alumni Travels – Center for Hellenic Studies Spring Break Trip 2019, an immersive, 9-day exploration of Greece!

Travel back in time to ancient Greece, starting in the charming seaport town of Nafplio, home to Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies. Then proceed through the Peloponnese to Delphi and Athens. Explore Greece’s famous archaeological sites and museums, and immerse yourself in the ancient history of this part of the world. Supplement your journey with selected readings from translations of Homer, Pausanias, and even some modern authors.

Space is limited, so register now via the Harvard Alumni Travels website! Special rates apply, so take a look!

Please direct your program-related questions to the Harvard Alumni Travels (e-mail: haatravels@harvard.edu or call: +1 800 422 1636, +1 617 496 0806).

Follow this link to find out more.

Here are some impressions from last year’s trip.

Greek Study Tour Trip 2018

From the moment everyone gathered at the airport, the group began to bond. It was multi-national, and multi-generational, with alumni and undergraduates from all disciplines, not just classics. Over the course of the week there were plenty of conversations related to the trip and about a wide range of other diverse subjects—in the tour bus, over meals, walking about the sites, or exploring the towns and cities. The scenery was stunning, the hotels and food excellent, and throughout the trip the tour leaders kept everything running smoothly.

But what made it a magical, thrilling experience was the opportunity to experience first-hand the sites and artifacts that I had only read about. With the expert guidance of Gregory Nagy, based on the words of the ancient Greeks themselves, we enjoyed a journey through time to connect with the places and thinking that shaped this civilization.

On the last night, everyone shared what had been their highlight—and there wasn’t an aspect of the tour that wasn’t mentioned by somebody—for example, the helpfulness and companionship of group members, the discussions, the direct connection with ancient sites, the choice of locations to visit, specific items in the different museums, hearing the words of the texts in their appropriate contexts, the local expert guides, the beauty of the landscape, the artistry behind the texts and objects…

You can read some passages and see some of the group’s photos and videos from last year’s trip at Classical InquiriesA plane tree in Nafplio: decorating a reader for travel-study in Greece, March 2018“. And here I am sharing just a few of the things that have remained with me.

But for those who go in 2019 you will have your own experiences and insights, and you will take away your own vivid impressions that go beyond anything that can be captured in words or images.

Hēraion and Mycenae

This first gallery includes the Hēraion which was the ancient Temple of Hera, to which Kleobis and Biton drew the ox-cart across the vast plain of Argos (Herodotus): I hadn’t easily imagined the scale; and there were olive trees, like those we read about in the Odyssey, and asphodels growing just like those where Achilles roams (Odyssey). The tholos “Treasury of Atreus” had bees buzzing around the entrance, no doubt trying to convey messages to us; and Mycenae was impressive in its landscape. In the Museum there were decorated bowls, and stylized votive offerings, the meaning of which is almost lost in time, but the loom weights for me again suggested Helen, Andromache, or Penelope in Homeric epic.


During our stay in Nafplio we had a guided tour, time to explore, and a visit to the Center for Hellenic Studies to learn about their work. Here are a few images from Nafplio: a lovely coastal town.

Olympia and Delphi

The site at Olympia is vast, with ruins set among banks of spring flowers. It must have been so busy during the festivals and sporting events. The running track proved irresistible to those members of the group with energy and stamina! Delphi was absolutely stunning, and the views gradually emerged the higher we climbed. Here was the cleft in the rocks where Apollo slew the Python, and the omphalos. There would have been sporting events here, too: the Pythian Games, and on the heights is a later, Roman-built stadium. There were many great artifacts in the Museum at Delphi: here are just a couple.


We had three days in Athens, and although I’d seen plenty of pictures it was still no preparation for seeing the Acropolis on the skyline—and then making the ascent. The Agora was much more extensive than I had imagined, and it was moving to revisit the words of Socrates at the site of the prison. I couldn’t get over the National Archaeological Museum’s amazing and vast collection. There were way too many wonderful objects, so again I’ve just selected a handful of favorites. Some of us in our free time took a trip out to Sounion on the coast to see the Temple of Poseidon at sunset: gorgeous.

Image credits

Featured images: Marina Chelitsi

Galleries: Sarah Scott
Note: images are shown as impressions of the trip and do not include detailed historical attributions of the artifacts or places pictured.