In Search of Homer

A Voyage to the World of the Iliad and the Odyssey in the Aegean and Ionian Seas


With Homer as your guide, this voyage aboard the yacht-like Callisto explores places that set the stage for his two epic poems, the Iliad and Odyssey. This is a rare journey that promises to enrich the spirit as much as the senses.

Your search of Homer begins in Istanbul, which occupies the site of the ancient Greek city of Byzantion. You'll visit Turkey’s Canakkale, for an excursion to Troy, where Greeks and Trojans fought for ten years. Explore the beautiful islands of Chios, Delos—a veritable open-air museum—and Paros. Rounding the Peloponnese, you arrive in Nafplion, one of Greece’s most attractive port towns, and travel to Mycenae. Sailing along the coast of the Peloponnese, you will dock in Pylos, and visit the Mycenaean palace that is associated with King Nestor. You'll pass through the narrow and scenic waterway of the Corinth Canal from Ithaca, home of Odysseus, and Preveza, in western Greece. Ending in Athens, you have two full days to explore the city’s ancient monuments while staying at a deluxe hotel.

Note: This cruise is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as agent in booking your reservation with the ship operator. The itinerary, lecturers, and all other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the cruise line.


Day 1
Istanbul, Turkey / Board the Callisto

Upon arrival in Istanbul, transfer to the ship and begin a late-afternoon sail, enjoying the silhouette of Istanbul's awe-inspiring skyline.

Day 2
Canakkale / Troy

Sail in the morning through the narrow strait of the Dardanelles to arrive in Turkey’s port of Canakkale, which gives easy access to Troy. Excavations that began in Troy in the second half of the 19th century, and which continue to this day, have revealed nine different layers of cities superimposed in rings on a massive mound rising above the “windswept” Plain of Ilium. As Homer recounts in the Iliad, one of these cities is where the Greeks fought the Trojans. After ten years of war, the city of King Priam finally fell to Odysseus’s ruse of the Trojan Horse.

About Homer: Perhaps no works exerted more influence in the Western literary tradition than Homer’s epic poems of the Iliad and the Odyssey. Set to writing sometime in the 8th century BC, when writing was becoming more widespread in Greece, the two ageless poems stem from a much older oral poetic tradition, and describe events that took place some 400 years before they were first written down. The earlier period they refer to is the heroic age of the Bronze Age, the time when the Mycenaean civilization flourished in Greece, from about 1600 BC to about 1200 BC.

The Iliad is set during the Trojan War, the siege of the powerful and wealthy city of Troy, situated on the strategic narrow waterway that leads from the Aegean Sea to the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea, by a coalition of Greek cities led by Agamemnon, king of Mycenae. The Odyssey is the story of the Greek hero Odysseus, the king of Ithaca, who took part in the Trojan War, and who, at the end of the war, spent ten years wandering in the Mediterranean striving to return home.

Day 3
Chios, Greece

The reputed birthplace of Homer, the island of Chios is known for its beautiful landscapes, historic sites, and old villages. The island is also home to the Adamantios Korais Library. Korais, an 18th-century Greek scholar, corresponded extensively with Thomas Jefferson, and a good portion of the correspondence is housed in the beautiful library, which you will visit in the morning. Continue to the 11th century church of Nea Moni, one of the most important Byzantine monuments in Greece, renowned for its architecture and mosaics. In the afternoon, visit the old villages of Mesta and Pyrgi.

Day 4
Delos / Paros

Disembark in the morning in Delos, the small island that was sacred to ancient Greeks, because it was the birthplace of the divine twins Apollo and Artemis. After the defeats of the Persians in the 5th century BC, and under the leadership of Athens, Delos was the center of the Delian League, the treasure of which was used by Athens for its expansionist plans. After exploring this UNESCO World Heritage site, a vast open-air museum, you will also visit idyllic Paros, home of the great 7th-century BC poet Archilochus.

Day 5
Nafplion / Mycenae

Heading to Nafplion, you discover the first capital of the modern Greek state and possibly the most charming city on the Peloponnesian peninsula. Surrounded by two Venetian castles named Mpourtzi and Palamidi and straddling dramatic mountain landscape beside the sapphire blue sea, Nafplion is a fascinating crossroads of cultures. Few know that the town has existed since the Mycenean Age (some 3,000 years ago). From Nafplion, you will travel to Mycenae, the most powerful city of Mycenaean Greece, and the home of Agamemnon, who led the Greeks in the war against Troy.

Day 6

Pylos was a significant city from the Mycenaean Bronze Age. At the center of this ancient settlement stands the Palace of Nestor, named after the Greek hero Nestor from Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. The rooms of the palace feature many frescoes and you'll have time to explore the grounds and learn about the Mycenaeans, known for the perfumed oils that were stored in large jars to be transported for trade.

Day 7

Explore Preveza, in western Greece, and the Necromanteion of Ephyra, where Odysseus entered the Underworld, and Dodoni, the earliest oracular site in Greece, which Homer refers to as "Wintry Dodoni."

Day 8

In Ithaca, home of Odysseus, you'll discover an island with a rich history. There have been many excavations around the island to unearth ancient sites and you will visit several before passing through the narrow and scenic waterway of the Corinth Canal en route to Athens.

Day 9
Disembark the Callisto / Explore Athens

Upon arrival in Athens, disembark and continue your explorations on land. Athens is one of the world’s most venerable cities, the capital of Greece and Europe’s oldest city. Its ancient monuments are testimonials to a glorious past that gave birth to democracy and witnessed the origins of many ideas, arts, and sciences that constitute the Western tradition. Enjoy a morning tour of the National Archaeological Museum, which exhibits treasures from Mycenae and other sites. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure.

Days 10-11
Athens / Depart

The morning is at leisure in Athens. In the afternoon, visit the Acropolis and its celebrated monuments. Occupied since prehistoric times, the rocky plateau of the Acropolis rises dramatically out of the plain and dominates the modern city as it did in ancient times. The incomparable Parthenon and other temples and structures built in the 5th century BC during the height of Athens’s democracy, represent the highest achievement of architecture and art of the Classical period. Also, visit the Acropolis Museum, which houses an outstanding collection of sculpture. You'll enjoy a Farewell Dinner in Athens. Depart on Day 11.

Optional Pre-Cruise Extension

An optional two-day pre-cruise extension in Istanbul is offered, with hotel accommodations and tours of the city’s main landmark sites.



Visit ancient cities and other sites that attained prominence in the ancient world, including Canakkale and Troy
Discover Necromanteion of Ephyra, where Odysseus entered the Underworld, and Dodoni, the earliest oracular site in Greece, which Homer refers to as “Wintry Dodoni”
Explore Nafplion, one of Greece’s most stunning port towns, and Mycenae, the most powerful city of Mycenaean Greece


Length: 11 days
Cost From: $7990  
Arrive: Istanbul, Turkey
Depart: Athens, Greece
Lodging: 8 nights aboard a 34-passenger vessel, 2 nights hotel
Meals: All meals aboard ship, including wine, beer, and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
Activity: Archaeology, Cultural Adventures, Small Ship Cruising
Trip Level:

8-day cruise, cultural explorations, swimming, and walking tours