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Steps of Paul with the Costellos

Greece and Turkey

Available dates : 17 April - 4 May 2019 **SOLD OUT**

Join Rev Tim and Merridie Costello on a journey of history, theology and fellowship through ancient Greece and Turkey.

Inspired by the missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul, we will spend Easter Day at Mars Hill where Paul famously spoke the gospel to those worshiping an unknown God.  The book of Acts will come to life, and we have no doubt that you won't read it the same way again. 

So why not join us?

Our 15 night tour starts and ends in the great city of Athens. We will journey through Northern Greece to Corinth, Thessalonica, Philippi, Berea and other towns where the apostle Paul boldly preached the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

We continue across to Turkey and spend 2 nights in Istanbul before visiting Gallipoli on April 27. Continue to the towns that encompass the Seven Churches of the Revelation: Pergamum, Thyatira, Smyrna, Sardis, Philadelphia , Laodicea, and of course, spectacular Ephesus.

Our journey continues with a ferry trip to the island of Patmos, where the apostle John was exiled and died and wrote the book of Revelation.

Itinerary

Wednesday 17 April: DEPART AUSTRALIA – FLY TO ATHENS

Our group flights with Qatar Airways are booked to depart Melbourne or Sydney (other cities are available on request) to Doha with a connecting flight to Athens.

See the FAQs section for exact flight times. 

Thursday 18 April: ARRIVE ATHENS

Upon arrival into Athens we will be met by our local representative and transferred to our accommodation where we will spend the night. After checking in to the hotel, the rest of the afternoon is free to relax or explore, before a short briefing meeting at 6.00pm followed by dinner at the hotel. Our hotel has a spectacular view of the Parthenon from the rooftop.

HOTEL: Titania Hotel, Athens
MEALS: Dinner

Friday 19 April (Good Friday): ATHENS

A group time will be facilitated by Tim and Merridie reflecting on the significance of Good Friday in the morning. The rest of the day will be free to enjoy at our leisure. Dinner tonight is at the hotel.

HOTEL: Titania Hotel, Athens
MEALS: Breakfast & Dinner

Saturday 20 April: ATHENS – CORINTH –ATHENS

After an early breakfast, we board our coach at 8.00am to start our excursion out of Athens. We'll drive along the coastal highway of the Saronic Gulf and reach the historic Corinth Canal for a brief stop for photos and refreshments. We will then visit the ancient site of Corinth and the nearby small archaeological museum where we will share time for devotions. On our way back to Athens we will visit a pottery and marble shop and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant (own expense). The remainder of the afternoon will be free to explore. Dinner will be at the hotel at 7.00pm.

HOTEL: Titania Hotel, Athens
MEALS: Breakfast & Dinner

Sunday 21 April (Easter Sunday): ATHENS - KALAMBAKA

He is Risen! This morning we will farewell Athens with a climb up the marble capped Acropolis Hill to see the Parthenon and Erechtheion Temples. We will then walk to nearby Mars Hill where Paul delivered his well-known sermon about “the Unknown God” (Acts 17:23) and share in Easter Day devotions. We will then depart for Northern Greece and drive to Kalambaka. Arriving late in the afternoon, we will check-in at the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.

HOTEL: Meteora Hotel, Kalambaka
MEALS: Breakfast & Dinner

Monday 22 April: METEORA - VERIA - THESSALONIKI

Today we enjoy a spectacular drive up to the Meteora Monasteries. After visiting a workshop where icons are made, we will have a short lunch break (own expense). We then drive to Thessaloniki passing through Veria (known biblically as Berea Acts 17:10) where we will have a 15 minute group devotion. We'll continue on to Thessaloniki arriving in the late afternoon where we'll check-in at the hotel, followed by dinner and overnight stay.

HOTEL: Golden Star, Thessaloniki
MEALS: Breakfast & Dinner

Tuesday 23 April: THESSALONIKI

Breakfast at the hotel.  Enjoy the day at your leisure.

HOTEL: Golden Star, Thessaloniki
MEALS: Breakfast 

Wednesday 24 April: PHILIPPI - KAVALA

We depart from Thessaloniki this morning and drive to Philippi to visit the site and baptistery of Lydia. We’ll have a 15 minute devotional by the river. Following a lunch break and some free time in Kavala, we return to Thessaloniki to have dinner and an overnight stay at the hotel.

HOTEL: Golden Star, Thessaloniki
MEALS: Breakfast & Dinner

Thursday 25 April (ANZAC Day): THESSALONIKI- ISTANBUL

After breakfast at the hotel, we'll transfer to the airport in Thessaloniki for our morning flight to Istanbul departing at 9:30am. Upon arrival to Istanbul, we will be met by our local guide and transferred to the accommodation for check in.  The day will be free time, followed by dinner and an overnight stay.

HOTEL: Yasmak Sultan Hotel, Istanbul
MEALS: Breakfast & Dinner

Friday 26 April: ISTANBUL

We will visit Aghia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Hippodrome Square in the morning. The afternoon is free time to perhaps shop at the Grand Covered bazaar, or go on a boat ride on the Bosphorus River. We will return to the hotel for dinner and an overnight stay.

HOTEL: Yasmak Sultan Hotel, Istanbul
MEALS: Breakfast

Saturday 27 April: ISTANBUL –GALLIPOLI - CANAKKALE

After breakfast and check-out at the hotel, we leave Istanbul to travel to Gallipoli National Park at Eceabat and visit several sites from the Gallipoli campaign. We will spend time for reflection and devotions at the ANZAC Memorial. We will continue on to Eceabat to board a ferry across the Dardanelles to Canakkale where we will have dinner and an overnight stay.

HOTEL: Buyuk Truva Hotel, Canakkale
MEALS: Breakfast & Dinner

Sunday 28 April: CANAKKALE - ALEXANDRIAN TROAS - BERGAMA

After breakfast and hotel check-out, we will travel to see the ancient ruins of Alexandrian Troas where Paul passed through on his second missionary journey (Acts 16:9). We will enjoy a coffee break at Assos (Acts 20:13-14), overlooking the port. We will then continue our journey towards Bergama (Revelation 2:12-17) also known as Pergamum, for a lunch break and devotion. We will see the Red Basilica and visit the Acropolis before check in at the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.

HOTEL: La Bella, Bergama
MEALS: Breakfast & Dinner

Monday 29 April: PERGAMUM - THYATIRA – ST POLYCARP – IZMIR (SMYRNA)

After breakfast we will visit the Acropolis of Pergamum as well as the ancient healing centre of Asclepeios.  Our lunch break will be in Akhisar before we drive to Thyatira, the 4th of Seven Churches, visited by Paul (Acts 19:10). We will continue on our way to Smyrna (Izmir) to visit the Church of St Polycarp.  We will check in at our hotel in Izmir for dinner and an overnight stay.

HOTEL: Hilton Garden or similar, Izmir
MEALS: Breakfast & Dinner

Tuesday 30 April: SARDIS – PHILADELPHIA – LAODICEA - PAMUKKALE

After breakfast we will drive to Sardis, where we will see the ruins of Artemis Temple, the impressive Roman gymnasium and one of the largest synagogues ever excavated. After free time for lunch we will make our way to Philadelphia for another short stop. We will continue our journey to Laodicea for a site visit. Our last stop is in Pamukkale. Time permitting we will visit the Ancient Hierapolis and the Calcium Terraces (White Castle). We'll then check-in to the hotel for dinner and an overnight stay.

HOTEL: Colossae Thermal or Doga Thermal, Pamukkale
MEALS: Breakfast & Dinner

Wednesday 1 May: ST JOHN BASILICA – EPHESUS – KUSADASI

This morning we depart for Selcuk where we visit the St. John Basilica and the ancient city of Ephesus. Here we'll see the Baths of Scholastica, Temple of Hadrian, the library and the Great Theatre.
After a lunch break, we continue our tour to Temple of Artemis before our check-in at hotel in Kusadasi.

HOTEL: Marina Suites or similar, Kusadasi
MEALS: Breakfast & Dinner

Thursday 2 May: KUSADASI – PATMOS – ATHENS

We'll have an early breakfast at the hotel in time to depart for our 7.00am ferry.  We'll bid farewell to our Turkish guide as we depart Turkey.  After customs formalities, we will board our ferry for a relaxing journey to the Greek Island of Patmos.  Upon arrival at the port (Skala), our luggage will be transferred to the hotel by mini-van while the group will board the bus for the visit to St John Monastery and the Cave of Apocalypse. After the tour,  we will have lunch at a local restaurant followed by free time.  We will then reconvene for a late dinner at 9pm at a local restaurant and then transfer to the port for embarkation on the overnight ferry to Athens departing at 11.55pm. Overnight stay will be on board.

HOTEL: Overnight ferry
MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Friday 3 May: ATHENS

At 8am we will arrive in Athens where we will meet the local representative and transfer to a nearby hotel to enjoy a buffet breakfast and say our goodbyes to our fellow travelers who are not returning home on the group flight.  After breakfast, we'll transfer to Athens International Airport for a departure flight back home departing at 1.50pm.

MEALS: Breakfast & Dinner

Saturday 4 May: ARRIVAL HOME

Our Qatar Airways flight lands back in Melbourne at 5.50pm and Sydney at 5.35pm.

Tour Guides

We are pleased to present Tim and Merridie Costello for our tour guides for the Steps of Paul 2019.  

Rev Tim Costello is a well known Christian in the public arena. He’s a Baptist minister now working as Chief Advocate for World Vision Australia. Merridie has been a Pastor with Tim in their days leading St Kilda Baptist. She has also been a School Chaplain. They share a love of history, theology, and good stories. He’s big-picture, she’s good on detail. They promise you a tour you’ll relish.

Pricing

Tour price twin share, per person including airfares from Australia $6,699.00
Tour only price (no airfares or transfers) $4,778.00
Single room supplement $1,228.00

Pricing is based on a minimum of 30 and a maximum of 40 passengers.

Inclusions

  • Economy class airfares from Australia to Athens flying Qatar Airways
  • Airport transfers (for group flights)
  • 14 nights' accommodation in 4 star hotels in Greece and Turkey
  • 1 overnight on board Patmos-Athens ferry - inside cabin with private facilities
  • Daily buffet breakfast and dinner at hotels
  • Lunch in Patmos
  • All sightseeing tours with a licenced English speaking tour guide 
  • Private chartered ferry Kusadasi to Patmos
  • Porterage of one bag per person
  • Tim & Merridie Costello as your hosts
  • Tips for guides and drivers

 Exclusions

  • Visa for Turkey (see FAQs for details)
  • Travel insurance click HERE for a quote with a 20% discount
  • Lunches, drinks
  • Personal expenses - laundry, internet, spending money
  • Any other items not specifically mentioned

Bookings

To reserve a place on the tour complete the following steps:

  1. Complete the booking and registration form and send this along with a copy of the photo page of your passport (you can register without your passport)
  2. Pay a $500 per person non-refundable deposit (payment details on the booking form)

Send these details to:

Groups Department
Mission Travel
Suite 6, 670 Canterbury Rd
Surrey Hills VIC 3127

or email groups@missiontravel.com.au or call 1300 554 654.

The tour balance is due on or before Friday 18 January 2018. An invoice will be sent prior to this.

Payment can be made by direct deposit into our bank account:

BSB 033 039
Account 829132

Reference: Costello + surname

Visa/Mastercard payments attract a 1.5% fee and American Express a 3.5% fee. 

Accomodation

City Hotel Number of nights
Athens Titania Hotel 3
Kalambaka Meteora Hotel 1
Thessaloniki Golden Star 3
Istanbul Yasmak Sultan Hotel 2
Canakkale (Gallipoli area) Buyuk Truva Hotel 1
Bergama La Bella Hotel 1
Izmir Hilton Garden Hotel 1
Pamukkale Colossae Thermal Hotel 1
Kusadasi Marina Hotel 1

FAQs

How do I book?

Space on this amazing tour is strictly limited to 40 passengers so please book in as soon as you can.
Please complete a Mission Travel Booking Form and send to us with a $500 deposit to:

Mission Travel - Groups Dept
Suite 6, 670 Canterbury Rd
Surrey Hills VIC 3127
Tel: 61 (0)3 9890 6555
Email:groups@missiontravel.com.au

Direct deposit your $500 into our bank account or phone through your credit card details
BSB 033 039
Account 829132
Reference: Costello + surname

Flights

We are holding a group allocation on Qatar Airways flights from Melbourne and Sydney. Qatar also fly from Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane so please contact us to request seats from these cities. 

Departing Melbourne:

QR905 17 April depart Melbourne at 9.35pm arrive Doha at 4.55am 18 April
QR203 18 April depart Doha at 7.10am arrive Athens 12.10pm 

QR204 3 May depart Athens at 1.50pm arrive Doha at 5.45pm
QR904 depart Doha at 9.05pm arrive Melbourne 5.50pm 4 May

Departing Sydney:

QR909 17 April depart Sydney at 9.00pm arrive Doha at 5.00am 18 April
QR203 18 April depart Doha at 7.10am arrive Athens 12.10pm 

QR204 3 May depart Athens at 1.50pm arrive Doha at 5.45pm
QR908 depart Doha at 10.20pm arrive Melbourne 5.35pm 4 May

Baggage allowance and frequent flyer miles

Qatar Airways economy class passengers can check in 30kg of baggage & are permitted one piece of carry-on baggage that may not exceed 22 x 15 x 8 inches (55 x 38 x 20cm) & must weigh no more than 7 kg. An excess will be charged for any baggage over these limits.

The group fares are NOT applicable for accrual of frequent flyer miles with Qatar.

 

Travel extensions

You are very welcome to extend your stay or continue on elsewhere after the tour. We do however strongly recommend that all additional arrangements only be made once the tour is GUARANTEED to depart (having met minimum numbers).

If you are travelling on the group flights ca extend your stay and fly home from anywhere in Europe that is serviced by Qatar Airways. There is a fee of $150.00 payable to split off the group home and amend your return date.

Mission Travel is a full service travel agency and can assist you with all additional arrangements. This makes your holiday experience much easier with all bookings held by the same agent.

Any travel extensions or changes must be completed no later than Tuesday 18 December 2018.

Passports and visas

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months. Any passport that is due to expire before November 2019 will need to be renewed.
Australian passport holders DO NOT require a visa for Greece. A visa is required for Turkey and must be processed online at www.evisa.gov.tr 

Please note the Turkey e-Visa can only be applied for within 3 months of your arrival into Turkey.  We will send you a reminder and further instructions on this in 2019.

Any advice regarding passports and visas are relevant only to travellers on Australian passports. If anyone is travelling on a FOREIGN passport, Mission Travel must be advised immediately to source accurate visa and entry requirements. Any arrangements relating to foreign passports and entry requirements may attract a different process and fees may apply.

Mobility to travel

Travelling on tour to ancient sites requires healthy physical mobility. The street surfaces are often uneven and can be slippery and is some places there will be many steps to climb. On average you can walk 4-8 kms per day on tour. If you are concerned about your mobility, please speak to our agents before committing to the tour. 

Rooming

Prices are based on a twin shared room containing two single beds or 1 double bed. A request to share is accepted at the time of booking. Clients electing to twin share with an unknown partner of the same gender do so in the full knowledge that Mission Travel cannot guarantee the compatibility or medical fitness of your room mate. A single supplement surcharge will apply at the time of booking. This surcharge will be refunded if Mission Travel is able to provide a suitable partner.

Travel insurance
It is mandatory to have travel insurance and it is strongly recommended to take out a policy at the time of paying your deposit. For a quote and automatic 20% discount we recommend QBE Travel insurance and offer a 20% discount if purchased HERE  
Vaccinations

Mission Travel does not advise on travel vaccinations. Please consult with your GP or check out www.traveldoctor.com.au about relevant vaccinations.
Please ensure you have an up to date tetanus shot.

Booking and payment deadlines

A non-refundable deposit of $500 is payable to secure your place on the tour.

Any travel extensions or changes must be completed no later than Tuesday 18 December 2018.

The balance of payment is due 90 days prior to departure which is on or before Friday 18 January 2019. An invoice will be forwarded to you prior to this date. 
Payments made by Credit cards incur fees (1.5% for Visa/Mastercard & 3.5% for American Express). 
Direct deposits into our Bank account & cheques are welcome.

Account details:
BSB 033 039 Account number 829 132
Mission Travel Pty Ltd
Reference: Costello + surname

Cancellation penalties

The $500 deposit is non refundable.
If the tour is cancelled by Mission Travel (due to lack of numbers or security concerns) your deposit will be refunded.

Cancellation 90-45 days prior to departure – 50% cancellation fee of total tour cost

Cancellation less than 45 days prior to departure or once the tour has commenced – NO REFUND

It is vital that you are adequately insured for unforeseen cancellation.


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Mission Travel was great in recommending a much cheaper flight arrangement. (Other travel agents don’t make these suggestions.) Their hotel suggestions (location, type and price range) were excellent and very welcome.

Wendy