Athens, Meteora, Zagori, Thessaloniki
Art & Architecture, Great Walks, History & Culture
Northern Greece showcases a rich cultural heritage and is gifted with some of the most dramatic terrain of the country, yet still retains an authenticity that is still untouched by mass tourism.
We commence in Athens, before journeying to Meteora, famous for the stunning rock pillars, with monasteries build six hundred years ago atop these rocks, create a one and only synthesis of nature and man.
The Zagori region is considered among the purest & untouched in Europe, its showpiece is the magnificent Vikos Gorge, a national park filled with forests, waterfalls and mountain lakes, dotted by immaculate stone villages.
End your journey in Thessaloniki, the lively capital of Northern Greece full of history and character.
Arrive in Athens and transfer to your hotel.
Ancient and modern, with equal measures of grunge and grace, bustling Athens is a heavy mix of history and edginess. Iconic monuments mingle with first-rate museums, lively cafes and al fresco dining, and is downright fun. The historic centre is an open-air museum, yet the city’s cultural and social life takes place amid these ancient landmarks, merging past and present. The magnificent Acropolis rises above the sprawling metropolis and has stood witness to the city’s transformation.
In the afternoon, enjoy a private tour in Acropolis hill & Acropolis Museum.
If this is your first time in Athens, we recommend adding an extra night to explore this dynamic metropolis on a local Food Tour to get a sense-provoking insight into Greek gastronomy, or to catch the sunset at the majestic Temple of Poseidon along the impressive Attica coast.
After breakfast, you will drive towards Delphi region (approximately 160km, 2hr 40min) where you will have a private tour in Delphi ancient site & museum.
After the tour you will have a lunch in a local taverna and then we will drive through mainland Greece towards stunning Meteora rocks (approximately 315km, 4hrs). We will arrive in the early evening and after freshening up, you can walk towards the village of Kastraki lying right under the rocks and have dinner in a traditional restaurant. Alternatively you can visit the nearby town of Trikala.
The Meteora region is one of the largest and most important complexes of Greek Orthodox monasteries in Greece. The region is a major religious, hiking, photography and even filming destination due to its dramatic scenery coupled with monasteries and spiritual monks.
Today we will hike from the village of Kastraki towards the monasteries and explore what most visitors miss. Fantastic manifestations of geological history and current processes of nature await us around every bend or rise in the trail, impressive treasures we will enjoy mostly alone.
On our way to the Zagori region, we will pass by the city of Ioannina (approximately 100km, 1hr 45min), a bustling little city and the capital of Epirus province, which faces sheer mountains erupting behind Lake Pamvotis. The coexistence of multi-cultural influences is evident in the historic city centre, with its narrow lanes and Byzantine and Ottoman architecture, and the imposing castle which it is dominated by its two citadels with amazing views to the town. The city is famous throughout Greece for its silverwork, with a plethora of small traditional stores selling silver jewellery, bronze ware and decorative items.
After exploring the city we will continue our drive towards Zagori (approximately 50km, 1hr). The Zagorohoria’s 46 traditional stone-and-slate villages, tucked into the Pindos range, offer atmospheric accommodation, crisp alpine air, sublime views and myriad local legends. Once connected only by mountain paths and stone bridges, they are now connected by paved roads, some of which enjoy spectacular twists and turns.
The 12km-long, 900m deep Vikos Gorge bisecting the Zagohoria, is the world’s deepest, according to the Guinness Book of Records. Due to its geological isolation and the absence of human presence, Vikos gorge includes rare plant and flower species of Epirus, and has recorded more than 110 bird species, 19 serpent and amphibian species, as well as many rare butterfly species.
In the morning, we will hike the Skala of Vradeto. The stairs of Vradeto are made of stones, carved by exceptional and highly-experienced craftsmen who created 1,120 large steps, covering thus 250 meters of height with a path of more than 1.5 kilometres which connects the villages of Kapesovo and Vradeto. From there we continue towards Beloi,with breath-taking views to the gorge of Vikos.
The Zagori is famous for its stone bridges, made by the special craftsmen of their time, are monuments of the capabilities and imagination of those people. These bridges, built some centuries ago, are preserved in excellent conditions. We will do a driving tour around the area to admire the bridges and discover quaint villages something which will give us glimpses into rustic hamlet life. Sample the traditional cuisine which is based on a peasant past and refined today into pure pleasure, with meats, mushrooms and pies as staples. This is Greek cuisine at its best – honest, unpretentious and delicious.
During afternoon we will take the ribboning northern road to Megalo and Mikro Papingo. Both villages are densely built (typical in Zagori villages) with numerous stone houses and enclosed courtyards. We will stroll around on the cobblestone alleys of the villages, which are declared traditional settlements. The Papingo villages have refreshing rock pools, good for revitalizing dip for the adventurous one.
Bid farewell to the Zagori region and drive towards ancient Macedonia to the Pella region (approximately 250km, 3hrs). You will have the opportunity to visit Vergina museum and admire artifacts from Alexander the Great’s era. Following the visit we will head towards Thessaloniki town build in front of Thermaikos sea (70km, 1hr).
Today, explore Thessaloniki, the capital of Northern Greece. The city lies in Thermaikos Gulf with great position next to the sea. While in Thessaloniki, visit the Archaeological Museum which features a spectacular exhibition of gold from burials and excavations in the region. Also, stroll in old town ruins and the impressive promenade in front of White Tower and experience local food in various traditional tavernas.
After breakfast, transfer to Thessaloniki airport for your departure flight.
Mid Season: April, May, October
High Season: June – September
Electra Metropolis Athens • Doupiani House Hotel • Aristi Mountain Resort & Villas • Electra Palace Thessaloniki
The former modernist Ministry of Education building by architect Patroklos Karantinos has now been converted into a modern design hotel with retro chic aesthetics. The roof garden on the 10th floor offers a stunning 360° panoramic view of Athens and beyond. (Opened: 2018; Rooms: 216)View More
Situated on the highest point of Kastraki, in a quiet and green area of six acres next to the imposing rocks of Meteora, offering some of the best panoramic views and earning the title of ‘the balcony of Meteora’. The hotel was recently renovated with wood and stone, keeping to the traditional architectural style of Meteora. (Refurbished: 2021; Rooms: 26)View More
A member of the "National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World" and located in the traditional village of Aristi. This is a refuge for those seeking beauty in nature with top quality facilities available to them – a perfect starting point for hikers and anyone who wants to visit the enchanting Zagorochoria villages. (Refurbished: 2020; Rooms: 26)View More
This has been one of the city’s most well recognized landmarks since its opening five decades ago, being known as the place to be seen with international celebrities on the guest lists. Electra Palace reopened in 2020 following a complete makeover, offering a wide array of top-class amenities and sophisticated aesthetics while retaining the grandeur of an architectural masterpiece. (Refurbished: 2020; Rooms: 134)View More
Mid Season: April, May, October
High Season: June – September
Athens Capital Hotel MGallery • Ananti City Resort • Mount Grace Suites & Spa • Daios Luxury Living Hotel
Brand new in 2020, the hotel brings an understated level of finesse to this cosmopolitan and vibrant city, with a timeless and worldly elegance that blends art and business. Located at Syntagma Square in the beating heart of Athens, this is the perfect choice for a city break. (Opened: 2020 Rooms: 177)View More
Built on the top of a hill close to Trikala, the resort features breath-taking, views that embrace the plain of Thessaly and the surrounding areas. Clean-lined architecture with a modern interior design merges harmonically with the environment (Refurbished: 2019; Rooms: 18)View More
Built in the heart of Monodendri, one of the most picturesque villages of Zagori, and just a stone's throw from the famous Vikos Gorge, this eco-friendly hotel is built like a European chalet with influences from the East, in an ambience filled with finesse, warmth, discreet luxury and great attention to detail. (Opened: 2018; Rooms: 16)View More
Designed by architects K. Lefakis (Meteseism) and Antonis Stylianidis of the well-known 3SK Stylianidis Architectural Bureau, the hotel features aesthetic rooms in Italian style with spacious common areas of high, picture perfect aesthetics, offering panoramic views of the harbour and the city’s famous White Tower. (Refurbished: 2015; Rooms: 32)View More
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