Day 1 || Arrival || Athens – Acropolis – Monastiraki – Plaka
Athens is fast-becoming the destination of choice for a wave of savvy millennial travellers looking for a sun-drenched city break with a difference. Athens is indeed a must see city; a place where ancient monuments stand beside hipster coffee joints and rooftop bars. Athens is drenched in sun for the majority of the year, and even if you travel in January you can expect highs of 15 degrees. Most of the time the skies will be blue and the breeze will be balmy. So, whatever time of year you travel, you’re likely to see skies as blue as the Greek flag. The rugged and iconic citadel of the Acropolis towers dramatically over Athens, ensuring part of the city remains perfectly frozen in time. One thing that remains also timeless about Athens is the food. Feast on succulent souvlaki, fresh seafood, mouth-watering mezzes, moussakka and many other delicacies.
Day 1 || Itinerary
Upon your arrival at Athens airport you will be transferred to the hotel to settle in and take some rest. Afterwards you will be transferred and guided to the Acropolis where apart from the astonishing monuments you will enjoy a spectacular view towards the city of Athens. Of course you will visit the Acropolis Museum. A professional guide will inform you about the historical significance of the monuments, and their development through time. In the evening you can enjoy a nice walk in Monastiraki and your dinner in the picturesque Plaka area, one of the most historical neighborhoods of Athens. Late in the evening you will be transferred to your hotel to get some rest and prepare for the next day’s departure.
Day 2 || Athens – Delphi – Arachova
Delphi: The navel of the world
At the foothills of Mount Parnassos, perched between the twin rocks of the Phaedriades, lies the Pan-Hellenic sanctuary of Delphi, which had the most famous oracle of ancient Greece. Delphi was regarded as the centre of the world. According to mythology, it is here that the two eagles sent out by Zeus from the ends of the universe to find the navel of the world met. The sanctuary of Delphi, set within a most spectacular landscape, was for many centuries the cultural and religious centre and symbol of unity for the Hellenic world.
Day 2 – Itinerary
Departure from Athens early in the morning. After a two-hour drive you will reach Delphi. A professional guide will provide the most valuable information about this particular site of huge historical value. Afterwards, you will depart for the picturesque village of Arachova. In Arachova you will have a delicious dinner and you will stay at a beautiful hotel. Free time.
Day 3 || Arachova – Meteora – Metsovo
Meteora: Mountains hanging from the sky
Serene, spiritual, magical, mystical, extraordinary, breathtaking, immense, inspiring, impressive. These are only some of the words people very often use in an effort to describe the Meteora phenomenon. A trip to Meteora offers the unique experience of nature’s grandeur in conjunction with history, architecture and man’s everlasting desire to connect with the Divine. From the early Christian times, the Meteora vertical cliffs were regarded as the perfect place to achieve absolute isolation, to discover peace and harmony and, thus, to support man’s eternal struggle for spiritual elevation. The gigantic rocks of Meteora are perched above the town of Kalambaka, at a maximum height of 400 m (1200 ft). The most interesting summits are decorated with historical monasteries, included in the World Heritage List of Unesco. Only 6 of them have made it through the centuries, from an initial estimated number of 24. Mostly dating to the 14th and until the 16th century, these monasteries were built by monks who were previously hermits in the area, living in individual caves. Once united, these monks took months and years to carry the construction material to the top of rocks, using ropes, folding ladders, nets and baskets, and with much determination.
Day 3 – Itinerary
Day 3 will be dedicated to the unique location of Meteora. We will have the opportunity to visit many different monasteries (Great Meteoron Monastery, Varlaam Monastery, Roussanou Monastery) on top of these astonishing formations and enjoy the spectacular winter view of the wider area. Late in the afternoon you will enjoy your lunch at a traditional local restaurant before departing for your hotel in the village of Metsovo.
Day 4 || Metsovo – Ioannina
Metsovo: the most picturesque traditional village in Greece
Nested in the nature of Ioannina and embraced by the peaks of the Pindos mountains, Metsovo is one of the most picturesque traditional settlements in Greece, introducing visitors to the slow, soothing pace and unpretentious, rustic beauty. At an altitude of 1,200 m., where the north part of Pindos separates itself from the south, the mountain serenity of Epirus meets authenticity in the faces of the elder locals who sit under the trees of the central square. Here, the unrivaled beauty of nature, which stretches from the mountains of Pindos, the fir-covered forests and the running waters of the Metsovitikos River, the lordly traditional stone houses with their wooden verandas, the smell of the fireplace, the frozen fresh air in the face, the taste of metsovone cheese and the red wine from Katogi Averof in one of the restaurants in the square, will all revive your senses, as if wanting to wake you up from the lethargy of the city. After our visit to the village we then go the city of Ioannina. Free time. Accommodation.
Day 4 – Itinerary
Metsovo, one of the most interesting mountain towns will be our destination. The town is famous for its unique architecture and culture, its local cheeses and winemaking industries, including the Katogi vineyard of the Averoff family. The Averof winery is a must see in Metsovo as you will have the opportunity to be informed about the local winery tradition and taste some of the best local bottles. Also, you will visist the church of Agia Paraskevi – a unique monument from the 15th century. Dinner will be served at a Metsovo’s local restaurants. For sports enthusiasts, Metsovo area offers a well-equipped ski resort, where you can enjoy the snow and test your ski skills or just admire the scenery having a cup of local tea or wine at the beautiful chalet.
Day 5 || Ioannina – Dodoni
Ioannina: the city of myths and legends
Ioannina, the capital of Epirus, spreads out around beautiful Lake Pamvotida. The natural environment, the climate and character of the town are defined by this stretch of water – the area’s trademark. The lake, with its still waters and its small island, is a natural monument, around which the entire area lives and breathes. The strong cultural traditions of the town, home to a number of great novelists and poets, and the artistic and intellectual events which are organized throughout the year, give visitors the opportunity to get to know the roots of the intellectual life of Epirus. A walk through the city has the feel of a bygone era, full of secret places and legends still living. Wonderful buildings like the House Matei Hussein, the Ottoman mosque of Veli Pasha and the entire historic centre of the town are unique attractions. Ioannina was always multicultural, dominated mainly by Christian, Islamic and Jewish influences. This coexistence of cultural influences is clearly evident in the historic city centre.
Day 5 – Itinerary
Your first day in Ioannina will be dedicated to the city’s top cultural sites. Your first destination will be the Pavlos Vrellis Wax museum with exhibits from Greek history. Afterwards you can visit the archaeological site of Dodoni which is famous for its ancient Oracle and theatre. In the evening you can enjoy your dinner at a nice restaurant in the city and return to your hotel.
Day 6 || Ioannina – Zagori – Ioannina
Epirus-Zagorochoria: The land behind the mountains
The villages of Zagori are a cluster of 48 traditional picturesque villages, built amphitheatrically in the wider area of Timfi, Pindos and Mitiskeli (Zagori region). Zagori’s natural environment is exquisite and perfect for many outdoor activities. The local architecture is defined by stone, wood and slate rock. The villages are nested between these mountains which along with gorges, forests and rivers form one of the most pristine and radiant natural areas left in Europe. They are part of the greater mountain range of Pindus which starts from south Albania and crosses the border, running down the Greek mainland like a spine; Zagori provokes nostalgia like a magical kingdom in the middle of this ancient country. Robbers, elves, fairies and dragons used to roam the land according to local legends. It is such the magnetism of the place that can really stir one’s imagination.
Day 6 – Itinerary
Departure from the hotel early in the morning. Destination : Central Zagori. You will have the opportunity to visit the magnificent stone villages that are a popular tourist destination. Among the sights that are worth visiting are the information center and Monodendri village, one of the most typical villages of central Zagori. There you can visit the beautiful stone-paved central square and enjoy a coffee as well as the old Agia Paraskevi monastery which offers a spectacular view towards the Vikos gorge. From Oxia lookout point you will have the opportunity to admired and be astonished by the breathtaking winter scenery of the Vikos gorge, the deepest gorge in Europe. You can also visit the so-called stone forest, an area of impressively developed karstic field at an altitude of 1,500 metres.
Day 7 || Ioannina – Perama Cave – Island of Ioannina – Castle
Ioannina: The Lake City
The sound of Greece alone is enough to cheer the minds of any Westerner, Asian, or even African tourist; not just because it’s a country of lovable people and amazing history, but because of its great scenery and wonderful getaway spots. The Greek city of Ioannina is even more spectacular to behold compared to other cities. It is indeed the perfect blend between history of the old and a modern city infrastructure built to accommodate tourists and sightseers of all nations. Ioannina has cultural, historical, and modern places that would certainly catch the fancy of any visitor. And with a 100,000 strong population of which about 20,000 of them are students of the university there, there is simply not a dull moment.
Day 7 – Itinerary
The seventh day will be dedicated to the magnificent to the city of Ioannina. You will have the opportunity to wander the city castle first built in 528 BC. as part of Emperor Justinian’s huge project of fortifications in the Byzantine empire and learn about the different periods and the changes this castle underwent. You can also visit the Silversmithing museum and learn all about the most popular occupation of Ioannina residents. Also, one of the best attractions of Ioannina, is of course its little island in Lake Pamvotis, which is perhaps the only inhabited lake island in Europe. The city’s picturesque old town is ideal for romantic winter walks and hot coffees in traditional and cozy coffee shops. You can also visit Perama cave, the largest cave in Greece with the most beautiful stalactites and stalagmites formations.
Day 8 || Ioannina – Nafplio – Palamidi Castle – Mycenae
Nafplion: endless romance
On the Saronic Gulf is the beautiful town of Nafplio, often dubbed the most romantic destination in Greece. The original capital of the modern State of Greece (1823–1834), it boasts stunning Venetian architecture and Ottoman structures and offers a perfect getaway from Athens. Walking around the narrow paved streets of the Old Town is like a trip to the past. On top of a hill above Nafplio, there is the strong fortress of Palamidi with amazing view to the sea. At the entrance of the port, there is a small islet with a fortress that used to protect the town from naval attacks. Nafplio is a popular weekend destination all year round, while its lovely beach resorts make it a great place for holidays, too.
Day 8 – Itinerary
The 8th day of your travel will be dedicated to the beautiful city of Nafplio. You will have the chance to stroll through the most romantic city in Greece. You will visit the Palamidi castle, one of the finest examples of Venetian architecture. You will have you lunch at a fine local restaurant. Afterwards you can visit the archaeological site of Mycenae, one of the most representative examples of ancient Greek history.
Day 9 || Nafplio || Departure ||
Departure from Nafplio in the morning and transfer to the airport for the return flight.