Day 1 || Arrival || Thessaloniki – White Tower – Rotunda – Arch of Galerius
Arrival in Thessaloniki and orientation in the city. We will have a tour of the main historical monuments of the ‘Lady of the North’, such as the White Tower, the Rotunda, Kamara (Arch of Galerius), the Byzantine walls, the church of the city’s patron saint, Agios Demetrios, with its crypt. Then we will settle into the hotel, before leaving for a stroll, dinner and entertainment in the picturesque city centre.
Day 2 || Thessaloniki – Upper City
After breakfast we will visit the city’s archaeological museum, where we will see, amongst other things, the priceless finds from the excavations of the tombs at Vergina. Then there will be free time in the city centre, and we of course recommend a walk along the new sea-side promenade, enjoying the view of the sun diving into the waters of the Thermaic Gulf. As well as the regeneration of the promenade, the people of Thessaloniki are proud of their theme parks, fountains and sculptures, such as the famous ‘Umbrellas’ of George Zongolopoulos. We continue with a trip to the castle in the Upper City, which survived the large fire of 1917, to enjoy the panoramic views of the city with the sea behind. In the evening we will have dinner in a local taverna with live music.
Day 3 || Thessaloniki – Meteora – Ioannina
We leave Thessaloniki to visit Meteora. Huge rocks, ‘hanging’ monasteries and beautiful footpaths compose an enchanting landscape that deserves to be seen by everyone! The almost otherworldly monastic civilisation with its monasteries clinging to precipitous cliff-faces, invites you to discover the majesty of nature. Earth meets sky, human meets divine, and the visitor finds the spiritual peace that streams eternally from the atmosphere there. Millions of visitors from around the world discover Meteora every year to marvel at the unique phenomenon. In 1988 Meteora was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will visit two monasteries – the ‘Balcony of Meteora’ – Agios Stefanos (half an hour visit), and of course the biggest of the monasteries, the Great Meteoron (half an hour visit). We continue in the coach for 2 hours to the city of Ioannina, built on the banks of Lake Pamvotida, whose beauty and warm atmosphere will enchant you. Ioannina is a lively city of 100,000 inhabitants, with a long and fascinating history. Every street and square, every point in the city rings with tradition. We will settle into the hotel before walking to dinner and entertainment.
Day 4 || Ioannina – Zagori – Vikos Gorge – Papigko – Castle of Ioannina
After breakfast we will set off for the villages of Zagori, passing through the village of Vitsa, with its characteristic stone architecture, on our way to our destination, Monodendri. There we will see the Vikos Gorge, the deepest in the world (Guinness World Records 1997) from the monastery of Agia Paraskevi above. Walking along the stone streets of the village, you will see old mansions, a school of traditional crafts and beautiful traditional stone buildings. We then continue on a breathtaking drive to Papingo, one of Zagori’s most beautiful villages, whose history dates back to the 14th century. Built at an altitude of 980m, on the lower spurs of Mount Astraka, it is made up of two parts – Megalo (large) and Mikro (small) Papingo, 4 km apart from each other. A walk along the cobbled streets will reveal stone fountains and courtyards with old wooden gates. Everything is built in the traditional style of Epirus. We return to Ioannina in the afternoon for another stroll around the historic city centre. We will visit the Castle of Ioannina, with its Ottoman fortress called Its Kale. We return to the hotel for a rest before the evening’s entertainment.
Day 5 || Ioannina – Parga – Ioannina
This day takes us to the sea. After a short drive we will stop at a small, picturesque town, built amphitheatrically around a bay, with beaches, islands and forested hills. We are in Parga, with its Venetian Castle and church of Agii Apostoli, with its many relics – the most popular spot on the shores of the Ionian Sea. We will have a tour of the town, with free time for shopping, coffee and food. We return to the hotel in Ioannina late in the afternoon for more free time and the evening’s entertainment.
Day 6 || Ioannina – Island of Ioannina – Metsovo – Thessaloniki
After breakfast we will take the boat across the lake to the island of ‘Kyra Frosyini’, with its many monasteries. We will visit the monastery of Agios Panteleimon, where the legendary tyrant Ali Pasha was killed in 1822. We will stroll around the narrow streets of the island, admiring the great variety of silverware, which Ioannina is famous for. Our walk will finish with a visit to the famous Filanthropinon Monastery with its rare frescoes. We then depart by coach for the village of Metsovo. Built spectacularly at an altitude of 1200m on the deep-green slopes of the Pindos mountains, above the Metsovitiko river, the old Vlach village of Metsovo has left its mark on the traveller’s map of the Greek mountains. It is no coincidence that many people describe it as ‘Greece’s Switzerland’. There will be time for food and shopping before we depart for Thessaloniki. We will settle into the hotel and go out in the evening.
Day 7 || Thessaloniki || Departure
Breakfast, a walk around the city’s commercial centre and transfer to the airport.