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GRAND NORTH

...Forget the Greek islands and head to the cosmopolitan north instead…
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Day 1: Arrival – Kavala

(First day on our program could be modified depending on your flight times)
Arrival at ‘Makedonia’ Airport on Thessaloniki, meeting and orientation with our representatives. Transfer by bus to Kavala, and check-in our hotel. We will have a walk on the sites of the city that foretell its rich history. Kavala was known as Neapolis in ancient times and Chrystoupolis during the Byzantine era. Our first stop will be at the Step of St Paul, a memorial monument on the relics of an ancient pillar where Apostle Paul’s left his first footprint on European ground. We will continue, through the old city, to Mohamed Ali square where Christian and Islamic heritages are evident. We will then move on to the late-medieval Acropolis-Castle, used successively by  Byzantines and Ottomans, which still overlooks the city. Our next stop is on the impressive 16th century Aqueduct, 52 meters high and consisting of 60 arches; built during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent. We will complete our walking-tour by observing the neoclassical mansions and big tobacco warehouses that evoke the memory of a distant past when a multinational (Greek, European and Jewish) wealthy bourgeoisie was dominating the city. Kavala at the time was  known as the “Mecca of tobacco”. Dinner, free time and overnight stay.
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Day 2: Philippi – Lydia – Amphipolis - Thessaloniki

Breakfast and transfer to the archaeological site of Philippi (listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Philippi was a vibrant Hellenistic city, reshaped by the Romans into a "small Rome", and later became a centre of early-Christian worship. At Philippi took place the formidable battle referred in Shakespeare’s tragedy “Julius Caesar”. Most importantly it was the first place in Europe where Christianity was preached by Saint Paul, and where the first Christian Church was established. The monuments of Philippi exemplify various architectural types and reflect the development of architecture during the Roman and Early Christian period. Next to Philippi is located the Baptism Site of Saint Lydia, where the first Christian conversion in Europe took place. On our way to Thessalonica, we’ll visit the Archeological Site and Museum of Amphipolis, the place where Alexander the Great prepared for his Asiatic conquering campaigns. Amphipolis is also the place where after Alexander's death, his wife Roxanne and their small son Alexander IV were exiled and later murdered. Arrival at Thessaloniki, a city enlisted in UNESCO World Heritage List for its Paleochristian and Byzantine Monuments. We will visit the Rotunda, a massive 4th century AD dome embellished with high quality mosaics, which reflects the rich multicultural history of Thessalonica. Rotunda has a long history and has been used as a pagan temple, a Christian church and a mosque. We will also see the neighboring Arch of Galerius, celebrating Romans’ Galerius victory over the Sassanid Persians. Check-in our hotel, dinner, free time and overnight.
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Day 3: Thessaloniki

Breakfast and visit to the Museum of Byzantine Culture honored with the "Museum Award" by the Council of Europe. We will explore the rich history of Thessalonica, from the paleochristianic era (4th century AD) to the post-Byzantine era (17th century AD), admiring the monuments that expose its religious and social life. We will also visit the nearby Archaeological Museum, exhibiting artifacts from the Archaic, Classical, and both Hellenistic & Roman periods. Afterwards, we’ll visit the 15th century Ottoman White Tower on the waterfront of Thessalonica, which is the emblem of the city. There we will have time for a short break and a stroll along the magnificent coastal road. We will visit the Upper Town (Ano Poli), the most traditional part of the city that features small stone-paved streets, old squares and houses in traditional Greek and Ottoman architecture. There we will observe the Heptapyrgion that functioned successively as a Byzantine citadel, an Ottoman fort and an infamous prison. We will also visit the Tower of Trigonion to admire both the medieval architecture and the spectacular view of Thessalonica bay. Short break (taverns, coffee) and visit to the Church of Saint Demetrius the Great Martyr, who is the Patron Saint of Thessalonica. The temple has been used continuously, since the 4th century AD, as a place of Christian worship. We’ll admire the stunning mosaics and frescoes as well as the unusual shrine (ciborium). We’ll also visit the Crypt underneath the Church (where Saint Demetrius had martyred) hosting a collection of significant Byzantine Christian artifacts. Return to our hotel, dinner and overnight stay.
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Day 4: Thessaloniki

Breakfast and visit on the Jewish Museum, which foretells the vibrant presence at the Jewish community in Thessalonica from 3rd century AD to the Second World War. Our next visit is on the Museum of Macedonian Struggle. It displays and educate visitors about the social, economic, political and military developments of early 19th century in the southern Balkans and the agonizing struggles to balance between tradition and modernization in a rapidly changing society. Short break at Aristotle’s Square, the connection link between the architectural history of Thessaloniki and its modern style. It is there that the heart of the city beats and the cafés are crowded all day long, while dozens of happenings and events are held in the square throughout the year. Our next stop is the Roman Forum, the ancient center of political and public life. A large open area surrounded by buildings of various functions some of which were elegant and impressive, displaying the financial prosperity of the city. Our last stop will be to Hagia Sophia, an impressive 8th century AD domed basilica with an imposing architecture, beautiful wall paintings and elaborate mosaic that is included as a World Heritage Site on the UNESCO list. Return to our hotel, dinner and overnight rest.
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Day 5: Thessaloniki – Vergina – Pella – Ioannina

Breakfast and transfer to the archeological site of Pella, to experience a magical journey through time to the glorious capital of the ancient Macedonia kingdom, where Alexander the Great was born.  We will observe the monumental palatial complex, the biggest forum of the ancient world and the outstanding mosaic floors. Our next visit will be at a Winery in Naoussa, where you will see one of the largest aging cellars with more than 3,000 barrels and the oldest Greek wines in Greece.  While there we can experience a unique multimedia show celebrating the world of wine and unique history of the company. We’ll have also the opportunity to taste wines alongside traditional local recipes. We will continue with a visit at the archaeological site of Vergina (Aigai), listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. North mentioning is that the museum is built over the tombs, leaving them in situ and showing the tumulus as it was before the excavations. Among many others, we will also admire the tomb of Philip II (father of Alexander the Great). We will also visit the Palace, considered to be not only the biggest but, together with the Parthenon, the most significant building of classical Greece. This unique building, utterly revolutionary and avant-garde for its time, would become an archetype of palaces in the Hellenistic world and beyond. Transfer to Ioannina, check-in our hotel, dinner and overnight stay.
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Day 6: Ioannina

After breakfast we ‘ll visit the Fortress of Ioannina that covers an area of 200 acres and has been influenced by many cultures over hundreds of years. The Fortress was built by Emperor Justinian in 6th century AD and was the administrative centre of Ali Pasha, a progressive 19th century Ottoman ruler. We’ll visit the Byzantine Museum that exhibits artefacts from the 4th to the 19th century, and the nearby Treasury. We’ll continue to the Ethnographic Museum, housed in a 16th century  Aslan Pasha Mosque, which has artefacts from the Greek Christian, Ottoman Muslim and Jewish communities. Many Jews of Ioannina belonged to the Romaniote community, representing the oldest Jewish Community on European ground. We’ll see also the Rapakousis Museum that has artefacts from the late 18th century up to the  Balkan War era. We’ll explore the architecture of the Fortress and see the Fetiye mosque too. Afterwards we’ll board on a boat and transfer to the small island in the lake of Ioannina, where we’ll visit the museum associated to Ali Pasha and observe the picturesque houses. Lunch and free time in the city of Ioannina. Dinner, overnight stay.  
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Day 7: Zagorohoria – Kalampaka

Breakfast and departure for the picturesque and stunning Zagori which means “the place behind the mountain”. It is a mountainous area at North Ioannina with intense & unspoiled greenery and landscapes, tall mountains, many rivers, forests, stone built bridges, a deep gorge and 52 dazzling traditional villages. Our first stop will be Tsepelovo. Strolling through the traditional cobbled streets of the village we will notice the architectural differences with Zagori. That is mainly due to the fact that wood as well as stone is used which is in abundance all around Tsepelovo. After a short break we carry on to the next village Monodendri. It features the Monastery of St. Paraskevi built in a stunning location right on the Vikos Gorgre. Monodendri is made of cobbled streets, stone built houses and mansions featuring such architecture that will take your breath. It literally brings to life images of an older era. From Monodendri you can also go for a hike right in the mouth of the gorge and the natural springs of Viodomati. Monodendri, is arguably one of the most beautiful villages of Zagori as its surrounded by unparalleled natural beauty and views that cannot be found anywhere else. Transfer to Kalabaka, dinner, overnight stay.  
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Day 8: Kalampaka – Meteora – Volos

Breakfast and visit to Meteora, one of the most impressive and peculiar places in Greece. Meteora consists of a cluster of huge dark rocks, on tops of which some of the most spectacularly monasteries in the Orthodox world are built, and its included in UNESCO lists of World Heritage. We will have the opportunity visit three of the most important and historical ones, viz. Monasteries of Varlaam, Great Meteoron and St. Stephen. Afterwards we will visit the nearby Meteora Natural History Museum, which contains a rich collection of birds and mammals, as well as a comprehensive mushroom museum, the first of its kind in Greece. Break for lunch in Kalampaka and transfer to a nearby winery where besides wine we can try another extract from grape, which for Thessaly region is known and it’s called tsipouro, - an alcoholic drink similar to ouzo. Transfer to Volos, check in our hotel and overnight rest.
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Day 9: Volos – Pelion

Breakfast and visit to the Archaeological Museum of Volos, where artifacts from the Geometrical Period (Argonaut Expedition, Trojan War etc) to the early Christian Byzantine period are exhibited. We’ll then visit Pelion Mountain, the legendary homeland of Chiron the Centaur, tutor of many ancient Greek heroes, such as Jason, Achilles, Theseus and Hercules. There we’ll visit two picturesque villages, Makrinitsa and Portaria. The majority of the buildings are typical examples of Pelion architecture with their windows and doors decorated in a variety of colours, whilst many mansions and houses look like hanging ornaments on the green mountainside. In Makrinitsa, we’ll visit the Museum of Folk Art and History of Pelion, while in Portaria we’ll have free time for lunch. Return to Thessaloniki, dinner and overnight.  
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Day 10: (Daily tour to Chalkidiki) Return

After breakfast, according to your flight time, you can have a visit to Halkidiki. That can be either a short-time visit to Afytos on Kassandra peninsula or a half-day tour of the Sithonia peninsula.

Option A:

According to mythology, Kassándra, the first peninsula of Halkidiki, was the site of the Clash of the Titans. Today, Kassándra is one of Greece’s most modern tourist resorts. Afitos is a picturesque traditional village with small squares, cobbled streets and traditional taverns and houses.

Option B:

Sithonia looks like a typical Greek island. It is surrounded by the Aegean Sea, to the east it borders the Gulf of Agion Oros (Mount Athos) and to the west the Gulf of Kassandra. In the southern part of Sithonia is Mount Itamos (753 meters high) which is completely covered with pine trees, while the beautiful sandy beaches are one of its striking points. We will make all the tour of Sithonia and stop in two of the most famous sea-side resorts, Sarti and Neos Marmaras.
Transfer to airport and return home.
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End of Tour

GRAND NORTH

€760

per person

…Forget the Greek islands and head to the cosmopolitan north instead…

Forget the Greek islands, head north instead…

Greece’s vast north is unmatched for geographical, cultural and even culinary diversity. Here, great stretches of mountains, lakes, forest and coastline remain to be discovered. It’s terrain stretching from the azure Ionian Sea across the rugged Epiros mountains to the Thracian plain and the Turkish border. Northern Greece offers something for everyone, from culture and urban sophistication to swimming, hiking and birdwatching.

The tangible reminders of a history both triumphant and traumatic remain scattered throughout northern Greece. Although the region has only been part of Greece since the Balkan Wars in 1912–13 , it’s hardly a young territory. Macedonians, Illyrians, Thracians and Romans all ruled in ancient times. While the Byzantines, Slavs and Turks later held sway for lengthy periods. Myriad monuments, fortresses, churches and mosques attest to their diverse influences.

Today, with the grand Egnatia Odos spanning the region completed, northern Greece is getting easier – and quicker – to navigate. It’s also becoming a pretty happening place. Thessaloniki, Greece’s second city, offers outstanding eateries, nightlife and culture. While the university town of Ioannina is a lively spot close to the magnificent Pindos Mountains. Northern Greece also boasts great beaches, both for those looking for summer nightlife and for others in search of more secluded spots.

 

KAVALA

Kavala, is amphitheatrically built on the slopes of Mt. Symvolo forming one of the most picturesque cities in Greece. The city’s breeze sweeps through its historic buildings, which perfectly reflect the city’s modern character.

Kavala boasts a unique character reflecting its recent past. Neoclassical mansions and big tobacco warehouses evoke the memory of a distant past when a wealthy bourgeoisie was dominating the city. In the “Mecca of tobacco” as Kavala was named in the past, thousands of tobacco workers, male and female, earned their living. Their faces will remain alive for all eternity thanks to the black and white photos adorning the walls of the city’s Tobacco Museum. At the cobblestoned, lined with palm trees port, stand one next to another modern buildings and fish tavernas, while fish boats cast their reflection on azure waters.

Modern Kavala was once ancient Philippi’s port. More infamously, Ottoman Pasha Mehmet Ali (1769–1849), eventual founder of Egypt’s last royal dynasty, ruled here. He ordered his fleet to slaughter tens of thousands of Christian Greeks during Greece’s independence struggle. Islanders still commemorate these events annually.

THESSALONIKI

Thessaloniki is easy to fall in love with – it has beauty, urban chaos, history and culture, a remarkable cuisine and wonderful vast sea views. This is Greece’s second largest city, with the streets bursting full of life and vibrancy.

Thessaloniki  is a vibrant destination, full of surprises. It evolved into a unique mosaic of different cultures and civilizations, Thessaloniki will offer you a wonderful travel experience. The different neighbourhoods are little worlds unto themselves, and when you climb up to the Byzantine walls and take in the whole of Thessaloniki at sunset, you see what a sprawling, organic city it is. Old and new cohabit wonderfully: the Arch of Galerius, an intricate 4th-century monument, overlooks the busy shopping drag of Egnatia, while Thessaloniki’s most famous sight, the White Tower, anchors a waterfront packed with cocktail bars. The New Waterfront has breathed life and opened up space for long walks and cycling. By night, the city reverberates with music and nightlife.

Wonderful museums, cozy bars, impressive night clubs, and a shopping paradise in Tsimiski Avenue and Mediterranean Cosmos. This city is full of surprises for everyone! The more time you’ll spend walking around the city center, the more secrets will be revealed to you… you’ll get this unique feeling of finding a small treasure in every step!

METEORA

The World Heritage–listed Meteora is an extraordinary place and one of the most visited in all of Greece. The massive pinnacles of smooth rock could be the setting for a futuristic science-fiction tale, or an ancient one. The monasteries atop them add to the strange and beautiful landscape.

The geological heart of Meteora is the Adrachti, or obelisk, a striking column visible from anywhere in Kastraki. Nearby, on the east-facing side of the Pixari rock face, closer to Kastraki, look for the colourful cave chapel of Agios Andonios. To the left of the chapel, in the hollows and cavities of the rock face, are the Askitaria (Cave Hermitages), complete with hanging ladders and nesting doves. The Askitaria were occupied until the early 20th century by solitary monks, and they remain a testament to the original spirit of Meteora.

IOANNINA

Ioannina is one of Northern Greece’s most atmospheric cities. It is set on the western shore of the lovely Lake Pamvotis, and framed by the impressive mountain range that turns lilac at sunset. The walls of the Kastro enclose an atmospheric, tranquil old quarter, and the lakeside area is lined by opulent plane trees that let in dappled afternoon sunlight. Together with jutting minarets, the fantastic fortress and the unique appeal of To Nisi (The Island), Ioannina makes a beautiful place to spend at least a couple of days.

The large student population means that bars far outnumber any other entertainment option – there is a lively atmosphere here year-round. Ioannina’s rich history as an arts and culture centre is still keenly felt throughout the town.

ZAGOROHORIA

Zagorohoria is one of Northern Greece’s most attractive and mysterious regions and a real must-explore, with 46 traditional stone-and-slate villages, tucked into the Pindos range. If you like silence, quality hiking and nature, plus breathtaking mountain views at each turn, you’ll never want to leave.

Each village has its own character, but all are tranquil and beautiful – romantic Dilofo has only a handful of inhabitants and an uncanny silence, and the region’s loveliest restaurant; the charming and rugged Monodendri is the most popular, while Kato Pedina, Ano Pedina and Aristi are the outdoor activities hubs. The Papingo villages are reached by precipitous mountain roads, while traditional Kipi is slightly livelier.

Once connected only by mountain paths and stone bridges, the villages are now connected by paved roads, some of which enjoy spectacular twists and turns. Hikers also come for the immediate proximity to the Vikos Gorge and other mountain routes.

PELION

The Pelion Peninsula lies to the east and south of Volos. It’s formed by a dramatic mountain range, where the highest peak is Mt Pliassidi (1651m). The largely inaccessible eastern flank consists of high cliffs that plunge into the sea. The gentler western flank coils around the Pagasitikos Gulf.

The interior is a green wonderland where trees heavy with fruit vie with wild olive groves and forests of horse chestnut, oak, walnut, fir and beech to reach the light of day. The villages tucked away in this profuse foliage are characterised by whitewashed, half-timbered houses with overhanging balconies, grey slate roofs and old winding monopati (footpaths) and cobbled kalderimia (mule paths).

In Greek mythology, the Pelion was the summer home of the 12 gods of Mt Olympus.

 

 

 

  • Departure
    Thessaloniki

Tour Location

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INCLUDED:

  • Accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room.
  • All transfers from/to the airport.
  • All transfers/tours as per the program.
  • Choice of selected Hotels.
  • Half-board (Breakfast & Dinner).
  • Experienced Tour Guide.
  • Civil Liability Insurance.
  • Entrances to all museums and archaeological sites as per the program.
 

NOT INCLUDED:

  • Drinks, souvenirs and personal expenses.
  • Whatever is Optional as per the itinerary.
  • Tips and gratuities.
 

NOTES:

  • Air fares are not included in the price. Return Airfare can be arranged/included upon agreement.
  • Prices are based on groups of 25 travelers.
  • Prices can/will be subject to change depending on the number of participants and the duration of the journey.
  • The program might be altered on the day but no visits/tours shall be missed.

INFORMATION:

Here you'll find useful information for preparing your trip to Greece. We give you practical tips on documentation, safety, healthcare, what clothes to pack, currency, tourist cards, public holidays… so you're all set when you arrive.    

General Information

Capital of Greece: Athens Official language: Greek The currency: Euro (€) Climate: Mediterranean Population: 11.306.183 (2010 estimate) The country is a Presidential Parliamentary Democracy Calling code: The international calling code of Greece is +30  

Exchange Currencies

Greece is a Member-State of the European Union and uses its uniform currency – the Euro (€). Greece, as is the case with the other Member-States of the E.U. uses eight coins as follows: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents (lepta in Greek) and 1 and 2 Euros. The banknotes are issued in the following denominations: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 Euros. Currency exchange rates are clearly displayed in every bank that accepts currency exchange, while credit card holders may acquire money from the ATMs of the collaborating banks. Greek banks are open for the public from 8:00 to 14:30 Mondays to Thursdays and from 8:00 to 13:30 on Fridays. They are closed on Public Holidays. Euros can also be exchanged for notes of other foreign currencies at exchange offices that are situated at the airport and certain main ports, in the larger cities, as well as at many tourist destinations. A passport is required when exchanging currencies.  

Time Zone

Time Greece: GMT +2  

National celebrations and Holidays 

New Years Day: 1st of January Epiphany: 6th of January. Sea water is consecrated in the area of Piraeus. The priests throw the Cross into the sea and young men dive to catch it. Ash Monday: 41 days before Easter. It is the day people begin the Lent. On Ash Monday Greeks fly kites, eat meatless food and celebrate Koulouma. Athenians gather on Philopappou Hill. Independence Day & Celebration of Evaggelismos: 25th of March. Military parade. Easter: From Holy Friday until Easter Monday. On Holy Friday evening every church decorates the Epitaph (Bier of Christ). During the procession of the Epitaph the streets of every city or village in the country are full of people. It is a religious procession where everybody holds lit candles in their hands and sings hymns. Night of the Resurrection: It is celebrated in midnight before Easter Sunday with fireworks and candles. Easter Sunday: On Easter Sunday Greeks eat barbecue lamb. The celebrations include singing and dancing all day long. Labor Day: 1st of May. Flower feasts all around Athens. Pentecost: It is celebrated 50 days after Easter. Assumption of the Virgin Mary: 15th of August. 28th of October: National Celebration. Military parade. Christmas: 25th-26th of December.  

Health & Safety

In order to have access to necessary health care, tourists from member states of the European Union (EU) wishing to visit Greece must be holders of the European Health Card (EHIC) or any other legal Community document issued by their competent social security agency. In these cases, the necessary treatment in Greece is provided by Social Security Institute Health Units (polyclinics) or doctor’s offices in the region; Regional clinics (former rural clinics) or the Health Centres of the National Health System; and the outpatients’ departments of the hospitals on contract. In order to have access to necessary health care, tourists from countries other than the member states of the European Union wishing to visit Greece must consult their social security agency for information before travelling.  

Useful Numbers:

Ambulance Service: 166 SOS Doctors : 1016 Duty Hospitals and Clinics: 1434 Pharmacies: 1434 Open Line for alcohol drug Addiction: 210 36 17 089 Poisoning First Aid: 210 77 93 777 Police: 100 Tourist Police: 1571