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WINES OF THE GODS

...Greece played a vital role in the history of wine-making and the proliferation of global wine trade and wine lifestyle...
1

Day 1: Meeting – Naousa

Arrival at ‘Makedonia’ Airport on Thessaloniki, meeting and orientation with our representatives. Transfer by bus to Naousa, and check-in our hotel.   A lush green city in the mainland of Macedonia, famed not only for its wine but for its illustrious history of heroic women who chose death over submission to the Ottomans by jumping in the Arapitsa River. It’s also home to one of the most Dionysian of Greek pre-Lenten Carnivals. But Naoussa is by far most renowned today for its vineyard and its deep-red, robust wines made from Xinomavro, the noblest red grape variety of Νorthern Greece. Forests of beech, oak, chestnut, juniper, pines and evergreens decorate our way to Metamorfossi. This is a walker’s and hiker’s paradise, with many trails crisscrossing into the tranquil beauty of Mt Vermion. Naoussa, is considered as the most famous wine-producing area in Northern Greece. The vineyards are cultivated in neat, elegant, elevated rows outlining the hills and slopes. Here you’ll find some of the most illustrious Greek estates.  We are going to visit the Boutari Winery in Stenimahos. A Museum of Wine and Vine also operates in Naoussa, run by the Municipal Cultural Organisation of Naousa. The museum is based in the renovated I.Boutaris building, a neo-classical building which was built in 1908 by Ioannis Boutaris, as it can be seen on the marble stone at the facade. The building was constructed specifically to be used as the first organised wine factory in Naoussa. The built tank with the bronze gates can still be found on the ground floor. In the Museum there are exhibits revealing the whole process of producing wine traditionally - from the vineyard to the storage in barrels. Also displayed are small objects, tools and functional items necessary to the production and consumption process. After food we return to Naousa to stroll through its neighborhoods and discover the well-preserved urban and industrial buildings. Naoussa boasts a rich architectural heritage that will impress you to say the least. Free time, dinner, overnight stay.
2

Day 2: Veroia – Vergina

Breakfast and departure for Veroia. However we are obliged to make a quick stop to the Nymfaion of Mieza which is right outside Naousa. There the School of Aristotle was housed, and it was where the greatest philosopher of antiquity taught the greatness of classical Greek thought and the ideals of Platonic philosophy to  Alexander The Great, among many others. Veroia town is home to several important Byzantine and Post-Byzantine churches, while in the picturesque districts of Kiriotissa and Barbouta, traditional Macedonian architecture still stands. We will stroll in the streets of Veroia for a little while and then a visit to Vergina is imperative. Vergina is one of the most important archaeological sites in the country. The ancient capital of Macedonia, Aiges, was located here and has been excavated by the archaeologist Manolis Andronikos. But Vergina is most renowned as the stunning burial site of Alexander the Great’s father, King Philip II. We return to Naousa for more sightseeing, shopping, food, rest and overnight stay.
3

Day 3: Tempi - Volos

Breakfast and departure towards the valley of Tempi and Volos to the south. On the way we will stop to the Domain Katsarou winery for yet another gorgeous wine tasting experience. Located on a land that was famed in the ancient and Byzantine times for its grapes and wines. Domain Katsarou is certain to leave you wanting more… Great facilities combined with traditional methods and the highest of quality grapes... a wine lover’s paradise! We continue our journey to Tempi and drive through the slopes of mount Olympus; home to the Olympian Gods! A stop at Dion archaeological site is paramount. The site features two theaters, one Greek and one Roman, as well as a Roman bath complex, complete with a well-preserved example of the hypocaust system used to heat the floors. On the other side of the Roman road lies a series of private houses, including the Villa of Dionysus, named for a mosaic depicting the god in his chariot. The site is home to several sanctuaries as well, to Demeter, Zeus, Isis, and Asklepios. The highlight of these is undoubtedly the sanctuary of the Egyptian goddess Isis. The road winds up through enchanting landscapes filled with age-old oak trees, crystal clear gurgling streams, wild greenery and vineyards, leading up to beautiful Rapsani. You will work up an appetite while wandering around the picturesque settlement with its notable churches. We will stop for a bite under the old oaks at the town square. A wide choice of meats, delicious goat and local cheeses form the basis of the cuisine in the lowlands of Mt Olympus. We continue our journey to Volos and we will go through the Tempi valley. A stunning part of the world with abundant natural beauty even for the most demanding of nature lovers. Arrival at Volos, settling to the hotel, free time and overnight stay.
4

Day 4: Volos – Skiathos

Breakfast and visit to the Archaelogical Museum of Volos, where artifacts from the Geometrical Period (Argonaught Expedition, Trojan War etc) to the early Christian Byzantine Period are exhibited. We get on board the ferry and off to the island of Skiathos for our day trip. Skiáthos, the most cosmopolitan island in the Northern Sporades is truly a paradise on earth, with lush pine forests and crystal-clear azure waters. Despite the rapid growth in tourism here in recent decades, the island is still picturesque and unspoiled and blessed with more than 60 beautifully formed beaches. The capital town of Skiáthos, the biggest settlement on the island, is a modern resort with excellent tourist facilities. The town’s most important landmark is its natural harbour, which has determined the destiny of the town for centuries. Today it accomodates a popular yacht and sailing boat haven that adds a cosmopolitan flair to the island. A stroll around the town’s paved streets reveals gorgeous traditional white houses with red tiled roofs and colorful gardens. Food, free time, shopping and return to the mainland.
5

END OF TOUR

WINES OF THE GODS

€380

per person

…Greece played a vital role in the history of wine-making and the proliferation of global wine trade and wine lifestyle…

A look through the keyhole… Wine in Greece

Greece is one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world and the first wine-producing territory in Europe. The earliest evidence of Greek wine has been dated to 6,500 years ago where wine was produced on a household or communal basis. In ancient times, as trade in wine became extensive, it was transported from end to end of the Mediterranean. Greek wine had especially high prestige in Italy under the Roman Empire. In the medieval period, wines exported from Crete, Monemvasia and other Greek ports fetched high prices in northern Europe.

Evidence confirm that Greece is home to the second oldest known grape wine remnants discovered in the world and the world’s earliest evidence of crushed grapes. The spread of Greek civilization and their worship of Dionysus, the god of wine, spread Dionysian cults throughout the Mediterranean areas during the period of 1600 BC to the year 1. Hippocrates used wine for medicinal purposes and readily prescribed it. Greek wines and their varieties were well known and traded throughout the Mediterranean.

The Ancient Greeks introduced vines such as Vitis vinifera and made wine in their numerous colonies in Italy, Sicily, southern France, and Spain. The Vitis vinifera grape which thrives in temperate climates near coastal areas with mild winters and dry summers adapted well and flourished in the Northern Mediterranean areas. The most reputable wines of ancient Greece were Chian, Coan, Corcyraean, Cretan, Euboean, Lesbian, Leucadian, Mendaean, Peparethan wine, Rhodian and Thasian.

In 1937, a Wine Institute was established by the Ministry of Agriculture. During the 1960s, retsina suddenly became the national beverage. With rapidly growing tourism, retsina became associated worldwide with Greece and Greek wine. Greece’s first Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard was planted in 1963. In 1971 and 1972, legislation established appellation laws.

 

Our divine Wine Route…

Naoussa

Naoussa has gradually turned from a quiet fishing village into an increasingly stylish resort and visitor destination. Perched on the shores of the large Plastira Bay, there are gorgeous beaches nearby, excellent restaurants and an ever-expanding number of chic beachside hotels, cafes and bars. Behind the waterfront is a maze of narrow, whitewashed streets.

Veria

Around 75km west of Thessaloniki, Veria is a small city that is definitely worth explorating. The old Jewish quarter, Barbouta, is atmospheric and its history fascinating, and the small but lush Tripitamos River that runs through is a natural beauty. The two town museums are well presented, and Veria is en route to  Aigai and the magnificent Vergina tombs. Add to that some fantastic accommodation options and some decent restaurants, plus the ski areas at Mt Vermio, and you have a real little treat.

The city of Aigai, the ancient first capital of the Kingdom of Macedonia, was discovered in the 19th century near Vergina, in northern Greece. The most important remain isthe monumental palace, lavishly decorated with mosaics and painted stuccoes. Of equal importance is the burial ground with more than 300 tumuli, some of which date from the 11th century B.C. One of the royal tombs in the Great Tumulus is identified as that of Philip II. He is the king who conquered all the Greek cities, paving the way for his son Alexander; and the expansion of the Hellenistic world.

Tempi

The Vale of Tempi located between Olympus to the north and Ossa to the south. The valley is 10 kilometers long and as narrow as 25 meters in places, with cliffs nearly 500 meters high. Pineios River flows through the valley, on its way to the Aegean Sea. In ancient times, it was celebrated by Greek poets as the favorite haunting site of Apollo and the being home to the Muses. On the right bank of the Pineios sat a temple to Apollo, near which laurels used to crown the victors in the Pythian Games.

Volos

Known as Iolkos in Ancient Greece, Volos was the mythic home of Jason and his band of Argonauts. These days, Volos is a large and bustling university city on the northern shores of the Pagasitikos Gulf. Its convenient location acts as a  gateway to the Pelion Peninsula and the Sporades, and draws many tourists to the city.

Skiathos

Skiathos is blessed with some of the Aegean’s most beautiful beaches. So it’s little wonder that in July and August the island can fill up with sun-starved northern Europeans, as prices soar and rooms dwindle. Skiathos Town, the island’s major settlement and port, lies on the southeast coast. The rest of the south coast is interspersed with walled-in holiday villas and dreamy pine-fringed sandy beaches.

 

  • 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