The North-West corner of Greece is known for its dramatic terrain of mountains, gorges, rivers and remote settlements. It is the most mountainous region in the country which is blessed with a lush and soaring landscape, and mountain villages to rival the best of Provence. One would hardly recall many places in Europe that feel so untainted by tourism.
Our trip starts from Athens, with the first stop in Meteora, literally meaning "suspended in the air". Meteora are the world famous stunning rock pillars that rise impressively up to 500 meters height. The monasteries built by monks six hundred years ago on the top of these rocks, create a unique synthesis of nature and man. Moving further North, entering the Epirus region, you will discover the magnificent 12-km-long Vikos Gorge, one of the world's deepest. A national park filled with forests, waterfalls and ice-cold mountain lakes, surrounded by the Zagorohoria, immaculate stone villages. They constitute an entity of 46 villages with clear geographic boundaries and definite historic and cultural characteristics. It's easy to see why the Zagorians have been keeping Zagori a secret from the world for so long. Towards the south, where the mountains cease giving place to lowland, lies the capital of Epirus, Ioannina. At the banks of the lake Pamvotida, this city with great character and history will invite you for a visit and a last stop on your trip before returning to Athens.
Explore Meteora, world renown, monastery-topped rock pinnacles, listed as one of Unesco World Heritage sites
Sleep in boutique guesthouses, built in total harmony with the architecture of the areas
Hike on cobblestone paths following the footsteps of locals who have walked on them for centuries, in both Meteora and Zagori
Sample local dishes that pay tribute to the rich gastronomic tradition of the region, and gain insight to the philosophy of the fresh local products
Dates: September 8-September 16
Days/Nights: 9 days / 8 nights
Price: 4 participants: 1800 euros/Person
For less participants please contact us
Single supplement: Cost based on request. Availability limited.
Condition grading: Moderate
Arrival in Athens and welcome dinner
Often referred to as the cradle of Western civilization, Athens has been continually occupied by people for the last 7,000 years. You can't move without bumping into an ancient ruin or building, which evokes imagery of the Greek gods or the thoughts of their philosophers.
In the afternoon we meet at our hotel for an introductory talk and after a walk around Plaka, the oldest neighborhood of Athens, have our first dinner together in a traditional restaurant. Of course Greek cuisine plays a starring role and we have spent many hours digesting countless delicacies during the research of this important aspect.
Overnight in Athens, Athenian Callirhoe (D)
Visit the Acropolis and the Acropolis museum. Drive to Meteora
Yes, you will pass only tourists on the slow, steep and hot ascent up the Acropolis but it is the most important ancient site in the Western world and must-see in Athens. As you wind up the dusty path, remember to pause at one of the Acropolis many lookout points to catch your breath, have a sip of water and take advantage of its unique vantage point of the city. A view equally breathtaking as the majestic marble Parthenon, the Propylaia gateway and Temple of Athena Nike that await you at the top. After visiting the Acropolis, you will expand your knowledge in the long-awaited new Acropolis museum. It's an incongruous sight: a super-modern, glass-walled building set at the foot of the ancient Acropolis.
Early in the afternoon you will depart from Athens in the direction of Meteora. You are not likely to forget the first moment the rock pinnacles come into view.
Overnight in Kastraki, Dupiani House (B,L,D)
Athens to Meteora 350km / 4h 30min
Hike in Meteora
The rock formations of Meteora are an extraordinary unique phenomena and the best way to appreciate the power of the natural forces that shaped this breathtaking landscape is walking right into it. Fantastic manifestations of geological history and current processes of nature await you around every bend or rise in the trail.
Start from the village of Kastraki, which lies at the bottom of the rocks and hike up for a visit in the monasteries. They represent a unique artistic achievement and are one of the most powerful examples of the architectural transformation of a site into a place of retreat, meditation and prayer. A testament to the harmonious coexistence of man and nature.
Overnight in Kastraki, Dupiani House (B,L,D)
Hiking distance: 11,5km / Hiking Duration: 4 hours
Drive to Dilofo. Hike Vradeto stairs
The 46 villages of Zagori are home to stone-built mansions topped off with smart slate roofs, built by wealthy merchants in the 18th and 19th centuries. Among the loveliest is Dilofo, located at the foot of two hills, with its cobbled narrow streets, delightfully sleepy atmosphere and glorious views from its church.
In the afternoon hike up the Skala (stairs) 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 kilometers which connects the villages of Kapesovo and Vradeto. From there we continue towards Beloi, a viewpoint with breathtaking views of the gorge of Vikos.
Located in the heart of Central Zagori, Koukouli has been throughout time one of most significant villages of the area. Five amazing stone bridges connect it with the surrounding villages. The bridges are strategically located in the area ensuring their continuous usage, as the rivers of Zagori are quite often impassable during the winter and the road network is quite recent. Built centuries ago by the craftsmen of their time, the bridges are preserved in an excellent condition, reminders of the capabilities and imagination of those people. In a 4-hour-round trip you will have the opportunity to admire each one of them from all perspectives.
Rafting in Voidomatis and hike back to Aristi bridge
The Vikos-Aoos national park bursts with pristine rivers and forests, flowering meadows and shimmering lakes reflecting jagged mountains and endless blue sky.
Today you will raft the Voidomatis river, characterized as one of the cleanest rivers in Europe as it does not face any acute environmental threats. The river is panned by a number of stone bridges, the most famous being the Kledonas Bridge, whereby the rafting ends. Escape the vessels, get rid of the paddles and following the river bank, hike back to the starting point.
In the afternoon ascend the ribboning northern road to Megalo Papigo. The village is densely built, with numerous stone houses and enclosed courtyards typical for Zagori villages. Before dinner we will stroll on the cobblestone alleys of Megalo Papigo village, which due to its preserved original state is declared as traditional settlement.
Overnight in Megalo Papigo, Xenonas Papaevaggelou (B,L,D)
Hiking distance: 5km / Hiking Duration: 2 hours
Rafting duration: 1h 30min
Dilofo to Aristi bridge 27km / 40min
Aristi Bridge to Megalo Papigo 8km / 20 min
Hike from Megalo Papigo to Vikos passing the Voidomatis springs
There is a timeless quality to Zagori, which may be due to its inaccessibility for so many years. Whichever country has claimed this territory as its own over the centuries, Zagorians have held on to their identity and traditions. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the villages were prosperous staging posts for Ottoman traders, and the paths they travelled are now ideal for hiking: routes between villages range from under two hours to all-day treks. Today grab the opportunity to realize one of them. From Megalo Papigo hike towards its little brother, Mikro Papigo, and from there towards the springs of Voidomatis river. The rewarding hike ends at the village of Vikos where you can regain your strength with a hearty lunch.
In the afternoon slow down and use your free time to rid yourself of any remaining traces of stress after a therapeutic week in the mountains. Nature after all is the best physician.
Overnight in Megalo Papigo, Xenonas Papaevaggelou (B,L,D)
Hiking distance: 7km / Hiking Duration: 4 hours
Vikos to Megalo Papigo 16km / 30 min
Visit the capital of Epirus, Ioannina city and return back to Athens
At Ioannina experience a world where Jewish, Muslims and Christians have been meeting, trading and mixing over the centuries against the breathtaking backdrop of a castle town that evokes the spirit of a distant past. With its narrow lanes and byzantine and Ottoman architecture, it is dominated by its two citadels with amazing views to the town. The city itself is famous throughout Greece for its silverwork, with a plethora of small traditional stores selling silver jewelry, bronzeware and decorative items.
After lunch it is time to depart for Athens. From Ioannina though, there is also the option of taking the plane to Athens.
Overnight in Athens, Athenian Callirhoe (B,L,D)
Megalo Papigo to Ioannina 57km / 1 hour
Ioannina to Athens 422 km / 4 hours
Say farewell to Greece or continue on your own
Breakfast is at your leisure at the hotel and following that, your Tripin Adventures trip in Greece concludes. Transfer independently from our accommodation in Athens to the international airport for return flights home or continue exploring one of Europe's oldest cities.
Price includes: All accommodations as listed (or similar) based on double occupancy
Hotel taxes and service charges
All transportation during the trip
All activities mentioned in the program
Entrance fees to the Acropolis archaeological site and the Acropolis museum
Entrance fee to one monastery in Meteora
Tourist guide for the archaeological site of the Acropolis and for the Acropolis museum
Services of a guide throughout the tour
Transport and handling of one reasonably sized suitcase and one carry-on per person
Included meals: Breakfast, lunches and dinners as indicated in the itinerary, snacks during activities.
Not Included: Domestic and/or international air fare
Travel or emergency evacuation insurance
Gratuities for leader/guide or driver
Alcoholic beverages and meals other than outlined in itinerary
Visas if needed
Transfer to and from the airport/port
Other items of a personal nature
Anything not mentioned in above program
We are constantly updating our unique itineraries based on new information and experiences available. The walks, accommodations, and visits listed may be adjusted. The itineraries presented are subject to modification and change by Tripin Adventures. We reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in our judgment, conditions warrant, or if we deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of participants, anything not mentioned in above program.
This trip level is Moderate and is suitable for most people that are in fairly good physical condition. Although the daily distances are not that far, it has been rated moderate as there are quite significant elevation gains and losses. The itinerary includes walking tours in cities and villages, and five days with moderate hikes of 1-5 hours.
Although the paths are quite well-kept the terrain often tends to be very stony and rocky. You will mostly be walking on footpaths, mountain trails and on some tarmac roads and be prepared for few steeper passages.
Trips designated "Moderate" are more active and require a bit more endurance. Hikes and treks includes occasional steep ascents. Trip members should be experienced hikers in good physical condition, capable of walking 3-5 hours
Getting There & Away:Athens airport Eleftherios Venizelos, is about 27km east of Athens. Athens is connected with direct flights with various cities in Europe, North America and Asia.
Getting around: We can arrange for a transfer from the airport to your hotel. If you want to come by yourself, the metro and the suburban rail provide quick connections to central Athens (1 hour / 10 euros ticket). The bus option is cheaper though it takes longer (1h 30 min / 5 euros ticket). You can also take a taxi (1 hour / 35-50 euros).
Simple, nutritious and flavorsome, the food is one of the pleasures of travel through Greece. Rustic Greek Cuisine reflects the history and bounty of its diverse regions and relies in the fresh, seasonal home-grown produce and generally simple, unfussy cooking that brings out the rich flavors of the Mediterranean.
Greece's relaxed and hospitable dinning culture makes it easy to get into the local spirit. Greeks love to eat out and share impossibly big meals family style. Given the long summers and mild winters, alfresco dining is central to the dining experience. Service could be slow by Western standards, but why being in rush either way.
As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though. Wherever possible we will cater for dietary needs for any included meals, but there may be times when those with special requirements may need to provide their own. Note that alcohol and soda are not included.
Spring, summer and fall in Greece are sunny and warm. The daytime temperatures average 25-30 C though temperatures in the 35s are possible in the summer months. Nighttime temperatures cool off slightly to 20Â° C. Rain showers are rare in the islands, but it's often breezy and rainy on the coast.
Greece has a temperate climate. Base your clothing on the "layering system", if it is hot you can "peel off" layers quickly, if it is cooler and windy you can quickly
"dress up". The lighter you travel, the easier you travel. Use your best judgement and pack as lightly as possible. You will appreciate light luggage towards the end of your trip.
Please consider taking along the following items on your trip.
Duffel bag or rolling luggage
Daypack to carry camera, water bottle and snacks etc.
Luggage locks and tags
Midweight polar fleece sweater
Rain jacket and rain pants, or poncho
Casual clothing made of light-weight fabrics
Hiking pants, loose and easy to move in
Sun hat or baseball cap
Lightweight and supportive hiking boots, broken-in with good ankle support
Casual, comfortable shoes for evening
Sunscreen and lipprotection
Sunglasses and retainerstrap
Security pouch or money belt
Trekking poles or walking staff
Camera, memory and batteries
Reading and writing materials
Watch with alarm or travel alarm
Motion sickness remedies
Personal first-aid kit
Insect repellent (lowrisk)
Electric adapter plug/converter
This is not a fixed list, but more of a guideline, so feel free to add and remove items as you see fit.
CURRENCY & BANKING
Greece has adopted the Euro as its currency. The easiest way to obtain local cash is from an ATM. Greek ATMs accept cards bearing the Cirrus, EC, Euro card, Visa and Plus symbols. If you take cash, US or Canadian Dollars can be easily exchanged at banks. Most major credit cards, Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted.
It is advisable to have some Euros with you upon arrival to be used for a taxi if necessary.
You may want to check the website www.xe.com for current exchange rates.
You must have a passport valid for at least 6 months beyond the conclusion of your trip. Please make sure that you have blank pages in your passport for your visa (if required), entry and exit stamps (one for each). Please make a copy to take with you in the event yours is lost or stolen and keep it separate from your actual passport.
Currently a Greek Tourist Visa is not required for citizens of Canada, United States, Britain and Australia. If you hold another passport, please check online http://visacentral.com/visas.php