Greece’s vast north is unmatched for geographical, cultural and even culinary diversity. With terrain stretching from the azure Ionian Sea across the rugged Epiros mountains to the Thracian plain and the Turkish border, the north offers something for everyone, from culture and urban sophistication to swimming, hiking and birdwatching.
Follow in the footsteps of conquerors and cross mountainous landscapes while exploring the two northern kingdoms of ancient Greece and their successors. Enjoy local cuisine on the characterful streets, where you’ll witness traces of the many civilizations that have passed here, including Romans, Byzantines, Slavs, and Turks.
From the stunning monasteries of Meteora to Greece’s second city Thessaloniki and historical Macedonia, this tour offers all of the highlights of beautiful northern Greece.
Day 1: Arrival to Thessaloniki
Upon arrival, we are transferred to our hotel. During the evening we enjoy a welcome dinner in a beautiful walkable area which is one of the favorite destinations for both local and tourist visitors and the city’s college community.
Day 2: Thessaloniki sightseeing
After breakfast we discover the second largest modern city in Greece and experience the historical, cultural and religious evolution of 6 cultures, 4 religions and 5 ethnicities in depth of 2,500 years. Out tour includes guided visits to the emblematic “Lefkos Pyrgos” (White Tower), the triumphal Arch of Galerius straddling the Via Egnatia and the Old town. At the end we enjoy a Hidden Markets Tour, where we explore the markets of a city with a vibrant & lingering history and we wander through markets selling food, jewelry, antiques & more.
Day 3: Footsteps of Alexander the Great
Today we visit two of the most interesting places of Greece’s ancient times and discover the history of Macedonia. Our first stop is Pella, the ancient capital of the Macedonian Empire and native town of Alexander the Great, where we will visit the archaeological site and the Museum. Our next stop is Vergina, where we visit the most important remains of the monumental palace of the Kingdom of Macedonia. Finally we travel to Ioannina, the capital of Epirus, spreads out around beautiful Lake Pamvotida, for overnight stay.
Day 4: Ioannina
After breakfast it is time to discover this picturesque and historical city. Wonderful buildings like the House Matei Hussein, the Ottoman mosque of Veli Pasha and the entire historic centre of the town are unique attractions. We also visit the imposing castle of Ioannina where Ali Pasha, that enigmatic symbol of Ottoman rule, lived here. Then we follow the mountainous road to Metsovo, famous for its wineries and also for its local dairy products. We enjoy a traditional “ kerasma” ( local drink), offered by locals at a kafenio located in the central square of the village and finally we travel to Kalambaka for overnight stay.
Day 5: Meteora
Today we explore Meteora (“hanging rocks”), one of the world’s most dramatic landscape phenomena with giant rocks situated in the middle of a beautiful valley. The morning is spent in visiting the Byzantine Monasteries that are set on top of the rocks forming a unique spectacle.
After lunch break and time to relax we have an optional stop at Platamonas beach for swimming and then we are heading to Mount Olympus, which is Greece’s highest mountain and the home to the Gods of Greek mythology. Overnight stay at the charming village of Litochoro, popular starting spot for treks up to the mountain.
Day 6: Olympos
After breakfast our first stop at the foot of Mount Olympus is the archaeological site and museum of Dion that offers an exhibit on the mountain and the remains of major temples of Isis and other divinities. Next experience is a visit to the small church of Agia Kore, reached by an easy walk over a footbridge which crosses a torrential small river. After lunch we travel to Ouranoupoli, the Gate of Mount Athos. Evening at leisure to relax in pleasant cafes or bars drinking cocktails on the beach watching the sunset.
Day 7: Mount Athos – Sithonia
After breakfast we join a cruise that takes us on a journey into the past, on a tour of the architecture and lifestyle of Byzantium. All the monasteries on the western shore of Mount Athos magically appear one after the other, alternating with a natural landscape of unimaginable beauty, with bold changes between dark green and endless blue, as Mount Athos too is protected by the Natura 2000 European Convention. In the evening we travel to Neos Marmaras-the most cosmopolitan village in Sithonia that combines sea and mountain, where we have free time to enjoy swimming or walking along the pine-clad path that unwinds next the sea. Finally we mix up with local residents and we grape the opportunity to indulge in ouzo accompanied by local seafood meze, served up by a cafe / ouzeria.
Day 8: Departure
After breakfast we have a small stop in Arnea and according to the departure flight you are transferred to the airport.
Visit the White Tower, a landmark of the Macedonia region
Explore Vergina, the ancient capital of the Macedonian Kingdom
Visit the Castle of Ioannina, crossroads of cultures and religions
Discover the astonishing Meteora
Mix-up with locals and taste the Thessalonian entertainment
Taste Bougatsa, a trademark local dessert
Visit old Monasteries
Explore the home of Ancient Greek Gods
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