An active, diverse and fascinating adventure experience, that is what you accomplish by joining the Greek Mainland Highlights Tour! Starting from Athens, where you will not only see the undoubtedly important monuments but also experience an amazing sea kayaking activity under the temple of Poseidon, this magnificent outdoor holiday will take you also to Delphi, Meteora and Zagori!
Among the Ancient Greeks, it was a widespread belief that Delphi was the center of the world, hence the definition as “navel of the earth”! A wonderful hike, an astonishing archaeological site, an impressive museum and delicious Greek food, just a few elements that will prepare us mentally and physically for the rest of our trip!
The area of Meteora, which means “suspended in the air”, is our next destination. Meteora are the world famous stunning rock pillars that rise impressively up to 500 meters height. One marvels at the audacity of the monks who first dared to build their monasteries, six hundred years ago, on the top of these rocks, a stupendous synthesis of nature and man.
Moving further North, we will enter the Epirus region with its glorious Vikos Gorge. A national park filled with forests, waterfalls and ice-cold mountain lakes, surrounded by the stone villages of Zagorohoria. Forty six villages with clear geographic boundaries and definite historic and cultural characteristics reveal to us why Zagori has been kept a secret from the rest of the world for so long.
No better way to explore the Greek Mainland and its beauties!
Easy. A basic level of fitness and experience is required. Participants should be comfortable in water and able to swim.
Although the paths are quite well-kept the terrain in Greece tends to be very stony and rocky, especially during the Vikos gorge-walking. You will mostly be walking on unsurfaced tracks, footpaths, mountain trails and on some tarmac roads.
Upon arrival, settle into your accommodation. In the afternoon we meet for an introductory talk and after a walk around Plaka, the oldest neighborhood of Athens, enjoy our first dinner together in a traditional restaurant. Welcome to Greece! Overnight in Athens (D)
Prepare yourselves for the best and most complete sea kayaking experience that Athens has to offer, our amazing Athens Sea Kayak tour!
Be the lucky ones and admire stunning views from the seaside along the Athenian Riviera all the way to Cape Sounio and the famous Temple of Poseidon.After a short but necessary introductory lesson, containing important directions for your safety and the smooth conduct of the activity, we will begin our rowing adventure, having as an end point the Temple of Poseidon in Cape Sounio. In total we will be kayaking along the coast enjoying the crystal clear waters, mighty cliffs and hidden caves for approximately 3 hours! En route we make a stop at one of the nearby islets and/or on one of the beaches of Legrena for a swim, a bit of snorkeling and a refreshing snack!
Towards the end of our paddling part for today, we will have the opportunity to approach the Temple of Poseidon by the sea just like the ancient travelers did, a truly unique and life-lasting memory! One can actually feel the energy of this sacred and very important monument and location.
After leaving our sea kayaks at the beach, we will head towards the temple and enjoy the beauty of the archaeological site.
And what better way to end this excellent day, than having a delicious meal at a traditional Greek seaside restaurant with great views to the sea and the Temple!
Overnight in Athens (B,L,D).
After our mighty breakfast, we begin our drive to Delphi. A historic and inspiring hike awaits us today, that combines the magic of nature with the mystery of ancient temples! We follow the ancient footpath, from the slopes of Mount Parnassos in a forested route to the village of Delphi, in order to hike a footpath that took Pan’s worshipers up from the ancient temples of Delphi to the Corycean Grotto to celebrate rites! En route, we will stop for a picnic near the cave of Pan and afterwards continue our descend to Delphi sanctuary overlooking the olive trees valley and the Corinthian Gulf, whilst the mountains of the Peloponnese enrich the picturesque scenery.
O/N in Delphi or Arachova. (B,L,D)
Our day starts with a visit to Delphi Archaeological Museum and site, a world heritage monument according to UNESCO. Amongst others we visit the Treasury of the Athenians, the Temple of Apollo and the museum’s masterpieces such as the Bronze Charioteer and the image of the famous athlete Aghias.
Next stop deeper into the Greek mainland, the impressive Meteora, with their thriving cliff top monasteries, what a sight to behold!
One marvels at the audacity of the monks who first dared to perch simple shelters on the tiny summits. Nowadays the monasteries are much grander, but we take the privilege of reaching them via rocky paths. Tomorrow we will have the chance to experience another extraordinary UNESCO Word Heritage Site by walking a trail known only by the locals.
Overnight in Kastraki or Kalampaka (B,L,D)
Today we will have the privilege of experiencing Meteora in a unique way.
Our Meteora Hiking Experience is the best way to enjoy this unique geological phenomenon and to learn the history of an UNESCO World Heritage Site. An amazing morning hike that will take you through hidden trails, known only by locals and of course ourselves! A voyage back in time, following the footsteps of the first settlers (monks) who arrived here more than 15 centuries ago. The Meteora Hiking Experience begins from the foothills of Doupiani rock, beneath the Pantokrator monastery ruins, crossing the immense rock formations in order to reach the northern side of Meteora. Here, we discover the hidden monastery of Ypapanti and the ruins of Saint Dimitrious chapel. Listen to the stories and the legends about each place we pass along the trail and the thousand years of history will revive through the exciting narrative of our local guides. You will have the chance to enter the hidden monastery of Ypapanti, which opened its doors to hikers and will remain open until this October, away from the crowds. Afterwards, let us visit the monasteries of Great Meteoron or Varlaam and climb down the old footpath the monks used for centuries…
In the afternoon while all the masses of tourists are long gone, we will experience our amazing sunset tour! This tour will take you on a late afternoon visit to discover the hidden gems of the area. Allow us to guide you through the winding narrow roads of Meteora to places away from the crowds and into the sunset… Overnight in Kastraki or Kalampaka (B,L,D)
Hiking Experience Duration: 4 hours, Sunset Tour: 4hours
The Meteora Scrambling Experience will take you up on the tallest of all Meteora rocks, above Kalampaka town, through an ancient winding trail upon the rock of Great Saint, a huge rock formation which thousands of years ago was an integral part of the town’s fortifications.
This is a unique hiking and scramble adventure, an awe-inspiring tour that will definitely meet all of your expectations! This is the same pathway that during the Middle Ages served the monks who lived in the currently ruined small monastery of the Twelve Apostles. Enjoy unforgettable and breathtaking views!
After our lunch we will head to Aristi (Zagori) for an amazing rafting experience! Rafting in Voidomatis, a great activity that takes place in the heart of Vikos-Aoos National Park, featuring deep vegetation and centuries’ old plane. Highlights of this family-friendly experience are the 17th century old monasteries, the jumps in the crystal clear waters and the small waterfalls! The scenery is very interesting with the deep vegetation and the turquoise waters that are among the clearest in Europe. Overnight in Zagori area (B,L,D)
Scrambling Duration: 4 hours / Driving distance: 145 km (2,2 hours) / Rafting activity duration: 3 hours
This day is dedicated to Vikos Gorge! This phenomenal natures wonder consists of limestone and dolomite formations dating back to 150 million years ago and vertical walls extending up to a height of 1700 meters. Carved over millions of years by the Voidomatis River- a tributary of the Aoos, is part of the 12,600 hectare Vikos-Aoos National Park and has been listed in the Guinness book of records as the deepest canyon worldwide in proportion to its width. The trail is ascending and descending, surrounded by steep mountain tops and dense forests, which consist mostly of deciduous trees, with about 1700 plant species and subspecies. The so-called Vikos herbal practitioners used the gorge’s herbs to heal all sorts of aliments and were famous throughout Greece for that.
In the evening, after having dinner, we will take our short (40′) flight to Athens, where we will spend the night. Overnight in Athens(B,L,D)
Hiking distance: 14km / Hiking Duration: 6-7 hours, Driving: about 2 hours, Flight: 40’
The majestic Parthenon, the Propylaia gateway and Temple of Athena Nike are waiting for us today at the top of Acropolis for a professional guided tour! Afterwards we will expand our knowledge in the new Acropolis museum, a super-modern, glass-walled building set at the footsteps of the ancient Acropolis.*
End of services. (B)**
* Depending on your arrival, the program of this day can be also implemented on Day 1
** On this final day we can transfer you to any other point of Greece or extend your program to the Greek islands.
Price is based on a minimum attendance of 4 people.
For the Greek Mainland Higlights Tour please consider taking along the following items on your trip. This is not a fixed list, but more of a guideline, so feel free to add and remove items as you see fit. 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”.