Athens, western Greece and Macedonia
14 days semi-private tour
The planning of this tour is based on three pillars: Historical - Archaeological, Religious and Culinary. Most travelers coming to Greece focus on seeing the classical highlights of the country and leave with the desire of seeing more. We have designed the perfect tour for those of you that would like to combine exploring Athens as well as the western mainland and Macedonia, the famous homeland of Alexander the Great.
Throughout this off the beaten track 14 day tour, you will visit historical sites of different eras and deepen your knowledge of the ancient Greek history. Discover hidden treasure monasteries, explore the monastic communities in northern Greece and see multiple places where St. Paul made stops and preached to the Greek people along his journey. Visit areas that produce unique culinary products and experience the authentic Greek cuisine of the local people.
Dates and Prices
The tour will run on two dates in late September and October.
- Sep 24 - Oct 7 (Sa–Fr)
- Oct 10 - Oct 23 (Mo–Su)
The price per person on double room basis is 3,280.00 euro + Air tickets
Single supplement: 800.00 euro.
Day 1: Welcome to Athens
Let’s all gather at 6:00pm at our hotel and introduce ourselves to each other as well as enjoy a brief introduction on the details of our tour’s itinerary by our guide, who will be escorting you throughout this tour. An orientation walk through the Plaka old district will be followed by a welcome dinner at a local taverna.
This day will include a walk of approximately 2-4 miles, mostly on even surfaces, including a few steps. No bus will be used this day.
Overnight in Athens (dinner included)
Day 2: Exploring Athens
After breakfast we will enjoy a full day walking tour of the major historical sites and old neighborhoods of central Athens. We will climb the sacred rock of the Acropolis Hill and enjoy a guiding tour stopping along the way for the views of the Dionysius Theatre, the Herodion Music Theatre, Philoppapous Hill, Pnyka, Mars Hill, the Temple of Nike and the Propylaia, reaching eventually the top, where the masterpiece of architecture lies, The Parthenon, with the Erechthion beside it. The classical Athens experience will be continued with a visit through the Ancient Agora, once upon a time the centre of administration, commerce and politics of the city. The day from here on will continue with a different vibe as we will enjoy a walking food tour through the old district of Athens (Psyrri), where we will have the chance to taste several local delicacies and treats. Finally you will have the rest of the afternoon free to enjoy a walk through Plaka, or even another museum visit on your own.
This day requires a lot of walking, hiking of hills and stairs of approximately 6-8 miles. No bus will be used this day.
Overnight in Athens (breakfast and the treats during the food tour included)
Day 3: Delphi
Checking out from Athens, we will head towards mount Parnassus, one of the highest mountains of Greece. Along the way we will stop at the famous and traditional village of Arachova which is lying on the elevation of 1000 meters (3000 ft) and is famous for its hand woven flokati rugs, as well as its dairy products, were we will stop for coffee and a short walk to explore it. We will afterwards continue our drive towards the most famous oracle of antiquity, and worship place of Apollo, Delphi. People from all over the known world came to consult it, bringing offerings and artistic gifts, several of which we will have the chance to admire in the local museum. In the modern time of Delphi you will have time to enjoy lunch at any of the small local taverns. This day’s drive will continue coming down the other side of mt. Parnassus enjoying stunning views of the Corinthian gulf and the largest olive grove in Greece before arriving to the picturesque town of Galaxidi. You will have a free evening to enjoy dinner on your own at a local restaurant by the sea.
This day we’ll be spending approx. 3.5 to 4h on the bus combined with strenuous walking hiking up and down the steep site of Delphi. (4-8 miles)
Overnight in Galaxidi (breakfast included)
Day 4: The wetlands of the West
We will start our day heading west enjoying one of the most beautiful coastal drives of the country towards Mesolonghi. Along the way we will enjoy the view of the Corinthian gulf where the naval battle of Lepanto took place as well as one of the longest suspension bridges in the world, built in 2004 to connect the mainland with the Peloponnese. Arriving in Mesolonghi we will visit the salt museum driving past the pelades, the traditional huts of the local fishermen who among other things produce one of the most famous types of caviar in the world, the so called “Avgotaraho”. Let us treat you with some of the local specialties, enjoying lunch all together at a local tavern, before we start driving further to the northwest, the city of Preveza. The evening will be free for you to explore the city and enjoy dinner on your own at any of the restaurants famous for their seafood and other local “mezes”(tapas).
Light walking, 2-6 miles. Bus 3.5h.
Overnight in Preveza (breakfast and lunch included)
Day 5: Nicopolis – The Land of Victory
After breakfast we will have a short drive to the archaeological museum and site of Nicopolis, the city of Victory. Founded in 29 BC by Caesar Augustus in commemoration of his victory over Anthony and Cleopatra at the battle of Actium. Afterwards continuing north, towards the ruins of Nekromanteion of river Acheron, we will visit the site of necromancy devoted to Hades and Persephone, also believed in ancient times to be one of the doors to the underworld. Continuing on we will also make a stop for lunch/snack at the coastal picturesque town of Parga, before we continue our drive to the famous Epirus city, Ioannina. We will enjoy dinner all together at a local restaurant.
Moderate walking 6-8 miles, mostly even ground with some uneven areas and surfaces with some steps. Bus 3.5 - 4 h.
Overnight in Ioannina (breakfast and dinner included)
Day 6: Journey through a multicultural land and the island with no name
Welcome to Ioannina, the capital of Epirus that spreads out around the lake Pamvotida. Enjoy a full day walking tour that will take us through the different eras, cultures and civilizations that have flourished in this important city. This includes the old town of Ioannina, the castle, the gold and silver smiths museum and a short 15 min boat ride to the island with no name that houses the 3rd most important monastery complex of Greece, that dates back to the 11th century, which we will visit. Even the brand Bulgari (Bvlgari) started its first shop here in Ioannina in 1884 by Sotiris Voulgaris. In the afternoon you will have free time to explore more on your own, some of the local shops, the old town or even the Jewish district that remains. Your evening will also be free to enjoy dinner at any of the many restaurants there are on your own.
Moderate walking 6-8 miles. No bus.
Overnight in Ioannina (breakfast included)
Day 7: Exploring Northern Greece
After breakfast, we will drive and visit the traditional village of Metsovo. The central regional hub for the northern mountain communities of Greece. Explore the village by walking through the alleys and visit shops with a wide variety of local products before we visit a famous Greek winery where we will offer you a tasting experience accompanied with the famous locally produced cheese. Afterwards we continue onwards to Kalambaka. If the time allows it, upon reaching Kalambaka, we may go straight up to the monasteries of Meteora for a spectacular sunset view. If we arrive too late for the sunset we will leave it for the next day. In the evening you will be able to dine at any of the local taverns on your own.
Moderate walking 2-4 miles. Bus 2.5 h.
Overnight in Kalambaka (breakfast and wine tasting with snacks included)
Day 8: The breathtaking Meteora
Waking up in such a divine location will make you look forward to visiting some of the Meteora monasteries. Depending on their opening days schedule, we will visit 3 of the 6 remaining stunning monasteries and enjoy a tour through them, along with several photo stops driving from one to the other. Meteora, meaning “suspended in the air” soon came to encompass the entire rock community of 24 monasteries, the biggest and most important group of monasteries in Greece after those in Mount Athos. The rock monasteries have been characterized by UNESCO as a unique phenomenon of cultural heritage. If we didn’t manage to see the sunset the previous day, we will see it today. A breathtaking view of the monasteries with the sun setting behind them is not a view you want to miss. Lunch will be arranged for all of us to enjoy at a very reputable local restaurant, giving you the opportunity to arrange for your own dinner later on.
Strenuous walking with a lot of steps 1-2 miles, 100-150 steps per monastery. Bus 1 h.
Overnight in Kalambaka (breakfast and lunch included)
Day 9: The ancient kingdom of Macedonia
Today we will start our drive leaving Thessaly behind us, heading to the region of Macedonia and the unique royal tombs of Aigai (Vergina), to see the burial cluster of Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great. No one can imagine the feeling of walking through a museum which is the actual tomb itself. Among other things we will see the golden wreaths and armor of Philip II and other members of the royal family. Continuing on with a short stop at the town of Veria, where St. Paul preached during his missionary journey. Today, on that spot there is a religious monument, the so called “St Paul’s Tribune” a few meters away from the Clock Square (Raktivan) in the centre of the town where you will also have some free time to have a snack or lunch on your own. Afterwards we will continue our drive towards Pella, the birth city of Alexander the Great, where we will be visiting the museum and the archaeological site with its magnificent mosaic floors. This long but full of amazing visits day will be ending with the drive heading to Thessaloniki where we will have a free evening after we check-in at the hotel.
Moderate walking 4-6 miles, mostly even ground. Bus 4.5 h.
Overnight in Thessaloniki (breakfast included)
Day 10: The heart of Northern Greece
Welcome to Thessaloniki, the 2nd largest city in Greece. With a rich history throughout the years, many cultures have influenced the lifestyle and the cuisine of the city. We will enjoy a full day tour in order to explore the many historical aspects of the city, visit the famous landmarks like the White Tower and the Rotunda, but also visit the Basilica church of St. Demetrius. In the evening we will all together enjoy dinner that we will arrange for all of us at a traditional restaurant.
Moderate walking 5-7 miles with some steps and some uphill or downhill streets. Bus 1 h.
Overnight in Thessaloniki (breakfast and dinner included)
Day 11: Where the journey of St. Paul began
We start in the morning heading east to visit Philippi, one of the region’s most important archeological sites, named after Philipp II, the king of Macedonia. In 49 AD, Apostle Paul arrived in Neapolis, today called Kavala and through the Via Egnatia got to Philippi, where he founded the first Christian church on European soil and baptized the first Christian. Continue on to the beautiful town of Kavala with the famous aqueduct. This is also where we will have free time for lunch before heading back to Thessaloniki with a quick stop by the newly excavated site of Amphipolis. After this long expedition day heading back to Thessaloniki for your last evening you will have the opportunity to walk around, explore a bit more, dine and then pack for the next day’s departure, heading back to Athens.
Moderate walking 3-5 miles, mostly even ground. Bus 5 h.
Overnight in Thessaloniki (breakfast included)
Day 12: Heading to mount Olympus and back south
We will depart for our long drive from Thessaloniki to Athens and have our first stop at the foothills of mount Olympus, so we get the chance to visit the archaeological park of Dion, the sanctuary dedicated to Zeus. Some people characterize it as the Olympia of the north. We will have free time for lunch somewhere along the way as we will continue driving further south. We will also pass Thermopylae (Hot Gates) where King Leonidas of the Spartans fought his legendary final battle against the persian King Xerxes in 480bC. A big memorial statue in honor of King Leonidas lies there, where we will stop and have the opportunity to see and photograph. Arriving back to Athens we will check-in to our hotel and you will have a free evening to rest or walk around Plaka area and dine.
Light walking 1-2 miles. Bus 6 h.
Overnight in Athens (breakfast included)
Day 13: More highlights of Athens
Boarding our bus we will enjoy an on board guided city tour to see the parts of Athens we didn’t see on our first days, such as the Panathenaic marble stadium, the Academy, the Library and the University composing the “Athenian Trilogy”, as we will be heading towards the National Archaeological Museum. This is one of the richest museums in the world, where we will admire artistic treasures from all over Greece. After some free time for a coffee or snack at the museum’s café, we will drive south through the Athenian Riviera following the coast all the way to the temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion to enjoy the view of the Aegean sea and of the remaining columns of the temple of Poseidon. We will return to Athens in late afternoon and we will later on have our farewell dinner all together.
Moderate walking 2-4 miles. A few steps and uneven ground at the Temple of Poseidon. Bus 4.5 h.
Overnight in Athens (breakfast and dinner included)
Day 14: Farewell
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before starting your own day’s plan. Although there are no more group activities included, we advise that you use a taxi service in order to get to the airport, or even better, consider extending your stay to explore any of the Greek islands through other itineraries that we have available for you.
We will be happy to provide any information or assistance needed, during or after your journey through Greek mainland.