Northern Greece & The Cyclades Islands Adventure - 9 Days
Explore the Mountains, Beaches, Historic Towns and Cuisine of Greece
Most people know about Greece’s blue and white Greek islands, though few experience and discover the authentic and unique beauty of the hidden gems of the country. This tour is a combination of a few active days in the mountain paradise of Zagori, with a stay at Aristi Mountain resort, a National Geographic unique lodges member, and then some relaxing days in the island of Naxos, in the Aegean sea, part of the Cyclades complex of islands. We include two days in Athens before you fly north to Loannina, where your Greek adventure begins! A balance of highlights, and new discoveries, this unique itinerary will introduce you to the best that this incredible European wonderland has to offer.
Upon arrival in Athens, you will be met and transferred your hotel in Athens city center, walking distance from the world famous Acropolis! Plaka is the oldest neighborhood of Athens, an area now packed with restaurants and shops. This is the perfect intro to Greece for your first night. Welcome! Overnight in Athens.
Day 2: Day of Sightseeing in Ancient Athens
After breakfast, we will go on a morning driving tour of Athens. Visit the Constitution Square, the Memorial to the Unknown Soldier and the House of Parliament, which was the royal palace until 1935. Also visit the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Hadrian's Arch and Panathinaiko Stadium, home of the first Olympic Games. Explore the Acropolis, the vantage point that offered protections of the ancient city-state and the center of ancient Athenian religious and commercial life. Your history lesson will be completed with your visit at the Acropolis museum, the museum that the Athenians are most proud of. Later in the evening, we drive to the Athenian Riviera and we start our sea kayak enjoying the unique view of the temple of Poseidon and watching the sunset.
Day 3: Flight to Loannina, River Rafting and Stone bridges of Zagori
Early this morning we will catch our domestic flight to Loannina, the largest, and most populated city of the Loannina region. Upon arrival to Loannina travel for 1 more hour to Aristi Village. After we check in and settle into our hotel, we will enjoy a beautifully prepared lunch.After some much deserved and enjoyed downtime, we set off to the beginning of our rafting on Voidomatis River, one of the clearest and most serene rivers in Europe, located in the heart of Vikos-Aoos National Park.
Day 4: Vikos Gorge Crossing
Hiking Time- 6-7 Hours
This morning, we will enjoy breakfast with a view of our hike in the distance! Vikos Gorge is a miracle of nature, a beauty that holds a world record: Vikos Gorge is listed by the Guiness Book of World Records as the deepest canyon in the world in proportion to its width. This follows a somewhat arbitrary definition of a gorge that excludes deeper features such as Colca Canyon in Peru, because of their greater width to depth ratio. The landscape of the 20 km long gorge, 12 km οf which belong to the Vikos – Aoos National Park’s core zοne, presents a diverse relief and is characterized by abrupt altitudinal changes. Steep slopes and precipitous rocky cliffs dominate in the middle and higher zones respectively. The gorge has been carved over millions of years by the Voidomatis River, a tributary of the Aoos. Enjoy a fascinating trek in one of the most beautiful gorges of Europe. The crossing lasts between 5-7 hours, while we walk along the riverbanks, and at times inside the crystal clear waters of Vikos!
Today we will be transferred to the airport, where we will catch our flight to Athens and then to the island of Naxos. Naxos is known for its turquoise crystal waters, and being the capital town with an interesting mix of Venetian and Cycladic elements dating back in 1600 BC. Additionally, Naxos is known for the highest mountain of the Cycladic islands called Zas, after Greek God Zeus, amazing food, especially cheeses, and many other aspects you will soon discover. After we settle to our hotel, we will have the rest of the dayto relax, swimming, strolling in the narrow alleys of Chora, and sampling delicious local cuisine.
This morning we will enjoy a private boat just for us, and (weather permitting) we will sail to the closest island of Paros. We will swim, snorkel and enjoy the amazing view of the Aegean sea’s unique color. We will enjoy lunch by the sea and then we will head back to Naxos while watching the sunset.
After breakfast, we transfer to Ag. Marina, where our hike begins! We will walk towards the highest peak of Cyclades, Mt. Zas (Zeus) (at 1004 meters altitude). We will face the epic view of the Greek island’s wilderness and its nearest islands. On our way back to Agia Marina little church, we will enjoy a picnic with local and traditional Greek delicacies. After regaining our strength, we will continue downhill until we reach the village of Filoti, where we will rest and enjoy a refreshment or a Greek coffee before catching our taxi-bus back to our hotel. For the remainder of this incredible day, you are free to explore! We will set a meeting time to reunite for dinner. Duration of trekking, approximately 4-5 hours.
On our last day, we will board our short flight to Athens, and after settling to our hotel we will enjoy lunch in the busy streets of Athens. In the evening, we will take in a walking tour through the food markets of Athens. After collecting our ingredients we will learn how to cook a Greek meal, and enjoy the Greek cuisine for one last time, accompanied by some of it’s finest wines!
Today you are free to depart any time of day. Safe Travels!
Additional Trip Info
- Accommodation in 4 star hotels with breakfast
- All transfers for the operation of the tour and the activities that are included
- Domestic flights Athens to Loannina (round trip)
- Domestic flight Athens to Naxos (round trip)
- Sightseeing tours with professional guides and entrance fees in Athens
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