Greece: Zagori & Meteora

About This Walk

Explore the secret paths of Vikos–Aoos National Park and Meteora on foot

Unknown to most of the world, both beautiful and unspoiled, the Zagori area is one of the best walking regions in Greece. Learn more about the myths and stories and history of the area, observe the unique flora and fauna and taste the delicious local cuisine. Walk amongst traditional stone made villages, arch stone bridges, gorges, mountains and pristine natural landscapes in Vikos-Aoos National Park, recognised as a UNESCO Geopark Network. Follow this with the chance to visit the UNESCO Worldwide Heritage Site of Meteora, exploring the trails of the ancient monks and clifftop monasteries.

Highlights

  • Vikos Gorge and the Zagori arch stone bridges
  • Hike to the stunning alpine Dragon Lake
  • Spectacular Meteora- ‘columns in the sky’
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Dublin to Greece
7 Nights
€1335 pp

Day 1: Start Thessaloniki

The group flights usually arrive into Thessaloniki in the early afternoon and the group will be met and transferred to the start hotel. Land Only clients should aim to arrive at the hotel this afternoon. In the evening our guide will hold a welcome meeting to discuss the week ahead, give advice on the local area and answer any questions.

After the briefing, you can opt for a walking tour of the city so you can discover its major highlights and learn a bit more about the city. Duration: 2-2.5hrs

Accommodation: El Greco Hotel or similar comfortable Hotel

Day 2:

To Monodendri, walk to the byzantine church of Agia Paraskevi and then to the Oxya viewpoint

We depart from Thessaloniki after breakfast and transfer to Zagori area (around 4 hrs). Upon arrival in Monodendri, we will have a picnic lunch. Our first stop is the Rizarios Photography museum which hosts temporary photo exhibitions of Greek photographers as well as the stereoscopic cameras brought by English journalists to Greece to capture the first modern Olympic Games in 1896! In the late afternoon we will take a short walk (approx. 1.5 hr) to the to Agia Paraskevi byzantine church (built in the 14th century), which offers our first panoramic view of Vikos gorge. After that, we’ll head to Oxya viewpoint with its breath-taking view of the Gorge. From there we will stop at the stone forest before arriving at our guesthouse for the next two nights.

Accommodation: Selini Guesthouse or similar Comfortable Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3:

Morning walk through the Vradeto steps up to Vradeto and the Beloi viewpoint. Afternoon walk the beautiful stone arch bridges of Zagoria

After breakfast we start our hike from the village of Kapesovo down to a small canyon and then upwards, through the beautiful Vradeto steps (stone path built in the 16th century) towards the highest village of Zagori, Vradeto (1340m). From there, following a beautiful path we arrive at Beloi viewpoint (1450m), where we can enjoy panoramic views over Vikos gorge. We return to Vradeto village and from there back to Kapesovo village. After a picnic lunch, we will visit some of the most important and beautiful stone arch bridges of Zagoria, such as Kokoris, Plakidas, Milou, Pitsioni and Kontodima bridges. Most of the stone bridges were built during the 17th and 18th centuries as a means of moving in between the villages and are masterpieces of the local architecture. There are several different trails connecting the bridges we can choose from today, depending on the interest of the group.

Please note: the distance of the walk may vary depending on the route chosen for the stone bridges walk.

Accommodation: Selini Guesthouse or similar Comfortable Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4:

Walk through Vikos-Aoos N.P. and the Vikos Gorge, one of the deepest in the world

Today we will hike along one of the most beautiful, impressive and rewarding hiking paths in the area. We transfer to Monodendri village, and from here we descend down to Vikos Gorge, said to be one of the deepest gorges in the world. Walking parallel to the river, it will take us about 6.5-7.5 hours to walk this part of the canyon. Traversing the ravine, we can admire the rare varieties of wild birds and flowers that have found their habitat in Vikos-Aoos National Park. We will stop at the river springs to relax and eat our picnic lunch. Depending on the season, you can also swim in the river! In the afternoon, we arrive at Vikos village where we will be picked up and transferred to the delightful Papingo village for dinner and overnight stay.

Accommodation: Nikos & Ioulia guesthouse or similar Guesthouse

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5:

Hike to the stunning alpine Dragon Lake at 2050m

After an early breakfast, we start our trek today from Papingo village up through captivating alpine scenery towards the ‘Dragon Lake’ and our mountain refuge. We will arrive at the refuge in the early afternoon, and after a short break for our picnic lunch, will then continue to the beautiful ‘Dragon Lake’, situated at 2050m. Towards the end of spring/beginning of summer, there might still be some snow present. The view of this magical landscape will definitely reward you after a long day! We’ll return to our mountain refuge where we spend the night. It can feel cold here at night so it is important to bring layers.

Accommodation: Astraka Refuge Mountain Refuge

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6:

Final day in the Zagori area, walk to Papingo village; visit Ovires natural swimming pools. To Meteora

After breakfast at the mountain refuge, we will descend back to Papingo village. This is our last day in the Zagori area, and we cannot leave without making a stop at the natural swimming pools in Ovires. During the summer months, you can also enjoy swimming in the crystal clear waters of the river! Before leaving Papingo village there will be time for a lovely lunch in one of the family run restaurants before we depart for the UNESCO Worldwide Heritage site of Meteora (2.5 hrs driving distance). We aim to arrive in Meteora at sunset, going to several viewpoints where we can enjoy panoramic views over Kalampaka plain and the stone forest of Meteora.

Max Altitude 1950m

Please note: The exact order of activities upon arrival in Meteora will be modified for the optimization of the itinerary, depending on the season (sunset).

Accommodation: Meteoritis hotel or similar Comfortable Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 7:

Walk through the spectacular rock pillars of Meteora stone forest; visit cliff-top monastery. To Thessaloniki

What a better way to start your day than admiring the spectacular rock pillars of Meteora stone forest? After breakfast, we will explore this unique landscape on foot, following the hiking paths of the ancient monks followed by a visit to one of the top-cliff monasteries of the area.

The area of Meteora was initially inhabited by monks who lived in caves within the rocks during the 11th century. In the late 12th century, a small church called the Panaghia Doupiani was built at the foot of one of the rocks, but during the Turkish occupation it became less secure so the monks climbed higher and higher up the rocks to protect themselves from different conquerors. Numerous monasteries were systematically built on top of the rocks so by the end of the 15th century there were 24 constructed in total; today only 6 of them are still active. The monks had to climb up ladders or use baskets and ropes to transfer the material for the construction of these monasteries and until 1920 this was the only means for getting supplies. In the afternoon, we will return back to Thessaloniki. In the evening we will have a final meal together at one of the local restaurants (at own expense).

Accommodation: El Greco hotel or similar Comfortable Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 8: End Thessaloniki

Our adventure ends after breakfast. Those on the group flights will be transferred to the airport in time for their flight to London.

Meals included: Breakfast

Our price of from €1335 per person departing Oct 12th – Flights Extra

  • 4 full days and 2 half days point to point walking
  • Group normally 4 to 16 plus leader
  • Travel by private bus
  • Altitude maximum 2050m, average 1100m
  • 6 night’s 3-star hotels/traditional guesthouses and 1 night in mountain refuge
  • All breakfasts, 3 lunches and 2 dinners
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout

 

Not Included:

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)

Hotels, Guesthouses & Mountain Refuge

On this trip we will stay at
small, comfortable, family run hotels or guesthouses, where possible choosing traditional hotels that highlight the local architecture of each destination. Most hotels will offer free WiFi.

For one night we will stay at a mountain refuge which is comprised of dorm rooms and bunk beds. For this reason, it may be necessary to use the rooms as mixed dorms where men and women may be sleeping in the same room.

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