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Northern Greece: Along The Via Egnatia

Group Tour

9 Days From $3,395

Overview

Following in the footsteps of Alexander the Great, the Apostle Paul, Caesar, Brutus, poets, traders and crusader knights we'll take an epic journey through Northern Greece: along the "Via Egnatia".

The Via Egnatia was a Roman road that ran from Rome to Istanbul, thus connecting the Eastern and the Western part of the holy Roman Empire. It crossed Illyricum, Macedonia, and Thrace, running through territory that is now part of modern Albania, North Macedonia, Greece, and European ...

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HIGHLIGHTS

At a glance

MEALS

8 x Breakfasts
8 x Lunches
6 x Dinners

TRANSPORT

On this tour we will use a minibus/bus (depending on the final group size) and a couple of boats.

GROUP SIZE

Maximum: 12

CARBON CONTRIBUTIONS

A carbon-offsetting contribution to Eco Act for all bookings

EXPERT TEAM

The full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides where appropriate

ACCOMMODATION

All accommodation as outlined in the itinerary

ACCOMMODATION

As an overall ethos, wherever possible we aim to use characterful accommodation that enhances the overall travel experience, not just offers a bed for the night. This can obviously vary dramatically from country to country and from trip to trip. On this particular trip we will be in good quality hotels and guesthouses. Please note that the accommodation mentioned in the itinerary is intended as a guide only and is always subject to availability.

ENTRANCE FEES

All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

FITNESS RATING

Moderate / High

FITNESS RATING

LOW: You should be comfortable walking around towns and cultural sites. May include some optional walks (typically 1-2hrs).

LOW/MODERATE: May be of a long duration and/or involve numerous border-crossings. May include easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-3hrs/day). You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle.

MODERATE/HIGH: May include several easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-4hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle. Previous experience of similar trips helpful.

HIGH: May involve several days of moderate hiking (up to 3-5 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

VERY HIGH: May involve several days of moderate/strenuous trekking (up to 5-7 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a very fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

Map & Itinerary

Individual departures may vary so please refer to the information in the tour specific links in the Dates and Prices section below

Northern Greece: Along The Via Egnatia
EXPAND ALL ITINERARY DAYS
COLLAPSE ALL ITINERARY DAYS

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN THESSALONIKI

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN THESSALONIKI

Having met at our city centre hotel and had a light lunch and an introductory briefing from our tour leader, we will start our walking tour of Thessaloniki, a city with over 2,500 years of history. On the course of the tour we will visit such highlights as Aristotelous Square, the White Tower – probably the most iconic building in the city – the 4th century AD Rotonda and the Arch of Galerius. After returning to our hotel for a rest and change we’ll head out to a restaurant for both dinner and live music.

Park Hotel or similar
Lunch, Dinner

DAY 2: THESSALONIKI - METEORA

DAY 2: THESSALONIKI - METEORA

Today we take a tour back in history as we take in two of the most important archaeological sites of northern Greece - Pella, the glorious kingdom of ancient Macedonia, and Vergina, the ancient first capital of the Kingdom of Macedonia. We depart first for the village of Pella, the birthplace of Alexander the Great, and visit the archaeological site and the museum. The excavations have brought to light the interesting findings of the ancient city, exhibited at the local museum. Here we'll marvel at the mosaic floors that used to decorate the city's grand mansions – the most famous are the ones depicting the Abduction of Helen, Rapture, the Amazonomachy (the battle of Amazons), and the Deer Hunt. From here we head to Vergina, the ancient capital of the Macedonian Kingdom, which is now home to one of the most impressive museums of Greece. We'll visit the museum, which contains the royal tomb of King Phillip II, Alexander the Great’s father, along with other artefacts of an incredible beauty and value. From here we will head on to one of the highlights of the tour, the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Meteora.

Meteora Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3: HIKE TO VISIT THE UNESCO BYZANTINE MONASTERY OF METEORA

DAY 3: HIKE TO VISIT THE UNESCO BYZANTINE MONASTERY OF METEORA

This morning after breakfast we will hike the trails with our local guide, see several monasteries and experience the most captivating views from the summit of this famous landmark. Following in the footsteps of the first monks who arrived here more than 15 centuries ago, the walk offers a grand way of seeing the unique rock formations and to learn the history of the region. Having visited various monasteries, we’ll walk down the old footpath back into town and take lunch in a small tavern. The afternoon will be free to enjoy the region on your own, Dinner, although not included, will be at a local restaurant with spectacular views of Meteora.

Total distance 7kms, 320m ascent / 380m descent. Approx 5hrs

Meteora Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 4: METEORA - METSOVO

DAY 4: METEORA - METSOVO

This morning we will leave Meteora and drive into the Pindos Mountains to the village of Metsovo, a town famous for its agriculture and artisan products such as wine and cheese. From here we will do a beautiful circular walk along the Ursa Trail through stunning natural landscapes. After lunch at a local tavern we will head to the Katogi winery for a wine tasting tour and visit their local gallery of modern Greek Art. 

Total distance 8km, 430m ascent / 430 descend. Approx 3hrs

Katogi Averoff Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5: METSOVO - KASTORIA

DAY 5: METSOVO - KASTORIA

After breakfast today, we will explore the cobblestone alleys of Metsovo before driving to the pretty lakeside town of Kastoria, a place famous for both its wildlife and it Byzantine churches and one that has been inhabited for nearly 2,000 years. Here we will take a wander through the village to visit some of the 11th, 12th and 13th century churches and well as along the lakeshore to spot some of the region's many birds, which include pygmy cormorants, pelicans and herons. The walk will finish with a tasting of many local delicacies and liqueurs. After lunch we will walk via the Dragon's cave and on to the monastery of Virgin Mary Mauriotissa (3km walk). Dinner will be at a small local restaurant with live traditional music.

Guesthouse Vissinokipos or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6: KASTORIA – PRESPA LAKES - KASTORIA

DAY 6: KASTORIA – PRESPA LAKES - KASTORIA

Today we will discover Prespa Lakes, which are situated right on the Via Egnatia! We will start the day with a hike around the traditional town of Agios Germanos enjoying the narrow cobbled alleyways, 1000 year old church and fully restored watermill (4km trail). We will then move on to our next trail the Agios Achillios, this hike loops around the island of Agios Achillios which is famed for its basilica built in 10th century AD (5.5km trail). This afternoon we will then head to Psarades to enjoy a boat trip on the Megali Prespa lake. Here you can expect to encounter giant pelicans and post-Byzantine frescos on the rocks. We will then head back to Kastoria for dinner and overnight.

Guesthouse Vissinokipos or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7: KASTORIA – LAKE KERKINI NATIONAL PARK

DAY 7: KASTORIA – LAKE KERKINI NATIONAL PARK

This morning we head off on another adventure, driving over three hours from Kastoria to Lake Kerkini. Although something of a long drive we will break this journey with a stop along the way at Nymphaio Bear Sanctuary and Greece’s highest waterfall at Edessa. Firstly we will visit the bear sanctuary; a shelter for orphaned and rescued bears where we will enjoy a hours guided tour. Next we move on to Edessa, which holds a special place in the history of the Greek world as, according to some ancient sources, it was here that Caranus established the first capital of ancient Macedon. Later, under the Byzantine Empire, Edessa benefited from its strategic location, controlling the Via Egnatia as it enters the Pindus mountains, and the town became a centre of medieval Greek culture, famed for its strong walls and fortifications. From here we drive on to Lake Kerkini, having lunch overlooking the lake, before taking an afternoon boat tour on the lake to view some of the region's impressive and varied birdlife. Dinner tonight will be in a local tavern where we can enjoy local produce.

Limneon Guesthouse or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8: LAKE KERKINI NATIONAL PARK – KAVALA

DAY 8: LAKE KERKINI NATIONAL PARK – KAVALA

First up today we step deep into Greek mythology by visiting one of the most impressive caves in Europe. According to Greek mythology, the Sphinx made her appearance at the Gorge of Aggites that traverses the Alistratis Cave area. Myth also mentions Pluto, the god of the Underworld, bringing the kidnapped Persephone, the daughter of goddess Demeter, to this natural ravine where a Gate to the Underworld existed. We will have a picnic lunch before visiting the famous archaeological UNESCO World Heritage site of Philippi. Founded in 356 BC by the Macedonian King Philip II, the city developed as a “small Rome” following the Battle of Philippi, in 42 BC and the succession of Rome. The vibrant Hellenistic city of Philip II, of which the walls and their gates, the theatre and the funerary temple are still to be seen, was supplemented with Roman public buildings such as the Forum and a monumental terrace with temples to its north. Following the visit of the Apostle Paul in 49-50 AD, the city became a centre of the Christian faith and the remains of its basilicas constitute an exceptional testimony to the early establishment of Christianity. And from here we head on to the sea at Kavala with the opportunity to have dinner (not included in tour price) at a restaurant overlooking the Aegean Sea.

Minimal Culture Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 9: KAVALA – THESSALONIKI AIRPORT

DAY 9: KAVALA – THESSALONIKI AIRPORT

After a lazy morning we will transfer to Thessaloniki Airport for departure flights and onward journeys.

Breakfast

PRIVATE HOLIDAYS: DATES DON’T FIT?

All group tours can be taken on a private basis.

Additional Details

Responsible Travel

Responsible travel and sustainable tourism are fundamental ideas that Wild Frontiers has been committed to since our birth. It is our strong belief that these words should not be simply ‘tagged on’ to itineraries and websites but should be at the very core of each trip, and our adventures are therefore designed with the local people, culture and eco-system in mind. We believe that a successful trip not only delivers a unique and unsurpassable journey for our clients, but that it also benefits the peoples whose lands we are privileged to visit. For more information, please see our responsible travel page.

Bear Conservation

On this tour we'll support the conservation efforts of the brown bear by visiting the bear shelter of nature organization Arcturos.
 
The bear tracking tours adhere to the concept of "Tourism as a Tool for Nature Conservation", a concept we and our local partners believe in wholeheartedly
 
The following principles and practices are applied:
 
• Wildlife species are not harvested, consumed, displayed, sold, or traded, except as part of a regulated activity that ensures that their utilization is sustainable, and in compliance with local to international laws.
• No captive wildlife is held, except for properly regulated activities, in compliance with local to international law. Living specimens of protected and wildlife species are only kept by those authorized and suitably equipped to house and care for them humanely.
• The trip supports and contributes to biodiversity conservation, including natural protected areas and areas of high biodiversity value.
• Interactions with wildlife, taking into account cumulative impacts, do not produce adverse effects on the viability and behaviour of populations in the wild. Any disturbance of natural ecosystems is minimized, rehabilitated, and there is a compensatory contribution to conservation management!
• Information about and interpretation of the natural surroundings is provided to travellers, as well as explaining appropriate behaviour while visiting natural areas.

Getting There

If you would like us to send you a quote for the suggested tour flights or on any alternative flight that may suit you better, please let us know, noting that for our US clients, we will most likely refer you to one of our preferred partners. For this trip our suggested flights from the UK (subject to change) are shown below.

If you wish to arrange your own flights you are completely free to do so and in this case we can arrange any transfers or supplementary accommodation that you may require. However please note that if you are planning on making your own flight arrangements, we recommend that you first check with us to see if the trip is guaranteed. We then suggest that you purchase flights that are flexible and ideally refundable as due to the nature of adventure travel, itineraries and destination accessibility can change at any time. For more information, please refer to our booking conditions.
 

Flight Code Departing Arriving
BA 2642 London Gatwick (LGW) 06:40 Thessaloniki (SKG) 12:00
BA 2643 Thessaloniki (SKG) 14:20 London Gatwick (LGW) 15:40

Visas

Visas are necessary for many of the destinations we travel to and while we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information, requirements frequently change and as such for the latest advice we advise that you check with the relevant embassies or contact our recommended visa agency, Travcour www.travcour.com 

For this tour UK passport holders currently do not require a visa for Greece.

Non-UK passport holders or non-UK residents should contact the relevant embassies for individual requirements.

Further details will be sent out to you on booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas are obtained remains the sole responsibility of the client.

Extensions

If you have more time available, why not arrive early to adjust to a new time zone or just to get a feel for the country before your tour starts? Or alternatively you might choose to allow a few extra days after the tour to relax or to undertake some further exploration.

Please contact the office for more details and to discuss your individual requirements. 

Governmental Travel Advice

Many governments issue advice which highlights potential hazards their citizens might experience when travelling abroad. We strongly suggest you refer to your country’s particular advisory site before booking and contact us if you have any queries or concerns. Click to follow links to the advice of the British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) or the US State Department.

Non-UK citizens should consult the travel advice of their respective governments.

Key Information

CLIMATE

The climate in the more mountainous north part of Greece is cooler than on the islands to the south. That said in mid-summer the temp can still reach 40C. The best time to visit is therefore spring and autumn, between April and June and September and October.

IS THIS TRIP FOR ME?

It may sound obvious but Wild Frontiers tours are not always for everyone and it is important to us that the tour you choose is the most suitable. All our tours have a fitness rating as a guideline but you should check the day-by-day itinerary carefully. In certain instances we may ask you to complete a travel questionnaire before confirming your booking in order to ensure your suitability. Should you have any concerns about your ability to partake in any aspect of the tour then please contact the office.

KEY ASPECTS TO CONSIDER

Anyone in a reasonable state of health, with an open mind and a sense of adventure should be perfectly able to cope with this tour, however, please note there are a few walks, which for full enjoyment of the trip, should be taken.

THE NATURE OF ADVENTURE TRAVEL

We feel that it’s worth pointing out that while we will always strive to stick as close to the stated itinerary as possible, it may be necessary from time to time to make changes to our itineraries or services (due to weather, political and religious influences etc.) and this can happen with little or no notice. This unpredictability can be one of the most exciting aspects of adventure travel and for many of our clients often leads to unexpected highlights as the tour-leader necessarily adapts the tour to the changing conditions. However we are aware that this lack of assuredness may not suit everyone. As such, with the greatest respect, if you are someone who needs to know that everything will happen exactly as planned, we would kindly suggest that perhaps our tours are not for you. Adventure travel can be infectious and once you’ve caught the bug, it is likely to never leave you, but especially if this is your first such tour we would strongly urge you to give us a call if you have any concerns whatsoever about your suitability for this trip.

TRAVELLING SOLO AND SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS

As a company approximately 70% of our clients are solo travellers, so it’s very unlikely you’ll be alone!

Our prices are typically based on twin-share accommodation but single supplements are not compulsory for any Wild Frontiers tour. If you prefer not to pay a single supplement we’ll pair you with someone else of the same sex for you to share with throughout the trip.

On this trip, if you do opt to pay for a single supplement then please note that it will cover you for all nights of the tour.

Please note that paying a single supplement entitles you to lone occupancy of a single room. In many cases these rooms will be of the same size as a double/twin room, but in some cases they may be smaller.
 

INSURANCE

Insurance that provides cover for emergency repatriation in case of a medical emergency is compulsory for all tours. You should be aware that due to some of the geographical areas visited and some of the activities included on certain of our trips some standard insurance policies may not always provide adequate cover. As such we strongly recommend that you purchase a policy that adequately covers your trip. If you choose to purchase the Wild Frontiers bespoke policy through Travel & General (currently available to UK residents only) then please note for this trip the minimum required level of cover will be the Standard policy. Please see the Insurance section for more details.

General Information

TOUR PRICE

All our tours are priced on a land-only basis, giving you maximum flexibility when deciding how to get to and from your tour.

DEPOSIT

A £25 (or equivalent) deposit is required to confirm your booking. Please note that this is a limited offer only and usual deposits are £500.

PROTECTION FOR YOUR MONEY

For further details please see our travelling with peace of mind page

WILD MILES

This tour will earn you 2658 Wild Miles

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

We believe in a completely transparent approach to pricing with no hidden extras. As such, please note that the following are not included in the cost of the tour.

Visas & Travel Insurance: Visas will always be tour/nationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatory
Tips: Always optional but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information documents
International Flights: Please ask us for an obligation-free quote for flights which originate in the UK
Beverages & any costs of a personal nature: This will include items such as laundry and souvenirs

WILD FRONTIERS COMMUNITY

If you’re still not sure if this trip is right or just want to see get some different perspectives, then why not have a look at the wide variety of resources we have on our website? Browse our community section to read our blogs, watch videos and find out about our events. 

WHY WILD FRONTIERS?

We are frequently asked what makes Wild Frontiers different from other tour operators. Visit our Why Wild Frontiers page to find out.

INSPIRATION

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