Boutique small group travel tour to Greece
The secret heart of Greece featuring Peloponnese and Hanging Monasteries of Meteora
Fully escorted for 10 nights.
16th – 26th September 2019 – Group size limited to 10
Our boutique small group travel tour to Greece will take us from Meteora in the north, one of the most beautiful areas of mainland Greece to the south via the Corinth Canal to the Peloponnese, the heartland of Greece, the ancient region once called Arcadia. The name alone conjures images of tranquillity and rural perfection. Here is where Greeks began their modern Republic in the early 1800s. It is where Olympians first sprinted, where wine and food are integral to healthy lifestyles and where mass tourism has skipped past.
If you’re looking to discover where the real Greek spirit thrives, this is the place to find it.
1 night at Hotel Grand Meteora, 4* Kalambaka
1 night at Hotel Apollonia, 4* Delphi
5 nights at Nerida Boutique Hotel 4* Dimitsana.
3 nights at Traditional Pension Marianna 4* Napflio.
Kalambaka, home to the amazing Meteora monasteries hanging from the top of the towering sandstone formations which surround the town.
Delphi, the site of the 4th-century B.C. Temple of Apollo once home to the legendary oracle. In ancient times it was considered the centre of the known world, a place where heaven and earth met and where man was closest to God.
Dimitsana is a stunningly situated village overlooking the Lousios Gorge in the true heart of Arcadia. In a place of sublime natural beauty, the Nerida Boutique Hotel offers all modern conveniences including free WiFi, hearty Taverna style food and a warm welcome.
Napflio is the first capital city of modern Greece. The government moved to Athens once the revolution had succeeded in ousting the Ottoman Turks. Formerly a thriving seaport for the Venetian Empire, Napflio is now a small eclectic city surrounded by Venetian fortresses, ancient Greek ruins and the sparkling Argo-Saronic Gulf.
- Group transfers from Athens to our hotel
- English speaking guide for the entire tour
- 10 nights accommodation
- 10 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 dinners
- Wine, beer and soft drink with group lunches and dinners.
- Air conditioned motor coach for sight-seeing and escorted tours
- Welcome dinner in Kalambaka with views to Meteora
- A visit to two of the Meteora Monasteries
- A visit to Delphi and the Sanctuary of Apollo, home to the oracle.
- Discover the monastery of Ossios Loukas, hidden in the mountains of central Greece.
- Escorted tour of Ancient Olympia, the site of the original Olympic Games
- Visits to wineries and olive oil groves with tasting and lunch
- Visit to Bassae, the most spectacularly sited ancient temple in all of Greece and first UNESCO World Heritage listed temple in Greece
- ‘Pastitsio’ cookery class in Dimitsana followed by dinner
- Wine tasting at a private estate in Nemea
- Tour to Epidaurus and Mycenaea, two UNESCO World Heritage listed archaeological sites of global importance
- Tour of the unique Open Air-Water Power Museum in the Lousios Gorge
- Exclusive cruise to Bourtzi Castle, offshore from Napflio, including tour of site followed by lunch
- Tour of UNESCO World Heritage listed ancient city of Nemea
- Entry fees for all scheduled visits
- Group transfer to Athens airport from Napflio
- Tips for drivers and guides
Day 1. Meteora / Kalambaka (B,D)
This morning we will be met by our local tour guide and coach at a central Athens hotel and depart for the drive towards the north. On the way we will be passing by Thermopylae and make a short stop to admire the statue of Leonidas, King of Sparta. Further drive and arrival at the village of Kalambaka. We will settle in our hotel and have a bit of time to refresh, and then continue for our visit to Meteora. Amazing rock formations, like towers of sandstone, stand ageless, and have provided sacred retreat for monks over the centuries. A number of monasteries are hidden on top of Meteora. The view over the plain is breathtaking. Meteora is considered among the most beautiful areas of mainland Greece and belongs to Unesco’s list of world heritage monuments. We will be visiting at least two of the monasteries and later, we will head back to Kalambaka to a local restaurant for our dinner with views to Meteora. Overnight in Kalambaka.
Day 2. Delphi / Delphi (B, L, D)
We leave Meteora behind this morning and start heading south again, this time, crossing the mountains of central Greece towards mount Parnassos, and the village of Delphi, which used to be the most sacred place in the world and a pilgrimage center for many centuries in antiquity. During your visit, you will admire the Sanctuary of Apollo, walk the Sacred way, and visit the temple of Apollo, home of Pythia (the oracle). We continue to the local museum with the famous bronze statue of the Charioteer. Later, we will continue to settle in our hotel in Delphi. In the evening, we will walk to a local restaurant and enjoy our dinner with views to the Corinthian gulf. Overnight in Delphi.
Day 3. Arachova, Monastery of Ossios Loukas / Dimitsana. (B,L D)
Today, we head towards the Peloponnese. We depart from Delphi and after a short drive will make a brief stop at the mountain village of Arachova, a famous weekend retreat for Athenians over the winter months. We’ll take a walk to explore the village, known for the production of local cheese, pasta, and rugs. We continue our journey and make a short deviation to visit the monastery of Ossios Loukas, hidden in the mountains of central Greece, in a quiet and relaxing setting. We will admire the unique frescoes and mosaics and feel the Divine atmosphere. We continue our drive and as we reach the Peloponnese, we’ll make another stop to admire the impressive Corinth canal. Our journey will find us crossing the Arcadian mountains to arrive in Dimitsana, our base for the following 5 nights. After we settle in our hotel, we will enjoy a welcome drink followed by dinner in one of the local traditional tavernas. Overnight in Dimitsana.
Day 4. Dimitsana, cooking class / Dimitsana (B,D)
The Peloponnese has a wild, untamed beauty perfectly reflected in its mountain villages like Dimitsana. After breakfast, a walking tour of this village will reveal its unique spirit. We will then drive a little further to visit the unique open-air Water Power Museum and then proceed to a local family tavern where we will meet the family and the learn the secrets of making “pastitsio”, an authentic “Greek” dish. After our cooking lesson, we will enjoy the fruits of our labour, before returning to our hotel.
Day 5. Bassae, Andritsena, Psari, Vytina / Dimitsana (B,L,D)
Today starts with a visit to Bassae, an awe-inspiring archaeological site on a remote mountain top secreted high above Andritsena village reached by a twisting mountain road clearly built by the road Gods from Olympia. The well-preserved Temple of Apollo Epicurius (designed by the same architect who created Athens’ Parthenon) occupies a commanding view overlooking the Aegean Sea far to the south. Bassae is the first UNESCO World Heritage site of Greece. Our departing route will take us to the small, but significant, mountain village of Andritsena – seemingly populated by more happy goats than people. A few kilometres before Dimitsana we’ll stop at tiny Psari village. Here we’ll have the opportunity to taste a variety of more traditional products, made exclusively by the local women, have a tour of an unusual but very interesting museum demonstrating the life of this small village and enjoy a delicious lunch . This evening we’ll head to Vytina, a favourite winter bolthole for Athens’ smart skiing set where we’ll enjoy a short walking tour of the village & dinner at a traditional local taverna.
Day 6. Olympia, Olive Oil farm / Dimitsana (B,L)
After breakfast depart for a day visit to Ancient Olympia. This bucolic site is amongst the most picturesque in Greece; not hard to imagine a team of discus throwers lounging under a tree before a gruelling competition or runners preparing to sprint the surprisingly intact stadium grounds, feet rests at the starting line still visibly carefully carved in the marble. A complete tour of the famous archaeological site and museum, will be followed by a visit to a local farm producing both olive oil and wine. Here we’ll stop for lunch and to taste some of the wines and many different handmade dishes using products fresh from the farm. Fresh Feta cheese, homemade bread, ‘Horta’ salad greens cooked in fresh olive oil, ‘Spanakopita’ pie, all from a wild garden and prepared with love and Greek hospitality. A tour of the farm will complete this afternoon’s visit. After a late lunch we head back to Dimitsana via scenic narrow roads through vineyards, fig tree groves and fields full of sunflowers. Tonight is at your leisure, a perfect opportunity to sample one of the small local tavernas you spotted earlier.
Day 7. Hike to Lousios Gorge / Dimitsana (B,L)
After breakfast, it’s time to partake in a gentle hike into the Lousios Gorge, the best way to explore the pristine nature of the Peloponnese heartland. Descending into the Gorge is like floating into a familiar yet foreign past. Will an echo of democracy whistle from the walls? Old Greek Orthodox monasteries are built on both sides of the gorge, literally hanging from the rocks. The monks built monasteries to prevent raids from Venetian pirates, wayward marauding Ottoman Turks and nosy recalcitrant neighbours — and for peaceful meditation. We’ll visit a few and meet the monks who live there, persisting in an ascetic life as they have for hundreds of years. After our walk, it’s time to return to Dimitsana for lunch at a local taverna. Dinner tonight is at your leisure, providing ample opportunity to compare food prepared with the town’s best local organic produce.
Day 8. Nemea, Winery visit, Visit Mycenae / Nafplion (B,L,D)
After breakfast, depart for the beautiful seaside town of Nafplio. On the way, visit Ancient Nemea, the place where the Nemean Games were once held, similar to the Olympic Games, and where according to Greek mythology, Heracles defeated the Nemean lion. Today Nemea is also known for its exceptional wines, which are considered to be amongst the best in Greece. Visit one of the most esteemed wineries for a private wine tasting followed by lunch. After lunch it’s on to the well-known Mycenae, one of the major ancient centres of Greek civilisation, also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here Agamemnon and Clytemnestra ruled over the most powerful city-state in Bronze Age Greece. The Trojan Wars began here. Homer’s inspiration for The Iliad & The Odyssey sprang from Mycenae. These old stones speak volumes. Arrive into Nafplio to our boutique hotel and enjoy a late dinner at a local taverna.
Day 9. Nafplio, Epidaurus / Nafplion (B,L)
Nafplio is one of the most beautiful towns in Greece. A walking tour this morning will give you the chance to experience that beauty before leaving for an afternoon tour of Epidaurus with its famous Asclepeion, founded by Asclepius the ancient God of Healing. Even today the great public gathering place boasts the best acoustics in Greece. Still used as a performance space during special festivals, this is the best preserved ancient theatre in Greece. Think Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripedes; all their great plays have been performed here, way back then and now. On the way back to Nafplio, visit Tolo, a small seaside town for an expansive seafood lunch. Dinner back in Nafplio is at your leisure, a wonderful opportunity to wander along the harbour front for a relaxed waterside meal?
Day 10. Tour of Bourtzi Island, afternoon at leisure (B,D)
After breakfast this morning we’ll board a private boat for a tour of Bourtzi, a small islet located at the entrance of Nafplio’s picturesque harbour. An old Venetian Fortress completely occupies the islet to which it owes its name. After a short visit we’ll head to a beautiful beach for a bit of serenity under the bright Greek sun with plenty of time for a swim. We return to Nafplio in time for a late lunch. Remainder of the afternoon is at your leisure. Tonight’s farewell dinner at one of the city’s best restaurants is a fitting Opa! to the Peloponnesus.
Day 11. Departure (B)
After breakfast we take the road back to Athens, directly to the airport for our return flight home.
The Secret Heart of Greece: Boutique small group travel tour to Greece costs(Per person)
- No single Supplement
- Reductions available for twin share.
- Not included: Flights to and from Athens