BEAUTY ON THE WILD SIDE, EPIRUS AND THE IONIAN ISLANDS

Epirus & Ionian Islands

March to October

3.800

12 Days

Greece is not only about island hopping. Although the mainland is not as famous as the Greek islands for holidays, visitors who dare to go off the beaten track are eventually impressed with the different landscapes and the many opportunities that the diverse and unspoilt region has to offer .

From Metsovo to Ioannina and the summer resorts of Parga and Syvota, Epirus is a crossroad of landscapes.It is the cloud-covered crown of Greece, west of the Ionian sea and east of the long rocky spine of the towering Pindus mountain range.

Home to one of the most spectacular natural sights in Europe , The Vikos gorge .It lies on the southern slopes of Mount Tymfi , with a length of about 20 km, depth ranging from 450 m to 1600 m and width from 400 m to some metres at its narrowest part. Vikos is listed as the deepest gorge in the world by the Guinness Book of records among others .

Mountain peaks, gorges, rare plants, herbs and mushrooms, lakes, rivers and stunning sandy shores; and among them medieval castles, monasteries, old stone bridges and stone built villages.

This unique and rigid territory will be our host for three days and nights before we reach the azure waters of the Ionian coast.
Scattered along the western coastline of central Greece, the Ionian islands are a cluster of twelve islands, twelve unique jewels.

From Corfu, the Grand lady of the Ionian islands to the small fjord-shaped beaches and underwater caves of the cultural village of Europe for the year 2004 Paxoi.

Corfu is on everyone’s favourite list and if you ask travellers why they keep returning to this island you will got a myriad of answers.
For loyal Corfu fans, the islands timeless popularity is based on its authenticity, and its aristocratic charm, which springs from its rich cultural and geopolitical history.The beautifully preserved old town of Corfu, a UNESCO world Heritage site , will definitely steal your heart!

Our Epirus and Ionian islands tour is a journey to the wildest and most “green” parts of Greece. We will go local and stay at unique luxury eco lodges, taste all the culinary treasures, visit local wine producers learn how to cook local specialities, sail between secluded coves, make our own home-made marmalades, walk along ancient bridges and banks and last but not least , relax watching some of the most beautiful sunsets.

  • Athens : We will take a whole day tour of Athens and its most significant sights.
  • Enjoy Athens by night and have fun like a Greek !
  • Visit the archaeological site of Delphi .
  • Explore the majestic rocky cliffs of the Holy Meteora.
  • Meteora : visit a local winery to taste their 5-year-old Tsipouro before having a traditional dinner.
  • Metsovo : visit to Averoff Katogi Winery , followed by a lecture on wine production with wine tasting.
  • Trek the Vikos Gorge, listed as the deepest gorge in the world by the Guinness Book of Records.
  • Learn how to prepare traditional marmalade and syrup sweets.
  • Explore the Cave of Perama, in Ioannina, the largest cave in Greece and one of the largest in Europe.
  • Visit the sanctuary of Dodoni . Dodoni was a major spiritual place in ancient Greece.
  • Sail and swim in the azure waters of Antipaxos island.
  • Explore the archaeological site of Nekromanteion , and the river Acheron.
  • Take a walking culinary tour of the Old Town of Corfu which is a UNESCO World Heritage listed monument.
  • Visit a traditional Corfiot village house for lunch with a local family.
  • Wine tasting at a Count’s Winery, and have the chance to taste the famous wine.

What to Know

What’s Included

  • Breakfast daily, all lunch and dinners as outlined in the itinerary.
  • Private sightseeing (including all entrance fees) as outlined in the itinerary.
  • All the activities as outlined in the itinerary.
  • Comfortable private transportation with driver. Other modes of transportation include 4 WD vehicle .
  • Snacks and refreshments along the way.
  • Tipping & porterage taken care of .
  • Airport meet and greet service.
  • Departure transfer.

Not Included

  • International flights
  • Visas
  • Airport taxes
  • Laundry
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
Day 1 Arrive in Athens.

Start / End Points

Tour starts in Athens. The tour ends back in Athens . If you want to extend your trip , please inform us upon booking about your starting and ending point so as to be quoted the final price . Also please state where you fly out from .

Arrive in Athens and check-in at the hotel. Take your time to relax. In the evening you will have your first taste of Greece by strolling around the old neighbourhoods of Athens , watch traditional dances and indulge into mouthwatering local dishes.

Overnight Athens
Included Meals: Dinner

Day 2 Athens

We will take a whole day tour of Athens and its most significant sights.

No visit to Athens is complete without a climb up to the Acropolis (“peak of the city”), where Ancient Athenians of the 5th century BC erected the great temple dedicated to the goddess Athena – the extraordinary Parthenon. You will also see the Ancient Agora, and some of the finest structures of modern Athens, such as the Kallimarmaro Stadium, home of the first modern Olympics in 1896; the old Royal Palace and today’s Parliament, with the elite unit known as the Evzones guarding the Memorial of the Unknown Soldier.

We will have lunch at the Stoa Athanaton ,at a restaurant that only locals visit, listen to live “Rebetiko” music and discover secret corners of this multifaceted city .

At night we head towards the Plaka neighbourhood , to soak up the atmosphere of this old and historical part of the city. You’ll notice the contrast between the modern capital and the old city – the well-heeled inhabitants of Kolonaki on the one hand, and the vibrant Plaka quarter on the other. We will have dinner with traditional Greek dances at a traditional restaurant and why not dance with the Greeks.

Overnight Athens
Included Meals: Breakfast /Lunch /Dinner

Day 3 Delphi-Meteora

After breakfast we drive to Arachova ,a mountainous village nestling picturesquely at the foot of Mt. Parnassos in Viotia, Southern Greece. Here we visit the nearby archaeological site of Delphi .

At the foot of Mount Parnassos, within the angle formed by the twin rocks of the Phaedriades, lies the Pan-Hellenic sanctuary of Delphi, which had the most famous oracle of ancient Greece. Delphi was regarded as the centre of the world. According to mythology, it is here that the two eagles sent out by Zeus from the ends of the universe to find the navel of the world met.

The sanctuary of Delphi, set within a most spectacular landscape, was for many centuries the cultural and religious centre and symbol of unity for the Hellenic world. The history of Delphi begins in prehistory and in the myths of the ancient Greeks.
Lunch in Arachova at a traditional village on the Parnassus mountain.

After lunch we continue to Kalambaka and check in at our hotel.

Overnight Athens
Included Meals: Breakfast /Lunch /Dinner

Day 4 Meteora

In the morning we will visit the proud and majestic rocky cliffs of the Holy Meteora, filled with shell fossils and revealing a unique geological phenomenon. It is the most important monastery complex in Greece after Mount Athos.

In these untrodden peaks of Meteora, the first hermits arrived around 1100 AD.Climbing and nesting like birds in the caves and hollows of the rocks , they isolated themselves seeking mental completeness and redemption with prayers and fasting.

The rocks are between earth and sky. Those who had the patience to count them found that they are more than one thousand. The Holy Meteora is recognized and protected as a listed World Heritage monument by UNESCO and other international organizations. In the afternoon we will visit a local winery to taste their 5 year old Tsipouro before having a traditional dinner.

Overnight Meteora
Included Meals: Breakfast/Dinner

Day 5 Metsovo-Zagorochoria

Leaving Meteora behind we visit the cheese factory of the Tositsa Foundation for a tour and lecture on local cheese production. A visit to Averoff Katogi Winery is followed for a lecture on wine production with wine tasting of the world famous Katogi Red Wine. We have lunch and visit the Art gallery which boasts one of the largest collection of modern greek paintings. Check in at our hotel in Aristi and traditional lunch at a tavern.

Overnight Zagoria
Included Meals: Breakfast /Lunch

Day 6 Zagorochoria- Vikos gorge

Zagori Epirus Greece, is a place in heaven, a hidden beauty between mountains and sky, a unique place in Greece. Zagoria is one of Greece’s best kept secrets , with very few people outside of Greece knowing of the region. Zagori, is located up on Epirus Mountains, at Epirus prefecture in North Greece.. The mountains and valleys of Zagoria still have parts of the giant ancient European forest and animals like Wolves, Bears, Vultures that have become extinct in other parts of Europe.

After having breakfast we will start walking the picturesque loop trail Vitsa- bridge of Misiou- Koukouli- bridge of Kokkori- Vikos Gorge- bridge of Misiou- Vitsa. The Vikos gorge is a 20 km long gorge between the villages of Monodendri and Vikos, and is in the Guinness book of records as the deepest gorge in the world (calculated from width:depth ratio). The average depth of the gorge is 700 metres, but its highest point is 1,600 metres, the width varies from 450 to just a few metres.

The Vikos Gorge makes up the majority of the Vikos-Aoos National Park and has the Voidomatis river running through it, which is also the cleanest river in Europe. The gorge is very important to scientists as it has some unique ecosystems and endangered wildlife and plants.We are not going to walk the full distance of the gorge but trek the most interesting part of it. Approximately 4-5 hours of walking,

The landscape is amazing and the nature in this area is unique. The tour includes a visit to the museum of natural history. Relaxation and enjoyment of coffee and lunch in a village.

In the evening we will be shown how to prepare traditional marmalade and syrup sweets.

Overnight Zagoria
Included Meals: Breakfast /Lunch /Dinner

Day 7 Ioannina-Sivota

After breakfast our next stop is at the Cave of Perama, in Ioannina, the largest cave in Greece and one of the largest in Europe, covering a total area of 14,000 sq. meters.A mythical world beyond your imagination waits for you there to discover it. The Perama Cave, a three-storey palace chiseled by nature in the heart of the Goritsa Hill 1,500,000 years ago, ranks among the most beautiful in the world.

The artwork on display is among the rarest, including 19 different types of stalactites and stalagmites as compared to only 6-10 in other caves. Visitors can admire enchanting lakes with stone water-lilies floating, with tens of stalactites and stalagmites reflected on their crystal-clear waters.

The Cave exit, which is 25 higher than the entrance, opens to splendid views of the town of Ioannina, as well as the legendary Pamvotida Lake. Lunch by the lake and then we visit the sanctuary of Dodoni .Dodoni was a major spiritual place in ancient Greece. It was the oldest of the Greek oracles and ancient people traveled great distances in order to consult the priests who foretold the future.

Outside the temple of Zeus the priests gathered under the sacred Oak tree and listened to the sound of the leaves as they shivered in the breeze and glimpsed at the future. People from the entire known world would make the pilgrimage in ancient times in order to consult the future-telling Oak tree and to attend cultural festivals that took place regularly at Dodoni.

Check in at our hotel in Sivota .

Overnight Sivota
Included Meals: Breakfast /Lunch

Day 8 Sivota

Today we take a boat cruise. We lay back, relax, and enjoy the beach . We visit and swim in the beautiful blue caves, take amazing photos, be in awe of the stunning white cliffs of Erimitis and get to see the natural wonder of Tripitos. Then onto the sandy beaches of Antipaxos, where the turquoise waters are simply out of this world! The boat makes its way back to Loggos via the East Coast dropping anchor at the beautiful half moon bay of Kipiadi for a quick swim and little ouzo!

This is a great opportunity to see some of the world’s most beautiful scenery….all in one day!

Overnight  Sivota
Included Meals: Breakfast /Lunch

Day 9 Sivota

Our journey continues by visiting the underworld…the land of the dead.

We start with the archaeological site of Nekromanteion .Necromanteion at the river Acheron is another oracle like the well known oracles of Delphi and Dodona and it has its own unique character and story to tell. It was built at the gates of Hades thus providing easy access to anyone who dared to venture at the edge that keeps the living and the departed apart. Nekromanteion is the Oracle of the Dead and in ancient times it acted as the point of departure for those who wished to communicate with a dead ancestor or family member–usually for consultation and advice on living matters.

Pilgrims arrived in ancient times from all corners of the earth seeking advice and answers from the dead. They resided on the grounds of the Nekromanteion for an extended period of time and were fostered by sorcerers that prepared them for the awe inspiring experience of glimpsing at the afterlife. The ruins on the ground outline an elaborate complex that included the living quarters of the priests and the guests, storage facilities, rooms for ritual activities, and the main sanctuary where the meeting of the living with the dead took place.

We will spend time walking and for the daring (due to the frozen water) swimming in Acheron river.The springs of Acheron River is an area of outstanding natural beauty. Apart from the natural beauty, the springs of Acheron is known worldwide for its mythological contents. In ancient Greek mythology, Acheron was one of the five rivers of the Greek underworld.

According to the tradition, Zeus was devastated when the Titans drunk from the water and then he condemned the river to remain eternally under the earth while its water became darker. Acheron River is located 25km from Parga, in a beautiful surrounding with rich vegetation and crystalline waters which comprise a unique natural landscape. In many parts of the river where the water flow is normal, there are lakes and water pits which have the ideal living conditions for many amphibians and fish. In other locations, the river flows impetuously through steep and precipitate high cliffs. In the rocky side slopes of Acheron, there are many birds of prey that nest in the forest slopes of the canyon.

Lunch will be at the seaside town of Parga.

Overnight Sivota
Included Meals: Breakfast /Lunch

Day 10 Corfu Island

After breakfast we go across to the island of Corfu. Check in at our hotel .

In the evening we visit Old Perithia: a Venetian village with roots in ancient times, with stone-built mansions and many churches, Old Perithia is the most impressive example of a traditional Corfiot inland village. Today, it is a ‘living museum’, with most of the houses remaining abandoned but a few wonderfully renovated in the old style.

Overnight Corfu
Included Meals: Breakfast /Dinner

Day 11 Corfu Island

In the morning we will take a walking culinary tour of the city. The Old Town of Corfu is a UNESCO World Heritage listed monument; it is a unique site, a maze of historical buildings and winding paved pedestrian streets dating back to the 18th century, which awards every effort made to visit it.

During our walk we will taste some of the best local products and recipes, while learning the history of the city.

Overnight Corfu
Included Meals: Breakfast /Lunch

Day 12 Corfu Island

Today we will introduce you to some very special private sights on Corfu island, so you can get an insight into the ways of old Corfu, as well as experience some unique products, customs and traditions.

We will visit a Count’s Winery. During our visit there, you will be shown around the estate, its animals and gardens, as well as, the winery and press, and you will have the chance to taste the famous wine.

We will drive through the Corfiot countryside on the Pantokrator mountain area, and arrive at the traditional old village of Choroepiskopi. This is one of the most traditional original Corfiot villages, built high on the hillside, with beautiful views to the northwestern coast of the island and the horse-shoe bay of Saint George Pagon.

We will visit a traditional Corfiot village house, with original furnishings and fittings from the 19th century, where you will experience a unique insight into the old traditional ways and traditions as well as taste some original local products, nowadays “delicatessen”, and if you like, have the chance to learn how to make them! Lunch at a local house.

Overnight Corfu
Included Meals: Breakfast /Lunch

Day 13 Corfu – Flight to Athens – End of Tour

Our tour concludes after breakfast, with a departure transfer to the airport.
Airport Transfer (1.hour)

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