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Hiking Adventure - Hellenic Alps

Enjoy a multi activity adventure in the mountainous region of  “The Greek Alpes”, and discover the hidden gem of Central Greece.

Tour Overview

A UNESCO world heritage site, boasting the deepest gorge in the world, home to an ecosystem unique to Greece and renowned for their hospitable mountain villages of incredible architecture, the Vikos Aoos National Park is the ultimate active traveler’s destination in the country. On this 7 day Hiking adventure we use the scenic village of Megalo Papingo in Zagori as our base. From there, we set out to go hiking on beautiful mountain trails and river trekking the impressive Voidomatis river, all while exploring the picturesque mountain villages of North Western Greece. Spend a week in one of the most impressive mountain destinations of Southern Europe, a true paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and the perfect place to lay back and unwind in an amazing natural setting after a long day of exploration.


Tour Highlights

  • Experience the rich culture and millennia spanning history of Thessaloniki
  • Hike along numerous mountain trails in the Vikos Aoos National Park
  • Have an amazing trekking experience, crossing the World’s deepest gorge, Vikos
  • River trek by the crystal clear waters of the Voidomatis river
  • Unwind in one of the National Park’s natural swimming pools
  • Enjoy the delicious local cuisine of the Zagori villages
  • Walk around a 15th century castle in the city of Ioannina
  • Do a two day hike to the Drakolimni (Lake of Dragons), an alpine lake at an altitude of 2050m
  • Spend a night at an exceptionally run mountain refuge, boasting amazing views of the alpine valleys below, all the way to Albania
  • Have a guided walking tour of the gravity defying ancient monasteries of Meteora

 Day to Day Itinerary

 Day 1

Arrival at Thessaloniki

On the first day of your trip, you arrive at the Macedonia International Airport of Thessaloniki. A transfer from the airport to Anatolia 4* Hotel in downtown Thessaloniki is arranged for you. Upon arrival, depending on your flight, you may choose to explore the sights of the second largest city in Greece. The impressive White Tower, the city’s most iconic landmark, along with the Museum of Byzantine Culture, the Archaeological Museum, the Byzantine church of Agios Demetrios, Rotunda and the Roman Forum, are all located conveniently within a minute’s walk from one another. For those of you who want to get a first culinary taste of Northern Greece, the nearby neighborhood of Ladadika is bustling with traditional tavernas and is popular year round.

Overnight: Anatolia 4* Hotel in the center of Thessaloniki

Meals: Welcome Dinner in Thessaloniki (Guided Tour Only)

 Day 2

Thessaloniki Ioannina Megalo Papingo

After a hearty breakfast, you get the chance to immerse yourself further into the history and culture of Thessaloniki. A morning walking tour is arranged for you. Our walking tour leaders will guide you through the main archaeological sites and areas of cultural interest. Starting from the Hellenistic and Roman periods and eventually reaching the 19th and 20th centuries, you will visit glorious monuments, many of them UNESCO world heritage sites, and places where human activity has built the city’s unique cultural identity. In the afternoon you leave Thessaloniki for the great outdoors and your adventure begins. Driving west along the “Egnatia” national highway it’s a 3 hours drive to reach the historic city of  Ioannina, Western Greece’s largest city. A place with rich history, an important financial and cultural hub in Byzantine times and the center of the Greek Enlightenment during the Ottoman Period, the city is built on the hills around lake Pamvotis. Here you may allow some time to stretch your legs by the lake and walk around the 15th century castle of Ioannina, the city’s fortified old town. From there it is an hours drive to the mountain village of Megalo Papingo in the area of Zagori, which is going to be your base for the rest of the week.

Total Driving time: 4 hours

Total Walking tour time in Thessaloniki: 3 hours

Overnight: Pantheon guesthouse in Megalo Papingo

Meals: Breakfast

 Days 3-4

Hiking to the peaks of Mount Tymfi, Alpine Lakes

On day 3, you will set out to enjoy an exciting hiking adventure. Our experienced mountain trekking guide will pick you up from your guesthouse. You will leave at sunrise and hike uphill, along trails that lead above the tree line. It takes 3 to 4 hours to arrive at the renewable energy powered, mountain refuge of Astraka, at an altitude of 1950m where you will have plenty of time to relax, have a snack and enjoy amazing views of the alpine peaks of Astraka (2400m) and Lapatos (2250m) as well as the surrounding alpine valleys. Using the mountain refuge as your base for the next couple of days, you will explore Mt Tymfi, hiking to various peaks and visiting the famous “Drakolimni”. The “Lake of Dragons” is an opal blue alpine lake that looks almost tropical in strong sunlight. The valley around the lake and the superlative mountain backdrop provides you with incredible photo opportunities. Depending on the season and the weather conditions, you have the option of climbing to the Gamila peak (2497m). Trekking over the peak, you can reach the 16th century Monastery of “Panagia Stomiou”, built on the steep cliffs, with magnificent views of the Aoos river valley. At the end of day 4, you will return to your Guesthouse in Megalo Papingo.

Total hiking time: Generally 58 hours per day depending on the hiking route we take

Overnight: Mountain refuge (Day 3), Pantheon guesthouse in Megalo Papingo (Day 4)

Meals: Breakfasts, Picnics on day 3 and 4, Dinner at the mountain refuge on Day 3

 Day 5

Crossing the worlds deepest gorge, Vikos

This day presents you with a chance to trek through the World’s deepest gorge as listed by the Guinness Book of Records. The trek through the Vikos canyon is a highlight of any trip to his part of Greece and an amazing experience for nature enthusiasts. Early in the morning our trekking guides will drive you to the village of Monodendri. There you will buy some snacks for the trek and start walking down the path to the canyon’s base. Crossing the gorge is a 5 to 6 hour trek, walking along the banks of one of the Voidomatis River tributaries. Under the shadow of Vikos’s steep cliffs you will have a short break for an energy snack, before you continue trekking towards the springs of the Voidomatis river. Voidomatis is one of the cleanest rivers in Europe and its water is potable. From there you will head up, towards the village of Vikos or back to Megalo Papingo, depending on the route your trekking guide will choose to take. Upon arrival at your base, you may spend your evening to take a rest after a long day of hiking at one of the natural swimming pools of Rogovo.

Total hiking time: 5-6 hours

Overnight: Pantheon guesthouse in Megalo Papingo

Meals: Breakfast, Picnic Lunch

 Day 6

Papingo Meteora Monasteries

Leaving Papingo behind on the last day of your trip, the downhill drive towards Central Greece passes through heavily forested areas and green valleys, leading you eventually to a Unesco World Heritage site and one of the highlights of every trip to Greece: The gravity defying Orthodox Monasteries of Meteora. The name Meteora, which translates into ‘suspended in the air’, is given to the only 6 surviving 14th century monasteries, built on the tops of unique rocky cliffs. A local guide will take you on a hiking tour, an opportunity for you to learn more about the history of one of the most striking natural and cultural sites in Southern Europe. Today you will spend your night at the village of Kastraki, in the foothills of Meteora and the shadows of the high cliffs.

Total walking tour time: 1.5 hours

Overnight: Meteoritis 3* hotel in Kastraki

Meals: Breakfast

 Day 7

Departure from Thessaloniki

After Breakfast you will check out from your hotel and drive back to the airport of Thessaloniki for your flight.

Important Tips

  • Travel Bite date and/or time might be modified or cancelled due to weather conditions and in this event the option of an alternative date or full refund will be given.
  • Drivers need to be at least 21 years old, have their international driver’s license with them and show it prior to departure.
  • Being as light as possible is always important on an adventure tour plus space is limited on board a sailing boat so, our travellers are expected to bring with them a backpack or suitcase as well as a daypack for personal items and valuables.
  • We strongly advise you to have a valid Personal Travel & Health Insurance and bring your personal medication, sunscreen, insect repellent, travel sickness tablets, sunglasses, insect bite gel.
  • We would recommend you for Clothing/walking/swimming gear to bring with you fleece/softshell, jacket, waterproof & windproof jacket, sun, hat, long trousers (wearing shorts is not permitted in monasteries and churches), shorts, swimming costume, extra towel for swimming, t-shirts, hooded tops, trainers/walking shoes, waterproof hiking shoes/boots, personal mattress or a sleeping bag (should you choose to sleep on the yacht’s sundeck or a mountain refuge), torch, umbrella, snorkelling mask and fins.

Tips & Useful Info

Starting point: Thessaloniki Airport Makedonia, Thessaloniki, Greece
Languages: English, Greek
Included Amenities: Accommodation: 1 night at Anatolia 4* Hotel (Thessaloniki), 3 nights at Pantheon guesthouse (Megalo Papingo), 1 night at Astraka mountain refuge, 1 night at Meteoritis 3* Hotel (Meteora), Meals/Drinks: All Breakfasts, Picnics (Days 3,4,5), 2 Dinnerw (Day 1and Day 3), Transport: Economy class car rental costs, Opel Corsa, Toyota Yaris or similar (for 2 persons), Compact class car rental costs, Opel Astra or Similar (for 3-4 persons), Mercedes Vito or similar (for 5-7 persons), Airport transfers, Tour Staff: Tour Leader, Mountain trekking guides, River rafting guides, Local Guides in Thessaloniki and Meteora, Tour Activities: All outdoor activities, necessary equipment and guided tours as listed in the tour itinerary, Route Notes/Instruction Set
Excluded Amenities: Airline tickets, Fuel costs, tolls costs, Personal expenses, Travel insurance GPS (optional when you pick up the car), Entrance fees to archaeological sites to be paid on spot
Minimum number of guests needed: 5
Maximum number of guests: 14
Physical Level: Advanced difficulty. Previous experience is recommended but not required and advance fitness level is essential for travel bite enjoyment. Participants need to be over 18 years old.

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