Enjoy the hiking trails of the Greek mainland a destination inextricably linked with ancient Greek civilization and the love for Ancient Greek art and culture. From the 17th century and on wards many foreign travelers, mostly writers and artists, were coming to Greece with the dream to “touch” the beauty of ancient monuments, to breathe the air of the place that gave birth to democracy and philosophy and to enjoy the light and nature of Greece.
With the writings of Pausanias in their hands, they traveled around Greece most of the time on foot looking for ancient monuments and historic places. But at the same time they experienced the way of living of the Greek people, the hardships and poverty they lived.Travelers from Great Britain, France, Germany embraced Greece through their writings and works of art and revived the spirit of ancient Greece in a unique way. Chateaubriand, Flaubert, Lear, Lamartine, von Hallerstein, Hauptmann, Schliemann and many other travelers through their journeys and their writings discovered a different Greece through its hiking trails and shared with us their own view and experience of the country. Let’s follow their steps to see through their own eyes the most fascinating sites and the monuments of mainland Greece.
- Oracle of Delphi – an archaeological visit at the ‘navel of the Earth’, a ‘must’ for all visitors to Greece
- Nature walk in Mt. Parnassus National Park – featuring a forest of endemic Grecian Fir, rare montane wildflowers, limestone formations
- Walk down the ancient stairway from Parnassus to Delphi, above the cliffs of Castalia spring – magnificent views, Mediterranean wildflowers and the best way to enjoy Delphi away from the tourist crowds
- Overnight at the shade of the famous Meteora, the ‘floating rocks’ of Thessaly, impressive sandstone and conglomerate rock formations riddled with monasteries
- Visit two Byzantine monasteries built on the Meteora rocks – 11th century medieval architecture, some of the best Orthodox icons in Greece, and views to the distant Pindos mountain range
- Two short nature walks through the hiking trails of sandstone cliffs and the monasteries – Mediterranean deciduous forests, teeming with butterflies, rare birds and impressive geology
- See the battlefield of Thermopylae
Day 1 | The Delphi oracle and the foothills of Mt. Parnassus
We leave from Athens in the morning and head towards the village of Delphi, up in the mountain of Parnassus. The elite ancient Greeks would come to the sanctuary of Delphi to get the prophecies of the famous oracle of Pythia. Delphi was regarded as the center of the world and was for many centuries the cultural and religious center of ancient Greece. We visit the archaeological site, exploring the sanctuary of Apollo, the tholos of Athena Pronaia, the stadium, the gymnasium and the theater of Delphi. From Delphi we head to Arachova, where we wander through the picturesque alleys and traditional cafés of the village and have lunch in a traditional taverna in the village. After settling into our hotel, we have a short nature walk in Mt. Parnassus National Park where we enjoy the forest of endemic Grecian Fir, rare montane wildflowers and limestone formations. We overnight in a hotel in Parnassus.
Day 2 | Hiking the ancient stairway of Delphi
In the morning we hike down the ancient footpath from Parnassus to Delphi, above the cliffs of Castalia spring enjoying magnificent views to Delphi and the sea of Galaxidi as learn about Mediterranean nature and the local history – the best way to enjoy Delphi away from the tourist crowd. Reaching Delphi we have some free time to explore the village and have lunch in one of the traditional restaurants of the village. After lunch we leave Delphi and head towards Kalambaka and Meteora, where we settle into our hotel and have a short evening stroll in the city, at the shade of the famous Meteora, the ‘floating rocks’ of Thessaly, these impressive sandstone and conglomerate rock formations riddled with monasteries. We overnight in a hotel in Kalambaka.
Day 3 | Between the ‘floating’ rocks and the monasteries of Meteora
Today we explore the magnificent Meteora monasteries and walk through the hiking trails of the impressive cliffs. We visit two Byzantine monasteries built on the Meteora rocks, admiring 11th century medieval architecture, some of the best Orthodox icons in Greece, and views to the distant Pindos mountain range. We have two short nature walks between the sandstone cliffs and the monasteries through Mediterranean deciduous forests, teeming with butterflies, rare birds and impressive geology. We visit Kastraki village near Kalambaka and have lunch in a traditional local tavern with nice views at the cliffs. After lunch we head bak to Athens with a short stop in the historic Thermopylae.