TOUR IN EPIRUS
3-13 SEPTEMBER 2018
3 – 13 September 2018
(Registration Deadline 10/04/2018 24 August 2018 Extended! )
10 night accommodation at Hotels:
|One person in
Single Room BB
|Two persons in
Twin/Double Room BB
The Tour Package includes:
- Welcome Service at the Thessaloniki International Airport and private group transfers from and to the Thessaloniki Airport on arrival and departure
- Accommodation in 5* hotels in Thessaloniki: Lazart Hotel, Ioannina: Du Lac Hotel, with a rich buffet breakfast.
- Lunch or Dinner (depending on the day programme), 04-12/09
- Experienced Official Guides throughout the programme French and English speaking
- All excursion programmes as analysed in the programme
- Museum entrances, Lake boat ticket
- Luxurious coach transfers throughout the programme
- Tips for the coach & the guide
- ARTION team group leader
- ARTION services & taxes
*The Package does not include personal expenses.
3 September 2018, Monday: ARRIVAL AT THESSALONIKI (SKG)
Arrivals at Thessaloniki International Airport Macedonia (SKG) and organised transfers from the airport to the Hotel.
Check in at the Hotel and free time to enjoy the city. A Welcome Icebreaker reception will be offered.
4 September 2018, Tuesday: Ioannina City, a legendary town
Breakfast and departure to Ioannina city.
Check in to Hotel Du Lac at Ioannina, the capital of Epirus, which spreads out around beautiful Lake Pamvotida. The natural environment, the climate and character of the town are defined by this stretch of water – the area’s trademark. The lake, with its still waters and its small island, is a natural monument, around which the entire area lives and breathes. The strong cultural traditions of the town, birthplace of great novelists and poets, and the artistic and intellectual events which are organized throughout the year give visitors the opportunity to get to know the roots of the intellectual life of Epirus.
During our walk through the city we will meet wonderful buildings such as House Matei Hussein, Ottoman mosque of Veli Pasha and we will get to know the entire historic centre of the town, where the Archaeological and the Byzantine Museum of Ioannina are located.
Ioannina has been always multicultural, dominated mainly by Christian, Islamic and Jewish influences. The Stoa Louli arcade is one of the locations where these three communities worked together and prospered.
We will have the opportunity to visit traditional local shops where we can taste the famous “sherbetia”, or sherbet, a wine flavoured dessert with fruit and flowers.
Overnight at Hotel Du Lac, Ioannina.
5 September 2018, Wednesday: The Castle Town of Ioannina with a view of Lake Pamvotida
Breakfast at the hotel and set off for Ioannina city tour.
We will start our day visiting the famous “Greek History Wax Museum Pavlos Vrelis”, which is housed in an impressive building Urban Castle Architecture style, in Bizani, hosting 150 life-sized wax models.
We will continue our tour, to the imposing castle of Ioannina which was built in 528 AD by the Emperor Justinian. It is the oldest Byzantine fortress in Greece with significant influence over the history of the town which grew around it. Ali Pasha, the enigmatic symbol of Ottoman rule, lived here. We are going have a walk through the castle in Ioannina city centre, have a mini boat cruise and visit Ali Pasha’s house in the island at the lake where we will admire or even buy silver handmade jewellery. We will have traditional lunch having a truly gastronomical experience by tasting special delicacies such as fish from the lake and frog’s legs which are the hallmark of the Ioannina cuisine.
The traditional Ioannina desserts are famous throughout Greece. The famous ‘sker bourek’, or ‘sugar pie’, the exceptionally delicious baklava and all the other syrup pastries are certain to captivate visitors. Overnight at Hotel Du Lac, Ioannina.
6 September 2018, Thursday: Sivota- Paxos Island
Breakfast at hotel. We will take a cruise boat at 9.00 am to Sivota. An hour later we will reach Paxos Island and more specific Lakka where we will enjoy the crystal blue waters. The cliffs with the sharp edges that look like towers are full of caves. We will visit three of them, Ypapanti and Ortholithos and following Loggos, the smallest of the three main villages.
The trip continues with a walk in Antipaxos with shallow sandy beaches that look like gold. At Vodyou, we will have the opportunity for a second dip in the blue waters. At the end of this day’s journey, we will arrive in Gaios, where we can buy modern clothes, gold and clay, local olives and olive oil and dine at one of the small picturesque tavernas. We will stay in Gaios for about two hours before we start the trip back to Sivota where we will enjoy a small walk.
Overnight at Hotel Du Lac, Ioannina.
7 September 2018, Friday: Cave of Perama & the traditional village Metsovo
Breakfast at hotel. We will leave to our day trip. First, stop at the Cave of Perama. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the Balkans and is 1.5 million years old. With 19 different types of stalactites, we will be impressed by the large room of the «mythical palaces», the stalagmite «Statue of Liberty», «Santa Claus» and the «new state» with the magnificent lakes.
We will continue our tour to the traditional village of Metsovo. Head up to Metsovo’s church of Agia Paraskevi (15th century) with its elaborate wood-carved temple and priceless holy heirlooms. Around the yard we’ll see a distinctive image of Metsovo: the elders, with their handlebar moustaches, usually sit on the benches in traditional costumes and wooden crooks chatting in Vlach, enjoying the first daylight.
Food is very important in Metsovo at a first glance, or may we say at a “first smell”!!! We are going to have lunch at one of the tavernas in the village’s square, with their spits roasting all sorts of meats. Enjoy ‘epic’ feasts; kontosouvli on parchment paper, delicious sausages and “loads” of pies! This is where we will find stores selling the region’s dairy products, of which metsovone and metsovela cheeses stand out.
Travel back to Ioannina. Overnight at Hotel Du Lac.
8 September 2018, Saturday: Dodoni-Parga
Breakfast at the hotel and departure to Dodoni.
Our tour starts at the Ancient Theatre of Dodoni, which was built in the third century. It is one of the largest and best preserved ancient Greek theatres and was able to fit about 18,000 spectators. Following our tour, we are visiting the Nekromanteion, an ancient Greek temple of necromancy devoted to Hades and Persephone, the Mills of Souli and the Springs of Acheron.
We will continue our tour in Parga –“a little painting village”. Parga is a renowned maritime town, a famous holiday destination. It is amphitheatrically built nestled in a picturesque bay, where the wooded small island of Panagia lays under the shadow of the towns’ Venetian castle. Distinguished architecture, cobbled stone streets with beautiful arches, flower-filled neighbourhoods where picturesque little houses and colourful mansions end up by drinking in the mesmerizing sunset view of the emerald waters of the Ionian Sea from the Venetian walls. Return and overnight stay at Ioannina.
9 September 2018, Sunday: “ZAGOROHORIA”, VIKOS GORGE
Breakfast at the hotel and depart for our tour at “Zagorohoria”, a cluster of 48 traditional picturesque villages, at Pindοs mountain range (Epirus). The name “Zagori” is Slavic and means “beyond the mountains”. The local architecture is defined by stone, wood and slate rock.
First stop at Monodendri. A designated traditional settlement (altitude 1,060 m), with stone houses and picturesque cobble roads, where the Rizario Centre of Handicrafts, with traditional broidery weavings, operates. It is located at the entrance of the Vikos gorge. The cobblestone trail leading to the Monastery of Agia Paraskevi (15th century) and continuing through the gorge is wonderful. We will have coffee or tea and we will taste traditional pies.
Next stop at the traditional village Kipi, which is extremely popular with fans of alternative tourism and mountain sports. Near the village, the rivers Vikakis and Bagiotikos have wonderful single and triple arch stone bridges to make a stop and admire.
Last stop at Tsepelovo. A traditional Epirus village with a picturesque cobblestone square. Built on a slope of mount Timfi (altitude 1,080 m), it is the ideal starting point for excursions to the surrounding areas. The church of Agios Nikolaos (18th century) contains frescos and a gold-plated rood screen. We will have lunch.
Return and overnight to Hotel Du Lac.
10 September 2018, Monday: METEORA, THE UNESCO’s UNIQUE PHENOMENON
Breakfast at the hotel. Departure to Meteora, Kalabaka.
The rock monasteries have been characterized by UNESCO as a unique phenomenon of cultural heritage in Greece. Our first stop will beat The Holy Monastery of Great Meteoro which is the biggest and oldest one. It was called the monastery that was «suspended in the air» (meteoro), because of the formation of the gigantic rock on top of which it was built.
Our second stop will be the great monastery of St. Stephan, a small church built in the 16th century. Furthermore, we will admire a small treasure of Byzantine and Christian items, at the museum inside the monastery. We will have lunch at a traditional tavern at Kalabaka viewing the unique scenery.
Overnight at Hotel Du Lac, Ioannina.
11 September 2018, Tuesday: KASTORIA, THE FURRIER LAKE CITY.
Breakfast at the hotel. Departure to visit another famous city lake. This charming furrier city, whose beauty will most certainly seduce you, is built amphitheatrically on a narrow peninsula, mirrored in Orestiada Lake and nestled in between Grammo and Vitsi Mountains. We will explore the city by taking a little tour around the lake starting from the southernmost side up to the northernmost. We will take a stroll on the narrow pathway along the lake’s coast; we will be overwhelmed by its idyllic beauty and tranquillity. During our walk, we will make a stop at the Dragon’s Cave, where we will see seven underground lakes and rooms with astonishing stalactites.
At a short distance from the lake, we will encounter the old neighbourhood Doltso, a picturesque corner of the town where buildings date back to the 17th and 18th century. Lots of buildings have been converted into museums, such as Neratzi Aivazi mansion that houses the Folk Art Museum. Before our departure, we will visit the largest freshwater aquarium of the Balkans, where the common lake and river fish species and some at risk of extinction find shelter and admire the famous fur art of the
furriery workshops and showrooms of Kastoria’s Fur Center (EDIKA). We will have lunch and depart to Dispilio (7 km SE of Kastoria).
Οvernight at Hotel Du Lac, Ioannina.
12 September 2018, Wednesday: THESSALONIKI CITY TOUR
Breakfast at the hotel and check out. Depart to Thessaloniki and check in at the hotel. We will have a city tour to all the main sites and monuments of exceptional historical importance exploring a history of 2.300 years. Wandering through the city, we will walk through the tiny streets with traditional houses that lead to the Byzantine walls and towers and we will stop at the Citadel to enjoy a panoramic view of Thessaloniki.
Afterwards, we will visit the Galerian Complex consisted of the Triumphal Arch of Emperor Galerius (Kamara) and the excellently preserved circular Rotunda, an early 4th c. AD building, that served as the official temple for Galerius, which later was converted into a Christian church. In front of the 15th century White Tower – the symbol of Thessaloniki – that stands on the waterfront we will have the opportunity take some great pictures. The tour will end with a visit to the Archaeological Museum.
Later, we will stop at the early Byzantine basilica of Saint Demetrious, built on the ruins of a Roman bath where the patron saint of the city lost his life. We will make a stop to see the International Fair of Thessaloniki grounds and the University area.
Overnight at Thessaloniki.
13 September 2018, Thursday: THESSALONIKI-DEPARTURES
Breakfast at Hotel. Check out.
Organised transfers to the Makedonia International Airport (SKG)