Even with 5,000 years of history, Greece never stops surprising.

Standing trailside above Delphi’s Temple of Apollo, with the sweep of Mount Parnassus as a backdrop, there’s no better stage for appreciating the ancient Greeks’ dramatic flair. Fortunately, your guides are experts at weaving history, myth, and tradition into a captivating mosaic that brings these places to life. You’ve experienced this while surveying the Peloponnese Peninsula from Acrocorinth’s fortress gates and riding the rails through the magnificent Vouraikos gorge. Soon you’ll be strolling through green forest and massive sandstone pillars to the dizzyingly perched medieval monasteries of Meteora. Greece isn’t just antiquities, however—you’ve savored its vibrant culture during a visit with a local chef at his restaurant in Kalavrita and a private wine tasting in Polydroso. Yiamas!

Highlights

  • Hike among the medieval monasteries of Meteora, the astonishing UNESCO World Heritage site of sacred sanctuaries perched on towering sandstone pillars.
  • Explore the archaeological site of Delphi, taking in its ancient ruins and magnificent mountain setting.
  • Indulge in the freshest seafood in Galaxidi, once a thriving maritime community, then stroll cobbled streets past pretty 19th-century sea captains’ stone houses.
  • Follow footpaths in and around Acrocorinth, one of the finest surviving fortifications in Greece, and gaze upon panoramas of the Isthmus of Corinth.
On all Guided-Full Adventures you can count on...
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Expert local guides to introduce you to the best of your destination.
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Off-the-beaten-path places you’d never find on your own.
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Delicious, authentic multi-course meals — virtually all are included.
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A maximum of 18 fun-loving fellow travelers to share the journey.
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Gracious accommodations that are a clean, comfortable home away from home.
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Experts to handle all the details.
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Flight + Tour Combos include plane tickets, airport shuttles, and pre- and post-tour accommodations.

Itinerary

Fri, Apr 16 to Sun, Apr 25 - 2021

Show Itinerary:

Begin your adventure by departing from a convenient gateway city in the United States or Canada. Spend your first night aloft.

Upon your arrival in Athens, a representative holding a Country Walkers sign meets you as you exit the baggage-claim area. A complimentary small-group transfer will be provided to your city center hotel. The remainder of the day is at your leisure (no meals included).

If you are going to be delayed meeting our transfer representative for more than 15 minutes due to delayed or lost luggage, please contact Allianz Global Assistance to advise of your delay, and they will contact our transfer service on your behalf. Our drivers are generally able to wait for up to 45 minutes from the time your flight lands, after which you would be responsible for your own transfer.

Please note: If you arrive at your hotel prior to check-in time, your room may not be available; you may store your luggage with the reception desk.

Country Walkers provides City Information containing recommendations about what to see and do in Athens during your stay.

Accommodation: Electra Palace Hotel, Athens

1-2 miles, easy to moderate

Meet your guides at 8:30 a.m. in the lobby of your Athens hotel. Your destination this morning is the Acropolis of Corinth, but first you stop after about an hour to admire the Corinth Canal, linking the Gulf of Corinth to the Aegean Sea. This engineering marvel was completed in 1893, though it was first proposed by the mighty ruler Periander in the 7th century BCE. As you gaze down into its deep canyon, consider that a swim race is held each year here across its entire length. There is no tide, but the alternating currents pose quite a challenge to the swimmers!

After, continue onto the legendary Peloponnese Peninsula and the nearby Acropolis of Corinth, also known as Acrocorinth, or “Upper Corinth.” By some accounts, this 7th-century BCE fort built upon a spectacular hulking monolithic hill is the most impressive fortress-like structure on mainland Greece. It served as the last line of defense for invaders approaching over the Peloponnese Peninsula during ancient and medieval times. Your walk highlights the low-shrub terrain; a rich medley of Roman, Byzantine, Frankish, Venetian, and Ottoman ramparts; the preserved remains of Byzantine chapels, Ottoman houses and mosques; remarkably preserved walled gates; and stunning seaside mountains. If you wish, you can climb to the castle or fortress ruins crowning the summit. Then follow the packed-dirt pathway, taking in sweeping coastal views and stopping to visit the Church of St. Dimitrios.

Later, transfer to Sykies Beach on the northern coastal border of the Peloponnese. Here, a casual lunch of typical Greek specialties refuels you for the afternoon. Then you continue to Kalavrita, a charming, off-the-beaten-path alpine town nestled among fir-covered slopes. Famously, its historic rack-and-pinion railway cuts through a vertiginous gorge. You will experience this journey during your stay here. For now, you settle in to your hotel and gather later for an orientation meeting and welcome dinner. Savory classic dips like tzatziki (yogurt, cucumber, and garlic), melitzanosalata (eggplant) or fava (split pea puree) precede a mouthwatering meal of grilled meats and a dessert of fruit or custard tart.

Accommodation: Kalavrita Canyon Hotel & Spa, Kalavrita
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

4 miles, easy to moderate, 1,000-ft. elevation loss

After a leisurely breakfast, transfer about 30 minutes to the nearby Cave of the Lakes, an impressive subterranean system of lakes and unusual rock formations. Enjoy a guided visit, walking through the galleries and chambers along a boardwalk, admiring curiously shaped stalactites and stalagmites shimmering in a surreal light, some resembling ribbon-like curtains. The 13 stepped “lakes” you pass, each a stone basin created by mineral deposits, formed over the bed of an underground river. Remarkably, fossils reveal that the hippopotamus once passed through, and humans are believed to have inhabited the caves as early as 6000 BCE.

Directly from the Cave of the Lakes, your route takes you on foot along the E4, the European long-distance walking path that begins in Spain and culminates in Greece. You follow a rocky trail that descends steadily through a unique landscape of walnut and plane trees as the waters rushing toward the Aroanios River provide a soft and gentle soundtrack. Arrive in Planitero around midday, strolling past the area’s springs, and settle in at a local restaurant for lunch. If you wish, you may savor a well-deserved local trout for which the region is known. After a satisfying meal, pause at the sacred monument to the Massacre of Kalavrita, commemorating the tragic death of locals at the hands of Nazis in 1943.

Back in Kalavrita, enjoy a free afternoon. Relax at your hotel or explore the town, perhaps shopping for delicious locally made souvenirs like preserves, honey, olive oil, and teas. Reunite this evening for dinner at the restaurant of a local chef. You may even assist in the preparation of the meal by picking mushrooms or gathering local herbs before sitting down for a dinner of delicious local fare, accompanied by a fine wine.

Accommodation: Kalavrita Canyon Hotel & Spa, Kalavrita
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

1-2 miles, easy to moderate

Rise this morning for an early breakfast. Then head to the train station at Kato Zachlorou to catch the first departure of the unique cog rail that cuts through the Vouraikos Gorge. Your magnificent journey descends through the deep-cut canyon past roaring waterfalls and through tunnels burrowed into mountainsides, with spectacular views of dramatic landscapes all around. Your destination is the seaside town of Dhiakopto, where you meet your shuttle and driver. Bidding the Peloponnese Peninsula farewell, you continue north to Galaxidi, crossing over the Gulf of Corinth on the beautiful Rion-Antiron Bridge. Stretching 9,450 feet (about a mile and a half), it is one of the world’s longest multi-span cable-stayed bridges. You arrive in the seaside fishing village of Galaxidi, once home to brave mariners, in time to for lunch.

And what a lunch it will be! This cozy village of red-roofed houses and narrow, cobbled streets boasts plentiful seafood restaurants and cafés along a lovely waterfront. Choose one for a delicious repast on your own. Then take a little time to stroll the century-old pine woods that were planted by schoolchildren along the harbor or meander the inviting neighborhoods dotted with captains’ mansions, legacies to the time when this was a prosperous maritime port.

Later, continue the drive for about another 30 minutes to Arachova. Dubbed the “Mykonos of the Mountains,” this posh alpine resort’s name is actually of South Slavic origin and denotes a place graced with walnut trees. Situated at almost 3,200 feet, it is popular among wintertime skiers for its location on the steep slopes of Mount Parnassus, which was named for a son of Poseidon who could tell the future by observing the direction that birds flew. Settle in to your comfortable room and perhaps explore the nearby shops selling local flokati (shaggy wool rugs), formaela cheese, and honey. Gather together later for another memorable meal.

Accommodation: Aegli Resort & Spa Hotel, Arachova
Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

3 miles, moderate to challenging, 1,620-ft. elevation loss and 1-2 miles, easy to moderate

Rise to the sound of birdsong and stunning views over the valley and a “sea of olive trees” stretching toward the Gulf of Corinth. Indulge in a copious buffet of local specialties to fuel up for your day of walking: cured meats, local cheese, and yogurt, piping hot coffee, fresh fruit, eggs and bread, along with sweet cakes and pastries. Towering over Arachova is the imposing Mount Parnassus, your morning hike destination. A magnificent (and challenging!) hike is in store today as you follow the oldest continuously used footpath in the world— the Archaio Monopati—which was constructed in antiquity to link the legendary sanctuary at Delphi with the Corycian Cave, sacred to nymphs and the Muses and the winter dwelling place of the god Pan.

Transfer about 20-30 minutes to your trailhead near Livadi Plateau. You follow the E4 path—the cross-continent route you were on two days ago—through forest, then down towards Delphi along the Kaki Skala, or Evil Staircase. You will understand how it earned its nickname as you descend its rock stairs over the next 90 minutes or so! Spectacular views of the valley and the Gulf of Corinth reward your effort, but you’ll want to keep your eyes on your step!

Arrive by foot in the town of Delphi midday, pausing for lunch at a local restaurant. After, there’ll be ample time to explore the magnificent archaeological site of ancient Delphi, a UNESCO-preserved World Heritage site. For over a thousand years throughout antiquity, priests, leaders of city-states and pilgrims wound their way up dangerous mountain passes to seek cryptic messages and guidance from the Delphic Oracle. You walk in their footsteps this afternoon as you explore the archaeological site and the museum with a private guide. You enter via the Sacred Precinct, then pass the remains of memorials, treasuries and the remarkable Polygonal Wall, soon arriving at the impressive remains of the Temple of Apollo. After time to take it all in, you continue to the museum. Return late afternoon to your hotel, where you relax with a book, swim in the indoor pool or indulge in a spa treatment before an independent evening of exploring and dining.

Accommodation: Aegli Resort & Spa Hotel, Arachova
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

2-3 miles, easy to moderate

After another hearty, fresh breakfast, you transfer to Arachova by shuttle. You set out on a forested trail adjacent to the ski area for a pleasant wooded walk, descending along a well-trodden path for about 45 minutes. You might share the trail with other hikers or mountain bikers. Your driver will meet you at the paved road. Then continue north, skirting the base of Mount Parnassus, before paying a visit to our friends’ winery. Enjoy a personal introduction and sample a few of the wines produced on their nearby estate. Among the nine varieties, the vintners emphasize the cultivation of forgotten grapes. After a light lunch, shuttle about 2½ hours to Kastraki, dramatically located in the shadow of the spectacular rocks of the Meteora, one of the largest and most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries … and certainly the most lofty!

After settling in to the hotel, gather in the restaurant for dinner, savoring thoughtfully prepared cuisine and stunning views of the dramatic landscape.

Accommodation: Hotel Meteora, Kastraki
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

1 mile, moderate, 600-ft. elevation gain and 3-4 miles, moderate with challenging sections, 850-ft. elevation loss

Precipitously perched between heaven and earth above the Peneas Valley on the Thessalian plain, the monasteries of the Meteora (meaning “in midair”) are at once astonishing architectural accomplishments and testaments to the will of the faithful. Your walks among these exalted and inspirational monastic dwellings are highlights of your adventure. But you begin at ground level, at the beautiful Kalabaka Byzantine Church of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, one of the few buildings in the Old Town not destroyed by Germans during World War II. Built in the 4th or 5th century, it boasts 11th- and 16th-century Byzantine frescoes as well as a beautiful mosaic floor. Though its setting may not be as dramatic as its loftier cousins, it is highly revered because it is 1,000 years older.

Continue upward as you get your first up-close glimpse of the famed monasteries of Meteora, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is believed that Greek Orthodox monks built a small church at the base of these pillars in the 12th century. The political strife of the 14th century prompted them to build on top of the inaccessible rock columns that were such a prominent part of the landscape. Soon, 24 of them soared above the unstable fray below. Today, four remain. You follow a well-established trail and 140 steps for about an hour to the Holy Trinity (Agia Triada) monastery, featured in the James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only. Enjoy the views from this unique perch, visiting its small, fresco-filled circular church and 15th-century main cathedral.

After, transfer to the Great Meteoron Monastery, also known as the Holy Monastery of the Metamorphosis or Transfiguration of Christ. This is the largest and oldest monastery, built on the greatest rock of the complex. Its founder, the monk Saint Athanasios, is credited with establishing the monastic movement here. There’ll be time to explore its religious icons, stunning frescoes and splendid views before continuing by foot on a lesser known trail. As you descend back down to Kastraki, take in more breathtaking vistas and pause to savor a picnic lunch prepared by your guides. As you dine, enjoy views of the Ypapanti Monastery, clinging to a cliffside, and the remarkable rock formations.

After lunch, continue on foot towards Kastraki and then shuttle back to your hotel, where you may relax poolside with a well-deserved ouzo, the local anise-flavored aperitif. This evening, head to a local restaurant for a festive farewell dinner accompanied by Greek wine and some traditional music featuring the long-necked mandolin known as the bouzouki.

Please note: To enter all monasteries at Meteora, men are required to wear long pants. Sleeveless t-shirts or sleeveless shirts are strictly forbidden (for both men and women), but short-sleeved collared shirts are allowed. Women’s pants or skirts must cover the knees and shirts or blouses must cover the shoulders. All monasteries provide skirts and scarves with which women may cover themselves. However, they do not provide any covering for men. Anyone who does not adhere to the dress guidelines will be denied entry.

Accommodation: Hotel Meteora, Kastraki
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, you bid farewell to Meteora and transfer south (2½ hours) to Thermopylae. Greek mythology knows this place and its hot Sulphur springs as the entrance to Hades. And history knows it as the site of a momentous battle in 480 BCE between 300 Spartans and the mighty Persian army. The massive loss inspired Simonides to pen the epitaph, “Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here obedient to their laws we lie.” Stop at the site and visit the monument to commemorate the battle.

Then continue to Kamena Vourla on the scenic south coast of the Malian Gulf. Enjoy a final meal here and raise a glass to the week’s adventures before you continue to Athens, where you settle in to your hotel for a post-tour overnight stay. Country Walkers provides you with City Information that includes recommendations on what to see and do in Athens during your stay.

Accommodation: Electra Palace Hotel, Athens
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

This morning, a complimentary small-group transfer is provided to Athens International Airport, based on your departure time. (Departure time will be communicated to you by your guides on tour.)

Sun, Apr 18 to Sat, Apr 24 - 2021

Show Itinerary:

1-2 miles, easy to moderate

Meet your guides at 8:30 a.m. in the lobby of your Athens hotel. Your destination this morning is the Acropolis of Corinth, but first you stop after about an hour to admire the Corinth Canal, linking the Gulf of Corinth to the Aegean Sea. This engineering marvel was completed in 1893, though it was first proposed by the mighty ruler Periander in the 7th century BCE. As you gaze down into its deep canyon, consider that a swim race is held each year here across its entire length. There is no tide, but the alternating currents pose quite a challenge to the swimmers!

After, continue onto the legendary Peloponnese Peninsula and the nearby Acropolis of Corinth, also known as Acrocorinth, or “Upper Corinth.” By some accounts, this 7th-century BCE fort built upon a spectacular hulking monolithic hill is the most impressive fortress-like structure on mainland Greece. It served as the last line of defense for invaders approaching over the Peloponnese Peninsula during ancient and medieval times. Your walk highlights the low-shrub terrain; a rich medley of Roman, Byzantine, Frankish, Venetian, and Ottoman ramparts; the preserved remains of Byzantine chapels, Ottoman houses and mosques; remarkably preserved walled gates; and stunning seaside mountains. If you wish, you can climb to the castle or fortress ruins crowning the summit. Then follow the packed-dirt pathway, taking in sweeping coastal views and stopping to visit the Church of St. Dimitrios.

Later, transfer to Sykies Beach on the northern coastal border of the Peloponnese. Here, a casual lunch of typical Greek specialties refuels you for the afternoon. Then you continue to Kalavrita, a charming, off-the-beaten-path alpine town nestled among fir-covered slopes. Famously, its historic rack-and-pinion railway cuts through a vertiginous gorge. You will experience this journey during your stay here. For now, you settle in to your hotel and gather later for an orientation meeting and welcome dinner. Savory classic dips like tzatziki (yogurt, cucumber, and garlic), melitzanosalata (eggplant) or fava (split pea puree) precede a mouthwatering meal of grilled meats and a dessert of fruit or custard tart.

Accommodation: Kalavrita Canyon Hotel & Spa, Kalavrita
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

4 miles, easy to moderate, 1,000-ft. elevation loss

After a leisurely breakfast, transfer about 30 minutes to the nearby Cave of the Lakes, an impressive subterranean system of lakes and unusual rock formations. Enjoy a guided visit, walking through the galleries and chambers along a boardwalk, admiring curiously shaped stalactites and stalagmites shimmering in a surreal light, some resembling ribbon-like curtains. The 13 stepped “lakes” you pass, each a stone basin created by mineral deposits, formed over the bed of an underground river. Remarkably, fossils reveal that the hippopotamus once passed through, and humans are believed to have inhabited the caves as early as 6000 BCE.

Directly from the Cave of the Lakes, your route takes you on foot along the E4, the European long-distance walking path that begins in Spain and culminates in Greece. You follow a rocky trail that descends steadily through a unique landscape of walnut and plane trees as the waters rushing toward the Aroanios River provide a soft and gentle soundtrack. Arrive in Planitero around midday, strolling past the area’s springs, and settle in at a local restaurant for lunch. If you wish, you may savor a well-deserved local trout for which the region is known. After a satisfying meal, pause at the sacred monument to the Massacre of Kalavrita, commemorating the tragic death of locals at the hands of Nazis in 1943.

Back in Kalavrita, enjoy a free afternoon. Relax at your hotel or explore the town, perhaps shopping for delicious locally made souvenirs like preserves, honey, olive oil, and teas. Reunite this evening for dinner at the restaurant of a local chef. You may even assist in the preparation of the meal by picking mushrooms or gathering local herbs before sitting down for a dinner of delicious local fare, accompanied by a fine wine.

Accommodation: Kalavrita Canyon Hotel & Spa, Kalavrita
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

1-2 miles, easy to moderate

Rise this morning for an early breakfast. Then head to the train station at Kato Zachlorou to catch the first departure of the unique cog rail that cuts through the Vouraikos Gorge. Your magnificent journey descends through the deep-cut canyon past roaring waterfalls and through tunnels burrowed into mountainsides, with spectacular views of dramatic landscapes all around. Your destination is the seaside town of Dhiakopto, where you meet your shuttle and driver. Bidding the Peloponnese Peninsula farewell, you continue north to Galaxidi, crossing over the Gulf of Corinth on the beautiful Rion-Antiron Bridge. Stretching 9,450 feet (about a mile and a half), it is one of the world’s longest multi-span cable-stayed bridges. You arrive in the seaside fishing village of Galaxidi, once home to brave mariners, in time to for lunch.

And what a lunch it will be! This cozy village of red-roofed houses and narrow, cobbled streets boasts plentiful seafood restaurants and cafés along a lovely waterfront. Choose one for a delicious repast on your own. Then take a little time to stroll the century-old pine woods that were planted by schoolchildren along the harbor or meander the inviting neighborhoods dotted with captains’ mansions, legacies to the time when this was a prosperous maritime port.

Later, continue the drive for about another 30 minutes to Arachova. Dubbed the “Mykonos of the Mountains,” this posh alpine resort’s name is actually of South Slavic origin and denotes a place graced with walnut trees. Situated at almost 3,200 feet, it is popular among wintertime skiers for its location on the steep slopes of Mount Parnassus, which was named for a son of Poseidon who could tell the future by observing the direction that birds flew. Settle in to your comfortable room and perhaps explore the nearby shops selling local flokati (shaggy wool rugs), formaela cheese, and honey. Gather together later for another memorable meal.

Accommodation: Aegli Resort & Spa Hotel, Arachova
Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

3 miles, moderate to challenging, 1,620-ft. elevation loss and 1-2 miles, easy to moderate

Rise to the sound of birdsong and stunning views over the valley and a “sea of olive trees” stretching toward the Gulf of Corinth. Indulge in a copious buffet of local specialties to fuel up for your day of walking: cured meats, local cheese, and yogurt, piping hot coffee, fresh fruit, eggs and bread, along with sweet cakes and pastries. Towering over Arachova is the imposing Mount Parnassus, your morning hike destination. A magnificent (and challenging!) hike is in store today as you follow the oldest continuously used footpath in the world— the Archaio Monopati—which was constructed in antiquity to link the legendary sanctuary at Delphi with the Corycian Cave, sacred to nymphs and the Muses and the winter dwelling place of the god Pan.

Transfer about 20-30 minutes to your trailhead near Livadi Plateau. You follow the E4 path—the cross-continent route you were on two days ago—through forest, then down towards Delphi along the Kaki Skala, or Evil Staircase. You will understand how it earned its nickname as you descend its rock stairs over the next 90 minutes or so! Spectacular views of the valley and the Gulf of Corinth reward your effort, but you’ll want to keep your eyes on your step!

Arrive by foot in the town of Delphi midday, pausing for lunch at a local restaurant. After, there’ll be ample time to explore the magnificent archaeological site of ancient Delphi, a UNESCO-preserved World Heritage site. For over a thousand years throughout antiquity, priests, leaders of city-states and pilgrims wound their way up dangerous mountain passes to seek cryptic messages and guidance from the Delphic Oracle. You walk in their footsteps this afternoon as you explore the archaeological site and the museum with a private guide. You enter via the Sacred Precinct, then pass the remains of memorials, treasuries and the remarkable Polygonal Wall, soon arriving at the impressive remains of the Temple of Apollo. After time to take it all in, you continue to the museum. Return late afternoon to your hotel, where you relax with a book, swim in the indoor pool or indulge in a spa treatment before an independent evening of exploring and dining.

Accommodation: Aegli Resort & Spa Hotel, Arachova
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

2-3 miles, easy to moderate

After another hearty, fresh breakfast, you transfer to Arachova by shuttle. You set out on a forested trail adjacent to the ski area for a pleasant wooded walk, descending along a well-trodden path for about 45 minutes. You might share the trail with other hikers or mountain bikers. Your driver will meet you at the paved road. Then continue north, skirting the base of Mount Parnassus, before paying a visit to our friends’ winery. Enjoy a personal introduction and sample a few of the wines produced on their nearby estate. Among the nine varieties, the vintners emphasize the cultivation of forgotten grapes. After a light lunch, shuttle about 2½ hours to Kastraki, dramatically located in the shadow of the spectacular rocks of the Meteora, one of the largest and most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries … and certainly the most lofty!

After settling in to the hotel, gather in the restaurant for dinner, savoring thoughtfully prepared cuisine and stunning views of the dramatic landscape.

Accommodation: Hotel Meteora, Kastraki
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

1 mile, moderate, 600-ft. elevation gain and 3-4 miles, moderate with challenging sections, 850-ft. elevation loss

Precipitously perched between heaven and earth above the Peneas Valley on the Thessalian plain, the monasteries of the Meteora (meaning “in midair”) are at once astonishing architectural accomplishments and testaments to the will of the faithful. Your walks among these exalted and inspirational monastic dwellings are highlights of your adventure. But you begin at ground level, at the beautiful Kalabaka Byzantine Church of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, one of the few buildings in the Old Town not destroyed by Germans during World War II. Built in the 4th or 5th century, it boasts 11th- and 16th-century Byzantine frescoes as well as a beautiful mosaic floor. Though its setting may not be as dramatic as its loftier cousins, it is highly revered because it is 1,000 years older.

Continue upward as you get your first up-close glimpse of the famed monasteries of Meteora, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is believed that Greek Orthodox monks built a small church at the base of these pillars in the 12th century. The political strife of the 14th century prompted them to build on top of the inaccessible rock columns that were such a prominent part of the landscape. Soon, 24 of them soared above the unstable fray below. Today, four remain. You follow a well-established trail and 140 steps for about an hour to the Holy Trinity (Agia Triada) monastery, featured in the James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only. Enjoy the views from this unique perch, visiting its small, fresco-filled circular church and 15th-century main cathedral.

After, transfer to the Great Meteoron Monastery, also known as the Holy Monastery of the Metamorphosis or Transfiguration of Christ. This is the largest and oldest monastery, built on the greatest rock of the complex. Its founder, the monk Saint Athanasios, is credited with establishing the monastic movement here. There’ll be time to explore its religious icons, stunning frescoes and splendid views before continuing by foot on a lesser known trail. As you descend back down to Kastraki, take in more breathtaking vistas and pause to savor a picnic lunch prepared by your guides. As you dine, enjoy views of the Ypapanti Monastery, clinging to a cliffside, and the remarkable rock formations.

After lunch, continue on foot towards Kastraki and then shuttle back to your hotel, where you may relax poolside with a well-deserved ouzo, the local anise-flavored aperitif. This evening, head to a local restaurant for a festive farewell dinner accompanied by Greek wine and some traditional music featuring the long-necked mandolin known as the bouzouki.

Please note: To enter all monasteries at Meteora, men are required to wear long pants. Sleeveless t-shirts or sleeveless shirts are strictly forbidden (for both men and women), but short-sleeved collared shirts are allowed. Women’s pants or skirts must cover the knees and shirts or blouses must cover the shoulders. All monasteries provide skirts and scarves with which women may cover themselves. However, they do not provide any covering for men. Anyone who does not adhere to the dress guidelines will be denied entry.

Accommodation: Hotel Meteora, Kastraki
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, you bid farewell to Meteora and transfer south 2½ hours to Thermopylae. Greek mythology knows this place and its hot sulphur springs as the entrance to Hades, while history knows it as the site of a momentous battle in 480 BCE between 300 Spartans and the mighty Persian army. The massive loss inspired Simonides to pen the epitaph, “Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here, obedient to their laws we lie.” Stop at the site and visit the monument to commemorate the battle.

Then continue to Kamena Vourla on the scenic south coast of the Malian Gulf. Enjoy a final meal here and raise a glass to the week’s adventures before you continue to Athens (arriving by 5:30 p.m.) to make connections for onward travels.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodations

Linger Longer with a Tour Extension

Hotel-Meteora-dining-scaled.jpg, GR-GREEC
Pre-Tour
Flight + Tour Combo Only
2021

2021 Pre-Tour Extension - Athens

  • Two nights at Electra Palace Hotel, Athens
  • Small group airport and hotel transfers
  • Two breakfasts

2 Nights From $448
per person, double occupancy

Single Supplement: From $448

Begin your adventure by departing from a convenient gateway city in the United States or Canada. Spend your first night aloft.

Upon your arrival in Athens, a representative holding a Country Walkers sign meets you as you exit the baggage-claim area. A complimentary small-group transfer will be provided to your city center hotel. The remainder of the day is at your leisure; all meals today are on your own.

If you are going to be delayed meeting our transfer representative for more than 15 minutes due to delayed or lost luggage, please contact Allianz Global Assistance to advise of your delay, and they will contact our transfer service on your behalf. Our drivers are generally able to wait for up to 45 minutes from the time your flight lands, after which you would be responsible for your own transfer.

Please note: If you arrive at your hotel prior to check-in time, your room may not be available; you may store your luggage with the reception desk.

Country Walkers provides City Information containing recommendations about what to see and do in Athens during your stay.

Accommodation: Electra Palace Hotel, Athens

You awake today to splendid views of the Acropolis from your hotel. After breakfast, set out to explore the city’s iconic sites, perhaps starting at the heights of the Parthenon, Athens’ universal symbol of the classical spirit shimmering a golden hue in the Mediterranean sun. Visit the iconic Doric temple to Athena; the Erechtheion, dedicated to Athena and Poseidon; and the Temple of Athena Nike, the site’s earliest Ionic temple. Later, learn more about the ancients and their architectural and sculptural wonders at the new Acropolis Museum, where you enjoy endless insight into the city’s archaeological treasures as expansive windows provide views of the breathtaking site itself.

Finish your exploration by winding through the city’s renowned Plaka district, where cafés and shops line cobbled streets and charming tavernas invite you in for delicious Greek cuisine.

Accommodation: Electra Palace Hotel, Athens
Included Meals: Breakfast

Discover more of Athens today. You might peruse the priceless holdings of the National Archaeological Museum—a vast repository of exquisite sculptures, jewelry, pottery, and other artifacts of Greek art and history. Or stroll the quiet green space of the Agora, the heart of ancient Athens’ social, commercial, and political life. As you explore, imagine Socrates here sharing his philosophy to all who would listen, or St. Paul spreading the word about Christianity in 49 AD. While here, visit the Temple of Hephaistos, once surrounded by metallurgy shops and one of Greece’s best-preserved Doric temples. Or browse the museum that’s housed in a two-story portico built in the 2nd century BCE.

Complete the day, while pausing to rest your feet, at one of the popular wine bars or cafés that dot the city. Consult the hotel concierge for recommendations on where to dine this evening.

Accommodation: Electra Palace Hotel, Athens
Included Meals: Breakfast

Hotel-Meteora-dining-scaled.jpg, GR-GREEC
Post-Tour
Flight + Tour Combo Only
2021

2021 Post-Tour Extension - Santorini

  • Three nights at four-star Santorini Palace Hotel on Santorini
  • One night at Hotel Sofitel Athens Airport, Athens
  • Small-group airport and hotel transfers
  • Round-trip flight Athens/Santorini
  • Four breakfasts and one lunch
  • Small-group guided Caldera walking tour

4 Nights From $2098
per person, double occupancy

Single Supplement: From $948

After breakfast, transfer to the Athens airport for a short flight to Santorini, a vision of dazzling white villages perched on steep slopes overlooking the azure Aegean Sea. This stunning island of the Cyclades archipelago is actually the crescent-shaped rim of a sunken caldera formed after a massive volcanic eruption about 3,600 years ago.

Upon arrival, you transfer to your hotel, a beautiful resort perched above the main town of Thíra. The remainder of the day is at leisure, perhaps to stroll into Thíra, where narrow warrens lead to white-washed houses, balconies overflowing with bougainvillea and staggering views of the Aegean Sea from a 1,300-foot caldera rim.

Accommodation: Santorini Palace Hotel
Included Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast, depart with your guide and small group on a walking tour along the rim of Santorini’s stunning caldera. Your hike begins outside Thíra, weaving past white-washed houses and blue-domed churches. Astonishing views of the island’s cliffs and the turquoise sea accompany you at every step. As you explore, your guide regales you with local lore and mythological tales that unfolded in this godly setting. At walk’s end, settle in at a local taverna for a delicious meze-style lunch featuring small plates of fresh, local fare—perhaps feta cheese, kalamata olives, fava beans, or eggplant salad.

Afterward, return to your hotel for an afternoon and evening of independent exploration. There’ll be time to relax or swim in the pool and enjoy cocktails on the terrace, the glorious Aegean your dining room.

Accommodation: Santorini Palace Hotel
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

You have another day to experience the many pleasures of Santorini. The island hosts 36 varieties of grape in its volcanic soils and produces lovely white wines. Perhaps you will visit a winery today to sample some of them firsthand. Or explore the remains of Akrotiri. This Minoan settlement was frozen in time by the volcanic eruption that formed the island. Like Pompeii, it provides a fascinating snapshot of an ancient civilization. Your resort’s concierge can also help you arrange a catamaran sail, a boat tour to nearby hot springs and more.

Accommodation: Santorini Palace Hotel
Included Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast, you transfer to the Santorini Airport for the short flight to Athens International Airport. Flight schedules back home require you to stay overnight, so we have reserved the Hotel Sofitel Athens Airport for you, the only hotel at the airport and an easy walk from the terminal. Spend the afternoon and evening poolside, indulge in a spa treatment or sauna, or head back into Athens for more independent exploration.

Accommodation: Sofitel Athens Airport Hotel
Included Meals: Breakfast

Enjoy breakfast before making your way independently to your terminal at Athens International Airport for your international flight home. Please review check in times carefully to ensure prompt arrival at Athens International Airport.

Included Meals: Breakfast

What's Included

Flight + Tour Combo
Tour Only
Exceptional boutique accommodations Check Check
All on-tour meals except 1 lunch and 1 dinner Check Check
Local guides with you throughout tour Check Check
Local wine and/or beer with dinner Check Check
Entrance fees and special events as noted in the itinerary Check Check
Travel assistance available 24/7 provided by Allianz Check Check
Two extra nights in Athens, Greece (one pre/one post) Check
Roundtrip airfare Check
Airport car service for arrival & departure Check
Pre- and post-tour breakfasts Check
Business-class upgrades available Check
Morocco: Marrakesh, Foothills of the High Atlas & Essaouira

Dates & Prices

Flight + Tour Combo

10 days. Includes round-trip international airfare, airport car service, additional hotel nights with included breakfast, and your tour.

Single Supplement: From $748

Departing From New York, NY (JFK)

Tour Only

7 days. Includes your tour only.

Single Supplement: From $298

Fri, Apr 16 - Sun, Apr 25, 2021

$4,698

Reserve Online

Sun, Apr 18 - Sat, Apr 24, 2021

$3,698

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Fri, May 14 - Sun, May 23, 2021

$4,798

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Sun, May 16 - Sat, May 22, 2021

$3,698

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Fri, Sep 10 - Sun, Sep 19, 2021

$4,798

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Sun, Sep 12 - Sat, Sep 18, 2021

$3,698

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Fri, Sep 17 - Sun, Sep 26, 2021

$4,798

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Sun, Sep 19 - Sat, Sep 25, 2021

$3,698

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Fri, Sep 24 - Sun, Oct 3, 2021

$4,798

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Sun, Sep 26 - Sat, Oct 2, 2021

$3,698

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Fri, Oct 1 - Sun, Oct 10, 2021

$4,798

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Sun, Oct 3 - Sat, Oct 9, 2021

$3,698

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Fri, Oct 8 - Sun, Oct 17, 2021

$4,698

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Sun, Oct 10 - Sat, Oct 16, 2021

$3,698

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