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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 Polydrosos. 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.
  • Enjoy a refreshing Mythos beer 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.
  • Take a historic cog railway journey through the Vouraikos Gorge—into the deep-cut canyon past roaring waterfalls and through tunnels burrowed into mountainsides, with spectacular views of dramatic landscapes all around.
On all Guided 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 multi-course meals—a majority 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 29 to Sun, May 8 - 2022

Show Itinerary:

All you have to do is get to the airport. On our Flight + Tour Combos, we’ll take care of the rest, handling all the logistics, so you can travel with peace of mind. Spend your first night aloft and arrive refreshed for an unforgettable trip.

Start off your first day in Athens right by having a Country Walkers representative greet you at the airport. A complimentary car service will whisk you to your centrally located hotel. From here, you are perfectly positioned to explore this charming city at your leisure.

Accommodation: Electra Palace Hotel, Athens

1-2 miles, easy to moderate

After enjoying an included breakfast at your hotel meet your guides at 8:30 a.m. in the lobby of your Athens hotel. They’ll be wearing Country Walkers shirts.

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, drive to Sykia Beach on the northern coastal border of the Peloponnese. Here, a casual lunch of typical Greek specialties: savory classic dips like tzatziki (yogurt, cucumber, and garlic), melitzanosalata (eggplant) and grilled fish or meat refuels you for the afternoon. (You may wish to have your bathing suit in your backpack so that you can enjoy a pre-lunch swim.) 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 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 regional wine.

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, drive 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 pine, pear, 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 family-run restaurant for lunch, sampling specialties like onion pie with mizithra cheese, saganaki planiteros (a mix of cheese, peppers, tomatoes, parsley, and potatoes. ), and If you wish, you may savor a well-deserved local trout for which the region is known. After a satisfying meal, return to Kalavrita, stopping en route to 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 an independent afternoon and evening. Relax at your hotel or explore the town, perhaps shopping for delicious locally made souvenirs like preserves, honey, olive oil, and teas or popping into the Folklore and historical museum. Enjoy dinner at one of the many casual restaurants that dot the main street offering traditional fare.

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

2 miles, easy to moderate

Rise this morning for an early breakfast. Then travel by minibus to the trailhead for an easy morning walk 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 (stopping en route for an independent lunch in charming Nafpaktos), 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 a late afternoon stroll.

This cozy village of red-roofed houses and narrow, cobbled streets boasts plentiful cafés along a lovely waterfront. Choose one for a refreshing drink or ice cream on your own. Then take a little time to walk 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 gather together later for another memorable meal in town.

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

3.5 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.

Travel 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 on your own at one of the many tavernas. 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 museum and archaeological site 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 return early evening 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. Arachova is famous for its shops selling local flokati (shaggy wool rugs), formaela cheese, and honey; a great spot to pick up some souvenirs.

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

3-4 miles, easy to moderate

After another hearty, fresh breakfast, you travel north, skirting the base of Mount Parnassus to Polydrosos aboard your dedicated minibus. On arrival you set out on a trail for a scenic walk, discovering the cultural heritage of this area, known as Madamnia, a former mill community. It was once home to both a woolen and saw mill, the latter producing train tracks milled from the black pine of Parnassus.) Your walking circuit concludes back in the village where you savor lunch and a wine tasting. Enjoy a personal introduction and sample a few of the wines produced on our friend, Despina’s, nearby estate. Among the nine varieties, the vintners emphasize the cultivation of forgotten grapes. Afterward, continue about 2.5 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, six 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, drive the short distance 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 of the remarkable rock formations, and pause to savor a picnic lunch in the shade of the Ypapanti Monastery.

After lunch, continue on foot towards Kastraki and then shuttle back to your hotel, where you may relax poolside with a well-deserved refreshment. 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: Exposed shoulders and knees are not permitted when visiting most churches as well as the monasteries at Meteora. Convertible zip-off pants are a good option for both men and women on days that combine walking and church/monastery visits. Sleeveless t-shirts or sleeveless shirts are strictly forbidden (for both men and women), but short-sleeved collared shirts are allowed. (Due to Covid restrictions, monasteries are no longer lending skirts, but rather charging a few euros to provide skirts 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. A good option for women is to wear capri length pants and to bring a sari or long scarf in your daypack for use as a long skirt to put over them.

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

1.5 miles, easy to moderate, 725-ft. elevation loss

After breakfast, you travel by minibus to the Holy Monastery of Varlaam, the second largest of the monasteries of Meteora, named after the monk who first built a tiny chapel on this promontory in the 14th century. Take time to peruse the museum of monastic history, to check out an original rope-basket used until the mid-19th century to haul monks and provisions, and admire the late-Byzantine frescoes, as well as sweeping panoramic views. Depart the monastery on foot (or opt for a ride down to town with our dedicated driver and minibus), arriving to Kastraki mid-morning. Pop into the Geological Museum, housed in a former primary school, for a walk back (30 million years!) in time. Bid farewell to Meteora and drive south (2.5 hours) to Kamena Vourla on the scenic south coast of the Malian Gulf. Enjoy a final meal of fresh seafood and raise a glass of ouzo, the local anise-flavored aperitif, to toast the week’s adventures before you continue to Athens (arriving by 5:30 p.m.), where you settle in to your hotel for a post-tour overnight stay.

The rest of the evening is yours to enjoy at your leisure—perhaps explore the city, rest up in the hotel, or select a local restaurant for dinner. We provide detailed city information to help you plan the remainder of your day.

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

After an included breakfast this morning, complimentary transportation will be provided to Athens International Airport, based on your departure time.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Sun, May 1 to Sat, May 7 - 2022

Show Itinerary:

1-2 miles, easy to moderate

Your guides will meet you at 8:30 a.m. in the lobby of the Electra Palace Hotel, 18- 20, N. Nikodimou Str., Athens, Tel +30 210 337 0000. They’ll be wearing Country Walkers shirts.

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, drive to Sykia Beach on the northern coastal border of the Peloponnese. Here, a casual lunch of typical Greek specialties: savory classic dips like tzatziki (yogurt, cucumber, and garlic), melitzanosalata (eggplant) and grilled fish or meat refuels you for the afternoon. (You may wish to have your bathing suit in your backpack so that you can enjoy a pre-lunch swim.) 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 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 regional wine.

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

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

After a leisurely breakfast, drive 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 pine, pear, 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 family-run restaurant for lunch, sampling specialties like onion pie with mizithra cheese, saganaki planiteros (a mix of cheese, peppers, tomatoes, parsley, and potatoes. ), and If you wish, you may savor a well-deserved local trout for which the region is known. After a satisfying meal, return to Kalavrita, stopping en route to 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 an independent afternoon and evening. Relax at your hotel or explore the town, perhaps shopping for delicious locally made souvenirs like preserves, honey, olive oil, and teas or popping into the Folklore and historical museum. Enjoy dinner at one of the many casual restaurants that dot the main street offering traditional fare.

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

2 miles, easy to moderate

Rise this morning for an early breakfast. Then travel by minibus to the trailhead for an easy morning walk 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 (stopping en route for an independent lunch in charming Nafpaktos), 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 a late afternoon stroll.

This cozy village of red-roofed houses and narrow, cobbled streets boasts plentiful cafés along a lovely waterfront. Choose one for a refreshing drink or ice cream on your own. Then take a little time to walk 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 gather together later for another memorable meal in town.

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

3.5 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.

Travel 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 on your own at one of the many tavernas. 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 museum and archaeological site 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 return early evening 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. Arachova is famous for its shops selling local flokati (shaggy wool rugs), formaela cheese, and honey; a great spot to pick up some souvenirs.

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

3-4 miles, easy to moderate

After another hearty, fresh breakfast, you travel north, skirting the base of Mount Parnassus to Polydrosos aboard your dedicated minibus. On arrival you set out on a trail for a scenic walk, discovering the cultural heritage of this area, known as Madamnia, a former mill community. It was once home to both a woolen and saw mill, the latter producing train tracks milled from the black pine of Parnassus.) Your walking circuit concludes back in the village where you savor lunch and a wine tasting. Enjoy a personal introduction and sample a few of the wines produced on our friend, Despina’s, nearby estate. Among the nine varieties, the vintners emphasize the cultivation of forgotten grapes. Afterward, continue about 2.5 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, six 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, drive the short distance 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 of the remarkable rock formations, and pause to savor a picnic lunch in the shade of the Ypapanti Monastery.

After lunch, continue on foot towards Kastraki and then shuttle back to your hotel, where you may relax poolside with a well-deserved refreshment. 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: Exposed shoulders and knees are not permitted when visiting most churches as well as the monasteries at Meteora. Convertible zip-off pants are a good option for both men and women on days that combine walking and church/monastery visits. Sleeveless t-shirts or sleeveless shirts are strictly forbidden (for both men and women), but short-sleeved collared shirts are allowed. (Due to Covid restrictions, monasteries are no longer lending skirts, but rather charging a few euros to provide skirts 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. A good option for women is to wear capri length pants and to bring a sari or long scarf in your daypack for use as a long skirt to put over them.

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

1.5 miles, easy to moderate, 725-ft. elevation loss

After breakfast, you travel by minibus to the Holy Monastery of Varlaam, the second largest of the monasteries of Meteora, named after the monk who first built a tiny chapel on this promontory in the 14th century. Take time to peruse the museum of monastic history, to check out an original rope-basket used until the mid-19th century to haul monks and provisions, and admire the late-Byzantine frescoes, as well as sweeping panoramic views. (Dress code is strictly enforced at this monastery.) Depart the monastery on foot (or opt for a ride down to town with our dedicated driver and minibus), arriving to Kastraki mid-morning. Pop into the Geological Museum, housed in a former primary school, for a walk back (30 million years!) in time. Bid farewell to Meteora and drive south 2.5 hours to Kamena Vourla on the scenic south coast of the Malian Gulf. Enjoy a final meal of fresh seafood and raise a glass of ouzo, the local anise-flavored aperitif, to toast the week’s adventures before you continue to Athens (arriving to the departure point, the Electra Palace Hotel, by 5:30 p.m.) to make connections for onward travels.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodations

Linger Longer with a Tour Extension

Greece: Athens, Delphi & Meteora 7
Pre-Tour
Flight + Tour Combo Only
2022

2022 Pre-Tour Extension - Athens

  • Two nights at Electra Palace Hotel
  • Airport car service for arrival
  • Daily breakfast
  • City information

2 Nights From $498
per person, double occupancy

Single Supplement: From $498

All you have to do is get to the airport. On our Flight + Tour Combos, we’ll take care of the rest, handling all the logistics, so you can travel with peace of mind. Spend your first night aloft and arrive refreshed for an unforgettable trip.

Start off your first day in Athens right by having a Country Walkers representative greet you at the airport. A complimentary car service will whisk you to your centrally located hotel. From here, you are perfectly positioned to explore this magnificent city at your leisure.

Accommodation: Electra Palace Hotel, Athens

After a delicious included breakfast at your hotel, you are free to explore on your own, using our included city information packet to guide your discoveries.

Accommodation: Electra Palace Hotel, Athens
Included Meals: Breakfast

After a delicious included breakfast at your hotel, you are free to explore on your own, using our included city information packet to guide your discoveries.

Accommodation: Electra Palace Hotel, Athens
Included Meals: Breakfast

Greece: Athens, Delphi & Meteora 6
Post-Tour
Flight + Tour Combo Only
2022

2022 Post-Tour Extension - Santorini

  • Three nights at four-star Santorini Palace Hotel
  • One night at Hotel Sofitel Athens Airport
  • Airport car service to Athens airport
  • Round-trip flights between Athens and Santorini
  • Santorini airport car service on arrival and departure
  • Daily breakfast and one lunch
  • Guided Caldera walking tour
  • City information

4 Nights From $2248
per person, double occupancy

Single Supplement: From $998

After a delicious included breakfast at your hotel, complimentary transportation is provided 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, complimentary transportation is provided to your hotel, a beautiful resort perched above the main town of Thíra. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy at your leisure—perhaps explore town, relax poolside at the hotel, or select a local restaurant for lunch and dinner. We provide detailed city information to help you plan your day.

*Departure time from the Athens hotel will be communicated to you on tour by your Country Walkers guides. The roundtrip Santorini flight ticket will also be given to you on tour.

Accommodation: Santorini Palace Hotel
Included Meals: Breakfast

After a delicious included breakfast, meet in the lobby of the hotel at 9:00 a.m., and then 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

After a delicious included breakfast at your hotel, you are free to explore on your own, using our included city information packet to guide your discoveries.

Accommodation: Santorini Palace Hotel
Included Meals: Breakfast

After a delicious included breakfast, there is time to do some last exploring or shopping before your complimentary transportation this afternoon to the Santorini Airport for the short (half hour) flight to Athens International Airport. (Departure time provided by your Country Walkers guides on tour, and luggage can be stored at the hotel until your airport shuttle departs.) 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

After an included breakfast this morning, make your way independently to your terminal at Athens International Airport for your flight home.

Included Meals: Breakfast

What's Included

Flight + Tour Combo
Tour Only
Exceptional boutique accommodations Check Check
15 on-tour meals: 6 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners 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 Global Assistance Check Check
Telescopic walking sticks provided on tour Check Check
Roundtrip airfare Check
Two extra nights in Athens, Greece (one pre/one post) 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 $798

Departing From New York, NY (JFK)

Tour Only

7 days. Includes your tour only.

Single Supplement: From $348

Fri, Apr 29 - Sun, May 8, 2022

$4,698

Reserve Online

Sun, May 1 - Sat, May 7, 2022

$3,698

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Fri, May 13 - Sun, May 22, 2022

$4,798

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Sun, May 15 - Sat, May 21, 2022

$3,698

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Fri, Sep 9 - Sun, Sep 18, 2022

$4,798

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Sun, Sep 11 - Sat, Sep 17, 2022

$3,698

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Fri, Sep 16 - Sun, Sep 25, 2022

$4,798

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Sun, Sep 18 - Sat, Sep 24, 2022

$3,698

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Fri, Sep 23 - Sun, Oct 2, 2022

$4,798

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Sun, Sep 25 - Sat, Oct 1, 2022

$3,698

Reserve Online
Limited Spaces Left

Fri, Sep 30 - Sun, Oct 9, 2022

$4,798

Reserve Online
Limited Spaces Left

Sun, Oct 2 - Sat, Oct 8, 2022

$3,698

Reserve Online
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