Mountains, Gorges and Lakes of Northern Greece
04 – 13 June 2019
Walking with nature and history. This tour of the little visited and largely unknown part of northern Greece will provide a regular series of wonderful backdrops to stimulate our imagination as we traverse from east to west exploring Greece’s impressive mountains, deep gorges and placid lakes through fascinating gentle walks.
Lake Kerkini hosts thousands of birds, riverside forests, water-lilies in an idyllic site, from where there are panoramic views of the Belles mountain range to the north.
Prespa is a national park of great significance due to its biodiversity and endemic species. The lakes provide a stunning sight, reflecting the surrounding mountains in their waters. Local inhabitants are concentrated in the attractive villages surrounding the lakes. This is a magical world of incomparable natural beauty.
The mountainous area of Zagori in Epirus is part of the now enlarged Pindos National Park and is completely unspoilt. The vast forests are still home to populations of the European brown bear, wolves and possibly lynx. The spectacular Vikos Gorge, craggy mountain peaks, rushing rivers, numerous fine arched bridges, and picturesque stone built villages, flowery meadows and occasional gliding raptors complete the scene.
DAY 01, ARRIVAL THESSALONIKI / LAKE KERKINI
Arrive Thessaloniki airport. Depart for Lake Kerkini by coach. The ride will be approximately 2 hours. Optional dinner. Overnight in the village of Ano Poroia.
DAY 02, LAKE KERKINI
Bus ride to Lake Kerkini for a walk along the shore enjoying the mass of birds. En route a picnic. Followed by a further short ride to the village of Kerkini for a coffee. Then return to Ano Poroia . Optional dinner. Overnight.
DAY 03, MOUNT BELLES
Walk up to the slopes of Mt Belles a fascinating walk through forest and alpine meadows. Picnic. Descend to Ano Poroia enjoying wonderful views of Lake Kerkini. Return to Ano Poroia. Optional dinner. Overnight.
DAY 04, SAT 09 MAY: VERGINA / PRESPA LAKES
Depart for Prespa by coach. En route calling at Vergina, to view the Royal Macedonian Tombs with their gold treasures. Continue to Prespa Lakes. At the village of Agios Germanos. Time for a relaxing walk to wander through the picturesque village with its characteristic traditional architecture. Optional dinner. Overnight
DAY 05, PRESPA LAKES
There will be short walks to the river where the old unused water-mill is. Drive to Krina hill to observe the nesting Pelicans on Mikri Prespa Lake. Then continue on foot by crossing over a pontoon bridge for a walk around the tiny tranquil island of Agios Achilleios with the ruins of a monastery. Lunchbreak. Return to Agios Germanos. Optional dinner. Overnight.
DAY 06, PRESPA / NYMPHAION / BEAR SANCTUARY
Day trip by coach to the attractive village of Nymphaion. A stroll through its cobbled streets to view the traditional homes and mansions. A walk through the forest will led us to the Arcturos bear sanctuary. Return to Agios Germanos .Optional dinner.
DAY 07, PRESPA / KASTORIA / ZAGORI
Depart for Kastoria, attractive lakeside town with traditional architecture. We walk along the pleasant shaded lakeshore. Break for lunch, before continuing to Zagori. Optional dinner. Overnight at Kipi.
DAY 08, WED 13 MAY: OXIA / VITSA / KOKORI BRIDGE
Drive to Oxia, walk to view upland meadows and Vikos Gorge. Break for lunch. From Vitsa we take an unforgettable walk down a beautiful old paved mule road to Kokori bridge. Coach return to Kipi. Optional dinner. Overnight.
DAY 09, VRADETO / DILOFO / KIPI
Drive to Vradeto from where we will take a walk to Beloe for dramatic views of the Vikos gorge from the highest point and marvelous plants on all sides. Drive to Dilofo, a particularly attractive village where there will be an opportunity for lunch in the tiny square completely shaded by one enormous oriental plane tree. Then set off to walk back to Kipi through beautiful open forest. Finally we pass over a fine arched bridge and return to the hotel. Optional dinner. Overnight.
DAY 10, ZAGORI / IOANNINA / THESSALONIKI
Departure for Thessaloniki via Ioannina.
PRICE € 986 per person (sharing twin-bedded room)
Single room supplement €238
• Assistance upon arrival and departure
• Coach with driver throughout
• 3 star hotels and guesthouses in twin-bedded rooms with private facilities/breakfast
• Service of leader
• VAT & taxes
• Flights to/from Thessaloniki
• Beverages, drinks, extras
• Meals, allow approx. €12 – €18 per meal excluding wine
• Entrance fees to sites, museums and sanctuaries
There are many daily flights to Thessaloniki. If you require further information from your point of origin anywhere in the world please do not hesitate to contact us by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org we would be pleased to assist you.
15 – 20 persons
15 – 25 °C Mainly sunny, rain possible.
There are some many excellent places to eat and mostly we will all eat together although anybody wishing to opt out is welcome to.
These are optional and vary between 4-8 kms. Most paths are in reasonably good condition but anybody coming should be happy to walk up steps and negotiate some moderate ascents.