Greece: Zagori & Meteora

8 days
from
£1,299
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Trip code: 
TVQ
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
New Walking Holidays
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–16

Explore the secret paths of Vikos–Aoos National Park and Meteora on foot

Unknown to most of the world, both beautiful and unspoiled, the Zagori area is one of the best walking regions in Greece. Learn more about the myths and stories of the area, observe the unique flora and fauna and taste the delicious local cuisine. Walk amongst traditional stone made villages, arch stone bridges, gorges, mountains and pristine natural landscapes in Vikos-Aoos National Park. Follow this with the chance to visit the UNESCO Worldwide Heritage Site of Meteora, exploring the trails of the ancient monks and clifftop monasteries.

Highlights

  • Vikos Gorge and the Zagori arch stone bridges
  • Hike to stunning alpine Dragon Lake
  • Spectacular Meteora- 'columns in the sky'

Key information

  • 4 full days and 1 half days point to point walking
  • Group normally 4 to 16 plus leader
  • Travel by private bus
  • Altitude maximum 2050m, average 1100m
  • 6 nights 3-star hotels/traditional guesthouses and 1 night in mountain refuge

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 3 lunches and 2 dinners
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
0208 772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

4 full and 1 half

Pace:

Moderate/Challenging: Approximately 5.5-7 hours walking per day

Terrain:

Footpaths and mountain terrain,  rocky and loose in places with sloped ascents and descents.

Day by day breakdown
Day 317.0km/11.0miles
Day 415.0km/9.0miles
Day 512.0km/7.5miles
Day 66.0km/3.7miles
Day 76.0km/3.7miles

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Arrive Thessaloniki

    The group flights usually arrive into Thessaloniki in the early afternoon and the group will be met and transferred to the start hotel. Land Only clients should aim to arrive at the hotel this afternoon. In the evening our guide will hold a welcome meeting to discuss the week ahead, give advice on the local area and answer any questions.

    Accommodation: Egnatia Hotel or similar
    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 2

    To Monodendri, walk to the byzantine church of Agia Paraskevi and then to the Oxya viewpoint

    We depart from Thessaloniki after breakfast and transfer to Zagori area (around 3.5-4 hrs). Upon arrival in Monodendri, we will have lunch in one of the local restaurants at the village. Our first stop is the Rizarios School of Handicrafts in the village of Monodendri where we can learn how women make handmade textiles and weavings.  We will then visit the Rizarios Photography which hosts temporary photo exhibitions of Greek photographers as well as the stereoscopic cameras brought by English journalists to Greece to capture the first modern Olympic Games in 1896! In the late afternoon we will take a short walk (approx. 1 hr) to the to Agia Paraskevi byzantine church, which offers our first view of Vikos gorge. We’ll continue to Oxya viewpoint and the stone forest next.

    Accommodation: Selini Guesthouse or similar
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 3

    Morning walk through the Vradeto steps up to Vradeto and the Beloi viewpoint. Afternoon walk the beautiful stone arch bridges of Zagoria

    After breakfast we start our hike from the village of Kapesovo down to Vikos Gorge and then upwards, through the beautiful Vradeto steps (stone path built in the 16th century at the slopes of Vikos Gorge) towards the highest village of Zagori, Vradeto (1340m). From there, following a beautiful path at the rims of Vikos Gorge, we arrive at Beloi viewpoint (1450m), where we can enjoy panoramic views over the gorge. We return to Vradeto village and from there back to Kapesovo village. After a picnic lunch, we will visit some of the most important and beautiful stone arch bridges of Zagoria, such as Kokoris, Plakidas, Milou, Pitsioni and Kontodima bridges. Most of the stone bridges were built during the 17th and 18th centuries as a means of moving in between the villages and are masterpieces of the local architecture. There are several different trails connecting the bridges we can choose from today, depending on the interest of the group.

    Walk: Distance 17km Ascent 360m Descent 250m Max Altitude 1450 m Time: 6-7 hours

    Accommodation: Selini Guesthouse or similar
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Walk through Vikos-Aoos N.P. and the Vikos Gorge, one of the deepest in the world

    Today we will hike on one of the most beautiful, impressive and rewarding hiking paths in the area. We transfer to Monodendri village, and from here we descend down to Vikos Gorge, said to be one of the deepest gorges in the world. Walking parallel to the river, it will take us about 6 hours to cross the canyon. Traversing the ravine, we can admire the rare varieties of wild birds and flowers that have found their habitat in Vikos-Aoos National Park. We will stop at the river springs to relax and eat our picnic lunch. Depending on the season, you can also swim in the river! Early in the afternoon we arrive at Vikos village where we will be picked up and transferred to Papingo village for dinner and overnight stay.

    Walk: Distance 15 km Ascent 270 m Descent 560 m Max Altitude 1050 m Time: 5.5-6 hours

    Accommodation: Hotel To Rodi or similar
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 5

    Hike to the stunning alpine Dragon Lake at 2050m

    After an early breakfast, we start our trek today from Papingo village up through captivating alpine scenery towards ‘Dragon Lake’ and our mountain refuge.  We will arrive at the refuge in the early afternoon, and after a short break for our picnic lunch, will then continue to the beautiful ‘Dragon Lake’, situated at 2050m. The view of this magical landscape will definitely reward you after a long day!  We’ll return to our mountain refuge where we spend the night.

    Walk: Distance 12 km Ascent 1400 m Descent 400 m Max Altitude 2050 m Time: 6 hours

    Accommodation: Astraka Refuge or similar
    Mountain Refuge

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 6

    Final day in the Zagori area, walk to Papingo village; visit natural swimming pools. To Meteora

    After breakfast at the mountain refuge, we will descend back to Papingo village. This is our last day in the Zagori area, and we cannot leave without making a stop at the natural swimming pools in Ovires. During the summer months, you can also enjoy swimming in the crystal clear waters of the river!  You can enjoy lunch in one of the family run restaurants in Papingo village, before we depart for the UNESCO Worldwide Heritage site of Meteora (2.5 hrs driving distance). We aim to arrive in Meteora at sunset, going to several viewpoints where we can enjoy panoramic views over Kalampaka plain and the stone forest of Meteora.

    Walk: Distance 6 km Ascent 0 m Descent 1000 m Max Altitude 1950 m Time: 6-6.5 hours

    Accommodation: Meteoritis hotel or similar
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Walk through the spectacular rock pillars of Meteora stone forest; visit cliff-top monastery. To Thessaloniki

    What a better way to start your day than admiring the spectacular rock pillars of Meteora stone forest? After breakfast, we will explore this unique landscape on foot, following the hiking paths of the ancient monks followed by a visit to one of the top-cliff monasteries of the area.
    The area of Meteora was initially inhabited by monks who lived in caves within the rocks during the 11th century. In the late 12th century, a small church called the Panaghia Doupiani was built at the foot of one of the rocks, but during the Turkish occupation it became less secure so the monks climbed higher and higher up the rocks to protect themselves from different conquerors. Numerous monasteries were systematically built on top of the rocks so by the end of the 15th century there were 24 constructed in total; today only 6 of them are still active. The monks had to climb up ladders or use baskets and ropes to transfer the material for the construction of these monasteries and until 1920 this was the only means for getting supplies.In the afternoon, we will return back to Thessaloniki. In the evening we will have a final meal together at one of the local restaurants (at own expense).

    Walk: Distance 6 km Ascent 350 m Descent 350 m Max Altitude 700 m Time: 3-3.5 hours

    Accommodation:Egnatia Hotel or similar
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Fly to London

    Our adventure ends after breakfast.  Those on the group flights will be transferred to the airport in time for their flight to London.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Greece

British and other EU passport holders do not need a visa to visit Greece.

Vaccinations

Greece

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 3  lunches and 2 dinners included.

Simple buffet style Greek breakfast consists of bread/toast, butter, jam, fresh juice, milk, local yoghurt, eggs and honey, and coffee/tea.

Picnic lunches are prepared by our team each day and will include a sandwich, cereal bar/fruit and juice.

The included dinners are homemade dinners including local delicacies, with a mix of salad and starters for the group to share and a main course and dessert for everyone.

It is possible to cater for vegetarians or clients with special requirements, however please make sure you will advise your Sales Consultant at time of booking or our Customer Operations department before departure.

We suggest you allow approximately €12-€17 each for meals not included, more if you include alcoholic or expensive fruit juice drinks with each meal.

Weather

Daytime temperatures will be between 12-24º in May and October, and there is some chance of rain.  Night time temperatures will be cooler (8-15º); at the mountain refuge it will be much colder (3-6º overnight).

In June and September it will be fairly warm, with daytime temperatures between 18-26º, and it will generally be dry with only a small chance of rain.  Night time temperatures will be cooler (13-18º); at the mountain refuge it will be much colder (5-7º overnight).

In July and August it will be quite warm and dry. Daytime temperatures will be between 20-28º. Night time temperatures will be a bit cooler (18-23º); at the mountain refuge it will be quite cold (7-10º overnight).

Is this trip for you?

Activity Level 4: Moderate/Challenging

On this trip we have 4 full days and one half day trekking.  The terrain will include footpaths and mountain terrain, which can be rocky and loose in places with sloped ascents and descents. A good level of fitness is required. Previous trekking experience is desirable but not vital as long as you are confident of your physical condition. The walks take between 5.5 and 7 hours and require a moderate level of fitness.

The trek to Dragon Lake has some more challenging sections and we need to carry our personal belongings for the night and sleeping bag with us (there are no porters available).  Your main luggage will be left in Papingo village and you will collect it the following day. Whilst on this trek we spend the night in a comfortable refuge with dorm rooms and bunk beds, therefore, depending on the formation of the group, these may have to be used as mixed-dorms.

You may find our Fitness Training Guide a useful reference: http://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/pdf/Exodus_WT_Fitness_Training_Guide.pdf

Call for general departures:
0208 772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels, Guesthouses & Mountain Refuge

On this trip we will stay at small, comfortable, family run hotels or guesthouses, where possible choosing traditional hotels that highlight the local architecture of each destination. Most hotels will offer free WiFi. Some hotels also have a swimming pool.

For one night we will stay at a mountain refuge which is comprised of dorm rooms and bunk beds For this reason it may be necessary to use the rooms as mixed dorms where men and women may be sleeping in the same room.

Call for general departures:
0208 772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

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Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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Call us on 0208 772 3936