Begin the drive towards the northwest area of Athens, where you will arrive at the archaeological site of Delphi in just 2 hours without any unnecessary touristy stops. Only a quick stop is included at the scenic Arachova village, which is the dominant location at the top of a cliff on the side of Mt Parnassus ski center. Explore the classical treasures, theater, the museum, and the ancient ruins. Visit the 2nd site where you see the main theme/photo of Delphi guides; “Athina Pronaia temple.”
After lunch at a special authentic Greek taverna, we shall visit the UNESCO monastery of Hosios Loukas. A peaceful and beautiful 1,000 years old monastery which justifies a visit 100%. We finally, overnight at a surprise location away from touristy Arachova or Delphi village.
This is a long trip to reach the northwest of Greece and Ioannina city, the Jewel of Western Greece. There will be many locations to enjoy a coffee break and stretch your legs before arriving at Ioannina. This is an elegant town with a long multicultural history. You will immediately be captivated by the legends of Ali Pasha – the onetime Ottoman ruler of the city, by the narrow streets of the Castle district, and by the beauty of the lake.
Although the next day will be dedicated to exploring the famous Zagorochoria villages, Ioannina will be there for you to enjoy on foot for two evenings. You will spend two nights in this town and at a beautiful ideally placed boutique hotel.
Knowing the area like locals or even better, we will experience the Greek landscape, views, people, food, and hospitality that even Greeks would not know how to.
DAY 3: A DAY TOUR FROM IOANNINA TOWN TO EXPLORE ZAGOROCHORIA (villages)
After you enjoy breakfast, we begin our exploration to travel back in time and visit the famous Zagorochoria “where stone gives birth to stone”. These are the most famous villages in Greece and a dream visit for even a Greek. This is a day of exploring and trying to fit in as much as possible depending on your pace and likes or dislikes.
We visit the villages we know are the trademarks of the area but also the non-touristy ones! Stone-built villages like Monodendri, to see the beginning of the famous Vikos gorge or Aristi village, and then Papigo village. Papigo, for many, is considered to be the most beautiful mountain village in Greece. To discover the beauties of this unique place, walking around the stone-paved alleys is necessary! We will stop for lunch and drinks at a hidden location to enjoy local cuisine and hospitality.
On the way back to our base in Ioannina city we shall visit a special location from where you can admire the whole city, the lake, and the island inside the lake.
In the evening you must grab the chance to explore the Castle of the city situated right next to your hotel and maybe enjoy a walk next to the lake as most of the locals do.
We head towards the scenic Metsovo mountain town. A lively town and an “important” coffee-stop; treat of your driver/tour leader. Metsovo is a town in the mountains of Pindus, between Ioannina to the west and Meteora to the east. This tree-shaded village is full of life throughout the year generously offering its natural surrounding beauties. Particularly during winter, the famous village is the beloved holiday destination. The settlement’s heart beats in the central square; the most famous one in mountainous Greece. Metsovo is also well-known for its cheeses – a wide variety of cheeses are available and the cheeses are exported throughout Greece. The town will be our “stepping stone” from Ioannina to Meteora and it is the ideal place to make a stop for coffee/lunch. We leave behind Metsovo to head towards Meteora and the famous rocks.
This UNESCO World Heritage site is home to more than 20 rock monasteries. Visit two (maybe 3) of the incredible monasteries depending on the day of your visit. Originally occupied by 11th-century hermits, the monasteries later became hiding places for monks when the Roman Empire started to fall. The two monasteries you may visit are subject to change depending on the day of the visit since most monasteries have different opening days and times. Typically, the monasteries to be visited include the Grand Meteora Monastery and Moni Agiou Stefanou or Moni Varlaam.After exploring Meteora, return to your private vehicle for your trip back to Athens which takes around 3.5 hours. A couple of necessary stops on the way to stretch your legs. First to enjoy great lunch & drinks, and then see Thermopylae; the historical battlefield between the Spartans (300) and the Persians. Continue the journey further south towards Athens to arrive and be dropped off directly at the hotel/Airbnb/cruise ship, in the early evening. An authentic tour with a great tour leader!OPTION: Add a day/night to visit the Royal tombs of Vergina, the hometown with the grave of Philip; Alexander’s father of Macedonia, and the Biblical Veria town of Apostle Paul.At Vergina, you will live the experience of a visit to the unique museum, created in the Great Tumulus covering the royal tombs of Macedonia to admire the astonishing findings from the tomb of King Phillip II, Alexander’s father, and feel the thrill of the greatest discovery of the 20th century.