This tour in Northern Greece will be a fascinating journey around diverse wine regions, offbeat classical sites, mystical mountain-top monasteries and stunning scenery. The tour will focus on the wine regions of Naoussa and Drama close to the cities of Thessalonika and Kavala and include visits to some of the best Greek wineries like Gerovassiliou, Alpha Estate, Biblia Chora and Kir-Yianni. We will also visit the ancient sites of Vergina, Philippi and Dodoni as well as the stunning Vikos Gorge and the extraordinary mountain top monasteries of Meteora close to the beautiful town of Metsovo where we will be based for some of the tour.
Here is the draft itinerary (please note that the winery visits are subject to confirmation):
SATURDAY 21st June: Afternoon arrival in Thessaloniki on BA or Ryanair flights from London. Late afternoon driving tour of the city followed by dinner. Overnight at Hotel Anatolia
SUNDAY 22nd June: Travel to ancient Vergina, the burial site of the Kings of Macedon including Philip II the father of Alexander the Great. Continue to the wine region of Naoussa for a visit to a winery with lunch and tasting (possibly Kir-Yianni or Chrisochoou). Overnight in Naoussa at Hotels Paleo Poli and Dellagio (see the note on hotels below). Tonight there will be a food and wine matching dinner in the beautiful garden of Paleo Poli’s boutique hotel.
MONDAY 23rd June: Visit two more wineries in Naoussa (possibly Foundi, Thymiopoulos or Dalamaras) for tastings and lunch at one. After lunch travel to Amynteo to visit Ktima Alpha Estate for a tour and tasting. Drive on to Kastoria for overnight stay at the Limneon Resort & Spa Hotel overlooking the lake. We will be on half board basis at this hotel so dinner this evening or lunch tomorrow will be included.
TUESDAY 24th June: Free morning to relax in Kastoria. After lunch travel south to Metsovo our base for the next 3 nights. Late afternoon visit to Katogi Averoff winery. Overnight at Hotel Kassaros in Metsovo
WEDNESDAY 25th June: Travel west to visit the ancient site of Dodoni where there is an impressive ancient theatre, then to the village of Monodendri to see Vikos Gorge in the region of Zagoria (listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the deepest gorge in the world when measured in proportion to its length! It is 20 kms. long). If time allows we will also visit the Zitsa co-operative winery for a tasting. Return to Metsovo for overnight at Hotel Kassaros.
THURSDAY 26th June: Travel to Meteora to see the extraordinary monasteries built on the rocky outcrops. Return to Metsovo mid-afternoon. Free time to relax. Overnight at Hotel Kassaros.
FRIDAY 27th June: Travel east past Thessalonika towards the wine region of Drama and visit Arvanitidis winery in Askos. Continue to Biblia Chora winery in Kokkinohori for tasting and lunch. Continue to the town of Kavala where we will have a guided walking tour of the town late afternoon. Overnight at Hotel Galaxy.
SATURDAY 28th June: Visit ancient Philippi (as in Paul’s letter to the Philippians) for a private guided tour, continue to Domaine Kostas Lazaridi (Amethystos) in Adriani, and Art Estate in Mikrohori wineries for tastings with lunch at one. Continue to our final hotel – to be advised but likely to be either in Thessalonika or at a beach resort outside the city.
SUNDAY 29th June: Morning visit to Gerovassiliou winery in Epanomi. Transfer to Thessaloniki airport for return flight to London
Please note that this is a draft itinerary and some of the places and the order of visits is subject to change.
Tour Cost £1150 sharing a room + £225 single supplement to include:-
- 8 nights hotel accommodation with breakfast
- Travel by coach throughout
- Transfer from Thessalonika airport if arriving with BA or Ryanair on 21/6 (see below)
- 4 lunches at wineries and 3 dinners with 2-3 glasses of wine per person
- Wine Tastings at 9-10 different wineries
- Entrance tickets to and private guided tours of Vergina, Dodoni and Philippi
- Private Guided tours of Thessaloniki and Kavala
- Services of Tour Manager/Wine Guide Christos Ioannou
Tour Cost does NOT include:-
- International flights to/from Greece
- Drinks other than those mentioned in the program
- Tips and gratuities
FLIGHTS: You will need to book your own flights. For the dates of the tour there are direct flights from London to Thessalonika with British Airways and also Ryanair. Here are the flight timings:
Saturday 21st June
BA London Gatwick 08.25 – 13.45 Thessalonika
Ryanair London Stanstead 11.10 – 16.25 Thessalonika
Sunday 29th June
BA Thessalonika 14.05 – 15.30 London Gatwick
Ryanair Thessalonika 21.50 – 23.30 London Stanstead
At the time of writing (15/02/2014) the fare with British Airways is rather high at £400 return! The return fare with Ryanair is MUCH cheaper - £130 + an additional £70 for taking a check-in bag up to 15kgs or + £90 for a check-in bag up to 20 kgs. Parking at Stanstead in the ‘Mid-Stay’ facility is available for just £45 (at time of writing 15/02/2014). We recommend that you book the Ryanair flights if possible as their flight timings give more flexibility to the tour programme, however we will also accommodate those who book the BA flights. So the choice is yours.
Aegean Airlines also fly from London to Thessalonika via Athens, or via Munich/Frankfurt (codeshare with Lufthansa).
If you arrive in Thessalonika on Saturday 21st June on the BA or Ryanair flights we will arrange your transfer between the airport and our hotel. If you plan to arrive in Thessalonika at other times you will need to meet in the lobby at the hotel on 21st June at around 3pm (exact time to be advised with joining instructions).
Thessalonika – Hotel Anatolia: http://www.anatoliahotels.gr/EN/Thessaloniki/Welcome/
Naoussa – Hotels Paleo Poli and Dellagio: http://paleapoli.gr/home/
Kastoria – Hotel Limneon Resort and Spa: http://www.limneon.com/default.asp?LangId=311
Metsovo – Hotel Kassaros: http://www.hotelkassaros.gr/index.php?lang=en
Kavala – Hotel Galaxy: http://www.airotel.gr/hotel/galaxy_hotel
Please note that in Naoussa our base will be Palea Poli which is a wonderful old mansion which has been lovingly converted to a 9 room boutique hotel. As we will need more than 9 rooms for the group we will also have some rooms in Hotel Dellagio which is just 200 meters away. However the whole group will enjoy breakfast at Palea Poli as well as a food and wine matching dinner here.
How to book this tour: Send an e-mail to me Christos at [masked] so that I have your e-mail address and then I will arrange for a booking form to be sent to you. A non-refundable deposit is payable to book your place and the balance will be due 8 weeks before the tour.
The tour is open to anyone, not just members of this Meetup group so feel free to forward the details to any friends, family or colleagues who may be interested. Numbers will be limited to 25 people.