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Meteora

the region of inaccessible sandstone peaks

SACRED GREECE

Delphi.  Meteora.  Litohoro – Mt. Olympus.  Thessaloniki.

Spirituality is central to the Greek persona.  This tour covers a vast terrain geographically but also philosophically from pagan Greece (Delphi & Dion) through the early Roman-Christian era and on into the Byzantine era.  Although this tour has a religious theme, it is essentially cultural in nature and therefore an inviting itinerary to all Grecophiles.

DESCRIPTION

Whatever your spiritual persuasion, you will enjoy this grand sweep through many eras of sacred spaces in Greece.

Delphi and the Temple of Apollo were regarded as the center of the world to ancient Greeks.  Dion near Mt. Olympus (Litohoro) was the religious center of the Macedonian kingdom.  This was the era of many gods, pagans.

The mystic elements of the Byzantine period envelope you in Meteora where monks created a cluster of amazing inaccessible monasteries atop rock pinnacles.

The northern region surrounding Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, is a rich source of spiritual centers.  There is Veria flush with over fifty Byzantine monuments. In Vergina is

Finally, the tour is enhanced by excellent accommodation choices, delicious Greek foods from the different regions and beautiful mountainous landscapes.

 

ITINERARY

We can customize this itinerary to suit your travel profile!

Itinerary Summary & Driving Mileage

  • Day 1  Athens – Delphi 185 km, 115 miles
  • Day 2  Delphi to Meteora 233 km, 145 miles
  • Day 3  Meteora
  • Day 4  Meteora to Litohoro  183 km, 114 miles
  • Day 5  Litohoro – Dion, roundtrip 24 km, 15 miles
  • Day 6  Litohoro to Veria to Vergina to Thessaloniki  180 km, 111 miles
  • Day 7   Thessaloniki
  • Day 8  Depart

Day 1: Delphi
The ancient Greeks called Delphi “the navel of the universe” because of the oracle’s ability to prophesize the fate for the rulers and city-states.  At the Temple of Apollo in the pristine mountain air, you will feel the spirit of the gods.

Day 2: Meteora
Meteora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site composed of a community of 14th to 16th century Byzantine monasteries each one perched atop a sandstone rock pinnacle. One marvels how they were built by hermit monks in an era without high tech rock climbing equipment.

Day 3: Meteora
Walking the paths to the different monasteries, especially when the monks are chanting Greek Orthodox prayers, you feel like you are in another era.  The serenity, the sensational landscape, the deep spiritual aura — all these features of Meteora elevate your spirit to heavenly heights.

Day 4: Litohoro
Litorhoro probably does not sound familiar to you but this is where Mt Olympus lies, the home of Zeus and the Greek gods.    Feel inspired to walk the lower portions of the mountain path.  Litorhoro is just a few miles from the sea if you feel the water calling.

Day 5: Litohoro
If you are not inclined to walk the path to the foot of Zeus’ mountain home, visit the Temple of Zeus in nearby Dion, home of the sanctuaries of Zeus, Demeter, Isis, Asklepion.   Apart from rich, sacred archaeology the site is an eco-wonderland of ponds, frogs, birds, butterflies.

Day 6: Thessaloniki
Heading north, your first stop is Veria, known as Little Jerusalem because of the town’s 50 plus churches. St. Paul fled here from Thessaloniki and a memorial park with mosaic is dedicated to him. Visit Vergina, site of the Royal Tombs of the Macedonia empire where King Philip II is buried, father of Alexander the Great.

Day 7: Thessaloniki 
One day is really not enough time to capture the essence of Greece’s second largest city, Thessaloniki.   There are many spiritual and ancient sites, from the Rotunda of Galerius – a Roman temple, to the 8th century Agia Sophia, the city’s most famous Byzantine church.  Thessaloniki also has a rich Jewish history worth exploring.

Day 8: Departures
Daily flights from Thessaloniki to Athens

DETAILS

TRIP DURATION 7 nights, 8 days, departure on morning of Day 8

START & END POINTS
Start Point:
The tour starts in Athens with a vehicle transfer to Delphi.  Participants should arrive in Athens at least one day prior to the start of the tour.
End Point: The tour ends in Thessaloniki.  Several daily flights to Athens.

DRIVER-GUIDE VERSUS SELF-DRIVE

Sacred Greece is our tour with the most driving hours, a minimum 780 kilometers (485 miles).  Due to such extensive time behind the wheel, we recommend opting for driver-guide.   In this way you can fully focus on the scenery, never get lost, avoid using quality holiday time to study maps, risk reading road signs in Greek script when English signs occasionally are missing and get taken straight to each destination stress-free.

Our driver-guides put your safety first. They are amiable, reliable, convenient, and totally helpful in translations, luggage, hotel intermediary and just a general overall trouble shooter to ensure that everything runs smoothly and all you do is relax and enjoy the tour. They are there when you need them and linger in the background when your party seeks quality time alone.

The self-drive option is less costly. Another important factor for self-drivers is the freedom and adventure to get around on your own in a foreign country. If you enjoy studying maps and orienting and navigating routes, opt for self-drive. You would also prefer self-drive if you simply love to drive!

SELF-DRIVE LOGISTICS

We arrange for your use of a vehicle with a rental car company we patronize. We forward your credit card to the rental company for security purposes. You sign the rental car contract not for the basic rental cost but for liability purposes in the event of accidents or damages. The fee for the rental car is included in your tour cost.

On the Sacred Greece tour, you can pick up the vehicle in Athens or Athens Airport.  You will leave the vehicle in Thessaloniki at the end of the tour.

To drive in Greece, you must have an international driver’s permit. For Americans, an AAA branch can issue a permit upon presentation of a valid driver’s license and two passport photos. After filling out an application, within 15-20 minutes for a cost of $15 you will have your permit. If you are not able to go to an AAA office, the permit can be obtained by mail.

PROFESSIONAL GUIDES AT ARCHAEOLOGY SITES

We strongly recommend adding professional archaeology guides to your tour itinerary. Without them, walking through an ancient site is like watching a movie with the sound turned off. See Extras tab for rates.

BOOKING AGREEMENT Participants are required to sign our company Booking Agreement as a condition of the tour.

WAIVER Participants are required to sign our company Waiver as a condition of the tour.

COST & INCLUSIONS

COST PER PERSON

Participants Driver-Guided Self-Drive
1-2 3740 euros per person 1735 euros per person
3-4 2600 euros per person  1570 euros per person
5-6 2160 euros per person 157 euros per person
7-8 2030 euros per person 1530 euros per person
Single Supplement 600 euros per person 600 euros per person

Tour cost is based on double occupancy.

Children under 12 enjoy a 20% discount.

For currency exchange rates, click here.

INCLUSIONS

Driver-Guide Inclusions Self-Drive Inclusions
7 nights accommodations in 3-4 star hotels – see Accommodations tab  7 nights accommodations in 3-4 star hotels – see Accommodations tab
 Daily breakfast at each hotel
 Daily breakfast at each hotel
 Driver-Guide and Vehicle – see details below Vehicle akin to 4 Door Nissan Note or Nissan Prima Star mini-van for 5-8 persons, manual steering
 Airport transfers GPS for automobiles
  Licensed guides at Delphi,  Vergina and Thessaloniki  Mobile phone with 10 euros card
 Entry fees at Delphi, Meteora, Dion, Veria, Vergina and Thessaloniki sites
  Maps of the region  Maps of the region
 Trip packet with useful information: what to see and do in each region,  recommended tavernas, packing tips, phone numbers, etc.  Trip packet with useful information: what to see and do in each region,  recommended tavernas, packing tips, phone numbers, etc.
 Gratuities, tips, VAT  Gratuities, tips, VAT

EXCLUSIONS

Driver-Guide Exclusions Self-Drive Exclusions
 Airfare to/from Greece   Airfare to/from Greece
 Airfare from Thessaloniki Airfare from Thessaloniki
all meals except breakfast all meals except breakfast
Travel Insurance – see Extras tab Travel Insurance – see Extras tab
 Licensed guides
 Entry fees to all sites and museums
Vehicle gas and tolls
Automatic steering (extra cost)

VEHICLE WITH DRIVER-GUIDE

Guests on Driver-Guide tours are transported in a mini-van akin to a Nissan Prima Star with seating for up to eight passengers. For more than eight participants see Groups tab. Our company driver-guides are focused on your safety, your comfort, your pleasure, your convenience. They work a basic eight hour day and are not needed at night because almost all eating choices are within walking distance. Driver-guides assist with your luggage, interface with the hotels, help with translations, lead you on walks or hikes, introduce you to all activities, and in general they are all around trouble shooters. They take care of all their own meals. It is in your discretion if you wish the driver-guide to join your party at dinner but he pays for his own meal.

EXTRAS

Travel Insurance  For U.S. citizens, we are official agents of Travel Guard travel insurance and can book your trip insurance or provide you a policy quote.

Airport Transfer  For Self-Drive participants, opt for a transfer in our company vehicle from Athens Airport to your Athens hotel before the Sacred Greece tour starts.  Our driver waits for you no matter if your flight is late and takes you directly to your accommodations.   170 euros per group for up to 8 passengers

Enhance your Self-Drive tour with these additional activities which we arrange for you with our local collaborators.

Delphi Licensed Guide  In Delphi a professional guide provides a two hour tour through the site and the museum which allows you to fully grasp why Delphi was such a powerful spiritual center.  For a party of 2 people, cost is 100 euros per person.  4 people = 57 euros per person.  6 people = 42 euros per person.  8 people = 35 euros per person.   Cost includes entry fee to site and museum.

Mount Athos Journey   After Thessaloniki, if you are male you are able to visit the most holy autonomous site of Mt. Athos, home of twenty monasteries and 2000 monks.   Only men and male animals are allowed on the peninsula.  Mt Athos has a 1,800-year continuous Christian presence dating back to at least 800 A.D.   Contact us for details

ACCOMMODATIONS

DoupianihouseAn indicative hotel for the Sacred Greece tour is Doupiani House in Kastraki, with stunning views of Meteora.

We select the accommodations based on quality, comfort, cleanliness, hospitality, location and charm. Most of the hotels on this tour are family owned and operated.

Hotels are included in the tour cost based on double occupancy. A single room entails an additional cost. Standard double rooms are provided but upgrade options are available.

All hotels are dependent on availability. In the event of no occupancy, we patronize comparable accommodations in the same location.

Request Links to Accommodations for Sacred Greece

MAP

Click map to open in Google Maps

Crete

GROUPS

This tour is also available for groups of more than eight persons. You can take the tour with the itinerary as listed or we can customize the tour’s destinations and activities to suit your party.

A group of eight participants travel in a company vehicle with staff driver who also acts as your guide. A group of 10-16 participants travel in either two company vehicles with staff driver/guides or one mini-coach. Groups larger than 16 participants travel in coaches or mini-coaches, led by a company tour leader who handles all logistics.

We offer innovative tours to large groups attending a congress, conference or corporate event.

See more information on the Groups page.

Contact us directly for price quotes and itineraries for your party’s special stay in Greece.

Driver-Guide

versus

Self-Drive

Which to choose?
PROS and CONS of each.

See Details tab for details!

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Five UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Traditional Greek dancing
  • Ancient Corinth ruins and the remarkable Corinth Canal
  • Dazzling mosaics in Byzantine churches
  • Live bouzouki music and traditional Greek dancing
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