Greece: Zagori & Meteora
Explore the secret paths of Vikos–Aoos National Park and Meteora on foot
Reviews 10 Reviews5/5
Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Moderate / Challenging
Group Size Small Group
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 and history 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, recognised as a UNESCO Geopark Network. Follow this with the chance to visit the UNESCO Worldwide Heritage Site of Meteora, exploring the trails of the ancient monks and clifftop monasteries.
* All breakfasts, 3 lunches and 2 dinners
* 6 nights 3-star hotels/traditional guesthouses and 1 night in mountain refuge
* All transport and listed activities
* Tour leader throughout. Group normally 4 to 16 plus leader
* Airport transfers (at designated times)
- Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)
- Vikos Gorge and the Zagori arch stone bridges
- Hike to the stunning alpine Dragon Lake
- Spectacular Meteora- ‘columns in the sky’
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.After the briefing, you can opt for a walking tour of the city so you can discover its major highlights and learn a bit more about the city. Duration: 2-2.5hrsAccommodation: El Greco Hotel or similar*Comfortable Hotel*
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 4 hrs). Upon arrival in Monodendri, we will have a picnic lunch. Our first stop is the Rizarios Photography museum 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. 1.5 hr) to the to Agia Paraskevi byzantine church (built in the 14th century), which offers our first panoramic view of Vikos gorge. After that, we’ll head to Oxya viewpoint with its breath-taking view of the Gorge. From there we will stop at the stone forest before arriving at our guesthouse for the next two nights. Accommodation: Selini Guesthouse or similar*Comfortable Hotel*
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 a small canyon and then upwards, through the beautiful Vradeto steps (stone path built in the 16th century) towards the highest village of Zagori, Vradeto (1340m). From there, following a beautiful path we arrive at Beloi viewpoint (1450m), where we can enjoy panoramic views over Vikos 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.Please note: the distance of the walk may vary depending on the route chosen for the stone bridges walk. Accommodation: Selini Guesthouse or similar*Comfortable Hotel*
Walk through Vikos-Aoos N.P. and the Vikos Gorge, one of the deepest in the world.
Today we will hike along 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 6.5-7.5 hours to walk this part of 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! In the afternoon, we arrive at Vikos village where we will be picked up and transferred to the delightful Papingo village for dinner and overnight stay.Accommodation: Nikos & Ioulia guesthouse or similar*Guesthouse*
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 the ‘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. Towards the end of spring/beginning of summer, there might still be some snow present. 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. It can feel cold here at night so it is important to bring layers.Accommodation: Astraka Refuge*Mountain Refuge*
Final day in the Zagori area, walk to Papingo village; visit Ovires 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! Before leaving Papingo village there will be time for a lovely lunch in one of the family run restaurants 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. Max Altitude 1950mPlease note: The exact order of activities upon arrival in Meteora will be modified for the optimization of the itinerary, depending on the season (sunset). Accommodation: Meteoritis hotel or similar*Comfortable Hotel*
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).Accommodation: El Greco hotel or similar*Comfortable Hotel*
Our adventure ends after breakfast. Those on the group flights will be transferred to the airport in time for their flight to London.
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.
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.
All breakfasts, 3 picnic 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 ingredients, 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.
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 quite 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 7.5 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.