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Mountains & Villages of Evia – Birthday Departure

from $1,749.00

Discover the real Greece on the island of Evia with walks through coastal
paths, forests and gorges

  • Reviews 10 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
  • Activity Level Leisurely / Moderate
  • Group Size Small Group
    4 - 16
All about the Mountains & Villages of Evia – Birthday Departure.

Join Thanos on the 15th March departure to celebrate 20 years of sharing the Mountains and Villages of Evia with Exodus groups. The delightful island of Evia is a real hidden treasure, close to Athens yet worlds away with old stone paths connecting quaint villages tucked-away in the mountains. This walkers’ paradise offers unique history and an authentic atmosphere as you walk past Roman quarries, aqueducts and Byzantine churches. As part of the celebrations, Thanos has altered the itinerary, you will get a real insight into local life, enjoy an evening of traditional music, sample the local wines and visit the island’s capital, Halkis.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.

* All breakfasts, 4 picnic lunches and 5 dinners
* All accommodation
* All transport and listed activities
* Tour leader throughout
* Arrival & departure transfers (if meeting group timings)

What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Supplement (available on request – inquire for supplement)

Highlights

  • Discover an authentic Greek island
  • Walk along dramatic coastline and visit remote villages
  • Savour delicious cuisine in traditional tavernas and learn how Baclava ‎is made
  • Visit Halkis, the capital

 

  1. Day 1 Arrival,transfer to hotel,Desert Wine and chocolate in every room

    From Athens airport we transfer by road to Rafina (approximately 35 min), and then take the ferry to Mamari on Evia Island (about 1hr). It is then a short drive to our hotel at Karystos.Accommodation: Hotel Galaxy or similar*Standard Hotel*

  2. Day 2 Walk through rolling hills and the Gourna villages, passing Roman columns and visiting the Castello Rosso; this evening enjoy traditional music.

    Today takes us up to the villages of Gourna that are scattered high above the bay of Karystos and below the peaks of Mount Ohi. Walking through verdant countryside along stone-worn paths next to springs and streams, we reach the monolithic marble columns in the Imperial Roman Quarries, perfectly completed and abandoned during Rome’s decline.  We continue to Castello Rosso, one of the grandest forts of the 4th crusade, from where we can enjoy beautiful views of the Mediterranean. Using mountain goat-trails and country lanes we walk down to the fertile plain of Aetos, full of citrus, olive and cypress trees, before reaching the coast. This evening before dinner we will enjoy traditional live music and celebratory welcome drinks at the hotel. Walk: Distance 11 km Ascent 450 m Descent 450 m Max Altitude 500 m Time: 6 hoursAccommodation: Hotel Galaxy or similar*Standard Hotel*

  3. Day 3 Walk through the ravine from Platanistos to the beach at Potami Bay.

    We drive along the south-eastern tip of the island, over the mountains towards the Cape of Cavo Doro, heading to the beautiful ravine of Platanistos and the first of 20 ancient villages of Albanian descent. Over the arches of stone bridges, we follow the river towards Potami hamlet on the coast, a Hellinistic anchorage since Homeric times. En route we view the site of Hellinikon with the remains of the foundations of Poseidon’s temple, dating back to the 8th century B.C. Walking amongst large plane trees we reach the sea and one of the nicest, yet still relatively unknown, beaches in the Aegean. During the warmer months of the year, we have the opportunity to swim and relax on the beach. We return to Karystos by taxi/coach. Today our lunch will be prepared in front of us and we will try Fourtalia Omelette, a traditional local dish, at the seaside taverna. Walk: Distance 9 km Ascent 100 m Descent 400 m Max Altitude 400 m Time: 4.5 hoursAccommodation: Hotel Galaxy or similar*Standard Hotel*

  4. Day 4 Day trip to Historic‎ Halkis; afternoon visit to local winery. 

    This morning we will take a scenic drive through beautiful villages and high mountains to the historic capital of the island, Halkis, located in the middle of Evia. Whilst in the capital we will visit Carababa‎ Castello, the early Christian Cathedral of Agia Paraskevi, the old drawbridge with the famous tidal phenomenon underneath. Every six hours a special tidal phenomenon takes place in the strait, strong tidal currents reverse direction creating strong currents and maelstroms. Later on, we will walk the cosmopolitan promenade.On our way back to Karystos we will stop at one of the oldest wineries on the island to enjoy a wine tasting. Accommodation: Hotel Galaxy or similar*Standard Hotel*

  5. Day 5 Ascend Mount Kliosi and the Acropolis of Styra; early evening Baclava ‎ preparation.

    We start with an early morning drive along the panoramic mountain road to the north, known as the ’Eagle Route’, which takes us above the evergreen valley of Styra. We then climb to Mt Kliosi’s dramatic summit where the remains of the ancient Acropolis defy time and the elements on a ’Wuthering Heights’ plateau. The eerie ancient gate, the cave of St Nicolas and the ruins of Castro Armeno, often in the mist, make this a visit to remember. The gentle walk down takes us past wild strawberry bushes and the remains of the Roman marble quarries to the quaint villages of Styra Valley, which overlook Marathon, just across the water on the continent. In the afternoon we take the bus back to Karystos. This evening before dinner we will learn how to prepare Baclava, a delicious sweet pastry. Walk: Distance 10 km Ascent 300 m Descent 400 m Max Altitude 700 m Time: 5 hoursAccommodation: Hotel Galaxy or similar*Standard Hotel*

  6. Day 6 Gorge walk from Mt Ohi down to the rugged East Aegean coast.

    Today we have a picturesque walk through the gorges to the rugged East Aegean coast. We travel by taxi/coach to Boublia on Mt Ohi, which is the starting point of one of the famous gorge walks to the east coast of Evia. The gorge is a unique habitat for flora and fauna with peonies and orchids, eagles and falcons amongst plane and chestnut trees. The ancient stone path leads us close to the dramatically exposed Aegean coast. Walk: Distance 10 km Ascent 0 m Descent 900 m Max Altitude 1000 m Time: 5 hoursAccommodation: Hotel Galaxy or similar*Standard Hotel*

  7. Day 7 Athens Circular centre walk; special farewell dinner below the Acropolis. 

    This morning we take the ferry to Athens to discover the historic centre of this breathtaking city, the cradle of western civilisation and the birthplace of democracy. We wander around the beautiful Plaka, the impressive Houses of Parliament, Zappion National Gardens and St Paul’s Boulevard, before heading up to the Acropolis Hill.  We end the tour outside the Acropolis giving those who wish to explore the Acropolis, one of the ancient wonders of our world, the option to do so.  We spend this evening further exploring Athens, dinner will be taken below the Acropolis. Walk: Distance 4 km Ascent 0 m Descent 0 m Time: 3 hoursAccommodation: Hotel in Athens*Standard Hotel*

  8. Day 8 Free morning in Athens; end Athens.

    After breakfast, we have free time in Athens. Those on the group flights will be transferred to the airport for the flight to London.

Where you stay
Sea view room, Hotel Galaxy, Karystos

Galaxy Hotel

Our base for the week is the 2-star superior Galaxy Hotel which overlooks the sea in the small coastal town of Karystos. Friendly and traditionally Greek, it has been run by the same family for over 30 years.

Situated at the west end of the esplanade just 100 metres from the main square and town centre and a stone’s throw from the beach and its cafes, the Galaxy Hotel is in a perfect location for exploring the town and soaking up the fresh sea air.

All rooms face the sparkling sea and have a balcony with a table and chairs to watch the world go by below with a cup of tea in the mornings, with en-suite facilities, fridge, television, telephone, coffee and tea making facilities, air conditioning, toiletries, hairdryer and free Wi-Fi.

There are safe and computer/printer facilities in the reception area, 24hr room service for snacks and drinks, one indoor and one outdoor bar and a dining area where a hearty breakfast is served.

The tap water is natural spring water from the mountains and is drinkable.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 4 picnic lunches and 5 dinners are included.

The buffet style breakfasts includes fresh bread, butter, jam, fresh juice, milk, local yoghurt, porridge, eggs, ham and cheese, cake and cookies, honey, coffee/tea and lots of fresh seasonal fruit.

A dining experience in Greece isn’t the same without spending an evening in a taverna – a small, family-run Greek restaurant – and on this trip we include visits to five of them. Dotted along the Karystos coastline in Evia, these cosy tavernas serve typical dishes in an informal setting, and the delicious food is often accompanied by traditional music which livens up the atmosphere as the night goes on.

Dishes to try in the evenings may include homemade filo pastry pies, moussaka, stuffed vegetables as well as a variety of other vegetarian dishes, fresh salads, crunchy breads, salty cheeses and locally caught fish and seafood. Greek meze will usually be on the menu too and consists of a selection of hot and cold dishes to share such as keftedes (Greek-style meatballs) and dolmadakia (stuffed grape vine leaves), local lamb, pork and beef.

Level 2 – Leisurely/Moderate walking, 4 full day walks between 4 and 6 hours

This trip offers the chance to experience Evia’s magnificent mountain scenery. Routes have been chosen to showcase the best of the natural and historical sites on the island. Terrain will include footpaths and mountain terrain, which can be rocky and loose in places with sloped ascents and descents.

The walks require an average level of fitness and all are optional.

This itinerary is more full-on than the standard itinerary as we have included some additional activities.

Please note: unlike our standard tour, 6 nights are spent on Evia and the last night is in Athens.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 12/12/2019
5/5

Our first Exodus trip, but it won't be the last..........

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The second day's Ridge walk, great views, lovely breeze to counteract the heat.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Interesting, warm, not overbearing.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Wear lighter walking boots- ankle support useful, but leather boots too hot!

Reviewed On 12/12/2019
5/5

Walking on Evia

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The long hike up to the top of one mountain to see the remains of an doorway arch and views across the island.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Probably the best group leader we have had (and we have done a lot of Exodus and Explore holidays).
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    In December you need to be prepared for cold, wet and windy weather (it even sleeted on us at one point), and pack layers accordingly. A pole or poles will help on the descents.

Reviewed On 12/12/2019
5/5

Mountains of Evia

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I can’t pick out a best day there were a variety of days, all different, all good. I particularly enjoyed Athens as I had never been there before and it was so different to the other days.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Very good. He was there for Breakfast, led us through our walks and took meal orders and served drinks in the Restaurants we visited in the evening. He was always still there when I went to bed. When did he sleep??
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If the programme remains the same the first two days are the toughest with two mountain walks. Everybody agreed that these walks would have been better on the last two days when we had acclimatised. Walking boots definitely required and plenty of water, all the islands springs provide drinkable water.

Reviewed On 11/11/2019
5/5

Lovely holiday

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Day 2 when we ended up at a lovely beachside taverna for lunch followed by a swim was a great way to start. But, I enjoyed all the walks, hard to pick a favourite. This was my first time in Athens too, so great to see the Acropolis.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Cecile was an excellent group leader, very easy to get along with.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    day 2 walk - take flip flops/wet shoes, as the beach you end up in (which is lovely) has stones that are quite painful to walk on (if you want to have a swim), and burning hot too if you are there in summer! days 3/4 walks - wear long trousers, the gorse is quite scratchy on your calves. The hotel is basic, but it's fine, and a great location (beach over the road), so dont let the two stars put you off going on this trip. Athens - if you want to see the acropolis AND the associated museum, you will not have time to do both on the day trip, advise getting in a day early or a day late if you wish to do both. It's easy to get into Athens and back to the airport using the metro, and there are facilities in the airport to store your luggage, if you just get an earlier flight on day 1.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would definitely recommend this holiday!

Reviewed On 11/11/2019
5/5

Describes the holiday perfectly

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The walk to Castello Rosso and the Roman columns and the lovely relaxed and friendly atmosphere on an island that doesn't appear to have changed for centuries.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Having Thanos with you, is like having a walking Google with you. His knowledge is incredible and his "elevenses" are delicious, not that we really needed them as the food throughout the trip was amazing. Thanos couldn't do enough for us and his enthusiasm was infectious. Having been to Paphos in Cyprus many years earlier, I had tasted "tourist menus" and didn't particularly like Greek food. This was an entirely different experience. Everything tasted wonderful. Don't think you will lose weight or even come back at the weight you started the holiday, unless you have got a will of iron. You will definitely have to diet when you come home. I can guarantee you will come back around half a stone heavier! The days really aren't long enough to fit in the great breakfast, Thanos's "elevenses" treat, the foot long lunch roll, the evening's five plus assorted starters, the main course and then the sweet !
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you are going in April, my advice would be to take waterproof trousers as one day in particular, during our walk, it rained throughout. I would also recommend taking gaiters if you have delicate skin below the knees, as some of the gorse really scratches even though you may be walking in long trousers.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Having walked in the Lake District, I found the gorge walk scenery very similar. The only time you could take in the view was if you kept stopping, as most of the time you are having to concentrate hard looking where you are putting your feet and doing this for five hours downhill got a bit boring although the lunch stop was very pretty.

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