All tours on this holiday have now departed. Future departure dates will be confirmed in due course.
Discovering an ‘off the beaten track’ area of Greece
Lake Kerkini and its beautiful nature
Boat trip to the Mount Athos Peninsula
Xanthi and Arnaia – Traditional villages of Halkidiki
The coastal beauty of Halkidiki
The region of Macedonia, in northern Greece, is an area people generally associate with history and yet it offers a kaleidoscope of alternatives. The region has a stunning nature, not just inland but by the sea too, which we will discover at both Lake Kerkini and the Halkidiki peninsula. Being close to the northern borders, the influence of Asia Minor is evident both in its authentic villages, which we will explore, and in its regional cuisine, which we will of course try during the tour.
Day 1: Fly from London Gatwick to Thessaloniki
Transfer to the Hydrama Grand Hotel, Drama, check-in for a three-night stay. Time to relax before dinner all together at a local taverna.
Day 2: Lake Kerkini
Today we explore one aspect of the beautiful nature of Macedonia with a visit to Lake Kerkini, one of the most important wetlands of Europe. It is a lake that was born out of the construction of a dam in 1932 and one which has developed into a Macedonian paradise both for wildlife and visitors. We will explore the lake and enjoy an included lunch in a lovely taverna and try some of the regional specialities.
Day 3: Xanthi
East meets west in the charming city of Xanthi! Described as ‘the lady of Thrace’ and ‘the city of a thousand colours’, the old town of Xanthi, influenced by many different cultures over the eras, is known for its distinctive and attractive architecture that combines Byzantine churches and Ottoman-era mosques with grand neoclassical mansions. Its cuisine mirrors its cultural past and showcases its mosaic of past and present cultures.
Day 4: Drama to Arnaia
We leave Drama behind and head to the delightful village of Arnaia for a four-night stay. The rest of the day will be free to explore Arnaia, another recognised traditional beauty, with excellently preserved and distinctively authentic Macedonian architecture.
Day 5: Mount Athos cruise
Mount Athos, an orthodox centre since 1054, is prohibited to woman and children, and not so accessible to men either as they must acquire a permit to visit. This monastic centre, commonly known as ‘the Holy Mountain’ consists of twenty monasteries and covers most of the eastern-most peninsula of Halkidiki, and, the best, and only possible way, for one and all to see them is by boat. We will join the cruise in Ouranopolis and enjoy a three-hour cruise along the west coast of the Athos peninsula. As Mount Athos is a restricted area the boats cannot get closer than 500m from the shore so it’s worth having binoculars with you. On return we will have time to enjoy a leisurely break for lunch by the sea.
Day 6: The ‘Tasty’ side of Halkidiki!
Halkidiki is famous for its table olives, high-quality olive oil, fine cheeses, traditional sweets, wine and, in particular, honey, as Halkidiki is considered to be the ‘motherland’ of honey, with around 6500 beekeepers producing close to 2000 tonnes of honey annually. We will spend the day exploring some of these specialities and, being a ‘foodie’ day, it seems a perfect time to enjoy lunch altogether in a typical taverna of the region.
Day 7: A day to relax!
Our last day is designed for you to enjoy the beautiful coastal region of Halkidiki. We will explore the natural beauty of the Kassandra Peninsula, the westernmost peninsula, which is renowned for its preserved natural beauty. We will visit some of its villages, like Athitos that offers panoramic views of Toroneos Gulf and Sithonia and has pretty streets for wandering. There will be time to enjoy lunch by the sea and perhaps even have a dip in the crystal-clear waters found here.
Day 8: Transfer to Thessaloniki Airport for return flight to London Gatwick.
NB: Exact order of itinerary may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion.
Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 18 passengers.
Hydrama Grand Hotel, Drama
This lovely five-star hotel, restored from a 19th C. Tobacco house, is beautifully located next to the Agia Varvara springs.
Prasino Horio, Arnaia
This three-star hotel has a peaceful location just on the edge of traditional village of Arnaia.