7 nights starting from
• The hotels for this tour; the comfortable Anemolia Hotel & Spa, Ioannina and the luxurious five-star Met Hotel, Thessaloniki
• Two interesting bases; scenic, historic and cosmopolitan Ioannina and vibrant seaside Thessaloniki
• Tradition, cuisine, atmosphere and exceptional scenery
• The magnificent Meteora Monasteries
Enjoy the wintery, scenic atmosphere of northern Greece where snow should be blanketing the mountains and fires roaring in the tavernas! A twin centre tour bases us first in the historic city of Ioannina, which spreads out around picturesque Lake Pamvotis with a magnificently scenic backdrop. Then to cosmopolitan, buzzing Thessaloniki, Greece’s second city, sitting right next to the sea with a wealth of history as well as promenade seaside walks, good food and, perhaps, a little shopping!
|23 - December - 2019||Limited Availability||Travel Info Please Call||booking-journey/#/start/XGR/23 December 2019/|
Departing: 23rd December 2019 at 08:35
Returning: 30th December 2019 at 14:45
Day 1: Fly from London Gatwick to Thessaloniki
Transfer to Ioannina, Epirus and check in to the Anemolia Hotel, Ioannina, where a warm welcome awaits us. Relaxed evening with a buffet dinner at the hotel.
Day 2: Ioannina and Christmas Eve dinner at a local taverna
A leisurely morning will be spent exploring the historic city of Ioannina, a fascinating crossroads of cultures and religions. We will enjoy a short guided tour in the morning and learn a little about the city’s historic highlights. The rest of the day will be free for you to explore at leisure and take in the city’s Christmas atmosphere. Mid-afternoon we will return to our hotel to relax before returning to Ioannina in the evening to enjoy a Christmas Eve dinner at a local taverna.
Day 3: Zagoriahoria and Christmas Day lunch at a local taverna
After a relaxed breakfast we take a short drive that brings us to one of the most beautiful parts of Epirus, the Zagoriahoria, an area of 46 stone-built villages that sit in the shadow of the majestic Pindos Mountains (probably snow-covered by Christmas), where impressive humped-back bridges span ice cold rivers, once the only connection to the outside world, and an impressive nature abounds in all directions. We shall enjoy Christmas lunch at a taverna in one of the villages where a warm fire and, of course, a warm welcome will await us. Return to our hotel in the late afternoon.
Day 4: Full day tour to the Meteora Monasteries
We journey through beautiful scenery to the village of Kalambaka where we find the impressive ‘sky-high’ Meteora Monasteries. Built on tall pinnacles of majestic rocks these serene inspirational monasteries cling to the top of these isolated and unusual rock formations. As early as the 11th century monks occupied the caverns found on the rock faces and by the 14th century the first monasteries of a total of twenty-four monasteries were built. Today only six remain in use and our visit here will include one or two of them.
Day 5: Full day tour to Kastoria
Authentic and charming, the city of Kastoria is a popular destination amongst Greeks, particularly at Christmas, with its traditions and scenic winter atmosphere. Built amphitheatrically on a narrow peninsula and mirrored in Orestiada Lake, Kastoria nestles between Grammos and Vitsi Mountains and has the most wonderful setting. The combination of this beautiful natural environment and some traditional neighbourhoods make it an enticing place to visit. We will spend a relaxed day enjoying this very scenic place.
Day 6: Morning visit to Metsovo and transfer to Thessaloniki
Today we journey back to Thessaloniki and check in to the very comfortable Met hotel. En route, we will take the opportunity to visit the scenic ‘Vlach’ village of Metsovo, which hosts a colourfully picturesque and traditional character. We will have time for a coffee break and also a visit to
the Tositsas mansion, an excellent folk museum, which provides a fascinating snapshot of everyday family life in the past and an understanding of the famous benefactors of Epirus. On arrival in Thessaloniki (depending on time of arrival) we will have a short walk altogether along the seaside promenade to the White Tower, probably the most well-known land-mark of Thessaloniki, before enjoying a relaxed evening.
Day 7: Full day in Thessaloniki
This morning we join our bus and visit the upper part of the city where the old Kastro sits, a fantastic spot for views all across the city and the sea. If we are lucky, we may even catch a glimpse of a snow-capped Mount Olympus shining in the distance across the sea. We shall also visit the great church of Agios Dimitrios, the patron saint of Thessaloniki, and the rest of the day will be at leisure for you to choose where else you might like to visit, there are plenty of possibilities.
Day 8: Transfer to Thessaloniki Airport (30 minutes) for the return flight to London Gatwick
NB: Exact order of excursions may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion.
Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 40 passengers.
Anemolia Resort & Spa, Ioannina
Newly constructed four-star hotel, located about 2.5 miles from Ioannina’s city centre, overlooking the lake. The hotel is a wonderful base for a relaxing stay over the festive period. Set in landscaped gardens, facilities include a bar, spa including sauna, hot tub and various treatments (at extra cost) as well as well-appointed bedrooms with all modern amenities.
Met Hotel, Thessaloniki
Centrally located in the harbour, the Met Hotel offers modern, five-star designer luxury to enhance your stay in Greece’s vibrant second city. Facilities include a rooftop bar with panoramic sea and city views, fitness centre with hammam, hot tub and indoor pool, two restaurants, bar and extremely comfortable bedrooms with all modern amenities.
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