- Ioannina, Meteora and Zagoria: a family holiday exploring Greece and the mountains at the perfect time of year
- Your accommodation is very family-friendly and you will also get to stay in an incredible eco-lodge in the beautiful village of Aristi
- The itinerary includes hiking in Meteora and rafting in the Vikos Gorge
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Your tripAfter spending two days in Ioannina, you will head off to the next stop. You need to be careful on mountain roads, but don't worry; the roads are wide and the traffic is light. The stops are never very far away from each other and the spectacular scenery is a reward in itself. Each of your hotels is an expression of the region's cultural background. Families are welcomed warmly, with care and attention. We have added two not-to-be-missed activities to your itinerary - a hike through Meteora and rafting down the Voïdomatis river in Vikos National Park. Outdoor activities and tours can be organised for adults and children alike. The itinerary is varied, extensive and caters for all abilities. You will never get bored with these exciting and inviting activities. If there are any setbacks or you have a sudden urge to do something else, you can contact our local concierges.
Thing's you'll love about Greeceinclude learning that the Molossians came from Epirotes; metsovone cheese; the Meteora monks with their beards; the cliff-top monasteries; the rafting; the mountains; Greek breakfasts; the paved paths of Zagoria and the Ottoman bridges that resemble Chinese bridges; looking for Ali Pasha in The Count of Monte Cristo; and herons, egrets, and storks feeding in the Pindus lakes.
Flight to Ioannina
Now it's time to hop on a flight to Ioannina, a small town on the western shore of Lake Pamvotida. A visit to the fortress will show you its history through its sights, including the Fethiye Mosque (15th and 18th centuries), and the tomb of Ali Pasha (1750-1822), the legendary governor of Epirus during the Ottoman Empire, the Aslan Pasha Mosque (17th century), which is home to the ethnographic museum, and the synagogue. The island in the lake is a popular place to go for a stroll and relax, whilst the streets of the Old Town is great for shopping and dining.
Following your private transfer, you will spend two nights at a hotel in the town centre, whose recent renovation has restored the building to its former glory of the 1930s. The bistro opens out onto the street through large bay windows and serves delicious regional specialities.
Ioannina - Kastraki
Jump in the car and head to Kastraki. Spend a night in a tastefully renovated 19th century house. Meteora is a wondrous site that rises above the hotel, making the stop well worth it. The view from the hotel over these natural wonders and the village of Kalambaka is spectacular. Take a minute to relax on the terrace by the pool. The cuisine showcases local flavours.
Kastraki - Metsovo
The itinerary includes Meteora with a private guide. It is here that six Orthodox monasteries perch atop isolated peaks in the Peneas Valley. This is some of the most stunning architecture in the world. Construction began in the 14th century and there were as many as 25 settlements. Today, there are six left and some are still adorned with remarkable frescoes. The hike begins at the foot of Doupiani rock, crosses Meteora along a path that then leads to the hidden monasteries of Ypapanti and the ruins of Saint Dimitrios, and then leads to the impressive monasteries of Grand Meteor and Varlaam before descending the ancient monks' trail.
You'll then head to Metsovo, where you'll stay overnight at a beautiful hotel in the town centre. The suite overlooks the Pindus Mountains. The benches and cushions along the walls bring to mind an oriental way of life, as does the rich palette of colours. The hearth in the rooms adds a note of warmth, and breakfast is particularly delicious.
Metsovo - Aristi
Now to Aristi, one of the prettiest villages in Zagoria. You'll spend two nights at the top of the village above the spectacular gorges of Vikos. The tall, square local stone houses blend into the village setting. The indoor spa pool balances pleasure with elegance. The restaurant makes a point to always use local and seasonal ingredients, and this is precisely why the house is considered one of the best eco-lodges in the world.
The itinerary includes rafting in Vikos Aoos National Park with a private instructor. Voïdomatis is not technically difficult and has clear water and beautiful shores, so is suitable for all abilities. You will enjoy the excitement of being caught up in the current between the bridge of Aristi and Kleidonia, while confident that you'll be completely safe. After rafting, you will enjoy a peaceful journey back to Aristi.
Aristi - Ioannina - Return flight
Now it's back to Ioannina where you will spend your last night, at the same hotel as on arrival. The next day, head to the airport and return the car. Return international flight, with a stopover in Athens.
A la carte
EXPLORE THE ZAGORI REGION BY MOUNTAIN BIKE
The landscapes of the Zagori region are stunning - very high mountains, slopes covered in vegetation, impressive gorges, and cute villages known as Zagorochoria. Imagine riding a bike through the natural landscapes. The route follows several types of paths including dirt tracks, stony paths, cinder tracks and road. The trip is led by a private guide and all the protective equipment you will need is provided.
WITH A FEW EXTRA DAYS - THESSALONIKI
Thessaloniki is a large harbour city with a history that dates back to the fourth century BC. After a major fire in 1917, the town was redesigned by French architect Ernest Hebrard. It prospered under Byzantium and there are many Palaeo-Christian landmarks to see. A must-see is the church of Saint Sophia (eighth century) with its beautiful medieval mosaics, and the White Tower, built under Soliman the Magnificent. The museum of Byzantine culture is amazing; in the National Museum of Contemporary Art you can admire the Russian avant-garde artists in the Costakis collection; and the Jewish museum documents the life of a community that had a huge part in the culture and economy.
A Rough Idea of Price
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