Trip idea /

Greece

Hidden Gems of Greece

A cultural road trip which shines a light on Greece’s lesser-seen sights.

The lowdown

  • What:

    A ten-day trip that starts on the coast, includes a visit to Delphi and sky-high monasteries, hikes in the Vikos gorge and comfortable hotel stays

  • When:

    Ideally, you won't want searingly hot temperatures when hiking the gorge; we suggest taking this trip during spring or autumn.

  • Who For:

    Make no mistake, the Vikos gorge is a challenging hike with steep climbs both down and up so we only recommend this trip for hikers with good fitness.

Journey from Athens to Thessaloniki, taking in ancient archaeology, fathomless canyons, traditional mountain villages and precariously perched monasteries. Big on authenticity with a focus on slow travel, enjoy this active ten-day trip across mainland Greece.

Highlights

  • Visit the ancient site of Delphi
  • Experience authentic fishing village Galaxidi
  • Hike in the canyons and mountains of Zagori
  • Enjoy mountain town Metsovo, famous for its wine and impressive art gallery
  • Visit Meteora and its monasteries ‘suspended in the air’

Day 1 - 3 Gorgeous Galaxidi

Driving from Athens, the first part of your Greece exploration leads you to authentic fishing village Galaxidi. Famous for its maritime heritage, wander the neoclassical seafaring mansions on the waterfront which lead to sandy coves, lapped by iridescent water. Follow cobbled streets through pretty plazas to the town’s impressive domed church.

Recommended Tour:  Delphi

It’s an easy day trip to visit the Pan-Hellenic sanctuary of Delphi. For more than 1,000 years, visitors consulted Delphi’s famous oracle, believed to be the mouthpiece of Apollo himself. Today, admire the ruins of what the ancient Greeks called the ‘centre of the world’, including the Temple of Apollo, Sphinx of Naxos and a well-preserved theatre.

Day 4 - 7 Hikers Paradise

“I was blown away by the quality of the hiking in the Zagori region. Combined with picturesque stone villages and authentic Greek hospitality this area is a genuine hidden gem…” Matt Fisher, Director

Head into the Zagori region on a long drive that takes in the raw beauty of rugged landscapes, lost- in-time villages, old stone bridges and ancient beech trees of the Pindus mountains. The main draw here is hiking the challenging but rewarding Vikos Gorge, an incredible canyon reckoned to one of the world’s deepest which carves itself through the rocky undulations, hillsides, dense woodland and pine forests.

Hiking is a great way to absorb nature and local details, like admiring the stone houses in the settlement of Monodendri at the entrance to the Vikos Gorge, the photogenic double- arch bridge of Misios or the traditional Epirus village of Vitsa.

Also recommended is the Dragon’s Lake hike, another demanding day’s walk where you rise high above the treeline to hike along the mountaintop, discovering an icy cold lake.

Day 8 – 10 – Mountain Retreat

A spectacular three-hour drive through central Zagori brings you to Metsovo for a three-night stay at Grand Forest Metsovo.

A destination hotel located in the Pindus mountains, this luxurious forest hideaway looks across the jagged peaks to the pretty town of Metsovo.

Expansive views, exceptional food and a soothing spa are the defining features of Grand Forest, as is getting out in nature – spot bears, paddle board on the lake, cycle mountain paths or go truffle-hunting.

Nearby are places of exploration such as the awe-inspiring monasteries at Meteora – the unfathomable stone dwellings, built in the 13th century, that perch atop rocky pillars. In Metsovo, visit a wine cellar for tastings and discover a surprisingly arty enclave including the Averoff Art Gallery which holds work from Greece’s most important contemporary artists.

Accommodation ideas

Galaxidi - Hotel Ganimede

Experience the warmest of Greek welcomes here at Hotel Ganimede, a modest B&B with comfortable rooms, where an extensive breakfast of homemade jams, fresh bread and savoury pastries is a highlight.

Zagori - Mikro Papigo 1700

You’ll be grateful for your cosy and comfortable stay at Mikro Papigo 1700 - its rooms come with fireplaces and balconies that overlook stunning views, the bijou spa and sauna is the place to soothe weary limbs and the restaurant’s cuisine is local and very good.

Metsovo - Grand Forest Metsovo

Expansive views, exceptional food and a soothing spa are the defining features of Grand Forest, as is getting out in nature – spot bears, paddle board on the lake, cycle mountain paths or go truffle-hunting.

Not ready to go home?

Why not add on some coastal downtime – head north to the sublime coves of the Halkidiki Peninsula or the peaceful, pine-clad Pelion for a well-deserved beach break.

Matt Fisher

Matt Fisher

Director

Anyone interested in combining some of Greece’s mainland cultural highlights with some exceptional hiking should seriously consider this trip