Epirus & Macedonia - Greece's Northern Glories

Monastery atop a hill, Meteora
Monastery atop a hill, Meteora
Interior of a monastery in Meteora
Interior of a monastery in Meteora
City street in Ioannina
City street in Ioannina
Greek sesame bread rings
Greek sesame bread rings
Ruins of the ancient theatre, Dodona
Ruins of the ancient theatre, Dodona
Ruins of the ancient theatre, Dodona
Ruins of the ancient theatre, Dodona
Roman odeon, Nikopolis
Roman odeon, Nikopolis
White Tower, Thessaloniki
White Tower, Thessaloniki
Dolma from grape leaves
Dolma from grape leaves
Ancient ruins of Pella
Ancient ruins of Pella

We follow in the footsteps of conquerors and cross mountainous landscapes in mainland Greece. This dramatic region was the birthplace of two of the greatest rulers of the ancient world: Philip II and Alexander the Great. Palaces, houses, painted tombs and exquisite pebble mosaics survive at the Macedonian cities of Verghina and Pella. We travel to towering Meteora, deep in the Pindus Mountains, where sky-scraping Medieval monasteries perch on pinnacles of mountain rock - built as a means to withdraw from the world.

This tour of Northern Greece is full of fantastic archaeological sites, marked over the centuries by a cornucopia of peoples and cultures.

  • Visit the tomb of Philip II and its extraordinary museum
  • See the vertiginous, 14th century Meteora monasteries
  • Spend a day exploring wonderful ancient sites of Thessaloniki
  • Explore Pella, the birthplace of Alexander
  • Visit the shrine and oracles of Zeus at Dodona

Themes

  • Romans
  • Historic Churches
  • Ancient Greek

Practicalities

  • Special Access
  • All Inclusive

Itinerary 2019

Day 1

Upon arrival in Thessaloniki, transfer to Ioannina over the Pindus Mountains to our first hotel.

Hotel: Saz City Life
Meals: Dinner included

Day 2

We drive to Nikopolis, once the capital of Epirus Vetus, constructed by Augustus in celebration at the Battle of Actium just to the south. We visit the Actium sanctuary, with its alter of victory, theatre and stadium. We will see other elements of the city centre and hopefully the new museum. In the afternoon, we visit Kassope, an Epirote city abandoned to populate Nikopolis. Its layout is based on the Hippodamian plan and considered as one of the best remaining examples of its kind.

Hotel: Saz City Life
Meals: All meals included

Day 3

We head to Dodona with its extensive pilgrimage area to view the shrine and oracle of Zeus, where the god spoke to supplicants via the rustling of leave in an oak tree. We travel on to Orraon, an Epirote-Molossian city, with impressive remains of houses. An afternoon trip to Arta, capital of King Pyrrhus and the medieval Despots and visit the Archaeological Museum and Panagia Parigoritissa, one of the most important Byzantine churches in Greece.

Hotel: Saz City Life
Meals: All meals included

Day 4

Today will be spent in Ioannina. This morning, we visit the Archaeological Museum which has, alongside other finds, items from Dodona, including pilgrim’s questions to the God and Zeus’ responses! After we will walk around the citadel, the core of the medieval town and fortress of Ali Pasha, the famous Ottoman governor an acquaintance of Lord Byron. We see some of its museums. Our afternoon is free to either explore Ioannina at your own leisure or take a trip across the lake.

Hotel: Saz City Life
Meals: All meals included

Day 5

We drive to Meteora to spend the whole day wandering the spectacular, vertiginous monasteries here home to a monastic community dating back to the 14th century. We hope to visit Grand Meteora itself and several other monasteries. Be prepared for steps and heights!

Hotel: Grand Hotel Meteora
Meals: All meals included

Day 6

An early start and a drive across the wide plains of Thessaly, where the Macedonian kings recruited their cavalry. We will pass through the Vale of Tempe, a beautiful gorge which was thought to be the haunt of Apollo and the Muses in antiquity, and where Xerxes the Persian King of Kings passed during his invasion of Greece. In the afternoon we visit Dion at the foot of Mount Olympus, the religious capital of Macedonia. On to Thessaloniki.

Hotel: Electra Palace
Meals: All meals included

Day 7

We spend the morning in Thessaloniki exploring its ancient sites and monuments. We see the Roman forum, and then on to the Palace complex of the emperor Galerius, the Rotonda, the Arch of Galerius and the remains of his palace. In the afternoon, we drive out to Verghina, the site of Aigai, the ancient capital of Epirus, to visit the tumulus, identified as the tomb of King Philip II, father of Alexander the Great.

Hotel: Electra Palace
Meals: All meals included

Day 8

This morning, we visit the Archaeological Museum with extraordinary finds from the city and its region, including the stunning Derveni bronze crater, a milestone from the Via Egnatia, and golden finds from tombs attesting to the wealth of the region. In the afternoon we travel to the ancient city of Pella. This was Macedonia’s administrative capital and the birthplace of Alexander the Great, to visit the monumental agora, and houses and the outstanding mosaics, now on display in the museum

Hotel: Electra Palace
Meals: All meals included

Day 9

Thessaloniki has two great churches, St Demitrius, home of the patron saint of the city, a fabulous Late Roman building, and Santa Sofia, a massive building with a cupola, built by the iconoclastic Byzantine emperors of the seventh and eighth centuries. In the afternoon we will drive up to the acropolis of Thessaloniki to visit the Heptapyrgion fortress built by the Turks form the ruins of Byzantine churches, and also stretches of the Roman and Byzantine wall circuit and the view over the city.

Hotel: Electra Palace
Meals: All meals included

Day 10

In the morning we have time to visit the Byzantine Museum. This is the counterpart to the Archaeological Museum next door and contains a cornucopia of material illustrating the life of the city and Macedonia through the Middle Ages and Turkish periods. We transfer to the airport for our individual flights home or onward travel.

Meals: Breakfast included

What's Included

  1. Expert Guide Lecturer
  2. Tour Manager
  3. Local Travel - Private a/c coach
  4. Meals - Most meals included with wine at dinner
  5. Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in program; tips included
  6. Field Notes
  7. Hotels

Travel Information

Joining the Tour

For full information about how to join the tour, please click here.

Passport & Visa Information

For full information about Passport validity and Visa requirements as well as Health and Vaccination information please click here.

Enquire now

Have a question or just want to find out more?

Book now

To book your tour without flights from the US, please call our team on 888 331 3476

2019 Tour Details

Mon 20th May - Wed 29th May

Available

Guaranteed Departure

$4,145

without flights

sgl supp: $565

MAC19B

Led By: Dr Christina Hatzimichael Whitley

Mon 23rd September - Wed 2nd October

Available

Guaranteed Departure

$4,150

without flights

sgl supp: $565

MAC19C

Led By: Dr Milena Melfi

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