Greece Self Drive 4 - Meteora, Macedonia & Epirus

Sightseeing and hiking at your own pace

About Greece Self Drive 4 - Meteora, Macedonia & Epirus

Summary

Combine one of Greece's remotest areas (Zagori) with her second city and the fabulous Meteora monasteries!

START / FINISH - Thessaloniki

Activity code: GR-FD-04

Duration: 8 Days

The north of Greece is rich in cultural and religious history as well as an abundance of natural beauty. Significant archaeological sites are located near to Thessaloniki making it an ideal base for exploring the most important cultural attractions of Northern Greece.

If you are looking for something a little different in Greece, a holiday with a bit of variety, not just ancient sites or days of hking but a neat little combination of the best bits of the north. Starting in the capital of the north, Thessaloniki, you have a pleasant drive south and inland to the pretty village of Kastraki where you will be stunned by the scale and beauty of the magnificent rocks upon which are perched a host of mediaeval monasteries. If you arrive after dark then your first sight in the morning will be simply stunning.

After visiting Meteora, which you can also do on foot on paths we can recommend, it is time to drive into the north western province of Greece, Epirus and its wild and beautiful national parks. There is time in the Zagori region to do some hiking such as the Vikos Gorge but you will also love the stone bridges and remote villages. In the middle of your holiday you can choose to visit the coast and spend a couple of nights in Parga, for example, or you may wish to do some more hiking, such as to the Dragon Lake. Whichever you choose there are so many fascinating places to visit along the way such as Ioannina, Dodoni, Perama caves and the Necromanteion. You may also wish to visit Metsovo and Vergina on your way back to Thessaloniki.

We feel that the best finale to this holiday is a few nights in Thessaloniki where you can relax, enjoy some activities and sightseeing without your car or you may wish to head to the beach in nearby Halkidiki, consider a second week in Pelion or additional self-drive days in Macedonia. 

Highlights of the Meteora & Macedonia Fly Drive

  • Meteora: Meteora is one of the holiest places and most striking sights on Earth, huge monasteries built on top of granite boulders, 400m above the ground. The site was chosen as an escape from raiders but also as a place of solitude to be near to God. Logistically it was a difficult place, any provisions had to be winched up in baskets from ground level! Of the 24 Monasteries that grew between the 13th and 16th centuries, only six are still inhabited.
  • Ioannina - the capital of Epirus, spreads out around beautiful Lake Pamvotida. The natural environment, the climate and character of the town are defined by this stretch of water. A walk through the city has the feel of a bygone era, full of secret places. Wonderful buildings like the House Matei Hussein, the Ottoman mosque of Veli Pasha and the entire historic centre of the town are unique attractions.
  • Zagori Region - Visit the local villages & admire the typical stone arched bridges of the area. Vikos - Aoos National Park in northwestern Greece, was founded in 1973. It is named after the two main gorges in the area and covers 12,600 hectares of mountainous terrain, with numerous rivers, lakes, caves, deep canyons and dense coniferous and deciduous forests. The centerpiece is the spectacular Vikos Gorge with a depth of 1000 meters [3280 ft], one of the largest and finest gorges in the world, carved by the Voidomatis River. The rich variety of fauna and flora, natural habitats and ecosystems rank it among the most valuable parks for nature conservation in Greece.
  • Thessaloniki - a city which has seen a renaissance in recent years in terms of its attraction for visitors; often overlooked by casual tourists which is why it’s such a fascinating place to visit. Numerous Byzantine, Roman and Ottoman monuments can be found throughout the city with history lovers spoilt for choice when it comes to ancient squares, cobbled streets and panoramic city views from Thessaloniki’s Ano Poli district.
  • Vergina - this small town packs a huge punch when it comes to cultural significance with archaeological excavations revealing the buried tombs of the Macedon kings, including that of Philip II, otherwise known as the father of Alexander the Great. Several other tombs and the remains of the Monumental Palace should always feature if you’re in the area with the town’s underground museum definitely worth adding to the culturally historic hit list.

What's included in your fly-drive holiday:

  • 8 days car rental with unlimited mileage, full insurance, CDW, taxes, delivery and airport drop off.
  • 8 nights hotel accommodation at a grade of your choosing.
  • Bed and breakfast basis throughout.
  • Fully detailed itinerary with sightseeing and route suggestions
  • all local taxes
  • Fully protected for your peace of mind.

Why Book with Rediscover the World ?

We are able to tailor-make this holiday to suit your requirements for any or all of the following - departure airport, budget, hotel type/size, overall duration, pre-booked activities, etc.

Accommodation: the hotels in this itinerary are generally small, independent or family-run, properties which add significantly to your travel experience in these fascinating countries; however, please do not hesitate to request alternative hotels.

Transport: to take the stress out of arriving and departing we can offer a private airport transfer service; we can deliver and collect your hire car from your hotel in Thessaloniki at no extra cost. All our vehicles have a/c and come with a full tank of fuel, we provide detailed driving routes, sightseeing suggestions and parking information for all accommodation.

Extra Information:

All our fly-drive customers receive a welcome pack on arrival in Thessaloniki which contains maps, hotel vouchers and a detailed programme with hotel information and confirmation of emergency contact details.

If you would like to visit these wonderful places without driving then we can supply a private driver for the duration of the tour.

Your fly drive can be as active or leisurely as you please. Staying one night at each stop allows the maximum amount of sightseeing; two or more nights will allow you to do side trips, whilst staying in one place will give you the opportunity to relax and explore the local area.

Why not extend your stay with a relaxing few days (or longer) on one or more of Greece's beautiful islands - please ask us for further information or suggestions!

Contact us for further details.

Itinerary

  • Day 1 & 2: Thessaloniki - Meteora

    Drive from Thessaloniki to a village called Kastraki near Meteora. If you arrive early enough you can visit some sights along the way. Once you are settled into your hotel you can start exploring the area. Visiting the monasteries of Meteora is, of course, a must. Depending on time there are possibilities to take a hike with beautiful views, especially at sunset.

    • Overnight accommodation in Kastraki - 2 nights

    [If you are on a late flight we will arrange for a hotel to stay in Thessaloniki on your first night]

  • Day 3 & 4: Meteora - Monodendri (Zagori Area)

    After visiting Meteora drive towards the Vikos-Aoos National Park and the Zagori villages. You will be staying in the village of Monodenri in an authentic, family-run hotel. From here you will be able to explore one of the most beautiful areas of Greece - natural wonders, such as the Vikos Gorge and other areas of the National Park but also traditional villages and the famous old stone bridges. Either by car, walking or hiking, the choice is yours and the possibilities limitless.

    • Overnight accommodation in Monodendri in Zagori region - 2 nights.

  • Day 5 & 6: Mikro Papigo (Zagori Area)

    After Monodendri we suggest that you move to the lovely little village of Mikro Papigo at the heart of the National Park. Depending on your fitness levels and experience you could explore the peaks of this unique mountainous area, visit the "Dragon" mountain lake or hike easier paths, for example along the Voidomatis River, swim in natural pools between rocks or just relax and enjoy the vistas from the terrace of your hotel!

    • Overnight accommodation in Mikro Papigo - 2 nights

  • ALTERNATIVE Days 5 & 6: Parga and Sivota OR Konitsa and Kastoria

    • OPTION 1

    Travel to the coast via Ioannina and stay at a choice of Parga or Sivota for 2 nights to relax and enjoy the incredible beauty of Epirus' coastline.

    • OPTION 2

    Travel around to the North of the Zagori area and stay in Konitsa and then walk in the local area or take the scenic route north to Kastoria for a night by the lake.

  • Day 7 & 8: Epirus region - Thessaloniki

    On your way back to Thessaloniki, depending on your preference, you could visit the towns of Ioannina and Metsovo, archaeological sites such as Dodoni and Vergina, the wonderful caves at Perama or many of the traditional villages you will encounter along the way. You can, of course, simply take the new highway all the way to Thessaloniki if you wish to enjoy some time in the city. Thessaloniki has many historical sights up its sleeve, Roman, Byzantine and Turkish monuments crowd the city centre along with many excellent bars and restaurants.

    • Overnight accommodation in Thessaloniki.

Reviews

"I've been meaning to write since we got back from our trip to thank you for helping us to organise the 8 day self drive part of our longer trip to Greece. We had a fantastic three and a half weeks away, with all the different parts fitting together really well. Northern Greece was a revelation to us, absolutely stunning. All the accommodation was good, with really friendly and helpful staff.The directions you sent were excellent, although, as the Greeks don't seem to go much for road signs, we did have problems getting in and out of town (having stopped in town) onto the right road around Ioanina. Luckily my husband had a portable GPS that he uses for geocaching which proved very helpful. Apart from that it was fine!"

P Thomson, August 2016

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