Ancient Kingdom of Macedonia

Guided Tour of Northern Greece based in Thessaloniki

About Ancient Kingdom of Macedonia

Summary

The northern countryside of Greece is a region rich in cultural and religious history as well as an abundance of natural beauty & culinary delights. MINIMUM 4 PERSONS.

Activity code: GR-North2

Duration: 7 Days

START / FINISH - Thessaloniki

Northern Greece has so much to offer that it is often hard to choose what to do. The region is rich not only in cultural and religious history but also in natural history, with important wetlands, nature reserves, rivers, lakes, forests and national parks. Significant archaeological sites are located a relatively short distance from the city making Thessaloniki an ideal base for exploring the most important cultural attractions of Northern Greece. Last but certainly not least it is also a culinary mecca of food and wine!

Highlights of the Ancient Kingdom of Macedonia Tour

  • 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 a place of escape from raiders but also as a place of solitude to be near to God. Logistically the situation of the monasteries was difficult, any provisions had to be winched up in baskets from ground level! Of the 24 monasteries that were built between the 13th and 16th centuries, only six are still inhabited. Meteora has been included on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1988.
  • Dion: the ancient town at the foot of Mount Olympus. The Macedonian kings used to come here to make sacrifices before going into battle.
  • Thessaloniki: Greece's second city is a mixture of Byzantine and Ottoman influences. It was built in 316 BC by King Kassandros and named after his wife, the sister of Alexander the Great. For several centuries it was the second most important city of the Byzantine Empire and played an important role during the Middle Ages. Nowadays, with a population of nearly one million citizens, the city is the second major economic, industrial, commercial and political centre of Greece. In 1988 fifteen monuments in the city were listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Vergina: otherwise known as Ancient Aigai, this was the first capital of the ancient kingdom of Macedonia. It is yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site. The most important remains are the monumental palace and burial ground. One of the royal tombs discovered in 1977 has been identified as that of Philip II and another one discovered a year later is the tomb of Alexander IV, son of Alexander the Great. The underground museum contains the main treasures of the tombs of the Macedonian Kings.

This wonderful holiday is part city break and part guided tour. The itinerary includes all the most famous locations in the north of Greece as listed above, plus a visit to Meteora a little further south. Overall it is a great short holiday to a lesser visited region of Greece. If you or your family have already visited the classical and ancient sites close to Athens and are looking for something a little different then you will not be disappointed by this package.

Accommodation: Hotel Olympia is a contemporary hotel right in the heart of Thessaloniki, housed in a historic building which has been in the same family since 1932. It was refurbished fairly recently to become a boutique hotel with modern minimalist architecture. It has ninety-seven rooms, including nine executive rooms, one accessible room and one suite overlooking the Roman Ancient Market.

This recommended holiday consists of tours in the city and outside with a qualified English-speaking guide. If you are looking to include different places of interest we can also offer a completely tailor made itinerary.

What's included:

  • 6 nights hotel accommodation in double rooms with shower/WC, a/c, TV, telephone and internet.
  • 6 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 2 dinners.
  • English speaking Licensed Tourist Guides.
  • All local transfers as per itinerary in comfortable a/c transport
Not included: In January 2018 Greece introduced an Overnight Stay Tax of 0.50 to 4 Euros per room or apartment per night, which is payable locally - the amount varies according to the category of the accommodation (i.e. most self catering and 1-2 star hotels = 0.50 Euros,  5 star hotels = 4 Euros).
  • Why not extend your holiday with a few extra days in Thessaloniki to explore at leisure or head across to the coast for a few days relaxation?

 

Itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrival

    You'll be met by your guide upon arrival at Thessaloniki Airport and transferred to your hotel in Thessaloniki.

    The rest of the day will be at leisure (depending on your arrival time).

    • Meals: Dinner.

  • Day 2: Thessaloniki city tour

    Today, with the help of your guide, you'll uncover the history of Thessaloniki. You'll see some of the Roman sites, fabulous Byzantine churches & monuments, the beautiful promenade and visit the Archaeological Museum which holds artefacts from all periods of history.

    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.

  • Day 3: Ancient Pella

    After breakfast you'll drive to the archaeological site of Pella, the capital of Macedonia in the 5th century BC and birthplace of Philip II and of Alexander [the Great], his son. Your guide will take you to visit the archaeological site and the new museum, one of Greece's best on-site museums, hosting  exceptional mosaics and artefacts such as pottery and jewellery discovered in the remains of houses and public buildings.

    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.

  • Day 4: Ancient Dion

    Ancient Dion, at the foothills of Mount Olympus, was an important religious centre for the worship of Zeus. This is where Phillip II came to celebrate his victories and where his son, Alexander, assembled his armies and sacrificed offerings before departing to conquer the East. You'll visit the archaeological site and the museum which contains many interesting finds from the area, such as statues, coins, mosaics and many other unique objects. The remains of the site include sections of the town walls, the main street, public baths, mosaics, houses, shops, a Christian basilica and the temples of Zeus, Isis (the Egyptian goddess was a favourite of Alexander), Demeter and Asclepius.

    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.

  • Day 5: Aigai (Vergina)

    The ancient city of Aigai (Vergina) was the first capital of the Kingdom of Macedonia. When the capital was moved to Pella it continued to be used as the Royal burial grounds. One of the Royal tombs, discovered in 1977, has been identified as that of Philip II and another one discovered a year later, as the tomb of Alexander IV, son of Alexander the Great. The underground museum contains the main treasures of the tombs of the Macedonian kings. The site is the most important archaeological discovery of the 20th century in Greece and has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1996.

    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.

  • Day 6: Meteora Monasteries

    Today you'll visit the famous Meteora Monasteries, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Monasteries teeter on top of towering sandstone pillars - it really is one of the most unusual and interesting places in Europe. Your guide will tell you all about the history of the site and the building of the monasteries.

    In the early evening you'll enjoy a farewell dinner at a traditional taverna in the old city.

    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Day 7: Departure from Thessaloniki

    Free time in Thessaloniki (if your flight departs later in the day) then you will be taken to Thessaloniki Airport for your return flight.

    • Meals: Breakfast.

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