Epirus & Macedonia - Greece's Northern Glories

Monastery of the Holy Trinity at Meteora, precariously built on pinnacles of rock, but still standing firm
Monastery of the Holy Trinity at Meteora, precariously built on pinnacles of rock, but still standing firm
Vergina is a small town in northern Greece, part of Veroia municipality in Imathia, Central Macedonia.
Vergina is a small town in northern Greece, part of Veroia municipality in Imathia, Central Macedonia.
Macedonian gold diadem composed of flowers and leaves in the Verghina museum
Macedonian gold diadem composed of flowers and leaves in the Verghina museum
The entrance to the recreated burial mound over the tombs at Verghina
The entrance to the recreated burial mound over the tombs at Verghina
A battle between kings - Alexander fighting a lion, one of the extraordinary pebble mosaics from Pella
A battle between kings - Alexander fighting a lion, one of the extraordinary pebble mosaics from 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.

  • Experience a vast historical scope from the sites we visit
  • See the vertiginous, 14th century Meteora monasteries
  • Spend a day exploring wonderful Thessaloniki
  • Lose yourself in the diverse cultures of these areas
  • Visit the shrine and oracles of Zeus, and tour the sites therein

Themes

  • Romans
  • Historic Churches
  • Ancient Greek

Practicalities

  • Special Access
  • All Inclusive

Itinerary 2018

Day 1

We Fly to Thessaloniki and drive over the Pindus Mountains to our hotel in Ioannina.

Day 2

We drive to Nikopolis, the great city of victory founded by Emperor Augustus following his victory of Anthony and Cleopatra in 31BC. We visit the sanctuary of the Actian games with theatre, circus and victory monument, and the city centre with tis walls and basilicas. Later we visit Kassiope, the ancient Epirote city abandoned to populate Augustus’ creation. 

Day 3

We journey to Dodona to visit the shrine and oracles of Zeus, where the god spoke to supplicants via the rustling of leaves in an oak tree. Today its great theatre and sanctuary can be visited. On to Orraon, an Epirote-Molossian city with impressive remains of houses and public buildings. An afternoon stroll around the city of Arta, once the capital of King Pyrrhus of Epirus.

Day 4

We spend time exploring the castrum of Ioannina, the fortress of Ali of Tepelena, with its mosques walls and typical Ottoman buildings. Visit the Byzantine and archaeological museums. A free afternoon to wander, or accompany your Guide Lecturer to the island in the lake with its late Byzantine monasteries and follow the amazing story of Ali Pasha to its ending.

Day 5

Today, we spend time at the spectacular, and vertiginous monasteries of Meteora – home to a monastic community dating back to the 14th century. Each monastery occupies a pug of rock in a striking and unique landscape. Afternoon visit to Dion, formerly the religious centre of the ancient Macedonian kingdom.

Day 6

We travel to the Vale of Tempe, the renowned ancient beauty spot and then on to visit the fine traditional house known as the Schwartz Mansion. In the afternoon we visit the great classical city of Dion.

Day 7

On the trail of Macedonian royalty we visit Verghina, the site of the ancient capital, Aegae, and the burial place of Kings. We visit the superbly displayed great tumulus, identified as the tomb of King Philip II, father of Alexander the Great. We continue on to Pella, Macedonia’s administrative capital with its royal palace.

Day 8

A day in Thessaloniki. We examine the remains of the great Roman imperial palace, built by Emperor Galerius but used by many of his successors, and finally the Archaeological Museum with its fine collections. We have the afternoon as leisure, choose to explore further, shop or to relax at the hotel.

Day 9

A trip to the fortress of Rendina, a Byzantine fortress which guarded the Via Egnatia – also the site of Arethousa once the home of Euripides. An afternoon exploration of the walls of Thessaloniki, the Agora and Forum and church of St. Demetrius.

Day 10

We return home today.

Itinerary 2019

Day 1

We fly from London to Thessaloniki and drive over the Pindus Mountains to our hotel in Ioannina.

Day 2

We drive to Nikopolis, founded by Emperor Augustus following his victory over Anthony and Cleopatra in 31BC. We visit the Sanctuary, home of the Actian games, as well as its theatre, circus, and victory monument, and the city centre, with its walls and basilicas. Later we visit Kassiope, the ancient Epirote city abandoned to populate Augustus’ creation.

Day 3

Our journey leads to Dodona where we view the shrine and oracles of Zeus, where the god spoke to supplicants via the rustling of leaves in an oak tree. Today its great theatre and sanctuary can be visited. We travel on to Orraon, an Epirote- Molossian city, with impressive remains of houses and public buildings. A leisurely stroll around the city of Arta, once the capital of King Pyrrhus of Epirus, rounds off our afternoon. Tonight we dine at a local restaurant in Ithaki.

Day 4

We spend time exploring the castrum of Ioannina and the fortress of Ali of Tepelena. After stopping at the Byzantine and Archaeological Museums, our afternoon is free to wander, or accompany our guide to a nearby historic island.

Day 5

Today we spend time at the spectacular, vertiginous monasteries of Meteora - home to a monastic community dating back to the 14th century. Each monastery is situated amongst striking landscape. Later, we travel to Dion, formerly the religious centre of the ancient Macedonian kingdom.

Day 6

Our sixth day begins with a visit to the Vale of Tempe, a renowned ancient beauty spot that hosted numerous battles through the ages. We continue to the traditional house of Schwartz Mansion and then explore Dion this afternoon.

Day 7

On the trail of Macedonian royalty we visit Verghina, the site of the ancient capital, Aegae, and the burial place of the Kings. Here we visit the superbly displayed great tumulus, identified as the tomb of King Philip II. We then continue to Pella.

Day 8

Today we tour the remains of the great Imperial Palace built by Emperor Galerius, and the excellent Archaeological Museum. We have the afternoon as leisure, choose to explore further, shop or to relax at the hotel.

Day 9

The Byzantine fortress of Rendina is today’s first destination, followed by the site of Arethousa, once the home of Euripides. This afternoon we wander the walls of Thessaloniki, as well as the Agora, Forum and Church of St. Demetrius.

Day 10

We transfer to the airport for our return flight to London.

What's Included

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

Travel Information

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

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2018 Tour Details

Sat 29th September - Mon 8th October

Available

£2,850

inc.

sgl supp: £360

MAC18B

Led By: Dr Rita Roussos

2019 Tour Details

Mon 20th May - Wed 29th May

Available

£2,750

inc.

sgl supp: £375

MAC19B

Led By: Dr Christina Hatzimichael Whitley

Mon 30th September - Wed 9th October

Available

£2,750

inc.

sgl supp: £375

MAC19C

Led By: Dr Milena Melfi

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