Epirus & Macedonia - Greece's Northern Glories
We follow in the footsteps of conquerors and cross the mountainous landscape of mainland Greece, rugged, dramatic landscapes once home to the two of the greatest rulers of the ancient world – Philip II and Alexander the Great. Palaces, houses, painted tombs and exquisite pebble mosaics from this time survive at the Macedonian cities of Verghina and Pella. We travel to towering Meteora deep in the Pindos Mountains, where sky-scraping medieval monasteries perch on pinnacles of rock – built as a way of withdrawing from the world. An unusual tour of this unique area of Greece full of fantastic archaeological sites, marked over the centuries, by a cornucopia of peoples and cultures.
- Vast historical range: from Homeric sanctuaries at Dodona and to remote 14th century monasteries
- The Greek agora, Roman palaces and Byzantine churches of Thessaloniki, capital of Northern Greece, whose centre is a World Heritage site with outstanding museums
- The vertiginous monasteries at Meteora, perched high in spectacular mountain landscapes
- Historic Churches
- Ancient Greek
- Special Access
- All Inclusive
We Fly to Thessaloniki and drive over the Pindus Mountains to our hotel in Ioannina.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We return home today.
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Tour Manager
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Meals - All meals included with wine at dinner
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in program; tips included
- Field Notes
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