UNESCO Sites & Cultural Cuisine – Athens – Nafpaktos – Delphi – Olympia – Kalambaka – Messolonghi
Day 1. Arrival in Athens
Arrival at Athens International Airport “ Eleftherios Venizelos” , meet and greet by our professional assistant and transfer to your hotel. Orientation meeting and delivery of the necessary documentation.
Cooking class followed by dinner, in a private area. Duration of the experience about 4 hours.
You will have the opportunity to experience a 4-part VIP Experience of the Mediterranean Diet.
EXPERIENCE TOUR ON UNESCO’S INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE
WELCOME DRINK (drink with Mastic)
- Presentation by a UNESCO expert of the Intangible Cultural Heritage
> Brief reference to UNESCO World Heritage Sites
> Special Reference to Greek World Heritage Sites
> Presentation of UNESCO’s International Program of Intangible Cultural Heritage
> Focus on Greek Elements registered in the UNESCO List for the preservation of the Intangible Cultural Heritage
> Detailed reference to the Mediterranean Diet
> Special reference to any additional element of Intangible Cultural Heritage directly linked to the destination.
- Botany Laboratory:
> Introduction to the herbs that grow in Greece and are used in Greek gastronomy in the context of the Mediterranean Diet
> Detailed reference to the herbs that grow in the destination, the ways of their use, as well as the role in preserving the local tradition
> Reference to recipes and herbs to be used in the cooking class (3rd part)
- Cooking Class by famous chef/famous food blogger, expert on the Mediterranean Diet cooking:
> Brief presentation of the ingredients, their management and how to cook them in the context of the Mediterranean Diet
> Offer participants a cooking apron, which they will keep as a souvenir
> Cooking class: participants will prepare with the help of the chef traditional Greek recipes (including vegetarian or vegan recipes) which they will then enjoy
> Wine tasting: Participants during the cooking class will learn about Greek wines produced in the destination they will visit and match the recipes performed.
- Dinner Party:
The participants will enjoy the dishes, which they have created with the help of the chef, accompanied by the wines presented in the previous part and Greek music.
Overnight in your hotel in Athens
Day 2: Athens city tour
Breakfast at the hotel and at the indicated time meet with our professional English-speaking guide and our Bus. Departure for the Athens city tour with the Acropolis museum.
Duration of the tour, including lunch, about 6 hours.
Our Athens Half Day Tour begins with a panoramic drive around Syntagma Square, passing by many sightseeing hot spots such as National Garden, Hadrian’s Arch, St. Paul’s Church, Parliament, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Catholic Cathedral and Schliemann’s House. We will then drive past the Athens Trilogy, which includes the University of Athens, the Academy of Athens and the National Library. Our licensed guide will make you feel as if you are experiencing first hand Athens’s old and new history as you look at these stately buildings. We continue for a photo stop at Panathenaic Stadium, otherwise known as Kallimarmaro Stadium, where the first Olympic Games took place in 1896. As we proceed, we pass by Zappeion and the Temple of Olympian Zeus. Last but not least, we make our way to the archaeological site of Acropolis, a UNESCO world heritage monument and we visit Propylae, as well as the small Temple of Athena Nike. Of course, our visit shall not be completed without the Parthenon and Erechtheion. The expert guided Athens sightseeing and museum tour continues with a pleasant short walk passing by Herodion and Dionysos Theater, in order to visit the Acropolis Museum, considered to be one of the best museums in Europe.
At the end of our tour lunch at local traditional taverna in the close by area of the old city of Athens, with local food.
Return to your hotel and rest of the day at leisure. Your hotel is exactly in the heart of Athens, so you can easily explore the city on your own.
(Meals of the day: Breakfast at the hotel, late lunch out of the hotel).
Day 3: Athens / Nafpaktos
Breakfast at the hotel and departure from Athens to Nafpaktos. Duration about 3,5 hours via the Rion Antirion bridge where you will visit the small secret bridge’s museum.
Quick light lunch on the way, at leisure in cooperation our expert escort.
Arrival in Nafpaktos at about 02:30 pm. A particularly beautiful town of 10,000 inhabitants built in the shape of an amphitheatre on a pine-clad slope. Known since the ancient times, Nafpaktos was the port and the military centre of the Aetolian Confederacy. Due to its strategic position, it has often been the apple of
discord among its conquerors. Nafpaktos, is also known for the famous sea battle, during which the Turkish fleet was destroyed by the unified European forces (in October 1571). Miguel de Cervantes, the author of “Don Quixote”, took part in this battle as a soldier on a Spanish ship. Nafpaktos participated in the Revolution of 1821 and was liberated in 1829.
It is located 42 km east of Messolonghi.
Check in at your hotel and settle in the rooms, get some rest. Leisure afternoon.
7pm Meet at the lobby and walking over to a local restaurant near the hotel. Enjoy dinner, return to the hotel at your convenience and overnight.
(Meals included on this day : Breakfast at the hotel , dinner out of the hotel ).
Day 4: Nafpaktos / Walking tour
Breakfast at the hotel. Meeting at the lobby of the hotel with your experienced tour guide.
Walk to the old town continue to Venetian Port (hear about Cervantes). Visit the Castle (those who are physically able to walk will walk and others can take a taxi up the hill).
Continue to a local restaurant for you lunch.
After lunch continue the tour to the Shopping area. The guide will explain about the local goods and specialty items, the best tavernas in Gribovo and then the tour will end.
Notes : After lunch, you are free to go off on your own or you may continue from the castle to the shopping area with the guide on foot. Some people may choose to take a taxi down and meet us in the shopping area.
- The walking up to the castle is really fun but involves lots of steps! For those who have difficulty walking long distances you can take a local taxi up to the castle and wait for the others.
Evening free for personal activities.
(Meals included on this day Breakfast at the hotel , Lunch out of the hotel ).
Day 5 : Nafpaktos / Excursion to Olympia
Breakfast at the hotel. Departure for the excursion to Olympia. Distance about 2 hours’ drive, crossing the Rion Antirion Bridge, about 140 kms.
Today you will have the opportunity to visit the birthplace of the Olympic Games. In the western Peloponnese, in the “Valley of Gods”, lies the most celebrated sanctuary of ancient Greece and the birthplace of the most important athletic mega-event of all times; the Olympic Games. Olympia is one of the most well-known tourist destinations in Greece, and one of the most powerful brand names worldwide.
Meet at about 12.00 am with our Guide in the entrance of the site. Visit Olympia archaeological site with the Temple of Zeus, the Temple of Hera, the altar of the Olympic flame, the Stadium, and the archaeological Museum.
Visitors can walk through the impressive ruins of the area where athletes trained. You may run in the ancient stadium just as the ancient Olympians did after their victory 3000 years ago. During the visit to the museum, you will get the chance to see some unbelievable sculptures such as the sculpted decoration of the temple of Zeus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the famous Hermes of Praxiteles and the statue of Nike of Paionios.
2:30pm late lunch at a local Greek home (Homemade Meal).
Lunch will be served in a private environment, a beautiful veranda of a local house, where only you and your friends will be able to enjoy the hospitality and the delicious cooking that the Greek housewives are famous for. You will be served a large variety of specialties, like an original Greek Salad, the “yemista” (stuffed tomatoes and peppers with rice), “mousaka” (eggplants, potatoes and beef meat with besamel on top), “dolmades”(stuffed vine or cabbage leaves in delicious lemon sauce), “yiouvetsi”(organic chicken in
fresh tomato sauce with homemade pasta), served with a salted traditional cheese called “mizithra” and many more plates, as well as house wine, beer and sodas.
I don’t know if this description of plates was “all Greek to you”, but I am sure that after this experience, you will put the Greek cuisine higher on your list.
Return to Nafpaktos at about 5-6 pm.
You are free to walk around Nafpaktos and have dinner / drinks along the waterfront on your own. Overnight.
(Meals included on this day: Breakfast at the hotel, Late lunch out of the hotel ).
Day 6: Nafpaktos / Excursion to Delphi
Breakfast at the hotel.
Leisurely morning to swim and enjoy the beach close to the hotel. 1.00 pm ready at the reception and departure for Delphi excursion. Driving distance about 1,5 hours. Delphi village is easily one of the most picturesque villages and one of the rural retreats of Greece. It has a population of approximately of 1,500 people and can easily disarm the most discerning traveller with their warmth and friendship. The landscape is dramatic and filled with green vegetation.
The village of Delphi dates back to the prehistoric era and came into the limelight during the Classical era. Delphi has played a significant role in shaping Greek history. There are many Greek legends that are associated with Delphi. Of particular importance is the Greek God Apollo who became the presiding deity of Delphi.
Delphi has been defined as the centre of the earth by Zeus, who one day let his two eagles fly around the earth and where they met – the centre, Delphi, lay. A stone was put at the point called Omphalos – the Navel – and can still be seen in the museum of Delphi.
Arrival approx. 2.30 pm . Lunch in a traditional restaurant in the village pf Delphi. Enjoy the local cuisine and continue with the afternoon guidance of Delphi.
- Meeting at about 4.00pm hrs with our guide at the entrance of the Delphi site museum . Start with visit of the museum full of amazing finds from the area, the most famous being the Omphalos, the statue “The Charioteer” and the two sculptures of Cleobis and Biton.
- 30 -7:00 pm Continue with the Archaeological site and Castalian Spring.
- 00-08.00pm One hour free to walk around at leisure
Local products: Handmade carpets and cheese “formaela “ .
End of the tour apprx. 6.30 pm or later the program is free. Return to Nafpaktos an Overnight
(Meals included on this day: Breakfast at the hotel, lunch out of the hotel).
Day 7: Nafpaktos / Excursion to Messolonghi
Breakfast at the hotel. Please note that breakfast at the hotel is available till 10.00 am. Departure for Messolonghi only 45 minute drive.
Our first visit will be Alikes, besides flamingos feeding in the marshes; you will see miles of salt flats and impressive ‘white’ salt pyramids that produce much of Greece’s sodium chloride.
Messolonghi-Etoliko lagoon is the largest, 22,000 acres, throughout Greece. It is formed between the mouth of Acheloos and Evinos rivers. In its biggest part, the water level does not exceed one meter high, while at some points the water could even reach up to five or six meters high.
Apart from the fact that it’s one of the most important lagoon complexes in the Mediterranean and part of the Natura 2000 network, it is a bountiful ecosystem full of plankton and supplied by the estuaries of two rivers off the central west coast of Greece. This major Mediterranean environmental park, home to a wide diversity of flora and fauna, is protected by the Ramsar Convention.
There, you will also admire the pelades, which are cabins or stilt-houses of unique beauty, built on pilings above the water surface. Messolonghi- Etoliko lagoon is one of the most well-known fish production sites which breeds a variety of fish among others kefalos, tsipoura, chovios, bafa, scorpios, glossa, myxinari, drongos, mylokopi, sparos, and eel.
- In the Lagoon we have arranged meeting with a professional ornithologist to give you information about the 200 bird species leaving in the area. Binoculars at your disposal.
- After bird watching we will continue with a guided tour to the salt flats “ Alikes “ to learn about the preparation of the salt.
Continue to Messolonghi city . A «magical» place, which speaks volumes of history. Some of the most momentous events of the 1821 Revolution against the Ottoman occupation occurred here. Messolonghi is a small Greek city on the north shore of the Gulf of Patras. Picturesquely located between craggy mountains and Europe’s largest lagoon, Messolonghi boasts a thriving fishery, a world-famous sea-salt industry, olive and lemon groves, a distinguished artistic community–and a sacred place in Greek history. Birthplace of five Greek prime ministers, Messolonghi was the western centre of the Greek war of independence from the Ottoman Empire.
Here the celebrated English poet and Philhellene Lord Byron came to devote his talents and fortune to
the Greek revolutionary cause -and here he died of fever of April 19, 1824.
Visit – The Gate of the Exodus and the walls of the city stand as a reminder of the heroism of the people of Messolonghi.
The lush Garden of Heroes is strewn with monuments, amongst which is the Tomb of the Heroes, as well as the memorials erected to honour Markos Botsaris, Lord Byron and other freedom fighters. Every year Palm Sunday is marked as a day of remembrance.
Continue with visit – Ouzo distillery in the centre of town to be informed about the preparation of ouzo and tsipouro. Our tour will end at the Pellades , used to be the temporary working place or temporary residence of fishermen in the Lake , now days transformed to restaurant.
Late lunch in Messolongi at about 2.00 or 2.30pm. Try traditional recipes with eel, salt fish and fresh fish, salad and traditional dessert ( baklavas ) . Do not miss the opportunity to taste avgotaraho, the «Greek caviar», one of the finest Greek gastronomic products. Before lunch started will here a small information about the preparation of avgotaraho from the experts.
After lunch you will have some free time to see and buy (if you wish ) some local products: Like olive oil, salt, soap, etc.
Return to the hotel in the afternoon and overnight .
(Meals included on this day: Breakfast at the hotel, Late lunch out of the hotel).
Day 8: Nafpaktos / Kalambaka (Meteora )
Breakfast at the hotel 7:30 am-8:30am
8.45am check out and at 9:00 am departure for the small village of Kalambaka, a well-known village because is located on the slopes of the holy monasteries of Meteora.
The word Meteora means literally ‘hovering in the air’ and of course brings to mind the word meteor. What created this rare geological phenomenon is one of the mysteries of nature and there are many theories though they remain theories and none have been proven. But as amazing a marvel of nature as these giant rocks are the buildings on the top of these are a marvel of man and seem just as miraculous and make Meteora one of the most spectacular places to visit in Greece.
Duration of the trip is about 4 ½ hours 346 klms . Quick stop on the way, for a short lunch at leisure.
Arrival at the hotel till 2.30 pm, the latest. The check in the rooms starts at 3.00 pm. Leave your luggage at the hotel and for those who will participate in the Sunset Hike, there is not much time between arrival at the hotel and departure for your hike. You have to be ready at the lobby at 3.00 pm.
3.00 pm Meet with your professional escort and departure for a unique Sunset Hike. Transportation by minibus to the narrow path, where the hike will start. Will see from outside the hidden monastery of Ypapanti, the Great Meteoron monastery and Varlaam monastery as well as will learn the history of the area and explore the hidden gems as the trail is accessible only on foot.
As soon as will finish the trail, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the most panoramic viewpoint for the sunset. Return to hotel at about 7:15 pm.
Dinner at the hotel and overnight. Please note buffet is open from 7.30 pm – 9.30 pm so guests not participating in the hike they can have their dinner at their convenience and the ones participating in the hiking they can have dinner on the return from the tour.
(Meals of the day: Breakfast and dinner at the hotel).
Day 9: Meteora
Breakfast at the hotel.
Meet at 10.15am by our Expert guide at the lobby and start a unique guidance to the Monasteries of Meteora. You will have the opportunity to visit the best preserved two monasteries ( St Stefano and Megalo Meteoro ) and in case these are closed for some reason – This happens sometimes – you are going to visit other ones as alternative.
A visit to Meteora Monasteries offers a unique perspective of nature’s grandeur in conjunction with history, architecture and man’s everlasting desire to connect with the Divine.
I pass you hereunder some words to give you an idea of the monks life “…there is something majestic in the power and firmness of their faith. They have left their homes, the riches and pleasures of this world in order to grow old in these nests and caves of this earth, to suffer from cold and hunger, pain and death, perhaps to honour their God in this way…”
The duration of the visit is about 2,5 to 3 hours and after that continue with the Truffle hunting.
The hunting will start at about 1.30 pm and the duration is 3 hours. In the beautiful and unknown forests of the region, just in a short distance from Kalampaka, visitors have the opportunity to enjoy a unique
truffle hunting, taste a delicious truffle pasta dish in the woods, which is cooked with truffles found by the truffle dogs, visit the Museum, try different types of mushroom products including mushroom spoon sweet as well as an exceptional local wine.
Until the pasta is ready, guests will enjoy tasting between 4-5 different types of mushroom. At the same time, the wine bottles open and, in combination with the truffle pasta that has been served, the tour completes its unprecedented trails of taste.
Return to the hotel to get a rest at about 4.00 pm .
Afternoon is at leisure to have a meal in Kastraki Village or for personal activities. Overnight Divani Meteora in Kalambaka
(Meals of the day : Breakfast at the hotel , lunch during the truffle hunting ).
Important note: Due to Covid, the skirts provided in the monastery are not provided any more. So, the men have to wear full length trousers (no shorts allowed) and the women must wear skirts to cover the knees. Under the skirt you can wear whatever your like for example your Yoga tights. It is better for the women to wear yoga tights, or leggings or pants/jeans since after the visit of the monasteries you have the Truffle hunting in the forest. Also think about footwear for the forest.
Day 10 : Kalambaka / Athens
Breakfast at the hotel Enjoy your last day in Kalambaka. Check out 11:00 hrs and departure. Driving distance to Athens about 4 hrs.
About 1.00 pm Lunch before arriving in Athens, light lunch with meze and fish. 5.00 pm the latest Arrival in Athens hotel . Check in and settle in the rooms.
Rest of the day will be free for personal arrangements. We suggest in the evening, walk the Agora and the living open-air Dionysiou Aeropagitou pedestrian street.
Overnight (Meals included on this day: breakfast and late lunch out of the hotel).
Day 11: Athens Departure
Breakfast and Check out meet at the lobby of the hotel with our assistant and transfer to the Airport . Embarkation to your international flight and return to your country full of unforgettable memories or Greek culture , Greek nature and Greek cuisine.
- Acccommodation at a 4 or 5-star hotel
- SIC Half-day Athens Sightseeing organized tour, including the Acropolis site and the museum of Acropolis (entrance fees included) with a professional guide
- Private transfers
- International or national flights
- Meals or Beverages
- Gratuities (optional)
- Personal expenses
- Accommodation tax, direct payment to the hotel.