From Odysseus to Alexander the Great: On the Road Less Traveled (September 1-16, 2017)
You’ll have another chance to travel with Leftheris Papageorgiou this fall. September 1–16, 2017, he’ll lead you From Odysseus to Alexander the Great: On the Road Less Traveled as he walks in the footsteps of Alexander in northern Greece, explores less traveled traditional villages in the Greek Alps, trails Odysseus to the island of Ithaka, and finishes on Captain Corelli’s Kephalonia.

You’ll take in the highlights of Thessaloniki, visit the sites of Vergina, Pella, Dion, and Dodoni, take in the amazing monasteries of Meteora, explore the Ali Pasha’s citadel in Ioannina, come to know the Greek Alps in Zagorochoria, hike and thoroughly absorb the beautiful islands of Ithaka and Kephalonia in the Ionian Sea. More than 4,000 years of history, amazing hikes (hike the deepest gorge in the world, if you’re up to it!), traditional villages, awesome swimming opportunities, winery visits, amazing meals, a private cooking class in a noted winery, and an excursion on our private motor yacht. Ready to go?!

Contact us to receive the complete itinerary and to learn more about how to join Leftheris and a small group of lucky travelers as you explore Greece From Odysseus to Alexander the Great: On the Road Less Traveled set for September 1–16, 2017.
3 nights Thessaloniki, Daios Hotel (5-star boutique hotel, executive room, sea view)

1 night Kalambaka (Meteora), Divani Hotel Meteora (4-star hotel, deluxe room, Meteora view)

4 nights Papingo (Zagorochoria), Papaevangelou (special category traditional lodging, 4 studios, 4 double rooms with best view)

3 nights Vathy (Ithaka), Ithaka’s Poem (special category traditional lodging, 4 maisonettes, 4 2-bedroom apartments)

4 nights Fiskardo (Kephalonia), Emelisse Hotel (5-star hotel, executive rooms with garden view, sea view, or partial sea view, some with shared pool)
Your 15-night/16-day journey consists of the following services, as per itinerary: accommodations in 4-star to 5-star boutique hotels and special category traditional lodging; transfers and land transportation provided by private, air-conditioned vehicles; half-board (all breakfasts at hotels and 15 additional lunches or dinners (multi-course) at lovely local restaurants) excluding beverages except bottled water and coffee/tea; however, the Welcome and Farewell dinners and the cooking class include wine and non-alcoholic beverages; private sightseeing tours, walking/hiking excursions, full-day private sailing aboard a motor yacht, and special culinary experiences as detailed in the full itinerary; all entrance fees to sites and museums as per itinerary; our comprehensive travel insurance program; all tips and taxes for the services noted above. Plus, Leftheris often has one or two surprises up his sleeve!
15 Nights/16 Days: September 1–16, 2017

Minimum/maximum participants: 10–14

Trip cost including comprehensive travel insurance:
€5,500 per person ($5,985 at exchange rate of $1=€.919, subject to change) based on double occupancy
Day One through Four: Thessaloniki (September 1–4)
Welcome to Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece and capital of northern Greece. Behind this modern city’s façade, and within its Roman and Byzantine walls, lie Roman ruins, Byzantine churches, Turkish architecture and Jewish tombstones.

With our expert guide, we’ll explore Thessaloniki and the local area:
  • Within Thessaloniki, we’ll stroll through the city’s central neighborhoods and the promenade along the sea, as well as touring Thessaloniki’s archeological, historial and cultural landmarks.
  • Outside of Thessaloniki, we’ll visit the compelling sites of Vergina and Pella. At Vergina—the capital of Macedonia before Pella, and a site of incredible wealth—the most important discovery was the complex of royal tombs including that of Philip II, Alexander the Great’s father. By the 4th century BC, Pella—birthplace of Alexander the Great—had become the most important political, economic, and administrative center of the Macedonian state.
  • While we fill our minds with the secrets from long ago, we will also fill our stomachs, including a visit to one of Leftheris’ favorite local restaurants, a special welcome dinner and a local winery.

Day Four through Five: Kalambaka (Meteora, September 4–5)
Happy Labor Day (from afar)! Today, we will make our way to Kalambaka on the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly.
  • En route, our guide will show us ancient Dion, the sacred town of Macedonia under Mount Olympus, home of the gods.
  • While in Kalambaka, we will visit Meteora, a particularly impressive geological site, where ageless, Byzantine monasteries stand seemingly suspended between earth and sky atop huge rocks.

Day Five through Nine: Zagorochoria (September 5–9 with a full-day sidetrip to Ioannina)
After finishing our explorations of the wonders of Meteora, we will make our way to the region of Epirus to Zagorochoria, a cluster of 48 traditional picturesque villages built amphitheatrically in the wider area of Timfi, Pindos, and Mitsikeli. During Ottoman rule, the area reached its economic and intellectual peak. However, Zagori declined after Ali Pasha’s death in 1822 when it lost the benefits it enjoyed. The wars of the 20th century also had devastating effects.

Our home base in Zagorochoria will be Papingo, one of the best-preserved traditional settlements in Epirus. You’ll have free time to explore the village, as well as excursions to explore Zagorochoria with our walking guide.
  • We will visit Monodendri, a village with stone houses and picturesque cobblestone roads, where we will learn about traditional embroidery and weavings. The village is located at the entrance of the Vikos Gorge.
  • Avid hikers will have the option to hike the Vikos Gorge (6 hours hiking, moderate to strenuous). You’ll need your over-the-ankle hiking boots for this excursion!
  • One of the traditional villages we will visit is Kipi, a center of mountain sports. The nearby rivers have beautiful single and triple arch stone bridges that are nothing less than amazing!
  • A full-day excursion takes us to Ioannina, the largest town and capital of Epirus, located on beautiful Lake Pambiotis. The narrow, picturesque streets of the Old Town are enclosed by the walls of the former Turkish citadel dating from the days of Ali Pasha, the “Lion of Ioannina.” We will also visit the nearby site of Dodoni, one of the most important archaeological sites of Epirus, known for the ancient oracle of Dodonian Zeus, as well as an ancient open-air theater, one of the largest in Greece.

Day Nine through Twelve: Ithaka (September 9–12)
After our time in the mountains, we head across the water to the island of Ithaka, the home of Odysseus, an earthly paradise indeed. You will soon know why this island continued to draw the great Odysseus home for those ten long years. We will explore Ithaka from our home base in the island’s capital, Vathy, a traditional settlement found on a beautiful natural bay bordered by the Islet of Lazareto and protected by its two small Venetian castles.

With the help of our local guide and driver, we’ll see many of the island’s highlights:
  • At a monastery found on the highest point of the island, we will enjoy spectacular views across the southern peninsula of Ithaka.
  • We will visit three lovely mountain villages, exploring unique treasures, including a model of Odysseus’ palace and a picturesque natural harbor.
  • A moderate hiking tour of northern Ithaka takes us to the archaeological site of the School of Homer, villages where we will find a fresh water spring, and finishing at a beach for a swim.

Day Twelve through Sixteen: Kephalonia (September 12–16)
After finishing our leisurely explorations of Ithaka, we next head to the island of Kephalonia, the largest in the Ionian. It is also an island of great contrasts with its famous wines, golden beaches, rocky shores, orange trees, and it enchanting turquoise bay. Our explorations will be based just outside the village of Fiskardo, a well-known fishing harbor and the only village untouched by the great earthquake of 1953, allowing the houses to retain their traditional architecture. The surrounding area is dense with pine and cypress trees. You may be reminded of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, which was filmed here.

Some of our special experiences on Kephalonia include:
  • We’ll visit a noted local winery for tasting and enjoy a private cooking class on site. Together we will prepare some classical Greek dishes and recipes particular to Kephalonia and Ithaka and dine on the fruits of our labor. Yum!
  • All aboard our private motor yacht for a full day of sailing [weather permitting] to small islands with opportunities for swimming and visiting small island villages.
  • A leisurely exploration of the island with a local guide and driver shows us Kephalonia’s highlights, including Assos and other charming villages by the sea, as well as Lake Melissani.
  • Say goodbye to your newfound friends at a special farewell dinner in Fiskardo!

Day Sixteen: Travel Day—Return (September 16)
A private transfer will take you to the airport or port to either begin your journey home or head off to your next destination.

Contact us to receive the complete itinerary and to learn more about how to join Leftheris and a small group of lucky travelers as you explore Greece From Odysseus to Alexander the Great: On the Road Less Traveled set for September 1–16, 2017.