UNESCO'S Heritage in Thessaloniki and Northern Greece - 9 Days

Wherever you go in Greece, there is rich history waiting to be discovered. Since before the days of Alexander the Great, Greece has been a place packed with history and culture. Contributions in the fields of philosophy, science, art and architecture from this beloved country, formed the basis of the modern Western Civilization.

UNESCO has acknowledged several places in Greece as World Heritage Sites. Visiting all of them in one trip would not be possible, so this heritage tour specializes in Northern Greece’s UNESCO Heritage Sites. Early Christian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki, Meteora, Mountain Olympus, Filippi – this tour offers you the opportunity to explore, unique landmarks, monuments, museums, and places of natural beauty.

 

9 days / 8 nights

 
Day 1 - Arrival day - Thessaloniki

Upon arrival, you will meet your private transfer who will take you to your hotel. There will be a brief presentation of the programme, just before your welcome dinner at the hotel’s restaurant. The adventure through Northern Grecian wonder has only just begun!

Day 2 - Thessaloniki

In the morning the aroma of fresh Greek coffee accompanies breakfast. 

After your meal, your guide will meet you in the lobby eager to lead you to the city for your first Tour in Time.

We start our exploration from Rotonda  (Saint George), the most important surviving church of the Greek-speaking part of the Roman Empire,  the Church of Saint  Panteleimon and the Church of the Saviour. Nearby we’ll see the famous Arch of Galerius and the ruins of his palace, all dating in the Roman period.  The Church of Hagia Sophia (8th century), was based on well-known Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. Enjoy a delicious lunch before going on a tour of the Museum of Byzantine Culture. This fascinating museum, which has been awarded the Council of Europe's Museum Prize for the year 2005, has more than 3000 Byzantine objects to admire, including mosaics, intriguing tomb paintings, jewelry,  glassware and so much more. 

Right afterward we will have the chance to stroll along the city center. The lively Aristotelus Square (Aristotle’s) is a mixture of pastries and cafes, inviting you to taste them all. Dinner and overnight.

Day 3 - Thessaloniki

Your exploration of Early Christian and Byzantine history begins with a tour of  Acheiropietos Church ( "not made by hands"), perhaps the earliest of the city's surviving churches. Build in 1028, Church of Panagia Chalkeon or the Virgin of the Coppersmiths". The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Αgios Demetrios,  whose mosaics are among the greatest masterpieces of Early Christian art, is dedicated to the patron saint of Thessaloniki and date from a time when this city was the second largest of the Byzantine Empire.

Beneath Filippou street is the open stretch of the Ancient Agora (Roman Forum),  the administrative center of ancient Thessaloniki. Close your eyes and you can almost hear the crowds of people talking about politics and business, current events and astronomy. Today, you will enjoy a lunch in the suburbs. Back to Thessaloniki and our exploration continues. The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki invites you for a time travel through the centuries.

Rest of the afternoon lies at your leisure. Don’t miss the opportunity to spend time where locals do or just take a peaceful walk along one of most beautiful parts of Thessaloniki, its very long waterfront. Overnight.

Day 4 - Thessaloniki

The Walls of Thessaloniki are the city walls, surrounding Thessaloniki during the Middle Ages. Don't miss to take as many pictures as you can, since the views from up here are just amazing. Tradition places the14th-century  Vlatades Monastery,  at the site where Apostle Paul preached during his second missionary journey during the years 49-50 AD. The Church of  Osios David and the Church of Saint Nicholas Orphanos or "Saint Nicholas the Orphan",  are most notable for their exquisite frescoes. The Church of Saint Catherine and the Church of Prophet Elijah (Elias) are both excellent examples of Paleologean architecture. Last to see, the Church of the 12 Apostles (Dodeka Apostolon). The Byzantine Bath of the Upper Town is the only Byzantine bath that has survived in Greece and functioned continuously up until 1940’s. 

Lunch and right afterward a boat tour will give you the chance to admire the city from another point of view! Free afternoon. Overnight.

Day 5 - The small Rome of Filippi – Kavala

Today you will venture outside of Thessaloniki. In north-eastern Greece, on the ancient route linking Europe and Asia, the Via Egnatia,  lie the remains of Filippi. Founded in 356 BC by the Macedonian King Philip II, the city developed as a “small Rome” with the establishment of the Roman Empire. Afterwards, we will visit a nearby winery to taste its awarded wines and enjoy our lunch. Depart for Thessaloniki. Free afternoon. Overnight.

Day 6 - Houses in the clouds -  Kalambaka

Your sixth day in Greece finds you touring the majestic monasteries of Meteora in Central Greece. Within the skies, overlooking the city of Kalambaka, these stunning churches, built on top of the famous Thessalian conglomerate outcroppings- tower over the city and also have blessed and watched the valley for centuries. The collection of monasteries can be reached from stone steps and bridges that wind up the rocky cliffs.  

After the visit of two monasteries, we’ll have our break in Kalambaka town for a lunch at a local traditional taverna.  We then head north on mountain roads and continue on the Egnatia highway to the town of Veria. You will be transferred to the hotel for overnight.

Day 7 – Vergina & Veria

First mentioned in the writings of Thucydides in 432 BC,  Veria is an old city with a glorious history and today you will start your day with a tour of the city's Archaeological and Byzantine Museums. Lunch follows and right afterward you will take a tour of the most important archaeological discovery in the 20th century in Greece,  the internationally famous Vergina,  a small town which was the first ancient capital – once called Aigai - of the Macedonian kingdom.  It was here in 336 BC that Philip II was assassinated and Alexander the Great was proclaimed king. Aigai has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status as "an exceptional testimony to a significant development in European civilization".  The gold and silver treasures and paintings found in the tombs at Vergina are of extraordinarily high quality and historical importance. 

Return to Veria and time at your leisure. Overnight at Veria. 

Day 8 -  Mt Olympus - At the footsteps of the Ancient Greek Gods – 

Dion stands in the northern foothills of Mountain Olympus and it was the most important sacred city of the Ancient Macedonians. It was also the place where Alexander the Great sought the aid of Zeus before setting out for his military campaign in the East. You will have a guided tour of the archaeological site and the museum.  

Famous all over the world for its mythical Gods, Mt Olympus is also a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and awaits you to reveal its unique nature. You will have an easy walk on the hiking path of gorge Enippeas at very same places where the Ancient Greek Gods used to walk.  Lunch at the town of Litohoro and coffee at a nearby seaside resort. Return to Thessaloniki for the last night in town. Overnight.

Day 9 - Departure day

Your private transfer meets you at the hotel and drives you to Thessaloniki International Airport - SKG for your flight home.

Your journey through Unesco World Heritage Sites in Northern Greece may have ended, but you take the splendor of the culture and the myths of the landscape home with you!

 

Price: please contact

 

Inclusions :

6 overnights at 5* Hotel with HB in Thessaloniki

2 overnights at Boutique Hotel in Veria

8 Breakfasts

8 Dinners

7 Lunches

Transfers from/to airport on arrival and departure days

All entrance fees to Museums and Archaeological sites as mentioned on programme, with licensed guide

All transfers as mentioned in program

All taxes 

Licensed tour guide

Professional driver

Exclusions:

Personal expenses

All drinks 

Gratuities

Travel Insurance 

Anything not mentioned in the inclusions

Have to know :

Program language: English (De, Fr, It, Ru, Tr, Sp, upon request)

Since most of the tours are on foot, day schedule may vary due to bad weather conditions.

Some churches and sightseeing points mentioned on the itinerary might change their opening hours with no previous notice. In such case, you will be able to see them, only from the outside.

This is a small group tour for 2 – 8 persons. For larger groups please contact.

 

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