Day 1: We are leaving Athens behind us, driving through the fertile plains of Beotia. Our journey will take us through the towns of Thebes, Levadia and the picturesque village of Arachova with Delphi being our final destination. There, we will make a visit to the Archaeological Site of the Oracle, which used to be the most influential, not only to the Greeks but to the majority of the ancient Mediterranean world. Later, we will depart for the town of Kalambaka. This small town is located at the foot of the mesmerizing rocky complex of Meteora. The gigantic rocks rise straight up from the valley of Thessaly. The steep cliffs made Meteora a naturally isolated and protected location, ideal for the monks to built their monasteries on the rocks' peeks in the 11th-century a.C. Kalambaka will be our place for dinner and accommodation for the night.
Day 2: After recharging our batteries with a good night's sleep, we'll enjoy our breakfast at the hotel's restaurant. Then, we 'll go to Meteora: perched on top of the huge rocks that seem to be suspended in mid-air. Up there stand the Monasteries that seem to defy gravity, time and age. There you will have a chance to see unique preserved examples of Byzantine art. Our visit will include 2 Byzantine monasteries. We will later depart from Kalambaka and drive through the astonishing Haliakmon's valley. Haliakmon is Greece's longest river and a place of outstanding natural beauty. Our destination will be the city of Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece. The city is considered to be the most vibrant in terms of culture, arts, cuisine and nightlife. We will dine and sleep in this beautiful coastal city.
Day 3: We will wake up early to eat breakfast in our hotel's restaurant. We should waste no time and take advantage of the morning hours to visit the city. Throughout the era of the Byzantine Empire, Thessaloniki was a «co-reigning» city, considered to be something like a second capital. Thessaloniki was second in population and prestige, only to Constantinople. We'll visit unique monuments and feel the glorious Byzantine past that is hidden in some of the oldest and most characteristic churches of the Christian world. We will make it to the Museum of Byzantine Culture, which was awarded with the Council of Europe’s Museum Prize for the year 2005. The rest of the day will be yours, so feel free to enjoy your time in the centre of the city. Visit the local cafes and markets and meet the city's quiescent inhabitants. The city will be our host for this night once more. We will have dinner here and recharge our batteries for our next excursion that is coming.
Day 4: We'll wake up early and enjoy our breakfast. We will depart early in the morning for a unique approach to the historical region of Macedonia. We'll make the first stop at the picturesque town of Edessa, where we will have an opportunity to see its famous landmark: Edessa's Waterfalls. After our contact with nature, we'll move on to Naoussa. It is a place of exceptional beauty and importance, due to the fact that it is the site where Aristotle’s School was based. A picturesque site, where Alexander the Great was taught the doctrines of morals and politics by the great philosopher himself.
We will then drive on to another historical place, the site of Vergina (ancient Aigai). We 'll experience a visit to a unique Museum that was constructed on the Great Tumulus, in order to protect the excavated Macedonian royal tombs. You can feel the thrill of the greatest archaeological discovery of the 20th century and admire the astonishing findings from the tomb of King Phillip II, Alexander the Great’s father.
The town of Veria (Biblical Beroea) is only a few miles away and this is where our next stop will be. There you will visit Saint Paul’s Bema. Then you'll stroll through its old Jewish neighbourhood and the town's colourful market, stepping in a place where the past is still present. We will return to Thessaloniki. have dinner and rest for the evening.
Day 5: After our breakfast, we will drive to Pella. It was the capital of the kingdom of Macedonia during Alexander the Great's childhood. In Pella's modern Museum, we will be able to see in detail the floor mosaics of the 4th century b.C and then we'll move on to the Archaeological Park of Dion. This was a sacred city for the ancient Macedonians, built at the foot of Mount Olympus which is the highest mountain of Greece and, according to the ancient Greek religion, the house of their 12 Gods.
On our way back to Athens, we'll drive through the strikingly beautiful plains of Thessaly and the valley of Tempi. The landscape is dominated by the Mount Olympus. We will continue passing by Lamia, Thermopylae (where we'll use some of our time to visit Leonidas’ Monument) and Thebes.
We will be back to Athens late in the afternoon. Having collected images and emotions that will keep us company for a long time after the end of our Macedonia, 5-Day Northern Greece Tour.