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2
introductory to moderate

Traveller Rating

 

Activities
  • self guided walk
Accommodation
  • 7 nights hotels
Meals
  • 1 Dinner
  • 7 Breakfasts

8 Days£885GBP

Overview

Trip Code: UGF

Trip highlights


  • Exploring the ancient sites of Athens and Delphi on foot
  • Gaining an appreciation of Meteora from numerous angles
  • Discovering the culinary delights of Athens and beyond
  • Appreciating the hospitality of well located comfortable hotels

Viewing the spectacular monasteries of Meteora, perched high on precipitous rock formations in central Greece, has to be one of the great travel experiences in Europe. The monasteries appear to be suspended in the air due to hermit monks choosing to build on such a remote site atop of ancient rock pinnacles that have weathered away over time. At sunrise and sunset, the light intensifies the dramatic landscape, whilst walking beneath the soaring heights offers a true appreciation of the scale of the monasteries and the dexterity of the builders who risked their life to produce the magnificent structures. On this self guided walking itinerary a few days are set aside to explore this centre of Greek orthodox spirituality, following in the footsteps of centuries of monks along winding paths between the rock towers. Another highlight of this walking tour includes a visit to the ancient site of Delphi on the slopes of Mount Parnassus, home to the Sanctuary of Apollo and the site of the ancient Oracle. With time to explore this fascinating site at your leisure we combine the visit with a walk along the ancient 'Skala of Delphi' footpath which provides incredible views to the Gulf of Corinth. We round off this exciting Greek walking holiday with a walk through Athens to experience the capitals ancient sites and culinary delights.

Countries:

Greece

Starting Point:

Athens

Finishing Point:

Athens


On arrival in Athens, make your way to your centrally located hotel. The remainder of the day is free to explore the city.

Meals:  Nil

Athens has so many interesting sites to visit including the Acropolis Museum, the Archaeological Museum and the markets on Athinas street. We recommend you take in these sites before starting your 'Hike and Dine' experience at 3pm (allow up to 7 hrs). Beginning in Syntagma Square (also good to visit on a Sunday morning at 11 for the changing of the guards at the Parliament building located at the top of the square), you will receive maps and instructions (see info pack received on check in) to follow a walking tour of Athens taking in such sites as the National Gardens, the Panathinaic Stadium and the Temple of Zeus before you reach the first restaurant - for your cold starter - with rooftop views to the Acropolis. The walk continues alongside the Acropolis to the Plaka where you have a hot starter in a typical tavern, and on past the Roman and Greek Agora and Monastiraki to Kuzina restaurant for your main dish. The final stage is past Karameikos for dessert in the café 'Thissio View'. Return to your hotel on foot or by taxi.

Meals:  B,D

A pre-booked taxi will collect you in the morning and transfer you to the bus station where you take the 10:30am bus to Delphi (2.5hrs). On arrival, drop your luggage at the hotel before continuing to the site and museum in Delphi. There is a small cafe at the Delphi museum where you can purchase lunch (or buy supplies before you leave Athens). The sanctuary of Apollo extends over a series of terraces built into the slopes of Mount Parnassos. As the centre of religious and spiritual ancient Greece, it is one of the most important ancient sites in the world. It was considered the navel of the world and the temple of Apollo and the stadium where the Pythian games took place are the most important monuments. The afternoon is free to visit Delphi and the museum at your leisure, before returning to your hotel in Delphi. Guided tours of Delphi are available, please contact UTracks for details to book.

Meals:  B

To access the starting point of the walk you will need to organise a taxi transfer (the hotel can assist, allow approx EUR30 - 20km/30mins). The walk begins from Kalivia and follows at first a wide dirt road to the cave of Korycion Andros, located at an altitude of 1350m (a torch is recommended to explore the cave). The cave was used during ancient times in winter and there are many legends surrounding its importance. The trail then descends along a rocky path through forest before the serious descent begins to Delphi. Pass by villages where goats roam and follow the ancient path as it zigzags down, with impressive views of the Gulf of Corinth and the Peloponnese mountains - considered one of the most stunning locations in Greece that few people experience. The trail comes out at the Ancient Stadium of Delphi which is fenced off, and therefore you continue down to the village of Delphi. The rocky trails today require good footwear (boots essential) and plenty of water must be carried. Also consider trekking poles to support your knees on the descent. Return to your hotel in Delphi. 16km/10mi, +300m, -900m/+984ft, -2953ft

Meals:  B

Today is a travel day and a complete change of pace from yesterday’s hike. Today you will travel by public bus from Delphi to Kalambaka (ticket included. The bus leaves early (6.45am) and arrives around noon. If not operating we'll provide an alternative route). On arrival at Kalambaka, take a taxi to your hotel in Kastraki (10 mins, payable locally). Later you can walk into town from your atmospheric hotel right in the heart of this fascinating region, with spectacular views over the stunning monasteries of Meteora while the sun is setting. Sunset guided tours are available. Speak to your consultant to book.

Meals:  B

The 'floating' monasteries of Meteora are one of the great sites of Greece and whilst many people visit the monasteries each year, few take the time to walk the trails beneath them to gain a unique perspective of this incredible landscape. There are six main monasteries in Meteora and each is closed one day a week. Therefore which monastery you visit will depend on the opening schedule. Today's planned walk takes you on a scenic loop to Megalo Meteora, or The Great Meteoron, the largest monastery which was established by a monk from Mount Athos around 1340. With its impressive frescoes and large refectory, the monastery is one of the most visited in Meteora and for good reason. Return to your hotel on another trail with a changing perspective. 7km/4.3mi, +500m, -500m/+1640ft, -1640ft

Meals:  B

Made famous by James Bond, Agia Triada (or "Holy Trinity") is the least visited yet most dramatically positioned monastery high above the town of Kalambaka. The 140 steps from the road is the likely reason it is the least visited because the actual monastery is peaceful, with rich decorations in the chapel and one of the most stunning views from its position atop a slender pinnacle. The loop walk to reach the monastery from your hotel is through the base of the meteora massif with opportunities to view the rock faces at all angles along quiet trails that are mostly shaded. Today's route is very steep at times and eventually leads to the old section of Kalambaka, where you can stop for lunch before returning around the front of the massif to your hotel in Kastraki. 9km/5.6mi, +500m, -500m/+1640ft, -1640ft

Meals:  B

After breakfast at the hotel, take a taxi to the train station in Kalambaka for your return train to Athens centre or Athens airport. A range of options are available. Trip concludes on arrival in Athens. NOTE: The train to Athens takes around 5 hours so we recommend booking an extra night in Athens or not making onward travel plans until at least 3.30pm or later.

Meals:  B


Map

Elevation

The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


Inclusions

  • 7 breakfasts - usually buffet style with local specialties included, 1 dinner (hike and dine in Athens - self guided)
  • 7 nights in 3-4 star hotels on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities (hotel taxes not included)
  • Digital documents including Road book with maps, route direction, GPX and local information
  • Transfer Athens hotel to bus station, bus tickets Athens to Delphi and Delphi to Kalambaka and train ticket Kalambaka to Athens Airport (A-Class)
  • Emergency hotline

  • Transport to and from Athens
  • Meals not listed as included, drinks
  • Travel insurance
  • Guide – this is a self-guided walking holiday
  • A supplement will apply if you are travelling solo or book a single room
  • Transfer to the first hotel in Athens, taxi to Kalivia (allow EUR15), taxi from Kalambaka station to hotel in Kastraki and return (allow EUR15)
  • Site entrance fees
  • Hotel taxes (to be paid locally)
  • Items of a personal nature

Suitability

introductory to moderate

2

The walking is graded introductory to moderate (grade 2) with walks of 2.5 to 5 hours on 5 days. The terrain ranges from quite mountainous around Delphi, urban in Athens and steep ascents around Meteora. There is plenty of time during the day to complete the walking. Surefootedness is required as the trails can be uneven and rocky at times. We recommend you always carry enough water during the day to ensure you are well hydrated as reduced hydration will affect your walking. Also carry snacks, wet weather gear and your mobile phone. On days where you are not walking, you will be taking public transport, often over long distances. It is important that you are able to lift your bag up stairs in train stations and hotels and onto trains and busses. Whilst guidance is provided on bus and train timetables, an ability to read departure information at train stations (or ask for help) is required. If you are not comfortable taking public transport over long distances, you may consider hiring a car in Athens on Day 3 until you return to Athens on Day 8 - a small discount is available should you choose to hire a car. Take into consideration your ability to drive on the other side of the road (if applicable) in a foreign country when considering this option.


Departure dates

Daily from 1 Apr to 28 Oct

Priceper person from

£885GBP

Options & Supplements*
  • Discount for triple share rooms (pp)GBP£-48
  • Single SupplementGBP£350
  • Solo traveller supplementGBP£400
*Prices listed are per person

Trip reviews


Why travel with us

Personal Experience

We've been walking and cycling the planet for over four decades and are passionate about delivering exceptional service. Combined, we’ve travelled to virtually every corner of Europe, and are eager to share the many benefits of travelling on foot or by bike.

Great Value & Quality

Our well priced trips offer great value for money. Included in your package are comprehensive route notes, maps & guide books along with bag transfers and locally run accommodation. We take the stress out of organising your holiday.

Self-Guided Specialists

We have been operating active self guided holidays since 1973. We handle all the necessary logistics so that you can relax and explore your destination at your own pace. Many of our tours depart daily, giving you even greater flexibility.