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Meteora and Pindos Mountains

The Natural Adventure Company

Self Guided Walking Holidays and Cycling Holidays

Meteora and Pindos Mountains

Details

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Meteora and Pindos Mountains
Rating
Average rating:   0,  0 reviews
Country
Greece
Activity type
Self Guided Walking, Privately Guided Walking
Duration
8 days & 7 nights
Difficulty
Moderate
Accomodation
Comfortable
Availability
May - October

Itinerary

Day 1: Kastraki
Day 2: Kastraki
Day 3: Kastraki
Day 4: Ioannina
Day 5: Kapesovo
Day 6: Dilofo
Day 7: Vikos
Day 8: Departure

Overview for Meteora and Pindos Mountains

Our Meteora and Pindos Mountains walking holiday in Greece combines the stunning rock formations and monasteries of Meteora with a breathtaking walk through the Vikos Gorge, the world’s deepest canyon and experiencing the enchanting 18th century stone villages and bridges of the Pindos Mountains.

Take in two days of guided hikes in Meteora and walk among the gigantic rock pillars to enjoy some truly breathtaking views. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Meteora has unusual and spectacular landscapes of immense monolithic pillars on top of which sit six Eastern Orthodox monasteries built between the 14th and 16th centuries. Then move to Pindos to enjoy the Zagori trails at your own pace (self guided), finishing with a walk through the beautiful Vikos Gorge. Retreat every evening in elegant hand-picked boutique hotels and stone mansions in the villages along route.

Highlights:

  • The rock formations and monasteries of Meteora
  • The beautiful town of Ioannina
  • Vikos Gorge, one of the world’s deepest
  • Stone bridges and villages of Zagori


Itinerary for Meteora and Pindos Mountains

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Day 1: Arrival in Kastraki

Arrive in Kastraki (easily reachable from Thessaloniki or Athens by train or bus).

  • Accommodation: a boutique 3-star hotel in Kastraki

Day 2: Hike to The Monasteries of Meteora

By joining this morning guided hike, you will walk through hidden trails that only locals know. The hike begins at the foothills of Doupiani rock, beneath the old ruins of Pantokrator monastery. It then crosses through the immense rock formations to reach the northern side of Meteora. Listen to the stories and the legends behind each place you pass along the trail and the thousand years of history will become alive through the exciting narrative of our English-speaking guides. You will get to enter the hidden monastery of Ypapanti (Monday to Friday only) which opened for hikers. Afterwards, you will visit the monasteries of Great Meteoron or Varlaam and then you’ll walk down the old footpath the monks used for centuries before the construction of roads for the last part of this marvellous hike.

  • Accommodation: a boutique 3-star hotel in Kastraki
  • Walking for the day: 4.5 – 5 hours (guided, walk starts 08:30 am, hotel pick-up and drop-off included)

Day 3: Hike Meteora’s Caves or Climb Meteora’s Tallest Rock

Option 1 (moderate grade):

Join this guided hike to discover Meteora’s caves and to climb the rock of Aghio Pnevma (Holy Spirit). This 3-hour hike will guide you on the trails near the village of Kastraki. The rock of Aghio Pevma is located in the middle of the valley that extends from the village towards the vast rock complex of Meteora. The hike starts from the village of Kastraki, on the foothills of Aghio Pnevma rock, to lead you some 250 meters higher above the village. Filled with the most awesome views of the surrounding area you will then reach the prison cave of the monks, located on the northern side of Aghio Pnevma. The hike will then pass below the cave of St. George and it will finish at the central square of the Kastraki village.

Option 2 (moderate to strenuous grade, some scrambling involved as well as via corda*)

This guided tour will take you up on the tallest of all Meteora rocks, some 400 meters above the town of Kalampaka, through an ancient winding path upon the rock of Great Saint, a huge rock complex which thousands of years ago was an integral part of the ancient fortifications of the town below. This tour requires a very good fitness state.

*A via corda route is equipped with ropes rather than cables (i.e. it is a non-permanent path), and the route is less fitted out than a via ferrata. We provide all the necessary equipment.

Whichever of the above options you choose, at the end of the day you can also opt to do our sunset guided tour of Meteora (by car, only very short walks involved), ideal to relax, relive the experiences from the last two days and make some great photos. As the sun slowly begins to descent, getting ready to touch on the mountain ridges we’ll bring you by car high up on the rocks of Meteora, on a magical spot to enjoy the most captivating sunset views. Up there, sitting on the edges of cliffs you will feel the evening breeze blowing through these giant cliffs. Allow your senses to explore moment by moment the dimming of the light as the sun disk sinks behind the mountains. This will be a perfect way to end your stay at Meteora.
  • Accommodation: a boutique 3-star hotel in Kastraki
  • Walking for the day: 4 – 5 hours (guided, both walks start 08:30 am, hotel pick-up and drop-off included; optional sunset tour starts in the late afternoon)

Day 4: Transfer to Ioannina

Today you will be transferred to the beautiful town of Ioannina by bus (buses run twice daily, 8.30 am and 3.30 pm, 4.5 hours, ticket not included) or a private transfer (140 km / 2.5 hours, bookable at an extra cost), located at the foothills of the Pindos Mountains. Stroll along the streets of Ioannina and have dinner at one of the numerous taverns around the lake or downtown.

  • Accommodation: a 3-star hotel in Ioannina

Day 5: Kapesovo – Skala Vradetou – Beloi – Kapesovo

Short transfer from Yoannina to Kapesovo (by taxi, not included, 40 minutes, about 50 Euro per car). Check-in at hotel and meet our representative who will brief you on the next days’ self guided walks. Ascend the cobbled stone path – Scala Vradetou – to Vradetou village. From there hike to the breathtaking Beloi viewpoint and walk back to Vradetou for a coffee break or refreshment and then take the path downhill back to Kapesovo.

  • Accommodation: a 3-star quality guesthouse in Kapesovo
  • Walking for the day: 12 km, 4-5h ↑600m

Day 6: Kapesovo – Kipi – Dilofo – Vitsa – Koukouli – Kapesovo

Todays’ circular walk will take you through several picturesque stone villages to the traditional village of Koukouli and its beautiful square for a short break. From there through a forest walk back down to Kapesovo.

  • Accommodation: a 3-star quality guesthouse in Kapesovo
  • Walking for the day: 17 km, 7h ↑700m

Day 7: The Vikos Gorge: Kapesovo to Vikos

The main course of your holiday: a picturesque walk in the heart of the impressive VIkos Gorge, covering almost its entire length from Kapesovo to Vikos.

  • Accommodation: a 3-star quality guesthouse
  • Walking for the day:  14 km, 6h ↑350m ↓450m

Day 8: Departure or Onward Travel

Morning optional private transfer to Ioannina or you can use public transport. We can also book extra nights for you in the beautiful city of Ioannina.

Hotels for Meteora and Pindos Mountains

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Accommodation is in 3-star boutique hotels and quality guesthouses (stone mansions).

We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Sample hotels: Meteora Hotel, Doupiani House, Villa Zagori, Megalo Papigo, Ioannina, Kapesovo

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Breakfast is included on all days. When no restaurant location is available on route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before. You can have dinner at your hotel or at restaurants and taverns in the village.

Travel for Meteora and Pindos Mountains

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Recommended arrival airport: Thessaloniki or Athens. Recommended departure airports are either Thessaloniki, Preveza or Atehns which are well connected to the major UK and European airports. Ioannina is also well connected to other airports in Greece by internal flights.

Please note that flight information can change rapidly, and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner before finalising any booking with us. Please do not book your flights before we have confirmed your booking.

Airport and Connecting Transfers

Day 1- From Thessaloniki Airport

Take a taxi or bus to Thessaloniki new train station (40 minutes), then take the train (about 4 hours). At the train station, you can choose one of the trains to reach Kalampaka, which is the city below Meteora, close to Kastraki. Kalampaka is a terminal station, meaning that if you get on a direct train you won’t have to worry about getting off at the right station.

Day 4: Kastraki to Ioannina

Take train or bus to Ioannina (about 4 hours) or book a private transfer with us (£260 per car, up to 4 persons).

Day 8 – From Vikos hotel to Thessaloniki Airport

Take a taxi or book a private transfer with us (£60 per car, 40 minutes) from your last hotel to Ioannina. From Ioannina continue by public transport to your departure airport (3.5 hours to Thessaloniki by bus), or book an extra night in Ioannina.

You can check up-to-date travel options, schedules and prices for all the above transfers by public transport using the rome2rio link below.

Private Transfers

All transfers on wall walking days are included as detailed in the itinerary. On arrival day, a private transfer can be arranged from Thessaloniki Airport to Meteora. On Day 4, a private transfer can be arranged from Meteora to Ioannina. On Day 5, private transfer can be arranged from Ioannina to Kapesovo. On departure day, private transfer can be arranged from Kapesovo to Ioannina.

Please use the CHECK AVAILABILITY BUTTON above to check availability and pricing of different options and supplements for your desired dates.

Baggage Transfers

Baggage transfer on the self guided days is included and your bags will be transferred by your current hotel (or by private transfer) to your next hotel. When you travel by public transport, you always carry your luggage with you.

Country Info

Timezone: GMT +2

Language: Greek. In big cities, many people speak English, but in remote areas, this might not be the case. However, most of the hotel personnel where we stay speak English and are ready to help you. Road signs/markers are normally in both Greek and Latin alphabet – and you can always call our 24/7 helpline if there are any problems.

Electric supply and plugs: 220V, 50Hz, two-pin round plugs.

Currency: Euro (€). We strongly advise taking adequate cash for your daily requirements. Banks and ATMs are not available outside of Ioannina but credit/debit card payments are accepted in most places.

Cost of living: in Greece is cheaper than in the UK. Some sample prices follow:

  • A 3-course meal in a standard restaurant: 12€
  • A litre of mineral water from a street shop: 1€
  • A cup of coffee: 2.5€

Up-to-date travel advice on Greece is available here.

Detailed up-to-date travel information and hints will be provided in your holiday information pack.

Trip Info for Meteora and Pindos Mountains

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Difficulty Grade: Moderate

This holiday is suitable for walkers of good fitness. All days include walks of a moderate grade, the most strenuous being Days 4 and 7.  Average daily walking distance is 18 km per day, while daily elevation gain is up to 700 m (read more about difficulty grades).

Route Navigation

Terrain is varying from steep rocky footpaths in Meteora to cobbled paths and dirt roads in Zagori. Your walks in Meteora are guided (guides are English-speaking). Self guided routes in Zagori are well signposted and we provide simple route notes and GPS tracks. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our local 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to Go

This trip is available between May and and October.The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date in the season – so please indicate desired beginning date when booking.

Weather

The climate in Zagori and Thessaly is Mediterranean continental with an average of 100 days of sunshine in the May-September period. It is influenced by the mountain range of Pindos and spring and autumn are pleasant with cool nights and occasional rain. Depending on location and altitude, temperatures vary, but generally, in the May-September period, the daily averages are 15 –25C. High summer daytime temperatures are rarely too hot as even though temperatures can occasionally reach 30C. Summer nights are quite cool and pleasant.

What to Bring

We recommend that you travel as light as possible – airlines might charge you an extra fee, and during ground transfers, the place might be limited. Ideally, you should bring one piece of luggage weighing not more than 20 kg (to be checked in) and a daily pack (15 – 20 l rucksack) for your everyday essentials (snacks, drinking water, camera, etc.). Below is a non-exclusive list of what you should bring to this trip. More detailed info will be included in your holiday information pack. If you need further advice, please contact a reputable outdoor retailer or us.

  • Good hiking boots
  • Hiking socks
  • Several t-shirts (cotton or preferably breathable/fast drying)
  • Packable waterproof and windproof jacket with hood
  • Synthetic mid layer or warm fleece
  • Trainers and/or sandals – to relax and wear inside accommodation
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve
  • Hat/Baseball cap
  • Personal First Aid kit (wet wipes, flu remedies, stomach remedies)

Included for Meteora and Pindos Mountains

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  • Certified English-speaking mountain guide for the two Meteora guided walks on Days 2 and 3
  • Holiday information pack including simple route notes and maps for the self guided days
  • GPS tracks for the self guided days to use either via our smartphone app or on your own GPS device
  • 7 nights in 3-star boutique hotels and guesthouses (private rooms with en-suite facilities)
  • 7 breakfasts
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all self guided walking days
  • All car transfers on walking days where necessary as detailed in the itinerary above
  • The necessary climbing gear if you opt for the via corda climb on Day 3
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local representative

Single Room & Solo Traveller Supplements

  •  Where solo travellers or individual members of a group require a single room, a single room supplement is applicable as costs are not shared.
  • This trip is also available for solo travellers.

Please check cost of the different options and supplements for your preferred dates using the CHECK AVAILABILITY button above.

Excluded

  • Flights and departure airport transfers
  • Connecting transfer on Day 4 between Meteora and Zagori
  • Travel insurance
  • Lunches and dinners
  • Entrance fees to monasteries, museums and national parks
  • Local tourist tax (between 0.5 and 1.5 Euro per room per night, payable on site)
  • Personal expenses such as snacks, drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as ‘included’ in the programme

Extensions and Optional Extras

  • Optional guided Sunset Tour of Meteora on Day 3
  • One extra night in Ioannina after the holiday
  • Private transfer from Meteora to Ioannina on Day 4 (£260 per car, up to 4 persons)
  • Private transfers from/to Ioannina on Day 5 and Day 8 (£60 per car per transfer, up to 4 persons)

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