meteora greece monasteries

Meteora, Greece

The cliff-perched monasteries at Meteora are one of the most spectacular sights in Greece. Our Zagoria hiking journey includes a hike to these ancient monasteries, following in the footsteps of the monks.

Photo by Mehlig Manfred / Fototeca 9x12

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Greece: Zagoria and Mt. Olympus

The Pindos Mountains, Meteora, and the abode of Zeus

Greece: Zagoria and Mt. Olympus route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $3495  
Length: 11 days
Arrive: Ioannina, Greece
Depart: Thessaloniki, Greece
Lodging: 9 nights hotels and traditional guesthouses, 1 night mountain refuge
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Archaeology, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level: 9 hiking days on moderate to steep trails, 2-8 hours a day, altitudes between 3,000-9,400 feet
4p

Highlights

  • Traditional villages of Zagoria, with their stone architecture and classic Greek cuisine
  • Spectacular cliff-top monasteries of Meteora
  • Hike to the summit of Mt. Olympus, abode of the gods


I loved the entire experience! The “Big Greek Kostas” showed us the country he loves—with style!Diane G.—Vista, CA

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Departure Notes

Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.

A hidden world of the past is found in Zagoria, where thousand-year-old stone villages perch above the dramatic Vikos Gorge in Greece’s Pindos Mountains. In this traditional realm, little touched by the 21st century, you’ll hike village-to-village following trails along soaring arched bridges, crystal-clear springs, and ancient stone staircases, all the while savoring delicious Greek cuisine like tzatziki and fresh baked breads. Heading to the spectacular medieval monasteries of Meteora, our trails lead to these airy sanctuaries built atop towering sandstone rock pinnacles. The grand finale of our adventure is an ascent of Mt. Olympus (9,600’), storied home of the Greek gods.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-6
Ioánnina / Zagoria

From lakeside Ioánnina, we head to Zagoria for hikes to hidden villages dotting the Vikos Gorge, including Vitsa, with its lovely tree-shaded square, and Koukouli, where the absence of cars evokes an era of the past. Cross spectacular 10th century stone bridges, traverse cobbled trails, swim in the clear waters of a natural spring, and sample the local wines and herb-infused cuisine including keftedes, meatballs made with mint and cinnamon. A hike above the tree line brings us to gleaming Dragon Lake (6,800’), set on the edge of the escarpment of one of the highest peaks of the striking Pindos Mountains.

Days 7-11
Dodóna / Meteora Monasteries / Litochoro / Mt. Olympus

Exploring the sanctuary of Dodóna we enter into the realm of the oldest of Greek oracles, then on to the magnificent World Heritage Site of Meteora, where you’ll hike along the same paths that monks use. Starting in Litochoro, the gateway for Olympus climbs, head to the Spilio Agapitos Refuge (7,200’) to follow a hiker’s trail to the rocky summit of Skala (9,403’), one of Olympus’s five main peaks. From the top, you can gaze out over the ancient world from the abode of Zeus, ruler of the sky. Descend and depart on Day 11 via Thessaloniki, or extend your adventure in Delphi and beyond.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

What the Trip is Like

This trip is rated Level 4+, Moderate to Strenuous. It features daily hikes, with accommodations in hotels and simple pensions. Hikes vary from 3-5 hours a day at altitudes of 3,000 to 9,403 feet (the summit of Skala peak on Olympus). Although you carry only a daypack on the hikes, there are many steep ascents and descents and there are some sections that cross rough or rocky trails. For your own enjoyment, we recommend that you make a special effort to be in good physical condition for the trip. Regular hiking or using a stair-climbing machine at your gym are excellent preparatory exercises. You should wear sturdy, well-broken-in hiking boots for maximum comfort on the trail. Please note that in Greece, the dinner hour is considerably later than what it is in the US. We do our best to secure early reservations for our groups, but most often the evening meal will be at 8:00 pm.

All hotels and pensions we stay in are chosen for their history and central location. Since they are often in historic buildings the rooms may not conform to the international standards that you may be accustomed to in more cosmopolitan areas. We hope that you will be able to enjoy them for their charm and local color. Single rooms can be requested, but are not always available, due to the limited space in some of our hotels. If you require a single room, please make the request as early as possible. European single rooms are often smaller than US singles.

Explanation of Trip Levels

 

Departures & Leaders

2014
Aug 31-Sep 10, 2014  Kostas Vasileiou
Sep 30-Oct 10, 2014  Kostas Vasileiou
2015
May 5-15, 2015  Kostas Vasileiou
Jun 17-27, 2015  Kostas Vasileiou
Sep 30-Oct 10, 2015  Kostas Vasileiou

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2015
$3495 (13-16 members)
$3695 (8-12 members)
$3895 (4-7 members)
Single supplement: $390
Forced single supplement: $195
more on pricing

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guides
  • Accommodations in hotels and small comfortable inns and pensions with one overnight at a mountain refuge on Mt. Olympus
  • All meals included except 1 lunch
  • Entrance fees to sites

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare, hotel transfers to/from airports other than the designated group flights, any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Full Trip Brochure, airport departure taxes, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, additional hotel nights that may be necessary due to airline schedule changes or other factors; pre-trip expense of medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance or passports; and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, and so on).

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20%
60 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule

More than 90 days prior to departure: No charge!
46-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

Hotel Gouris

Days 1 to 2 (2 nights), Tsepelovo, Greece

In the beautiful old village of Tsepelovo, with its slate-roofed houses and stone bridges, we stay in the pleasant Hotel Gouris, a rustic hotel in a quiet location. The hotel is a renovated traditional Zagorian house.

Hotel Selini

Hotel Selini

Days 3 to 4 (2 nights), Vitsa, Greece

The Hotel Selini is a converted traditional house in the village of Vitsa, with seven comfortable rooms and panoramic views. It has a home-like ...
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Hotel Dias

Days 5 to 6 (2 nights), Papingo, Greece

Named for Dias (Zeus), the father of Greek Olympian gods, the Dias guesthouse has a stunning setting in the middle of the dramatic stone-built village of Papingo. It was built in 1990 but blends perfectly with the ancient architecture of the village.  From the hotel’s patio, we can see the Vikos Gorge and the rocky towers of Mount Astraka, and it’s a pleasant place to enjoy dinner and sunset over the peaks.

Hotel Kastraki

Hotel Kastraki

Day 7 (1 night), Meteora, Greece

Right at the foot of the spectacular Meteora rocks, the Kastraki has grand  views and comfortable air-conditioned rooms. It is situated near ...
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Hotel Olympus Mediterranean

Hotel Olympus Mediterranean

Day 8 (1 night),
Day 10 (1 night), Litochoro, Greece

This small new hotel is near the main square in Litochoro, the beautiful small town below Mt. Olympus. It is set on a quiet street within walking ...
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Spilios Agapitos Refuge

Spilios Agapitos Refuge

Day 9 (1 night), Mt. Olympus, Greece

Located on a natural flat area at 7,200 feet on Mt. Olympus, surrounded by impressive age-old Bosnian pine trees, this log-cabin-style lodge has ...
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Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Kostas Vasileiou

Kostas Vasileiou was born and raised in Ioannina, Greece, and now lives in the historic village of Kipi in the Vikos Gorge. He holds a professional mountain guide's licence from the Alpine Club of Greece and has also led trekking expeditions in Nepal. "Being a Trip Leader puts me in contact with many people from other cultures and lets me learn from other people's way of thinking. On my trips, I try to give people a chance to see the real, unspoiled Greece and to enjoy the warm hospitality of the people. I hope that trip members will come to share my love for the tradition, history, and beauty of Greece." Kostas speaks English and French and studied Byzantine art and Greek history at the University of Ioannina.

Upcoming Trips:

Greece: Zagoria and Mt. Olympus, August 31-September 10, 2014
Hiking in the Greek Isles, September 14-26, 2014
Greece: Zagoria and Mt. Olympus, September 30-October 10, 2014
Hiking in Crete, April 18-28, 2015
Greece: Zagoria and Mt. Olympus, May 5-15, 2015
Hiking in the Greek Isles, June 3-16, 2015
Greece: Zagoria and Mt. Olympus, June 17-27, 2015
Hiking in the Greek Isles, June 30-July 13, 2015
Hiking in the Greek Isles, September 2-15, 2015
Hiking in the Greek Isles, September 16-29, 2015
Greece: Zagoria and Mt. Olympus, September 30-October 10, 2015

Client Testimonials:


Kostas is a star! We had such an outstanding experience and felt extremely well taken care of while in Greece. Jayne T., Bernardsville NJ Kostas was great, a true professional. I always felt we were in good hands. He knowledge of the history, terrain, and local conditions was exceptional. Fred L, Surrey, England. Kostas is a great guide, and lots of fun. We had a great group of hikers, too! Nancy E., Oakland CA Kostas is largely responsible for making this an exceptional trip. He is a true character and absolutely delightful. Judey L., Houston TX
Greece and Zagoria
Kostas was fantastic! I cannot say enough good things about him. His biggest concern was our overall happiness and satisfaction with the trip. He went above and beyond any expectations of a trip leader. I have been traveling extensively for more than 10 years and have never met a better guide. Sally S., Delafield, WI
Legends of Greece
Kostas Vasileiou is a truly great trip leader. If all your leaders are like this, you have a great crew. Victor D., Chagrin Falls, OH Kostas Vasileiou is a charming, witty, personable guy. He totally made the trip. You can’t find better than Kostas. Candy H., Del Mar, CA Kostas Vasileiou is probably the best trip leader I have met so far and I have been doing active trips for the past 20 years. His experience as a guide is exceptional and he is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. Parul Doshi, Chester Springs PA
Greece: Zagoria & Mt. Olympus
Kostas Vasileiou was an amazing man who desired to show us the country of Greece from the inside out. Wonderful! Chris M., Milwaukee WI
Hiking in the Greek Isles
Kostas was a marvelous leader, a great historian, very interested in the well being of the trip members. His drive and passion to show us the best of Greece was evident. John T., West Hartford CT
Greece: Zagoria & Mt. Olympus
Kostas is an excellent leader. Personable, knowledgeable, smart, funny, generous spirit. What more would a traveler want? Anne H., Hillsborough CA
Greece: Zagoria & Mt. Olympus
Kostas was personable, knowledgeable, flexible, and very able. I enjoyed his insight on life and humor. Nena L., Washington, PA
Hiking in the Greek Isles
Kostas was one of the best leaders we've had on an adventure travel trip. It's a lot of fun hiking with an expert in his own backyard. He knows the specialties of each dining establishment and made sure we got a taste of everything. Jim and Carol B., Kensington, MD
Greece: Zagoria & Mt. Olympus
Kostas helped make the trip. He has friends everywhere, has an outgoing personality and wealth of experience, and answered all manner of questions, from identifying strange plants to geologic formations to the history of settlements on the islands. Charles S., Larkspur, CA
Hiking in the Greek Isles
Kostas handled everything beautifully. He was a great guide to the terrain, food, architecture, and history. He kept us smiling! His obvious love for the area and pride in its people were delightful. Ellen Q., Irvine, CA
Greece: Zagoria & Mt. Olympus
Kostas has so much experience and such depth of knowledge, both of which greatly enhanced our trip. Also, he devoted much attention to having us experience Greek cuisine. We sampled over 162 types of food! Laila D., Twin Lakes, CO
Hiking in the Greek Isles
I can't say enough positive things about Kostas—he was awesome. He has so much knowledge of the history and culture that he shared and that was a big part of the fun of the trip. Gwynne W., Lebanon, NJ
Hiking in the Greek Isles
Kostas' passion for Greece and the islands we visited was wonderful and make the trip so much fun! Mashenka L., Golden, CO
Hiking in the Greek Isles
Kostas is a "larger-than-life" individual with a passion for his country and its people. He inspired confidence, and I would not hesitate to take another trip that he was leading. Carmen B., Miami Beach, FL
Hiking in the Greek Isles
Kostas really made this trip very special and allowed us to really see the true Greece! His knowledge of history was just fabulous. Nancy B., Portola Valley, CA
Hiking in the Greek Isles
It;s difficult to find words to capture my appreciation, awe, and affection for Kostas. The stories of his amazing life kept us enthralled on the spectacular trails and many evenings over a local wine or raki. Niles B., Madison, WI
Hiking in the Greek Isles
We love this wise man, this natural host, this adventurer, this man of Greece. Chris M., Fish Creek, WI
Greece: Zagoria and Mt. Olympus

Client Comments

I loved the entire experience! The “Big Greek Kostas” showed us the country he loves—with style! Diane G., Vista, CA This is a very well designed trip. Margaret H., Washington, DC Nothing beats a day of challenging exercise followed by a great dinner surrounded by friends. I’ve taken a number of exceptional trips, but this one will be hard to beat. Candy H., Del Mar, CA Once again, WT comes through with a memorable and unique experience. Susan L., Cobham, Surrey, UK The trip was a wonderful introduction to Greece. We loved everything we saw—the people, the food, the incredible history. Frederick L., Cobham, Surrey, UK The time in Zagoria was especially magical. The food was spectacular and unforgettable. We enjoyed staying in smaller guest houses—all good choices. Tom H., Shoreline, WA
This is a great way to experience Greece. Barbara Kay C., Brighton, CO This was a very unusual experience that we couldn't have had on our own, with Kostas sharing his knowledge of this area that he knows so well. Ollie H., Castle Rock, CO We had a great time, off the beaten path, away from the crowds, the best lodging available in the area. Holly S., Boulder, CO Trip exceeded our expectations and should be on everyone's to-do list. Jim and Carol B., Kensington, MD Every day was an adventure with new sites and challenges. Walter K., Wilton, CT