Hidden Villages of Northern Greece

The Vikos Gorge, Meteora, and the Abode of Zeus


Traditional Greece can still be found in Zagoria, where stone-built villages are perched along the Vikos Gorge. We discover this realm on hikes along shepherds’ paths and across arched stone bridges that span the gorge. Heading to the famed monasteries of Meteora, we’ll follow the monks’ footpaths through these airy medieval sanctuaries, built in the 13th century. Our grand finale is an incredible hike up Mt. Olympus, storied home of the gods, where we gaze over the ancient world from the summit. Our Trip Leaders make culinary adventures a highlight of the journey, and we’ll fuel our hikes by sampling seasonal delights of northern Greek cuisine.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-3
Ioánnina / Dodóna / Zagoria

From Ioánnina, we explore Dodóna, home to the Oracle of Zeus, the first diviner of Greece, then head to tiny Tsepélovo in Zagoria. As we follow paths to the hilltop village of Vradeto (4,700'), the highest in Zagoria, we’ll have splendid views of the Vikos Gorge. We enjoy a local wine tasting before we descend the famous Vradeto Steps, a 17th century stone staircase leading into the gorge.

Mir Boutique Hotel
Ioánnina, Greece
Day 1 (1 night)
Days 4-6
Kipi / Vitsa / Koukoúli / Dragon Lake / Zagoria

Spectacular 17th century stone bridges grace the Vikos Gorge, and we cross our first one to arrive at the handsome village of Kipi. From Vitsa, with its cascade of stone houses, an optional hike brings us up to Agia Paraskevi Monastery. At atmospheric Koukoúli, the absence of motor traffic evokes a past era, and when we reach Pápingo, we’ll have views of almost the entire length of the Vikos Gorge. Between hikes, we relax in village squares shaded by plane trees, and enjoy the wines and herb-infused cuisine of the region.

Hotel Selini
Vitsa, Greece
Days 4 to 5 (2 nights)
Hotel Dias
Pápingo, Greece
Days 6 to 7 (2 nights)
Days 7-8
Meteora Monasteries

At Meteora, which means “suspended in the air,” monks of the Eastern Orthodox church built hermitages atop sheer pinnacles. We follow paths to these seemingly inaccessible sanctuaries, then head to the coast at Thessaloniki, a city with fantastic cuisine (our Trip Leaders will make sure we taste the best!).

Hotel Dias
Pápingo, Greece
Days 6 to 7 (2 nights)
Hotel Kastraki
Meteora, Greece
Day 8 (1 night)
Days 9-12
Thessaloniki / Mt. Olympus

We start our Olympus hike at Prionia, hiking above treeline to the Spilio Agapitos Refuge (6,890'). The next day, if the weather is with us, we hike to the rocky point of Skala (9,403'), the hiker’s summit of this majestic sacred mountain. Depart on Day 12 via Thessaloniki.

Mediterranean Palace Hotel
Thessaloniki, Greece
Day 9 (1 night), Day 11 (1 night)
Spilios Agapitos Refuge
Mt. Olympus, Greece
Day 10 (1 night)



Hike to the traditional stone-built villages of Zagoria
Visit the surreal clifftop monasteries of Meteora
Summit the hiker’s peak of Mt. Olympus, a fitting abode for the gods
Experience a wonderful array of local Greek cuisine and wines


Length: 12 days
Cost From: $4195  
Arrive: Ioánnina, Greece
Depart: Thessaloniki, Greece
Lodging: 10 nights hotels and guesthouses, 1 night mountain refuge
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch and 1 dinner as indicated in the Detailed Itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Archaeology, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level:

7 hiking days on moderate to steep trails, 2-6 hours a day, with optional more challenging hikes, including to the summit of Olympus, van support (for luggage or if you wish to skip a day's hike). This is a strenuous hiking trip, read “What the Trip is Like” for more details.

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