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Central and Northwestern Greece 4x4 Adventure View Full Screen Itinerary

7 NIGHTS 8 DAYS, FULLY GUIDED WITH 4X4 AND DRIVER, ATHENS, VIKOS GORGE, AOOS & TZOUMERKA NATIONAL PARKS, MONASTERIES, HIKING, KAYAKING, BIKING & RAFTING

Your adventure starts in Athens. From Athens you will head west towards Thermopylae and the mountain valleys of Karpenisi in the central Greek highlands, driving through some of the most striking alpine landscapes in Greece. Continuing north through the Agrafa mountain pass, you will head to Lake Plastiras, the largest artificial lake in Greece which you can explore on mountain bikes, kayaks or on foot, before heading further north towards the national parks of Northwestern Greece.

Boasting the deepest gorge in the world, home to an ecosystem unique to Greece and renowned for their hospitable mountain villages of incredible architecture, the Vikos - Aoos and Tzoumerka National Parks are the ultimate active traveler’s destinations in the country.

Your will use the scenic village of Megalo Papingo in Zagori as your base, and from here you will be able to explore the valleys and rivers on foot and by 4x4 vehicle. From here, set out to go hiking, horseback riding and cycling on beautiful mountain trails, river trekking and rafting down the impressive Voidomatis and Arachthos rivers, rappelling in one of Tzoumerka National Park’s most scenic river gorges, all while exploring the picturesque mountain villages of North Western Greece.

Leaving Tzoumerka behind you, you will head towards the gravity defying Monasteries of Meteora, a true highlight of any visit to Greece, before heading back to Athens. Spend a week in one of the most impressive mountain destinations of Southern Europe, a true paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and the perfect place to lay back and unwind in an amazing natural setting after a long day of exploration.

ITINERARY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Experience the rich culture, delicious cuisine and millennia spanning history of mainland Greece
  • Hike along numerous mountain trails in the Vikos - Aoos National Park
  • Have an amazing trekking experience, crossing the World's deepest gorge, Vikos Paddle down the crystal clear waters of the Voidomatis and Arachthos rivers
  • Explore the valleys around Papingo on horseback
  • Unwind in one of the National Park's natural swimming pools
  • Rappel in one of the most beautiful river gorges of Tzoumerka National Park
  • Enjoy the delicious local cuisine of the Zagori and Tzoumerka villages
  • Walk around a 15th century castle in the city of Ioannina
  • Cycle around Lake Plastiras
  • Feel the spray of fresh water on your face, canyoning down waterfalls in Karpenisi
  • Have a guided tour at the Byzantine monasteries of Meteora

 

Day 1

Day 1: Athens

We leave Athens early morning for the great outdoors and our adventure begins. In the morning, we pick up our 4WD vehicles. There, our tour leaders briefly introduce the group to the tour itinerary and the security regulations of the convoy. Driving along the national highway, we have...

We leave Athens early morning for the great outdoors and our adventure begins. In the morning, we pick up our 4WD vehicles. There, our tour leaders briefly introduce the group to the tour itinerary and the security regulations of the convoy. Driving along the national highway, we have an afternoon break by the sea and we stop by the statue of Spartan King Leonidas and the local hot springs on our way west. We continue driving off-road, crossing the mountain range of Timfristos. Along the way, we admire the amazing panoramic views of the Karpenisi valley and arrive at our guesthouse in Karpenisi late in the evening.

Overnight: ​Traditional Guesthouse in Karpenisi

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Day 2

Day 2: Karpenisi

After breakfast, we visit the picturesque village of Fidakia, one of the most charming villages of Evrytania. A walk through the cobbled streets and stone-built houses of Fidakia gives the sense that time here stands still. In the afternoon, we have a stroll by the banks of the...

After breakfast, we visit the picturesque village of Fidakia, one of the most charming villages of Evrytania. A walk through the cobbled streets and stone-built houses of Fidakia gives the sense that time here stands still. In the afternoon, we have a stroll by the banks of the Trikeriotis river with plenty of time to relax and admire the breathtaking panoramic view of the Kremasta Lake and Bridge, meeting point for 4 rivers of Central Greece. From there, an off-road drive over the forested slopes of Mt Helidona takes us to the village of Megalo Horio for our late afternoon coffee-break. We have a walk through its narrow streets, in order to admire the beautiful traditional architecture, before we head back to Karpenisi for dinner late in the evening. Should you feel like it Karpenisi is renowned for outdoor activities, such as rafting, canyoning, hiking and horseback riding which we can arrange on request.

Overnight: ​Traditional Guesthouse in Karpenisi

Meals included: ​Breakfast

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Day 3

Day 3: Karpenisi to Lake Plastiras

Leaving behind us the mountain range of Evrytania, we head to the Plastira Lake in the region of Thessaly. Driving off road over the mountains of Agrafa gives us the chance to enjoy the most spectacular views of our 4x4 driving adventure. Having the Agrafiotis riverbed next to...

Leaving behind us the mountain range of Evrytania, we head to the Plastira Lake in the region of Thessaly. Driving off road over the mountains of Agrafa gives us the chance to enjoy the most spectacular views of our 4x4 driving adventure. Having the Agrafiotis riverbed next to us we climb to the isolated mountain villages of Agrafa, a real 4x4 driving challenge at the highest-altitude villages of Evrytania. The traditional tavernas, cosy guesthouses and the hospitality of the locals, surrounded by a purely alpine natural scenery creates a uniquely warm and pleasant atmosphere and an authentic cultural experience. Late afternoon we arrive at the beautiful Plastira Lake, a really romantic landscape that harmoniously combines serenity with adventure. We take a walk by the lakeshore and settle back to experience the unique atmosphere created by the intense colors of the surrounding nature. There is also plenty of time for an optional mountain bike cycle through the numerous bike trails around the lake or lake cycling in its calm, deep light blue waters.

Overnight: ​5* Resort and Spa in Lake Plastira (or traditional guesthouse in Lake Plastira upon request)

Meals included: ​Breakfast

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Day 4

Day 4: Lake Plastiras to Tzoumerka National Park

On this day we leave Lake Plastiras behind us and head further north through the Pindus mountain range towards the Tzoumerka National Park, a lesser known, yet stunningly beautiful part of northwestern Greece, with picture postcard views of the surrounding valleys, lush forests, rivers and canyons. When it...

On this day we leave Lake Plastiras behind us and head further north through the Pindus mountain range towards the Tzoumerka National Park, a lesser known, yet stunningly beautiful part of northwestern Greece, with picture postcard views of the surrounding valleys, lush forests, rivers and canyons. When it comes to hidden gems on the mainland, the Tzoumerka National Park comes to mind. It is a place of amazing landscapes, unique flora and fauna and relatively unexplored when it comes to tourism. Here you will experience rural Greece at its finest as well as one of the best rafting routes in Greece! Our destination for the night is Syrrako, a protected 16th century settlement up in the mountains, that is renowned for its traditional Epirotic architecture and aristocratic history. Before we get to our guesthouse we get a chance to visit the Monastery of Kipina and its adjacent cavern. The Monastery is clinging from rocky cliffs and the misty valley underneath it makes for postcard perfect photos.

Overnight: ​Traditional Guesthouse in Tzoumerka National Park

Meals included: ​Breakfast

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Day 5

Day 5: Tzoumerka National Park to Vikos National Park

Driving through the great outdoors and heading further west, you get to experience one of the most scenic drives in mainland Greece. The ancient forests give their place to barren alpine valleys and if we’re lucky we get to see wild horses and even bears before we reach...

Driving through the great outdoors and heading further west, you get to experience one of the most scenic drives in mainland Greece. The ancient forests give their place to barren alpine valleys and if we’re lucky we get to see wild horses and even bears before we reach the historic city of Ioannina, Western Greece's largest city. A place with rich history, an important financial and cultural hub in Byzantine times and the center of the Greek Enlightenment during the Ottoman Period, the city is built on the hills around lake Pamvotis. Here we allow some time to stretch your legs by the lake and walk around the 15th century castle of Ioannina, the city’s fortified old town. From there it is an hours drive to the mountain village of Megalo Papingo in the area of Zagori, which is going to be our base for the next couple of days.

Overnight: ​Traditional Guesthouse in Megalo Papingo

Meals included: ​Breakfast

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Day 6

Day 6 : Vikos Aoos National Park

On this day we explore more of the Vikos-Aoos National Park. We pass through traditional stone built villages with rich history, unique architecture and warm hospitality, scattered along the edges of the Vikos gorge. Stone arch bridges, unique geological formations, ancient monastery fortresses hidden in the rocky outcrops,...

On this day we explore more of the Vikos-Aoos National Park. We pass through traditional stone built villages with rich history, unique architecture and warm hospitality, scattered along the edges of the Vikos gorge. Stone arch bridges, unique geological formations, ancient monastery fortresses hidden in the rocky outcrops, great hiking trails and Greece’s most popular and scenic rafting route are all present. The gorge itself is the deepest in the world and a must see for everyone visiting northern Greece. Natural viewpoints on both sides of the gorge provide amazing photo opportunities of this unique landscape. Late evening we head back to our base in Papingo, having passed through impressive stone arch bridges, welcoming mountain settlements and lush forested areas that abound in the area.

Overnight: ​Traditional Guesthouse in Papingo

Meals included: ​Breakfast

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Day 7

Day 7: Vikos Aoos National Park

This day is dedicated to river rafting, horseback riding and hiking. After breakfast, we gear up, grab our paddles and board the boats. We spend the next 2-3 hours going down the turquoise waters of the Voidomatis river, passing through an amazing landscape of diverse tree species. About...

This day is dedicated to river rafting, horseback riding and hiking. After breakfast, we gear up, grab our paddles and board the boats. We spend the next 2-3 hours going down the turquoise waters of the Voidomatis river, passing through an amazing landscape of diverse tree species. About halfway through, we leave our boats for a while to do a short hike to the small Byzantine church of Agioi Anargyroi. The Kleidonia stone bridge marks the end of our river adventure. Once there, we have a midday break by the river banks and head back to Megalo Papingo. Early evening, we saddle up and explore the green valleys and slopes around our base on horseback. For the next few hours we gallop through stunningly beautiful landscapes, guiding our horses through mountain trails.

OR

This day presents you with a chance to trek through the World's deepest gorge. The trek through the Vikos canyon is a highlight of any trip to this part of Greece and an amazing experience for nature enthusiasts. Early in the morning we head to the village of Monodendri and walk down the path to the canyon's base. From there it is a 6 to 7 hour trek, walking along the banks of one of the Voidomatis tributaries. Under the shadow of the gorge's steep cliffs we have a short break for an energy snack, before we continue trekking towards the springs of the Voidomatis river. From there we head up, towards the village of Vikos or Megalo Papingo, depending on the route we choose to take.

Overnight:​ Traditional guesthouse in Papingo

Meals Included:​ Breakfast

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Day 8

Day 8: Vikos Aoos National Park - Meteora - Athens

Leaving Papingo behind us, the downhill drive towards Central Greece passes through heavily forested areas and green valleys, eventually leading us to a Unesco World Heritage site and one of the highlights of this trip: The gravity defying ancient Monasteries of Meteora. The name Meteora, which translates into...

Leaving Papingo behind us, the downhill drive towards Central Greece passes through heavily forested areas and green valleys, eventually leading us to a Unesco World Heritage site and one of the highlights of this trip: The gravity defying ancient Monasteries of Meteora. The name Meteora, which translates into 'suspended in the air', is given to the only 6 surviving 14th century monasteries, built on the tops of unique rocky cliffs. We take a guided walking tour in one of the monasteries and learn about the history of one of the most striking natural and cultural sites in Southern Europe. Late evening we arrive back to Athens where our adventure ends.

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INCLUDED IN THE STANDARD TOUR PRICE

Accommodation:

1 night 5* resort in Lake Plastira / 2 nights traditional guesthouse in Megalo Papingo /

2 nights traditional guesthouse in Karpenisi / 1 night traditional guesthouse in Tzoumerka National Park

Meals/Drinks:

7 Breakfasts

Transport: ​4x4 vehicle costs, professional driver, fuel costs, toll costs,

Tour Staff: Bilingual Tour Leader, Outdoor Activities Instructors where needed, Local Guides where needed

NOT INCLUDED IN THE STANDARD TOUR PRICE

Airline tickets

Personal expenses

Travel insurance

Meals unless otherwise specified

Tour activities (horseback riding in Papingo: 15 euros pp / rafting in Vikos: 40 euros pp / rafting

in Tzoumerka: 40 euros pp / lake cycling in Lake Plastira: 15 euros pp / mountain biking in Lake

Plastira: 10 euros pp / canyoning in Tzoumerka: price upon request / canyoning in Karpenisi: 35

euros pp)

Important General Information about your trip.

Accommodation:

In order to guarantee a memorable overall experience throughout your adventure with Sandgrouse Travel & Expeditions, we have carefully handpicked a mix of family-run, traditional hotels and guesthouses for your accommodation. In all our trips, accommodation is operated on a twin share basis. This means that travelling as an individual, you will be sharing accommodation and room facilities with another person of the same sex or your partner, spouse, family, friend etc. There is also the option of booking a single room/cabin for an additional cost depending on availability at the time of booking. Our usual accommodation as described on the extra info of our tour may alter due to lack of availability. On such an occasion accommodation of similar standard will be arranged.

Meals:

When travelling with Sandgrouse Travel & Expeditions, you’ll experience a great variety of delicious food, based on traditional Greek cuisine. Emphasizing on the regional cuisine of our destinations, we have carefully selected local, family run, restaurants for our groups. On a camping day or when we have a picnic lunch, we usually buy local cheeses, vegetables, meat and bread from local markets so you don’t miss out on the specialities of the region. On a day when a barbeque dinner is included in our itinerary, we usually buy local cheeses, vegetables, meat or fish and bread from local markets, we choose a quiet, beautiful island beach where you can either help with the grilling and marinating or, alternatively, you can opt to have a swim under the stars while we cook for you. We prefer to include most meals in the standard price of our tours. This gives our groups the opportunity to eat together and enjoy a larger variety of local dishes after a long day. When a meal is not included feel free to ask your tour leader to suggest a local restaurant in the village or town you are staying. Generally meals on board the sailing yacht are included in the standard price of our tours. "Light lunch" and "breakfast" usually refers to fresh Mediterranean salads, milk, cereal, sandwiches, omelets or fresh fruit and local cheeses. When a meal is not included feel free to ask your tour leader to suggest a local restaurant in the village or town you are staying. For the meal plan of the tour please refer to the day to day itinerary and the extra info of the tour. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, have any food allergies or any special requests when it comes to food, please let us know at the time of booking.

Tour Activities:

The style of travel in our adventures provides us a great deal of excitement, however is dependent on several factors, such as weather, terrain conditions and technical problems of our transportation. These may create unexpected circumstances throughout our tours that we have to deal with by making minor changes to the tour itinerary or the activities included in a particular day. For that reason the described day to day itinerary is used as a guideline which gives us the flexibility to make changes when needed. When a “guided” tour at a historical/cultural site is mentioned, the costs of a professional guide is included in the standard tour price. In every outdoor activity we work with fully qualified operators whose safety track has been extensively assessed personally by us. The necessary equipment needed for every outdoor activity is always provided by the local activity operators. For your personal gear please refer to the "preparing for your tour" section below.

Joining Your tour

At Sandgrouse Travel & Expeditions, we operate "Land Only" based adventures. This means that flights to Greece are not included in the tour price. Travellers are responsible to make their own travel arrangements and make sure that they will be able to join the group at the joining point and time announced when booking. Our "Land Only" adventures provide you the flexibility to join one of our tours as part of longer holiday in Greece. You may spend some days before or after your tour visiting another Greek region, combining adventure, leisure and rest.

 

Preparing For Your Trip

Before you travel, we encourage you to learn about the region you'll explore while on a tour. From local weather conditions to information on geography, local history and culture, all are essential in order to make the most out of you tour, while minimizing the possibility to face unexpected, unpleasant circumstances.

Weather Information

Greece in general has warm and humid summers lasting from May till October. In May and October weather can be less predictable with some rain and chilly temperatures being possible especially in the Greek mainland. Greek summers are generally hot, with temperatures rarely getting lower than 25 degrees Celsius in most of our destinations, while temperatures of over 40 degrees Celsius during the day are not unheard of in July and August. In the open sea, weather can be tough to predict all year round, but in the summer the seas are generally calm and ideal for sailing. Generally, cool temperatures and occasional rainfalls occur especially at night especially in the mountains, a fact that you have to take into account when packing for your adventure.

Packing for your tour

Being as light as possible is always important on an adventure tour plus space is limited on board a sailing boat so, our travelers are expected to bring with them a backpack or suitcase as well as a daypack for personal items and valuables.

Travel documents​:

Passport, visa if required, valid travel/activity insurance

Personal health care items​:

Personal medication, sunscreen, insect repellent, travel sickness tablets, sunglasses, insect bite gel

Clothing/walking/swimming gear​:

Fleece/soft-shell jacket, waterproof & windproof jacket, sun hat, long trousers (wearing shorts is not permitted in monasteries and churches), shorts, swimming costume, extra towel for swimming, t-shirts, hooded tops, trainers/walking shoes, waterproof hiking shoes/boots, personal mattress or a sleeping bag (should you choose to sleep on the yacht's sundeck), torch, umbrella, snorkelling mask and fins.

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