Culture & Wine Tour 12 Days in the Wine Streets of Northern Greece

Follow us to a “delicious tour” in Northern Greece, a place not only famous for its cultural and historical sites, but also for its wine tradition. Wineries with great history and worldwide famous wine products, such as Katoi Averoff, Boutaris and Kir-Yianni, are waiting for you in a tour full of taste and nectar. Learn the Greek wine history and tradition from the best ones and taste some of the finest wines in Northern Greece

Day 1: Arrival

Flight to Corfu. Pick-up by guide and transfer to the booked hotel. A meeting for the programme presentation will be held on the same day. Hotel stay for 2 nights.

Day 2: Corfu

The city of Corfu and capital of the island is located between two forts and is fairly included in the most beautiful Mediterranean cities. The city owes its special character and aesthetic to the Romans, Venetians, Franks and British who passed by and left remnants of their cultures in the island of Phaeacians. The city tour leads us to the Saint Spyridon Church, the island’s patron saint.
As we leave the city and drive to Achilleion, we catch a glimpse of Corfu’s most famous landmark. The Mouse Island in the background and the Kanoni peninsula on the forefront create a fantastic landscape, like those that you can only see in postcards. After visiting the Achilleion, the summer palace of Empress Sissi who loved the Greek ancient heroes, we continue to Sinarades for our first stop in our wine tour.
Grammenos family is making wine since 1972 and is famous for the local grape varieties of “Kakotrigis” (white) and “Petrokorithos” (red). http://grammenosfamily-wines.com/
After wine tasting and our break for lunch, we drive on to Paleokastritsa through the amazing landscapes painted with numerous shades of green and blue. In Paleokastritsa, we will visit the monastery of Panagia (Virgin Mary). Finally, drive to Lakones, where we will admire the wonderful view.

Day 3: Oracle of Dodoni

In the morning we arrive at the mainland and drive to Dodoni; the ancient Greek sanctuary and the oldest Greek oracle, where the predictions were made mainly by interpreting the rustle of the one of Zeus’s sacred oaks, as well as the flight of doves.
Later on, we drive to the winery Zitsa http://www.zitsawine.gr/, where the local grape variety of Debina grows. The slightly dry white wine produced by this variety will be the next flavor we are going to taste in our tour.
Lunch break in one of the local taverns by the waters of Lake Pamvotis in Ioannina.

Day 4: In the trail of Ali Pasha

The day starts with a tour in the city of Ioannina, which was in the hands of the Ottomans until 1912. We walk in the narrow streets of the rehabilitated old city behind the fortification walls and we reach the house of Ali Pasha. We visit the Folk Art Museum and admire the view of the Lake and the island. A boat takes us to the island in the centre of the lake, where we will visit one of the monasteries built there, take a walk and enjoy the panorama of the surrounding mountains. In the monastery of Agios Panteleimonas we learn about the life and death of Ali Pasha, the last Ottoman ruler.
In the afternoon we drive to Metsovo, a village in the mountainous area of Pindos. In this small village of Epirus we will visit the “highest” winery in Greece (1,000 m.) http://www.katogihotel.gr. Since 1963 the Averoff family produces fine Cabernet Sauvignon. Although it is not the area of their origin, the table wines are of the finest quality; besides, the ones who do not believe, will soon taste it by themselves.

Day 5: The wine legends

The road through the mountainous wild landscape leads us to Amynteon and the Kir-Yianni winery, one of the Greek wine legends, founded by the Boutaris family http://www.kiryianni.gr. The founder may not live anymore, but his grandson has taken – except for his name – the tradition of wine production one step further. The winery is famous for the local variety of Xinomavro, which gives fine and fruity wines, different than the ones in Naoussa and Goumenissa.
After tasting these amazing flavours, we will drive on to Nymfeo, a traditional Vlach village, where pastoral life was always the main characteristic of the people.

Day 6: Vergina, the Royal Tombs

The waterfalls of Edessa offer us a unique view and a feeling of refreshment, as we stand and admire the landscape. Afterwards, we visit the village of Rodochori (ca. 540 m.) and the winery Argatia http://www.argatia.gr/, famous for its biological productions and the varieties of Xinomavro (red), Negoska (red), Moskomavro (red), Athiri (white) and Malagousia (white). Most of the wines are produced as cuvee, something indicating that this particular wine tasting will be very interesting.
In the afternoon, we reach Vergina to visit the Royals. Although it is just a small village 75 km away from Thessaloniki, its name was written with golden letters in history, because the ancient city of Aigai came to light there. Aigai was the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Macedonia and its cemetery contains the tombs of the royal dynasty and especially the tomb of the legendary King Philip II. The royal tombs were discovered in 1977-8 by the archaeologist Manolis Andronikos. The whole atmosphere in the underground building which hosts the museum of Vergina is mystic and leaves various feelings in the visitor’s heart. The tombs contained so many treasures, that everybody would wonder how luxurious the unfound tomb of Alexander the Great would be.

Day 7: From Veroia to Chalkidiki

We visit Veroia, or Berea as it is widely known from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 17, 10-15). There, we will have the chance to see the famous “Bema”, where Apostle Paul talked in public in 54 A.D. to spread the word of God. After our short journey back to the early Christian times, we will take a tour in the old part of the city.
We drive on to Thessaloniki, claimed to be the most romantic city in Greece. A visit in Ano Poli, the highest point of the city with the walls and the Byzantine fort, will surely bewitch you, as the view from this part of the city is really exquisite.
Afterwards, you will visit the White Tower, the landmark of Thessaloniki situated by the sea, the Arch of Galerius (known as “Kamara” among the locals), the Archaeological Museum and the Basilica of Aghios Demetrios (the patron saint of Thessaloniki) with the crypt discovered in the early years of the 20ieth century.
Afterwards, we drive about 30 km away from Thessaloniki and we reach Epanomi, a small town famous for its wine and tsipouro production. We visit the winery of Gerovasiliou Family http://www.gerovassiliou.gr/, where we will taste the fine wines produced there and visit the museum of the winery which hosts important parts of the history of the Macedonian wine production.

Day 8: From Alexander the Great to Apostle Paul

We drive to Philippi, to follow the steps of Alexander the Great, his father King Philipp II and also Apostle Paul; a small city which hosted in different periods of time 3 great names of worldwide history.
Our next stop is Adriani, a village nearby; the winery Lazaridis has created a great business name in the last 20 years and its concept is simple: high-quality cuvees made from international varieties like Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon together with local varieties like Agiorgitiko. The fine quality of the wines becomes obvious during tasting. http://www.domaine-lazaridi.gr/
Two stops in a row for our wine tour today: we move on to the winery Techni Oinou (Wine Art Winery) http://www.wineart.gr/, where the production is mainly of Italian and Portuguese varieties. Famous wines are “Techni Alipias” (white), “Techni Malagousia” (white) etc.
Later on, after a small stop in ancient Amphipoli, we visit Ouranoupoli, the last destination before entering the “abaton” of Mount Athos. 

Day 9: The “Holy Mountain” of Athos

From Ouranoupoli you will take the boat for a short cruise around the “Holy Mountain” of Athos. Mount Athos is really a small republic of monks with 20 monasteries, where no women are permitted; 12 of them are built by the sea. The cruise will last about 3 hours and the view is fantastic.

Day 10: Aristoteles and Claudia

Today we drive to Stageira, motherland of the famous – and maybe the greatest – philosopher of all times, Aristotle. Standing next to his memorial in this small town of Macedonia, we learn about his teachings on democracy and ethics.
We continue with a drive to Arnea, a small alpine village where we visit the winery Claudia, where local varieties such as Xinomavro (red), Malagousia (white) and Assyrtiko (white) grow next to French varieties. Wine tasting with some of the finest cuvees of Mrs. Claudia Papayannis. http://www.cp-domaine.gr/

Day 11: Petralona Cave

Petralona Cave is located in Chalkidiki and was discovered in the 1950’s. We visit the Cave, as well as the Anthropological Museum with the fantastic findings of prehistorical interest.
Last but not least in the wineries list of this tour is the “King of Wine”, the winery Tsantalis http://www.tsantali.com/. During our visit, we learn how Tsantalis managed to become the largest wine production in Greece. We will have the chance to taste cuvees made from the local grape Limnio (red) and Cabernet Sauvignon (red), as well as Assyrtiko (white), Athiri (white) and Chardonnay (white).

Day 12: Departure – “Geia sas”


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