This is a unique walking archeological holiday, during which you will visit the main historical and cultural highlights of Southern Greece; all of them listed as UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites: Apollo’s Oracle in Delfi, Zeus’s sanctuary and the stadium of ancient Olympic Games in Olympia, Mycenae and Epidaurus and also the monastery of Osios Loukas, whilst you go hiking through the beautiful landscapes of the Peloponnese and Southern Central Greece, past rural areas and picturesque villages. Join us in this off the beaten track walking & culture small group adventure in regions full of myths and legends!
Day 1: Welcome!
Welcome! Today you meet you guide in historical center of Athens and go for a short sunset walk around the Acropolis and the West Hills. During the wellcome dinner, in a typical familly run restaurant, first briefing will take place. Overnight in Athens
Day 2: The byzantine monastery of Saint Lukas. The Corycian Cave
In the morning you will be picked up from your hotel or a set meeting point and leave Athens traveling towards Delphi. On the way, you will visit the monastery of Osios Loukas (St. Lukas) in Boeotia, with its splendid mosaics. This is a UNESCO Worlk Cultural Heritage Site. After a short transfer, you go for a senic roundtrip walk along the slopes of Mount Parnassos, to the Corycian Cave; once dedicated to the cult of Pan and the Nymphs. You travel little further to reach Delphi; a lovely provincial town, built on the slopes of Parnassos, with beautiful view on the Corinthian Gulf. During Antiquity, this place was considered to be the center of the world! 1 night in Delphi.
Walking: Roundtrip, about 1h30min, 5km, + 200m / -200m, simple
Total transfer: about 230 km, 3h15 min
Day 3: Discovering Delphi. The “Navel of the World”
In the morning you visit the magnificent archaeological site of Delphi; known for Apollo’s oracle and Pythia’s prophecies. The hike of the day is an archeological walk on the Sacred Way, through the shrines of ancient gods, towards the ancient theater and the stadium of the Pythic Games. You will visit the archeological museum with the famous Bronze Charioteer, sculptures of Siphnos Treasure, colossal statues of “Kouros” from Argos and the remains of three gold and ivory statues. Lunch pause and departure to the Peloponnese. You travel on the coastal road along the Corinthian Gulf, where there will be a refreshing swimming stop, you cross the Rio-Antirrio straights and you arrive at the sacred land of Elis. 1 night in Katakolo or in Ancient Olympia.
Total transfer: about 241 km, 3 h 15 min
Day 4: Olympia; cradle of the Olympic Games. Trip to Arcadia
In the morning you visit Ancient Olympia, where since 776 B.C and for over one millennium, the Olympic Games had been organized, until the day when the Byzantine Christian Emperors had decided to ban them due to their pagan character. It took 1500 years for the organization of the first modern Olympic Games; in 1896. You will visit Zeus’s sanctuary with its temples, its stadium and the palestra. In the museum you will discover the sculptures from Zeus’s temple, the victory (Nike) of Paionios and Hermes of Praxiteles. Afterwarrds, take the road to the inland and travel towards the mountainous center of the Peloponnese. Through wild landscapes and picturesque villages you enter the mountainous area of Arcadia; a region full of history and legends, at the foothills of Mount Mainalo. 2 nights in Stemnitsa or Dimitsana.
Total transfer: about 126 km, 2h45min
Day 5: The spectacular gorge of Lousios. Typical stone villages
Today you go hiking through the gorge of Lousios River, from Stemnitsa to Dimitsana; the so-called ''stone jewels'' of Arcadia, with their stone mansions and stone paved paths, in perfect harmony with the beautiful lush landscape; passing by the monastery of Prodromos and Philosopher’s (Philosophou); both ''hanging'' on the vertical rocky cliffs. You will have time to explore both Stemnitsa and Dimitsana villages.
Walking: Stemnitsa - Dimitsana, about 5h, 12.5 km, +1240m /- 1330 m, moderate
Total transfer: about 15 km / 20 min
Day 6: Mount Mainalon hike. Mycenae and Nafplio
Today you climb Mt. Mainalon; the mountainous wooded heart of the Peloponnese, from the hut of the alpine club of Tripolis, at 1600m to the pick of Ostrakina, at 1981m. Departure to Argolis and the east coast, where you can swim in the sea after two days on the mountains. In the afternoon you will visit Mycenae; homeland of Agamemnon, the military chef of Greeks during the Trojan War. You will stroll through the Bronze Age citadel with the famous Lion Gate, the Cyclopean Walls and the Beehive Tombs. At small distance you will explore the very picturesqe Neoclassical town of Nafplion; the first capital of modern Greece. 1 night in Nafplion or Tolo, on the gulf of Argos.
Walking: about 2h, + 400m / - 400m, moderate
Total transfer: about 135 km, 2h30min
Day 7: Ancient Epidaurus. Last exploration. Farewell!
In the morning you visit the archeological site of Epidaurus, where during the Antiquity, pilgrims arrived from the entire Greece, in order to find cure in the sanctuary of Asclepius; the healing god. The ancient theatre of Epidaurus, which is still operating today, is famous for its acoustics. After walking through the rural area near the region of Epidaurus you go for swimming or just relaxing by the beach. In the evening, this beautiful adventure ends. You leave the Peloponnese through the Canal of Corinth and you eventually return to Athens.
Walking: about 2h, 5km, flat, easy
Total transfer: 170 km, 2h40min