1st day. Arrival, Welcome to Kastoria!

Flight to Thessaloniki and transfer to your hotel in Kastoria. Tip for the evening: Go like the locals at the southern or northern promenade of the picturesque lake for a walk and immerse yourself in the music scene and nightlife.

Just perfect to start with!

2nd day. Kastoria, folkloric tour in the unique old town atmosphere in the Doltso district, visit to the Cave of the Dragon and the Byzantine monastery of Mavriotissa.

The route unfolds in the southern waterfront area, in the historic Doltso district, Kastoria's old town. Through cobbled alleys we admire the historical neighbourhoods dotted with their post byzantine churches. Along stone-paved streets, we admire old, traditional neighbourhoods, countless Byzantine churches and enjoy the atmosphere of an authentic old town, which wonderfully combines the old with the new.

On our visit at the Folklore Museum, located in an old manor house 'Archontiko' dated back in the 17th Century, we gain insight into the family life and the organization of a self-sufficient domestic economy of the period.

After a short ride on the lake in the company of swans, pelicans and cormorants, we reach the Cave of the Dragon, a prehistoric cave in the belly of the mountain massif with small lakes and fascinating stalactite formations.

Along a beautifully framed by sycamores historic track we reach the Mavriotissa monastery, a Byzantine monument on the eastern shore of the lake and a historic site: Here was where the Byzantines launched their victorious attack against the Normans. The 12th Century frescoes and the entire iconographic pattern are unique and reveal valuable information about the society, art and culture of the time.

Photos of the folkloric city tour.

3rd day. Trip to the Prespa lakes.

In the province of Western Macedonia, not far from the Albanian border, there are two Greek beauty spots, rarely visited by foreigners.

The Prespa Lakes are among the most beautiful, remote and yet least known landscapes of Greece. They lie in a broad valley 850m above sea level and are encircled by mountains. The Great Prespa Lake is 275 km ², the largest lake in the Balkans. Only on clear days is its north shore visible from its southern shore. Greece and Albania only share a small part of the total size of the lake with its majority belonging to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

The Prespa Lakes are fascinating because of their unique fauna and flora. The Small Prespa lake is lined with dense reed forests in many places, which attract, with the swamps and reed fields on the isthmus between the lakes, numerous birds, such as different Pelikan species.

The lake is a biotope for many rare animal and plant species. Due to its fish wealth, it is particularly important as breeding and wintering place for rare bird species, including the White Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus) and the Dalmatian Pelican (P. crispus).

The Prespa Lakes are particularly sensitive wetland areas under the Ramsar Convention. The Great Prespa Lake is the center of the Prespa National Park, which was founded by the three riparian countries together and one of the largest nature reserves in Europe.

We will visit the most important and interesting villages, spectacular byzantine ruins and unique traditional architecture.

Photos of the Prespa Lakes

4th day. Kastoria, Byzantine Art and Urban Landscapes.

One of the most important chapter of Greek history and art history is the time of the Byzantine Empire, the Eastern Roman Empire of late antiquity. Kastoria is the only city in Greece, which has a Byzantine heritage of ten centuries and offers a unique opportunity to explore the art and culture of the Greek Middle Ages.

We will visit some of the most important Byzantine churches and learn exciting episodes in the history of the city and the local aristocracy. At the Byzantine Museum, we will have the opportunity to elaborate on the historical development of the art of icon painting.

The district Apozari, the northern part of the town on the lake, will be our next stop. The North Promenade is the favorite promenade of locals and contact point for fishing boats and particularly striking lake inhabitants: pelicans, swans, ducks, geese and cormorants. After the lunch break, we round off the day with a photo-op from the best vantage point in town.

Evening is guaranteed for live rock music at the hottest spot in town.

Photos of the Byzantine city tour.

5th day . Free Day

6th day. Vergina and the Royal Tombs.

Between Kastoria and Thessaloniki lies today's Vergina (UNESCO Heritage), which is presumably Aigai, the capital of ancient Macedonia and birthplace of Alexander the Great. There also lies the excavation site of the ancient Macedonian royal family’s tomb. We descend into the tumulus of the royal tombs to marvel at the characteristic architecture, monumental murals, mosaics and golden grave goods.

The grave of Philip II, father of Alexander the Great, is the first of the three excavated tombs. The hall includes a golden shrine of the ashes of Queen Cleopatra's bones, the second wife of Philip II, which contains a gold-embroidered cloth. Inside the grave chamber there can be seen another golden shrine, weapons, copper and bronze vases, jewels, five small ivory busts of the royal family and the only preserved ancient armor, a helmet, a sword, boots, a crown and a diadem. Numerous grave goods show hunting and war scenes and symposia as part of Greek life of the king's arms, and even everyday objects such as wine mixers are to be regarded as reminiscences of classical Greece.

Then we visit the remains of the Prince's Palace - the first and largest palace in northern Greece, probably the summer residence of the royal family.

Photos of Vergina

7th day. From the Neolithic Age to Classical Antiquity.

Stone Age lake settlement of Dispilio, Diokletianoupolis and Archaeological Museum in Argos Orestikon.

We begin our journey into the past with the Neolithic period on Orestias lake and visit one of the most important neolithic lake settlements in Europe from the 6th pre-Christian millennium. We will visit identically reconstructed huts of stone age life from up close as well as the original findings in the collection of the excavation.

We get information about the lives of people in one of the oldest settlements in Europe, their habits, the structure of everyday life at sea and how the landscape has shaped the culture.

We continue to Argos Orestikon and visit the remains of the ancient site of Diokletianoupolis, which played a significant role during the Roman period. Then we visit the archaeological museum and get new insights into the past of the entire prefecture of Kastoria. We will have the opportunity to admire weaponry, household ceramics, marble reliefs, minor arts and jewellery from past centuries.

Photos of the archaeological tour

8th day. Departure