Home of The Ancient Gods

Back Track Adventures are excited to offer a trekking opportunity that delves into the Greek wilderness for a beautiful on-foot adventure. Explore picturesque, stone-made villages of Zagori that are untouched by time. Hike through Vikos Gorge, one of the deepest canyons in the world, and see the mythical Dragon Lake at 2,100m. After the mountains, experience one of Greece’s most authentic islands. Swim in the sapphire crystal clear waters of the Aegean Sea and explore Katafiki Cave, one of the largest, unexplored caves in Greece. Take a step off the well-worn tourist tracks of Greece and experience the natural beauty of this country.

Get immersed in local Greek culture, food, architecture and natural wonders. You get the best of both worlds on this trip – panoramic mountain views and secluded, sandy beaches. Enjoy the warmth and hospitality of the local people as they share their world with you.

Overview

About this Adventure…

Unknown to most of the world, yet so beautiful and unspoiled, Zagori area is the ultimate hiking destination in Greece! Traditional stone made villages, arch stone bridges and pristine natural landscapes will offer you an unforgettable hiking adventure in Zagori! This is your chance to visit the UNESCO Worldwide Heritage Site of Meteora and follow the hiking trails of the ancient monks!

If you are an outdoor enthusiast, join us and explore on foot the secret paths of Vikos – Aoos National Park and Meteora, learn more about the myths and stories of the area, observe the unique flora and fauna, taste the delicious local cuisine and listen to the stories of the local villagers.

Would you like to explore one of the renowned Greek islands, but you wish to avoid the tourist masses? The secluded island of Kythnos is your perfect choice! Although it is one of the first islands to be reached by ferry from Athens, the island of Kythnos has remained an unexplored paradise, a true gem of the Cyclades islands. Traditional villages with Cycladic architecture, a superb coastline with more than 90 beaches, a significant history dating back to the Mesolithic era, agricultural fields, hot springs, numerous hiking trails, one of the largest caves in Greece and the delicious local cuisine will undoubtedly offer you the best authentic active holidays on a Greek island.

If you are looking for tranquillity, simplicity and authenticity, yet at the same time you wish to combine your holidays with some walking, hiking and interesting cultural encounters, this is the right exploration for you!

What we can assure you of is that you will enjoy a truly authentic, active and fun holiday!

 

Costs & dates

 

OPTION ONE HIDDEN GREECE BY FOOT

TREK DURATION 13 days from Athens

COST^ & DATES
  • 6 September – 18 September 2019
  • Land only from Athens $3990
  • Single supplement $590
  • Contact us for the BEST FLIGHT PRICES to Greece

GRADING Moderate

 

OPTION TWO HIKING ZAGORI & METEORA

TREK DURATION 8 days from Athens

COST^ & DATES
  • 6 September – 13 September 2019
  • Land only from Athens $2450
  • Single supplement $365

GRADING Moderate

 

OPTION THREE HIKING KYTHNOS ISLAND

TREK DURATION 7 days from Athens

COST^ & DATES
  • 12 September – 18 September 2019
  • Land only from Athens $2150
  • Single supplement $255

GRADING Moderate

^Though we are not expecting any price increases from our suppliers, airline prices and/or taxes could increase. These increases will be added to our quoted holiday costs.

Itinerary overview

Day 1 Arrive ATHENS. Make your way to the joining hotel.
Day 2 Transfer to Zagori. Trek to Vitsa. Stay in traditional guesthouse. BD
Day 3 Half day trek to Vikos Gorge. Half day stone bridges trek. BLD
Day 4 Drive to Monodendri village. Trek along Vikos Gorge. Transfer to Papigo village. Stay in traditional guesthouse. BLD
Day 5 Trek to Alpine Dragon Lake. Dormitory accommodation in mountain refuge at Astraka. BLD
Day 6 Trek to Papigo village. Transfer to Meteora. Hotel accommodation. BLD
Day 7 Morning trek in Meteora. Afternoon transfer to Athens. Hotel accommodation. BL
Day 8 Transfer to port. Ferry to Kythnos Island. Stay in traditional guesthouse at Merichas. BD
Day 9 Trek to ruins of Vryokastro then to Apokrousi beach. Stay in traditional guesthouse in Merichas. BLD
Day 10 Transfer to Loutra. Trek to the Castle of Oria and Chora. Evening transfer to Merichas. Stay in traditional guesthouse. BLD
Day 11 Transfer to Dryopida village. Trek to Kalo Livadi, Kanala then transfer to Merichas. Stay in traditional guesthouse. BLD
Day 12 Morning free for rest or further exploration. Ferry to Athens. Transfer to hotel accommodation. B
Day 13 Make your own way to airport for flight departure. B

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Athens
Arrive Athens. Make your own way to our joining hotel.

Day 2: Athens to Monodendri to Vitsa 
Duration: 5 hrs drive + 1 – 1.5hrs trek
Trek grading: Easy
Accommodation: Traditional Guesthouse in Vitsa

Our hiking adventure starts from Athens, from where we transfer to Zagori area by car (around 5 hrs from Athens). You are met and welcomed by our team and your group leader explains briefly the trip details. We then set off for the village of Monodendri, where we will visit the Rizarios School of Handicrafts and learn how women make handmade textiles and weavings. We will also visit the Rizarios Photo Exhibition, where temporary photography collections are exhibited, as well as the original stereoscopic cameras that British photographers used to capture the first modern Olympic Games in Greece in 1896! We will then take the short hiking path to Agia Paraskevi church and enjoy the impressive views over Vikos Gorge! Oxya viewpoint and the stone forest come next. (BD)

Day 3: Vradeto steps, Beloi viewpoint & the Zagori arch stone bridges
Duration: 6-7.5hrs trek
Trek grading: Easy to moderate
Accommodation: Traditional Guesthouse in Vitsa
After a good breakfast, we start our hiking day from the village of Kapesovo down to Vikos Gorge and then upwards, through the beautiful Vradeto steps (stone path built in the 16th century at the slopes of Vikos Gorge) towards the highest village of Zagori, Vradeto (1450m). From there, following a beautiful path at the rims of Vikos Gorge, we arrive at Beloi viewpoint (1650m), where we can enjoy panoramic views over the gorge. We return to Vradeto village and from there back to Kapesovo. After a quick snack outdoors, we will visit some of the most important and beautiful arch stone bridges of Zagoria, dating back to the 16 – 18th centuries. (BLD)

Day 4: Crossing Vikos Gorge 
Duration: 5.5 – 6hrs trek
Trek grading: Moderate to Challenging
Accommodation: Traditional Guesthouse in Papigo

Today we hike in one of the most beautiful, impressive and rewarding hiking paths in the area! We transfer to Monodendri village, from where we descend to Vikos Gorge, said to be one of the deepest gorges in the world. Walking parallel to the river, it will take us about 6 hours to cross the canyon. Traversing the ravine, we can admire the rare varieties of wild birds and flowers that have found their habitat in Vikos-Aoos National Park. We will make a stop at the river springs to relax and eat our snacks. Depending on the weather, you can also swim in the river.Early in the afternoon, we arrive at Vikos village where we are picked up by our minibus and transferred to Papigo village for dinner and overnight stay. (BLD)

Day 5: Hike to the Alpine Dragon Lake
Duration: 6 – 6.5hrs trek
Trek grading: Moderate to Challenging
Accommodation: Bed (Dorm) in Mountain Hut

Our hiking exploration for today is quite demanding, yet truly fulfilling!
Early in the morning, after breakfast, we start from Papigo village our ascending hiking route towards the Astraka refuge. The surrounding alpine scenery will captivate you for sure! After a short break for coffee and relaxation, we continue until the beautiful “Dragon Lake”, situated at 2050m altitude. The view of this magical landscape will reward you after a long hiking day. Tonight, we will stay overnight at the mountain refuge of Astraka, after we enjoy a homemade dinner. (BLD)

Day 6: Astraka descend – Papigo – Meteora
Duration: 2.5hrs trek
Trek grading: Moderate
Accommodation: 3 Star Hotel in Meteora

After breakfast at the mountain refuge, we will start our descending way back to Papigo village. This is our last day in the Zagori area, so we cannot leave without making a stop at the natural swimming pools in Ovires. Depending on the weather, you can also enjoy swimming in the crystal-clear waters of the river. We’ll enjoy a delicious picnic lunch by the riverside, before we depart to the UNESCO Worldwide Heritage site of Meteora. Upon arrival in Meteora, we’ll enjoy a sunset tour for beautiful views and photo shooting, before we check in to our hotel. (BLD)

Day 7: Hiking Meteora – Athens
Duration: 2 – 2.5hrs trek
Trek grading: Easy to Moderate
Accommodation: 3 Star Hotel in Athens

What a better way to start your day than admiring the spectacular rock pillars of Meteora stone forest? After breakfast, we will explore this unique landscape on foot, following the hiking paths of the ancient monks and we’ll visit some of the top-cliff monasteries of the area. In the afternoon, we will return to Athens and you will be transferred to your hotel. (BL)

Day 8: Athens – Kythnos
Duration: 2 – 2.5hrs trek
Trek grading: Easy to Moderate
Accommodation: Traditional Guesthouse on Kythnos Island 

Today you will be transferred either to Piraeus or Lavrio port (depending on the ferry schedule) to catch the ferry to Kythnos island, one of the most secluded and authentic Cyclades islands! After check in at your hotel/ guesthouse, you will have the day free* to relax by the sea, stroll around the village’s narrow alleys and shops or enjoy the sunset! In the evening, you will enjoy a welcome dinner with your tour leader, having a taste of the local cuisine and discussing your program of the coming days. *The program of this day is free of activities, since we don’t know your exact arrival time (depending on the ferry schedule). We can, however, organise a hike or other activities, if you arrive early in the morning. Optional activity: guided walking tour of the Acropolis & the Acropolis museum (we can offer this activity in case the ferry departs in the afternoon, so travellers have the morning available to explore Athens. (BD)

Day 9: Hiking to Vryokastro – Apokrousi – Kolona
Duration: 3 – 4 hrs trek / 5 – 5.5hrs including stops
Trek grading: Easy to moderate
Accommodation: Traditional Guesthouse on Kythnos Island

Our hiking trail today will take us to the island’s ancient capital, Vryokastro, and then to the most stunning beach of the island, Kolona! Starting from Merichas, our first stop will be at the beach of Episkopi. We’ll then hike up the hill of Vryokastro, a currently abandoned archaeological site and one of the most important prehistoric settlements in the Aegean. Archaeological research has brought to light findings dating back to the Mesolithic Age. According to the findings and underwater excavations, that town was constantly inhabited from the 10th century B.C. to the 6th century A.D. Afterwards, we’ll descend to the white sandy beach of Apokrousi, where we’ll make a stop to relax and swim. Next comes one of the island’s highlights, the unique beach of Kolona. It is a strip of sand joining Kythnos with the islet of Agios Loukas, creating a landscape of unparallel beauty! Once there, you can enjoy swimming and snorkelling, as well as lunch at the only tavern on the beach (if open) or snack lunch. We will then hike back to Apokrousi beach and transfer to your accommodation. (BLD)

Day 10: Hiking Loutra – Castle of Oria, the Thermal Springs & Pottery lesson
Duration: 3 – 4 hrs trek / 4.5 – 5hrs including stops
Trek grading: Easy to moderate
Accommodation: Traditional Guesthouse on Kythnos Island

Today’s breathtaking hike will offer you amazing views and authentic encounters with the island’s history! After breakfast, you will be transferred to the north part of the island and specifically to the village of Loutra, a popular stop over for sailing yachts. Once there, we will follow an ascending path to reach the striking Castle of Oria, located on a steep hill at the northernmost tip of the island. This fortified acropolis that overlooks the Aegean Sea was the capital of the island during the Byzantine times and the Latin occupation; but it seems that it had already been inhabited since prehistoric times. 100 chapels flourished there during the Venetian Rule, of which only two still stand today.
You will have time to relax, enjoy the panoramic views and take some wonderful photos, before we return to Loutra from the same path. You will have the afternoon free to relax at the Thermal Springs of Loutra, known for their therapeutic qualities. You can also enjoy your lunch and/or coffee in one of the seaside restaurants/cafes.
Later, a short hiking trail will take us from Loutra to Chora, the island’s capital. Chora is a fine example of traditional Cycladic architecture, with white-washed houses, stone-paved mule paths and arcades which will take you to endless walks in narrow alleys ending in small squares and churches. Once in Chora, you will also enjoy a pottery lesson by a local artisan and you will have the chance to create your own pottery clay. Early in the evening, you will be transferred back to your hotel in Merichas. (BLD)

Day 11: Hiking Dryopida – Kanala, cave exploration & cooking class
Duration: 2.5hrs trek / 4hrs including stops
Trek grading: Easy to moderate
Accommodation: Traditional Guesthouse on Kythnos Island

Enjoy a good breakfast today, as we will explore the best of Central and Southeast part of the island! You will be transferred to Dryopida village, one of the most picturesque and traditional settlements of Kythnos. Once there, we will follow a hiking trail that will soon take us to the peaceful beach of Kalo Livadi, decked with a small church on a rock. A large beach with stone slabs, pebbles and golden sand, as well as big and very old cedars create the ideal setting for a stop and of course sunbathing and swimming. The sound of the waves will be most probably the only sound you will hear in this pristine scenery. Behind the few houses that make up the small settlement, a fertile little meadow spreads out planted with fig trees, vineyards and a few olives groves.
Our next and last stop of today’s hike is the well-known coastal village of Kanala that took its name after the monastery of Panagia Kanala, dedicated to Virgin Mary. Here you will also find the only pine forest in the island. The monastery hosts the miraculous icon of Our Lady which, according to tradition, was found by fishermen floating in the narrow channel between Kythnos and Serifos and is said to have healing powers. Once our hike is completed, you will be transferred back to Dryopida village, where another surprise is waiting for you! Get ready to explore Katafiki cave, one of the largest caves in Greece, most of which remains unexplored to date. Located at the edge of Dryopida village, at an altitude of 190 meters above sea level, the cave maintains a constant temperature of 17 degrees and is considered to cover an area of 3.500 sq. m.
Once we explore this hidden gem, you will participate in a cooking class and learn how to prepare some traditional local delicacies, such as “sfougata”, Greek salad, “tzatziki” and much more! (BLD)

Day 12: Departures – Kythnos to Athens
Duration: 3 – 4 hrs trek / 4.5 – 5hrs including stops
Trek grading: Easy to moderate
Accommodation: Hotel

Today you are free to enjoy your last morning on the island the way you wish, before boarding the ferry back to Athens. Depending on the ferry schedule, we may be able to offer another hike on that day. (B)

Day 13: Depart Athens
The trip ends today after breakfast. If you are departing Athens today, make your own way to Athens Airport for your flight departure. (B)

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