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We invite you on a unique journey of discovery that reveals the rich history, remarkable natural beauty and amazing diversity of Greece.  Perhaps the most impressive and rewarding landscape is found in the country’s northwest corner, in the province of Epirus, which lies just south of the frontier between Greece and Albania. Known as the Zagorochoria (the Zagori villages), it’s a place of towering mountains, thick forests, sparkling streams and a unique natural flora that serves as the basis for traditional medical practice.

This fantastic region is also a paradise for mushroom hunters.  In Greece, some 2,200 varieties of wild mushrooms have been recorded, of which 150 are edible.  The bucolic forest slopes, mountain streams and meadows of Zagori are home to most of the varieties found in the country.  Included are Porcini, Chanterelles, Morels, Yellow and Black trumpets, Amanita Caesarea, Macrolepiota Procera (Parasol mushrooms), Boletus, and others.  The Zagori area is also known for its truffles which are hunted by trained dogs.

Our base in Zagori will be the superb Aristi Mountain Resort & Villas, designated by the National Geographic as a Unique Lodge of the World.  During our five-night stay, we will participate in a variety of activities, including, of course, mushroom foraging and exploring the old stone villages of Zagori.  We will also enjoy walks and hikes in the company of local naturalist guides, bird watching, yoga and cooking demonstrations of the region’s delicious and distinctive cuisine.  One of our meals will be served at a restaurant whose entire menu consists of mushroom dishes.

Our expedition will end with two days in Corfu, one of the most beautiful islands in Greece.

Itinerary

Day 1 : Sep 29 - DEPART THE USA

Depart the United States for Athens, Greece.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 2 : Sep 30 - ATHENS, Greece

Arrive in Athens, the capital of Greece and one of the world's most venerable cities. Transfer to the Hotel Athens Plaza, located on Syntagma (Constitution) Square, the center of the city. In the evening, enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.

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Meals Included

Day 3 : Oct 1 - Tour ATHENS / IOANNINA

Athen's ancient monuments reveal its glorious past. Democracy was born here, as were other concepts and ideas that form an integral part of the Western tradition. In the morning, tour the Acropolis and its ageless monuments, including the incomparable Parthenon. Visit the excellent Acropolis Museum which houses an impressive collection of sculpture and other artifacts. Spend the afternoon at leisure for independent activities. Late in the afternoon, transfer to the airport for the short flight to Ioannina, the main city in northwest Greece. On arrival, drive to the nearby Zagori region and the Hotel Aristi Mountain Resort & Villas, our home for the next five nights.

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Meals Included

Day 4 : Oct 2 to Oct 5 - Tour THE ZAGORI COUNTRY & VILLAGES

The mountainous region at the northwest corner of Greece is known as the area of the Zagori villages. Sparsely populated, nature reigns supreme here. Declared a national park to protect the rich flora and fauna, Zagori is dominated by towering peaks and the very impressive Vikos Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. About 12 miles long and up to 1,600 feet deep, Vikos is reputed to have the steepest walls of any gorge in the world. The unspoiled conditions of this amazing canyon make it valuable to science as it contains many and varied ecosystems. During our stay in Zagori, we will have the opportunity to explore leisurely this beautiful and "undiscovered" area. We will forage for mushrooms, for which Zagori is justly famous, hike the gorge and other paths, explore the old villages with their characteristic stone architecture, and participate in other activities that include bird watching, rafting and yoga. And not least, feast on the local cuisine which relies on fresh ingredients. In addition, we will visit the winery of the Zitsa Co-Op, which produces its wines from the native aromatic Debina grape variety, and sample its wines. Zitsa has been producing Debina wine since AD 600. During these days, Oct 2 to Oct 5, breakfast and lunch will be provided, as well as three dinners. You will have an opportunity independently enjoy a dinner on your own.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 5 : Oct 6 - ZAGORI / CORFU

From Zagori, drive in the morning to the coast to board the ferry for the short crossing to Corfu. The loveliest in the group of islands known as the Ionian, Corfu is identified as the Homeric green and fair island of the Phaeacians, where Odysseus landed after ten years of wandering in the Mediterranean. From the 14th to the 18th centuries, Corfu was the prized possession of Venice. Inhabited since deep antiquity, this idyllic island is famed for its beauty and the wealth of historic sites. On arrival, transfer to the Corfu Palace Hotel where we will spend the next two nights.

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Meals Included

Day 6 : Oct 7 - Tour CORFU

Tour Corfu in the morning, including the historic center of the main town, also called Corfu, which is guarded by two fortresses and has preserved its Venetian architecture. Also, visit the church of the Metropolis with its ecclesiastical treasures; the iconic islets of Vlaherna and Pontikonissi; and the Archaeological Museum, home to important artifacts that include the huge Gorgon pediment. Spend the afternoon at leisure for relaxation and independent activities. In the evening, enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 7 : Oct 8 - CORFU / USA

Transfer to the airport for the flight to Athens where you will connect with your flight to the United States.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Tour Price

$ 5,370 per person, double occupancy

Single room supplement: $890

Inclusions

Expert Guest Lecturer

Dr. Gordon Walker

Dr. Gordon Walker

Originally from Cambridge, MA, Dr. Gordon Walker moved to California to attend UC Santa Cruz where he developed a passion for scuba diving and home brewing.  His interest in yeast and fermentation inspired him to attend UC Davis for graduate school where his doctoral research focused on the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae in wine production, specifically yeast physiology and metabolism as it relates to the fermentation ecology. After receiving his doctorate in Biochemistry from UC Davis, Gordon worked at Opus One Winery, isolating wild yeast for wine production and establishing redox potential as process parameter for the wine industry.  Beyond his love of yeast, Gordon is an avid mycophile who runs the @fascinatedbyfungi account on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and iNaturalist.  Beyond his obsession with fungi, he enjoys gardening, cooking for friends, and cats. Dr. Gordon A. Walker lives in Napa, CA and is active in the world of Bay Area biotechnology and innovation.

Nikos Zacharakis

Nikos Zacharakis

Nikos Zacharakis, as an Expert Guide, has a deep and passionate knowledge of Greek history, culture and archaeology, combined with his warmth and enthusiasm, and is a favorite among Thalassa Journey travelers.  Nikos holds a Bachelor's degree in Archaeology and History from the University of Crete.  In addition, he holds Master of Arts degrees in Museum Studies from Corfu's Ionian University, and in Folklore Studies from the University of Ioannina.  He is a PhD candidate in Archaeology and History.  Nikos has conducted field work in various parts of Greece, and since 2014, has worked as a licensed guide.  He enjoys sharing with travelers not only the rich history of Greece but also its cultural traditions and undiscovered places of beauty.

Cities and Sites on the Itinerary

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E-Mail : Reservations@ThalassaJourneys.com

Phone : +1 866.633.3611