Northern Greece Hiking Trip Intro
Northern Greece is magical in so many ways and our inaugural trek in May proved to be the perfect trip to kick off our European hiking season. Summer was in full bloom when we hit the trails. The exuberant vibe of Thessaloniki, the bustling port city sitting on the shores of the Aegean Sea, remained with us as we headed south and then west into the verdant forests of the Pindus Mountains. Along the way we toured the awe-inspiring Metora complexes, of Eastern Orthodox monasteries, and enjoyed several hikes including the “Seven Bridges Hike,” taking us along old stone footpaths and crossing arching stone bridges above rushing streams and rivers. By the time we reached the remote region of Zagori and hiked into the formidable Vikos Gorge, we knew we had found a hidden gem here in Northern Greece. Could it get any better? Yes! Our favorite village, Mikró Pápingo, sits below the looming Astarka Towers, tucked high into the mountains in a storybook setting with every building crafted from local limestone. The town is inhabited by a mere 53 residents. There is not a more peaceful place to spend a final evening in the mountains.
On our return to civilization, we stopped in the lively lake town of Ioánnina to shop for gifts before heading to Vergina, where we enjoyed a tour of the historic Royal Tombs, where the father of Alexander the Great, King Philip II of Macedon was laid to rest. Aside from the history and sheer beauty of the landscape, the people of Greece are welcoming and eager to share their cultural heritage and values, along with their delicious cuisine. We hope you can join us this September or next May as we embark on another incredible trek to Northern Greece.
Aside from the history and sheer beauty of the landscape, the people of Greece are welcoming and eager to share their cultural heritage and values, along with their delicious cuisine. We hope you can join us this September 18 – 26 as we embark on another incredible trek to Northern Greece.
See you this summer,
Greece: Hiking the Pindus Range of the Epirus Mountains
Ryder-Walker’s Northern Greece Trek is our newest trekking offering that will bring you to unexplored corners of the Pindus Tange of the Epirus Mountains. Here are our top 10 reasons that Ryder-Walker is the best way to explore northern Greece.
Explore Mount Pindus
Mount Pindus is a range of mountains that hug the border between Greece and Albania. These stunning mountains have a uniquely desolate beauty, characterized by the low-lying Mediterranean forests and the pale limestone rock that punctuates the landscape. Hiking through Mount Pindus allows you to see Greece in an entirely new way.
The region of Meteora has been recognized for its air of mystery and haunting calm for centuries. Composed of limestone towers accompanied by precarious villages and cliffside monasteries. Inhabited by shepherds for most of history, this forgotten corner of Greece is begging to be explored.
The Vikos Gorge is the deepest gorge relative to its width in the world. This means that the gorge is not only awe-inspiringly deep but also shockingly narrow for such a massive canyon. A popular spot for climbers, hikers, and white-water rafters, the Vikos Gorge is one of the lesser-known marvels of the natural world.
A Hike Through History
Hiking in Greece is like taking a trip back through time. It is easy to imagine a young Alexander the Great preparing for his world-spanning campaign, or the great philosophers of the ancient world pondering existence while wandering through the stunning Greek foothills.
The Mediterranean lifestyle truly is the good life. Like its neighbors, Greece has embraced siesta culture, exemplifying all the social benefits of a more relaxed work schedule. Beyond this, a lively cafe culture, a healthy relationship with hiking and the outdoors, and a focus on sustainable and traditional agricultural techniques all combine for a cultural experience unlike any other.
The city of Thessaloniki was once heralded as the birthplace of modern thought. Situated on the cusp of both the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires this historic city was once a major locus for trading in culture and ideas. Today the city remains a remarkable trip into the past, where you can see in modernity the confluence of these once great empires.
The World’s Best Feta Cheese
Feta cheese is associated with Greece and Greece feta cheese. This is for good reason. This fresh goat’s milk cheese is a delight and the closer to the source the greater the variety and higher the quality. In northern Greece, goat herding is still a substantial way of life, and these happy goats will provide you with the best feta you’ve ever had.
Phyllo dough is a delightful, layered pastry that has been adopted across the world for puff pastries and light pie crusts. Originating in Macedonia this delicate dough technique can be enjoyed with desserts, such as baklava, as well as more savoury delights like cheese pastries and buffalo pies – from the European bison, an animal which is surprisingly native to Greece!
Side Trip to Athens
The heart of western culture is only a short flight away from Thessaloniki. If you have the time for it, visiting Athens is absolutely worth your time. Don’t miss the chance to visit the majestic Parthenon, the primary temple to Athena the Greek goddess of wisdom.
Island Hopping (Sporades)
There is also a substantial variety of island hopping available straight from the ports of Thessaloniki. The Sporades islands are the most popular destination with the Northern Greeks, a chain of small islands covered in dense slate-roofed villages with winding alleyways, charming boutiques, and sunny beaches.