Food and Wine of Mainland Greece and Peloponnese
11 days/10 nights | April 3-13, 2019
($750 single supplement)
NOTE: $200 additional to reserve one of the two available suites at Nafplio Grand Sarai Hotel. This is per room, not per person.
Additional hotel night before start of tour: $180 single occupancy/$125 per person based on double occupancy
• 10 breakfasts,
• 5 lunches (wine included)
• 6 dinners (wine included)
• Transfers from Thessaloniki airport and to Athens airport
• All accommodations from start to end of tour
• All transportation during the tour (air-conditioned bus or minivans)
• All included group activities, wine tastings, entry fees as per itinerary
• A full-time Two Dog Travel tour director with you and available 24/7
• A local professional bi-lingual guide for most activities
• All local guide, driver and restaurant tips are included per itinerary
What's not included
• Airfare, airport taxes and other transportation to and from the pickup location
• Personal charges such as laundry, telephone calls, rooms service, mini-bar, souvenirs
• Private excursions not mentioned in the itinerary
• Gratuities for chambermaids or personal porters
• Gratuities for your Tour Dog Travel tour director (at your discretion)
• Single supplement of $750 if not sharing a room
The tour begins in Thessaloniki at 7 pm on April 3, 2019. Your flight should arrive no later than 5:00 pm. The tour ends after breakfast in Athens on April 13, 2019 .
NOTE: Would you like more time in Athens or perhaps a few days on a Greek island? Let Two Dog Travel know what your are interested in and we can make the arrangements.
Day 1 - Overnight in Thessaloniki - D
Welcome to Greece! After your arrival at Thessaloniki Makedonia Airport, you will be met by a driver and transferred to the historic Bristol Hotel, a centrally located hotel near the sea and our home for the next three nights. The Bristol, a member of the Historic Hotels of Europe, was built in 1870 as the Ottoman Post Office of Thessaloniki. We will begin our Greece Food and Wine adventure with a welcome dinner where we will enjoy our first taste of Greek cuisine at a quaint restaurant located near the hotel.
Day 2 - Overnight in Thessaloniki - B, L (food tour)
Our first full day in Greece will begin with food! We’ll enjoy a fun walking tour of Thessaloniki where we will taste local food and walk through some of the oldest food markets of Europe to discover the rich foodie side of Thessaloniki. A local food expert will share an up-close insider view of the city culinary traditions, revealing how food is a fabulous fusion of ingredients brought together over centuries as merchants and traders traveled the Mediterranean. We’ll start with a traditional Greek coffee before we enjoy tastings of different local cheese, olives, desserts and, of course, stop at a local tavern to taste a bit of ouzo. After tasting and enjoying the foods of the region, you’ll have the rest of the day to spend as you’d like. You might choose to enjoy one of the fabulous museums in Thessaloniki, or perhaps do as the locals and stroll along the sea wall before stopping in a cafenion for an afternoon coffee and people watching.
Day 3 - Overnight in Thessaloniki - B, D
After breakfast, we’ll begin the day with a tour of the highlights of Thessaloniki. We’ll see the famous White Tower, the most prominent monument in the city, which had been used as a fort, a garrison and a prison. Because of its fame as a notorious prison it was also known as “Tower of Blood” (Kanli Kule) or “Red Tower.” We’ll visit the church of Agios Dimitrios and its famous crypt. We’ll drive through the city to view some of its more famous sites such as the Arch of Galerius before heading up to the Byzantine fortress wall to one of its towers. Here we’ll enjoy an amazing view over the city, down to the harbor and, weather permitting, on to Mount Olympus. After our short tour of the city, we’ll head south of the city to a small family business cultivating some 15 hectares of Sultana vineyards where they produce 11 different products but yet not a single drop of wine. Their best known product is the vineleaves and traditional Greek dolmades or stuffed vine leaves. We will visit the 30-year-old vineyard and learn about their products before visiting the factory to better understand their process of manufacturing the vineleaves in brine. We’ll enjoy a short dolma rolling class where we will try creating our own perfectly-rolled dolmades. Next we’ll taste some of their products includng the dolmades, olives, vinetops and pies (with Feta) handmade by the village’s women association, founded by the family’s mother, Marianna. After better understanding how the Greek cuisine uses grapevines for products besides wine, it’s time to taste some of the wines themselves. We’ll stop for a tour and tasting at Ktima Gerovasiliou, a winery producing award-winning wines since 1981. We’ll begin with a visit to their unique wine museum, where in 1976, the owner started collecting viticulture, winemaking, bottling and cooperage tools from around the world. Especially amazing is the corkscrew collection, which he started in the 1980s and which now numbers more than 2600, making Vangelis Gerovassiliou one of the world’s greatest collectors of corkscrews. The collection also includes rare and unique pieces dating back to the 18th century. After our museum visit it’ll be time to tour the wine making facility and taste some of their wines. After our tasting we’ll stop to enjoy some free time for lunch before driving back to Thessaloniki. In the evening we’ll meet back up for dinner at a local taverna.
Day 4 - Overnight in Kalabaka/Meteora - B, D
After breakfast and checking out of the hotel it’s time to head west to the famous Naoussa wine region. Here we’ll enjoy a special day with one of the oldest and most respected families of Greek wine, the Boutari family. We’ll learn about their long tradition in the wine industry and how they built their family business. As the day unfolds, we’ll have the opportunity to enjoy a unique exprience created specifcally for Two Dog Travel guests. Having a connection to one of the Boutari sisters, Two Dog Travel is excited to offer this day of wine and fun. No doubt by the end of the day you’ll feel a bit like a part of the family. After a unique day among the vines we’ll travel the rest of the way to Meteora, one of the most amazing places in Greece and a UNESCO world heritage site. After checking into Dellas Boutique Hotel, situated in the shade of the rocks of Meteora, we’ll have time to freshen up before heading out to watch the sunset. We’lll sit on the edge of the cliff surrounded by perhaps one of the most awe-inspiring landscapes you’ve ever experienced. After savoring the beauty of the area, the rest of the evening will be free to enjoy as you’d like
Day 5 - Overnight in Kalabaka/Meteora - B, L
After breakfast it’s time for another unusual adventure when we head to the forsest to go truffle hunting! We’ll watch as the talented truffle-hunting dogs lead us to the secret spots where the truffles are hiding. After collecting the truffles, our guide/chef will begin to prepare, in a huge dish out in the forest, a tasty truffle pasta dish. As he’s preparing our lunch we’ll learn about the secrets of truffles, why they grow and how to use them in your recipes at home. Once the pasta is done, it’s time to sit around the table, open bottles of wine and enjoy our lunch. After our meal, we’ll spend some time visiting the Natural History and Mushroom Museum, being led by our guide and focusing mostly on the mushrooms. We’ll taste some mushroom delicacies, both savory and sweet, and have the opportunity to purchase some products to take home. After our hunt and lunch, we’ll spend some time visiting the cliff-hanging monasteries. You have a choice of going hiking in the area, seeing the monasteries from a different perspecitve, where you’ll be walking on the ancient paths of the first monks. Or, you can choose to travel on the bus to visit the monasteries. Whatever you choose, you’ll have the opportunity to visit the Monastery of Great Meteoron, the oldest and largest of the monasteries. Meteoro means “suspended from the air” and after you enter the complex and see the views from all sides, you’ll better understand why it got its name. After your visit to the monastery, you’ll have the rest of the evening free to do as you'd like.
Day 6 - Overnight in Nafplio - B, L, D
Today is our one long driving day as we work our way south to the Peloponesse Peninsula and Nafplio, said to be the most beautiful town in Greece. Along route we’ll see some beautiful scenery as our local guide explains the topography and history of the region. We’ll make a stop for lunch at a local taverna at the entry point of the amazing Corinth canal, an engineeering marvel. After lunch we’ll stop to see the canal up close and take photos before continuing on to Nafplio mid afternoon. After checking into the beautiful boutique Hotel Grand Sarai, its construction period estimated around the second Venetian occupation [1685-1715], you’ll have free time to explore this beautiful seaside town on your own before we meet back up for dinner at a local restaurant. NOTE: there are two suites available at the Hotel Grand Sarai, both with amazing views. These are first come first serve and are an additional $200 per room, not per person.
Day 7 - Overnight in Nafplio - B, L
It’s time to Be a Shephard for a Day! Today is a unique opportunity when we travel to a small village where we will meet a sheep farmer. You’ll get to experience first-hand this nearly forgotten way of life. We’ll learn how he spends his days taking care of the animals and crops, how he uses the goat and sheep milk to make cheese, yogurt and other products. You may choose to hold a baby lamb or goat and even trying milking a goat yourself! You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss life on the farm. After our tour and time with the animals, we’ll sit down with the shephard at his home and enjoy a lunch prepared for us. As we eat with the famiy, you can further continue the discussion of rural farm life on the Peloponesse. After saying goodby to our new friends, our next stop will be the ancient site of Epidavrus and its most well-preserved theatre of the ancient world. The sanctuary was dedicated to Asclepius, the god of medicine, and was an important sacred centre in both ancient Greek and Roman times. We’ll tour the site with a lisenced guide and have the opportunity to experience the mind-blowing acoustics of this theatre which is still in use today. Upon returning to Nafplio, you’ll have the rest of the evening to spend as you’d like.
Day 8 - Overnight in Nafplio - B, D
Today it’s time to slow down a bit. You’ll have the entire day to do as you’d like. Perhaps you’ll choose to climb the 999 steps to the Palamidi Fortress, (no worries, you can also hire a taxi to driver you to the top). Or maybe you’ll want to walk the path along the coast to the rocky beach of Arvanitias. Or you could choose to continue along the path and go all the way to the sandy beach of Karathona. You’re sure to be gifted with amazing scenery along the way. Or you could spend your day shopping the quaint steeets to Nafplio where there is sure a treasure to be found to take home. A few options that Two Dog Travel can arrange for an additional fee would be a food tour in Nafplio. a half day of sea kayaking, biking in the countryside, or even a relaxing massage using an ancient Greek method. After a relaxing day spent as you choose, we’ll meet back up for an evening of entertainment and food. Dancing is a huge part of the Greek culture and tonite we’ll have the opportunity to watch a professsional dance group as we eat our traditional souvlaki meal. After the group has performed their traditional dances it will be time to join in on the fun, if you choose. We’ll learn some of the dances and feel a bit of that true Greek philoxenia.
Day 9 - Overnight in Nafplio - B, L
Today it’s time to get back to the serious business of Greek wine. We’ll start the day with a visit to a couple of the intersting sites outside of Nafplio before making our way to Domaine Skouras. Here, among the beautiful setting, we will enjoy a tour of the facilities and a tasting of some of their wines. Next we will get off the beaten path where we will drive into the hills and vineyards and meet up with a local independent wine producer. Here we will have the opportunity to meet the wine maker and taste some of his wine, which he only produces for his family and friends. We’ll enjoy the beautiful setting where he himself built his underground cellar and a small outdoor theatre. Next we’ll drive to a small village where we will meet another wine maker. We’ll meet the owners and enjoy a cooking class at their family home. What a special exprience this will be as we have a relaxed hands-on class and learn to make some of the local dishes. Of course, after we finish working it’ll be time to stop and enjoy our labors as we sit with the family, eating lunch accompanied by more Greek wine. After a wonderful day in the countryside, we’ll end the day with a relaxing time on the water. Our bus will drop us in the seaside town of Tolo where we’ll board our private boat. We’ll enjoy a leisurely ride back to Nafplio, making a short stop to view a chapel, all while sipping wine and viewing the beautiful coastline. Upon arrival in Nafplio, you’ll have the rest of the evening free to do as you’d like.
Day 10 - Overnight in Athens - B, D
After breakfast we will check out of our hotel and make our way to Athens. Upon arrival we’ll drop our luggage at our hotel and meet our local archaeologist guide. We’ll visit the crown jewel of the ancient world, the Acropolis and its Parthenon, and better understand the engineering marvel that it is. We’ll also visit the Theatre of Dionysus at the foot of the Acropolis, the location where theatre was born. Next we’ll follow in the footsteps of Socrates as we visit the Ancient Forum and The Temple of Hephaestus, the best-preserved ancient temple in Greece. After our tour, you’ll have a free afternoon to visit other sites on your own or wander and shop in the Plaka area before meeting back up for our farewell dinner. We’ll toast to the beautiful country of Greece, our new friends and the wonderful memories that we’ve made. Yamas!
Day 11 - B
Unfortunately, it’s time to leave this beautiful country. After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport according to your flight schedule.