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Explore Macedonia and Greece 8-day Small Group Tour
Itinerary for soft adventure (sightseeing, walking, gastronomy and wines) of Macedonia and Greece.
It does not take long for foreign visitors to Macedonia to discover the hospitality, kindness, openness and warmth of the country’s residents.
Macedonia remains one of Europe’s last undiscovered areas. Being centrally located in the Balkans, this country is a crossroad between the East and West, Christianity and Islam, melting pot of civilizations, which reflects in its culture and overall way of life even today. During your journey you will taste local cuisine typical for each area visited prepared by friendly locals, and combine the delicacies with premium local spirits and wines.
In Macedonia, toasts are usually made with traditional rakija (brandy), often home-distilled. Toasts are made by clinking glasses, making direct eye contact and loudly proclaiming “Na Zdravje!” Macedonians enjoy rich and flavoursome food and normally have three meals a day, with lunch being the largest.
Slow Tours offers a number of other Small Group Tours in Europe
Arrival in Greece
Arrival at Makedonia intl. Airport in Thessaloniki. Arrival and check-in at hotel. Free time to walk around the center of Thessaloniki (Port, White Tower, Arch of Galerius, Aristotelous Square, St. Demetrius, St. Sofia). Welcome dinner in Ladadika. Overnight. Meals included: D (local restaurant) Activities: Walking sightseeing of Thessaloniki center
Thessaloniki to Prilep via Pella and Edessa
Morning transfer to Macedonia via the city of Edessa and the ancient city of Pella (famous for being the capital of the ancient kingdom of Macedonia and birthplace of Alexander the Great). In Edessa we will walk to the beautiful Edessa waterfall, the traditional street Varosi and the Byzantine bridge of Kioupri (on the Via Egnatia road). Lunch is at own choice, and afterwards we continue our journey to Macedonia, in the city of Prilep. Dinner and overnight. Accommodation: Prilep Meals included: B (hotel), D (local restaurant) Included: Visit of Pella and Edessa. Not included: Lunch in Edessa
Walking in Prilep area - from King Marko’s Fortress to the Monastery of Treskavec
Morning departure to Varosh, the old town of Prilep, to the starting point of today’s walk, the Fortress of King Marko, the last medieval king of Macedonia, who ruled his kingdom from the capital of Prilep, until the arrival of the Ottoman hordes in the end of the 14th century. The tour finished at the Monastery of Treskavec (est. 13th cent.), spot with spectacular location and special place among Eastern Orthodox christians, being one of the most sacred areas since the ancient times (it was built on top of the remains of early christian basilica). Lunch will be arranged at the monastery, with the last remaining monk Brother Kalist as our guest of honor (if he is around). Return transfer to Prilep will be with van. Distance: 8.5 km. Duration: 3.5-4 hours: Elevation: 540 D+, Difficulty: Easy The afternoon is reserved for walking tour in the center of Prilep, it’s Old Bazaar. Dinner and overnight in Prilep. Accommodation: Prilep. Meals included: B (hotel), L (outdoor lunch), D (local restaurant). Included: Walking to Monastery of Treskavec: Sightseeing of Prilep
Sightseeing and free time in Ohrid
Today we checkout from Prilep and transfer to Ohrid, Macedonia’s UNESCO heritage site. Upon arrival, the guests will be taken to short walking sightseeing tour of the UNESCO protected old part of Ohrid (amenities visited: Tsar Samuel’s Fortress, Plaosnik and the ancient Amphitheater). Guests will have lunch at own choice, the tour leader will recommend the best restaurants of Ohrid. Afternoon is free for guests to explore Ohrid on their own. This evening we head to Kuratica, a village on the outskirts of Ohrid, where we enjoy the hospitality of local Goran, and his family. We are treated to local delicacies as well as some of his own brew of rakija which Goran infuses with special herbs grown only in this region. If we’re lucky he may even entertain us with some music by the campfire. Accommodation: Ohrid. Meals: B (hotel), D (family home). Included: Sightseeing of UNESCO protected old town of Ohrid. Not included: Lunch in Ohrid
Walking in Galicica national park / Monastery of St. Naum
Morning transfer to the village of Velestovo (6 km from Ohrid). Today's walk will show us the beautiful nature of the Galicica national park and the magnificent panoramas over the Ohrid lake. Our goal is to reach Mt. Elen Vrv (1221m). Distance: 8 km: Duration: 3 hours. Elevation: 300m: Difficulty: Easy The van will transfer us to the beautiful village of Trpejca for lunch (local fish selection). In the afternoon we will visit the Monastery of St. Naum. Set amidst lush verdure where the River Crn Drim tumbles into the lake, the monastery of St. Naum is a refuge of tranquility at the very southwestern corner of the Macedonian Republic. Situated 29 km (18 m) from the town of Ohrid and only 1 kilometer (0.6 m) from the Albanian border, the monastery brings the Macedonian experience to a dramatic culmination. As with most Byzantine churches, St. Naum was chosen primarily for its location – on a high, rocky outcropping over the lake, above deep forests and life-giving springs of the river Crn Drim. The monastic complex and church of St. Naum were built originally at the turn of the tenth century by the monk that bore the same name. Macedonians believe you can still hear the saint’s heartbeat by pressing an ear to his stone coffin inside the church.
The monastery has been renewed and enlarged several times over the centuries. While most of its iconostasis and frescoes date from the 16th and 17th century, earlier etchings in the Byzantine Greek vernacular also remain. But numerous orthographical mistakes indicate that they were written by Slavic-speaking local monks. Other inscriptions in the church make up some of the oldest epigraphic evidence of Slavic literacy. The icons of St. Naum are some of the best religious painting achievements in the Balkans. They date from the first half of the 18th century. The wood-carved iconostasis itself was made in 1711 by an unknown artisan. A peculiar element of St.Naum is located not on the inside of the church but on the outside: the preponderance of multicolored peacocks strutting around and luxuriating in the grass. Return to Ohrid in the afternoon hours. Return transfer to Ohrid in the early evening hour. Dinner is at own choice. Overnight. Accommodation: Ohrid Meals: B (hotel), L (local restaurant). Included: Walking in Galicica national park: Sightseeing of Monastery of St. Naum. Not included: Dinner in Ohrid
Prespa and Bitola
Checkout and morning transfer from Ohrid to Prespa region. We will visit the villages of Kurbinovo (the famous monastery of St. George of Kurbinovo, founded in the late Byzantine times which holds some of the most beautiful fresco paintings from pre medieval times). After Kurbinovo, we will explore the villages of Ljubojno and Brajchino, with typical Prespa architecture. Lunch is arranged at family home in Brajchino. In the afternoon we transfer to the city of Bitola, second largest city in Macedonia, also known as “city of the consuls” (during the Ottoman times, Bitola was considered capital of the province of Macedonia, and many foreign powers had their embassies and consulates in Bitola, that’s why the city has the most European character for its architectural and cultural heritage). Walking sightseeing of the center of Bitola (Shirok Sokak street, Old Bazaar, Clock Tower) is arranged. Dinner is at own choice in the center of Bitola. Overnight. Accommodation: Bitola. Meals: B (hotel), L (family home). Included: Walking in Prespa area, Sightseeing of Bitola. Not included: Dinner in Bitola
Walking and wine tasting in Tikves / Thessaloniki
After breakfast, we check out and transfer from Bitola to the Tikves region (cca 2.5 hours). This is where we are joined by our wine specialist. Wine culture has taken a central role in Macedonia since the Roman times, when the ruling emperors favoured its grapes. Thanks to an abundance of sunshine, Mediterranean and continental breezes and rich rocky soil, wine grapes thrive in Macedonia. We enjoy walk in the vineyards, which will be followed with private wine tasting over lunch at a local winery. The tradition of winemaking and grape growing in the Tikves region dates as far back as the 4th century BC and the industry thrived during medieval times with its production, as was common at the time throughout Europe, being made in monasteries. During our farewell lunch in Macedonia we will arrange performance of traditional Macedonian dances by local dancing group. In the afternoon hours guests are transferred to Thessaloniki hotel (cca 1.5 hour transfer). Dinner is in the old part of Thessaloniki. Accommodation: Thessaloniki. Meals: B (hotel), L (winery), D (Thessaloniki restaurant). Activities: Walking, Wine tasting, Folklore dancing performance.
Departure to Thessaloniki airport after breakfast. End of program.
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