Corfu and Mainland

During this journey you will discover one of the most beautiful Greek islands and also some of the Greek mainland highlights. Follow us to an interesting tour around the west part of Greece with Corfu as your starting and finishing point.

Day 1: Welcome in Corfu!

Welcome to the island of the Phaeacians: an emerald-green island in the turquoise blue waters of the Ionian Sea. Corfu is the greenest island in Greece and can totally impress you with the numerous cultural influences from Romans, Venetians, Franks and British. The island has managed to retain the western-European culture and atmosphere without losing the Greek hospitality and vivid temperament of its inhabitants at all. Transfer from the Airport “Ioannis Kapodistrias” to your booked hotel. Hotel stay for 4 nights.

Day 2: Through the streets of Corfu Town

Follow us to a journey through time and learn all the trivia about the Corfiot history and the capital of the island. After visiting the gardens of Mon Repos – the summer residence of the Greek royal family until 1967 – you will continue with the visit of Jason and Sosipatros church, one of the most important churches dating back to the Byzantine times. Jason and Sosipatros were students and disciples of Apostle Paul who visited Corfu in 48 AD and are said to have introduced Christianity to the inhabitants of the island.
Further on to the centre of the old city of Corfu, included in the list of UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage. The old city of Corfu with its narrow streets and its monuments with a history of 8 centuries stands between the New and the Old Fort, both built by the Venetians during their 500-year-dominion in the Ionian Islands. In the narrow streets of the old city you can find buildings with marble-flagged arcades hosting numerous galleries and souvenir shops. One of the most famous landmarks of the old city and favorite place for the locals is the enormous square of Esplanade (mostly known as “Spianada”), which is one of the largest squares in the Balkans. On the northern side      of Esplanade stands the old city part of Kambiello, located by the sea.
Do not miss a visit to the patron saint of Corfu, Saint Spyridon, thought by the locals to do miracles. In the wonderful baroque-style church decorated with western-art wall and ceiling paintings, you can find the remains of the Saint in a sarcophagus and his silver slippers, which –according to the myth – Saint Spyridon wears every night and takes a walk in the streets of the old city. Saint Spyridon died in about 350 AD in Cyprus, but when the Arabs conquered Cyprus in 650 AD the remains of the former Bishop of Trymithous were taken to Constantinople (today Istanbul) and later in 1453 from there to Corfu, in order to be protected by the Ottomans. You will also visit the City Hall at the centre of the old town of Corfu and Liston with its arcaded terraces and fashionable cafes, built in 1807 by the French imperial commissioner Mathieu de Lesseps. The design was inspired by the Rue de Rivoli in Paris. One of the most famous beliefs about its name is that it was named after the list of the noble families of Corfu written on a wooden board; these families were the only ones allowed to cross this road. Last but not least, you will breathe some fresh air on the old fortress; you may climb a little, but the view is absolutely breathtaking!
Return to your booked hotel. Hotel and overnight stay.

Day 3: From Empress Sissi to Paleokastritsa

Our day begins with a visit of the famous Achilleion Palace, which was built for Empress Sissi and later belonged to Emperor Wilhelm II – an example of the romantic excitement for ancient culture in the 19th century. If you are lucky enough to find the upper level of the main floor open to the public, do not forget to see the painting of Franz von Matsch “The Triumph of Achilles”. It is said, that the painter committed suicide, after he realized that the wheel of Achilles’ s chariot seemed to have no movement. However, the palace as a building is not the only thing to see and admire at the site of Achilleion; the subtropical gardens of the palace with the two grand sculptures of the ancient Iliad’s warrior Achilles and the amazing view of the sea will impress you.
Later on you will drive to Paleokastritsa through the amazing landscapes painted with numerous shades of green and blue. In Paleokastritsa, one of the most old and famous fishing sites in Corfu with the numerous hidden bays, you will visit the men’s monastery of Panagia (Virgin Mary) which was founded in the 13th century. After exploring the bays and narrow streets of the village you will finally drive to Lakones, where you will admire the wonderful view of Paleokastritsa,   and then to Makrades taking thus the way back to your hotel. Dinner and overnight stay.

Day 4: The West Side & the Mouse Island

Today you will visit the west coast of the island and the villages Sinarades und Pelekas will be the first stops of your day. In Pelekas you will have the chance to visit Kaiser Throne and the old observatory. Between 1908 and the first world war, Kaiser Wilhelm II spent his summers at Achillion Palace but his favorite location was the village of Pelekas and we can easily understand why. Standing at his “throne” you have a 360 degree panoramic view of the island and one of the most impressive sunsets.
After admiring the exquisite view, you will drive to Perama for lunch and then to Kanoni, one of the most beloved sites in Corfu. Visit the monastery of Panagia Vlacherena and take one of the small boats to the Mouse Island (“Pontikonissi”), Corfu’s landmark. Return to your booked hotel. Dinner and overnight stay.

Day 5: Culture & Mystery in Epirus

Today you will take the ferry to Igoumenitsa and thus reach the Greek mainland. But do not worry, you will come back to Corfu soon… From Igoumenitsa, drive to Parga a beautiful city by the sea. After a short walking tour in the city, you will visit the Olive Oil Museum in the old part of the city, where you will learn about the olive oil production in the past and taste the local bread and olive oil.
Afterwards, you will take a tour to the past and visit Ephyra, the ancient city near which an ancient Greek temple of necromancy (“Necromanteion”) devoted to Hades and Persephone was located. The site was also the point where the rivers Acheron, Pyriphlegethon and Cocytus (thought to flow through Ades’ Kingdom of the dead) met. Hotel stay in Preveza for 2 nights. Dinner and overnight stay at your booked hotel.

Day 6: Preveza & the Roman Remnants

Preveza is one of the most beautiful harbor cities of Epirus. Located on a peninsula, it is a nice place for some leisure time by the sea in peace and quiet, as both the Ionian Sea and the Ambracian Gulf wash its shores.
Historically, Preveza is mostly known for Nikopolis, the ancient city founded by Roman Emperor Octavian not only in commemoration of his victory against Markus Antonius and Cleopatra at the battle of Actium nearby in 31 BC, but also – and mainly – in order to control the west side of Greece and the city of Patras. Admire the ancient gates of the city and visit the Roman theatre, the odeon, the central thermae and the Roman nymphaeum. Dinner and overnight stay at your booked hotel.

Day 7: Delphi, the Navel of the Earth

Delphi: the most prestigious and authoritative oracle in the Greek world, as well as a UNESCO’s world heritage site. Delphi is known for its theatre, its ancient ruins and of course the Temple of Apollo with the Oracle, where Pythia predicted the future with equivocal sayings. Delphi has been characterized as “the Navel of the Earth”; according to the Greek mythology, Zeus is said to have sent two eagles flying from the eastern and western extremities, and the path of the eagles crossed over Delphi where the omphalos or navel of Gaia was found. After visiting Pythia, you will drive to your booked hotel in Delphi. Dinner and hotel stay for 1 night.

Day 8: Alpine Wine & Meteora Monasteries hanging from the cliffs

In Meteora you will have the chance to visit one of the most extraordinary sites in Greece. Meteora is considered as one of the most beautiful areas in the Greek mainland (also included in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List) and is famous for its six monasteries built on top of rock towers; you will visit two of them, which will provide you a totally breathtaking view. In such a place, you can just feel that you are literally approaching the holy heavens.
Further drive to Metsovo, a traditional alpine town in a height of 1,160m. In this small town of Epirus you will visit the “highest” winery in Greece (1,000 m) Since 1963 the Averoff family produces fine Cabernet Sauvignon. Although it is not the area of their origin, the table wines are of the finest quality; besides, the ones who do not believe, will soon taste it by themselves. Hotel stay for 1 night in Kalambaka or Metsovo. Dinner and overnight stay at your booked hotel.

Day 9: Oracle of Dodoni & Lake Pamvotis

Next destination: Ioannina. The city of legends and traditions, of silversmiths and intellectuals is located in the centre of Epirus together with its castle and Lake Pamvotis; a true jewel in the Greek alpine mainland. The history of the city, according to the archives, dates back to the 9th century. It is said that it was founded by Emperor Justinian. In the 13th century the city played an important role in the despotate of Epirus; during that time, it was the centre of an economic boost which lasted for a lot of centuries. After a political agreement in 1430, Ioannina was given to the Turks. From the end of the 18th century till the beginning of the 20th century, the city was the centre of Ali Pasha’s dominion. In that period of time, there was an enormous economic and cultural boom. The monuments of the city indicate its varied history. The castle, the monasteries with their wonderful frescos, the mosques, the synagogue and the old manors will accompany you to a journey through time and history.
Later on, you will drive through the mountain landscape of Epirus to Dodoni (or Dodona), an ancient Greek sanctuary and the oldest Greek oracle. After Delphi, Dodoni was the second most important oracle of the ancient Greek world. The combined with the oracle cult of Zeus seems to have been developed by an older cult. Later on, it remained an important religious sanctuary until the rise of the Christian religion. The predictions were made mainly by interpreting the rustle of the one of Zeus’s sacred oaks, as well as the flight of doves. The archaeological site of Dodoni, which is not in a very good condition and still not totally brought in light, includes the remnants of several temples and the profane administrative building. In a very good condition still stand the theatre, one of the largest of its style in Greece. Return to Ioannina, where you will stay for 2 nights. Dinner and overnight stay at your booked hotel. 

Day 10: The traditional villages of Zagorochoria

Drive to the alpine landscape of Zagorochoria. In the 46 villages of the region, the visitors can find whatever they want: traditional architecture, villages built in the heart of the woods, others which offer a breathtaking view and above all, peace and quiet. Feel free in the wild nature, let the Canyon of  Vikos and the river Aoos impress you and cross the old stone bridges which endure over time. Drive back to Ioannina. Dinner and overnight stay in your booked hotel.

Days 11-14: Leisure Time in Corfu

 Drive to Igoumenitsa, where you will take the ferry back to Corfu. Arrival in Corfu and transfer to your booked hotel, where you will stay for 4 nights. For the next 4 days you will have the free time to explore the wonderful island of the Ionian Sea as you wish. Dinner and overnight stay.

Day 15: Departure “geia sas”

Free time according to your departure time. Transfer to the Airport “Ioannis Kapodistrias” and departure to your home destination.

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