Have you ever been to a place that makes you feel like being home? Where you are pleasantly smitten from the hospitality and positivity around you? A destination, where you feel like you know the people around you and they know you too?
Well, my friend – that is the sunny Balkan. Welcome to Greece and Macedonia!
Being in the heart of the Balkans, decorated with mountains, lakes and rivers, guarded by the most beautiful of all seas the Aegean, one can feel the excitement of the millennial cities raised by world’s largest civilizations. Visiting Greece and Macedonia is about the people, the sun, the unique moments, different than all you have ever experienced and more beautiful than all you have ever seen.
With the untouched architecture of the villages, the most delicious homemade food and the exciting history of every ruin from the ancient Greece to the Ottomans, this sunny countries fulfill the needs of even the most demanding traveler.
Visiting Greece&Macedonia is filled with passion and laughter, an experience that one will remember for a lifetime.
Day 1: Wine Divine
Local Experience: Wine degustation at Royal Winery Queen Marija
Departure from the International Airport in Skopje; an hour of ride, the group will arrive in Tikves region to the welcoming meal served with one of the most beautiful wines in Macedonia.
The winery we will visit is among most renowned wineries in Republic of North Macedonia, hosting several thousands of domestic and international tourists all-year- round. At the winery, the group will be educated on the basics of Macedonian traditional wine production, the technology applied, types of grapes and the harvest process nurtured in more than 30 centuries.
During the lunch, the group will also hear the story of Serbian King Alexander Karadjordjevic`s who had his wine yards here and the Villa for his Queen Marija.
The group will then head to their first accommodation hub – Thessaloniki, Greece expected in the early evening. Diner in Thessaloniki. Overnight.
Day 2: Thessaloniki, the white city by the sea
Thessaloniki will charm even the most demanding visitor. With its unique mix of ancient , Ottoman and modern scent, Thessaloniki spoils you with sea breeze and so many relaxed places to enjoy the marvelous view…. We will start our day by foot, exploring the city glorious past, doing the popular promenade by the sea reaching the landmark of the city, the White Tower. We will learn the dark history of this monument witnessing events of many centuries.
Our half –day guided tour will continue towards the complex of Arch of Galerius and Rotonda. Entering this magnificent building of worship we will be amazed by its beauty of mosaics and its history. From there we continue towards the Agios Demetrios, the most loved and live Thessaloniki basilica, a masterpiece of the Christian Orthodox art.
Passing by the Roman Forum we will end this amazing walk of Thessaloniki in the busy streets of Old Bazaar Ladadika.
After wondering thru the narrow streets filled with local shops of herbs, olive oil and other authentic products we will leave you to enjoy your free time for lunch at some of many taverns by the sea.
The night is reserved for a delicious traditional Greek diner at Ladadika
Day 3: Day Off / Free Time
Day 4: Mysterious Meteora, the Monasteries in the clouds
After breakfast, we depart for the most photogenic spiritual site in Greece. In two and a half hours away from Thessaloniki you will discover the natural beauty and the cultural heritage of this area.
This Meteora half-day sightseeing tour will take the group back to the dark ages and the story of the first hermits and monks who laid the foundations of what later on became the monastic community of Meteora. It is an area of seemingly inaccessible sandstone peaks where medieval monks settled upon towering pinnacles from the 11th century onwards and in the 1400’s, twenty four monasteries were built atop a “columns in the sky.”
A guided tour of Meteora will include entering the 700-year-old Holy Monastery of Great Meteora, the largest and oldest of all the monasteries and its remarkable frescoes from the 16th century. Inside the monastery, the group will also see the original sacristy and fascinating exhibits of ancient icons and centuries-old codices and manuscripts.
The tour includes lunch in local tavern overlooking the monasteries in the clouds. In the early afternoon we depart for Thessaloniki for a free night
Day 5: Day Off / FEE TIME
Day 6: Greece &Macedonia: The Royal Tombs of Vergina, the eternal temple of Macedonian King Philip II, father of Alexander the Great
The trip continues to Vergina, the place where the father of Alexander the Great, Philip the II has his eternal resting place. Magnificent and one of the most amazing museums in Greece offers unique experience diving into the history of the Macedonian Empire.
In Vergina, the Royal Tombs are covered within the museum presenting the findings in their real environment preserved as they were build more than two millennia ago.
The museum has a dark, imposing atmosphere that surprises most visitors. Hundreds of items are displayed including beautiful gold creations, elaborate jewelry, colorful wall paintings, mosaics, hundreds of ancient items including a richly carved burial bed and others, used by the imperial family of the Alexander`s father, King Philip II.
After visiting the Royal tombs we will have free time to enjoy lunch in the charming village of Vergina in one of the many taverns offering traditional Greek food. We continue towards Skopje, the capital of now North Macedonia for overnight.
Day 7: Skopje, the Macedonia mix: from the ancient to the modern
After the breakfast, a guided walking tour thru the capital of North Macedonia will follow. You will start the experience by visiting the Museum of Mother Theresa, the Saint proclaimed by the Catholic Church and Nobel Prize awardee, born in Skopje. After we will continue the city tour by foot towards the Ottoman Stone Bridge, Medieval Fortress Kale, passing thru the newly built baroque Macedonia square including the statue of Alexander the Great. The most recent buildings of the Skopje 2014 project, all resembling the great baroque style settled along the main capital Square Macedonia and justifying the title of our day as “Macedonian Mix” will also be a part of our walking Skopje tour with an excellent chance for an unforgettable photos. We will visit the extraordinary Museum of Macedonian struggle offering staged wax statues in real size presenting the dark and complex past of the Macedonian people thru the history of national awakening. We will enter into Old Bazaar for delicious lunch and some free time for shopping local souvenirs and close exploration of the everyday life of different ethnics thru coffee or tea and mingling with the locals. The Ottoman architecture is predominant in the Old Bazaar, although remains of the Byzantine architecture are evident as well, while the most recent reconstructions lead to the application of elements specific to the Modern architecture. Most of the buildings that once were used to host the travelers or as hamams for the political dignitaries were transformed into museums and galleries, which today are used with the main purpose to host art exhibitions, concerts and other cultural events. Nowadays, however, the place and its proximity are still home to several mosques, türbes, two churches and a clock tower that together with the buildings of the Museum of Macedonia and the Museum of Modern Art forms the core of the modern bazaar. The rest of the day is free and we meet for farewell dinner in the city center.
Day 8: Departure
Check out of the Hotel and leaving to the International Airport of Skopje.