The coast, villages and countryside of the Eastern Algarve and then explore the treasures of this most westerly corner of Europe.
A two week holiday combining our well-liked Unspoilt Greece and Olympiada holidays.
Special Selection Hotels
What does this mean?
Tour codes: 15170
Full and half day walks at a moderate pace over hilly terrain. Half day walks will probably involve about 3 hours of walking, with full day walks having around 5 hours. Expect ascents and descents of up to 600m. Some days of this holiday will be dedicated solely to sightseeing (or include an element of sightseeing). To enhance your experience, a knowledgeable local guide will accompany your small group for part (or the majority) of the holiday.
Greece’s verdant peninsula of Sithonia, in Halkidiki, appeals to nature lovers and visitors seeking a quieter holiday. Pine and oak forests, olive groves, fruit trees and vineyards give way to golden beaches, azure seas, picturesque harbours and fishing hamlets. In between you’ll find traditional villages, characteristic stone architecture, and tranquil churches. Add to this the delightful local cuisine and wines, the genuine Greek hospitality, and you have all the elements of a really great holiday.
During our first week we are based at the lovely Athena Pallas Village, which offers superior accommodation and facilities, our walks lead us around the peninsula on woodland tracks, country trails and along coastal pathways. The Mt. Holomontas range, rich in flora and fauna, offers wonderful panoramic views to the coast, and on a clear day, possibly to Mount Athos. Once abandoned hillside villages now bustle with life and in spring time, the hills are adorned with flowers, wild strawberries and herbs and we might even see wild tortoises and hear the song of nightingales. Our walks end at small mountain villages with time to explore, stroll on the beach or perhaps to relax over lunch taken in one of the plentiful waterfront tavernas. Mount Athos, or Holy Mountain, can be seen from the peninsula and an optional boat cruise takes you along the coastline where majestic monasteries seem to rise from the sea. Greece’s second city of Thessaloniki, with its museums, ancient sites, markets and restaurants, is not far away and is within easy reach of our hotel.
For our second week, reece’s most northern region of Macedonia, which borders the Balkans, is an absolute delight. This is Greece at its most welcoming with quiet coastal towns, uncrowded beaches, shady village squares, local markets and of course, the quintessential Greek hospitality. From the tranquil seaside town of Olympiada, we’ll explore the birthplace of Aristotle at Ancient Stagira, follow part of the Aristotle Trail and walk the Marmari peninsula. We’ll visit Ouranoupoli, the area’s capital which borders the World Heritage Site of Mount Athos, and take either an afternoon cruise to view the magnificent hanging monasteries or enjoy a walk on Ammouliani Island. We will also visit the ancient city of Amphipolis, inhabited from the fifth century BC and through the Macedonian, Roman and Byzantine eras, including a recently excavated tomb, probably that of one of Alexander the Great’s family.
Our walks take us through the picturesque countryside, into pleasant woodlands of pine, fir and chestnut, following forest tracks, passing the spectacular Varvara waterfall, and along a coastal trail – enjoying the verdant scenery as we go. The food in this part of Greece could be some of the best you have ever tasted. Our hotel breakfasts are homemade with locally grown produce, dinners will be taken at one of the town’s delightful sea front tavernas and the hotel’s resident chef Loulou will give a demonstration of Greek cookery.
Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.
NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen
Itinerary & Travel
Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we may unfortunately need to withdraw a tour that is currently confirmed to operate and we therefore reserve the right to cancel your booking. We would always do our utmost to give you plenty of notice should we have to do this. Selected elements of this tour, including local attractions and restaurants, may change at late notice. Please ensure you have valid insurance cover before you travel.
Depart London Gatwick to Thessaloniki. On arrival travel by road to the Athena Pallas Village, located at Elias Beach, on the green peninsula of Sithonia.
Transfer Time = 1h
Our walk today is directly from the hotel and takes up into the nearby hills, with panoramic views over the coastline. After a short ascent through Olive Groves, our path follows wide forest paths passing St Paul's chapel and St Peter's rock. Distance: 12kms, 4 hours Ascent +/- 440m, Descent 270m A picnic lunch is included today.
Our walk today ascends gradually through olive groves and woodland to the once-deserted village of Parthenonas, where a snack lunch is included at a taverna. Situated below Mt Itamos, it offers views to the west and the nearby Kassandra peninsula. There are picturesque descents through varied terrain with some steep sections. Distance: 13kms, 4.5 hours, Ascent 590m Descent 605m
Kassandra is the lowest of the three peninsulas and our walks will have less climb. We start at the town of Kriopigi, heading up behind the town and through olive groves, pine forests and a dry riverbed. Our walk is circular, stopping at the small village of Kassandrino for a snack lunch at a tavern (or picnic if you wish) before returning to Kriopigi for refreshments. Distance: 13km, 4.5 hours walking; Ascent/Descent 430m, Max Elevation 200m
The area offers a few options for a day at leisure. The hotel pools, spa and beach are good for relaxing or you could visit Neas Marmaris or perhaps take a day trip into Thessaloniki, Greece's second city.
From Porto Koufo, a walk on the southern tip of Sithonia, offers magnificent views of the sea and towering cliffs. We start close to the beach of the harbour, then follow farm tracks through olive groves and scrubland. Ascents and descents are fairly gradual. There is the opportunity to swim in one of the bays en route. Distance 12kms, 3.5 hours, Ascent /Descent 280m
Making the short drive to the village of Nikiti, we begin our walk leaving the delightful old part of the town. There is a steep ascent on forest roads and tracks, followed by a more level area of olive groves and woods before an interesting section down a narrow path towards Agios Nikolaos (the oldest village in the area) with its central square of taverns and cafes. Our return includes a long ascent on a wide forest road passing Agios Georgios' Chapel (the Chapel of St George), before descending on forest roads to Nikiti. Distance 12kms, 4.5 hours, Ascent / Descent 555m
Following a relaxing morning for a swim or a leisurely breakfast, we transfer to our next centre, the small tranquil seaside town of Olympiada. Here we will be welcomed by our hotel owner, Loulou, enjoy a stroll around the town with a stop for coffee and freshly made loukamades, before dinner.
Ancient Stagira, the remains of the town of Aristotle's birth, lies a short walk from Olympiada. Here we'll learn about the history of the area and discover the local plants and flowers with a local botantist. There are wonderful views overlooking Olympiada and the Strymonian Gulf from the hill top. Distance: 3kms (8kms with optional extension;) Ascent/Descent: minimal (+/- 300m with optional extension)
We take transport out to the Mamari Peninsula today, which is encompassed within a nature reserve. Our coastal path takes us along good beach tracks, past a mussel farm and fishing huts. Great views on offer as we walk. There will be time for a picnic lunch and perhaps a swim too at Diavorvoro beach! Distance: 16kms; Ascent: 150m; Descent 332m
Ouranopoli, meaning Heavens Gate, is a town that lies on the border with Mount Athos, a sacred site in the Greek Orthodox church. From here we take a short walk from the Ouranopoli tower to the Mount Athos border and may have the opportunity to visit the monastery at the border. There will be time for lunch and a free afternoon of exploring the town, or you may wish to take a cruise along the shores of Mount Athos where you can see the numerous magnificent monasteries. Depending on numbers, we may be able to offer a short ferry crossing to Ammouliani island for a walk through the main town and saltpans which offers some good views of the Athos peninsula. Distance: 4kms; Ascent/Descent: 100m
Our walk today takes us along a part of "Aristotle's Way", in total a 23km path that starts in New Stagira and ends at Aristotle's birthplace in Old Stagira. We visit the interesting Aristotle Park then make an initial ascent to the ridge, where we follow broad forest tracks through chestnut, then beech and coniferous woodland. We catch glimpses of the sea as we walk. This is a path with varied flora and fauna and makes an interesting day. Keep an eye out for wild tortoises. Distance: 14kms; Ascent 271m; Descent 446m
Today is mainly a sightseeing day as we take hired transport for a visit to the ruins of Amphipolis, best known for the magnificent ancient Greek city and later Roman city, whose impressive remains can still be seen. We visit Stavros open air market en route and return via the village of Mikra Volvi where we can see the pretty little church of Ayia Marina. Amphipolis, which offers wonderful flowers, butterflies and other fauna, is famous in history for events such as the battle between the Spartans and Athenians in 422 BC, and where, after Alexander the Great's death, his wife Roxane and their small son Alexander IV were exiled and later murdered. We will visit the museum and see the unique and interesting statue - the Lion of Amphipolis.
A short distance from the hotel you'll find the Vavara waterfalls and Kalivia Valley. We follow a mainly easy track that starts in the inland hills, descends to two tall waterfalls then continues on forest tracks through pleasant woodland to a valley with a very old settlement. We then head towards the coast and back to the hotel along the beach. Distance: 12kms; Ascent 100m; Descent 320m
Transfer by road to Thessaloniki Airport.
Departure dates for your selected tour
1st May 2021 - 15th May 2021 (14 Nights)
8th May 2021 - 22nd May 2021 (14 Nights)
11th Sep 2021 - 25th Sep 2021 (14 Nights)
25th Sep 2021 - 9th Oct 2021 (14 Nights)
Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each night's accommodation for each departure date.
The family owned, superior category Athena Pallas Village is located directly on the coast at Elias Beach on the Sithonia peninsula. The extensive grounds have a village feel, where there are restaurants, a shop, four swimming pools, health club & spa (charges apply), tennis courts, bar, and even a folklore museum.
The owner of the hotel used to build churches before he constructed the hotel and there are two small churches on the hotel grounds. There is access to the quiet beach (down steps) which connects to a sister hotel, which has a beach bar.
There is free Wi-Fi connection in the hotel and all nicely decorated rooms are en suite, have a hairdryer, TV, safe, climate control, mini-bar, telephone, and a balcony with chairs and table.
The family run Hotel Liotopi offers a warm and intimate welcome to guests, and is in keeping with its boutique size of 16 rooms in total. Close to the beach in Olympiada it is a stone’s throw from shops, cafes and restaurants. The hotel prides itself on its homemade breakfast, which is taken outside in the charming garden in good weather.
Rooms are uniquely decorated and are ensuite with a/c, fridge, TV and a hairdryer. All rooms have a balcony with either sea or mountain view. Free Wi-Fi is offered to guests. Breakfasts and taverna dinners are included in the holiday charge.
The first week of this holiday involves Grade 4 moderate walking with walks over hilly terrain, along both broad tracks and narrow paths and offering wonderful views. Our walks average between 5 miles-8 miles and may well end with a beach stop for a dip, or calling in a taverna for a well earned drink. Actual walking time will generally not exceed 5 hours with ascents/descents between 250m-600m. The maximum altitude reached on this holiday is approx. 1000m
From Olympiada, the walking programme at Grade 4/SS includes walks at a moderate pace over hilly terrain and includes an element of sightseeing days as well. Our full-day walks are 8 to 10 miles, with ascents and descents up to 350m. (I haven't get WB with me so can't check figure) Sightseeing days include exploring archeological sites on foot, usually with opportunities of walks up to 5 miles. The maximum altitude reached on this holiday is approx. 850m
This holiday is a two-week combination of our Unspoilt Greece holiday, based on the Sithonia peninsula and our Olympiada holiday, based in the northern region of the Mount Athos peninsula. The two centres are very different, as are the hotels, dining arrangements and walking programme. For both weeks we will use coastal trails, forest paths, mule tracks and quiet roads. We proceed at a leisurely pace sometimes making use of the tavernas in the local villages for refreshments stops or lunch. Some of the walks are at the top of the grade, with ascents and descents of 300-400m, though rarely steep.
While at our first centre, our programme is made up of grade 4 walks. One walk is directly from our hotel, other walks we use local transport. There will be a little sightseeing as part of our walks, and there will be a free day for you to explore on our own, perhaps take a local excursion or relax at the hotel. One of the excursions you will see available is a cruise to Mount Athos, or Holy Mountain, which can be seen from the eastern side of Sithonia. The peninsula has approx. 20 inhabited monasteries and 1,700 monks, and while it cannot be visited without a permit, you can take a cruise to take along the coastline, which offers close up views. This cruise is also offered during your second week as part of a day's visit, so you may prefer to wait until the 2nd week to do this.
Our second centre, Olympiada, is a small, quiet seaside town with a couple of hotels, beachfront tavernas and a handful of cafes and shops. The hotel is in contrast to Athena Pallas Village and has just 16 rooms. Our programme here is graded 4/SS, which means there will be more sightseeing during our walks and we have two days which are primarily sightseeing days. This week focuses on Greek culture, history and lifestyle.
Local Transport Costs
All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.
A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator. We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.
When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price, non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.
The currency in Greece is the euro.
There are ATM machines at Thessaloniki Airport, banks with ATM facilities in the villages of Nikiti and Neos Marmaras, near to our hotel and credit cards are accepted at the hotel. The Athena Pallas also has an ATM in the hotel lobby.
Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high. In order to simplify tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by us together with, if you wish, a contribution from you, which he/she will collect during the holiday.
Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.
Leader's Evening Briefing
Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.
We fly from London Gatwick to Thessaloniki and return with British Airways.
Details of your baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent approximately 10 days prior to departure.
On arrival the transfer from Thessaloniki Airport to the Athena Pallas Village takes approximately 1 hour by coach.
On the transfer day between the Athena Pallas Village and the Hotel Liotopi in Olympiada the transfer will take approx. 1 hour.
Booking Your Own Travel Arrangements?
If you wish to organise your own flights from a non-UK or provincial airport or travel by rail or car to your holiday destination, 'land only' reductions are often available. Please contact us for details.
Before finalising any independent travel arrangements, please check with us first - especially if doing so 12 weeks or more before your intended date of travel. If you do intend to join your holiday locally please do tell us at least 14 weeks in advance.
If you are joining and leaving your holiday overseas we assume, unless you advise us otherwise, that you will join and leave the holiday at your hotel.
Although airport transfers are not included for those making their own independent travel arrangements, if you wish to join the group at the overseas airport, depending on your flight arrival time, you may be able to be included on the group's transfer. Please contact us at least 5 weeks before departure for more details.
Please note that your flight must arrive within 30 minutes of the group flight to be able to join the group transfer. We also need your flight number, arrival time and departure point so that the group leader is able to meet up with you.
Luggage Allowance & Travel Documents
For all those booking a flight or rail inclusive holiday, details of your travel arrangements and baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent to you approximately 10 days prior to departure.
Personal Details Check
To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.
General Passport Advice
It is a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal details pages of your passport. Should you lose your passport, this may assist with the issue of replacement documents and your return to your home country.
Passport and visa requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements.
Brexit Passport Advice
You should have at least 6 months validity left on your passport from your date of arrival.
If you renewed a 10 year passport before it expired, extra months may have been added to your passport’s expiry date. These extra months will not count, so you should ensure that your passport is not older than 9 years and 6 months from the date of issue at the time of travel.
You may wish to renew your passport sooner rather than later, in order to make sure you have it in time for your holiday or travel plans.
Please ensure to regularly check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for updates on passport requirements leading up to and after Brexit or contact us for more assistance.
UK Government Brexit Information for Passports can be found at www.gov.uk/guidance/passport-rules-for-travel-to-europe-after-Brexit.
The UK Government has published a website tool to check the validity of your passport under these rules which can be found at www.passport.service.gov.uk/check-a-passport.
In the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK citizens will be able to visit the EU for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa. The UK Government also has information for travellers available at gov.uk/EUexit
Non British Passport holders should consult the host country’s embassy for applicable passport and visa entry requirements.
During the holiday, breakfasts and dinners are included. At our first centre, dinners are taken at a mix of local tavernas and the hotel. Long trousers are a requirement for men at dinner at the hotel. Lunches that are not included in the holiday cost and can be bought from the hotel, a local supermarket or may be at a local taverna. When at Olympiada, our 2nd centre, we will eat dinner at a seafront taverna, a short distance from our hotel.
Lightweight waterproof walking boots with a good moulded sole (such as Vibram or similar) and a deep tread and which provide ankle support are strongly recommended and may be essential for some walks.
General Kit List
Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.
If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:
This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.
Travel Documents Checklist
Documents and Information to take with you:
Electricity in Greece
Electricity in Greece is supplied at 220 Volts. If you wish to use electrical equipment you will need a European two pin adaptor with round pins. More information can be found at https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/
Water To Go
An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.
We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.
Maps, Guidebooks & More
The Map Shop
Maps and guidebooks relating to the areas you will be walking in may be bought before your holiday from The Map Shop at www.themapshop.co.uk
Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.
Health Advice for Greece
No compulsory immunisations are required for visits to Greece.
You should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended in the UK.
You may also wish to consider immunisations against Tetanus and Tick-borne Encephalitis.
There is a low to no risk of malaria in Greece. Malaria risk is from May to October and is very limited; confined to the villages of the Evrotas delta area in Lakonia district. Please seek advice from your doctor or travel clinic.
Further Travel Advice
For further advice please visit:
You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.
You must be adequately insured to join our holidays. You will be unable to participate in our local walking and other activity programmes without being able to demonstrate that you have valid travel insurance.
Please ensure that as a minimum your travel insurance policy covers you for travel to your holiday destinations (country and geographical region) and for medical expenses, mountain rescue (including helicopter rescue) and emergency repatriation to your home country in the event of illness or injury. Your policy should also provide adequate cover for the activities, included and optional, you are likely to participate in during your holiday.
Whoever you insure with, please ensure that you take full details, and ideally the policy itself, with you on holiday and provide our tour leader with your insurer's name, the policy number and emergency assistance contact numbers.
Please note that it is very difficult to obtain travel insurance once your holiday arrangements have started.
From January 1st, 2021 UK travellers can continue to use their European Heath Insurance Card (EHIC) – which can last up to five years, until its expiry date, to gain access to medical assistance during your holiday. However, you will no longer be covered in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. Travellers without a valid EHIC can apply for a new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which will replaces the EHIC once it has been phased out. Please note however that the EHIC/GHIC should not be considered a substitute for medical or travel insurance.
For more information, please visit www.nhs.uk/ehic
The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office provides up to date information on security and local laws for travellers, together with current passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your planned destination.
Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches. Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day, and we recommend that a money belt is used.
We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.
The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust
Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.
Heart and Sole
We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.
Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements.
Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.
As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.
Visas and Passports
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