A two week holiday combining our well-liked Unspoilt Greece and Olympiada holidays.
See what's planned
- Extend your time in Halkidiki to fully explore this picturesque peninsula.
- Discover a quieter region of Greece, rich in flora and fauna and steeped in history.
- Take a sun dappled forest walk to the Varvara waterfall.
- Follow a section of Aristotle's Trail and walk the green Marmari peninsula.
- Explore relaxed coastal towns and uncrowded beaches.
- Enjoy quintessential Greek hospitality and sample some authentic homemade regional dishes.
Guided Walking Holidays - Exploring Halkidiki
This holiday is a combination of our one week holiday Olympiada, and our one week holiday Unspoilt Greece
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.
- Return flights from Gatwick to Thessaloniki (British Airways)
- Airport transfers
- En-suite accommodation with breakfasts taken at the hotels
- Dinners taken at the sea front Germaniko tavern in Olympiada and at the hotel and local tavernas in Sithonia.
- Two picnic lunches
- All local transport costs.
What's not included?
- Entrance fees (unless otherwise specified)
- Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
- Discretionary tips
- Optional excursions
- Travel Insurance (you can add this when you book)
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
Our bottom line is happy travellers, and to that end we trust our tour leaders to use the itinerary below as a basis for providing you with a great holiday. We expect our leaders to make adjustments to the itinerary if the weather, group ability or other local conditions make that necessary. There are normally more options available to our leaders than those listed below and one or more of these options may well be chosen. All distances, heights & timings are approximate.
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.
Walks & Excursions
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.
Tour Leaders & Local Guides
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.
Your Travel Details
We fly from London 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.
Passports and Visas
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.
General travel and destination advice for UK nationals is available from the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office at www.fco.gov.uk/travel
and at www.gov.uk/travelaware.
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.
Footwear & Kit List
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:
- Waterproof jacket (Goretex or similar) and trousers
- Lightweight quick-drying trousers
- Walking T-shirt/shirts
- Walking socks
- Fleece or jumper
- Sun hat, sunglasses, lip salve and sun block
- Warm hat and gloves (if appropriate)
- Swimwear (if appropriate)
- Day sack (this should be able to carry all you would need for the day's activity)
- Day sack liner
- Water bottle - at least 1 litre capacity (more than 1 bottle may be required)
- Basic first aid kit
- Walking poles (should you find them useful)
- Sit mat
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:
- Passport (make sure it's yours and valid)
- Your travel tickets or e-ticket itinerary
- Any visa or electronic travel authorisation (if required)
- Holiday money
- Credit or debit cards (and separate details of who to call if lost)
- Car parking ticket and car park directions (if prebooked)
- Coach or rail travel tickets (if prebooked)
- Your holiday Booking Confirmation document
- Your travel insurance details
- Alternative form of identification (such as a driving licence)
- Photocopy of the personal details pages of your passport
- A valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if relevant
- Details of any medical condition or allergy your holiday leader should know about
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
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 & Other Information
Maps, Guidebooks & More
Rough Guide to Greece – Rough Guide Publications
Lonely Planet Greece – Lonely Planet Publications
The Map Shop
If you cannot find the maps or books locally we recommend:
The Map Shop
5 High Street
Upton upon Severn, Worcs
Tel: 01684 593 146
E-mail: [email protected]
If you key many of the local places mentioned in this holiday fact sheet into YouTube, you will find a vast array of spectacular footage of the area.
Visit the following websites for an idea of the climate in your destination:
Find out more
4hrs from UK
Visas and Passports
No Visa Required
Avg. Rain: 91mm
Avg. Rain: 78mm
Avg. Rain: 65mm
Avg. Rain: 43mm
Avg. Rain: 29mm
Avg. Rain: 15mm
Avg. Rain: 10mm
Avg. Rain: 11mm
Avg. Rain: 28mm
Avg. Rain: 71mm
Avg. Rain: 94mm
Avg. Rain: 106mm
Staying Healthy On Holiday
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.
It is a condition of booking with Ramblers Walking Holidays that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the trip, including all optional activities.
Your travel insurance policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation. Please ensure your policy covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are walking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. Medical and repatriation insurance cover are not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
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.
Looking for travel insurance cover?
If you have not already arranged cover, please visit SunWorld who offer travel insurance.
SunWorld policies include cover for COVID-19, subject to applicable terms and conditions.
EHIC & GHIC Cards
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.
The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development 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.
Staying In Touch
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.
We welcome all comments about our holidays and value ideas for the future. If you have provided us with an email address we will invite you to complete an online questionnaire or to add feedback to our page on the independent review site 'Feefo'.
Please note that this Holiday Information sheet may be periodically updated and reissued.
In most cases the revisions will be minor and the overall nature
of the holiday will remain unchanged. Should we make a major change
to your holiday arrangements between you booking your holiday and
your date of travel we will notify you to specifically draw your
attention to any significant change.
You may wish to review the latest version of this Holiday Information Sheet online prior to travel.
Please note that any advertised offers, benefits or initiatives may be discontinued at any time.
Ramblers Walking Holidays
Our office is open and our Sales & Reservations team are available to speak to you from:
- 09.00 to 17.00 Monday to Friday
Please quote your Booking Reference number and Tour Code whenever contacting us.
We wish you an enjoyable holiday!
Our holiday walking grades
Grade 4 Sightseeing
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.
Discover more about our walking grades