Experience the lesser-known side of the country with this two-week trip across Northern Greece. You'll go from Greece's second city of Thessaloniki to living like the proverbial pasha in lakeside Ioannina, then up to the clifftop monasteries of Meteora. Continue on through the stone Zagori mountain villages to wrap up your journey on the shores of Corfu in the Ionian Sea, where you'll follow in legendary traveler Odysseus's footsteps.
Start at the Castle of Thessaloniki, also known as Heptapyrgion or Yedi Kule. This Byzantine-era fortress is well-preserved, featuring several towers overlooking the city's acropolis. As you walk downhill, you'll pass through the Portara and the old city walls, making your way to the Vlatodon Monastery, another site from the Byzantine era. This hilltop temple offers preserved frescoes dating back centuries, plus several religious icons and city views.
Next, twist through the old streets and head toward the Church of Osios David, a fifth-century Christian church. Here you'll find a mosaic of Ezekiel's vision, medieval frescoes, and a rare depiction of an adolescent Christ. Your last stop is the Alaca Imaret, a fifteenth-century Ottoman monument and former mosque. Today, the building is still decorated with its original ceiling frescoes and now hosts art exhibitions.
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Itineraries with Explore Ano Poli in Thessaloniki
Discover the cultural and historical highlights that Greece's cities and islands have to offer with this cosmopolitan tour of Athens, Thessaloniki, and Crete. Spend the first few days exploring the history and flavors of the capital on foot and by bicycle. In Greece's second city, immerse yourself in Thessaloniki's rich Byzantine and Ottoman history, and visit fascinating archaeological sites. Next, hop over to Crete for a trip to the Venetian city of Chania and an excursion to the Minotaur's labyrinth before making your way back to Athens.
The thrills of buzzing Athens and Thessaloniki await on this 12-day adventure based in Greece's two largest cities. Begin and end in the capital, where you'll frequent the markets and coffee houses in between trips to the Acropolis and the sacred site of Delphi. Travel north to Greece's second city for some fascinating Byzantine and Ottoman history and architecture, and a stroll around beautiful the beautiful Ano Poli neighborhood. Back in Athens, spend your last day learning to prepare a traditional meal at a cooking class with a view.