15 MAY - 25 MAY
About This Tour
The historical boundaries of Thrace have varied over the centuries, but ancient Greeks referred to Thrace as western Turkey, southern Bulgaria and northeastern Greece. When one thinks of Thrace, the epic exploits of Alexander the Great, the mysterious monasteries of Mount Athos and Meteora, and the eternal home of the Gods on Mount Olympus spring to mind. We journey to amazing Thrace to connect with the roots of Western Civilization.
Northern Greece offers a dramatic range of terrains and cultures. With beaches to rival the islands, and historical sites equal to those in the capital, the region is teeming with ancient Roman amphitheaters, towering monasteries, Byzantine castles, and medieval old towns. This 10-day tour includes no less than 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and an optional 4-day extension to Athens includes two more in the Acropolis and Delphi.
- Paleochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki *
- Mount Athos Monasteries *
- Seaport of Kavala
- Macedonian site of Philippi *
- Hellenistic center of Vergina *
- Mount Olympus, “Home of the Gods”
- Monasteries of Meteora *
- Lakeside city of Ioannina
- Old Town of Corfu *
- Athens’ Acropolis * (extension)
- Oracle of Delphi * (extension) * UNESCO World Heritage Sites
DEPARTURE, BOUND FOR THESSALONIKI
Assuming you start from the United States, leave your home city today on an overnight international flight to Thessaloniki, Greece. When searching for flights online, use the airport code SKG for Thessaloniki. You will be departing from Corfu (CFU) after the main tour, or from Athens (ATH) if you participate in our optional extension. Please time your arrival for no later than 4:00pm on May 16 in order to participate in the welcome festivities. For those who wish to arrive a day early, please indicate this on your reservation form so that we can reserve a room for you at our Thessaloniki hotel. (Meals Aloft)
ARRIVAL IN THESSALONIKI
Your flight arrives in Thessaloniki, Greece sometime today. After collecting your luggage and going through customs, you will meet a driver who will transfer you to our centrally located hotel. The afternoon is free to rest up from jet lag or do a little exploring on your own. This evening our group meets for the first time in the hotel lobby for a meet-and-greet cocktail hour before proceeding to a restaurant in the area for our Welcome Dinner. Overnight in Thessaloniki. (Dinner included)
For several centuries, Thessaloniki was the second most important city of the Byzantine Empire after Constantinople (since renamed Istanbul). As the primary trade route crossing from Central Europe across the land bridge to Turkey and the Far East, Thessaloniki became a cultural and architectural repository of many foreign influences. There are no less than 15 sites of such historical importance that UNESCO named them a collective World Heritage Site. These include the ancient City Walls, the Arch of Galerius and Rotunda, the Vlatades and Latamou Monasteries, several medieval churches, and the 14th century Byzantine Baths. After visiting the city’s most important sites, we will also take a walk along one of the country’s most famous seaside promenades lined with many cafes and restaurants. Overnight in Thessaloniki. (All Meals)
This morning travel about 90 miles southeast of Thessaloniki to the village of Ouranoupoli on the border of the autonomous state of the Mount Athos peninsula. Inhabited since ancient times, Mount Athos is known for its monastic traditions with 20 monasteries representing Greece and many other countries, including Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova, Romania, Russia, and Serbia. Isolated from the rest of the world, Mount Athos is a UNESCO World Heritage Site open to men only, and only 10 non-orthodox men receive permits every day. This makes setting foot on the mountain logistically impossible on this tour, but we will see the monasteries from the sea during a day cruise. Overnight in Ouranoupoli. (All Meals)
KAVALA / PHILIPPI / THESSALONIKI
This morning we drive along the coast of the Aegean Sea and the Strymonian Gulf to the small city of Kavala, founded in the 7th century. We stop here briefly to tour the Old Town and have lunch. Continue on to Philippi, famous as the small Macedonian center where King Philip II enlarged the local goldmines and amassed a fortune that bought him an army, which eventually enabled his son, Alexander the Great, to conquer most of the known world. After touring this newly inscribed UNESCO Site, we return to Thessaloniki for a free evening and another overnight stay. (All Meals)
VERGINA / MOUNT OLYMPUS / KALAMBAKA
After an early breakfast, we check out of our hotel and begin a day of adventures in amazing Thrace. Our first stop is the small town of Vergina, known as the ancient city of Algai where King Philip II was assassinated and where Alexander the Great was proclaimed his successor. Discovered in 1976, the undisturbed, un-raided site includes an extensive royal palace as well as several rich tombs, including that of Philip II. Our second stop will take advantage of views of Mount Olympus, notable in Greek mythology as the “home of the Gods.” We continue to Kalambaka, the town where the Monasteries of Meteora are located. Upon arrival, the rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight in Kalambaka (Meteora). (All Meals)
In ancient Greek, the word “Meteora” means “in the Heavens above” or “suspended in the air.” The monasteries of Meteora have become world-famous for being built on the side of natural stone columns several hundred feet high. Caverns in the area that had been inhabited as early as 50,000 years ago were taken over by monks during the Middle Ages. When attacks from the Turks became frequent in the 14th century, the monks began to construct their perilously-perched monasteries. In all, there are 24 different monasteries, of which only six are still in use today. We will visit several of the sites before returning to Kalambaka for another overnight stay. (All Meals)
IOANNINA / FERRY TO CORFU
We depart Kalambaka this morning and drive to the lakeside city of Ioannina for a brief tour and lunch. Continue with a short drive to Igoumenitsa pier. Take a 2-hour ferry ride to Corfu, an island in the Ionian Sea in the northwesternmost corner of Greece. After checking in at our hotel, take an early evening stroll through the Old Town to enjoy the scene and stop at a lovely restaurant for dinner. Overnight in Corfu. (All Meals)
ISLE OF CORFU
Beginning in June every year, the isle of Corfu attracts thousands of tourists looking for the perfect summer holiday, so we will beat the crowds by a couple of weeks. Settled as early as 730 BC, Corfu is bursting with historical treasures and natural delights, from monasteries and castles, to ruined temples and Venetian fortresses, to lush forests and idyllic sandy beaches. On our full-day sightseeing tour, we will see a little bit of everything with plenty of time to just enjoy the scenery and relax by the water. Overnight in Corfu. (All Meals)
FREE DAY ON CORFU
Today enjoy a free morning and afternoon to relax by the hotel’s pool or down on the beach, or perhaps spend the day exploring more of Corfu on your own. There are many small islands just offshore and nearly as many small towns just a short distance from our hotel. This evening our group gathers once more as Toto Tours hosts a Farewell Dinner. (All Meals)
DEPARTURE / OPTIONAL EXTENSION TO ATHENS
The tour officially ends after breakfast this morning. We provide a transfer to the Corfu Airport for departing flights. If you wish to extend your stay in Corfu, or take our optional extension to Athens, please indicate these on your reservation form so that we can make arrangements for you. (Breakfast)
OPTIONAL EXTENSION TO ATHENS
FERRY TO MAINLAND / DRIVE TO AGRINIO
After breakfast, some members of our tour will be departing Corfu and connecting with homeward flights. For those continuing on our optional tour extension to Athens, we check out and make our way to the city pier and take a ferry to the mainland. Upon arrival in Igoumenitsa we board a motorcoach and drive to Agrinio, passing fantastic scenery along the Ionian coast and passing through historic towns along the way. We check into our hotel on the central square and have a walking tour of the nearby sights. Overnight in Agrinio. (All Meals)
After breakfast we check out and continue souto toward Athens, stopping mid-way to visit the most important sanctuary of the ancients – Delphi. During a fully guided tour of this site’s incredible monuments, we might learn the secrets of the Great Oracle, or run a footrace in the ancient stadium, or even dare to take center stage at the great amphitheatre for a dramatic moment. We continue to our Athens hotel in late afternoon, and the remainder of the day is free. (All Meals)
ACROPOLIS AND ACROPOLIS MUSEUM
The word “Acropolis” in Greek literally means “upper city,” usually built upon promontories, rocks or hills with precipitous sides for protection against attack. Athens’ ancient citadel contains the remains of several buildings of great architectural and historic significance, most notably the Parthenon. The Acropolis Museum has been heralded as a masterpiece in itself, presenting artifacts from the sacred hill in a stunning setting. Overnight in Athens. (All Meals)
This morning we enjoy a half-day sightseeing tour of the main sites in Athens. The afternoon is free to explore on your own and do some last-minute shopping. The group gathers in the early evening for our final dinner together. Overnight in Athens. (Breakfast / Dinner)TUESDAY, MAY 29, 2018
The tour extension ends officially after breakfast this morning. We include airport transfers for those leaving today. Let us know if you wish to extend your stay in Athens. (Breakfast)
Entry Requirements - For U.S. and Canadian Citizens a valid passport is the only document required to enter Greece for stays of up to 60 days.Immunizations and Health - No immunizations are currently required for travel to Greece, but it is wise to have your inoculations up-to-date. Is your tetanus booster current?
Exit Requirements - There is currently no separate departure tax required of visitors leaving Greece other than that included with the cost of your airline ticket.
Making Travel Arrangements to GreeceOn this tour, international airfare is NOT included. You will need to get your international air to Thessaloniki (airport code SKG), and from Corfu (CFU), back to the U.S.A. (If taking the optional Athens extensions, your departure city code will be ATH.) We encourage you to work with Steven Goldberg at Frosch Travel in Chicago, who knows the best flights to get you to Thessaloniki, with return from Corfu or Athens.
You will need to arrive in Thessaloniki by 4:00 pm on May 16, 2018. Morning departure is from Corfu on May 25, 2018.
Steven Goldberg / Frosch TravelToll-Free in USA: 1-800-323-1276
International guests, please call +1-312-371-9686
When calling, please identify yourself as a Toto Tours participant. If you leave a message on Steven’s voice mail, he will return your call promptly. He will be happy to discuss your travel plans and help you decide when to purchase your ticket for the best rate.
NOTE: The recent trend in travel is for travelers to finalize their plans much closer to departure time than was customary in the past. While we try to be as flexible as possible we often must turn away last minute registrants because we relinquish hotel space and air reservations 8 – 12 weeks prior to departure! Please keep this in mind when making your travel plans.
What to BringIn May, average daily temperatures in Northern Greece range from a low of 54 degrees at night to a high of 76 degrees during the day. You won’t need a suit jacket or tie, as the tour is informal and dinner attire will be casual. Try to pack light and bring only one piece of luggage plus your carry-on. Create mix and match outfits, and think about layering! Pack any medications you require in a carry-on bag and leave expensive jewelry at home.
Suggested Packing List:
- Proof of citizenship. Passport required.
- Nice casual wear for dinners.
- Lightweight long pants & long-sleeved shirts for sun protection.
- Shorts for warm touring days.
- Socks, underwear for 9 days.
- Sweater or lightweight jacket for cool evenings.
- Personal toiletries, and bug repellant
- Anti-diarrheal medication (a must-have).
- Comfortable walking shoes.
- Camera, lots of digital memory, extra batteries.
- Ziploc Bags (sandwich size for documents, gallon size for wet items or toiletries).
- Electrical Adapter. The electricity supply in Greece is Electricity is 230V/50H and uses two-pin plugs in un-earthed sockets. Click here to see a photo of the kind of adapter you will need.
- A good book for your flights.
Money MattersGreek currency is the standardized EURO. As of July 8, 2017, the interbank exchange rate was € 1.00 to US $1.14. For cash withdrawals, ATMs are widely available. We recommend that you wait until arrival in Greece to exchange currency to obtain the best rate. Budget approximately $300-$400 total for drinks, snacks, souvenirs, tips and other non-included items. Click here to find the most up-to-date exchange rate.
The Toto SpiritToto Tours provides Adventure Travel Experiences as differentiated from tours in the traditional sense. Adventure Travel allows (even encourages) you to be an active participant. Adventurers can be identified by certain traits. They are:
- fun-loving optimists who have a sense of humor and accentuate the positive
- good natured realists who are willing to accept situations as they exist
- undaunted by the unexpected, like occasional delays or bad weather
- willing to forego some of the amenities we normally take for granted
- eager to try new things & test limits
- not whiners!
Travel InsuranceWe recommend you purchase travel insurance with Travel Guard to cover for unforeseen events prior to and during your trip. Please follow the link below or call us for more information.
Tour prices per personPrice: $3,400 per person in double occupancy hotel accommodations.
Private Room: $500 additional, for a total tour price of $3,900.
(Paying a single supplement is not required. Toto Tours will try to match you with a roommate if you are traveling alone and prefer to share a room. If this is not possible, a single supplement will be applied to your reservation before the final payment date.)
(Due at time of registration for the tour. May be paid with a credit card.)
Main Tour Remaining Balance: $2,800 double / $3,300 single
Balance Due: February 23, 2018 (80 days prior to departure)
(Full payment required with reservation form if enrolling after this date.)
Note: The tour price does not include bank service charges for processing credit card payments, and assumes that the balance of the tour price will be paid by check. If you would like to pay the final balance with a credit card, a 4% service charge will be applied. Let us know if you wish to pay by credit card, and we will adjust your invoice accordingly. This policy applies to both the main tour and the extension to Athens.
Included: Nine nights hotel accommodations; hotel breakfasts daily plus Welcome & Farewell Dinners; other meals as listed in the itinerary; airport transfers; ground transportation in climate controlled motorcoach; sightseeing activities and entrances as listed in the itinerary. This is a fully guided and escorted tour, with local guides added where necessary during tours.
Not Included: International airfare to Thessaloniki (SKG) and returning from Corfu (CFU); ground transportation for sightseeing on your own (taxis, local guides, etc.); meals and optional activities not specifically listed in the itinerary; camera fees; alcoholic beverages; insurance; laundry, telephone calls, faxes, or any other expenses of a personal nature. Tips to drivers and guides and other conveyance attendants are not included; tipping guidelines for our group tips will be provided prior to departure.
Pricing – Athens Extension
Private Room: $400 additional, for a total extension price of $2,300.
Additional Deposit: None is required for booking this extension.
Remaining Balance (for main tour + extension): $4,700 double / $5,600 single
Remaining Balance Due: February 23, 2018 (80 days prior to departure)
Not Included: International airfare; ground transportation for sightseeing on your own (taxis, local guides, etc.); meals and optional activities not specifically listed in the itinerary; camera fees; alcoholic beverages; insurance; laundry, telephone calls, faxes, or any other expenses of a personal nature. Tips to drivers and guides and other conveyance attendants are not included; tipping guidelines for our group tips will be provided prior to departure.
Accommodations – Main Tour
Click hotel name to read description