Unique upmarket tour of Greece

Perhaps because a friend of mine is Greek and grew up literally in the shadow of the Parthenon and the Acropolis, this intimate, upmarket tour immediately grabbed my attention and piqued my interest.

Phillippi poppies and pillars

From September 2 through 15, a small group of travelers will have the opportunity to join archaeological and cultural tour specialist Peter Sommer Travels in exploring some of the greatest treasures of Greece on a one-off itinerary, heading away from the island crowds to reveal the extraordinary history of the region of Macedonia.

The 14-day expedition, called “From the Slopes of Mount Olympus to the Shores of the Aegean,” will explore the region through its archaeology, food and wine, linking some of the most spectacular scenery of northern Greece with a rich history dating back thousands of years.

Hosted by archaeologists and historians Heinrich Hall and Dr. Maria Girtzi, the tour promises to be a one-of-a-kind experience. The single departure, on Sept. 2, will bring travelers through beautiful and unusually diverse landscapes, from lofty mountains to fertile plains and the blue waters of the Aegean Sea.

Limited to only 16 people, the tour provides guests the opportunity to explore grand archaeological sites, mighty castles, serene monasteries, labyrinthine villages and the great city of Thessaloniki, home to many different cultures during its 2,300-year history.

It includes the UNESCO World Heritage site of Vergina, where Alexander the Great was proclaimed king and where visitors can view the lavish treasures of the tomb of his father, Phillip II. The tour also visits Meteora, renowned for its striking mountain landscapes in which ancient Byzantine monasteries sit precariously atop sandstone pillars.

Along the way, guests will experience the region’s culture through its food and wine, enjoying excellent meals at specially chosen venues and some of the wines that have emerged from the recent Greek winemaking revival. Among the Greek wines I highly recommend are Makedonikas red, a blend of xinomavro and merlot grapes, and Makedonikas white, which is a blend of rhoditis and athiri. Both wines are made in Macedonia.

Stageira Walls

The tour operates from Sept. 2 through 15, 2015 at a cost of £3,595 per person, or approximately US$5,672 at current exchange rates. The cost includes airport transfers in Greece, accommodation, most meals, crew and guide services, and all entrance fees and tips on excursions. However, airfare is not included.

Specializing in small-group expeditions, Peter Sommer Travels is headed by archaeologist and documentary maker Peter Sommer, who in 1994 walked 2,000 miles across Turkey retracing the route of Alexander the Great. He later worked on a BBC documentary, In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great, and created a 19-day tour of the same name, cited as one of the world’s ten best educational holidays by National Geographic Traveler.

Full details are available and bookings can be made by contacting Peter Sommer Travels at 1-855-443-3027 (in the US and Canada), email info@petersommer.com or by visiting www.petersommer.com.

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Photos credit Peter Sommer Travels
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