DETAILED TRIP NOTES
Are you wondering if this is the right trip for you? We want you to enjoy your trip with us so please consider the following points carefully before booking your trip.
During the Summer months the temperatures can rise above 40°C and it is important to use sufficient sun protection to prevent yourself becoming burnt. If you visit the country at the hottest time of year you should ensure that you always wear sufficient layers of clothing to deflect the heat and carry water with you so that you do not become dehydrated.
While travelling in Greece it is advisable to have multiple means of payment with you as the present financial situation can result in banking services becoming limited with very little warning, and ATMs and credit card processing facilities can not always be guaranteed. Carrying enough cash in Euros to cover any delays or unforeseen circumstances will prevent you becoming stranded without means of covering your expenses.
The accommodation provided on this trip is twin-share. Any single travellers will be asked to share a room with another traveller who is of the same sex. We hope that you will embrace this trip as an opportunity to discover and get to know like-minded travellers but if you prefer to occupy a single room this can be arranged at an additional cost. In Europe hotels frequently do not have double beds, instead you will often find two single beds provided. These beds may be pushed together if you wish.
Visiting the Meteora Monasteries will require a reasonable level of fitness, access to the monasteries requires uphill walking on paved paths and stairs. Some are more accessible than others, the Holy Trinity monastery, one of the least accessible has around 300 steps to climb.
While the walking itself is not too demanding we need to warn you that walking conditions in many of the archaeological sites we visit are not always the best with bricks, stones, uneven and at time slippery surfaces.
We have given this trip a physical rating of 2 out of 5.
The meeting point for this trip is our hotel “Ares Athens Hotel”. The hotel is approximately 27 miles away from Athens International Airport.
Ares Athens Hotel
We will be welcoming all guests at our hotel “Ares Athens Hotel”, Athens. Please let us know your flight information so we know what time to expect you. The meeting point will be at the main reception, if you are unable to locate us please ask the reception staff who will point us out.
Traveling by taxi from Athens International Airport will take approximately 40 minutes depending on traffic. Please always agree a fee with the driver before getting into the car as taxis in Greece can be very expensive at times. A taxi should cost a flat fee of 38 euros during the day and 56 at night.
The Athens metro line is adjacent to the airport, the cost is around 10 euro per person. Departing every 30 minutes from the airport with a journey time of around 50 minutes.
Buses from the airport are the cheapest option with tickets costing 6 euro per person. It can take around 60 minutes to reach Athens city centre. Buses run 24 hours a day including holidays.
Our advice is to travel by bus, its relitvly quick and inexpensive travel.
Ares Athens Hotel
We will do everything we can to offer you the most enjoyable holiday experience possible, however we recognise that due to the locations we visit and the sometimes unpredictable nature of travel that there are times when things can go wrong.
If any issues occur during your trip your local representative or group leader will do everything they can to resolve the problem and ensure that any negative impact on the remainder of the trip is mitigated.
If your group leader or our local partner is unable to resolve the problem to your full satisfaction then you should ask them to discuss the issue with their manager. If you experience a genuine emergency or crisis then you can call our team by telephone on: +441942 202124
ONCE YOU RETURN HOME:
Within thirty days of your trip being completed you may provide us with online feedback. We welcome all feedback but would remind you that it is difficult for practical assistance to be offered after the conclusion of any trip.
For general enquiries and comments you may contact us via the following page: http://www.lunatravel.co.uk/contact-us/
Upon your arrival at our hotel “Ares Athens Hotel” we will get you checked in and settled into your room before we meet up as a group for the first time. We choose to hold our welcome meetings in a relaxed environment over some delicious local food, it’s a great way to break the ice and for you to get to know us and your fellow travellers.
Ares Athens Hotel, Athens 2*
Today your Greek adventure begins with a walking tour of Athens, the capital of Greece. We will take in many of the city’s impressive highlights including the National Library of Greece, Presidential Palace & the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a war memorial dedicated to the Greek soldiers killed during the war. The memorial is guarded 24 hours a day by the Evzones Presidential Guard.
Visit the Panathenaic Stadium, a remarkable sight, built entirely from marble and the site of the first ever modern Olympic Games.
Our final visit of the day will be to the ancient Acropolis, a breathtaking ancient citadel perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking Athens. The Acropolis is well preserved and is seen as one of the most important historic sights in Greece with its ancient buildings and beautiful architecture, the most significant building on the site being the Parthenon, the greatest Doric temple in the world. While in the Acropolis we will visit the museum, Ancient Agora, the Theatre of Dionysus, Kerameikos, Roman Agora and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
Ares Athens Hotel, Athens 2* – Breakfast
This morning we will travel by private coach to the Argolis region visiting the mighty ruins of Mycenae, this ancient city home to Agamemnon and Homers “House of Atreus” was once the most powerful kingdom in all of Greece. We will visit the city’s imposing Lion Gate, a symbol of the Mycenae kings power, the Royal Tombs, the best preserved being the tomb of Agamemnon King of Mycenae, Agamemnon lead the Greek army in the Trojan War. Marvel at the Cyclopean masonry, stones cut to perfection and laid without the need for mortar.
Moving on we will make our way to Nafplio a picturesque seaport town with narrow winding streets and beautiful buildings covering the hillside. Towering above the town is the fortress of Palamidi, built by the Venetian between 1686-1715. Our last wow moment of today will come from the ancient city of Epidaurus as we visit the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus, built in dedication to the ancient god of medicine, Asclepius. The Theatre is famed for its incredible acoustics.
Ares Athens Hotel, Athens 2* – Breakfast
Today will be our final day in Athens, you will have a free day to further explore this amazing city. Your Luna tour manager will present you with an information sheet listing many of the city’s wonderful sights along with the location and distance from our hotel.
Ares Athens Hotel, Athens 2* – Breakfast
An early start today as we leave Athens and make our way to one of the most significant sights in Greece, Delphi. Home to the famous Sanctuary of Apollo and the legendary Oracle. Pilgrims would travel from all over to meet and have there fortunes told by the Oracle.
This large mountainside archaeological sites has much more to offer with the Temple of Athena Pronaia just a short walk down the hill, the Stadium of Delphi which is said to be the best preserved ancient stadium in the whole of Greece, the Delphi Theatre and the Delphi archaeological museum.
Alexiou Hotel, Kalambaka 3* – Breakfast
Towering above the town of Kalambaka are the spectacular Meteora Monasteries, perched on high cliff tops the monasteries are both beautiful and mystical. Access to the Monasteries is now possible by staircases and pathways that have been cut into the side of the sandstone rock formations.
Established around the late 11th and early 12th century a total of 24 monasteries would be built most of which now sadly lie in ruin. Six functioning monasteries remain with the Holy Monastery of St. Stephen and the Holy Monastery of Roussanou both inhabited by around 40 nuns, with the remaining four inhabited by monks. We will visit two of the monasteries on our visit, three if time allows.
We will now make our way to Thessaloniki which will be our base for the next four nights.
Telioni Hotel,Thessaloniki 3* – Breakfast
Today we will explore Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city. The city was founded in the Greek region of Macedonia around 315 BC by King Cassander of Macedon who named the city after his wife Thessalonike who was the half-sister of Alexander the Great and daughter to King Philip II. The city would go on to become the most important city in Macedonia.
The city is a real clash of cultures with evidence of Byzantine, Ottoman and Roman history mixed in with the traditional. On today’s tour you will see the Church of Saint Demerits, the patron saint of Thessaloniki, the church dates back to the Byzantine period. The Walls of Thessaloniki originally date back to around the formation of the city however large parts have been knocked down and rebuilt over the years by different empires. The Fortress of Heptapyrgion situated in the north east corner of the city this impressive fortress Byzantine and Ottoman era.
Finally we will visit the White Tower of Thessaloniki which is a monument and museum dedicated to the rich history of the city.
Telioni Hotel,Thessaloniki 3* – Breakfast
After breakfast we will travel to a small town called Vergina which is the burial site of King Philip II of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great. The tomb of King Philip II was discovered in 1977 and remarkably over the course of 2000+ years the tomb had never been looted and contained the kings treasures including the Golden Grave Crown of Philip and Golden Lamax which depicts the Sun of Vergina on its lid. Also in the tomb where several gold-adorned suits of armour along with weapons, jewels and paintings.
A total of four tombs where discovered, with tomb three belonging to Alexander IV of Macedon the son of Alexander the Great.
Next up we make our way to the city of Veria, the first written record of Veria dates the city to 432 BC but it’s believed to date back much further to around 1000 BC. Veria was very important to Philip II of Macedon, the Romans, Byzantine and Ottoman empires would also go on to occupy the area. Apostle Paul often preached in the city with it’s inhabitants amoung the first Christians of the Roman empire. The Altar where Apostle Paul preached can be seen today. We will explore this ancient city taking in many of its sights.
Telioni Hotel,Thessaloniki 3* – Breakfast
Our final day and we have a real treat for you, a cruise to the breath-taking Monasteries of Mount Athos.
We will board the boat in Ouranoupolis with the cruise lasting approximately 3 hours. Upon reaching the Monastery of Dochiariou it is tradition for the monks to approach the shore line bringing with them holy remnants, traditionally the people on the boat will worship them. This all happens around 500 meters from the coast as unfortunately women are not permitted to enter the region.
We will pass by a number of monasteries on the cruse including the Monastery of Xeropotamou, Monastery of Panteleimon, Monastery of Xeropotamou, Daphne (port), Monastery of Simonopetra, Monastery of Osiou Gregoriou, Monastery of Dionysiou and the Monastery of St. Paul.
Telioni Hotel,Thessaloniki 3* – Breakfast
Trip ends. Checkout time at the hotel is around 11:00am.
Telioni Hotel,Thessaloniki 3* – Breakfast
Agiou Dimitriou 16,
Telioni Hotel is 13 miles away from Thessaloniki Airport (SKG).
We do everything we can to ensure that the information published in our brochures is accurate but it is sometimes necessary to update an itinerary during the year to include new information gained from our research, or the comments of past travellers. This possibility means that the final itinerary may vary slightly from your brochure. To avoid any inconvenience please review and print out the latest copy of your ‘Essential Trip Information’ a few days before you travel.
We operate trips to the region throughout the year, and seasonal changes to timetables or inclement weather may result in alterations to advertised transport routes and the timing of events included at each location, so please be prepared for the possibility of modifications to your itinerary.
If you discover any changes that raise queries please get in touch. We want to ensure that you enjoy the best possible travel experience with us.
On some trips, alongside the day-to-day itinerary we have made available a variety of optional activities. The list of available activities isn’t exhaustive and is intended as a guide of what may be available in each location. The quoted prices are the approximate entrance fee to each site and do not include the costs of transport or a local guide unless this is specifically mentioned.
All listed activities are subject to availability and given the limited time available at each location it may not be possible to include every activity.
Some of the activities listed may be classed as medium or high risk activities. For these activities we have carefully assessed the credentials and safety protocols of those with whom we partner. It may be possible for you to find the same activity available at a lower price from an alternative operator at the destination, however, we are unable to vouch for the quality or safety of any operator other than those listed in our promotional material. If an activity is not listed above it has not been assessed by us and our team will be unable to help you to book the activity. If you choose to engage in any activity not listed above you do so on your own discretion and at your own risk.
We would love to hear your feedback on how we did delivering your holiday. Your feedback is very important to us, we read every single submission carefully. Your feedback give us a better understanding of things we did well on your trip, equally any aspects of the trip you think we could improve on, we can address.
As a general rule when traveling, passports should be valid with a minimum of 6 months remaining at the time of your scheduled return date.
Individual travellers are responsible for obtaining a valid visa for their trip. National entry requirements are subject to change at any time, so it is recommended that you check the appropriate consular website for your destination to ensure that you are aware of the relevant visa information for your nationality. If you are unfamiliar with the process of obtaining a visa we will be able to point you in the right direction to obtain the visa you need.
Processing a visa application may take several weeks so it is important that you determine whether a visa is required and what the requirements are as soon as your trip is booked, so your visa application will be processed in good time for you to travel.
UK Nationals do not require a visa to enter Greece. Other nationalities should consult with their local embassy for upto date travel requirements.
Before travelling you should speak to a medical professional for the latest medical travel information and to determine whether any anti-malarial precautions or other vaccinations are required. We recommend that all travellers should bring with them any medical equipment they will require for the duration of the trip, including spare glasses if needed, and a first aid kit for any minor injuries, as it may not always be possible to find these things at the destination.
To participate fully in the trip all travellers will need to be in good physical health. Before selecting a trip please read the itinerary thoroughly and determine whether you will be able to cope with all the activities and methods of travel described there.
Please be aware that if, in the opinion of our designated local guide or group leader a traveller is not able to finish the itinerary without risking injury to themselves or others, we reserve the right to exclude that traveller from part or all of the trip without issuing a refund.
NOTE: Our tour managers are unable for legal reasons to administer any drugs, including paracetamol.
During your trip with us you will have an opportunity to experience some of the exciting food choices available at your destination. Some basic breakfasts have been included on this trip. These may include pastries or toast/bread, butter and jam, tea/coffee or juice. However, to allow you the flexibility to select the menu, location, and dining companions most appealing to you not all meals have been included in the price of the trip. While our groups do tend to choose to eat together the majority of the time there is no obligation for you to do so if you prefer to eat elsewhere. If you would like some direction on the most suitable eating places your group leader will be able to suggest some restaurants you may want to try.
SPECIAL DIETARY NEEDS:
Wherever it is possible to do so we will cater for special dietary needs, but there may be occasions when those with special requirements need to cater for their own needs.
Please contact us to let us know of any special dietary requirements you have. While we will do everything we can to help you and your dietary requirements it’s important that you understand you are personally responsible for what foods you eat on the trip.
HOTEL (9 NIGHTS)
The type of accommodation listed in your day-to-day itinerary is intended to act as a guide. There may be rare occasions when alternative accommodation is used due to a shortage of available rooms at our normal accommodation. We will try to select alternative accommodation of a comparable standard if this situation arises.
TWIN SHARE BASIS
Unless indicated in the itinerary all your accommodation is provided on a twin share basis. From time-to-time there may be occasions when facilities will need to be shared rather than being provided en-suite.
We always request that our hotels have our booked rooms prepared in advance of our arrival, but there may be times when this isn’t possible, especially if we are arriving before the usual check-in time. If we are unable to check-in immediately upon arrival we will be able to store our baggage before exploring the destination.
PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
If you have purchased accommodation for use either before or after the group trip you may be asked to change rooms for these additional dates.
Hotels in Europe do not normally provide refrigerators or kettles in the rooms. The accommodation with which you are provided may not always include air-conditioning or private en-suite facilities.
Transportation on this trip will be our own private minibus. While out exploring we may make use of public transport, all fees are included.
The Euro (EUR) is the official currency of Greece. 1 GBP = 1.14 EUR.
ATM’s are readily available in most cities and are seen as a reliable way to access funds. It is advisable to talk to your bank in advance of your trip and ensure you are aware of any fees that will be incurred if you use your card overseas. Credit cards are not always accepted in restaurants and stores so you will need to carry sufficient cash to cover your meal costs and other small purchases. Local currency can usually be withdrawn at population centres and amenities such as; major train stations, airports, and city centres. It is advisable to carry emergency cash with you in a major currency in case you discover upon arrival that no working ATM is available. Don’t leave home without memorising your PIN, and make a note of the telephone number you will need to call in case your card is lost or stolen.
CONCERNING YOUR BUDGET:
No two travellers have identical spending habits. Read through your trip itinerary carefully so you know which costs are included and which aren’t and then have a think about your spending habits. You will need to decide a sensible budget for meals, laundry, snacks, shopping, and all the optional activities not included in the price of your trip. It is always a sensible idea to bring slightly more money than you expect to use. You will need to budget for all the meals that are not included in price of the trip, as well as your additional expenses. Based on feedback from past travellers we recommend a total of £350 for these additional meals & drinks but you may choose to spend as little or as much as you wish.
Providing a tip for good service is usually appropriate. It may not be your usual custom but it is valuable for the people with whom you will interact during your trip. Tipping inspires great service and is an established feature of the tourist industry. We suggest the following amounts per person based on established local considerations and feedback from previous travellers. In most cases a tip equivalent to 5% of the total bill will be appropriate. For the duration of your trip there may be times when a local guide is employed in addition to your tour leader, a tip of £2-£3 per day would be appreciated for such a guide. If a local driver is employed for your trip then £1-£2 per day would be appropriate, perhaps more if they are more involved with your group, although you are of course, free to tip more or less, or not to tip at all if you prefer. As a guide we would suggest a budget of between £5-£6 per day to cover tips during your trip.
We always try to plan for every possibility but there will always be situations that we can’t control. We ask that you ensure that you have access to an additional £500 to cover any emergency situations that could arise. Extreme weather, natural disasters, civil unrest or similar occurrences may result in itinerary alterations at short notice. Airport closures, transport strikes or service cancellations can cause changes at the last minute and unavoidably involve additional expenses to allow the trip to go ahead.
Your packing should be determined by the nature of your chosen trip, the time you travel, and the countries you will be visiting. As a general rule you should avoid bringing more than absolutely necessary. On most trips you will need to carry your own bags, and while you won’t need to transport them for long distances it will be easier for you if your bags are smaller and lighter.
Travellers often choose to store their luggage in a rucksack or backpack to make transportation easier. A wheeled suitcase can be helpful although you should ensure that it is fitted with carry straps in addition to wheels as not all surfaces will be suitable for wheeling.
In addition to your main luggage you will also need a bag for carrying items you need during the day, such as a camera and a water bottle.
SECURE YOUR BAGS FOR LOCAL TRANSPORT:
When we travel on local transport your luggage may sometimes be stored in an unattended area or stowed separately from the travelling party so it is essential that your luggage can be locked to secure your belongings.
DON’T FORGET TO BRING A WATER BOTTLE:
Staying properly hydrated is vital to maintaining your health during the trip. If you are concerned about the quality of the water available while travelling then please consider using iodine, micropur or similar water purification techniques rather than purchasing bottled water. You can also bring a water bottle with you and use the water dispensers provided at our accommodation to refill the bottle instead of purchasing multiple bottles during your journey. The global sale of bottled water creates a significant environmental problem with each 1 litre bottle consuming 200ml of oil and 2000ml of water just to manufacture the bottle. Once emptied much of the waste material is consigned to landfill or left to pollute the natural environment.
During the summer months it can get very warm in Greece. If you are not used to the heat you may find these temperatures uncomfortable. Please consider your physical suitability to the seasonal conditions when deciding what time of year you would like to travel.
Before you leave home you should check that your travel insurance policy will cover you for all of the areas you will be visiting and familiarise yourself with any recently updated advice or safety concerns relating to international travel which have been produced by your national government. You may also want to browse our website safety page for links to any significant travel advisories that may impact upon your trip.
We will work hard to keep you safe during your trip but there are also many things you can do to make life more difficult for potential thieves.
To keep your cash, passport, and essential documents safe we suggest that you consider a money belt or neck wallet for use while travelling. Rather than carry expensive jewellery around with you it is best to leave it at home or to keep it securely in the hotel safe. Providing a lock for your luggage is encouraged to prevent easy access for thieves during those times when your bag is stored out of your sight.
For all designated activities that form part of your agreed itinerary you will be accompanied by your group leader. During your trip there will be periods of free time with opportunities for you to explore the area at your leisure. Your leader may be able to assist you in discovering what is available at a particular location but if you decide to take on any additional activities these do not form part of your agreed itinerary and you must use your own judgement as to the safety and suitability of each activity and the safety standards of the operator.
To learn more about the safety standards you should expect during your trip please take a look at the operational safety policy displayed on our website. We always welcome feedback on how this policy is implemented in the field.
Fire safety standards vary around the world. The local laws which apply to tourist facilities at your destination will be different to those in your home country and not all the accommodation we will use may be equipped with smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, or a designated fire exit.
Not all countries have the same traffic laws. You may find that traffic in your destination country travels on the opposite side of the road to what you have been used to. Please remember to look both ways before attempting to cross any road. You should also consider that the prevailing traffic conditions may be slightly more chaotic than usual. While travelling on the roads you may be required to use transport that does not provide seatbelts, as fitting seatbelts is not always a local requirement.
Travelling always brings with it the risk of petty theft and being targeted by pickpockets especially in areas that receive large numbers of tourists. While thieves are always a concern there are plenty of things you can do to avoid becoming a victim. If you are walking outside after dark it is advisable to stay in well lit areas and to remain as part of a group as much as possible.
While travelling on the metro or other public transport you should exercise care with your belongings. Try to carry any bags in front of you so that they remain clearly visible at all times. You can also decrease the likelihood of any valuables being lost by keeping them in a money belt and out of public sight.
AVOID THE SCAMS:
Tourists are always going to be a target for anyone perpetrating a scam. Please be vigilant.
Everyone taking part in one of our trips has the right to feel safe throughout the entire journey. We work on the principle of respect towards each other and everyone we will meet on the journey. Violence, either physical or verbal is always unacceptable, as is any sexual harassment between passengers, local operators, or our leaders.
In some parts of the world use of opium or marijuana is culturally acceptable but it is not permitted by any travellers on our trips. No illegal drug use will be tolerated on any of our trips. Not only does having drugs in your possession break the law it also places the rest of your travelling group at risk. Discovery of illegal drugs in the possession of any group member will result in them being permanently removed from the trip.
Any form of sexual misconduct, including the use of prostitutes will lead to your removal from the trip. No sexual relationships, whether or not consensual, between a passenger and a group leader will be permitted. If you ever have cause to feel that inappropriate behaviour is taking place on your trip please do not hesitate to contact us using our emergency phone number.
Travelling as part of a group will expose you to both the pleasures and possible frustrations of spending time with others. Your travelling party is likely to be comprised of a cross-section of people from different cultures and different age groups. We request that you show consideration to the different preferences and needs of the various members of your travelling party and extend patience when their needs must be accommodated.
When travelling with a group please remember your own responsibilities towards others. Try to arrive at any agreed meeting point punctually to avoid keeping the rest of the group waiting. In our experience the trips that work best are those where the inter-group dynamics function well – achieving the right group dynamic requires just a small amount of effort from you.
Note: To maintain the privacy of our travellers we cannot share any personal information or contact details relating to anyone else booked on your trip before departure.
A single supplement is available on this trip
For your own protection we insist that travel insurance is purchased before embarking on any of our trips. You will not be able to join your travelling group until your group leader has seen evidence of your insurance policy and has had sight of your insurance company’s emergency contact details.
Your minimum level of cover must include medical costs including emergency repatriation if required. We would also encourage you to obtain a policy that covers cancellation, curtailment, personal liability, and lost or damaged baggage and personal effects.
Should you choose to take out credit card insurance you will need to provide your group leader with details of the insurer or underwriter, the policy number, and the coverage level, along with the emergency contact number. You should obtain this information from your bank before departing for your trip.