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Northern Greece Wine Routes (5 days)


The Wine Route of Northern Greece starts at the foot of Mt Olympus and spreads in the Macedonian heartland. The main factors contributing to the superior quality of the local award-winning wines are the region's mild winters, the sun-blessed, yet cool summers and the biological care at the vineyards coupled with the limited yield (5,000-10,000 kg per hectare). While visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of the Aegean, they are welcomed and told about the history of viticulture in the region and the estates. They are then informed of the wine-making process and they can learn the art of wine tasting.

Day 1: ARRIVAL IN THESSALONIKI
Arrival in Thessaloniki. Transfer to hotel. The ancient city of Thessaloniki was a royal foundation, named after the half-sister of Alexander the Great by her husband, in 316BC. Overnight Thessaloniki.

Day 2: THESSALONIKI
Morning visit of Thessaloniki. We'll see the seaside medieval fortification called the White Tower and the medieval churches on Via Egnatia, all protected by UNESCO. Continue to the Arch of emperor Galerius, with its relief sculptures, built in 303, to commemorate the Roman triumphs over the Persians and the nearby domed rotunda, which have been intended by Galerius as his mausoleum. We finish our tour with a visit to the archaeological museum. Rest of the day free at leisure for shopping, or watching the gorgeous sunset in a cafe on the seaside. Dinner in a local restaurant tasting local wines. Overnight.

Day 3: THESSALONIKI - VERGINA
Full day tour to the Macedonian heartland. One and half hour drive west of Thessaloniki is Vergina, the site identified as the first ancient capital of Macedon. We'll visit the huge royal tombs, including the tomb of Macedonian king Philip II, father of Alexander the Great. Continue and visit of the famous Argatia Winery located in Rodohori at an altitude of 600 meters. We'll be introduced to this small family-run winery where we will learn about methods of organic vineyard cultivation and winemaking procedures. The vineyards feature the native Greek varieties of Xinomavro, Negoska, Assyrtiko, Athiri and Malagousia that are best adapted for this region. In the afternoon we'll visit the Boutari winery, founded in 1879, in Stenimahos. The Boutari vineyards are located on the sunny south-east slopes of Mount Vermio, protected by the cold northern winds. The abundant rainfall and the relatively cool climate play a beneficial role in the development and fruit-bearing of the vines. The Xinomavro red variety (VQPRD Naoussa) produces exceptional red wines apt to ageing and many different types of wine with their own particular characteristics. During the '80s, the cultivation of Merlot and Syrah also began and led to the creation of single-variety wines and to wonderful blends with Xinomavro. After our visit we head back to Thessaloniki. Dinner in a local restaurant. Overnight.

Day 4: THESSALONIKI - MT OLYMPUS
Morning visit Mt Olympus, home of the ancient Greek Gods and today a national park: Not only the highest mountain in the country, Mt Olympus also boasts the greatest concentration of flora and fauna, huge expanses of evergreen forest and the crystal clear waters of the Enipeas river. Cool air, streams and waterfalls, this is a must see for visitors. We'll have an easy hike through the dense forest in a heavy wooded valley. Continue to the Tsantali vineyards at Rapsani covering the surrounding hills and count for 100 hectares, with an eastern-southeastern orientation. Three indigenous grape varieties are grown here; Krassato, Stavroto and the Xinomavro which is the prevailing grape variety in Northern Greece. This wine has a particularly great ageing potential. The climate is continental and the vineyards are positively influenced by the breeze coming from the sea. Barrel ageing is an essential factor for certain wines to achieve world-class character. Tsantali uses oak barrels made from French Allier that are considered ideal for the aging of fine, premium wines. We'll continue to Dougos Winery, located at the foothills of Mt Olympus, at a height of 500 m on a stony ground, rich in organic substances, the microclimate is ideal for the production of high quality grapes. The cultivation is done biologically for the best protection of the environment. The most common wines are the Greek varieties Xinomavro, Krassato, Stavroto, Limnio, Roditis, Asyrtiko, and the French varieties Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Grenach Rouge. It is a non-irrigated plantation so that the yield does not exceed one tone per 1.000 sq.m. Return to Thessaloniki in the evening. Dinner in a local restaurant. Overnight.

Day 5: DEPARTURE
Transfer to airport for international departure, or to other destinations in Greece.


Dates

All year round


What's included
  • Hotels 5* & 4*
  • Half board (Breakfasts & Dinners)
  • All transfers
  • English speaking guide
  • Sites & museums entrance fees
  • Wine testing
  • Insurance
  • V.A.T.

What's not included
  • International airfare & tax
  • Tips
  • Personal expenses & wine purchase
  • Anything optional
 
     
 
 
         
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