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Thessaloniki & The Ancient Kingdom of Macedon (5 days)


Day 1: ARRIVAL IN THESSALONIKI
Arrival in Thessaloniki airport, greeted by our representative and transferred by private car or motorcoach to your hotel. The ancient city of Thessaloniki was founded in 315 BC and named Thessaloniki after Alexander the Great's sister. Thessaloniki flourished under the Romans as the main staging post and administrative center on the Via Egnatia, the road linking Italy with Byzantium. Christianity took root after the visits of St. Paul and spread from there into the Balkans and southern Russia. As the second city of the Byzantine Empire, it survived 500 years of Turkish domination, and was finally reunited with Greece in 1912. Dinner & overnight.

Day 2: THESSALONIKI
Morning visit of downtown 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 & overnight.

Day 3: THESSALONIKI - VERGINA - MT OLYMPUS - THESSALONIKI
After our buffet breakfast we'll start our 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. Excavations have revealed the theatre in which Philip II was murdered, the royal palace with throne room, the sanctuary dedicated by Queen Eurydike, and the famous tombs with their exquisite paintings and sumptuous treasures. We'll visit the huge royal tombs, including the tomb of Macedonian king Philip II, father of Alexander the Great. Lunch at a local restaurant. Continue and 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. Return to Thessaloniki in the evening. Dinner & overnight.

Day 4: THESSALONIKI - PHILIPPI
Today we'll head east taking a 2-hours scenic drive, passing by the lake Volvi, on to Amphipolis, a city of great strategic importance during the Peloponnesian War, with fine fortifications and a preserved bridge. Lunch at a local restaurant. We continue to the extensive remains at Philippi, a city named by Philip of Macedon, and significant as the site of the battle between the Republicans and Antony and Octavian in 44BC. Back to Thessaloniki. Dinner & overnight.

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


Highlights
  • Bustling Thessaloniki
  • Mt Olympus, home of the Olympian gods
  • The royal tombs of Vergina
  • Priceless treasures of ancient Macedonia
  • The UNESCO sites in Thessaloniki
  • The ancient city of Philippi

Dates

All year round


What's included
Overnights in 5* hotels
All coach/private car transfers
Breakfasts & dinners
English speaking guide
Entrance fees
Porterage in hotels
Insurance

What's not included
International flights
Visas 
Extra meals
Personal expenses
Anything optional
Overnight city tax (paid on the spot €3-4 per room per night)
 
     
 
 
         
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