Zagori region hiking vacation in Greece

“Join a small walking group on the rugged trails leading past the villages and over the ridgelines of Vikos-Aoos National Park, in northern Greece. Stay in B&Bs and a mountain refuge by way of some steep ascents. ”

Highlights

Monodendri village | Agia Paraskevi byzantine church | Kapesovo village | Vikos Gorge | Vradeto village | Kokoris, Plakidas, Milou, Pitsioni and Kontodima stone arch bridges | Vikos-Aoos National Park | Papingo village | UNESCO site of Meteora | Meteora stone forest | rock carved 15th century monasteries | Average daily walking distance: 10kms |

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Vacation type

Small group vacation

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.

Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travelers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Zagori region hiking vacation in Greece

Accommodation and Meals:
We spend the trip in smaller, locally staffed hotels on a B&B basis, with one night at a mountain refuge and use local restaurants for the rest of our meals therefore ensuring that our visit benefits local communities. The hotels use a range of environmental regulations to minimise impact on their surroundings. Produce used at the hotels is locally sourced wherever possible as there is so much on offer and this is a way to support local suppliers. Different tavernas and restaurants are also frequented throughout the trip, where clients can sample authentic Greek specialties like, bean soup, olives, fresh grilled fish or meat, seasonal vegetables and regional cheeses and other dairy products.

Activity:
As a walking vacation, this trip has very limited detrimental impact upon the environment, residents and communities in the regions we visit. Adverse effects like pollution and threatening wildlife are not an issue and although erosion on popular paths can be problematic, guides can advise pre-planned routes to avoid this. Trekking also allows for flexibility and allows for easy access to the local population, shops and restaurants, which facilitates cultural exploration. By operating consciously with a ‘leave no trace’ policy, we are able to raise local awareness for a kind of tourism which refuses to sacrifice the environment and real connections with local people.

A Fair Deal:
We work closely with our local operator to run this trip in a way that aims to reduce impacts and to give as much back as possible to the local communities. Part of this is employing local leaders, who are committed to responsible tourism and helping to preserve the way of life in their area. The leaders will give a briefing on responsible tourism issues to help you understand how you can help reduce your impact and maximise the benefits to the local community from your visit.

Group size:
This is a small group tour and so numbers do not exceed 16, meaning that local environments and the communities that we encounter are not seriously impacted by our stay.

UK office:
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

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