A short boat trip takes you to the smallest islands in the Ionian.
Antipaxos has a wonderful beach and crystal clear waters, perfect for swimming, then to Paxos with its sleepy fishing villages.
PAXOS (incl. a tour around the island), ANTIPAXOS AND THE BLUE CAVES
Departure from Parga Jetty at 10:00am
Arrive at PAXOS where you will tour around the island visiting the bays of LOGOS, LAKKA and the CAVES.
The possibility of spotting dolphins is very good as the boat tours around the back of the island.
Our 2 day trip will take you inland where you will experience fantastic scenery at Zagoria and of the gorge of Vicos. The 2nd day you will visit the wondrous Monasteries of Meteora.
The Meteora are monasteries in north-east Greece on the edge of the Pindus Mountains, built on spectacular natural rock pillars. They were started in the 15th century as places of refuge in troubled times and access to them was extremely difficult, requiring either long ladders lashed together or a windlass and rope pulling up a net, for goods and humans.
In about the 1920s there was an improvement in the arrangements. Steps were cut in the rock that could be reached by rather flimsy bridges from the nearest solid rock. It is difficult to imagine how the monasteries were built on their pinnacles in the first place. Only a few of them are left now, tended by a few monks and nuns and visited by many tourists, hence the monastries now serve as museums.
The Agia Triada or Holy Trinity monastery was used in the final scenes of the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only.
The monastery Agiou Stephanou (Holy Stephen's) is inhabited by nuns only.
The monasteries are included in the UNESCO "World Heritage sites" list.
The Welcome and Information Center is to be found in the former school of Stroggili village. Visitors will find there an exhibition designed to tell them about the monuments and history of the area, its churches and monasteries, the importance of the wetlands, the species of birds and other wild-life that live in them, and also about the traditional methods of eel-fishing which constitute a non-detrimental way of making use of the aquatic bounty of the wetlands. Finally they will learn about the life and customs of the people who live in the wetlands.
The guided excursion begins after the visitors have been equipped with this information about the region. A walk to the top of the hill of St Catherine (outside Strongili) takes them to the Observation tower, from which they can enjoy a panoramic view of the Rodia-Tsoukalio lagoon, and of the marsh of Rodia with its boundless expanse of reeds.
Afterwards visitors are taken to see the ancient olive-mill, with its press, recently discovered by archeologists, and the water-buffalos, recently re-introduced into the region after becoming extinct in the 1950s.
All then proceed to the Chatzara quay-side at Strongili and embark in traditional fishing-boats, before setting out accross the reed-beds and islets.
Here the visitors get an opportunity to get acquainted with the feathered inhabitants of the marshes: The gulls, herons, kingfishers, plovers, and wild pelicans who live here, along with many other rare species of birds, which vary in accordance with the seasons.
Boutrinti is an ancient city with over 2600 years civilization. The different cultures of Butrinti , Hellenistic, roman, Byzantine and Venetian periods are perfectly harmonized with beautiful nature.
The tourists walk on the ways of Legendary Aeneas who while sailing from Troy to Rome sacrificed an ox for a safety entrance to Epirus. Visitors walk on traces where Julius Caesar, Edward Leer, William Martin League, Puqueville, Musolilis Daugther, Eda, Kruschev, George Soros, Stipe Mesic, Silio Berlusconi and other personalities have walked.
When guiding is finished ( the guiding lasts app. 1 hour and 15 minutes )we will take a break for about 15 minutes for refreshments at Livia Bar / restaurant just outside the Butrint site . (drinks are not included)
We leave Butrint at app. 12:00 and take our way back to Saranta . After app. 50 minute we will arrive to Saranta at the restaurant Three Roses right in the center of the town where visitors will enjoy lunch buffet traditional style. ( lunch included, drinks to be paid extra). Lunch time app.1-1 ½ hour. Free time to wander the streets of Saranda.
All the secrets of Epirus are revealed on our trip round some of the most interesting sites & monuments of the area. The day combines historical sites like Necromantion, Zaloggo & Kassopi with a walk through the cooling waters of the river of Acheron.
Necromantion: Near Kanalaki, in Messopotamos village, on the top of a hill, lies the most important and ancient oracle "NECROMANTIO" necromantic oracle. It is near the ancient mycenean colony of Efyra (14th century B.C.). There, people of ancient times thought the Gates of the Under World were here, which led to the Kingdom of Hades (or Plouton) - the son of Rea and Kronos, brother of Zeus, Ira, Poseidon and Persephone.
The silts of rivers Acheron, Kokytos and Pyrifgegethon formed a swamp and later a lake by the name of Acheroussia which has now dried. The existence of a rock with a cave on the NW part of the lake, in the confluence of the three rivers, was ideal for the erection of this holy monument.
The ancient people went to this sanctuary offering choe (libations) to the dead in order to communicate with their souls and get various information, after a proper arrangement in which they were subjected to, by the priests of the Oracle.
The main sanctuary is a square building with sides of 22m. length. It consists of a central hall, corridors, reception rooms and rooms for the staff, rooms for preparation, places for storage, where large earthy jars were found full of visitors offerings, the labyrinth and the main sanctuary, where the oracles were given.
The Oracle, famous in the whole Greek world from the 5th - 4th Century B.C. was set on fire and destroyed by Romans in the year 167 B.C. After that destruction the yard was inhabitated again around the 1st Century B.C. In 17th Century A.C. on the ruins of that Oracle, the Monastery of St. John was built, which is preserved today. The excavations (1958-64, 1976-77,1977-83) brought to light the Oracle as well as many other findings.
The River Styx: According the ancient Greek Mythology the underworld lay beneath the earth and ruled by Pluto, son of Rea and the brother of Zeus, king of both gods and men. To enter the underworld, the souls of the dead were ferried across the river Styx by Charon, who charged a copper coin for his services. If a corpse was berried without the customary coin placed under the tongue, the soul was left to wonder along the bangs of the river.
Once across the Styx the souls had to pass Cerberus, the monsterous three-headed dog who guarded the gates of the underworld. If the souls were lucky enough to get past Cerberus and reach the white rock, they came to the fields of Asphodel were they waited for judgement to be passed their previous life. The evil were sent to Tartarus, a place of punishment and their jailers were three furies. The good went to the Elysian Fields where they could be born again.
If after being reborn twice, they led exemplary lives, they were then sent to the isles of the blessed and never had to leave. Those who were neither good or bad went to the fields of Asphodel, where they could drink from the the pool of forgetfulness.
A lovely boat trip across the Ionian will take you to the island of Corfu. Corfu town is full of interesting places to visit, from museums and parks to the many restaurants and wonderful shopping area.
CORFU: Since the time Homer chanted the fertile and loved land of the island of the Pheacians and up to our mortal days Corfu remains one of the most beautiful parts of Hellas. Privileged by nature more than any other island of the Ionian Sea, Corfu obtained a refinement from which its local civilization emerged and prospered as centuries went by.
The City of Corfu: There is no place like the city of Corfu, which combines with such harmony the many different elements of the place. While the old Venetian fort dominates at the east of the city with an artificial defensive gap, the "contra fossa", in the city of Corfu you can identify characteristics of each of the many civilizations that influenced the city’s persona.
You see cantounia, the narrow and irregular paths of the city that originate from the way the Greek inhabitants used to build their houses, close to one another. But these same houses are a mix of Byzantine, Venetian and English architecture, so beautifully combined that generate a harmonic and unique whole.
The visitor can enjoy the sea at the beach of Mon Repos and then find himself at one of the many restaurants and cafes at the square of Spianada or Liston. Also in the city you can visit:
Our journey to the capital of the Epirus also takes us to the ancient oracle and the temple of Zeus, the Dodoni amphitheatre, with time in the city to visit the museums the craft shops, the island in the lake Pamvotis & the Perama caves.
Head to the capital of Epirus, Ioannina where you have time to explore the city and visit some of the museums (Archeological, Byzantine, Folklore).
You can even take a boat over to a island of Nissaki in the middle of the lake to visit the monastery where Ali Pasha was killed and to sample the local cuisine in a pretty taverna without the road noise. An optional visit, great for cooling down is to the Perama caves, the longest cave network in the Balkans with hundreds of stalagmites and stalagtites boasting all yheir wonderful colours.
Dodoni, the oldest oracle in Greek history hosts one of the largest amphitheatres in Greece which held up to 18.000 people and stills holds concerts in the high season months.
Zigouris House - 22/08/2019