How to spend a week in mainland Greece
If you want to explore Greece beyond Athens and its islands this mainland Greece holiday itinerary is for you. Greek mainland offers many beautiful sights and is full of history like all of the country. This one week itinerary starts and ends in the second biggest city of Greece, Thessaloniki. It’s been done and is doable by public transport but of course, you can do it by car as well. So let’s go:
Day 1 Thessaloniki
Better arrive the evening before to start your Thessaloniki tour fresh in the morning. It will be quite a packed day with lots of walking so have good walking shoes. Main highlights of the day: visiting UNESCO heritage churches and monasteries and having great views of the city.
Read more about a day in Thessaloniki clicking this link.
Day 2 Veria, Vergina
Today we are going by bus to Veria and Vergina. Veria is known as a little Jerusalem because of the big number of churches in the not so big city. Vergina, known as Aigai in ancient times, is worth visiting because of the Museum of the Royal Tombs inscribed in UNESCO world heritage list. Read more about this travel day here.
Day 3 travel to and visit Ioannina
On the third day, travel from Veria to Ioannina (210 kilometres). It will take three hours or a little bit less or more, depending on the means of transport you choose. I hope you will be not too tired to take Ioannina tour the same day after arrival or you may choose to add one more day to your itinerary. Highlights of Ioannina Visit to Ioannina castle and a trip to Ioannina Island in the Pamvotis Lake.Read more about this travel day here.
Day 4 A day trip to Vikos Gorge
I think Vikos Gorge is a real gem of Greece even though you may not have heard about it before. Views from the top to this 900 metre deep gorge are just breathtaking. Other highlights of this day trip from Ioannina are historic stone bridges and of course Vradeto stairs.Read more about this travel day here.
Day 5 travel to Meteora and Meteora
Meteora and its monasteries are located next to Kastraki village but if you go by bus, you will most likely be dropped off at Kalabaka town which is less than 3 kilometres away from Kastraki. My advice is to choose your accommodation in Kastraki because it’s next to Meteora and you can walk to some places by yourself easier. Try to visit a few monasteries in the afternoon and stay for sunset views near Saint Barbara Roussanon monastery.
Day 6 Meteora
Take a guided hike for the first part of the day. You will see a different side of Meteora this way. Two monastery visits may be included in this tour. Use the rest of the day to visit some others.Read my tips for visiting Meteora by clicking this link.
Day 7 back to Thessaloniki, a flight home
Kalabaka is about 230 kilometres away from Thessaloniki. I went back to Thessaloniki by bus, changing it at Trikala.This way the trip takes close to four hours. It may be faster by car. Ready for your flight home or want to explore more of Thessaloniki? Alternatively, you can go from Kalabaka to Athens and continue your Greece exploration there. Want to see more of Greece? Check this for more Greek experiences!Have you been to Greece mainland? What are your most memorable impressions? Share in the comments section!
Author: Anita Sāne