Athens, Pelion & Corfu Greece

May 10th to May 21st, 2022

Athens is a heady mix of ancient history and contemporary cool. Athens is the capital of Greece and also one of the oldest cities in the world, with its documented history spanning uninterruptedly from 3.200 BC until today. That is an astonishing 5.200 years of history and culture. Nowadays Athens is a modern city offering a wide variety of options from lively hotels, lavish restaurants, Greek and world cuisine and shops featuring the latest fashion to museums, ancient ruins like the finds on the Acropolis hill, neoclassic and modern architecture, cultural venues, contemporary art, open air concerts, and most importantly the Athens Riviera only a stone’s throw from the city center. The Athenian Riviera offers 40 miles (60 km) of beaches to swim and relax by, touched by the sea of the Saronic Gulf which is part of the Aegean Sea.

In the past couple of years many visitors are opting for the southeast coast of Athens, discovering that they can stay near and within walking distance of the sea, while still have access to the world famous Acropolis, the museums and several Athenian archaeological sites, even by public transport. With the tram and the constant expansion of the Athens Metro line all the way to Glyfada, the suburbs of the Athenian Riviera, specifically Faliron, Glyfada, Voula, Vouliagmeni, Varkiza, Lagonissi, Anavissos and lastly Cape Sounion have seen a considerable influx of visiting travelers. Some of the aforementioned suburbs are in reality extensions of Athens with shops, restaurants, and cafes but with the added plus of the seaside.

Pelion has always been known as The Garden of the Gods and home of the Centaurs. “If you are a nature lover, Pelion will seduce you. It is filled with breathless views of unspeakable beauties… The Pelion region was, as the legend says, the summer residence of the Olympian Gods as well as the country of the Centaurs. It is a striking, bright green region between Pagasitikos Bay and the Aegean Sea. On top of it, the divine weddings between Pileas and Thetis took place. The villages, each with its own history, sown on the slopes of the mountain are unbelievable in beauty where the scenery leads into the embrace of the sea, in the deep blue of the Aegean Sea on the eastern side and the blue waters of the Pagasitikos Bay from the West side.

Corfu is also called the Garden Isle of the Mediterranean and in the months of spring it is most obvious. A flower lover’s paradise carpets the entire island.

Corfu is the name of both the island and its capital, used through history by the Venetian, French and British rulers, but the Greeks call it Kerkyra pointing back to the island’s ancient Corinthian name, usually transliterated as Corcyra. The duality of Western influences and Greek spirit gives the island its unique qualities. Unlike most of Greece, Corfu never fell to the Ottoman Empire despite two strong attempts to seize it. One of the seven Ionian Islands, it came under the control of Venice in 1386 and, over the next few centuries, the Italian language, culture and Roman Catholic Church were dominant. In 1797, Corfu was taken over by the French following the defeat of the Venetian Republic by Napoleon Bonaparte. Later, in 1814, the Ionian Islands became a British protectorate. Over the next fifty years, many public works were completed, such as the town’s water supply, and fine public buildings were erected in the Classical Revival style. Finally, in 1864, Corfu with the other Ionian Islands was returned to Greece with the accession of King George I.

Since antiquity, from Homer’s “The Odyssey” across the centuries to the Durrell family’s sojourn on the island before World War II, writers, poets, artists and gardeners, travellers, statesmen and members of royalty have all been bewitched by the magical beauty of Corfu with its lush vegetation, wildflowers, and silver olive-groves punctuated by cypresses – a captivation which continues today.

Yes, there is walking and there are some hills for sure so if you have any concerns about this, email me as I have been to a lot of the sights we will see…

A NOTE ON OUR VISIT TO THE PRIVATE GARDENS… at this time we cannot confirm who they are but rest assured you will be impressed with them… we have a lot of choice and as we find out who these very special gardens are we will update the itinerary with that information. They are PRIVATE gardens and many belong to members of the Mediterranean Garden Society. I have seen some of them and can vouch for the WOW!!

Please click on each day to bring up the itinerary for that day

Tuesday May 10, 2022 - Arrival into Athens

Make your own way to our hotel and relax…

Galaxy Hotel, close to the sea-front in Alimos/Glyfada.

Sea view room twin bedded or double.

Galaxy Hotel Athens is located in Kalamaki, Alimos, a southern suburb of Athens. It enjoys a sea front location with magnificent views over the Saronic Gulf. It combines the facilities of a city hotel while at the same time there, a beach located just in front of the hotel. Athens city centre is only 5 km away.

I share this about their breakfast because the breakfasts in Greece as AMAZING!

‘Our rich breakfast includes fresh baked bread, tahini and Greek honey, cold salads and grain legumes (lentils, chickpeas, wheat, etc.), Greek local cheeses such as feta, kefalotiri, ricotta, Greek sausages, Kalamata olives and extra virgin olive oil. We serve daily homemade pies and cakes, such as semolina halva, walnut pies, karydopites, homemade jams with fresh Greek fruits and organic eggs. At guests’ disposal there is Greek coffee, mountain tea, verbena, sage, beverages with saffron, plus selected Greek daily fresh fruits and vegetables.’

Did you know? If it weren’t for an olive tree, Poseidon might have been the city’s patron. According to mythology Athena and Poseidon competed for the title of the guardian of the city. They each offered a gift to gain favour of its people and the gods, but Athena’s olive tree was deemed more valuable than the salt water spring given by Poseidon, so her name was given to the city-state. The Olive Tree symbolizes Peace and Prosperity.

Wednesday May 11 - Gardens of Leftheris Dariotis, Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center & Park

Visit to the two gardens of Leftheris Dariotis (a noted young Greek seed collector) with guide…

We will enjoy lunch on our own at the Olympic Waterfront… what was once a forgotten area of Athens is being brought back to life offering cafes, bars, restaurants and shops. At its eastern end, the park connects to the manicured grounds of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, which has become a cherished Athenian landmark since it opened in 2016.

Guided tour of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center…

A public space that includes the Greek National Opera, the National Library of Greece as well as the Stavros Niarchos Park, one of the largest green areas in Athens. The SNFCC was created thanks to an exclusive grant by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, which delivered it to the Greek State upon completion and it is supervised by the Greek Ministry of Finance.

The Stavros Niarchos Park, a modern Landscape Architecture project, has been designed in accordance with the principles of sustainability, ecosystems and the alternations of a place that is in constant evolution. It is a welcoming and open space, with plantings and a character that reflects the Mediterranean landscape. Occupying 85% of the SNFCC’s total area, Stavros Niarchos Park stretches over an area of 21 hectares. It is home to a rich variety of flora, including olive trees, evergreen shrubs, carob trees, laurels, cypress trees, as well as an extensive selection of indigenous Greek aromatic plants. Plants were selected and arranged with an eye to providing a variety of seasonal blooming and creating exciting color schemes and textures. The Park includes 16 tree species and 161 shrub species, a variety of grasses and bulbs. Greece’s strong horticultural tradition is celebrated in the open, sunlit Mediterranean Garden. The plant palette alone makes the garden a destination: evergreen and other endemic plants such as boxwood, coronilla, cistus, and lentisc, salvia, oregano, thyme, lavender, rosemary, roses and euphorbias – all add to the sensual pleasure of a visit. Each month brings a new color, and each season introduces a different combination of flowers or foliage.

Back to hotel.

Breakfast and Welcome Dinner included, Lunch on own.

Thursday May 12 - Tour of the Acropolis and Parthenon, Acropolis Museum and Plaka Area

Acropolis and Parthenon…As thought and art flourished, an exceptional group of artists put into effect the ambitious plans of Athenian statesman Pericles and, under the inspired guidance of the sculptor Pheidias, transformed the rocky hill into a unique monument of thought and the arts. The most important monuments were built during that time. The Acropolis of Athens is an ancient citadel located on a rocky outcrop above the city of Athens and contains the remains of several ancient buildings of great architectural and historic significance, the most famous being the Parthenon. Guided visit.

Afterwards we will visit the Acropolis museum to enjoy a light lunch in the cafeteria before our visit. The museum was built to house every artifact found on the rock and on the surrounding slopes, from the Greek Bronze Age to Roman and Byzantine Greece. It also lies over the ruins of a part of Roman and early Byzantine Athens.

Then the rest of the day/evening at leisure as we visit the Plaka area…returning with the group to the hotel or staying on and making your own way back. We will set a time for this…

One of my favorite neighborhoods in Athens, in the shadow of the Acropolis, the Plaka is like a village within the city, an island for those who don’t have the time to visit the Greek Islands. The Plaka is the oldest section of Athens. Most of the streets have been closed to automobile traffic, though you should still keep a watchful eye for a speeding motorcycle or delivery truck. At one time it was the nightclub district, but most of these closed down when the government outlawed amplified music in the neighborhood in the seventies in an effort to get rid of undesirables. The strategy was very successful and it is now an area of restaurants, jewelry stores, tourist shops, and cafes. Though it is quite commercialized it is still a neighborhood and arguably the nicest neighborhood in central Athens.

Did you know? When crossing the streets in Greece, use caution as drivers don’t generally pay attention to pedestrian crossings. It’s so crazy in fact that a driver is more likely to make a sharp turn around you than actually slow down or stop to let you cross.

Breakfast and Lunch included with Dinner on own.

Friday May 13 - Central Athens Market, Floral Shop & Demo, Vorres Museum & Gardens

Athens Central Market (Varvakeios) Guided visits.

Right on the busy Athinas street, the central market, also known as Varvakeios, is a hectic and vibrant market place. Split between meat and seafood and fish products on one side of the street, and fruits and vegetables on the other side, the Varvakeios offers a sensory experience. Shop for fresh olives and feta cheese, sun-kissed fruits and vegetables and even spices. The meat area may not be for all, as it is not surprising to see meat carcasses hanging up, while the fish section may require more than just a pair of flip flops due to the amount of water on the floor.

Then we are off to visit a flower shop where we will watch a demonstration of floral design in Greek style… Chorofilli is a flower shop with a special point of view on flower art, situated in the area of Glyfada. At “Chlorofilli”, you can always find fresh-cut flowers, lively creations, artifacts, compositions and home gardening suggestions, full of originality, innovation and inspiration.

After this we head to Vorres Museum where we will enjoy lunch first before our visit. I have to tell you that I was so taken with this place, loved every square inch of the folk art museum and those gardens… wow. The Vorres Museum is a cultural foundation that was established in 1983, with the purpose of promoting Greek art and culture, through a broad spectrum of activities, from the organization of exhibitions in Greece and abroad, to educational programs for children.

The museum which sprawls over six acres, is divided into two main sections: the museum of contemporary Greek art and the folk art museum, both of which house collections that cover at least 2500 years of Greek history. The whole complex is laid out in a way that showcases the Greek spirit in a unique fashion. In the contemporary part, one of the most important and representative collections of its kind in the world is exhibited, comprising paintings, installations and sculptures by leading Greek artists, displaying a Greek interpretation of most of the international artistic currents of the second half of the 20th century. The folk art section, is an extraordinary complex of 19th century buildings, courtyards and gardens or rather a re-adaptation and readjustment of traditional Greek architectural features housing antiquities, icons, ceramics, popular artifacts and objects used in daily Greek life centuries ago, in a manner, revealing their inherent beauty and their practical use.

The gardens, wild and consisting almost entirely of Mediterranean flora are an indispensable part of the museum being described by many as the most beautiful gardens in Athens.

Return to hotel.

Breakfast and Lunch Included with Dinner on own.

Saturday May 14 - Gryllis Water Lilies and Mediterranean Plants Nursery, Delphi, Volos & Pelion

Leave Athens hotel and drive to Gryllis Water Lilies and Mediterranean Plants Nursery at Marathon.

Gryllis Water Lilies was founded in 2011 by Ioannis Gryllis, Agronomist, M.Sc. Landscape Architect at first specializing in the production of aquatic plants. The company’s headquarters and production facility is located in Marathon where you can find a wide variety of plants (over 400 species) suitable for ponds but also for garden planting. Nursery for ornamental aquatic & aquatic plants, ornamental grasses, shade plants, perennial herbs, exotic plants, and xylosophytes. ‘Our love for the plants that started as a hobby, combined with the university studies, contribute to our excellent training and experience, with the construction and supply of plants in Greece and abroad.’

We will enjoy lunch here before departing…

Visit to Delphi for a two hour guided visit.

Depart Delphi and travel to Volos where a stop will be made on the waterfront to see the Argo replica (Jason and the Argonauts set out from Volos) and refreshment break.

Arrive Lagou Raxi Country Hotel, Pelion (Garden view rooms) Dinner at hotel

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included

Sunday May 15 - Private Gardens…

Visits to two very special private gardens with guide…

A NOTE ON OUR VISIT TO THE PRIVATE GARDENS…at this time we cannot confirm who they are but rest assured you will be impressed with them…we have a lot of choice and as we find out who these very special gardens are we will update the itinerary with that information. They are PRIVATE gardens and many belong to members of the Mediterranean Garden Society. I have seen some of them and can vouch for the WOW !!

Breakfast and Lunch Included with Dinner on own.

Monday May 16 - Botanical Painting, Milea Winery for Wine Tastings

This morning we relax around the hotel. The view from our hotel is quite breathtaking so take a book, sit back with a great cup of coffee and enjoy your time here to just be in the moment… The village is just a short walk and offers some hidden courtyard gardens peeking back at you. It is a very pretty place to wander around as well offering lots of photo opportunities with its stone houses and shops adorned with plants or take a bit of a walk around the hotel and see how many wildflowers you can find. There were so many when I was there…

We will enjoy a Botanical Painting experience today and I will advise later who our professional instructor will be. I am hoping that our instructor will also bring with her some of her work to delight you with. Will keep you advised on this… and if you do not wish to participate, just watch or relax.

We will in the early evening go to Milea Winery in Argalasti for a wine tasting and some mezedes (Greek for small plates of food) in a joyful and unhurried environment, then back to our hotel where the rest of the evening is free.

Breakfast Included with Lunch and Dinner on own.

Tuesday May 17 - Meteora Monasteries, stop at Ioannina and night in Igoumenitsa

Early departure for Meteora – visit monasteries and lunch (included) with guide.

The word Meteora means literally ‘hovering in the air’ and of course brings to mind the word meteor. What created this rare geological phenomenon is one of the mysteries of nature and there are many theories though they remain theories and none have been proven. But as amazing a marvel of nature as these giant rocks are the buildings on the top of these are a marvel of man and seem just as miraculous and make Meteora one of the most spectacular places to visit in Greece.

How could anyone describe this astonishing geological phenomenon, the breathtaking landscape, the inspiration and spirituality felt, the awe for man’s achievements in an effort to express his religious drive, when these are only some of the many things a traveler experiences when visiting this phenomenal land! These immense, solid rocks, split by earthquakes, weathered by water and wind over millions of years, are nature’s authentic masterpiece. Emerging about 25 million years ago as the elevated seabed material that was the outcome of strong tectonic movements, the Meteora rocks became a shelter of humankind. The 24 monasteries emerged on the countless summits of the rocks from the 14th until the 16th century, 6 of them remaining to be explored and admired by all. These monasteries became the centers of the Orthodox creed in the Byzantine era, having produced some of the best pieces of religious art and craft and still possessing a collection of precious manuscripts, which today are on display in their museums. The Meteora monasteries have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and the Meteora-Antichassia region has been officially declared a Natura 2000 Ecological Zone by the Greek Ministry of Environment, for the protection of rare species of birds and flowers.

‘Serene, spiritual, magical, mystical, extraordinary, breathtaking, immense, inspiring, impressive. These are only some of the words people very often use in an effort to describe the Meteora phenomenon. Visit Meteora, even if your interests are not deeply religious. It is the only way to enrich your feelings of spirituality that this area already exudes, no matter how long or brief your sojourn in our beautiful land.’

Dress code: Men – arms must be covered and only pants please, no shorts. Women – Skirts only below knees, no shorts, no pants and no sleeveless arms…bring shawl.

Did you know? The Agia Triada or Holy Trinity monastery was used in the James Bond movie ‘For Your Eyes Only’

We have had a lovely and moving visit and now we head to Ioannina to make a stop for a bit of refreshment then on our way to where we will enjoy a good night rest before boarding our ferry to Corfu. Ioannina is located in the north-west part of Greece at the shore of the Lake Pamvotis and is a city teeming with students… and with students, lots of cafes and bars and many opportunities for photos and architecture that is very different from what you would expect from Athens.

Overnight in Angelika Pallas Hotel (Double or twin – mountain or sea view) Igoumenitsa near seafront) For the evening meal there is a restaurant at the hotel in if participants don’t wish to go out:

Breakfast and Lunch Included with Dinner on own.

Wednesday May 18 - Ferry to Corfu, Walking Tour of Corfu

Our ferry departure point is minutes away from our hotel so after breakfast we will walk or taxi to the ferry for our departure and enjoy the beautiful scenery on our way to Corfu arriving in less than two hours. Once off the ferry we will be met and taken to the hotel to have lunch then on to our walking tour of Corfu with our guide. This will acquaint you so that you will be able to enjoy your day of leisure later on.

Rodostamo Hotel – Superior Limited Bay View Room – this is a beautiful hotel. I stayed here and I know you will love it. The grounds are lovely with huge olive trees in flower beds as your arrive. Rooms are quiet and relaxing and the pool area you will love! Even if you do not swim it is just so relaxing to sit there and enjoy a drink in the evening or and evening meal…the views are so serene. You will love your breakfast in the morning too…presentation and quality is amazing.

Breakfast and Lunch Included with Dinner on own

Thursday May 19 - Rothschid Estate and Two Private Gardens

Morning visit Rothschild Estate.

A spectacular private garden on an estate which occupies the two peninsulas at Kanonas and Strongilo overlooking the coast of Albania, the Rothschild Estate is a place which has been nurtured by three generations of the same family and skillfully embraces the wild landscape. The natural rock formations contribute a dramatic element with a former quarry transformed into a great pool by the Spanish architect Xavier Barba. Here pendulous forms of fragrant clumped rosemary on the cliff face and a long tightly-clipped undulating hedge of rosemary define views of the sea and wild mountains beyond. From the moment I walked through the archway of this garden I knew it was going to be special and dare I say extraordinary… guided visit

We will enjoy lunch here….

Did you know?  The villa has often hosted both royals and celebrities, while it was a favourite summer retreat for Princess Diana.

Afternoon visit to gardens from Rachel Weaving’s book Gardens of Corfu with guide…. And if we are very lucky Rachel might be around to come visit us and bring some of her books. Later on we can confirm this and what the price is so if you would like one we can preorder so that we have one for you and you can get her to sign it for you.

‘‘What makes a garden Corfiot? Certain ingredients based on local craft traditions appear in gardens both old and new, and form elements of a Corfiot style:

  • Stonework for building, terracing, and ornament;
  • Wrought ironwork, often using patterns based on old Venetian models; and
  • Big terracotta urns like those that were once used for storing and exporting olive oil.
  • Corfu gardeners also make quite distinctive plant choices: olive, citrus, and, in the last thirty years, native pencil cypress trees, are favorites, as are wisteria, jasmine, and orange trumpet vine. People also noticeably choose plants for their scent.

And a tradition that Corfu shares with the rest of Greece is the avlí—the courtyard garden close to the house—in which people grow both flowers and fruit.’ Rachel Weaving

A NOTE ON OUR VISIT TO THE PRIVATE GARDENS… at this time we cannot confirm who they are but rest assured you will be impressed with them… we have a lot of choice and as we find out who these very special gardens are we will update the itinerary with that information. They are PRIVATE gardens and many belong to members of the Mediterranean Garden Society. I have seen some of them and can vouch for the WOW!!   and

Afterwards we will stop at a taverna to have dinner before heading back to our hotel….

Breakfast and Lunch Included with Dinner on own

Friday May 20 - Your Day at Leisure, Farewell Dinner at Hotel

Spend it by beginning with a very delicious and leisurely breakfast, then sit by the pool or head into town – the day is yours to enjoy.

Breakfast and Farewell Dinner Included with Lunch on your own.

Saturday May 21 - Day of Departure

After breakfast departure to Corfu International Airport to begin your flight home…

Closer to departure we will have departure ideas to share with you…


4 nights with breakfast at Galaxy Hotel, Athens

3 nights with breakfast at Lagou Raxi Hotel, Lafkos

1 night with breakfast at Angelika Pallas Hotel, Igoumenitsa

3 nights with breakfast at Rodostamo Hotel, Corfu

A/C vehicle for the itinerary

Ferry to Corfu

3 Dinners – 7 Lunches

Wine Tasting

Botanical Painting Experience and

Floral Demonstration

Visits to all sights as noted in itinerary

Including Rothschild Private Gardens,

Acropolis, Parthenon, Delphi and

Meteora Monasteries

English speaking Tour Guides

Tips & Gratuities Included

Unforgettable Memories!

Not Included: International Flights, insurance, meals not noted and drinks not included, items of a personal nature and extra hotel charges such as daily maid servicing.

We have a limited amount of pre tour night rooms available for either single or twin/double. Please advise if you require.

Athens, Pelion & Corfu Greece.

May 10th – May 21st, 2022

Land package 3100 Euros per person for Twin bed sharing or Double bed.

For those wanting their own room please add 1214 Euros to above price (single rooms very limited).

Tour is priced in the currency we pay our suppliers at destination. Due to exchange rate volatility, we only convert to Canadian dollars at time of final payment at the prevailing exchange rates at that time. Your final payment will be in Canadian Dollars.

Note: Minimum of 10 guests must be registered for this tour to run, so please do not book your air until you are notified that we have reached this.


Tour is subject to changes in itinerary but not tour dates.

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