14 Days Culinary Travel in Central & Northern Greece

  • Thessaloniki - Chalkidiki - Pella - Naoussa - Kastoria - Parnassus - Delphi - Athens

Wine Holidays in Greece

Enjoy the natural beauty along the wine roads of Northern Greece and explore the history that infuses the entire region, from archaeological sites, churches, monasteries, museums, and more to the wineries themselves, restaurants, taverns, hotels and inns, and local gourmet workshops and stores stocked with regional culinary specialties. A great combination of city breaks and tours in Thessaloniki, Northern Greece, Thessaly and Mainland, full of cultural elements and great wines. Seek out the traditional products of each regions unique cuisine. You will be happily surprised to find tastes and aromas beautifully attuned to the locale.

Highlights

  • Cooking class in Delphi, meze class
  • 2 foodie tours in Athens and Thessaloniki
  • 6 wine tours, 6 wine tastings, ouzo or tsipouro tasting
  • Market visit, honey tasting, sweets tasting, distillery visit
  • Visit archelogical sites, monasteries, caves, museums
  • Lunch at the famed restaurant Mpairaktaris
  • 13 dinners, 13 breakfasts, 12 lunches
  • 13 nights luxury accommodation
  • 7 days with instruction
  • English
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Achillion Hotel - Drama, Greece

Room Facilities: Bathroom amenities, digital phone, double sound proof windows, free Wi-Fi, hair dryer, refrigerator, satellite LCD TV, wake up calls.

Limneon Resort and Spa - Kastoria, Greece

Room Facilities: Autonomous air-conditioning, feather quilts, hairdryer, mini bar, private balcony, satellite television, small sofa and a mini dining room (junior suite), wireless internet access.

Esperides Spa Hotel - Naoussa, Greece

Room Facilities: hypoallergenic pillows, unique relaxing layers, using 100% cotton in all our linens, air-conditioning, TV, mini bar, hair dryer, designer amenities, direct dial telephone line, free Wi-Fi connection.

Delphi Palace - Delphi, Greece

Room Facilities: deluxe bathrooms, verandas with magnificent views to the majestic scenery of Delphi, air-conditioning and heating, room service, television, phone, and hairdryer, safe deposit of valuables, mini bar and wireless internet access.

Mediterranean Palace - Thessaloniki, Greece

Room Facilities: Air-conditioning, balcony or window, bathrobe, data socket, direct telephone line, hair dryer, mini bar, power supply 220 V / 50 Hz, room safe, rooms equipped for physically disabled guests, satellite TV, slippers, socket for saving machine, telephone in the bathroom, wake up call, Wi-Fi, working desk.

Viraggas Mansion - Chalkdiki, Greece

Room Facilities: Feather quilts for the winter or cotton blankets for the Spring, hairdresser, internet, mini bar refrigerator, mini safe, matural products of Korre for your individual care, orthopedic matresses, private WC with hair dryer, room service in the two rooms of ground floor with their autonomous verandas, satellite television, telephone, washing-machine and tumble dryer.

Amalia Kalambaks - Kalambaka, Greece

Room Facilities: flat screen satellite TV with international channels, wireless internet access, fridge, working desk, direct dial phone, bathtub, phone in bathroom, hair dryer and personal amenities, air-conditioning and heating.

Royal Olympic - Athens, Greece

Room Facilities: Bath amenities, closet, flat screen TV, free Wi-Fi internet access, hairdryer, individually controlled air-conditioning, mini-bar, movies-on-demand and pay per view, pool towels, safe deposit box, soundproof windows, wake-up calls.

Day 1: Arrival

  • We will be waiting for you at the Airport of Thessaloniki upon your arrival.
  • Reception at the airport and transportation to the hotel in Thessaloniki Centre.
  • Later in the afternoon, we can make our first walk in the city and have lunch depending on your time of arrival, then well have dinner at a local tsipouradiko with variety of traditional specialties.
  • Accommodation Thessaloniki.

Day 2: Wine tour, meze class, ouzo/tsipouro tasting, distillery visit, oenology museum

  • Very close to Thessaloniki, on the hills of Epanomi, at an ideal ecosystem for wine cultivation we will visit Domaine Gerovassiliou voted in the top 100 wineries for 2006. The varieties of Assyrtiko, Malagouzia, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viongier and Syrah, Merlot, Grenach Rouge, Limnio Mavroudi, Mavrotragano give the Regional Wines of Epanomi.
  • Less than 45 minutes North of Thessaloniki, on the slopes of Mt Vertiskos lie the vineyards of Babatzimopoulos Estate. You will have the chance to walk around the organic cultivated vineyards, visit the winery and of course taste the wines.
  • Meze class (demo and partly hands-on); ouzo or tsipouro tasting.
  • Visit distillery and maybe meet or even dance with the modern Greek Zorba. Mr. Anestis Babatzimopoulos is a visionary winemaker, so be prepared to be surprised from his wines that combine some of the most known international with local varieties.
  • Besides the great wines you will taste, there is a very interesting oenology museum, with a collection of rare corkscrews dating back to 18th century, 28 rare handmade wine-presses from the18th to the 20th century, amphorae of Mycenaean and Byzantine time, and many other old items and tools of the viticulturist.
  • Evening dinner, where we will have the chance to explore Thessaloniki's local cuisine.

Day 3: Excursions, transfer

  • After breakfast, we drive to Kavala, following the Egnatia highway, built on the path of the Roman Via Egnatia.
  • Arriving Philippi, we will visit the archaeological site of Philippi, with the Forum Romanum; the ruins of the two early Christian Basilicas, the prison where St. Paul was held and preached in 50 AD; as well as the ancient Greek theatre.
  • Ending the tour at Philippi, we will visit the Texni Oinou domain at Mikrohori Dramas as well as the Vivlia Chora and the Manolesaki, three of the greatest wineries of Northern Greece Texni Oinou domain at Mikrohori Dramas.
  • The district, enjoying propitious soil and climatic conditions, has a long history of wine-making, history which is now being revived thanks to the personal initiative and passion of the two winemakers, Yiannis Papadopoulos and Yiannis Kalaitzidis. From these vineyards the estate produces each year no fewer than 60,000 bottles of its label Techni Alipias - the Greek word Techni meaning art or skill, and the word Alipia from ancient Greek meaning absence of sorrow. The name was inspired by ancient texts which tells us that Dionysos, the son of Zeus and Semele, bestowed on making the gift of wine so that men might forget their sorrows.
  • Accommodation: Drama

Day 4: Excursions, honey tasting, wine tour, wine tasting, transfer

  • Breakfast and the tour starts in the village of Arnaia, the best example of well-preserved traditional architecture in the area.
  • Arriving in the village, you will receive a quick demonstration by a honey producer and beekeeper and try five varieties of honey and the famous honey-tsipouro Mountovina, only found here.
  • Proceed to the local winery, Papayannis, and have a tour and wine tasting.
  • Have lunch as it was made in ancient Greece, prepared for you by a specialized chef.
  • Reach the Aristotle Park, dedicated to the great philosopher Aristotle, near the ruins of his birthplace, the ancient city of Stagira.
  • Ending the tour, we will drive to the village of Polygyros, where you will stay for the night.
  • Dinner at the hotel with local specialties.

Day 5: Boat ride, excursions

From Polygyros, we drive to the village Ouranoupolis for a boat trip along the coast line of Mount Athos, the unique autonomous monastic community, internationally recognised as a sanctuary of the Orthodox Christian faith, where they can view the unique landscape and the magnificent architecture of the monasteries.

Departure time is 10:30 and the cruise lasts around 3 hours. The ship heads to the south western part of the peninsula and in approximately 10 minutes, it reaches the sea-borders of the monastic state and its territory.

From there, it arrives in approximately 15 minutes in the area of the first Russian cloister and, after sailing by unique beaches, it arrives in the area of the first monastery, Iera Moni Dochiariou, in around 40 minutes.

Another 7 monasteries follow then, as well as the Holy Mounts central port, Daphni, and finally the cloisters, small villages, where groups of monks live in every house.

  • Ending the boat trip, you will have a break for lunch and then, you will visit the Papayannis winery at Arnaia.
  • You will go back to the hotel in the late afternoon.
  • Dinner and accommodation at Polygyros.

Day 6: Wine tours

  • Today we will head to the area of Chalkidiki.
  • Sithonia hosts the largest winery in Greece and it is also considered one of Europe's largest at 400 hectares. Across the gulf to the east on the Athos peninsula, within the monastic republic, is a Tsantali vineyard, which has the goal of bringing the traditional Mount Athos wines to the outside world.
  • The two of the wineries we will visit today are the Domaine Porto Carras and the Tsantali Agios Pavlos Winery.
  • Lunch in one of the two wineries and head back to the hotel in the early afternoon.
  • Dinner and accommodation at Polygyros.

Day 7: Excursions, transfer

  • Just a 70 minutes drive from Polygyros, the caves of Petralona are a very popular destination. When you enter the caves of Petralona, its like embarking on a voyage to the beginning of time with fascinating stalactites and stalagmites including the remains of what is thought to be the oldest in Europe - 700,000 years old. The caves are also considered among the most important monuments of human prehistory with findings including the fossilized cranium of a prehistoric man.
  • A possible visit to the Petralona winery and lunch with big variety of sea food at Nea Moudania.
  • After lunch, drive back to Thessaloniki where we accommodate.
  • Dinner at Thessaloniki at a Tsipouradiko with variety of dishes and tsipouro

Day 8: Excursions, market visit, sweets tasting

Thessaloniki is Greece's second largest city and the capital of Macedonia, also voted Best Mid-Sized European city for human capital and lifestyle by Financial Times in 2014. It offers a rich cultural and historical heritage as well as a cosmopolitan life.

We will visit some of the splendid churches as well as the Byzantine church of St. Dimitrios. Naturally, there's also time to enjoy the shopping and caf├ęs downtown.

What do you get when you combine Greek coffee, pastries and breads, sweets, Meze, and ouzo? The best introductions into Greek cuisine and culture, all on this tasty Thessaloniki tour.

  • We will taste koulouri and bougatsa. While koulouri is fairly plain (but nonetheless delicious), bougatsa can be filled with almost anything cream, spinach, cheese, mince and much more. With both breads having a history that dates back to the Byzantine.
  • A tour of the Modiano Market ,with charming paved alleys, hundreds of people, and fresh vegetables, fruits, fish, meat, spices, dairy, homemade products, and many local specialties filling the stalls and Meze lunch at Modiano.
  • The tour could not end without a visit to one of the citys oldest confectioneries for a sample of siropiasta. These syrupy sweets are still made from the original recipes that Greek refugees brought with them during the1920s from Istanbul and Asia Minor, the perfect Thessaloniki food to finish off this tour and aid your digestion.
  • Evening dinner will be on to Athonos Square, where you will be amazed by beautiful scenery that compliments the numerous old-world ouzeris and small taverns.
  • Visit one of the best ouzeris in the city and taste meze accompanied with ouzo or tsipouro - some flavours you won't be forgetting in a hurry, that's for sure.
  • Accommodation: Thessaloniki.

Day 9: Excursions, wine tour, wine tasting

  • Today we will head to one of the most historic places in Greece and the old capital of the ancient Macedonia state.
  • The ancient capital of the Macedonian empire, this has been a wine producing region since antiquity. Archaeological findings have depicted Dionysus the Greek god of wine.
  • Some of the most important remains are the palace, lavishly decorated with mosaics and painted stuccoes, and the burial ground, with more than 300 tumuli, some of which date from the 11th century B.C. The tomb of the Macedonian King Philip, father of Alexander the Great, is recognised as a Monument of world heritage by UNESCO. Philip's tomb, complete with its unique valuables, are kept in a specially designed museum.
  • The first and the second capital of Macedonia, Vergina and Pella, give to the visitors the whole history of Macedonia with the spectacular findings of the royal graves in the outstanding museum of Vergina and the brand new museum of Pella. The archaeological sites are 2 of the most interesting in Greece.
  • From here, we will continue to Naoussa, the area of Xinomavro. The area of Naoussa is known for the VQPRD Naoussa' made exclusively of Xinomavro.
  • Wine tasting in one of the eleven wineries in the area. From Xinomavro and the other red varieties cultivated in the region, mainly Merlot and Syrah, are produced the regional wines of Imathia, a white Blanc de noirs and a fleshy and opulent red that endures through time.
  • Esperides hotel Naoussa offers relaxing atmosphere, and with our dinner arranged at the hotel we have nothing to worry about, except what wine to choose to accompany our dinner, specially prepared for us with local recipes

Day 10: Excursion, wine tour, wine tasting, transfer

  • Morning departure for the Macedonian hinterland. This mountainous region of Greece has become a large wine-producing region.
  • One of the highlights is Kastoria, an ancient centre known for its fur productions, beautifully situated on Lake Orestiada. The town of Kastoria, renowned center of the fur industry and also famous for its lake and 75 Byzantine churches. A Neolithic lake settlement, 7000 years old, was discovered here, and you will have the opportunity to stroll through and admire the reconstruction of the village which represents the contemporary musicological concept.
  • Wine tasting in one of the few of the wineries: Amyndio Winery, Kir Yianni Amyndio Winery, Voyatzis Estate, Zandes Winery.
  • Keep driving south direction Meteora and Kalambaka where we will stay for the night.
  • Dinner at Kalambaka.

Day 11: Excursion, transfer, cooking class

  • Visit Meteora. Among striking scenery, perched on the top of huge rocks which seem to be suspended in mid-air, stand ageless monasteries, where you can see exquisite specimens of Byzantine art.
  • Depart from Kalambaka direction Delphi. Arrive in Delphi in the early afternoon.
  • Enjoy the Greek kitchen cooking class at Delphi.
  • Accommodation in Delphi.

Day 12: Excursion, wine tour, wine tasting, transfer

  • Visit the archaeological site and museum and drive the mountain of Parnassus to the village of Polydroso, where we visit the winery Argyriou, one of the best small wineries in Greece.
  • Wine tasting and lunch on spot.
  • Departure direction Athens.
  • Arrival in Athens in the early afternoon.
  • Dinner at a beautiful restaurant of Athens.
  • Accommodation in Athens.

Day 13: Excursion, restaurant visit, free time, farewell dinner

  • Guided Athens city tour including Acropolis.
  • Lunch at the most well known restaurant in Plaka Mpairaktaris.
  • Walking tour and shopping time at the centre shopping area of Athens Ermou Street.
  • Farewell dinner.
  • Accommodation Athens

Day 14: Departure

  • Breakfast and transportation to the airport for the flight back home.

Northern Greece is one of the most important wine producing regions of the country. Wine brands produced in this region of Greece have been awarded many international medals and distinctions. Thessaloniki itself is home to many famous wineries. The visits to the wineries often feature lunch at the winery or at a nearby traditional Greek tavern, so we can experience the authentic Northern Greek gastronomy and wine culture.

Enjoy the numerous Byzantine monuments of Thessaloniki, walk along the alleys in the centre of city and enjoy the spectacular food, nightlife, and history. Visit Naoussa, and get to know the VQPRD Naoussa, that is made of Xinomavro, an indigenous variety. We will travel through some of the most renowned Greek vineyards. Stop at celebrated wineries to sample favourite wines right where they are produced and meet the people who make them.

Visit Petralona, where traces of the first homo sapiens in Europe were found. Vergina, the burial site of the Kings of Macedonia, explore Meteora, a natural phenomenal unique in our planet, a guided boat trip takes visitors along the coast line of Mount Athos the unique monastery republic internationally recognised as a sanctuary of the Christian faith where they can view the unique landscape and the magnificent architecture of the monasteries.

Greek wine vacations and wine tastings

  • Winery tours and wine tasting in Thessaloniki - Thessaloniki and its surroundings have a variety of vineyards from the coastal lowlands, south of Thessaloniki in Chalkidiki, to the mountains in the northeast
  • Winery tours and wine tasting in Drama - Wine route of Dionysus In the Thracian province of eastern Greece, this tour takes you around Kavala, Philippi, and Drama. You can see Mt. Pangeo, which claims the legend of being the birthplace of Dionysus the Greek god of wine and pleasure
  • Winery tours and wine tasting in Chalkidiki - Sithonia hosts the largest winery in Greece and it is also considered one of Europe's largest at 400 hectares
  • Winery tour and wine tasting Wine route of Pella, the ancient capital of the Macedonian empire -This has been a wine producing region since antiquity. Archaeological finds have depicted Dionysus, the Greek god of wine.
  • Winery tour and wine tasting at Naoussa
  • Winery tour and wine tasting - Wine route of the Lakes at Kastoria.
  • Winery tour and wine tasting at Parnassus

Wineries and wine estates we may visit

  • Argyriou Winery, Parnassos
  • Babatzimopoulos Estate, Thessaloniki
  • Biblia Chora, Kavala
  • Genima Psihis Manolessakis, Drama
  • Gerovassiliou Estate, Thessaloniki
  • Kechris Estate, Thessaloniki
  • Papagianni, Chaldiki
  • Petralona Winery, Chaldiki
  • Porto Carras Estate, Chaldiki
  • Tehni Oinou, Drama
  • Tsantali Agios Pavlos, Chaldiki
  • Zandes Estate, Thessaloniki

In Crete, a meal is not only a celebration but also a culmination of various events. Enjoy culinary explorations that blend all the secrets particular of the region of Crete and let you enjoy and learn about them first-hand alongside the locals. Going from one region of Crete to another changes not only what you eat, but how you eat it, how its prepared and what accompanies it. Each region is a mystery unto itself. Immerse yourself in the fantastic flavours and mouth-watering smells of regional Crete.

We believe that the most authentic way to experience and understand the heritage of Cretan culture, nutrition, history, way of life and its people, is in the company of a local scholar, walking through streets which are alive with religion, art and history, immersing in the architecture, learning about the life, traditions, and customs of Cretan people, past and present.

You will sample some of the finest meals as well as fruit and vegetables in the world. You will drink selected spirits (ouzo, raki, liquors) and wines that will elevate your spirit and help you relax, and relish the excellent traditional cooking in some of the less obvious restaurants that we will point you out.

Follow Porto Club Vegetarian lead, come on a route of adventure, travel and wonder as you explore the mysteries, flavours and customs particular to various Cretan regions on our unique and authentic Cretan vegetarian food holiday. We can promise you we will not be part of any tourist trail or the sheep following mentality. Our aim has always been to offer quality not quantity, so Porto Club remains small but perfectly formed.

We offer a unique opportunity to experience at first hand authentic Cretan regional cooking techniques and recipes that have been developed and handed down over generations. All of the ingredients you will use are bought each morning from local open market and so you will be working with fresh fruit and vegetables in season.

Throughout our cooking you will learn about the ingredients and the traditions around the dishes. You will learn the passion of the Cretan kitchen and, importantly, have a lot of fun and enjoyment doing it. Your week in Crete will be as much a hands on cooking experience as a cultural one. George will introduce you to the philosophy of local cooking and its traditions. You will learn about the history of Cretan cuisine and how it was influenced by its occupation for more than 2000 years.

You will learn the inspirations behind the Cretan dishes, the methods employed by local producers, how to make a variety of Cretan dishes from simple ingredients you can find back home, how very few ingredients can be the basis for 6 or 7 dishes. You will learn how to prepare traditional Cretan dishes adapted to vegetarian requirements but never compromising on flavor as well as the cooking techniques and methods used to create the dishes.

For information about the booking conditions, please send Porto Club Travel Services an inquiry.

Testimonials

  • Review by Carolyn and Ian

    "It was a memorable tour and as Ian said a true "slow food" experience! Thanks for your generosity and hospitality, for sharing your passion for Crete and showing us all the wonderful things it has to offer. Our time in Crete was much enriched by joining your tour. Thanks again."

    Porto Club website, edited

  • Review by Suzanne

    "First of all thank you for the wonderful week with you in Crete and immersing me in the Cretan culture, food and beautiful scenery. Your vibrant personality made it so much more fun. Thank you also for sending me the recipes, I will put them to good use. Again thank you again for the wonderful time in Crete, and the cave dinner was truly a highlight during that week."

    Porto Club website, edited

  • Review by Diana

    "I just wanted to say, that you are a true professional and a very special person. You made the experience truly memorable. You treated all of us like family instead of just strangers.You took us to local eating establishments which really enriched the experience. The cooking classes were a lot of fun, they were very hands on, which I bloody loved. You went out of your way to make sure that we all had a fabulous time.The lodgings were very nice and the location was really spectacular! George I will always remember my time there as very special, and wish you and your family the very best. I will always have a grand smile as I remember my time in Crete."

    Porto Club website, edited

  • Review by David from USA

    "I cannot thank you enough for the truly remarkable experience in Crete. Since I arrived back in the USA, I have cooked several meals using the principles you shared with us and enjoyed every one of them.Unfortunately we cannot get the freshest ingredients, but even the techniques you showed (simple combinations of ingredients that show up in most dishes, grating tomatoes, different ways of chopping onions, cooking with potatoes, and so on) have been very useful. I cannot wait to entertain others with the Cretan cuisine!The best part of the trip was that you took us to places that tourists would probably never know about, where you knew the people and their families. That made the vacation especially authentic and memorable. Even the long drives were okay, because we got to experience the wonderful sights of the island."

    Porto Club website, edited

  • Review by Christina

    "David and I enjoyed the week we spent in Crete. The sites we visited and the food that was cooked and ate were definitely unique and delicious. Below are some feedbacks on the culinary tour.Thaloris location in the mountains and it is integrated into the village provide a local Cretan experience. Georges knowledge on Crete history and Thaloris hospitality makes the visit enjoyable.The various local restaurants that we ate at enabled David and I taste local Crete food and cooking. The ingredients were very fresh, very delicious. The cooking experience where we got hands-on experience in preparing and cooking Cretan food each night.The small group setting allows the group members and George to interact and build close relationship during the week. This helps adjust the flexible itinerary if the group likes to explore/visit some different sites. The bottom line: the food and alcoholic beverages were great."

    Porto Club website, edited

  • Review by Chantal

    "Our trip was great, but of course, the highlight was our week on Crete. We have already made tsaziki, lots of boiled and sauted greens, the cucumber appetizers, the eggplant dip, and greek salad. We bought some grape leaves and phyllo dough so will try making some more dishes soon.As far as critical thoughts about our stay in Crete, we enjoyed the trip and learned so much about Cretan food, culture, and history. Thank you again for a fantastic week full of learning and good memories."

    Porto Club website, edited

  • Review by Rene

    "I am writing to you because I am still awestruck by the experience of a lifetime! I could never have imagined how wonderful, gracious, enjoyable and entertaining a vacation it was to be. I absolutely fell in love with Crete and George. I couldn't have planned a better trip and I can't wait to go back. Thanks for all your help and please tell everyone this is the vacation not to be missed. There was plenty of everything. I didn't want for anything!"

    Porto Club website, edited

Heraklion, Greece

Travel provider for small group exclusive weekly packages on the island of Crete. Food and wine, cultural visits and hands on cooking classes in Greece.

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14 days / 13 nights

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