Northern Delights: Greece & Italy Mountainous Excursion
Embark on a 16-day Northern Delights journey through the picturesque mountains of Greece and Italy. Explore charming villages, tranquil lakes, and majestic peaks on this unique adventure across Venice, Dolomites, Lake Como, Athens, Delphi, Meteora, Metsovo, Vaila Calda, Thessaloniki, and Prespes.
When you think of Italy and Greece, what first comes to mind? If you’re immediately dreaming of tall mountains, cooler weather, charming villages, and tranquil lakes, then we have an incredible 16-day trip to offer you! On this tour, you will partake in the wonderful Northern Delights of the Greek and Italian mountains. From the ethereal beauty of the Dolomites of Northern Italy to the legendary stories of the mountains of Central Macedonia, get ready to ascend to new heights and enjoy the views from the top.
Buongiorno, and welcome to Italy!
Once you arrive at Venice Airport, we will provide a private transfer to your hotel in the city.
Afterward, you can choose to take a private tour of the city that evening with special access to St. Mark’s Basilica, or you can enjoy a free night during your first night in Venice.
The next morning, you will head on a fantastic tour of the islands of Murano and Burano, which are only accessible by boat.
At Burano, you will make your way to a Michelin-starred restaurant with a beautiful secret vineyard—This is where you will enjoy a private wine tasting that no other tour operator offers!
At Murano, you will go behind the scenes of the island’s glassmaking tradition since you will visit a former medieval church that’s since been converted into one of Venice’s finest glassblowing workshops.
On day 3, you will have to bid arrivederci (or goodbye in Italian) to Venice, but that’s only because you will soon reach higher ground in the Dolomites!
We will arrange a private transfer from Venice to your hotel in the Dolomites, where you can check in and begin enjoying that crisp, fresh mountain air.
The next day, you will spend the day taking in all the best the Dolomites offer!
As you spend some quality time at natural wonders like Carezza Lake, the Sella Group’s mighty peaks, the world-famous Pordoi Pass that sits over 2,200 meters above sea level, and the stunning waters of Braies Lake near the Italy-Austria border, you will see for yourself why the Dolomites became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009.
In addition, you will stop at the Grand Hotel Carezza, which hosted famous guests like Agatha Christie and Sir Winston Churchill, as well as Cortina d’Ampezzo, the “Pearl of the Dolomites,” where the 1956 Winter Olympics were held.
For your fifth day in Italy, you will hike around the Dolomites’ most famous and imposing peaks: Tre Cime di Lavaredo, or the Three Peaks of Lavaredo.
You will take a car ride from your hotel through the incredible scenery of the Isarco Valley and Pusteria Valley to Misurina Lake. Then, you will hike up to Auronzo Refuge and enjoy amazing views of the Three Peaks that rise nearly 3 kilometers above sea level.
You will then hike down to Bolzano on the Great Dolomites Road, where you will be picked up and take a scenic ride back to your hotel.
On day 6, you will have to leave the Dolomites, but you will soon arrive at perhaps Italy’s most famous mountain getaway.
We will arrange a private transfer from your hotel in the Dolomites to your new hotel at Lake Como, and we may stop somewhere special along the way.
The following day, you will sail to a town so fabulous that it inspired an entire casino resort in Las Vegas! But on this day, you will hop on board a ferry that will take you to the original town of Bellagio.
Your guide will point out some of Lake Como’s most glamorous private villas. And once you reach dry land in Bellagio, you will be guided into one of Italy’s best bottegas, where you will enjoy a tasting of the region’s finest wines along with gourmet charcuterie.
For your eighth day, we advise you to bring your appetite because you will feast on Lake Como’s most delectable culinary delights!
This tour will guide you through the town of Como’s best gastronomical offerings, including authentic Italian pizza from a local historic bakery, polenta uncia (or polenta with braised meat), local wines from a historic wine shop, and the local dessert favorite of Nuvola cake.
On day 9, you will leave Italy. However, this just means you will soon fly to Greece!
We will arrange your transportation from the hotel at Lake Como to Milan Airport, where you will catch your flight to Athens. Upon arrival, we will provide a private transfer to your next hotel in Athens.
Later that evening, we will lead you on our signature Highlights Tour of Athens. We will take you on the ultimate walking tour with an expert archaeologist, and you will discover everything from the Greek Parliament at Syntagma Square to the ancient Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Arch of Hadrian.
You can see where old meets new in the Monastiraki and Plaka neighborhoods, and we will conclude our special evening tour with an authentically Greek “mezedes” dinner paired with local wines or traditional Greek spirits.
Delphi and Meteora
On the tenth day, you will tour the mythical and spiritual heart of ancient Greece.
Upon checking out of your hotel in Athens, we will take you on a private guided tour of Delphi, which will include visits to the archaeological site and Delphi’s incredible museum.
Once you start to tour Delphi’s archaeological site, you will understand why ancient Greeks called this place “the navel of the earth” as you get acquainted with ancient landmarks like the Theatre of Delphi, the Temple of Apollo, and the famous oracle site.
This tour will also include plenty of free time in the afternoon for you to enjoy a leisurely lunch in town and explore more of Delphi. Following your adventure, we will transport you to your hotel in Meteora.
For day 11, we will spend the day exploring the awe-inspiring rocky landscape and spiritual haven of Meteora.
On this tour, we will show you the area’s best sights, from Meteora’s mystical monasteries to the area’s astoundingly mesmerizing rock formations. Following our tour, we will return you to your hotel for the night.
Metsovo and Valia Calda
For your twelfth day, we will take you to the Pindos mountain range and show you another tasty side of Greece’s culinary traditions.
Once you check out of the hotel in Meteora, we will provide a private transfer to the town of Metsovo. Here, we will do a comprehensive cultural tour of the town, including a visit to the Tositsa Museum, where you will learn more about the amazing history of this region.
In addition, this tour will include everything from a tasting of local cheeses to a visit to the highly acclaimed Katogi Averoff winery, along with a meal full of traditional Metsovo dishes. After your fun day in town, we will transport you to your hotel nearby.
The following day, you will be heading out for the ultimate adventure through Valia Calda (or Pindus National Park)!
This off-road excursion will include a hike to the natural pools of the Arkoudorema stream and time to soak in the crystal-clear waters, followed by a trek to the charming village of Vovousa and the lovely Aoos River, and a journey to the awe-inspiring mountain landscape at the Lake of Aoos Springs.
Valia Calda is one of Greece’s most pristine national parks, and you will be one of the few who can say you actually went there and experienced all of this.
After your busy day exploring the park, we will return you to your hotel for a good night’s sleep.
Thessaloniki and Prespes Lakes
Though your trip will be nearing its conclusion, you will have a couple more days full of amazing adventures.
After you check out of your hotel in Metsovo, we will transport you to the captivating city of Thessaloniki, and you will embark on a full walking tour of the city.
Thessaloniki has a unique blend of Byzantine, Ottoman, and Jewish history and cultures; you will get to see and do it all.
This tour will include visits to the famed White Tower, the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Byzantine churches, the ancient Roman Agora, and the Crypt of Saint Dimitris. Following your tour of the city, you can check in and enjoy the evening at your nearby hotel.
For your final full day in Greece, you will do one more mountain excursion, this time to Prespa National Park. Your tour will take you to the magnificent shores of Big and Little Prespes Lakes, as well as scenic meadows and wetlands and unique beech and cedar forests.
During this day tour, you will have the opportunity to spot the rare native dwarf cow, multiple endangered bird species that call this region home, and some of the area’s astounding variety of native fish.
After your tour, you will be transported back to your hotel for one last night in Thessaloniki.
Your trip may be coming to an end, but we will still be working our hardest to ensure the end of your trip is as great as the beginning.
Once you check out of your hotel, we will provide a private transfer to the airport, where you should have ample time to catch your flight(s) home.
At home, please feel free to tell your friends and family about all the incredible things you did with us in Italy and Greece. Hopefully, we will see you again soon!
- Enjoying a VIP wine tasting in the vineyard of one of Venice’s top restaurants
- Sailing along the famed waters of Lake Como
- Seeing Greece in a whole new light as you discover the original site where the Oracle of Delphi once held court
- Swimming in the river and hiking through the incredible mountain forest at Valia Calda
These are our top accommodation options for this trip. We only feature particular hand-picked hotels, which our team has carefully inspected. These hotels have received great feedback from our previous guests.
Athens 1890 Hotel & Spa is a luxury hotel in the center of Athens that will become your home away from home.
Indulge in the ultimate Venetian luxury and immerse yourself in the rich history of Venice at Hotel Ai Reali di Venezia!
Discover true luxury and timeless elegance at Palazzo Castri 1874 - an exquisite haven where every moment is a masterpiece.
- Boutique 4-5* accommodation
- All private tours as described in the itinerary
- All private transfers with luxury vehicles
- All domestic and international flights/trains/ferries
- Skip the line entrance fees at all sites
- Services of excellent licensed guides and professional drivers
- All taxes and VAT
- Meals unless mentioned in the itinerary
- Personal travel insurance
We believe in a certain way of traveling. And this does not include big bus tour groups, nor large chain hotels or just crossing destinations off your list.
- immerse yourself in the culture and the landscape of your destination
- take a moment to appreciate your surroundings and not hop from one destination to another
- exploit your limited time with the help of a knowledgeable guide who will open your eyes about what you see and give you a real perspective of living in this country
- trust an experienced, local travel specialist with whom you will design a trip tailored to your needs, avoiding endless research and first-timer mistakes