Aristi Mountain Resort & Villas

Sample 4-day Itinerary—Northern Greece Explorer

Curated exclusively for National Geographic

See an unexpected side of Greece during a four-day stay amid the rugged Pindus peaks in the country’s northern reaches. Trace the legacy of Greek & Ottoman traders along ancient mountain footpaths, explore the dramatic Vikos Gorge, and savor the region’s distinctive seasonal cuisine.

Your experience at the lodge will be tailored to your interests. The sample itinerary below was designed for National Geographic travelers and can be customized as you wish.

Highlights

  • Get exclusive access to a 16th-century monastery, usually closed to the public, where you can gaze at stunning frescoed walls and climb the bell tower for incredible views. (National Geographic Exclusive)
  • Take a guided tour of the elaborate arched bridges and centuries-old architecture of Zagori, a network of nearly 50 traditional Ottoman villages connected by stone trails.
  • Raft the crystalline waters of the Voidomatis River through verdant forests, sip local wine while learning how to cook traditional Greek fare, or retreat to the lodge’s mountain spa.

Day 1—Arrive Aristi, Greece

After getting settled, explore the traditional village of Aristi on your own. Stroll the cobbled alleyways to the main square, and mingle with locals at the coffee house or taverna. Later, relax at the lodge’s indoor pool and hot tub, enclosed in glass looking out on mountain views. This evening, dine on delicious northern Greek fare at the lodge’s restaurant, Salvia, which bases its menu on seasonal local ingredients.

Day 2—Mountain Charm

After breakfast, head out for a guided driving tour of Zagori, stopping to explore the region’s highlights. Follow in the footsteps of Ottoman traders on paths that lead to arched stone bridges, the charming villages of Dilofo and Kipi, and the 15th-century Paraskevi Monastery. Marvel at Megalo and Mikro Papigo, a pair of enchanting villages connected by a walking trail that affords epic views of the towering cliffs of Mount Gamila and Vikos Gorge. Break for lunch in a local tavern, and return to the lodge this afternoon to unwind with a therapeutic oil massage at the spa.

Day 3—Choose Your Own Adventure

Enjoy breakfast before setting out on your choice of the following three excursions.

Voidomatis River Discovery: Take to the calm, clear waters of the Voidomatis River on a guided rafting excursion. On the way to the put-in spot, visit the convent of Spiliotissa. Float from the Aristi bridge up to Kleidonia, deep in the dense forest of Vikos-Aoos National Park. If you’d like, get your heart racing with a dip in the river, one of the most pristine in Europe and also among the chilliest. Before returning to the lodge, stop at the 17th-century Anargyroi Monastery.

Flavors of Northern Greece: Dig into Zagori’s culinary traditions, beginning with a wine tasting at the award-winning Glinavos winery—known for cultivating rare, long-forgotten grape varieties. Next, try your hand at a traditional recipe during a cooking class with a local chef. Feast on your own creation along with a meal of regional delicacies. Spend the rest of the day at leisure.

Wellness Retreat: Refresh your body and spirit at the spa. Enjoy the lodge’s sauna and heated pool, as well as a therapeutic session of reflexology—a gentle, highly effective technique for restoring balance in travel-weary feet and bodies. Savor a healthy organic lunch at Salvia.

Day 4—Depart

After breakfast, consider a visit to Ioannina on the shore of shimmering Lake Pamvotida, renowned for its legendary stillness and the tiny inhabited isle at its center. A intellectual hub during the Greek Enlightenment, Ioannina is home to a university and a lively cultural scene. Set out on your own to explore the walled city and its sixth-century castle—the oldest Byzantine fortress in Greece—and learn about Ioannina’s layered history at a museum housed in an Ottoman-era mosque.

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