This is the chance to enjoy some Greek winter sunshine and culture on Greece’s second largest island – Evia. The island has stunning mountain scenery, green, fertile plains, and of course, beautiful beaches and coastline. Your holiday base is the Hotel Miramare three miles from the small port of Eretria. The area is known for its rich agriculture and importance as an ancient military and commercial centre going back to the 9th century BC. As well as having plenty of time to relax and enjoy your surroundings, there is an included excursion to the north of the island, and another to Athens during your stay.
- 7 nights half board in double rooms for sole use near Eretria
- Full-day excursion to Athens with a guided tour of the Acropolis
- Scenic tour of the north of Evia and the spa town of Edipsos
- Services of a tour representative
- Return flights and coach transfers
Day One: Flight to Athens and transfer to your hotel near Eretria on Evia for seven nights’ half-board accommodation. Transfer time is around 75 minutes.
Although Evia is an island, it is only 45 yards away from the mainland at its closest point at Chalkida. However, roads on Evia are few and far between and the island has largely retained its distinct rural and remote character, escaping major tourist development, despite its proximity to Athens. Your hotel is three miles from the centre of Eretria, a small port twelve miles down the coast from Chalkida. Eretria was a strong military power and had colonies in Italy and Corfu. Evidence of its rich past has been revealed by excavations starting in the 1890’s including a theatre, temple of Dionysus, and mosaics. Eretria’s Archaeological Museum has a fine collection of ancient pottery and sculpture.
Days Two to Seven: At leisure in resort, with two included excursions.
Athens: Coach transfer to Athens (63 miles). Your day in Athens starts with a panoramic tour passing by the most important monuments and landmarks of the city – including the Panathinaikon stadium (the marble stadium where the first modern Olympics took place in 1896); the former Royal Palace which is now the Prime Minister’s residence; the Temple of Zeus; Hadrian’s Arch; the Parliament and the tomb of the unknown soldier guarded by the colourful Evzones; Schliemann’s’ house; the Academy, the University, the National Library, and the old Parliament. The panoramic part of the tour ends at the Acropolis where you have a guided visit which will include the Propylaea, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion and, of course, the Parthenon. You walk through the Herodion and Dionysos theatres to the Acropolis Museum for a guided visit. You then have free time for lunch and to stroll through the cobbled streets in Plaka at the foot of the Acropolis.
Northern Evia & Edipsos: A spectacular tour through the beautiful mountain range and forests of Evia to Edipsos, 82 miles away in the north of the island. On the way, there is a stop at the village of Prokopi, home to the pilgrimage site of the church of Saint John the Russian. From there, you drop down to the sea and with superb views of the coastline to the grand spa town of Edipsos. In Greek myth, the hot baths here were created by Hephaestus, the God of Fire, for Hercules so he could relax after his exploits. Roman emperors and generals took the cure here, and more recently, such luminaries as Winston Churchill, Aristotle Onassis, and Greta Garbo. Mineral waters with temperatures ranging from 28° to 86°C gush from springs throughout the town, including one on the beach. You’ll have free time in Edipsos to enjoy a walk in the narrow streets or on the promenade lined with taverns and coffee shops. To complete the circular journey, you take the ferry from Edipsos for a pleasant cruise across the gulf to Arkitsa on the mainland and then take the highway back to the hotel. Although it is only 180 miles round trip, it is a full day including a very scenic drive and ferry trip.
In your free time, you can relax and enjoy your surroundings at the hotel. As well as having pleasant gardens, the hotel has an underground walkway to the sea. You can hop on the local bus from outside the hotel for the short trip to Eretria and visit the archaeological sites and museum, and stroll along the promenade or among the pine trees on the Pezonisi islet. Or maybe go to the port and take the 20-minute ferry ride for a couple of euros to Oropos on the mainland. Staying on the bus for another twenty minutes brings you to Chalkida, the island’s lively capital where there are good shops in the pedestrian area, a Roman aqueduct, a former mosque dating back to the 15th century, and an impressive castle. Going in the other direction on the bus from the hotel three miles down the coast, you can admire the Byzantine churches in the town of Amarynthos.
There will also be optional excursions on offer (subject to minimum numbers as always) including a full-day to Delphi, and a half-day through the mountains of central and east Evia to Kymi, known as the ‘Balcony of the Aegean’ because of the panoramic views.
Day Eight: Departure transfer to the airport for your flight home.
Please note: there is a local tourist tax of 3 euros per person per day. It is not included in the price of the holiday and will be payable by hotel guests directly to the hotel.