2024-02-22T17:35:00Z By Keeley Rodgers
2024-02-14T12:38:00Z By Keeley Rodgers
Group travel organiser Gwen Wright tells us why their less-well trodden holiday to Thessaloniki and Northern Greece was the perfect combination.
What type of holiday do you or your group like? The choices are endless aren’t they? It most certainly is not a “one size fits all!”
For us at The Arts Society Cranleigh we have received many compliments from tour guides over the years noting how interested we are in everything presented - what we all like to think of as “lifelong learning” and that zest to understand our world.
So choosing Thessaloniki and Northern Greece as a less well trodden holiday was perfect. It became more perfect day by day as we travelled gradually from East to West ending in more familiar Corfu. The average thoughts of a Greek holiday tend to be towards the islands or Athens – but we started in Greece’s second City Thessaloniki – a city by the sea - with the largest Greek University.
Enjoying the company of others, learning, and fabulous meals (and wine!) within a perfect itinerary, thanks to Simply Groups, we felt so invigorated by such a multitude of outstanding experiences.
Our “Odyssey” was crammed with ravishingly unexpected stories from Ancient history (Alexander The Great and the Macedonians including their Royal tombs and in tact treasures) to the relatively more modern times of the Ottoman Ali Pasha and inevitably World War Two. Mix stories with remote villages, monuments, beautiful Pindus Mountains, waterfalls and stunning Vikos gorge… well the mix becomes both endless and breathtaking. Of course that list extends to the UNESCO Monasteries of Meteora perched literally on top of astounding naturally shaped pinnacle mountains like some kind of fairytale castle in the sky.
It took a while for us to reconsider that term holiday – helped by our first class guide! To many the term might conjure sea and sun drenched, times but our guide re classified us from “tourists” to “travellers”. Enjoying the company of others, learning, and fabulous meals (and wine!) within a perfect itinerary (thanks to Simply Groups), we felt so invigorated by such a multitude of outstanding experiences.
The average thoughts of a Greek holiday tend to be towards the islands or Athens – but we started in Greece’s second City Thessaloniki – a city by the sea - with the largest Greek University.
Our last day took us from the mainland Greece to Corfu by ferry giving us a seaward glimpse of the land we had travelled. Embedded there were inheritances from Hellenistic Greece, Roman towns, Ottoman rule, Byzantine Monasteries, remote mountain villages in the Vikos National Park and the stunning plains bearing cotton crops ready for harvest. We were all delighted to have been “travellers”- and to have had wall to wall sunshine. One very, very happy group!