Wine Lovers in Olympus Pieria and Imathia
Our experience will start at Thessaloniki where we will participate in a three-hour guided walking tour, of almost 4km, around the main archaeological and cultural sites of the city, such as the Roman Market, the White Tower, the Arch of Galerius and Rotonda, which is in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Through this tour we will realize that Thessaloniki has been a multicultural city for centuries. Except for the local culture and history, we will get to know the local cuisine by tasting local dishes at a traditional tavern of the city. In the afternoon, we will rent bicycles or scooters and explore the famous Thessaloniki’s coastline (called “paralia”) in an ecological way. We will admire “Umbrellas” the famous sculpture of Zogolopoulos and rest at some of the beautiful gardens located at Paralia. The large waterfront of Thessaloniki will provide us with refreshing images with the wave bursting on our feet and the sun setting in front of us.
The next morning after an overnight stay at Thessaloniki, we will depart for Pieria by bus or train and we will reach the village of Agios Dimitrios with a minivan, where we will stay for the following four days. There, we will stay at the farm hotel of Bellou family, who has won many awards and high ratings regarding their services and sustainable practices of their hotel and restaurant. Bellou family will welcome us with a two-hour tour around their farm that is full of wildflowers, organic cultivations and domestic animals. At noon, we will enjoy a meal based on dishes with local organic products, that will be harmoniously paired with the appropriate wines of local winemakers. After this exceptional tasting experience, we will take some time to relax and, in the afternoon, we will participate in team building activities in nature, implemented by a group facilitator, in order to come closer as a team and express ourselves.
On the 3rd morning, our wine journey will continue at Kourtis Winery, where Mr. Apostolos Kourtis will welcome us and talk to us about the Greek rare variety “Vidiano” that he cultivates. Also, we will learn more about the local varieties of Assyrtiko, Xinomavro and Agiorgitiko and will taste the estate labels based on these varieties. There, around the plane trees we will join a feast! We will enjoy a meal with traditional dishes while listening to traditional music played by local musicians calling us to dance together. Afterwards, we will have some free time in order to relax and fill our energy levels and then we will participate in a cooking workshop with seasonal and organic products produced at the cultivations of Bellou family.
The next morning, we will take a light breakfast based on local products and go hiking at the natural environment that surrounds the village of Agios Dimitrios. There, we will start our “photo shooting contest” and we will try to capture in the best and most artistic way the unique beauties of the flora and fauna of the region. We will post on our social media our photos with the necessary “hashtags” and the most popular photo will receive a gift! We will then return back to our hotel and have free time to have lunch, relax and explore the village of Agios Dimitrios. Then, we will have a guided tour at the Platamonas Castle where its placement and its high and wide walls will help us understand how important it was in the fortification of the area. At this beautiful Byzantine Castle, from where we can gaze at the endless blue of the Aegean Sea, we can have the chance to attend in a cultural event of Olympus Festival. In the period of time that these cultural events are not available, we will participate in a mental empowerment workshop instead, where we can express our thoughts and share our emotions and experiences regarding the cultural events and the educational workshops that we have already attended.
The 5th day, we will enjoy our sleep a bit more and enjoy the view from our balconies. We will take brunch and then we will visit the bio-vineyard of Ktima Karasimou located in a hill with an excellent view. There, we will have a tour at the vineyards and the winery, we will taste some of the varieties produced in the winery such as Chardonnay, Ugni Blanc Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and pair them with local dishes, while we are admiring the excellent view over the vineyards. Then, we will have free time to relax and in the afternoon our group facilitator will help us make ourselves a souvenir related to wine and the nice experience we had at Ktima Bellou.
The next day we will visit Imathia and its famous wineries. We will start our journey by visiting Thymiopoulos Vineyards at the foothills of Mount Vermio in complete harmony with the natural environment. This winery is specialized in the “Xinomavro” variety, as he has created ten different versions of the Xinomavro variety, with respect to the raw material, a lot of love and passion. Then, we will arrive at our guest house “Kokkino Spiti” at the center of Veria. We will have free time for lunch and in the afternoon, we will take a walking guided tour at the Traditional Jewish Quarter (Barbouta) in order to admire the cobbled alleys, the architecture of imposing mansions and learn more about the multicultural history of the region.
The next morning, we will enjoy our homemade Greek breakfast at our guest house and then visit Dalamaras Winery in Naousa for a guided tour and tasting of their exceptional wines. The history of this family-owned winery begins 160 years ago when Mr. Ioannis Dalamaras created his first vineyard in Naousa. Xinomavro is the dominant variety of the vineyard while Merlot and Negoska are also cultivated as well as Malagouzia, Assyrtiko and Roditis. Before our return to our guesthouse, we will stop at “Ktima Diamanti”, a small vertically integrated food company that produces and sells traditional products in the area of Naousa. Τhere we will take part in a cooking workshop and will make a marmalade or a fruit preserve based on local fruits and vegetables that we will take back home as a gift. In the afternoon we will have a mental empowerment workshop where we will share our experiences and thoughts before we return back to Thessaloniki.
On our last day together, we will arrive at Thessaloniki by bus and visit the vineyards and the museum of wine of Gerovasiliou Winery. This is the best way to complete a wine-focused tourism experience. We will visit an inspired and highly innovative winemaker to have a tour at his winery and his unique wine museum. The exhibits of the museum come from the personal collection of Mr. Gerovasiliou while in the museum there are events for wine and viticulture all year round. With all these aromas, colors, flavors and memories that we collected we will say goodbye till the next time we meet again.
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