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|Price range||From £1095|
|Travel partner||Travel Editions|
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Wild flowers of the Peloponnese
The southern most region of mainland Greece, the stunning region of the Peloponnese comprises high mountains to an altitude of 2500m and lowlands that include some of the hottest and driest parts of Europe as well as important wetlands. Joined to the mainland by a narrow isthmus until the building of the Corinth canal, this historic connection allowed plant migration from all over Greece. However, its relative isolation along with natural mountain barriers, which have also acted as plant refuges, has enabled it to evolve a unique and rich flora that has resulted in more than 2300 species, of which 350 are found nowhere else.
The region offers a timeless rich culture and an inherent natural beauty that is at its very best in spring when the landscape is reborn with a display of new plant life. Ancient and fascinating, this area offers a spectacular natural landscape of towering mountains, verdant rolling hills and rugged coastlines that settle around a dramatic ancient history.
Our tour is focused on the remote western coast and, in particular, the Mani region, an area steeped in myths and legends that have developed from a long and turbulent past. As you travel the region you will chance upon villages hidden amidst colourful hills and perched high above the coastline, where the views are breathtaking.
The isolated location of this area, combined with the independent nature of its inhabitants meant that some traditions developed separately from the rest of Greece so that a distinct society made its mark on the landscape. To this day the architecture of the area is famed for the tower houses and fortified family dwellings from the period of the Ottoman occupation of Greece.
Our base is the pretty seaside resort of Stoupa. From here we explore a variety of habitats to find the interesting flora in each area. Our visits include the ancient sites of Mystras and Messini, the beautiful rural region of Milia, the attractive town of Kardamyli and the inland region of Proastio, all of which have a magnificent seeting beneath the towering peaks of Mount Taygetos. Our visits will also include a stop at the Diros caves, possibly one of the most important natural sites in Greece.
During our stay we expect to find a huge variety of flora including cyclamen, stachys, campanula, asphodels, phlomis, anemones, cotinus, ferula, euphorbia, limonium, muscari as well as a diversity of orchids – tongue, bee, giant, provence and naked man.
- Return flights from London Heathrow to Athens (22 April) or London Gatwick to Kalamata (29 April) - Manchester flights maybe available - supplement applicable, please enquire - including all payable taxes
- Seven nights accommodation in standard room on bed and breakfast basis at the Lefktron hotel, Stoupa
- Welcome dinner and farewell lunch
- Entrance fees
- Transfers and excursions as detailed
- Tour manager and guide throughout
- Single room supplement
- Holiday Insurance
- Regional flight supplement (available on request)
- Meals other than those stated
- Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls etc
- Porterage and gratuities
Fly from London Heathrow to Athens (22 April) or London Gatwick to Kalamata (29 April). On arrival transfer by coach to Stoupa (approximately three hours from Athens or one hour from Kalamata) and the Hotel Lefktron. A welcome dinner this evening is included.
Half day introduction to the local area. This morning we will take an introductory walk of the local area, keeping an eye out for interesting flora as we go. On completion you are free to try out one of Stoupa’s tavernas for lunch (not included) or head back to the hotel. This afternoon there will be another, optional, botanical walk or you can spend the afternoon relaxing.
Full day botanising around Kardamyli and Proastio. Staying in the local area, we head a little north to the lovely village of Kardamyli with its house with colourful red-tiled roofs where we will botanise. Turning inland we will botanise around the hill village of Proastio, with a planned walk taking us along a track known as ‘orchid alley’, thanks to the variety and number of orchids found here. Our lunch stop will be enjoyed in Kardamyli, after which there will be time for a short walk in the village.
Full day botanising in the foothills of Mount Taygetos and around Mystras. Travelling through spectacular countryside we will reach the foothills of Mount Taygetos and the abandoned Byzantine city of Mystras. Fortifications, churches, palaces and mansions stand magnificently on the hillside overlooking the Lakonian plane. In spring the site is a riot of colour with paths cutting through ruined walls and rocky paths clothed with phlomis, asphodelus, muscari, anemone, yellow bee and giant orchids.
Full day to relax and explore Stoupa at your leisure. A charming seaside village, Stoupa is located in the wild and beautiful Mani region. Its location is beautiful, backed by olive grove clad rolling hills, and the resort lively, making it a great place to while away the day on the beach, strolling the beach front promenade or sipping a drink in the picturesque harbour.
Full day botanising around local villages of the area. As we are based in a particularly spectacular area, it is only right to explore it farther, so today we will follow the quiet roads inland from Stoupa to one or two of the nearby pretty villages, in particular, Milia, a particularly lovely village with a wonderful old church in its central square.
Full day botanising in the southern Mani. Heading south, we will have the opportunity to see more of the traditional tower houses of the region as well as some wonderful old Byzantine churches. The Mani flora clothes the landscape with orchids, anemones, cyclamen, irises and many more. A farewell lunch by the sea at the village of Oitylo is included today as well as a visit to the spectacular Diros Caves, which we will tour aboard small boats.
Transfer back to Athens (22 April) or Kalamata (29 April) airport for the return flight to the UK.
NB: Exact order of itinerary may vary according to local conditions and tour manager’s discretion.
Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 20 passengers.
The Lefktron hotel is situated in the heart of Stoupa just 80 metres from the beach. Stoupa is an attractive small resort, where everything is close by and easily accessed on foot. Including an attractive sandy beach Stoupa offers, cafes, small shops and a wide choice of tavernas, many of which are picturesquely situated overlooking the sea. The hotel has just 32 rooms and offers a pool snack bar, a lounge bar and a swimming pool. Breakfast is served daily in the garden. The twin/double rooms all have private bathrooms, balcony or patio, air-conditioning, telephone, TV, room-safes and refrigerator. Free wifi is also available.
This holiday is booked by phone. Click 'book now' to make a reservation request to our travel partner who will call you back to confirm your booking details and take payment. To speak to a representative now please call 0330 333 6761.
We thoroughly enjoyed the trip. It was well led and well facilitated. It would have been of assistance to us to have known before we booked an airport hotel that outward flight times had changed since it might have been possible to fly from Belfast on the morning of departure. The change was due to the scheduled airline operation not to Travel Editions. However, we enjoyed the trip so much we are considering a future booking.