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Greece: The Path of the Ancients Trek

6th Oct 2022 - 10th Oct 2022

5 days/Greece /Moderate

Overview

Step back in time and follow the Path of the Ancients. Combine the beauty of the wild mountains with ancient mythology as you will take the historic trail of the worshippers of Pan as they pilgrimaged to the temples of Delphi and the shrines of the Corycean Grotton.
Delphi was dedicated to the god Apollo but Ancient Greeks also believed the nearby forested areas and mountains were home to Nymphs and the god Pan. Today Mount Parnassus is home to the largest ski resorts in Greece but the area is spectacular for hiking in the off-season as we trek through landscapes alternating from alpine to Mediterranean. You will be spending three days exploring the Mount Parnassos area before you attempt to summit Gerondovrachos (22395m).

This trek is graded moderate. You will be trekking long distances over varying terrain. You will stay in basic hotels and guesthouses, with shared bathroom facilities. One night will be spent at a mountain refuge with no shower facilities.

The trek is accompanied by professional English-speaking local guides who have an excellent knowledge of hiking in the region. The guides are first aid trained and will support you throughout your journey. You will also be supported by assistant guides and a Different Travel Company UK tour manager.

The terrain will vary throughout the 3 days of trekking but in general you will trek up and downhill all day along country roads, forest tracks, gravel trails, paved streets and through woods and meadows. Each day you will experience undulating terrain but some days you will trek mostly uphill so it is essential that your training includes hill walking and trekking up and down gradients.

Temperatures will be dependent upon the weather but you can expect temperatures to average 21°C during the day dropping at night to around 17°C. Weather conditions will vary but on average you can expect warm, humid days with highs of 31°C and lows of 15°C.

It’s important to be prepared for all weather conditions and temperatures by packing non-cotton trek layers and waterproofs. It’s better to have waterproofs and not need them, than to not have any when you need them!

Although the temperatures and conditions above are historically accurate, climate change can impact the seasons so you may experience uncharacteristic conditions during the trip which are out of our control. Should this happen the guide will assess the situation and make decisions to ensure the best enjoyment and ultimately safety of the group as a whole.

Breakfast and evening meals will be taken in a communal dining room at the accommodation or at local restaurants. You will enjoy hearty, delicious Greek meals that will keep your energy levels high for each day’s trek. You will eat packed lunches which you will carry yourself each day or stop in small local restaurants. Please inform us in advance if you have any dietary requirements or preferences.

You will stay in basic hotels and guesthouses in en-suite rooms on a twin or triple-share basis. One night will be spent at a mountain refuge with shared bathrooms and no shower facilities.

The Defner mountain hut is located at an altitude of 1820m on Mt Parnasus and although comfortable is very basic.

The minimum age is 18 (or 16-17 if accompanied by a parent/guardian). There is no upper age limit.

An ideal candidate is someone who is open minded, positive, flexible and enjoys the challenges of the great outdoors. Adventure travel involves elements of the unexpected so do not expect the standards to be the same as you are used to at home. Remote areas are sometimes unpredictable (be it because of group pace, weather conditions etc.) and itineraries may be altered to allow for this. You must also be willing to train hard for this challenge!

During the trek you will have daily access to showers and toilets at the guesthouses and hotel accommodation. There are no shower facilities at the mountain refuge.

You may wish to carry a small pack of baby wipes for your general hygiene during the trek day (e.g. to clean your hands before you eat lunch). You will need to bring your own towel for use at the campsites, and basic toiletries (please don’t pack too much). Trek towels are highly absorbent but lightweight and fast-drying; do not bring cotton towels.
If you need to use the toilet during the trek day you must find a private area off the trail. You must never leave used toilet paper on the ground; this must be packed up into a nappy bag or sanitary disposal bag, pop it in your daypack and dispose of it properly at the accommodation (please bring your own nappy sacks with you). You should bring one roll of toilet paper for your own use.

If you do not already regularly exercise you should aim to start training (including plenty of hills) as early as possible. The best training is hill walking, which will prepare you for the type of terrain you will experience. Other activities which can complement hill walking include running, cycling, gym workouts, boot camps etc.

Building up your core and leg muscle strength is important so exercises such as squats, lunges, push-ups, planks and crunches will really enhance your training. These exercises can be done at home – no gym needed. You can download a number of free apps, which will help you train and track your progress, e.g. MapMyWalk, C25K (couch to 5k run), MyFitnessPal (for a variety of sports).

You must take your training seriously and arrive as fit as you can be, so you get the most out of this challenge.

This trek is graded as moderately challenging for someone of a good level of fitness. You will trek along established routes and, though regular breaks are taken, long days are inevitable.

It is essential that you are fit enough to trek for at least 8 hours at a time for consecutive days; don’t expect it to be easy. You are required and expected to train in preparation for this and your training should include hill walking and trekking up and down gradients. A good level of fitness will enhance your enjoyment of the trip.

The Different Travel Company has the right to refuse anyone who they feel is not fit enough for the challenge for the health and safety of the individual, and the group.

We require a medical form to be completed by everyone upon registering, and any pre-existing conditions, medications used and other medical issues must be specified. All your medical details are treated in the strictest confidence.

The information will be securely screened by a qualified medical professional, and details provided to your tour manager and local guides so our staff are adequately informed and prepared to support you during the trip. By completing this booking form you are giving consent for us to contact you confidentially with any follow up questions regarding your health.

If you declare any medical conditions you may be asked to provide more information, or we may request to contact your GP. We must be informed if any conditions or medication change, or if new conditions develop. If necessary confirmation of fitness to travel from your GP or specialist may be required.

In the event that your medical issues represent a concern for your safety and wellbeing, or the safety and wellbeing of others in the group, you may be recommended not to take part. If this happens your deposit will be refunded. Please note that we will never unreasonably deny participation on a trip nor contravene the Equality Act 2010.

Essentials

E-tickets + pre-departure info
Passport + copy
Money (euros)
ATM + credit card(s)
Insurance policy info + GHIC card
LED head torch + spare batteries
Pen
Sunglasses
Mobile phone + charger
Adaptor 2 round pins (Euro)

Clothing & Footwear

Hiking boots*
Trainers/sandals for evenings
Flip flops for camp showers
Trek socks
Underwear
Non-cotton long-sleeve base layer
Non-cotton t-shirt
Fleece / warm layer
Lightweight trek trousers
Shorts
Lightweight waterproofs
Lightweight trek trousers
Lightweight insulated jacket
Insulated jacket (e.g. Primaloft)
Buff/bandana or other sun hat
Swimwear
Casual clothes and shoes for free day

Hygiene

Shampoo/conditioner*
Toothbrush/toothpaste*
Antiperspirant/deodorant*
Shower gel/ shave kit / loofah*
Wet wipes*
Toilet paper (1-2 rolls)*
Sun cream (SPF 50)*
Hand sanitizer
Hairbrush/comb
Small travel towel
Feminine hygiene products*
Nappy bags for used toilet paper*

First Aid Kit

Prescription medicine
Insect repellent (50% DEET)
Paracetamol
Plasters/blister plasters
Imodium (Loperamide)
Rehydration (e.g. Dioralyte)
Muscle rub (tiger balm/Deep Heat)
Anti-histamine tablets/cream
Antiseptic cream (e.g. Savlon)
Indigestion remedy (e.g. Gaviscon)
Lip balm with SPF protection
Ibuprofen
Decongestant (optional)
Throat lozenges (optional)
Scissors/tweezers
Zinc oxide tape (optional)

Optional

Camera + spare batteries
Video camera + charger
iPod/mp3 player
Hiking pole(s)
Portable powerbank/power pack
Book/pack of cards

Luggage

Kit bag/holdall for luggage
Backpack (25-30 litres)
Dry bag/backpack liner
Small combination padlocks

Eating and Drinking

Energy snacks
2-litre bottle (e.g. CamelBak) plus
1-litre bottle (e.g. Nalgene) OR
3x 1-litre bottles
Electrolyte tablets (e.g. NUUN)

Sleeping

Sleeping bag liner (cotton/silk)
Pyjamas
Ear plugs (essential)

Please note: This list is just a guideline and is not exhaustive. The items on this list do not take into account your personal preferences based on your previous trekking experience, or individual requirements. For information about items on this list please refer to the trip dossier or contact The Different Travel Company on info@different-travel.com

*Please ensure you pack your hiking boots into your hand baggage in the unlikely event your checked luggage goes missing or is delayed.

*Please consider eco-friendly or biodegradable options. Consider shopping at Little Footprint Gifts.

Itinerary

Day 1 (Thursday 6 October 2022):

London – Athens – Polydroso
Depart on a flight from London to Athens.  On arrival we will transfer to the village of Polydroso (approx. 2.5 hrs drive). We will spend our first night in a guesthouse and enjoy a welcome dinner and briefing this evening.
Meals: Dinner
Overnight: Guesthouse – twin ensuite rooms

Day 2 (Friday 7 October 2022):

Polydroso – Defner Mountain Shelter (1800m)
Our hike begins this morning as we leave the village on a path surrounded by natural springs, Cephalonian fir and Juniper trees.  We gradually ascend through agricultural and forested areas to reach Defner Mountain Shelter at 1800m. There are spectacular views across to the Golf of Corinth on a clear day!
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Trekking: 8 hours (Approx 14km)
Overnight: Basic shelter – shared dorms, no showers

Day 3 (Saturday 8 October 2022):

Defner Mountain Shelter (1800m) – Gerondovrachos (2395m) – Livadi Plateau (1200m)
Today we explore the alpine zone of Mt Parnassos with its rare endemic species of plants and insects. Our goal for today is to reach the summit of Gerondovrachos, which stands at 2,3395m. After admiring the incredible 360 degree panoramic views of the surrounding valley we descend to the Livado Plateau and our overnight accommodation at a forest hotel.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Trekking: 8 hours (Approx 14km)
Overnight: Hotel

Day 4 (Sunday 9 October 2022):

Livadi Plateau (1200m) – Delphi
After an early breakfast we will set off to follow the historic trail which was taken by worshippers of Pan as they pilgrimaged from the temples of Delhi to the shrines of the Corycean Grotto to celebrate ancient rites. The path will take us through the forest as we drop down from the slopes of Mt Parnassos to the village of Delph. There we will enjoy a guided tour of the spectacular ruins. Tonight we will either stay at a hotel in Delphi or return to Athens for a final night in a central hotel.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Trekking: 5 hours (12km)
Overnight: Hotel

Day 5 (Monday 10 October 2022):

Athens – London
We will transfer to the airport for the return flight to the UK.
Meals: Breakfast

N.B. While we do not anticipate changes, this itinerary may be subject to alteration due to flight schedules, hotel availability and other factors outside our control. During the trip itself the itinerary will depend on the group ability, weather and the daily circumstances. Any changes in the itinerary will be made in the interest of group safety and enjoyment. In-country, your guide and tour manager will have the final say in the interest of the health and safety of the group.

Costs & How to pay

Registration fee: £340

and then either…

Self-funded: £995 balance

or

Sponsorship: £1990

or

Flexi: £995 trip costs balance plus £995 sponsorship for a charity of your choice

SELF-FUNDED

This option is for those who choose to pay the trip costs (flights, accommodation, food, guides etc.) themselves. There is no sponsorship required although if you wish to raise sponsorship for a charity you are welcome to do so.

  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • Trip cost balance is payable to Different Travel 10 weeks prior to departure.
  • You are welcome to fundraise separately for any charity of your choice but this is not mandatory. Any fundraising undertaken cannot be used for your trip costs.

SPONSORSHIP

This option is for those who wish to raise sponsorship to cover both the costs of the trip (flights, accommodation, food, guides etc.) and a donation to their chosen charity. There is a minimum sponsorship amount for each trip that you are required to raise in order to participate.

  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • The minimum sponsorship must be paid to the charity 12 weeks prior to departure.
  • The amount the charity receives is at least 50% of the minimum sponsorship total.

FLEXI

This option is for those who choose to pay the trip costs (flights, accommodation, food, guides etc.) themselves while still raising some funds for the charity.

  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • Trip cost balance is payable to the charity 12 weeks prior to departure.
  • Any fundraising undertaken cannot be used for your trip costs.

What's included

  • Return flights from London
  • Airport taxes and charges
  • Local transfers and transport in Greece
  • All accommodation as per itinerary
  • All meals as per itinerary
  • English-speaking local guides and support crew
  • Different Travel UK tour manager

What's not included

  • Any necessary vaccinations
  • Spending money (tips, drinks, souvenirs)
  • Transport to/from UK airports
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal trek kit
  • Visa or travel permit depending on EU regulations at the time of departure

Got a Question?

If you’ve a question about this challenge that you can’t find the answer to within the given information then complete this quick form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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