TOURIST PACKAGE: RELIGIOUSAND CULTURAL TOURISM

Places of religious interest are found in Nestorio and Korce.
In Nestorio you can find the church of PammegistoiTaxiarches (1858), Dormition of the Mother of God (1743), Saint Athanasius (1874), SantChristofer’s chapel and the Byzantine church of Saint Nicholas Petritis, the Monastery of Taxiarches in “Tsouka”, date back to the 13th century, Saint George’s church, the church of ZoodochosPigi (Life-Giving Spring), and Saint Zachariah’s church, built in the 16th century.  
In Korce you can find: the Resurrection Cathedral, the Life-Giving Spring church, Saint Nicholas’s church, Saint Athanasius’s church, the chapel of Prophet Elijah, Saint John’s church, the church of Mary, the church of the Ascension, and the Christian basilicas.

The aim is to have cross-border tourist activities organized by travel agencies and the episcopacy lasting for 2-3 days, in the area. This particular package may address to external markets, too, especially to those which have a long tradition in religious tourism (Italy-Serbia-Russia).  


TOURIST PACKAGE FOR THE BEAR TRAIL

Bears, the biggest land mammal in Europe, live in the area. They live for around 20 to 25 years; they are a particularly intelligent and flexible animal, symbolizing strength, wild beauty and loneliness. Their body is covered by a rich brown, water-resistant fur, and their head has a triangular shape; they have small eyes and ears, and their tail is small. If you are lucky enough to meet a bear, stay calm and enjoy this unique moment!

Although the brown bear used to live in almost all areas of mainland Greece, today its distribution is restricted in 2 different geographic areas, the most important populations are identified in the mountainous areas of Western Rhodope and Northern and Central Pindus.

Bears are lonely animals; they move around during dawn, twilight and in the night.
The height of an adult male (in its neck) may reach 1.10m; the total length from its nose to its tiny tail is around 1.70-2.20m, while, if it stands on its feet, its height is around 2 meters.
An adult female weighs from 70 to 150 kilos, whereas the adult male is usually bigger and weighs from 110 to 280 kilos. Bears have highly developed abilities of smell and hearing. On the other hand, its eyesight is less developed; it can see well enough at an 80 meters distance, but it cannot distinguish a human at a 300 meters distance.
Characteristic lodgings bears prefer are the mixed forests of coniferous (pine, fir) and deciduous (beech, oak) forests, located in a zone between 900 and 1700 meters high. During summer months, you can meet bears in cultivated fields and orchards.
Bears are omnivores; they preferably consume forest fruits like berries, mulberries, cherries, apples, pears, wild rose fruits, wild strawberries, acorns, oak fruits, and also bulbs, roots, and greens. They certainly like honey! They complete their diet with small and bigger mammals, insects (mainly ants), and other small animals, as they need big quantities of food to maintain their body.
The reproduction period (mid-May to mid-July) is the only social phase in bears’ behavior. During that period, the male bears are capable of travelling for long distances (tens, even hundreds of kilometers) to meet a female partner in heat. Female bears can give birth from the age of 4-5 years and their total fertile period is no longer than 15-20 years. Female bears give birth to one –rarely to two− babies, in specially arranged nests, every 2-3 years, in the middle of winter (January-February), during hibernation. The babies weigh only 300-400 grams, they are naked and blind.
Brown bears are endangered species according to the national legislation (article 258, par.2eκαι 2g (Legal Order 86/69) of the Forest Code), while they are also included as priority species to the Annexes ΙΙand IV of the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC). Also, bears are included in the Berne Convention (Annex II) as  extinct species, while their commercial use and the trade of their parts is forbidden according to CITES Convention. In Greece, almost 30% of its distribution area is included in protected areas (National Parks).
The objective is for the path making to bring visitors through the bears’ biotope and to raise their awareness on matters of the protection of the environment and brown bears.
The path (trail) has to go through old paths that are now clean and can be used by any of us for trekking or hiking. The path has to cross historical places and monuments of particular aesthetic and natural value, to make a circle around Nestorio-Ammouda-Alevitsa.
The total length of the bears’ trail has to be approximately 10 km., with various difficulty levels.

TOURIST PACKAGE FOR FOREST RECREATION (SPORTS ACTIVITIES)
7 days

SPORTS ACTIVITIES

 

Day 1:  London-Thessaloniki or Paris-Thessaloniki or Munich-Thessaloniki.

Meeting in the airport and flying to Thessaloniki. We are welcome by our guide, we board on the bus and travel to Nestorio. We arrive in the hotel, board again on thebus and travel to Grammos, from where our trek to the alpine lake Gistova will start. After a three-hours walk in the alpine fields of Grammos we reach an alpinelake, Gistova, at 2,350m, the highest altitude in Greece. Hidden in a small niche in between the highest peaks of mount Grammos, exactly on the borderline, Gistova saves its waters all year round, something special for Greek ecological conditions.

Our guide will present the lake and its rare fish (newts) before we return to the village Grammos.
We return at the hotel, dine, and rest.

Day 2: There is breakfast at the hotel and then we board on jeeps for the grand tour around the municipality of Nestorio (Nestorio – Kotili – Haros – National Reconciliation Park – Mirovlitis – Arrenes – Aetomilitsa – return through Arrenes – Sgouros–Lianotopi – IconismaPanagias – Pefko−Nestorio) via a beautiful road that takes us through all the local communities. The road has a length of approximately 115 km and lasts from 6 to 7 hours according to the weather conditions.
During the tour, apart from the communities mentioned above, we can also see:
-Haros, a famous and impressive precipice, almost 300 meters high. The view from here is breathtaking. It owes its name to a heroic group of guerillas who committed suicide from there, falling off the cliff instead of surrendering, during the Civil War.
-Kotili from a higher point.
-The Fields of Kotili (Livadia tis Kotilis), where there is a monument for the victims of Civil War, as well as the National Reconciliation Park, made to contribute to the development of a common understanding, collaboration and peaceful coexistence among the youth of the whole world and the new infrastructure of the National Reconciliation Park.
-After we cross Sarantaporos bridge, we reach Arrenes, in an altitude of 1,800m, where we are going to see the second alpine lake, the beautiful dragon lake Moutsalia, the  only one in Greece in which all three kinds of newts live, surrounded by a green beech forest.

On our way back and in Linotopi area, we can visit the famous post-Byzantine Saint Zachariah Monastery, decorated by local iconographers and built in the woods; one of the most impressive local monuments. It was built in the 16th century and it is what was saved from a village with the same saint’s name, which was destroyed by the Turks in 1769, during the Orlov Revolt.
We return at the hotel, dine and rest.

Day 3: There is breakfast at the hotel and then we board on jeeps for a new experience in Grammos and a tour around Nestorio (Nestorio – Pefko – Mirovlitis – Pefkofito – Chrisi – Eptachori − Zouzouli and return throughZouzouli – Eptachori – Kipseli – Kotili − Nestorio). This tour has a length of 135km and lasts for about 6 to 7 hours, according to weather conditions, even if only half of the road is covered with asphalt. We are going to have a break at Zouzouli for a meal.
During the tour, apart from the communities mentioned above, we can also see:
-The wellhead in Kefalovriso, and
-The stone-built bridges and the watermills in Eptachori, Zouzouli, and PalaiaKotili.

Day 4: There is breakfast in the hotel and then boarding on the bus to travel to Korce. After having arrived in the hotel, we can go for a walk with the guide around the old neighbors, in the eastern part of the city, to admire the buildings of the old city in the Penco and Manco, and the narrow streets with low buildings.
There is a meal arranged in a tavern in the city and then boarding on the bus to visit

  Dardha, from where a trek will start in an area where there is a perfect combination of the natural and urban environment. This path combines various natural and cultural attractions around the village. UjiiQelbur fountain, Batalioni plateau, Saint Peter’s Orthodox church, the impressive panoramic view to Dardha and the neighboring villages from the antenna area, the impressive Rahut forest and rock “looking” towards Dardha are included.

The trek covers approximately 5 kilometers and the trekking time is 2-3 hours. It is of medium difficulty and it is located in an altitude of 1,300 to 1,488 meters

Day 5: There is breakfast at the hotel and then we board on the bus to visit Bishnicë village, from where our tour to the alpine lakes Lukova will start. The first one (the small lake) is at 1,706m and covers an area of 0.035 km2. After a two-hours trip through fir and beech forest, we reach the lake. There, we can take some rest, dine and go on with our tour to the big lake which is located 1,851 meters over the sea level, and covers an area of 0.05 km2. We are going to reach the lake after a 1.5 hours trip and after we have enjoyed the landscape we are going to return to Bishnicë.
We return to the hotel, dine, and rest.

Day 6: There is breakfast at the hotel and then boarding on the bus to visit Prespalake, where we are going to visit Zavercave, on the west banks of the lake, close to Gorica e Vogel village.
It is a big karstic cave, in which there is also one of the many subterranean water paths from Prespa e Madhe to Ohrid lake. It is the product of a karstic process in the joint point of two tectonic splits. It has scientific (geological, geo-morphological, biological) and tourist interest. It is a double-floor cave with a long tunnel. It was a prehistoric era settlement (from the early Neolithic Era to Iron Age). Today, the cave is where a huge bat community lives.  
There is a meal arranged in a tavern by the lake and then boarding on the bus to visit the traditional village Rehovë, built around the church. The stone-built houses in Kolonjë area are an attraction, and the starting point for a trek on the mountain. In a 2-hours distance from Rehovë you can find an impressive waterfall.

We return to the hotel, dine, and rest.

Day 7: There is breakfast at the hotel and then departure for Thessaloniki airport to take the return flight.

What is included: Air tickets, 6 nights’ accommodation, trip to and from the airport, jeep renting, breakfast with rich buffets at the hotel, a Greek guide and team leader, local authorities’ representatives as guides, tours according to the schedule with a luxurious air-conditioned bus, and travel insurance.

TOURIST PACKAGE FOR RELIGIOUS AND CULTURAL TOURISM
7 days

Day 1:  Moscow-Thessaloniki or Belgrade-Thessaloniki or Sofia-Thessaloniki.
Meeting in the airport and flying to Thessaloniki. Reception by our guide, boarding on the bus and travel to the city of Thessaloniki, where we are directly going to the churches of Saint Sophia (Agia Sofia) and Saint Demetrius (AgiosDimitrios) for a tour. Then, a meal follows in a picturesque tavern in Bit Pazar and a 3-hours trip with the bus to Nestorio and the hotel.
There is free time in the afternoon for a walk around the city.
The dinner and the accommodation will be arranged in the hotel in Nestorio.

Day 2: There is breakfast at the hotel and then a visit to the church of PammegistoiTaxiarches in Nestorio, a three-naved basilica of 1858, stone-built, with a wonderful wooden iconostasis, and an impressive steeple.   

Then we are going to visit the church Koimisi tis Theotokou (Dormition of the Mother of God), which is the oldest church of the village, built in 1816, noted for its polygonal stone steeple, its old icons and religious books of 18th and 19th century.  As we are heading to the church, you have the chance to see Nestorio with its stone-built buildings, the picturesque roofs and the cobbled streets, or the small picturesque squares.
There is a meal arranged in a tavern in the city, from where you can enjoy the    amphitheatrical view to the city, after which we go to the hotel to rest.

In the afternoon, we board on the bus to visit Aghia Anna, 5km away from Nestorio, where we will find the historical Monastery of Taxiarches in “Tsouka”, dated back in 13th century, owing its name in the homonym deserted village, located a bit northern on. travel17

A unique sample of post-byzantine stone architecture, the monastery was characterized as preservable monument in 1961.  It is built on a huge rock, over an Aliakmonas’ tributary that creates a wonderful waterfall at that point, largely reminding of Meteora.

We return to the hotel, dine, and rest.

Day 3: There is breakfast at the hotel and then we board on the bus to visit Slimnitsa, where there are the ruins of the Monastery of Saint George, the chapel of Saint Christofer, as well as the churches of Koimisi tis Theotokou (Dormition of Mother of God, dated 1743) in the upper neighborhood and Saint Athanasius (1874) in the lower one. Also, what is worth noticing is a spring with embossed decoration.
There is a meal arranged in a tavern in the village and then we board on the bus to visit Linotopi, where built in the woods,

there is the −historically mentioned by local iconographers− famous post-byzantine Monastery of Saint Zachariah, one of the most impressive monuments of the area. Built in the 16th century, it is what survived from a village which had the name of the saint but was destroyed by the Turks in 1769, during the Orlov Revolt.

We return to the hotel, dine, and rest.

Day 4: There is breakfast at the hotel and then we board on the bus to visit Giannochori, where there is the church of Koimisi tis Theotokou (Dormition of Mother of God), the only one in the Balkans with a double gynaecaeum, which is noted for its elaborate wooden iconostasis.
We board on the bus to visit NeaKotili and dine in a tavern in the village, and then we travel with the bus to the deserted village of PalaiaKotili, a village located in a lovely scenery in the shadow of the impressive “Haros of Kotili”; with its arch bridge, the old church, and stone-built houses that are in a very good condition, one can see the excellent wall construction and the art in their making.
We return to the hotel, dine, and rest.

Day 5: There is breakfast in the hotel and then boarding on the bus to travel to Korce. After having arrived in the hotel, you can go for a walk with the guide around the old neighbors, in the eastern part of the city, to admire the buildings of the old city in the Penco and Manco neighborhoods, and the narrow streets with low buildings.

We dine in a tavern and then we board on the bus to visit the Orthodox Resurrection Cathedral, which was rebuilt in 1992 in the site Saint George’s church was located, before being completely destroyed by the communist regime in 1968. Today, the impressive pink building is the biggest church in Albania, and the second biggest one in the Balkans. Inside, the modest white interior is dominated by a huge carved wooden iconostasis.  

Also note the Albanian eagles carved into the chairs.
From that point, we are going to travel by bus to the church of Life-giving Spring (ZoodochosPigi), which is located close to the Metropolis and also known as the Metropolitan church; it was unfortunately chose by the communist regime to be used as a Medieval Arts Museum during 1980s, and was later on almost completely destroyed to be turned into a warehouse. However, the entrance side leads to the new Shen Gjergj church, which is found in the back side of the building, where one can see the original wooden iconostasis, made in the 18th century. The dark wooden sculptures are impressive, as well as the remaining icons.
We return to the hotel, dine, and rest.

Day 6: There is breakfast at the hotel and then we board on the bus to visit Voskopoja, where we are going to see Saint Nicholas church, located in the center of the village. It was built between 1721 and 1722. The frescos saved in the inside present over 1000 biblical figures. The internal walls were painted by one of the most popular artists of that era, David Selenica. During 1750,the entrance of the church was painted by two important painters, who lived at that time.

They were two brothers from Korce, Konstantinos and Athanasios Zografou. Those artists contributed to the decoration of the most important churches of that time, as well as of Mount Athos, the sacred Christianity place. Also, they painted other churches in the neighboring villages.
There is a meal arranged in Voskopoja and then we board on the bus to return to Korce and visit Saint John’s church. Built in the 12th century and reconstructed in the 15th century, Saint John’s church is located in the north-western part of the city, close to the mulberry forest. It is rather far from the village and approximately in the middle of the valley. The church has been renovated, and one can visit it. If you wish to enter the church, you will need to contact the doorman first. You will be impressed by the fenced gate at the southern side of the church. The legend says that a Bulgarian prince got married in this church, and according to the custom, no one can enter the church from the same gate the prince crossed. Thus, a second gate opened at the western side of the church.  
We board on the bus to visit the church of the Ascension, a small, quiet church in a village east to the city. This amazing Byzantine church of the 14th century is decorated with frescos UNESCO experts characterize as one of the best iconographic artifacts of the Balkans, special for its bright colors. In narthex, what stands out is the visual representation of Last Judgment, a fresco in which a dragon swallows the sinners in a river of fire, thus showing some examples of what happens to sinners and unbelievers: malicious devils are taking people to the top, placing rings in their noses, making holes in their heads and using them as slaves in ploughs… they believe or they die!

We visit the church of Saint Athanasius, located in the western part of the village, in the cemetery area. It was built in 1724 and decorated by the famous Zografou brothers (Zografi) in 1751. The building has been renovated.
On our way back, a visit to the church of Prophet Elijah, a small church located southeast of the city, built in 1751, will allow you to admire the art of the local masters of stone.   

We return to the hotel, dine, and rest.

Day 7: There is breakfast at the hotel and then we board on the bus to visit Lin for a tour in the ruined churches of the late ancient Christianity period (Rrënojat e KishësPaleokristian), with the mosaics from the 4th-5th century, discovered there during excavations.

On our way back to Greece we will stop for a short visit to the monastery of Saint Marina, a small building of 12*8 meters. The altar is separated from the main part of the church with a big wooden icon, which is 6m wide and 4m tall. The icons are curved with natural motifs. Inside, the whole building is covered with frescos given to KostandinShpataraku, a local painter, who is also one of the most renowned painters in Albania. Saint Marina is a praying place for many people from Pogradec.
We return to the hotel, dine, and rest.

Day 8: There is breakfast at the hotel and then departure for Thessaloniki airport to take the flight back.

What is included: Air tickets, 7 nights’ accommodation, trip to and from the airport, breakfast with rich buffets at the hotel, a Greek guide and team leader, local authorities’ representatives as guides, tours according to the schedule with a luxurious air-conditioned bus, and travel insurance.


TOURIST PACKAGE FOR THE BEAR TRAIL
The trails of the brown bear in the Balkans
6days

Day 1:  London-Thessaloniki or Paris-Thessaloniki or Munich-Thessaloniki.
Meeting in the airport and flying to Thessaloniki. Reception by our guide, boarding on the bus and travel to the city of Thessaloniki, where an informing session will take place in the headquarters of the environmental NGO Callisto about actions to protect brown bears and wolves in Epirus’ mountains. Then, a meal follows in a picturesque tavern in Bit Pazar and a 3-hours trip with the bus to Nestorio and the hotel.
There is free time in the afternoon for a walk around the city.
The dinner and the accommodation will be arranged in the hotel in Nestorio.

Day 2: Breakfast in the hotel and then preparation and information (path making and signing, trails, proper behavior tips during trekking, tips on how to deal with wild animals) about the way of trekking in the first part of the path (3.95 km), which starts from the borders of Nestorio and reaches Ammorema. The path here moves through rural roads, in an area where husbandry is popular (there are pens and fountains for the animals), with a sparse forest and φιελδς, where the guide presents the rich flora of the area. The path follows the old road from Nestorio to Ammouda and Alevitsa, a basic axis of Grammos mountain, connecting its central with northern part. In some parts it follows the modern forest path, while in some others it goes along the old path, where you can still see parts of the old cobbled street.

There is a stop for a snack outdoors, a short break in the forest and then going on with trekking in the second part (1.2km), starting from Ammorema and following the well-made forest path through a beech forest. The path has a noticeable rise and follows in some parts the olds cobbled street. In this point, the guide presents animal trails and nests.

 There is a top for a break and a demonstration of path cleaning and maintaining processes. The return to Nestorio happens through the same path and it takes around 2 hours.
We return to the hotel, dine, and rest.

Day 3: Breakfast in the hotel and then starting the trekking to reach from the local road Nestorio-Pefko to the starting point of the fourth part of the path (3.25km). It is a well-made path with a rise from the modern local road to the old village.

The path is through oak woods and fields, where it meets, in its end and in an open field, the ruins of the small village church. In many of its parts, there is view to the whole Nestorio area.
After having reach the old village, the forest path goes on following a part of the old street (1.23km long), which heads north-west from the old village, in particular from the fountain, towards the modern forest path linking Nestorio with the northern part of Grammos. Then, itreturnstotheoldvillage.

There is a stop for a snack is the fountain, a short break in the forest, and then going on with trekking in the 3rd part of the round part (1.98km), following a rough forest path from the old village in an area where beech forests prevail, while you can meet other trees, too (fir, black pine). This part holds the most points where bears and wild animals find their food, and here you will also meet the most animal trails, which prove animals live in the area.

In the old Orsets village, where this part ends, you will meet a fountain, ruins of houses and old fruit-bearing trees (walnuts, hazelnuts, chestnuts, plum trees, etc.). After a short break, we take all the way back to return and we reach the river, where “River Party” takes place, after a trek of approximately 3 hours.
We return to the hotel, dine, and rest.

Day 4: There is breakfast in the hotel and then boarding on the bus to travel to Korce. After having arrived in the hotel, you can go for a walk with the guide around the old neighbors, in the eastern part of the city, to admire the buildings of the old city in the Pencoand Manco, and the narrow streets with low buildings.
There is a meal arranged in a tavern in the city and then boarding on the bus to visit

Dardha, from where a trek will start in an area where there is a perfect combination of the natural and urban environment. This path combines various natural and cultural attractions around the village. UjiiQelbur fountain, Batalioni plateau, Saint Peter’s Orthodox church, the impressive panoramic view to Dardha and the neighboring villages from the antenna

area, the impressive Rahut forest and rock “looking” towards Dardha are included. The trek covers approximately 5 kilometers and the trekking time is 2-3 hours. It has medium difficulty and it is located in an altitude of 1,300 to 1,488 meters.

We return to the hotel, dine, and rest.

Day 5: There is breakfast at the hotel and then boarding on the bus to visit Prespa lake, where we are going to visit Zavercave, on the west banks of the lake, close to Gorica e Vogel village.

It is a big karstic cave, in which there is also one of the many subterranean water paths from Prespa e Madhe to Ohrid lake. It is the product of a karstic process in the joint point of two tectonic breaks. It has scientific (geological, geo-morphological, biological) and tourist interest. It is a double-floor cave with a long tunnel. It was a prehistoric era settlement (from the early Neolithic Era to Iron Age). Today, the cave is where a huge bat community lives.

There is a meal arranged in a tavern by the lake and then boarding on the bus to visit the traditional village Rehovë, built around the church. The stone-built houses in Kolonjë area are an attraction, and the starting point for a trek on the mountain. In a 2-hours distance from Rehovë you can find an impressive waterfall.

We return to the hotel, have dinner and rest.

Day 6: There is breakfast at the hotel and then departure for Thessaloniki airport to take the flight back.

What is included:Air tickets, 5 nights’ accommodation, trip to and from the airport, breakfast with rich buffets at the hotel, a Greek guide and team leader, local authorities’ representatives as guides, tours according to the schedule with a luxurious air-conditioned bus, and travel insurance.

Municipality of Nestorio
Address: Nestorio, 52051, Greece
Tel : +30 2467 352300
Fax: +30 2467 031242
Email: Dimos_nestoriou@0807.syzefxis.gov.gr
Web site: www.nestorio.gr

Municipality of Korce
Address: 28 Nentori, L7, Korce, Albania
Tel : + 355 8224 3353
Fax: + 355 8224 2004
Email: info@bashkiakorce.gov.al
Web site: www.bashkiakorce.gov.al

CALLISTO Wildlife and Nature Conservation Society
Address: Kipourio, 51031, Greece
Tel : +30 24620 75392
Fax: +302310 272190
Email: Spyros@callisto.gr
Web site: www.callisto.gr

Through this project, the three partners from Greece and Albania are cooperating in order to create a single tourist project which will stimulate the touristic development of the area