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GREEK RHODOPE - Organised by Greentours

INTRODUCTION

Drama's scenery is as one might imagine rather good! Even... The Nestos and Aggitis Rivers drain deep valleys between the high southern outliers of the Rhodope; Phalakron and Orvilos. The snow-streaked upper slopes of these mountains top 2000m though are easily reached by roads that snake their way almost to the top.  Here we can find a colourful pastiche of Crocus chrysanthus mixing with blue Scilla biflora and both white and deep pink forms of Corydalis solida subspecies incisilobata. Rarer is the local endemic Crocus orphei, a lovely plant with indigo-streaked undersides to the tepals. Wands of deep red Saxifraga sempervivum emerge from glaucous rosettes on roadside rocks. Totally amazing groups of huge-flowered Pulsatilla halleri bloom across alpine turf also littered with tight clumps of Viola perinensis whose lilac and blue heads completely obscure the leaves.

The Rhodope is famous for its forests, some of the most unspoilt in Europe. We'll walk under Birch, Beech, Spruce and Oak where we'll find wonderful spring ephemerals from Pulmonarias to Orchids and from Primulas to green-belled Fritillaria pontica. The displays of Corydalis are remarkable but these are as nothing compared with the masses of Crocusveluchensis which stretch in their millions across the hills towards the Bulgarian border. The beautiful snowbell Soldanella rhodopaea grows here too. Lower down are Fritillaria graecaand Orchis quadripunctata as well as the strange endemic Lathraea rhodopaea. A stunning path, draped with wonderful plants, takes us along the Nestos Gorge. Cascades of pale mauve Haberlea rhodopensis decorate the limestone cliffs, jostling for space with both yellow and purple forms of Iris reichenbachianaOphrys epirotica and Ophrys mammosa hide behind storax and tall Asphodeline, Orchis italica is altogether more obvious!

Though the plants will certainly take centre-stage we can see a good range of forest and mountain birds, notably many raptors and we'll take just a little time to visit ancient Xanthi too

INFORMATION

Focus

Flowers, particularly spring bulbs.

Leaders

Ian Green Seda Soylu

Walking

We will be ambling no more than three or four miles in any one day, and always at a slow pace, ideally suited to flower photography!

Included in the Price

All flights. All transport, accommodation, meals and gratuities in Greece. Services of your leaders. Please note: drinks, and items of a personal nature, including insurance, are not included. 

Group Size

Minimum is 4 and the maximum is 15. Only one leader will accompany a group of 6 or less.

Accommodation

We'll start the tour with four nights at the lovely Aloni Hotel in Volakos perched on the western slopes of Mount Phalakron. Volakos plies its trade in winter as a ski centre but in summer it is all quiet and we'll have the hotel to ourselves. The Aloni is run by Maria and Angelos who will ply us with truly excellent meals throughout or stay as well as delivering picnics to us wherever we are in the field! The rooms are spacious and modern. For the last three nights of the tour we'll stay at the Nemesis Hotel close by the lovely village of Stavroupoli. The Nemesis is a most unusual place. The rooms are large and very comfortable, the food great, but it is the 'fake castle' design of the buildings that make it so odd! All rooms and cabins on this tour have en suite facilities.

Flights

UK return flights are direct from London Gatwick to Thessaloniki. Add-ons are available from various UK airports*. Other indirect routes from regional UK Airports* are available.

*These routes may incur a supplement.

Climate

Usually sunny and warm with temperatures approaching 25°C or so in the lower areas we'll visit such as the Nestos gorge but the higher we'll go the cooler it can get, perhaps only 12-14°C on Phalakron and with increasing chance of rain, though these usually only in the form of showers.

After Booking

Contact us to check there is availability for the number of places you require. Download a booking form (or contact us and we will send one to you) from the booking information section of the Greentours website. Complete and send to us. You will receive confirmation of your place and then a detailed information pack will be dispatched to you about twelve weeks before departure. This will contain up-to-date health information. Flower, butterfly and bird checklists are available.

 

 

 

 

DATES AND PRICES

 

Days = 8

23 Apr 2016 - 30 Apr 2016

 

London - London = £1495

Thessaloniki - Thessaloniki = £1295

Deposit = £150

Single Supplement = £95*

 

* does not apply if you are willing to share and a room-mate can be arranged.

TOUR SUMMARY

 

Day 1

Arrival Thessaloniki and transfer to Volakos

Days 2 & 4

Mount Phalakron and Mount Orvilos

Day 3

Simida Birch Forest and the River Despatis

Day 5

Phalakron (am) and then transfer to Stavroupoli

Day 6

Lepida Forest

Day 7

Nestos Gorge & Xanthi

Day 8

Departure

For more information and a Detailed Tour Itinerary please see the tour page on the Greentours webiste, or call us on 01298 83563

 

Fiona Dunbar
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