Mark Cocker

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Zagori in northern Greece

through 360 Degrees

Mon 18 May – Mon 25 May 2020

Epirus includes some of Greece's finest mountain scenery and is dominated by the remarkable Vikos Gorge, reputedly the deepest in the world. This whole limestone region holds wolves and bears and has recently undergone massive afforestation as the human population has declined and agriculture withdrawn. It is in many ways an example of the 'rewilding' which is presently such a hot political potato among British environmentalists. Yet the old traditional pastoralism, practised here for thousands of years by the nomadic Sarakatsani and Vlachs, was far from unsympathetic to nature. On the contrary, it led to a abundant birds such as red-backed shrikes, tawny pipits and rock thrushes as well as a remarkable flora, especially on the higher slopes, and a profusion of butterflies and striking insects - owl-flies, bush crickets, praying-mantises.

 

We are destined to see much of this wonderful wildlife but it is a great cultural landscape as well, with a fascinating late-Ottoman history that resulted in some of Greece's most distinctive and beautiful rural architecture. Our hotel in the car-free village of Dilofo is a perfect example. It is a lovingly restored 400-year-old farmhouse. One important part of the holidays is a combined visit to the former Albanian Muslim city of Ioannina and now the regional capital (which holds some of the beautiful Byzantine art that Maria and I have ever seen), but also to the ancient Greek oracle of Gaia at Dodona.

 

If you would like more information there is a blog post by me here and I can provide a more detailed breakdown of the trip in a pdf. Email me with any questions by clicking here.

 

Prices and Arrangements

 

Single    £1495  Shared: £1395   Dates:   Mon 18- Mon 25 May 2020

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