Much Better Adventures

Adventures / Epic Treks

Track Wild Bears and Hike in Northern Greece

Hike through the world’s deepest gorge and track wild bears across the beautiful Pindos Mountains

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Trip Ref #10001

Adventures / Epic Treks

Track Wild Bears and Hike in Northern Greece

Hike through the world’s deepest gorge and track wild bears across the beautiful Pindos Mountains

DURATION
5 nights
LOCATION
Greece
ANNUAL LEAVE
4 days off work
SEASON
Jun, Aug—Oct
GROUP SIZE
Up to 14 people
MEETING POINT
Thessaloniki Macedonia International Airport, Greece
ACCOMMODATION
Guesthouse
DIFFICULTY
Easy

No previous experience is needed, but you’ll be crossing rough, uneven terrain so a decent level of general fitness is required.

Explore remote bear territory and get involved in the conservation work being done to protect these incredible animals in the wild

Hike an unspoilt and little-known corner of Europe staying in local independent guesthouses

Visit the Greek Grand Canyon, Vikos Gorge – the deepest in the world

Included

Guides

Expert, English-speaking conservation guides

Accommodation

5 nights in local, independent guesthouses

Meals

All breakfasts and dinners

Transfers

To and from the airport and everything in between

Permits

All national park permits and entry fees

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Some meals as described

The Area

Logistics

Starts

Thessaloniki Airport

14:00

Ends

Thessaloniki Airport

13:30

Transfers

Your host will let you know meeting point prior to departure. On the final day you are free to book any flight that departs after 15:30

Travel options

There are regular flights to Thessaloniki from major airports across the UK and Europe.

What about all the carbon?

We mitigate 4x the carbon generated by all our customer flights annually through our partnership with Cool Earth.

Day 1

Guesthouse · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2 – Day 5

Guesthouse · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 6

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

You're in Greece, the food is incredible! You'll have traditional food at various points during the trip, including classic Greek evenings in local tavernas. Vegans and Vegetarians can be catered for on this trip, just let your host know in advance

What is the accommodation like?

Kastoria

You’ll stay in a twin room in a locally owned, independent guesthouse where the views are almost as good as the local food and hospitality.

Mikro Papingo

You'll stay in another beautiful, Greek guesthouse beneath the towering peaks of the Pindos mountains - a spectacular and very comfortable base for your hikes in the area.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room can be booked for an extra charge, see Optional Extras for the price. Please request this at the time of booking (this is subject to availability).

Day 1

Kastoria

Hiking

1.5hrs · 5km

Head to Kastoria, your base for the bear tracking adventure ahead. Check into your guesthouse, gaze out at the lake and then meet up with your guides and the rest of your team. If there's enough time, take a short hike to a nearby area frequented by bears, before heading out for dinner. You have an early start in the morning so you may want to hold back on the Ouzo.

Day 2

Bears

Hiking

3hrs · 7km

Head to an area where bears forage for food and If you're lucky, catch a glimpse of a wild bear going about its morning routine.Fuel up yourself, then hike to a spectacular wilderness area where your guides conduct regular field research. During the hike you'll learn about radio-tracking methods, look for signs of bear activity, measure footprints and watch remote camera traps being set. Visit the sanctuary at Nymfaio and see the important work being done to give orphaned and rescued bears a better life. Here you will definitely see them up close.

Day 3

The mountain trails of Gramos

Hiking

3hrs · 7km · 500m up

Pack your day bag and head to the spectacular Mount Gramos (2520m) for a days hiking in the mountains. This is a wild and beautiful area, with pine and beech forests nestled beneath the peaks of the Pindos Mountains and four different rivers descending into the forested valleys. Head back to Kastoria for a well-earned rest and then take a quick walk around the lake, followed by a classic Greek dinner in a local Taverna.

Day 4

Bears, bears, bears!

Hiking

2hrs · 5km · 100m up

Start the day with a spot of crack-of-dawn bear tracking. After breakfast, head out again for another wilderness hike, this time keeping an eye out for paw tracks, droppings, hairs and scratch markings on the trees. Wave goodbye to Kastoria and hop in the car for a drive to one of the most picturesque villages on the trip, Mikro Papigno, located right in the heart of Northern Pindos National Park.

Day 5

Vikos Gorge

Hiking

4-5hrs · 10km · 800m up

Hike through the world's deepest gorge (relative to its width), known as ‘Greece's Grand Canyon’. A small trail takes you straight down to the bottom of the gorge where you can stare up at the sheer walls until you reach your lunch spot on the lovely Voidomatis River. Here you can wild swim and drink the water straight from the bank.

Ascend back up and explore Zagori, an area of extraordinary natural beauty made up of two national parks and little villages connected by arched stone bridges. Head back to your guesthouse for a last Greek feast and have an Ouzo or two. You've earned it.

Day 6

Return to Thessaloniki

Have a final breakfast in Mikro Papingo and then pack up and drive back to Thessaloniki. You'll be dropped off at the airport in time for your return flight, or at a hotel in Thessaloniki if you are staying on in Greece.

Please Note

All our adventures take place in wild places. Things can go wrong in wild places. Your perfectly planned itinerary may change a bit (or a lot) if the weather turns, someone gets hurt, or a volcano erupts. Usually though, changes make it all the better.

15% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 15% discount on us to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock, Runner's Need, and Cycle Surgery.

What do I need to bring?

Bags

  • Soft overnight duffel bag or rucksack
  • Daypack
  • Waterproof liner for day pack

Clothes

  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof trousers
  • Breathable wicking layers
  • Fleece jacket or similar
  • Lightweight trousers/shorts/skirts
  • T-shirts
  • Underwear & socks
  • Swimwear
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunhat
  • Something to sleep in
  • Hiking boots (worn-in)
  • Sandals

Other

  • Universal travel plug adapter
  • Spare camera batteries
  • Binoculars
  • Passports (and visas if needed)
  • Travel Insurance documents
  • Earplugs
  • Insect repellent
  • Suncream
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
  • Toilet kit (toilet paper, biodegradable bags to carry out)
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • Reusable water bottle x1 ltr
  • Energy bars and snacks

This trip is guided by professional conservationists from Greek wildlife charity, Callisto. They do really important work in the Pindos Mountains protecting both the habitat and the bears themselves. European Brown Bears are on the Greek Red List of Endangered Species and sadly without assistance from trained conservationists, their situation would undoubtedly worsen.

The charity helps manage and improve the coexistence of bears and humans living in the region by –

• Installing a network of fences, signage and deterrents to protect bears from traffic collisions on nearby roads.

• Operating a project called the Bear Emergency Team which responds to bear & human accidents.

• Educating children across Greece about the importance of forest protection and the threats that various species in the Pindos Mountains face.

• Educating local farmers and livestock breeders on environmental issues.

• Monitoring the number and behaviour of bears and other large mammals in the Pindos Mountains. This enables the charity to be directly involved in the rural management of the region, preventing areas from being exploited for natural resources.

Callisto fund all of this work through a combination of donations and, crucially, income from tourism. The group sizes of the trips are a maximum of 14, one group at a time, and the bears are never, ever baited for the purpose of luring them for tourists. The price of this trip includes a 50 Euro per person contribution to Callisto in addition to the money they earn by operating the trip itself.

Yes. You will visit the bear sanctuary at Nymfaio where you are guaranteed to see bears up close. As for seeing wild bears, nature can never make any guarantees, but you will be spending a good amount of time deep in bear-country guided by true experts, so you’ll have a good chance.

You'll need a decent level of general fitness, but this is a lighter hiking trip and if you are happy walking for a few hours in the mountains at a time you'll be just fine.

The hike at Vikos Gorge on the penultimate day of the trip is the most strenuous part of the adventure, with 4-5 hours of walking and approximately 500m of elevation descent and gain.

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

The water is perfectly safe to drink in each part of Greece that you will be visiting. You can even drink from certain rivers during the hikes. Do bring one or two reusable water bottles, as you'll need to load up before the bear tracking and hiking.

You can expect a variety of weather conditions, ranging from pleasantly warm to cold, so bring some layers. Expect mostly dry weather (especially June, July, August, September) but there may be an occasional rain shower. Late July and August can be quite hot with temperatures above 30 degrees at times.

We recommend checking out the country specific information here and also talking to a travel nurse.

We’ve teamed up with the guys at World Nomads to offer insurance designed for adventurous travellers across 140 countries that includes overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities. To get yours sorted, click here.

We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book the trip, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

For current advice about travelling in Greece, have a read of the UK Foreign Office pages here.

All of our group adventures are especially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded.

"I cannot recommend this highly enough! The people on the trip were amazing. Easily the best trip I've ever been on!" Charlotte, 2019, Trustpilot.

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

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Transferrable Deposits

Cancel up to 31 days before departure and we'll transfer your deposit into credit for a future booking.

Free Date Changes

Free date changes up to 31 days before departure.

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