Raw, atypical, and brutally honest – as never experienced before. Are you ready to see Greece in its darker shades of blue?
Future 2020 dates :
5 to 8 April 2021
This is a much needed fresh take on the achingly beautiful, warm and welcoming destination that’s been a travellers’ favourite since the 17th century Grand Tour explosion. With a history and heritage spanning millennia, great food and weather, and a characteristic openness to visitors, it has always been an easy choice for a memorable holiday. However, Greece isn’t just about the postcard-perfect whitewashed island houses, the trendy beach resorts or the old lady Acropolis. It is a country of many lingering contrasts, and if you scratch its carefully cultivated mainstream tourism surface, you will see a much different country – divided, disillusioned, and sometimes down right indigestible – but still full of surprises , and perhaps even more mysteriously attractive than you thought it could be.
I have been involved in the local travel industry for over a decade : tourism is an important part of the country’s output, and the majority of everyone involved are genuine, diligent professionals. The quality of accommodation, services and tours is one the highest one can ever expect on a holiday, anywhere in the world. But I couldn’t help noticing that more often than not, it comes cherry-picked, bubble-wrapped, too-good-to-be-true : For example, you hear a lot about the majesty of the Athenian Golden Age, but less about the primal darkness of Spartan Hegemony. You hear a lot about the glory of the Albanian Epic, but less about the horrors of the Civil War. You hear a lot about the characteristic friendliness, openness, and laid back character of the culture, but less about the schadenfreude, intrigue and mutual mistrust that’s been marring it for centuries. And beyond the tidy cosiness of a quaint little Aegean island or the cosmopolitanism of a classy resort, there are gritty cities and rugged villages where life is hard, and forgotten places where rust, grime and abandonment takes over. This mythical, travel packaged Greece is a sort of brushing part of the reality under the carpet, a form of cheating : like playing Pacman – only all the dots are big, and so the ghosts seem to always be on the run. That’s why I always felt an urge to challenge the typical “Been to Greece” experience, and try to shed some much needed light into the country’s bursting skeleton closet.
In my Forgotten Greece tour, I aim to showcase a different, more atypical side of the country we all think we know. I wanted it to be about different perspectives and interpretations of its history, culture, and people : about local pride (and much prejudice), atavistic folly, fatal stubbornness, heroic desperation and often, abject abandonment. But it will still be about Greece, nevertheless – or at least the aspects of it that are not as well advertised. We will look for the difficulty, the indigestion in Greek history, culture, and reality – and through this process, perhaps we will arrive to another understanding, and a different appreciation of the country as it emerges today. To this end, I have created an alternative itinerary through the rugged southern region of Peloponnese : it’s a part of the country I am very familiar with, and my natural choice to explore and showcase. I have also put together a riveting narrative, that will take you through millennia of history and culture – some of it palatable, most of it not, and all of it bewildering. It will be a search for Greece’s true, and often contradictory, nature. It will again be like playing Pacman – only all the dots will be small, and the ghosts will surely be chasing us without respite.
Fairytale castles. Derelict factories. Ship graveyards. Secret bunkers. Ghost cities. Abandoned train stations. Places of death, darkness and memory : sounds interesting? Then read on about what we’ll see and do in The Itinerary, check the Pricing, Terms and Conditions and for even more detail, check out the What is this tour about ? section :