mountains & monasteries

Photographing the iconic mountains & monasteries of Greece

METEORa

Join National Geographic photographer & filmmaker, George S Blonsky in 2023 for your next photographic odyssey…

The Metéora (Greek: Μετέωρα, “suspended in the air” or “in the heavens above”) is one of the largest and most important complex of monasteries in Greece, second only to Mount Athos. The monasteries are built on spectacular natural sandstone rock pillars, at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Peneios river and Pindos Mountains, in central Greece. The Metéora is home to six monasteries and is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Although it is unknown when Metéora was established, as early as the 11th century AD hermit monks were believed to be living among the caves and cutouts in the rocks. By the late 11th or early 12th century a rudimentary monastic state had formed called the Skete of Stagoi and was centered around the church of Theotokos (mother of God), which still stands today. The hermit monks, seeking a retreat from the expanding Turkish occupation, found the inaccessible rock pillars of Meteora to be an ideal refuge. More than 20 monasteries were built, beginning in the 14th century but only six remain occupied today.

pindos

 The Pindos (Greek: Πίνδος) mountain range is located in northern Greece and southern Albania and is approximately 160 km long, with a maximum elevation of 2,637m at the peak of Mount Smolikas. Often called the “spine of Greece”, the mountain range stretches from near the Greek-Albanian borders in Northern Epirus runs through the Epirus & Macedonia regions all the way down to the northern edge of the Peloponnese.

The Pindos ecoregion covers a wide range of elevations and habitats, from deep canyons & gorges to steep mountains and the wide range in altitude results in two major forest zones:

  • A coniferous zone, with trees such as a subspecies of Austrian Pine and the endemic Greek Fir characterizing the highest elevations and Juniper woodlands dominating near the treeline;
  • A mixed broadleaf forest zone dominates the valleys and gorges of the middle and lower elevations.

Large breeding colonies of herons, spoonbills, egrets and pelicans fish the cool waters of the mountain lakes of the Pindos Mountains and this is one of the few areas in Europe where the rare and endangered Dalmatian Pelican can be found as well as wolves, jackals and bears.

Our tour…

Taking in the breathtaking Byzantine monasteries Meteora for a day or two before moving on across the Pindos range to the western face of the mountain range where we will base ourselves in the beautiful traditional village of Monodendri staying in a lovely little boutique hotel.

From here we will explore various walks and hikes in and around the awesome Vikos Gorge whose butressed towers make it the deepest gorge in Europe and a truly stunning spectacle. 

One of the last great European wildernesses where bears, wild boars, roe deer, jackals, wolves and even wild horses still roam free.

SAMPLE ITINERARY:

  • Day 1: arrivals & transfers from Thessaloniki Airport to Hotel;
  • Day2: AM: pre-dawn rise for 2/3 hour shoot from one of the lookout points above the Monasteries followed by breakfast in the village.
  • Day2: PM: 2 hour sunset shoot from the Roussanou Convent lookout.
  • Day3: AM: pre-dawn rise for 2/3 hour shoot from a different lookout over the monasteries
  • Day3: PM: transfer to our 2nd base in Monodendri by way of Aoos Lake
  • Day 4: Photography in the village of Monodendri & the stone arch bridges of Kipi
  • Day 5: Photography of the Vikos Gorge & Kolimbithres Canyon
  • Day 6: Hike & photography through the upper part of the Vikos canyon along the Voidomati river.
  • Day 7; Transfers to airport & flights home.

Whats Included..

  • all guiding, advice and assistance from our Photographic Tour Leader
  • all accommodations for the duration of your stay on a non-sharing basis with NO single supplement
  • breakfasts, lunches & refreshments whilst out shooting (lunches may be of the “packed” variety so that we don’t cut short trips into the mountains by having to return to the hotel or village to eat)…;
  • transportation : both to and from Thessaloniki airport as well as all “in-trip” transportation;

What’s not included..

  • flights/visas
  • Insurance (recommended you have full health, medical, travel and equipment insurance);
  • activities not listed in the itinerary
  • evening meals
  • personal expenses – gratuities/tips, sundries, snacks etc..
  • all drinks: alcohol and special order drinks like cappuccinos,lattes etc..

Upcoming TOURS & workshops

Due to the pandemic I have been unable to run these trips for the last couple of years and unfortunately this year, Jan-Feb 2023 looks like I might still not be able to run it… watch out though for news in November for any last minute updates and sign up below for my newsletter to be notified first.

APRIL 2023

MOUNTAINS & MONASTERIES – SPRING

7 day

Landscape Photography Workshop

Photographing the iconic mountains & Byzantine monasteries of North western Greece

MAX: 5 PAX

NOTE: dates subject to change according to airline flight schedules

€2400

(€300 deposit)

november 2023

MOUNTAINS & MONASTERIES – AUTUMN

7 day

Landscape Photography Workshop

Photographing the iconic mountains & Byzantine monasteries of North western Greece

MAX : 5 PAX

NOTE: dates subject to change according to airline flight schedules

€2100

(€300 deposit)

april 2024

MOUNTAINS & MONASTERIES – SPRING

7 day

Landscape Photography Workshop

Photographing the iconic mountains & Byzantine monasteries of North western Greece

MAX : 5 PAX

NOTE: dates subject to change according to airline flight schedules

€2400

(€300 deposit)

SIGN UP BELOW FOR OUR NEWSLETTER & DOWNLOAD THE BOOKING FORM

To make a booking:

Fill out the form automated form below right, send us an email or telephone to check availability.

Once dates are confirmed, we’ll send you a booking form or you can download it in advance (below left) ..complete it, scan/photograph it and return by email to geopictorial@gmail.com …don’t forget to specify your preferred method of payment, either by Bank transfer or credit card via Paypal.

Once we have received your booking form we will send you an invoice either for the deposit or whole amount depending how far in advance you are booking. (Bookings within 12 weeks of the trip are paid in full)

Visas & Travel Permits: All our current trips are within the European Union.. please ensure you have the necessary travel documents & Visas necessary to visit any EU country before booking your tickets and your place on one of our trips. We cannot arrange these for you.