Winter in Greece holiday

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Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
Chelmos Mountain and Vouraikos Gorge is an UNESCO's Global Geopark that extends to the prefectures of Achaia and Corinthia in the Northern Peloponnese. All this area comprises a total of about 647.000 acres.

The Global Geopark of Chelmos-Vouraikos is one of the five regions of the country that have joined the UNESCO Global Geopark Network. So far the Network consists of 140 Geoparks in 38 countries of the world and includes special areas of geological heritage or geo-diversity of global importance. Geoparks, as an idea, combine conservation with sustainable development and the involvement of local communities. Chelmos-Vouraikos Geopark has an exceptional geological history and hosts unique landscapes that are combined with cultural heritage and excellent scientific, educational and tourist infrastructure. The enormous ecological interest of the Geopark depends on its floristic and faunal richness, as it hosts a great number of plant and animal species. This floristic richness is combined with the extensive presence of fir and black pine forests, as well as forests of broad-leaved oak to a lesser extent, giving a distinct ecological and aesthetic value to the mountainous landscape. Our responsible policy is to inform our visitors that they must protect this unique Greek environment. When we pass through the gorge, by the Odontotos rack train, we advise them to not throw trash in the forest and to not light cigares, due to the danger of fire in the woods.

The protection of this area, that is our excellent natural and geological heritage, is our duty and our visitors duty.
This is a way to show to everyone, our tourism responsible philosophy and our ecological sensibility.

About 120 years ago, the Odontotos rack railway started from the seaside town of Diakofto, parallel to the river, and climbed to Kalavrita through bridges and tunnels. Since then the Vouraikos river and Odontotos go together.

The little train incorporated so well to the natural environment that it seems that it had always been there. The way it was constructed did not put a strain on the ecosystem of the gorge. Using stone and wood from the area the technicians' work is so perfect that someone may think that the nature worked on its own.

On this winter tour, we go up to Kalavrita by the local Odontotos rack train, that was decided and built in 1896. Odontotos is a railway line of small width from Diakofto to Kalavryta, 22 kilometers long, that was built with such modes, so as not to harm the natural environment. The construction of the line was done manually and therefore did not affect the natural environment of the Vouraikos Gorge. The rack trains of Odontotos are very small, have eco motors of Swiss origin and have zero emissions.

As a result, the train function is economically and ecologically beneficial. In this area of Achaia the environment has not been disturbed, the natural landscape is intact, the fauna and flora of the area remain alive and secure.

We are proud to transport our travelers from the seaside Diakofto to the mountainous Kalavryta, using the Odontotos train and not the road axis of the area. It is a great opportunity for all of us to keep our environment intact and cross one of the most beautiful areas of our homeland, admiring a unique nature full of beautiful rocks, caves, dense vegetation, rivers, waterfalls and wildflowers.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

Kalavrita is a mountain town in Peloponese, that is famous for its traditional dairy products and especially the P.D.O. (Protected Designation of Origin) feta cheese.

‘Designation of origin’ is a name which identifies a product:
- originating in a specific place, region or, in exceptional cases, a country
- whose quality or characteristics are essentially or exclusively due to a particular geographical environment with its inherent natural and human factors and the production steps of which all take place in the defined geographical area.

The Feta Cheese of Kalavrita is very popular among consumers for its special taste and it has become well known on the international markets in recent years. It is made with sheep’s milk or mixed with up to 20 % goat’s milk and is defined by a rich mature taste and a mild hardness. It matures in oak barrels for approximately 2-3 months as it exudes the mountain aromas. With its leading product the traditional feta cheese of the Kalavrita PDO, the Agricultural Dairy Cooperative of Kalavrita functions as one of the most important factors for economic and social equilibrium in the wider region of Kalavrita, contributing decisively to the stimulation of local employment and the development of the local economy, while offering many types of support to local farmers and breeders.

On our winter tour to Kalavrita, we will enjoy a cooking lesson dedicated to the feta cheese of the Agricultural Dairy Cooperative of the mountainous small town. After the lesson, we will taste traditional dishes of the area, cooked with feta cheese. By this way, we help the local community and its traditional products to become known to visitors from foreign countries.

On our tour we will visit a local winery, that is located in the region of Aegialia. It is a family bussiness run by Mr Panagiotis Papagiannopoulos, who is the soul of the winery.

Ensconced in his mountain lab or poking around vines in deep and murmuring thought, Oenologist and Winemaker Panagiotis Papagiannopoulos evokes a combination of mad scientist, naturalist and poet. The experimental vintner sits atop a wide-ranging, largely indigenous varietal selection produced in sky-high vineyards overlooking the Gulf of Corinth, and he’s just the man to wrangle these plots and grapes into organic wines that win awards. The 34 total acres of Tetramythos plots are planted between 1,968–3,444 feet and range from just under an acre to a little over four acres in size. Varieties like Malagousia, Roditis, Muscat Mikrorago, Agiorgitiko and Black Kalavrytino make up more than 85% of the overall production.
Cultivating grapes here requires organically managing high natural acidity as well as a variety of soils that range dramatically
from rocky to limestone to clay.

“The Corinthian Gulf provides a nice salinity to the wines, and the main mountains of the Peloponnese behind us protect from hot summer south winds from Africa", the owner says.

It is our duty to support such initiatives, which, despite all the financial difficulties of modern Greece, continue to do the best they can to promote Greek wine.

Our travel company stands beside all these creative Greek people and guide travelers to their wineries. By visiting local wineries, we help travelers to unterstand better the huge difficulties of small Greek bussiness in our days and the owners to promote their high quality products.

Climate

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