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Greece Mainland: Peloponnese

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Travel Extensions | 6 Days – 5 Nights Olive Picking Holidays in the wild and untamed Mani Peninsula

A unique tour, that takes you to one of the most extraordinary rugged lands in the world, the Mani peninsula. A rocky barren land, where nothing but the sturdy olive trees grow. Most villages were inaccessible by road till a few decades ago. The myth has it that the last of the ancient Spartans retreated in this unhospitable land to maintain their freedom. The stone towers fitting to the wild land are testimony to the hard and dangerous life of the past. Today Mani is a fascinating destination for a distinctive clientele looking for a unique holiday experience and a place where the best olive oil is produced using the ways of the ancient times.

Price: 590€ per person for Shared Accomodation in Local Houses
Dates: 04 - 09/11 | 11-16/11 | 18-23/11 | 25-30/11 | 02-07/12
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1st Day – Meet and greet
The starting point for our tour is Kalamata or Sparti. All participants will have to make their own way to the meeting point in Kalamata or Sparti at 15:00. Meet and greet at our meeting point, the bus station of Kalamata or Sparti where your tour leader will be waiting for you to transfer you to your accommodation in Mani and assure that you are cozy and comfortable.

The evening will be dedicated to the presentation of the olive tree life, history, myths and be focused on the practical parts of the procedure of picking olives which is a shared-knowledge of the Mediterranean residents that has been passed from generation to generation. Welcome dinner will be prepared for you where you can taste traditional Greek cuisine and have the chance to get to know each other as the olive picking is a collective procedure that requires team work.

2nd Day
Wake up to the life of a local farmer! We rise early in order to start picking before it gets too hot. After your breakfast, comprising entirely from local products you will be transferred to the olive grove where you will be introduced to olive picking. The process means placing nets under the trees and then by using a giant comb you have to make the ripe olives fall down the tree into the area of the nets, then the olives are collected into sacks or baskets. The job is hard but you will enjoy the peaceful natural environment and beautiful views. Light pic-nick lunch will be offered with traditional products of the land of Mani under the trees so as to relax for a while and be able to continue.
Early afternoon transfer to the sea for your much deserved swimming and relaxation. Our dinner awaits us.

3rd Day
This day will be also dedicated to olive picking, by now you are almost professionals since you already had the first day to practice. Lunch break and continue our activity up till the afternoon. Then there will be time to have a rest and we will meet again for the evening that will be devoted to the use of olive oil in the preparation of traditional Mediterranean recipes. We will get to know the way olive oil is used to enhance the taste of each dish. Dinner, prepared by your own hands with our assistance, will follow accompanied by local wines.

4th Day
Excursion day, we visit the Cape of Tainaron the southernmost point of the European continent, a place shrouded in myth for thousands of years. There is a cave at the top of the Cape that Greek legends claim was the home of Hades, the god of the dead. Its name derives from Tainaro, hero of Mythology, and son of Zeus, who built Tainaro city in the side of the isthmus of Acrotainarion peninsula.  A pirate hideout for hundreds of years, Cape Tainaro, was called Poseidion in the ancient times whereas in Frankish times referred as Cape Matapas, a name that is used in foreign sailing maps until today. We will visit the cave of Diros where you can admire the stalactites and stalagmites created millions of years ago. The visit in the cave is done by small boats, where the boatman becomes at the same time your tour guide who narrates the history of the cave in a tour of 1.200 meters.
We will continue the day by exploring the region of Mani. Dinner and overnight at our place of accommodation.

5th Day
Today we will do our final preparations of the olive picking and then we will carry our crop and go to the oil mill. We will observe the procedure of the oil extraction, where the fruit is passed through olive presses. An olive press works by applying pressure to olive paste to separate the liquid oil and vegetation water from the solid material. People have used olive presses since Greeks first began pressing olives over 5,000 years ago. Roman olive presses survive to the present time. Virgin and extra virgin olive oil is the pure extract of the olives without any thermal processing, as it was done for milennia.
Farewell dinner to celebrate this unique experience and taste the new olive oil. It will be the perfect time to exchange memories and photographs.

6th Day
Unfortunately, great things do not last forever and it is time for us to take you back to Kalamata where your trip back home will begin. You may choose to spend some days in Athens whose ancient inhabitants chose goddess Athena as their patriot saint and protector over the god of the sea, Poseidon, giving her name to the city, to show their appreciation for her timeless gift, an olive tree.
By the end of this journey, your luggage will be heavier because you will be carrying a bottle of your own produced virgin olive oil!
  • Accommodation for 5 nights
  • Transfers from Kalamata and to Kalamata
  • Transfer from and to the olive grove
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner for 5 days
  • Presentation of the olive tree life (1st Day)
  • Olive-picking learning (2nd Day)
  • Transfer and visit to the beach (2nd Day)
  • Cooking lesson with the use of olive oil (3rd Day)
  • Excursion to Mani (4th Day)
  • Visit to the Cape of Tainaron and to the cave of Diros (4th Day)
  • Visit to the oil mil and presentation of the procedure of oil extraction (5th Day)
  • Group leader Services
  • Collaboration with olive-picking specialists
  • Supply of all the necessary equipment and tools
  • A bottle of your own produced virgin olive oil!
In Eleftherios Venizelos Airport in Athens, outside the arrival hall you will find the buses terminal. The X93 bus that operates the itinerary from Athens Airport to the Central bus station of Kifisos is operated every 30 minutes.
In the Central bus station, you will have to look for the counter of Messinia buses where you can purchase your tickets to Kalamata. The bus schedule is the following, duration of trip approximately 3 hours:

06:30, 08:00 Express, 09:30, 10:30, 12:00 Express, 13:30, 15:00, 16:30 Express,
18:00, 19:30 Express, 22:30

Private transfer options:
Athens Airport to Central Bus station:
45 Euro per taxi per way, 1 – 3 persons
70 Euro per minibus per way, 4 – 7 persons
Athens airport to Mani accommodation:
250 Euro per taxi per way, 1 – 3 persons
300 Euro per minibus per way, 4 – 7 persons
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