Our epic journey starting and ending at Thessaloniki Airport will take us through stunning scenery of spectacular mountains, forests, gorges and lakes. We will be staying for one or two nights at a time in beautiful villages and other places of interest -- the hotel in Metsovo has an attached winery
The stars of the show
We can expect to see alpine Lilium carniolicum, woodland L. chalcedonicum,
L. martagon ssp. cattaniae, L. albanicum and the fabled L. rhodopeum. Finding these last two, we'll feel a real sense of achievement -- they'll need 4WD vehicles for the bad roads, and a lot of hard walking. For L. albanicum the day involves several kilometres on foot from the road head at 1,800 m, to reach its site at 2,400 m.
We will also visit an area with a strong population of Lilium candidum. Though their season is earlier we may be lucky and find one or two still in flower
A treasure-trove of other wild flowers
This beautiful region of Greece is sparsely populated and very rich in wild flowers. Our long week (and long drives) will take us through many different habitats, each with its own specialities.
On the mountain slopes we can expect such combinations as Digitalis viridiflora, Dianthus deltoides, Viola doerfleri and Campanula foliosa with its unusual globular heads, or perhaps Hypericum olympicum, Anthyllis aurea and Digitalis lanata. Elsewhere will be many orchids such as Dactylorhiza saccifera, Gymnadenia conopsea and impressive spikes of Himantoglossum caprinum, with other flowers such as Anthericum liliago, Pinguicula crystallina and Morina persica.