Ioannina

SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH US

The Capital of Enlightenment

Authentic Villages with Spectacular Sceneries of Absolute Beauty Where Nature Travels Beyond Your Imagination

Blessed with impressive mountains, spectacular gorges and flowing rivers, Epirus boasts some of the most spectacular sceneries of the country. Epirus is a genuine wonder of nature and history with an unprecedented wealth of culture and tradition that no words could ever describe. The essence of Epirus is concealed behind two mysterious words; raw beauty. Favored from nature lovers, Epirus is a land of mountains with authentic villages and beautiful lakes that invites you to explore them through its stone bridges. The silverish shades of Lake Pamvotida and the snowish mountaintops of Pindus Mountain protect the city of Ioannina just like safeguards. Conquered from the glorious Ali Pasha, Ioannina was once the capital of Enlightment. Ioannina, the beautiful capital of Epirus, is a city where history and tradition blends in a mysterious way; her beauty creates a puzzle of illusions that echoes on the waters of Pamvotida Lake. On this enchanting corner of Greece, you might feel like you stepped back to forgotten centuries with elements of the twenty-first century floating around the city. The old part of the city has managed to preserve a rich heritage with outstanding samples of folklore architecture, a wonderful reminder of the city’s past. The oasis of the water, the chirping of the birds, the reeds of ducks and the fallen leaves create a promising canvas of a perfect dream. Time stops within the fortified walls of the old city where the mysterious journey of yours begins; the oldest Byzantine castle of the country, the castle of Ioannina, will make you want to stay here forever in order to observe the unimaginable beauty of the city from the top; a unique experience! Emblematic at its best, Pamvotida Lake is the true jewel of Ioannina while the lakeside pathway with the plane trees is the real treasure for nature lovers. Whether you want to enjoy your promenade with you other half or you are an amateur photographer, it is certain that you will fall in love with this lake. Under the dense misty atmosphere of the winter, the deep blue sky tries to surpass the colour of the crystalline waters of Pamvotida while unfolding the mysteries of Ioannina. From the fascinating natural ecstasis of the 46 villages of Zagorohoria, a journey filled with captivating sceneries where picturesqueness is at its best, the wilderness of Vikos-Aoos Natural Park and the view from the bridge of Konitsa to the authentic hospitality of Tzoumerka, the traditional character of Metsovo and the historical power of Dodona ancient theatre, the prefecture of Ioannina has it all. Stone Zagori for romantic getaways, wild Tzoumerka for authentic sceneries, traditional Metsovo for ski enthusiasts, beautiful Konitsa and Arachthos River for adrenaline seekers and unknown Pogoni for its remoteness. Undoubtedly, the prefecture of Ioannina will surpass your expectations with its pristine beauties and its undiscovered treasures!  What else you might need to explore your own mountain Odyssey?

Discover Ioannina

Best of Ioannina

The Ancient Theatre of Dodoni

The Ancient Theatre of Dodoni is one of the best preserved theatres of Ancient Greece able to accommodate up to 18 thousands spectators. The huge cavea of the theatre had been shaped into the natural cavity at the foothills of Tomaros Mountain. Historical texts testify that the theatre was constructed under Pyrrhus, the king of the Molossians, who united the tribes of Epirus in the 3rd century. Following the destruction of Dodoni from the Aetolians (219 BC), the theatre was rebuilt several times from the Aetolians and the Romans. The theatre was used as a venue for numerous cultural events tat eventually stopped to avoid the deterioration of the theatre.

The Castle of Ioannina

The Castle of Ioannina is the oldest castle of the country located on the southeast part of the city. It is the oldest Byzantine castle of Greece that was first constructed as part of the fortification project of the Byzantine Empire from Emperor Justinian. Over the years, Ioannina castle evolved into a flourishing center. Ali Pasha, the symbol of the Ottoman Empire, used the castle as his headquarters, and it was in fact the biggest administrative center of Greece during the Turkish rule. In 1815, Ali Pasha rebuilt the castle almost from its foundations in order to make it impregnable. Ioannina Castle comprises from the exterior walls, the southeast citadel of Itch-Cale, the northwest citadel with the Aslan Mosque and the castle town/old city of Ioannina.   Within the walls of the castle, there are many important buildings of the Ottoman occupation including the Aslan Pasha Mosque, the Turkish Baths, the Soufari Sarai, aka the headquarters of Ali Pasha, the Fetiché Mosque, the Tomb of Ali Pasha and the Byzantine Museum.

The Gorge of Vikos

The Gorge of Vikos is the deepest gorge in the world located in Pindus Mountains of Northern Greece. The gorge has a length of 20 kilometers and a depth ranging from 120 to 490 meters lying on the southern slopes of Tymfi Mount. Vikos Gorge is found on the core zone of the Vikos-Aoos National Park in Zagori beginning from the villages of Monodentri and Koukouli and ending at close to Vikos/Vitsiko village. Lovers of hiking can follow the sign-posted trail that descends into the gorge from the village of Monodentri, and then leads to the springs of Voidomatis River and the village of Papigo. It is worth noting that there is a natural viewing platform at Oxia (3km from Monodentri) that overlooks to the deepest part of Vikos Gorge.

The Island of Pamvotida Lake

The Island of Ioannina is the sole anonymous island of Lake Pamvotida located on the northwest part of the lake. It is an unbelievable beautiful island with great historical significance covered from lush vegetation. Ioannina Island and the Agios Achilles Island in Prespa Lake are the sole lake inhabited islands in Greece. The village of the island is a real gem with traditional houses and picturesque cobblestone alleys that has been designated as an example of a traditional settlement due to its architectural beauty and its historical importance. The main monuments of the island include the Pre-Revolutionary Period Museum housed in a cell of Panteleimonas Monastery, the Monastery of Philanthropinon for its rich history and the Monastery of Prophet Elias for its panoramic vistas. It is highly recommended to follow the path (2.5 kilometers) that goes around the island. Ioannina Island can be reached by boat from the city of Ioannina.

The National Park of Vikos-Aoos

The National Park of Vikos-Aoos is one of the ten national parks of the country located on the northern part of Pindus Mountain Range. The national park is part the ecological network of Natura 2000 and the UNESCO Geoparks Network. The main part of the park comprises from the spectacular gorge of Vikos carved from the river of Voidomatis. The remoteness of the park and the small human population of the area favor the rich variety of flora and the great variation of biotopes. Vikos Aoos National Park is offered for many activities including canoeing, hiking, mountain biking and rafting.

The Town of Konitsa

The Town of Konitsa is a mountainous town located on the mountain slopes of Pindus Mountains. Characterized as one of the most beautiful villages of Greece, Konitsa has an authentic atmosphere and a traditional spirit spreading amphitheatrically on Trapezitsa Mountain. Majestic mountains, dense forests, impressive gorges, rushing rivers and picturesque villages compose the diverse landscape of the wider area of Konitsa. Konitsa has managed to preserve the traditional character of the architecture of Epirus through its stone mansions, its wonderful churches and monasteries, its cobblestone alleys and its traditional stone bridges. The most important monuments of the area include the Mosque of Sultan Suleiman for its architectural heritage, the Bridge of Konitsa, a genuine masterpiece of art, the bridge of Klidonia, one of the most beautiful bridges of Epirus with marvelous views to Voidomatis River and the Stomio Monastery for its beautiful Byzantine icons. The region of Konitsa is offered for all kinds of adventure activities, as it is situated next to a fertile plain watered from Aoos, Sarantaporos and Voidomatis Rivers. In fact, Konitsa is considered to be the capital of alternative activities by many. Places of interest of Konitsa’s wider region include Drakolimni Lake, one of the few alpine lakes of the country, Smolikas Mountain, Greece’s second highest mountain whose altitude reaches 2.637 meters, Vikos-Aoos National Park, a paradise for natural explorations and outdoor activities including canoeing, hiking, mountain biking and rafting, and Karavasila Sulphur Springs, one of the country’s thermal springs suitable for numerous diseases to 32 degrees of Celsius. Karavasila springs are suitable for numerous diseases including arthritic diseases, skin diseases, gynecological and neurological disorders and rheumatism. Konitsa is an ideal destination for exploring the wider region of Pindus National Park. The nearest town to Konitsa is Ioannina. Find more information from Konitsa Official Website.

The Town of Metsovo

The Town of Metsovo is a mountainous town located on the mountain slopes of Pindus. Nestling at an altitude of 1.300 meters, Metsovo is one of the most picturesque villages of Greece. Set amidst verdant greenery, travellers will be enchanted from the natural scenery and the wild beauty of Metsovo that changes through the four seasons of the year. Some of the largest rivers of the country including Aoos, Arachthos and Penaeus derive from the mountains surrounding Metsovo. Metsovo has managed to maintain its traditional character through the unique architecture of the settlement with its stone houses, its cobblestone alleys, its traditional fountains, its picturesque monasteries, its local cuisine and the observance of the customs that have contributed to the preservation of culture and tradition of the area. Worth visiting sights include the Monastery of Agios Nikolaos for its impressive wall paintings and its imposing architectural style, the Averoff Art Gallery for its enormous collection of paintings from local painters of the 19th and 20th centuries and the Folklore Museum of Tositsa that represents the outline of the traditional local house of Metsovo. Metsovo is one of the most popular winter resorts of the country, as it has three ski resorts including Karakoli, Politsies and Anilio. So, adventure enthusiasts can practice skiing and snowboarding on the wild snowy slopes of Pindus. Metsovo has it also for nature lovers as it is blessed with the finest of nature. Whether you want to go for mountain biking around Aoos Lake or you desire to explore the unique sceneries of Valia Calda National Park, it is certain that the natural beauty of Metsovo will take your breath away. Metsovo is famous for its dairy products including metsovone metsovella and metsovisio cheeses that you will not find them anywhere else in Greece and its winemaking tradition. However, Metsovo is also famous for its woodcarvings and stone craftsmen. Undoubtedly, Metsovo is a destination you must visit.

The Villages of Zagorohoria

The 46 Villages of Zagorohoria is one of the most beautiful regions of the country located at the foothills of Pindus Mountains. Zagori derives from the Slavic language meaning behind the mountains. The 46 villages of Zagorohoria are a complex of traditional villages that distinguish for their authentic character, their natural beauty, their unique architecture and their picturesqueness. Zagorohoria are situated in an area with rich flora and fauna, of the richest in Greece. Zagorohoria is an area of one thousands square meters divided into the regions of West Zagori, East Zagori and Central Zagori. West Zagori is located on the northwest side of Ioannina consisting from the villages of Agios Minas, Aristi, Elafotopos, Mikro and Megalo Papigo, Mesovouni and Vikos. East Zagori is located on the northeast side of Ioannina consisting from the villages of Vardas Valley including Elatohori, Greveniti, Flabourari, Makrino and Tristeno, the villages of Zagoritikos including Anthrakitis, Doliani, Karyes and Kavalliara, along with the villages of Agia Paraskevi Demati, Itea, Kastanona, Petra, Potamia and Vovousa. Central Zagori is situated on the north side of Ioannina consisting from the villages of Ano Pedina, Asprangeli, Dilofo, Dikorfo, Dipotamo, Elati, Frangades, Iliohori, Kapesovo, Kato Pedina, Kipi, Koukouli, Laista, Leptokaria, Monodentri, Negades, Skamneli, Tsepelovo, Vitsa, Vradeto and Vrisohori. The most important monument of Zagori include the beautiful Voidomatis River, the spectacular Vikos Gorge, the deepest gorge in the world, the traditional stone bridges of Zagori, the Vradeto Stairs, and the Dragon Lake of Tymfi, one of the few alpine lakes of the country. The region of Zagori is one of the most popular places of the country for extreme sports including climbing, kayaking, mountain biking, paragliding and rafting. Some of the most beautiful villages of Zagori include Aristi, Dilofo, Kipi, Monodentri, Mikro and Megalo Papigo, Tsepelovo, Vitsa and Vovousa.

Archaeological Sites

The Ancient Theatre of Dodoni is one of the best preserved theatres of Ancient Greece able to accommodate up to 18 thousands spectators. The huge cavea of the theatre had been shaped into the natural cavity at the foothills of Tomaros Mountain. Historical texts testify that the theatre was constructed under Pyrrhus, the king of the Molossians, who united the tribes of Epirus in the 3rd century. Following the destruction of Dodoni from the Aetolians (219 BC), the theatre was rebuilt several times from the Aetolians and the Romans. The theatre was used as a venue for numerous cultural events tat eventually stopped to avoid the deterioration of the theatre.

The Archaeological Site of Dodoni was the most important spiritual and religious center of northwest Greece whose importance is related to the worship of Zeus, the father of the gods. Dodona was also known for its oracle, which is considered to the best most ancient of the country as evidences from the epics of Homer. Archaeological evidence suggests that the site of Dodona was occupied since the Bronze Age. The cult of Zeus was brought from the Thesprotian tribe of Seli. According to local tradition, Zeus Naios together with Dioni, his wife, used to be worshipped here. Aphrodite’s, their daughter, and Themi’s cult was introduced later who were worshipped as naian gods, aka the gods who shared the same houses and temple. Various spiritual ceremonies were performed outdoors around the sacred tree, where the divine couple of Dioni and Zeus resided. Lots of offerings such as statuettes, weapons and jewelry indicate that settlers from Greek cities were colonizing Epirus shores. As Dodona was isolated from the rest of the country, its building activity remained simple and the sanctuary remained outdoors. The first signs of building activity back to the fourth century BC from the sanctuary’s most impressive buildings include the Bouleuterion, the prytaneum, the stadium and the theatre that used to host the Naian Games in honor of Zeus. Although the sanctuary was destroyed from the Aetolians in 219 BC, it was reconstructed until it was destroyed again from the Romans. The sanctuary was reestablished from the Romans, and its theatre was converted into an arena that was visited from Emperor Handian in 132 AD. The worshiping rituals continued up until the four century BC; however, Christianity replaced the old religion. Excavations yielded a large number of findings and the theatre now hosts numerous theatrical performances.

Bridges

The Bridge of Kaber Aga is a single-arched stone bridge located in the village of Miliotades. The bridge has an arch of 18 meters in length and 5 meters in height. It used to serve the communication between the villages of Eastern Zagori and Ioannina. The bridge was funded from Kaber Aga.

The Bridge of Kalogeriko, else known as the bridge of Plakidas, is one of the most beautiful stone bridges of Zagorohoria located in the villages of Kipi and Koukouli of central Zagori. It is a three-arched bridge that was constructed in 1814. In the beginning, the bridge was wooden but its was converted into a stone bridge with the kind donation of monk Seraphim from the Kipi Monastery.

The Bridge of Klidonia, else known as the bridge of Voidomatis, is a single arched stone bridge located at the end of Vikos Gorge in the village of Klidonia. The bridge was constructed 1853 in order to facilitate the communication between West Zagori to Konitsa. Klidonia Bridge is one of the most beautiful bridges of Epirus with marvelous views to Voidomatis river.

The Bridge of Kokkori, else known as the bridge of Noutsou, is a single-arched stone bridge located between the villages of Dilofo, Koukouli and Kipi in central Zagori. The bridge was first built with the kind donation of Noutsos Kontodimos in 1750 while its was renovated from Grigoris Kokoris.

The Bridge of Konitsa, else known as the bridge of Aoos, is one of the most beautiful stone bridges of Epirus that was built from the Foreman Ziogas Frontzos from Pyrsogianni in 1870. Its enormous arch is considered to be the biggest arch in the Balkans, as its opening has a height of twenty meters. Konitsa Bridge is found in a captivating location where Aoos River flows under the arch and Aoos Gorge impresses with its natural beauty. The bridge still preserves its bell that used to warn for the powerful winds that rendered that cross it is dangerous; Konitsa Bridge is a genuine masterpiece of art!

The Bridge of Kontodimos, else known as the bridge of Lazaridis, is a single-arched stone bridge located in the ravine of Mikros Vikos. The bridge was constructed from Tolis Kontodimos in 1753. Kontodimos Bridge is accessible through a picturesque cobblestone road from the village of Koukouli.

The Bridge of Mavri Petra is an impressive single-arched stone bridge located in the village of Pournia. It is estimated that the bridge was built around 1853. Although the bridge used to have two arches, only one was saved with the passage of time. The uniqueness of Mavri Petra Bridge is the spectacular stone representation of Almighty that has been drawn on the rock in order to protect the travellers.

The Bridge of Milos is a two-arched stone bridge located in Bagiotikos River close to the village of Kipi in central Zagori. Milos Bridge, built in 1749, distinguishes for its verdurous natural sceneries. On Epiphany’s Day, January 6, priests throw the cross from the top of bridge in order to commemorate the presentation of Jesus Christ to the three wise men.

The Bridge of Misios is a single-arched stone bridge that was build from Alexis Misios in 1748. The bridge stands out for its spectacular views to the Gorge of Vikos. It is accessible from the old cobblestone road of Skala Vitsa between the villages of Koukouli and Vitsa in central Zagori.

The Bridge of Nonulos is a single arched stone bridge located in Xylogefyro region just outside the village of Dolo. The bridge was constructed in 1908 from Nonulo in order to ensure the secure transportation of her donkey and herself.

The Bridge of Papastathis is one of the most beautiful bridges of Epirus located in the beginning of the ravine of Arachthos River. It is a four-arched stone bridge, one of the few that have survived up until today. The bridge used to serve the residents of Sirrako and Kalarrites for their transportation to the city of Ioannina. Unfortunately, the impetuous flow of the river has destroyed parts of this historical bridge and it is not feasible to cross the river.

The Bridge of Plaka is a single arched stone bridge found above the waters of Arachthos River between the prefectures of Arta and Ioannina. Unfortunately, the bridge collapsed due to the floods on February of 2015. It was the largest singe-arched bridges of Greece and the Balkans and the third largest single-arched bridge in Europe. The bridge was built upon the order or Sultan Abdülaziz in 1866 under the supervision of the famous local builder Kostas Bekas from Pramanta village. Fortunately enough, Nikos Loulis, the seventh generation of the millers’ family tradition who comes from Katsanohoria, will undertake the expenses of the restoration of Plaka Bridge.

The Bridge of Politsa is a single-arched stone bridge located on the southern part of the ravine of Arachthos River. The bridge distinguishes for its rich natural beauty and its fantastic views to the river. Unfortunately, the new asphalt bridge was built right next to it and spoils the sight.

The Bridge of Theogefyro, aka the bridge of god, is one of the most beautiful natural bridges of Epirus hanging over the river of Kalamas close to Lithino village. Theogefyro is mentioned in many local legends constituting an active part in the folklore tradition of Epirus. The bridge of Theogefyro distinguishes for its wild beauty and its verdurous vegetation.

The Bridge of Tsipiani is a single-arched stone bridge located above Vardas River close to the village of Miliotades in East Zagori. The bridge was constructed in 1785. Tsipiani Bridge stands out for its picturesqueness and its verdurous sceneries.

The Stairs of Vradeto is one of the most impressive sights of Zagorohoria. The stairs were built to connect the villages of Kapesovo with Vradeto in the beginning of the 18th century. The stairs have a length of 1.500 meters with more than one thousands steps attracting many hiking enthusiasts.

Castles & Fortresses

The Castle of Ioannina is the oldest castle of the country located on the southeast part of the city. It is the oldest Byzantine castle of Greece that was first constructed as part of the fortification project of the Byzantine Empire from Emperor Justinian. Over the years, Ioannina castle evolved into a flourishing center. Ali Pasha, the symbol of the Ottoman Empire, used the castle as his headquarters, and it was in fact the biggest administrative center of Greece during the Turkish rule. In 1815, Ali Pasha rebuilt the castle almost from its foundations in order to make it impregnable. Ioannina Castle comprises from the exterior walls, the southeast citadel of Itch-Cale, the northwest citadel with the Aslan Mosque and the castle town/old city of Ioannina.   Within the walls of the castle, there are many important buildings of the Ottoman occupation including the Aslan Pasha Mosque, the Turkish Baths, the Soufari Sarai, aka the headquarters of Ali Pasha, the Fetiché Mosque, the Tomb of Ali Pasha and the Byzantine Museum.

Churches and Monasteries

The Church of Agios Athanasios is the cathedral of Ioannina located in the district of Siarava. Historical texts identify that the first temple was constructed in 1619 to 1669. Following the burning of the city from the Ottomans, the church was rebuilt from Bishop Joachim of Melenikos during the 18th century. The interior of the church is decorated with impressive frescoes and wall paintings that were created from the local painters Constantine and Theodosius in 1835 and the wood carved iconostasis of Agios Athanasios. The church of Agios Athanasios distinguishes for its imposing bell tower designed from P. Melliritos.

The Monastery of Dourahani is one of the most important spiritual centers located on the eastern shores of Pamvotida Lake. According to tradition, the monastery was founded from Pasha Dourahan in 1434 when he passed with his troops over the frozen lake of Ioannina without any harm. Pasha Dourahan considered that Virgin Mary helped them escape and constructed the monastery to honor her. Douharani Monastery played an important role due to its charitable and social action in the wider region of Ioannina.

The Monastery of Kastritsa, else known as Agios Ioannis Prodromos Monastery, is located on the hill of Kastritsa on the southeast side of Lake Pamvotida. Tradition has it that the monastery was first constructed in the Byzantine times while it took its present form in the 17th century. It is an important nunnery remarkable for its social work. Kastritsa Monastery offers panoramic views to the lake of Pamvotida.

The Monastery of Kipina is one of the most beautiful monasteries located outside the village of Kalarrites. Built inside a rock, the monastery was constructed in honor of the Assumption of Virgin Mary in 1349. Its name probably originates from the gardens that used to be cultivated from monks of the monastery. The construction of the monastery is quite impressive, as every part of the rock has been taken advantage of. The main church of the monastery distinguishes for its beautiful wall paintings. Inside the monastery, there is a secret door that leads to the crypt, which was used as a hideout in the period of the national resistance. The path leading to the monastery is carved in the side of the rock. Kipina Monastery offers panoramic views to the wild ridges of Tzoumerka Mountains.

The Monastery of Molivdoskepasti is one of the most impressive byzantine monuments of Epirus located in the village of Konitsa. It is the oldest monastery of Epirus that was built from the Byzantine Emperor Constantine Pogonatos in 668 AC. Molivdoskepasti Monastery owes its name to the lead roof that used to have, as Molivdoskepasti means with a roof of lead in Greek. The main church is separated from the narthex from a wooden door carved with representations from the Bible, an exquisite symbol of Byzantine art while the beautiful hagiographies date back to the 16th century. The monastery celebrates in honor of the saint on August 15.

The Monastery of Philanthropinon is one of the most important Byzantine monuments monasteries of the country located on the western side of the island of Ioannina.  According to the inscriptions, the monastery was founded in the byzantine period while it was restored from the monk and priest of the Metropolitan Church of Ioannina named Michael Philanthropinos in 1291. The noble family of Philanthropinon settled in Ioannina from Constantinople after the fall of Constantinople in 1204. The monastery reached its highest point of prosperity in the 16th century. The present building complex comprises from the main church, the two-storeyed buildings of the cells, the cemetery and the dining rooms. The interior of the monastery is decorated with well-preserved wall paintings of splendid art including full-body paintings of seven ancient philosophers namely Apollonius, Aristotle, Hilon, Plato, Plutarch, Solon and Thucydides. The educative character of the hagiographies is related with the spiritual prosperity of the monastery, as it used to house a school.

The Monastery of Tsouka is one of the most important pilgrimage centers of Ioannina built at the top of a hill close to the village of Elliniko. According to tradition, the monastery was founded from Emperor Issakios B’ Aggelos in 1190. The church of the monastery is dedicated to the Birth of Virgin Mary that celebrates on September 8. Tsouka Monastery offers panoramic views over Arachthos Ravine.

The Monastery of Viliza is located close to the village of Matsouki. Nestling at an altitude of 1.050 meters, the monastery offers spectacular vistas to the wild sceneries of Epirus. Inscriptions testify that the monastery was renovated in 1783 while its construction date is unknown. The cells that surround the temple stand out for their wall paintings from the 16th century.

Monuments

The Clock Tower of Ioannina is one of the trademarks of Ioannina located at the central square of the city. The clock tower was constructed in 1905 under the commission of the Governor of Albania and Epirus namely Osman Pasha Kurd. It was the location that Greek patriots hanged themselves on February of 1913 while members of the United Panhellenic Organization of Youth, a Greek resistance organization of the Second World War, raised the Greek flag on February of 1944. Unfortunately, the clock was damaged after an accident during the parade of the artillery in 1918 that led to the dismantling and restoration to its present location (1925). The clock tower distinguishes for its impressive Venetian bell and its exquisite Ottoman symbols. Ioannina Clock Tower has been declared as a cultural and historical monument from the State of Greece.

The Environmental Park of Bourazani is an area of two thousands hectares dedicated to the wildlife of Epirus. The main aim of the park is the good treatment and attendance of the animals, the preservation of their natural balance and the observation of the animals in their natural environment. The museum of natural history of the park displays an extensive collection of photographic material of the flora and fauna of the region.

The Kahal Kadosh Yashan Synagogue is one of the largest surviving buildings of Greece located in the city of Ioannina. The original structure of the synagogue dates back to the Byzantine period that served as the first official house of worship for the Jewish community of Ioannina. Although the synagogue has been restored twice, the building still retains its original character. The synagogue managed to survive the occupation as a result of the efforts of Ioannina mayor, Demetrios Vlachides, who persuaded the Germans that the Greeks would use the building as a library and the items would be placed in a municipal museum. The Jewish community of Ioannina is mentioned from the Byzantine period that served as an important factor in the local history and economy until the Nazi persecution. Today, the treasures of the synagogue still remain in New York and Jerusalem.

The Mosque of Aslan is an Ottoman mosque located in the city of Ioannina. The mosque was constructed in the castle of the city in 1618. Since 1933, the mosque houses the Ethnographic Museum of Ioannina.

The Mosque of Fethiye is an Ottoman mosque located in the city of Ioannina. The mosque was constructed within the castle of the city following the conquest from the Ottomans in 1430. Originally, the mosque has a wooden structure that was replaced from a stone structure in 1611. However, the mosque was remodeled from Ali Pasha who made the main mosque of his palace in 1795. The graves of the family of Alia Pasha and himself are located next to the mosque.

The Sheepfold of the Sarakatsani is an open-air museum located in Gyftokambos Skamneli. The Sarakatsani are a nomadic tribe with no permanent habitation, one of the purest Greek races who are thought to be descendants of the original pastoral tribes of Homeric Greece. Today, the Sarakatsani people form part of the scattered communities of Epirus who gather on the first weekend of August in Gyftokambos of central Zagori. The museum is dedicated to the Sarakatsan life through their traditional wooden huts and storages in the mountains. The museum is located close to Tsepelovo village.

The Stairs of Vradeto is one of the most impressive sights of Zagorohoria. The stairs were built to connect the villages of Kapesovo with Vradeto in the beginning of the 18th century. The stairs have a length of 1.500 meters with more than one thousands steps attracting many hiking enthusiasts.

The Stoa of Louli is one of the most popular commercial points of Ioannina located on Anexartisias (Independence) Street. Stoa Louli was the historical center of the city of Ioannina where the three religious ethnicities namely the Christians, the Muslims and the Jewish coexisted for many years. In the beginning Stoa Louli served as a khan while it later became a commercial center. Despite its destruction from the fire of 1869, Stoa Louli still retains its traditional beauty as one of the most picturesque spots of the city.

Museums

The Archaeological Museum of Ioannina is located in Litharitsa Park in the city center. The museum exhibits archeological findings of international fame from the wider area of Epirus. The most important exhibits come from the Archaeological Site of Dodoni and the Oracle of Acheron. The collections are displayed in seven halls in a total surface of 1.200 square meters, as they cover a wide time span from the Paleolithic times up until the Roman times.

The Byzantine Museum of Ioannina is housed in one of the buildings of the acropolis within the castle of Ioannina. The museum includes collections of Early Christian and Byzantine sculptures, post Byzantine icons from the churches of the prefecture, excavation findings from Arta, ceramics and books. The collection of the silver items is kept in the so-called Treasure House, a separate 19th century building on the acropolis. The most important exhibits include a fragment of a wall painting from the church of Kokkini Ecclesia at Voulgarelio, a marble fragment of an iconostasis from Gliki, a manuscript gospel from the monastery of Molivdoskepasti, an icon depicting the engagement of Agia Aikaterini and a wall painting depicting the battle of Constantine the Great at the Milvian Bridge.

The Ethnographic Museum of Ioannina is housed in the Aslan Pasha Mosque with the castle of Ioannina. Its permanent exhibition includes pottery items, pictures, jewelry, weapons, wood-carved pieces of furniture, textiles and other personal objects that belonged to historical personalities.

The Folklore Museum of Ioannina is housed in a renovated neoclassical building. The collections of the museum include an extensive variety of folklore items including church items, ceramics, local costumes, pottery items, silversmiths, woodcarving and traditional works of art. The exhibits of the folklore museum of Ioannina are considered to be unique in the area of Epirus.

The Folklore Collection of Kostas Avdikos is located in the village of Sirrako. The museum collections include authentic furniture, weaving and embroideries, traditional costumers and other folklore objects of the traditional life of the residents of Sirrako from the 19th century.

The Municipal Art Gallery of Ioannina is housed in the neoclassical mansion of Pirsinella. The permanent exhibition of the gallery include over five hundred pieces of art paintings made from famous Greek artists.

The Municipal Museum of Ioannina is housed in the mosque of Aslan Pasha in the castle of Ioannina. The museum exhibits traditional costumes, collection of silver and wooden items, traditional textile works, various vessels and furniture.

The Museum of Epirus Craftsmen is one of the most important museums of Epirus located in the village of Pyrsogianni. The museum is dedicated to the contribution of the stone craftsmen of Epirus. Its collections include pictures, stamps, tools and stamps related to the secret language of craftsmen known as koudaritika.

The Museum of the National Resistance is housed in a reconstructed mentrese (Muslim School) opposite the Cultural Center of the Municipality of Ioannina. The museum is dedicated to the Greek Resistance against the Axis occupation during the Second World War.

The Museum of Traditional Jobs of Elafotopos is housed in the old primary school of the village of Elafotopos. Its collections include hundreds of objects related to the traditional jobs in the area of Zagori kindly donated from its founder, Mihalis Economides.

The Pavlos Vrellis Greek History Wax Museum is the best known was museum of Greece located in the village of Bizani. It is a private museum that was founded from sculptor Pavlos Vrellis. The museum exhibits 150 wax models inspired from various events of the Greek history such as the Greek War of Independence and the Second World War.

The Pre-Revolutionary Period Museum is housed in the Monastery of Panteleimonas at the Island of Ioannina. Ali Pasha was assassinated in the cells of the monastery in 1822. The collections of the museum include personal items of Ali Pasha and exhibits from the pre-revolutionary period.

The Watermills Museum Bourazani is located in the village of Bourazani. Interesting collections display the important role of watermills in the lives of people of Epirus.

Natural Beauties

The Cave of Anemotripa is an impressive cave with one of the largest internal lakes in Greece located in the village of Pramanta. It is one of the most interesting caves of the prefecture that distinguishes for its beautiful stalactite and stalagmite decorations. It length is 350 meters forming small lakes and an underground river. It is worth noting that this is quite a rare phenomenon in Greece.

The Cave of Perama is one of the most beautiful caves of Europe located at Goritsa hill in the village of Perama. Perama Cave was used as a shelter from the residents of the villages in order to protect themselves from the bombardments of the Second World War. Although the cave was created one million years ago, it was discovered from Ioannis Petrohilos in 1951, the first in size and beauty that was ever found in Greece. Nestling at an altitude of 450 meters, the cave distinguishes for its numerous kinds of stalactites and stalagmites, 19 in number. Perama Cave is an ideal place for speleology lovers.

The Gorge of Aoos River is the less known gorge of Epirus located between the southern slopes of Trapezitsa Mountain with the northwestern slopes of Tymfi Mountain. The gorge stands out for its various types of forest ecosystems and its exquisite rivers and waterfalls. The gorge has a length of 8 kilometers starting from the singe-arched bridge of Aoos that leads to the village of Palioseli. The historical monastery of Stomio is found close to the waterfall of Gravos. Another route moves from the bridge of Konitsa to the Monastery of Stomio, the lake of Drakolimni and the peak of Gamila. It is worth mentioning that Aoos River is one of the most popular destinations for canoeing and rafting.

The Gorge of Kouvaras is one of the most beautiful gorges of Epirus ideal for natural lovers and natural explorations. The gorge, which distinguishes for its verdant vegetation and its rare species of fauna, passes through the crystalline waters of Kouvaras River and the fairytale stone bridges of Epirus. There are two paths that one can access Kouvaras Gorge in order to discover the beauty and majesty of Epirus countryside; one path begins from the village of Pogoniani while the other path starts from the village of Dolo.

The Gorge of Vikos is the deepest gorge in the world located in Pindus Mountains of Northern Greece. The gorge has a length of 20 kilometers and a depth ranging from 120 to 490 meters lying on the southern slopes of Tymfi Mount. Vikos Gorge is found on the core zone of the Vikos-Aoos National Park in Zagori beginning from the villages of Monodentri and Koukouli and ending at close to Vikos/Vitsiko village. Lovers of hiking can follow the sign-posted trail that descends into the gorge from the village of Monodentri, and then leads to the springs of Voidomatis River and the village of Papigo. It is worth noting that there is a natural viewing platform at Oxia (3km from Monodentri) that overlooks to the deepest part of Vikos Gorge.

The Island of Ioannina is the sole anonymous island of Lake Pamvotida located on the northwest part of the lake. It is an unbelievable beautiful island with great historical significance covered from lush vegetation. Ioannina Island and the Agios Achilles Island in Prespa Lake are the sole lake inhabited islands in Greece. The village of the island is a real gem with traditional houses and picturesque cobblestone alleys that has been designated as an example of a traditional settlement due to its architectural beauty and its historical importance. The main monuments of the island include the Pre-Revolutionary Period Museum housed in a cell of Panteleimonas Monastery, the Monastery of Philanthropinon for its rich history and the Monastery of Prophet Elias for its panoramic vistas. It is highly recommended to follow the path (2.5 kilometers) that goes around the island. Ioannina Island can be reached by boat from the city of Ioannina.

The Lake of Aoos Springs is an artificial lake located at an altitude of 1.300 meters in the plateau of Politsies. The lake became an important biotope whose waters have been enriched with fish channeled in Metsovitikos River. Aoos Springs Lake is an ideal destination for winter as it is surrounded from the snowish mountain slopes with it becomes colorful with millions of flowers in spring. Keep in mind that fishing in the Lake of Aoos is illegal. Aoos Lake is an excellent side trip from Metsovo.

The Lake of Drakolimni Tymfi is an alpine lake located in the mountain of Tymfi. Drakolimni literally means Dragon Lake in English. Local folktales say that the lake used to be inhabited from dragons that fought each other by throwing rocks creating peculiar sceneries. The lake was created ten thousands years ago due to the melting of the glaciers. Drakolimni Lake resides at an altitude of 2.050 meters above the sea level accessible from the village of Mikro Papigo. The hiking duration usually lasts five hours.

The Lake of Pamvotida is the largest lake of Epirus and the second oldest lake in Europe located in the city of Ioannina. It is a very fragile ecosystem that belongs to the European Network of Natura 2000 due to its important rare flora and fauna species. The lake is closely related with the sensational story of Lady Frosini, a love story between the independent spirit of Lady Frosini and the provocative air of Mukhtar, the son of Ali Pasha. Ali Pasha was forced was forced from his family to capture Lady Frosini along with 17 other women and condemn them to drowning in the lake. The appearance of the lake creates magical landscapes in all four seasons. The Island of Ioannina is the inhabited island of Pamvotida, the true jewel of the lake, whose village has been designated as an example of a traditional settlement due to its architectural beauty and its historical importance. Pamvotida Lake offers perfect conditions for canoeing, kayaking and waterskiing. Ligiades Village is the place where you can admire one of the most breathtaking views of the Pamvotida Lake and Ioannina city.

The Mountain of Grammos is one of the most famous mountains of Greece located at the borderlines between Albania and Greece. Grammos is the fourth highest mountain of Greece. Its highest peak is located at Tsouka Peltsik altitude of 2.521. Grammos Mount has been declared as a protected area from the European Network of Natura 2000 due to its high ecological value and its rich flora and fauna. Arktouros Environmental Organization has characterized the entire area of Grammos as one of the most important habitats of the brown bear Ursus Arctos, an endangered species of Greece. Two great rivers Aliakmonas and Sarantaporos begin their flow in the area. Aetomilitsa and Grammoutsa are the most well known villages of Grammos. From the latter, it is possible to reach one of the largest alpine lakes of Greece namely Gistova. Grammos Mountain is an ideal destination for autumn as the oak trees and mountain pines bloom creating beautiful sceneries while its rich ecosystem is offers for hiking enthusiasts.

The Mountain of Lakmos is one of the most remote mountains of Epirus located in the central part of Pindus Mountain Range. Its highest peak is Peristeri situated at an altitude of 2.295 meters. Favored from adventure lovers, Lakmos is surrounded from ten mountain-peaks that exceed the altitude of 2.000 meters. Lakmos Mountain is surrounded from oak forests and many rivers and streams that transform the area into a colorful canvas. Hiking enthusiasts can follow the sign-posted trails that start from the villages of Anthohori and Haliki

The Mountain of Mitsikeli is a mountain range located in the central part of Pindus Mountain Range. Its highest peak is at an altitude of 1.810 meters. The mountain has been declared as a protected area from the European Network of Natura 2000 due to its rare flora and fauna. The mountain is ideal for mountaineering excursions and has an organized mountain shelter. Mitsikeli Mountain is an ideal destination for short excursions from the city of Ioannina. The views from the top are quite spectacular.

The Mountain Range of Pindus is the biggest mountain range of Greece that forms the backbone of Mainland Greece stretching from the Greek – Albanian borders to the northern Peloponnese. It has a length of 160 kilometers with a maximum elevation of 2.637 meters at Mount Smolikas. Geologically, Pindus Mountain constitutes an extension of the Dinaric Alps that dominate on the western region of the Balkan Peninsula. The most important mountains in the Pindus range are Mount Grammos, Mount Smolikas, Mount Tymfi, Tzoumerka Mountains and Agrafa Mountains. Pindus Mountain Range is geomorphological enriched with steep slopes and deep canyon while four rivers flow into them. The mountains of Pindus have created vast ecological zones including the A00s-Vikos National Park, Valia Calda National Park and Vikos Gorge that have been declared as protected areas from the European Network of Natura 2000 due to the region’s biodiversity.

The Mountain of Smolikas is the second highest mountain of Greece. Its highest peak, the highest of the Pindus Mountains, is located at an altitude of 2.637 meters above the seal level. The entire area is of great ecological significance home to rare species of flora and fauna. Drakolimni, else known as Dragon Lake, is one of the few alpine lakes of Greece that is situated close to the mountain’s peak. Hiker lovers will have numerous paths to choose from in order to explore the natural beauties of the mountain.

The Mountain of Tymfi is a part of the region of Vikos-Aoos National Park located on the northern Pindus Mountain Range. Its highest peak is Gamila at an altitude of 2.497 meters. The massif of Tymfi encloses the impressive Vikos Gorge home to the springs of Voidomatis River. Tymfi is surrounded from the 46 beautiful traditional villages of Zagori and the imposing bridge of Konitsa. Tymfi Mount is one of the most popular hiking destinations of Greece all year long. Several paths cross the mountain while the great number of cliffs and steep edges will compensate adventure-seekers.

The Mountain Range of Tzoumerka forms one of the most significant mountain ranges of Epirus. Its highest peak is located at an altitude of 2.393 meters in Kakarditsa Mount. Tzoumerka is one of the most rugged and pristine mountain areas of Greece covered from dense forests. The rugged terrain of the area has contributed to the preservation of its ecosystem Tzoumerka distinguishes for its rich ecosystem with rich species of flora and fauna including some of the biggest and most rare mammals of the country. Hiking enthusiasts will enjoy numerous routes at the eastern side of the mountain especially in spring when the alpine meadows of Tzoumerka are filled with millions of wild flowers. However, Tzoumerka is even more stunning if you are an off-road lover. Find more information from the

The National Park of Northern Pindus, else known as Valia Calda National Park, is one 0f the most important protected areas for the maintenance of mountainous biodiversity and ecosystem integrity at national level situated in an isolated mountainous area between Epirus and Macedonia. The core zone of the park covers the greatest part of the valley of Valia Calda. Its slopes are covered from dense pine forest, mountain lakes and rocky ridges. Moreover, the park belongs to the European Network of Natura 2000 as it serves as one of the most important habitats of the brown bear Ursus Arctos, an endangered species of Greece. Pindus National Park is ideal for hiking enthusiasts and off-road lovers.

The National Park of Vikos-Aoos is one of the ten national parks of the country located on the northern part of Pindus Mountain Range. The national park is part the ecological network of Natura 2000 and the UNESCO Geoparks Network. The main part of the park comprises from the spectacular gorge of Vikos carved from the river of Voidomatis. The remoteness of the park and the small human population of the area favor the rich variety of flora and the great variation of biotopes. Vikos Aoos National Park is offered for many activities including canoeing, hiking, mountain biking and rafting.

The River of Aoos is a river of Epirus with a total length of 272 kilometers, 70 of which are on Greek territory. Located at an altitude of 1,340 meters, the river flows through the Vikos Aoos National Park forming impressive canyons. The entire area is a biological treasure protected from the European Network of Natura 200 due to its rich flora and fauna home to numerous endemic and endangered species. Aoos River is an ideal destination for rafting all year round.

The River of Arachthos is the eight longest river of Greece with a total length of 110 kilometers. It sources from northern Pindus Mountain and flows into the Gulf of Amvrakikos. The tributaries of Kalarritikos, Metsovitikos and Zagoritikos contribute to the flow of Arachthos River. The river is famous for its 55 stone arched bridges that connect its banks. Verdant forests, springs with crystalline waters and steep mountaintops decorate the rich surroundings of the river. Arachthos River is considered to be the best rafting destination of Greece.

The River of Gormos is a tributary of Kalamas that flows towards the eastern region of Pogoni village. It has been characterized as a site of outstanding natural beauty and it is protected from the European Network of Natura 2000.

The River of Kalarritikos is the most important tributary of Arachthos River. Kalarritikos enriches Arachthos from the west side of the ravine while the springs of Glifki in Fortosi enrich the east side. The waters of Kalarritikos are abundant forming watermills that were once useful for the watermills and windmills of the villages. It follows a route through wild gorges, flowing waterfalls and stone bridges. After the bridge of Gogos, the river forms the canyon of Kalarritikos, one of the most beautiful and inaccessible canyons of Epirus. Kalarritikos River is an ideal destination for rafting enthusiasts.

The River of Louros is a river of Epirus with a total length of 80 kilometers. It flows from Mount Tomaros, crosses a narrow ravine and then descends towards the prefecture of Preveza through the villages of Voulitsa, Mousiotitsa, Panagia, Klisoura and Kerasona. A portion of the waters is channeled through a tunnel in a hill close to the village of Agios Georgios. Louros flows in the Gulf of Amvrakikos forming the Delta of Louros, an important ecosystem. The main source of the river gushes just before the village of Vouliasta. It is a small pond in which the green slopes of the hills are mirrored in the emerald colours of the waters creating a unique spectacle worth admiring.

The River of Voidomatis is one of the most beautiful rivers of Epirus with a total length of 15 kilometers. Along its path, the river converges with other water currents that originate from the banks of Tymfi and Vikos Gorge. Voidomatis River has been characterized as one of the cleanest rivers of Europe that crosses one of the most beautiful natural beauty sceneries of Greece. The river is part of the Vikos-Aoos National Park. Voidomatis River is an ideal destination for kayaking and rafting enthusiasts.

The Springs of Louros River is the main source of Louros River located just before the village of Vouliasta. It is a small pond in which the green slopes of the hills are mirrored in the emerald colours of the waters creating a unique spectacle worth admiring. Louros Springs is an ideal destination for short excursions and natural explorations.

The Thermal Springs of Amarandos are located five kilometers away from the village of Amarandos. Its springs are unique in their kind throughout Europe. Hot air is released from 15 different sources at a temperature from 35 to 38 degrees of Celsius and a maximum humidity of 97 – 100 %. Amarandos Thermal Springs are ideal for chronic diseases including endocrine diseases, respiratory diseases, spondyloarthritis, neuralgia, rhinitis, vaginitis, back pain, post-traumatic disorders, paralysis, circulatory diseases, anemia and pharyngitis. The thermal springs are open from June until the end of September.

The Thermal Springs of Karavasila are located six kilometers away from the village of Karavasila. Its sulphur waters have a temperature from 30 to 32 degrees of Celsius. Karavasila springs are suitable for numerous diseases including arthritic diseases, skin diseases, gynecological and neurological disorders and rheumatism. The springs contribute to the inhalation treatment of diseases of the respiratory system including asthma, bronchitis, rhinitis and pharyngitis. The thermal springs are open from June until the end of September.

Promenades and Villages

Ano Pedina is a mountainous village located on the mountain slopes of Tymfi (Central Zagori). Ano Pedina belongs to the complex of Zagorohoria. Nestling at an altitude of 960 meters, the charming settlement has managed to maintain the traditional architecture of the Zagori area and has been declared as a traditional settlement. Evangelistria Monastery, Agia Paraskevi Monastery and Agios Dimitrios Monastery are architectural samples of the traditional architecture of Zagori. Ano Pedina is one of the most picturesque villages of Zagori with a rich cultural background as Neofytos Doukas, one of the most important persons of the Greek Enlightenment, was born in this village. Another great personality of the 19th century from Ano Pedina was the multifaceted historian, physician and philosopher Giannis Lambridis. The surrounding area of Ano Pedina is offered for hiking excursions and mountaineering expeditions. Other villages one can visit include Dilofo, Kato Pedina, Kapesovo and Vitsa.

Aristi is a mountainous village located on the mountain slopes of Tymfi (West Zagori). Aristi belongs to the complex of Zagorohoria. Characterized as one of the most beautiful villages of Zagori, Aristi has an authentic character with traditional stone houses and charming cobblestone alleys. The central square of Aristi is the most picturesque spot of the village filled with traditional cafeterias under huge plane trees. Aristi is famous for its Epirus pies filled with feta cheese and its local wine. The most important monuments of the village include the church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary with its imposing belfry and the monastery of Panagia Spiliotissa for its wall paintings that date back to the 17th century. Although the monastery is uninhabited, it is worth visiting for its panoramic views to the wild sceneries of the mountains of Epirus. Aristi is an ideal base for those looking to explore the entire area of Zagori. Vikos Gorge, Voidomatis River, Drakolimni Lake and Vikos-Aoos National Park are found in the boundaries of Aristi. The village is offered for numerous activities including off-road driving enthusiasts, rafting lovers and hiking aficionados.

Chrisovitsa is a mountain village located on the western slopes of Pindus Mountains. Nestling at an altitude of 920 meters, Chrisovitsa is one of the biggest villages of the country surrounded from forests and mountains. It is a picturesque village blessed with verdant vegetation sceneries. The village owes its name to the miraculous image of Virgin Mary that was found in Chrisovitsa. The monastery of Chrisovitsa is one of the most important pilgrimages of Epirus where the miraculous icon of Panagia Chrisovitsa is kept that distinguishes for its imposing bell tower. Chrisovitsa is famous for its potatoes that have been cultivated in the plain of Politsies since the 18th century. It is worth visiting the beautiful lake of Chrisovitsa with the springs of Aoos River that stands out for its natural beauty sceneries. Lovers of hiking can follow the route Chrisovitsa to Tristena, a wonderful route whose duration lasts 7 hours. Other places worth visiting include the village of Greveniti and the national park of Valia Calda.

Dilofo is a mountainous village located on the mountain slopes of Tymfi (Central Zagori). Dilofo belongs to the complex of Zagorohoria. Nestling at an altitude of 1000 meters, the village is one of the most beautiful traditional villages of Zagori that has been declared as a preserved settlement due to its architectural, cultural and folklore importance. In fact, Dilofo is one of the best-preserved villages of Zagori. Dilofo is a place of outstanding natural beauty ideal for those looking for an escape for everyday life in the calm of unadulterated nature. It is worth ascending to the top of the hill in order to admire the spectacular views to the mountaintops of Tymfi Mountain. The main monuments of the village include the stone fountains, the cobblestone alleys, the stone mansions and the tiny chapels. The church of the Dormition of Virgin Mary, built in 1850, is the imposing church of Dilofo while the Markopoulos Mansion, the highest mansion of Zagori villages, stands at the entrance of the village with a height of 13,5 meters. Other villages worth visiting include Kipi, Monodentri and Koukouli.

Dikorfo is a mountainous village located on the mountain slopes of Mitsikeli (Central Zagori). Dikorfo belongs to the complex of Zagorohoria. The road that leads to Dikorfo passes through a magical verdant forest that predisposes you for a fictional stone village that stands between two imposing mountains. Characterized as one of the most beautiful villages of Zagori, Dikorfo will dazzle you with its immense natural sceneries. It is worth noting that the central square of Dikorfo is one of the finest squares of Zagori. The traditional mansions of Dikorfo are built with stone and black plate that has been decorated with artworks of Hionadites painters. At the center of the village, one will have the opportunity to visit the church of Agios Minas the Egyptian stands that was founded in 1778 and distinguishes for its beautiful bell tower. On the hill above the village, the chapel of Agios Ioannis is the perfect place to enjoy panoramic vistas to the wild sceneries of Zagorohoria. Dikorfo is famous for its three-day festival that takes place on August 29. Dikorfo is an ideal destination for nature explorations blessed with ecstatic sceneries of verdant vegetation. Other villages worth visiting include Elati.

Dipotamo is a mountainous village located on the mountain slopes of Mitsikeli (Central Zagori). Dipotamo is one of the oldest villages of Zagori that have existed since the 14th century. Nestling at an altitude of 820 meters, the beautiful settlement is perched on the top of a verdant hill between two rivers. The most important monuments of Dipotamo include the chapel of Agios Konstantinos for its spectacular vistas, the area of Alonia for its sunset views, the bridge of Milos, the fountain of Kato Vrysi, a sample of the traditional architecture of Zagori and the mansions of Dipotamo. Lovers of hiking can follow the route that leads to the village of Frangades. The trail passes through a verdant forest of deciduous trees; the true jewel, however, of this this trail is the bridge of Petsionis, one of the most imposing bridges of Zagori, which is located 50 meters from the main route. Dipotamo is famous for its Tsipouro Festival that takes place in early November.

Distrato is a mountainous village located on the mountain slopes of Smolikas. Nestling at an altitude of 1.000 meters, the charming settlement is built in a spectacular area of rare natural beauty filled with cedar and pine trees and streams with crystalline waters that lead to the imposing River of Aoos. The alternation of mountains, rivers and valleys resulted in the physical isolation of the region. Despite the lack of traditional buildings that was the result of the holocaust of the village from the Germans, Distrato is a place of enormous natural beauty. The jewel of Distrato is the Church of Panagia that distinguishes for its beautiful hagiographies; the church is famous for its three-day festival that takes place on August 15 in honor of Virgin Mary. Lovers of ski and snowboarding can visit the neighboring Vasilitsa Ski Center while lovers of hiking and mountaineering can follow the European Path E6.

Dolo is a mountainous village located on the mountain slopes of Koutsokrano. Characterized as one of the most beautiful villages of Pogoni, lovely Dolo has an authentic spirit that has been declared as a preserved traditional settlement. Stone bridges, magnificent churches and wonderful mansions of the traditional architecture of Epirus decorate the charming village. At the center of Dolo, one will have the opportunity to admire the impressive wall paintings of the church of Agios Nikolaos, the jewel of the village. Just a few kilometers away, one can visit the small lake of Zaravina that stands out for its diverse ecosystem with a rich flora and fauna. In fact, Zaravina Lake has been declared as a protected area from the European Network of Natura 2000. Other places worth visiting include the Bridge of Nonulos, a single-arched stone bridge in Xylogefyro region, the Bridge of Dolo, a single-arched stone bridge located at Kouvaras Gorge. The mountains of the surrounding area are offered for mountaineering expeditions while Kouvaras Gorge, one of the most beautiful gorges of Epirus, is an ideal place for natural explorations. Dolo is an ideal destination for exploring the picturesque villages of the wider area of Pogoni. Find more information from Dolo Official Website.

Drosopigi is a mountainous village located between the mountain slopes of Grammos and Smolikas. Drosopigi belongs to the villages of Mastorohoria home to the renowned stone craftsmen of Epirus who have built many magnificent buildings around Greece and the Balkans. Nestling at an altitude o 1050 meters, Drosopigi is one of the most mountainous villages of the prefecture of Ioannina surrounded from the mountain ridges of Pindus. The village has an authentic and traditional character with stone buildings and cobblestone alleys, true samples of the traditional architecture of Epirus. In fact, Drosopigi is considered to be one of the best-preserved villages of Mastorohoria. The central square of Drosopigi is the one of the most picturesque spot of the village filled with traditional taverns under the huge plane tree, an ideal place to enjoy your coffee. The most important monuments of the village include the Church of Agia Paraskevi, the Stone Bridge of Zermas at Sarantaporos River, the two Stone Fountains of Drosopigi, the Chapel of Agios Athanasios and the School Building of Drosopigi.

Elati is a mountainous village located on the mountain slopes of Mitsikeli (Central Zagori). Elati belongs to the complex of Zagorohoria. Nestling at an altitude of 950 meters, the charming settlement spreads amphitheatrically in one of the most verdurous locations of Zagori. Elati, which literally means fir, is built in a wonderful location smothered from sceneries of greenery overlooking the wilderness of the mountains and forest of Tymfi. Fir, oak and pine trees combined with traditional stone buildings and running water create endless sceneries of natural beauty. The beautiful village is an ideal destination for those looking for relaxation and tranquility. The central square of Elati is the one of the most picturesque spot of the village filled with traditional taverns under huge plane trees, an ideal place to enjoy your coffee with panoramic views. It is worth walking around the picturesque cobblestone alleys in order to admire the traditional architecture of the houses and drink water from the stone fountains. An excursion to the beautiful sceneries of Zagori with the imposing stone bridges will fill you with moment of ultimate peace. The surrounding area of Elati is ideal for outdoor activities. The mountains, the gorges and the rivers are ideal for climbing, canoeing, hiking, mountain biking, paragliding and rafting. From Elati, one can make excursions to other places including the Vikos-Aoos National Park and the Pindus National Park.

Elatohori is a mountainous villages located on the mountain slopes of Tsouka (East Zagori). Elatohori belongs to the complex of Zagorohoria. The peak of Tsouka Tzina rises above the village of Elatohori. Nestling at an altitude of 1.100 meters, the charming settlement is surrounded from verdant vegetation of fir, oak and plane trees. Elatohori is famous for its traditional festivals; the festival in honor of Agios Konstantinos and Agia Eleni takes place on May 21 while the festival in honor of Sotiros takes place on August 6. Worth visiting sights include the church of Agios Georgios at the central square of Elatohori, the church of Kimisi Theotokos at the edge of Elatohori and the church of Ai Lias at the top of Elatohori. The village is surrounded from verdant sceneries ideal for natural explorations and hiking excursions. Arachthos River is offered for rafting expeditions while mountaineering enthusiasts can climb up to Tsouka Tzina at an altitude of 1.833 meters. Other villages worth visiting include Makrino, Flabourari and Tristeno.

Fourka is a mountainous village located on the mountain slopes of Smolikas Mountain. The village is located within the boundaries of the protected area of Pindus National Park. Fourka is a historic place as slaughterous battles took place on the hill of Prophet Elias during the Greek-Italian War. A war memorial was established to honour Lieutenant Alexandros Diakos, the first Greek lietenant who lost his life in the Greek-Italian War. Nestling at an altitude of 1.400 meters, Fourka is one of the most mountainous villages of the country with panoramic views over the wild sceneries of Epirus. It is certain that the rich natural sceneries and the spectacular views will amaze you; Fourka is an ideal destination for those looking for tranquility as well as nature lovers. Fourka Folklore Museum is the most important monument of the village that is dedicated to the traditional costumes of Pindus women. To this extend, the woman of Pindus is honored with a traditional festival on July 20. Other sights worth visiting include the church of Agios Athanasios, the church of Prophet Elias and the Cultural Center of Fourka with its interesting library collection. As for activities, lovers of hiking will have the opportunity to follow a magical route that leads to the Monastery of Panagia Kladormi. The hike usually lasts one and a half hour. Another interesting forest trail, where one can admire nature in all its grandeur, starts from the village leading to the top of Tambouri. One can also visit the village of Pyrsogianni that distinguishes for its picturesqueness.

Kalarrites is a mountainous village located on the mountain slopes of Tzoumerka. Endowed with indescribable sceneries of wild beauty, Kalarrites is the true jewel of Tzoumerka. Characterized as one of the most beautiful villages of Epirus, Kalarrites distinguishes for its traditional character with its stone houses, its traditional fountains, its arched bridges and its cobblestone alleys that will charm you. In fact, Kalarrites has been declared as a traditional preserved settlement. The village has been famous from the period of the Ottoman domination for the incomparable art of its silversmiths. The central square of Kalarrites is the most picturesque spot of the village filled with traditional taverns under huge plane trees, an ideal place to enjoy your coffee with panoramic views. Worth visiting sights include the church of Agios Nikolaos for its wall paintings and its wood carved temple and the chapel of Agia Triada for its spectacular views. A promenade around the village will reveal to you the traditional spirit of Epirus at its grandeur. It is a must to follow the cobblestone trail that connects Kalarrites with its sister village namely Sirrako. Built inside a rock, the Monastery of Kipina is one of the most beautiful monasteries located outside the village of Kalarrites. It is certain that the spectacular vistas to the wild ridges of Tzoumerka Mountains will take your breath away. The hiking trail from Kalarrites usually lasts one and a half to two hours. Other villages worth visiting include the village of Pramanta and the village of Sirrako.

Kapesovo is a mountainous village located on the mountain slopes of Tymfi (Central Zagori). Kapesovo belongs to the complex villages of Zagorohoria. It is a picturesque village that impresses with its stone houses, its cobblestone alleys and its natural sceneries. The inhabitants of the village are engaged in the production of traditional products including cheese, honey, sweet spoons and trachanas. Kapesovo is famous for its traditional celebration in honor of Prophet Elias that takes place on July 20; it is one of the biggest festivals of Zagori. The most important monuments of the village include the Paschalios School that operates as a museum with an interesting collection of books, the Folklore Museum of Kapesovo for its interesting exhibition of folklore items, the church of Agios Nikolaos for its impressive hagiographies made from painters of Kapesovo and the Vradeto Stairs for its breathtaking views. It is worth noting that Vradeto Stairs is one of the most impressive sights of Zagoria with more than one thousands steps attracting many hiking enthusiasts. Vikos Gorge is the ideal place for hiking expeditions while mountaineering lovers can climb to the mountaintop of Tymfi Mountain and the Dragon Lake. Mountain biking and off road driving aficionadas will have the opportunity to discover the numerous villages of the surrounding area and kayaking/rafting lvoers can practice their favorite sport at Voidomatis River. Other villages worth visiting include Kipi, Vitsa and Monodentri.

Kato Pedina is a mountainous village located on the mountain slopes of Mitsikeli (West Zagori). Kato Pedina belongs to the complex of Zagorohoria. It is one of the oldest settlements of Zagori built amphitheatrically on three hills overlooking the valley of Kato Pedina. It is worth mentioning that the valley of Kato Pedina has been declared as a site of community importance from the European Network of Natura 2000. The traditional areas of agricultural production including shepherd huts and threshing floors are distinctive samples of the folklore architecture of Kato Pedina. In the plain of the village there are also six stone wells. The most important monuments of the village include the church of Taxiarhes for its beautiful wall paintings made from Anastasios Kapesovitis, the church of Agios Athanasios that serves as the cathedral of Kato Pedina and the church of Agios Nikolaos with its impressive frescoes from the 18th century. There is also an ostrich-breeding farm in Kato Pedina. Kato Pedina is famous for the traditional celebration in honor of Ioannis Prodromos that takes place on August 29. The celebration is followed from traditional music, food and wine. Vikos Gorge is an ideal place for hiking lovers while Voidomatis River is the place for rafting aficionados. Other villages worth visiting include Mikro and Megalo Papigo, Monodentri and Kalpaki.

Katsanohoria are a complex of villages that spread on the mountain slopes of Tzoumerka. Katsanohoria distinguish for their authentic sceneries on the mainland mountain landscape. The area of Katsanohoria distinguishes for its tiny stone villages, its brilliant churches and its isolated chapels overlooking the imposing mountains of Tzoumerka. Kostitsi, the smallest village of the Katsanohoria, distinguishes for its spectacular location over Arachthos River and for its magnificent views from Prophet Elias Monastery while Patero is famous for the gold wood-carved temple of Agia Paraskevi Monastery from the 16th century. A sample of the traditional architecture of Epirus, Lazena village, is offered for horse riding enthusiasts around the forested hills of the wider area whereas the Klifki waterfalls of Kalentzi village will surpass your expectations with its wild sceneries. However, one of the must-do things of Katsanohoria is follow the cobblestone trail that connects Kalarrites with its sister village namely Sirrako. Both villages distinguish for their traditional character with their stone houses, their traditional fountains, their arched bridges and their cobblestone alleys that will definitely charm you. And the list never ends; from the verdurous sceneries of Koritiani and Platanoussa, the traditional festivals of Fortosi, the beauty of Pramanta and the views from the Monastery of Prophet Elias in Kostitsi, the beautiful square of Plesia and the picturesqueness of Sirrako. Tsouka Monastery, one of the most important monasteries of Epirus, belongs to the village of Elliniko and stands out for its panoramic views over Arachthos Ravine. In fact, some of the most impressive monuments of Epirus are found in this area including the Kipina Monastery, the Plaka Bridge, the Anemotripa Cave and the Arachthos River. Katsanohoria are offered for outdoor activities including hiking and mountaineering to Kipina Monastery and kayaking and rafting at Arachthos and Kalarritikos Rivers.

Kipi is a mountainous village located on the mountain slopes of Tymfi. Kipi belongs to the complex of Zagorohoria. The village owes its name to the numerous gardens of the surrounding area. Nestling at an altitude of 800 meters, the charming settlement has an authentic atmosphere that has managed to maintain the traditional architecture of Zagori with its cobblestone alleys, its stone houses and its arched loggia. Kipi is one of the oldest settlements of the area that dates back to the 15th century. Majestic mountains, verdant forests, steep gorges, flowing streams and arched bridges compose a mosaic of inexhaustible beauty completed from stone staircases, fountains and watermills. In Kipi, one will have the opportunity to visit the Museum of Agapios Tolis with its excellent collection of folklore material including traditional costumes, jewelry, fine chests, utensils and tools. The famous bridge of Kalogeriko, one of the most beautiful stone bridges of Zagorohoria, is located just between the villages of Kipi and Koukouli. It is one of the few survived three-arched bridges, which distinguishes for its surrounding natural sceneries. Kokoris Bridge is another single-arched stone bridge situated close to Kipi. Lovers of outdoor activities will fall in love with Kipi as various opportunities for an adrenaline rush are offered. Activities including climbing, mountain-biking, mountaineering, paragliding and rafting can be practiced in the village. Other villages worth visiting include Dilofo, Kapesovo, Monodentri and Tsepelovo.

Konitsa is a mountainous town located on the mountain slopes of Pindus Mountains. Characterized as one of the most beautiful villages of Greece, Konitsa has an authentic atmosphere and a traditional spirit spreading amphitheatrically on Trapezitsa Mountain. Majestic mountains, dense forests, impressive gorges, rushing rivers and picturesque villages compose the diverse landscape of the wider area of Konitsa. Konitsa has managed to preserve the traditional character of the architecture of Epirus through its stone mansions, its wonderful churches and monasteries, its cobblestone alleys and its traditional stone bridges. The most important monuments of the area include the Mosque of Sultan Suleiman for its architectural heritage, the Bridge of Konitsa, a genuine masterpiece of art, the bridge of Klidonia, one of the most beautiful bridges of Epirus with marvelous views to Voidomatis River and the Stomio Monastery for its beautiful Byzantine icons. The region of Konitsa is offered for all kinds of adventure activities, as it is situated next to a fertile plain watered from Aoos, Sarantaporos and Voidomatis Rivers. In fact, Konitsa is considered to be the capital of alternative activities by many. Places of interest of Konitsa’s wider region include Drakolimni Lake, one of the few alpine lakes of the country, Smolikas Mountain, Greece’s second highest mountain whose altitude reaches 2.637 meters, Vikos-Aoos National Park, a paradise for natural explorations and outdoor activities including canoeing, hiking, mountain biking and rafting, and Karavasila Sulphur Springs, one of the country’s thermal springs suitable for numerous diseases to 32 degrees of Celsius. Karavasila springs are suitable for numerous diseases including arthritic diseases, skin diseases, gynecological and neurological disorders and rheumatism. Konitsa is an ideal destination for exploring the wider region of Pindus National Park. The nearest town to Konitsa is Ioannina. Find more information from Konitsa Official Website.

Koukouli is a mountainous villages located on the southern end of Vikos Gorge (Central Zagori). Koukouli belongs to the complex of Zagorohoria. Nestling at an altitude of 870 meters, the charming settlement has an authentic and traditional character with its impressive stone houses and its cobblestone alleys. The most important monuments of the village include the Lazaridis Folklore Museum that is dedicated to the natural history of Zagori, the Church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary that stands out for its architectural heritage, the Mansion of Plakidas, one of the most impressive mansions of Zagori, the Old School with its five fountains, and Kalogeriko Bridge, one of the most beautiful bridges of Zagoria. Other villages worth visiting include Dilofo, Kipi and Kapesovo.

Ligiades is a mountainous village located on the western mountain slopes of Mitsikeli. Built at an altitude of 940 meters, Ligiades is the closest village to the city of Ioannina just twelve kilometers away. The village has rich history as it was completely destroyed from the Germans during the Second World War. The charming village has an authentic atmosphere as it has been declared as a preserved traditional settlement. The church of Agios Georgios Ligiades stands proudly at the entrance of the village. Characterized as the balcony of Ioannina, one will have the opportunity to enjoy the best views towards the city of Ioannina and the lake of Pamvotida from Ligiades that will literally amaze you. One of the most beautiful caves of Europe, Perama Cave, is located close to Ligiades. Nestling at an altitude of 450 meters, the cave distinguishes for its numerous kinds of stalactites and stalagmites, 19 in number. Perama Cave is an ideal place for speleology lovers.

Mastorohoria are a complex of villages that spread on the northern part of the prefecture of Ioannina. The entire area distinguishes for its outstanding natural beauty sceneries formed from the imposing mountains of Grammos, Smolikas and Tymfi. The region of Mastorohoria stands out for its authentic traditional villages, its impressive monuments of architecture and its spectacular sceneries. Mastorohoria are the proud villages of the famous stone craftsmen of Epirus that have build magnificent buildings in Greece and the Balkans. These include Amarandos, Drosopigi, Gorgopotamos, Hionades, Kastania, Molista, Plagia, Plikati, Pyrsogianni and Vourbiani amongst others. Monastiri village with the imposing Monastery of Panagia, Molista village with the impressive church of Agios Nikolaos and the verdurous sceneries, Gannadio and Kastaniani villages with their traditional character and their beautiful square have has been declared as traditional settlements, Pournia village with its astonishing mountain landscapes, Agia Paraskevi village with its traditional festivals, Pyrsogianni village with its spectacular sceneries and its authentic spirit, Hionades village with its rich tradition in hagiography, Vourbiani with its exceptional taverns at the central square, Gorgopotamos with its rich tradition in woodcarving and its picturesqueness, Plikati, the most isolated village of Mastorohoria, Oxia village with its impressive views to Grammos, and Drosopigi village, one of the best preserved villages of Mastorohoria. Sports enthusiasts will find many opportunities for climbing, hiking, rafting and paragliding in Mastorohoria. Some of the most important monuments of Epirus are found in Mastorohoria including the Bridge of Konitsa, the Folklore Museum of Konitsa, the Monastery of Stomio, the Ski Center of Vasilitsa, the Museum of Epirus Craftsmen in Pyrsogianni, the Springs of Amarandos and the National Park of Vikos-Aoos.

Metsovo is a mountainous town located on the mountain slopes of Pindus. Nestling at an altitude of 1.300 meters, Metsovo is one of the most picturesque villages of Greece. Set amidst verdant greenery, travellers will be enchanted from the natural scenery and the wild beauty of Metsovo that changes through the four seasons of the year. Some of the largest rivers of the country including Aoos, Arachthos and Penaeus derive from the mountains surrounding Metsovo. Metsovo has managed to maintain its traditional character through the unique architecture of the settlement with its stone houses, its cobblestone alleys, its traditional fountains, its picturesque monasteries, its local cuisine and the observance of the customs that have contributed to the preservation of culture and tradition of the area. Worth visiting sights include the Monastery of Agios Nikolaos for its impressive wall paintings and its imposing architectural style, the Averoff Art Gallery for its enormous collection of paintings from local painters of the 19th and 20th centuries and the Folklore Museum of Tositsa that represents the outline of the traditional local house of Metsovo. Metsovo is one of the most popular winter resorts of the country, as it has three ski resorts including Karakoli, Politsies and Anilio. So, adventure enthusiasts can practice skiing and snowboarding on the wild snowy slopes of Pindus. Metsovo has it also for nature lovers as it is blessed with the finest of nature. Whether you want to go for mountain biking around Aoos Lake or you desire to explore the unique sceneries of Valia Calda National Park, it is certain that the natural beauty of Metsovo will take your breath away. Metsovo is famous for its dairy products including metsovone metsovella and metsovisio cheeses that you will not find them anywhere else in Greece and its winemaking tradition. However, Metsovo is also famous for its woodcarvings and stone craftsmen. Undoubtedly, Metsovo is a destination you must visit.

Milia is a mountainous villages located on the mountain slopes of Pindus. Nestling at an altitude of 1.16o meters, Milia is one of the most mountainous villages of Epirus. Milia has been declared as a traditional settlement from the State of Greece. Milia is famous for its authentic festivals followed from traditional food, music and wine. One of the most notable feasts takes place on August 15 in honor of Virgin Mary. Travellers will have the opportunity to explore the rich nature of Valia Calda National Park while mountain-biking and off-road driving enthusiasts will find their paradise in the surrounding areas of the village. Places of interest include the Folklore Museum of Milia, Mountain Shelter of Metsovo (1.950 meters), the Flega Lakes, else known as Dragon Lakes, in the Pindus National Park, and the Embalmed Bear, a bear that was found dead and was embalmed in order to raise awareness amongst the residents.

Monodentri is a mountainous village located on the mountain slopes of Tymfi (Central Zagori). Monodentri belongs to the complex of Zagorohoria. Nestling at an altitude of 1.060 meters, the charming settlement is believed to be one of the oldest villages of Zagori. Monodentri consists from the neighborhoods of Agios Georgios, Agios Mahalas and Vitsa. Because of its scenery and traditional architecture, Monodentri is considered to be one of the most beautiful villages of Zagori that has been declared as a national historical monument. The central square of Monodentri is the most picturesque spot of the village filled with traditional taverns under huge plane trees, an ideal place to enjoy your coffee with panoramic views. The main monuments of Monodentri are constructions of the 17th and 18th century made from local benefactors. These include the churches of Agios Athanasios, Agios Georgios and Agios Minas and the monastery of Prophet Elias. Others include the Exhibition Center of Rizarios, one of the largest active ecclesiastical schools of Greece, and the Handicraft Center of Rizarios that displays handmade textiles from the area of Zagori. Situated on the edge of Vikos Gorge, the abandoned monastery of Agia Paraskevi does worth a visit for its impressive frescoes and its panoramic vistas. It is worth noting that there is a natural viewing platform at Oxia (3km from Monodentri) that overlooks to the deepest part of Vikos Gorge. Lovers of hiking can follow the sign-posted trail that descends into the gorge from the village of Monodentri, and then leads to the springs of Voidomatis River and the village of Papigo. Other villages one can visit include Dilofo, Kapesovo, Kipi and Tsepelovo.

Papigo is one of the most beautiful villages of Zagori located on the mountain slopes of Tymfi (West Zagori). Papigo belongs to the complex of Zagorohoria. The village consists from the Megalo (Grand) Papigo village and Mikro (Tiny) Papigo village. The beautiful settlements have an authentic atmosphere with traditional stone houses and cobblestone alleys. Papigo Villages are believed to be of the most picturesque villages in the country; the local architecture together with the striking geology and natural surroundings will surely astonish you. It is highly recommended to have promenades around the village in order to admire one of the most authentic villages of Greece. Papigo villages have been declared as a national historical monument due to their cultural and historical significance. The main monument of the village are the Personal Library of Michael Anagnostopoulos that exhibits many volumes of books published between 1750 and 1906 and the Tower of Mikro Papigo for its imposing views to the mountain slopes of Tymfi. Between the two villages, the natural pools of Kolibithres will surely take your breath away with their beautiful sceneries. From Mikro Papigo, one can follow the path that leads to the shelter of Astraka and the lake of Drakolimni. Lovers of hiking can visit Vikos Gorge, the deepest gorge in the world, which has a length of 20 kilometers. It is worth noting that there is a natural viewing platform at Oxia (3km from Monodentri) that overlooks to the deepest part of Vikos Gorge. Another monument worth visiting is the WWF Museum of Papigo that was established as an information center for the culture and nature of Zagori. . Its aim is to introduce to the visitors the ecological and cultural values to the area with particular emphasis on Tymfi Mountains and Vikos-Aoos National Park. Other villages one can visit are Aristi, Kato Pedina, Klidonia, Monodentri and Vitsa. Keep in mind that the road that leads to the villages has 15 consecutive 180 degrees turns that need extra caution. You can find more information from the Papigo Official Website.

Pyrsogianni is a mountainous village located on the mountain slopes of Grammos. Nestling at an altitude of 860 meters, Pyrsogianni is one of the most beautiful villages of Epirus with panoramic views over the surrounding forests and mountains. The village has an authentic traditional character with stone mansions, picturesque alleys and stone fountains. The central square of Pyrsogianni, known as Kokka Karya, is one of the most charming spots of the village with a huge perennial plane tree. It is worth noting that Pyrsogianni is famous for its stone craftsmen. Worth visiting sights include the church of Agios Georgios for its wood-carved temple and its bell tower, the church of Agios Nikolaos for its imposing belfry and the Museum of Epirus Craftsmen. From the church of Agios Georgios, one will have the opportunity to enjoy spectacular views. The annual feast of Pyrsogianni takes place in honor of Virgin Mary on August 15. The festival is followed from traditional food, music and wine. Pyrsogianni is an ideal base for those looking to explore the entire area of Mastorohoria.

Pogoni is a group of villages located on the northern part of the prefecture of Ioannina. Pogoni is one of the most unknown regions of Epirus with spectacular sceneries and impressive monuments. The entire area is famous for its strong tradition through the centuries; the festivals of Pogoni are the best example of traditional music, dance and cooking. Worth visiting villages include Pogoniani village with the interesting collection of the Folklore Museum, Delvinaki village with the impressive church of Panagia, Dolo village that stands out with its picturesqueness and its spectacular views, which has been declared as a traditional settlement, Molivdoskepasti village with its homonymous monastery, one of the most impressive byzantine monuments of Epirus, Vasilikos and Vissani villages with their wonderful squares, and Kato Meropi village with its charming stone houses. Places of interest include the Soldiers Monument in Kalpaki that was founded in honor of the soldiers who lost their lives during the Second World War, the War Museum of Kalpaki, the Zaravina Lake with its spectacular sceneries, the Kouvaras Gorge, one of one of the most beautiful gorges of Epirus ideal for hiking lovers, the Bridges of Gretsi and Kato Ravenia with their verdurous sceneries, and the Monastery of Agios Georgios in Riahovo with one of the most beautiful wood-carved temples of Epirus. The villages of Pogoni are one of the most beautiful parts of Epirus filled with pristine landscapes of the mountains ideal for those looking for tranquility and relaxation.

Pogoniani is a mountainous village located on the mountain slopes of Bozovo. Nestling at an altitude of 750 meters, Pogoniani is one of the most isolated villages of Epirus that belongs to the villages of Pogoni. The most important monuments include the Folklore Museum of Pogoniani with its interesting collection of folklore items such as traditional costumes, textiles and household tools, the Chapel of Agios Athanasios with its panoramic vistas, the Church of Agios Nikolaos for its wood-carved temple, and the Mansion of Sarai, an impressive mansion of the 18th century. Other places worth visiting include Drymades village and Kouvaras gorge for their verdurous sceneries and their flowing springs.

Pramanta is a mountainous village located on the mountain slopes of Pindus. Nestling at an altitude of 840 meters, the charming village spreads amphitheatrically at the foot of the impressive peak of Tzoumerka Mountains. In fact, Pramanta is the biggest settlement of Tzoumerka that stands out for its impressive sceneries and its traditional character. The central square of Pramanta is one of the most picturesque spots of the village with the charming Arapis fountain, an ideal place to relax under the huge perennial plane tree. The church of Agia Paraskevi is the jewel of Pramanta that distinguishes for its wall paintings. Worth visiting places include the Cave of Anemotripa for its impressive stalactite and stalagmite formations, the Monastery of Kipina, one of the most impressive monasteries of Epirus, the traditional Windmill of Christos village and the springs of Skala with the therapeutic properties. Hiking lovers will discover many routes around the Tzoumerka Mountains. It is worth mentioning that there is a mountain shelter on the mountains of Pramanta, the mountain shelter of Isioma. Numerous outdoor activities agencies offer kayaking and rafting experiences to Arachthos River. Other villages worth visiting include Christi and Tsopela.

Sirrako is a mountainous village located on the mountain slopes of Tzoumerka. Endowed with indescribable sceneries of wild beauty, Sirrako is the true jewel of Tzoumerka. Characterized as one of the most beautiful villages of Epirus, Sirrako distinguishes for its traditional character with its stone houses, its traditional fountains, its arched bridges and its cobblestone alleys that will charm you. In fact, Sirrako has been declared as a traditional preserved settlement. The central square of Sirrako is the most picturesque spot of the village filled with traditional taverns under the shade of two perennial plane trees, an ideal place to enjoy your coffee with panoramic views. The main monuments of the village are the church of Agios Nikolaos that distinguishes for its impressive architecture and the stone fountain of Goura. A promenade around the village will reveal to you the traditional spirit of Epirus at its grandeur. It is a must to follow the cobblestone trail that connects Sirrako with its sister village namely Kalarrites. Built inside a rock, the Monastery of Kipina is one of the most beautiful monasteries located outside the village of Sirrako. It is certain that the spectacular vistas to the wild ridges of Tzoumerka Mountains will take your breath away. The hiking trail from Kalarrites usually lasts one and a half to two hours. Other villages worth visiting include the village of Pramanta and the village of Kalarrites. Sirrako is an ideal destination for those looking for tranquility and relaxation.

Skamneli is a mountainous village located on the mountain slopes of Tymfi (Central Zagori). Skamneli belongs to the complex of Zagorohoria. The most important monument of Skamneli is the Sheepfold of the Sarakatsani; it is an open-air museum located in the area of Gyftokambos. The Sarakatsani are a nomadic tribe with no permanent habitation, one of the purest Greek races who are thought to be descendants of the original pastoral tribes of Homeric Greece. Today, the Sarakatsani people form part of the scattered communities of Epirus who gather on the first weekend of August in Gyftokambos of central Zagori. The museum is dedicated to the Sarakatsan life through their traditional wooden huts and storages in the mountains.

Tsepelovo is a mountainous village located on the mountain slopes of Tymfi (Central Zagori). Tsepelovo belongs to the complex of Zagorohoria. Nesting at an altitude of 1.080 meters, Tsepelovo is one of the oldest settlements of Zagori situated at the highest point of the area. The charming settlement has managed to preserve its traditional character with its stone mansions and its cobblestone alleys. The central square of Tsepelovo is one of the most picturesque spots of the village filled with traditional taverns under huge plane trees, an ideal place to enjoy your coffee with panoramic views. Tsepelovo is famous for its three-day festival that takes place in August. Worth visiting monuments include the Church of Agios Nikolaos for its beautiful twelve domes and the traditional mansions of Papazoglou, Vazima and Tsavalia families testify the rich tradition of Tsepelovo. Situated on the slope of the homonymous gorge, it is highly recommended to visit the Monastery of Agios Ioannis Rogovos for its beautiful wall paintings made from Kapesovites painters and its spectacular views to the gorge. Lovers of outdoor activities will fall in love with Tsepelovo as various opportunities for an adrenaline rush are offered. Activities including climbing, mountain-biking, mountaineering, paragliding and rafting can be practiced in the village. Numerous hiking trails start from Tsepelovo towards the lake of Drakolimni, the Stairs of Vradeto and the Gorge of Vikos. Other villages worth visiting include Kapesovo, Kipi Monodentri and Skamneli.

Tzoumerkohoria are a complex of villages that spread on the mountain slopes of Tzoumerka. The 46 villages of Tzoumerkohoria distinguish for their authentic sceneries on the mainland mountain landscape and their impressive monuments. From artificial lakes, imposing caves and towering canyons to monasteries hanging in the rocks and rugged peaks, Tzoumerkohoria invites the travellers to discover the unexplored side of Epirus. The Tzoumerkohoria villages spread out over the municipalities of Art and Ioannina; each and every village has its own beauties and unique characteristics. Vourgareli with its picturesque square, Kalarrites and Sirrako with their traditional character, the traditional festivals in Kipseli, the majesty waterfalls of Kataraktis, Matsouki village with the impressive frescoes of Viliza Monastery, Anemotripa Cave with its underground lakes and rivers, and the Kokkini Eklissia (Red Church) in Paleohori are some of the most interesting sights of the wider area. For the adventure seekers, Tzoumerka is even more stunning if you are exploring it off-road through its treacherous parts. Tzoumerkohoria are famous for the excellent quality of meat while tsipouro of Tzoumerka is renowned all over Greece.

Vitsa is a mountainous village located in central Zagori. Vitsa belongs to the complex of Zagorohoria. Situated at the edge of Vikos Gorge, the charming settlement can be reached by walking down the village of Monodentri and crossing the Misios Bridge in order to ascending the 17th century Stairs of Vitsa. Characterized as the balcony of Vikos Gorge, Vitsa offers panoramic vistas to the wild sceneries of the outstanding beauty of the deepest gorge of Europe. One of the most remarkable characteristics of Vitsa is that the traditional stone houses of the village area made from the same type of rock! The central square of Vitsa is the most picturesque spot of the village filled with traditional taverns under huge plane trees, an ideal place to enjoy your coffee with panoramic views. Worth visiting monument include the arched bridge of Misios for its views and the church of Agios Nikolaos for its well-preserved frescoes. The wealth of Vitsa’s local tradition is expressed through the celebration of the Assumption of Virgin Mary on August 15 and the raki festival in early November. Other villages one can visit include Dilofo, Kapesovo, Kipi and Tsepelovo. Discover more information from Vitsa Official Website.

Vovousa is a mountainous village located on the mountain slopes of Tymfi (East Zagori). Vovousa belongs to the complex of Zagorohoria. Nestling at an altitude of 1000 meters, Vovousa is one of the most mountainous villages of Epirus that distinguishes for its magical sceneries; the traditional stone bridge of Misios connects the two banks of the village that are crossed from Aoos River. One of the most picturesque spots of Vovousa is the region of Arkoudorema ideal for hiking excursions and natural explorations. Vovousa is also offered for rafting experiences in Aoos River till Konitsa Bridge. It is worth noting that the rich forest of Vovousa is part of the National Park of Pindus. Vovousa is an ideal destination for winter.

Zagori is one of the most beautiful regions of the country located at the foothills of Pindus Mountains. Zagori derives from the Slavic language meaning behind the mountains. The 46 villages of Zagorohoria are a complex of traditional villages that distinguish for their authentic character, their natural beauty, their unique architecture and their picturesqueness. Zagorohoria are situated in an area with rich flora and fauna, of the richest in Greece. Zagorohoria is an area of one thousands square meters divided into the regions of West Zagori, East Zagori and Central Zagori. West Zagori is located on the northwest side of Ioannina consisting from the villages of Agios Minas, Aristi, Elafotopos, Mikro and Megalo Papigo, Mesovouni and Vikos. East Zagori is located on the northeast side of Ioannina consisting from the villages of Vardas Valley including Elatohori, Greveniti, Flabourari, Makrino and Tristeno, the villages of Zagoritikos including Anthrakitis, Doliani, Karyes and Kavalliara, along with the villages of Agia Paraskevi Demati, Itea, Kastanona, Petra, Potamia and Vovousa. Central Zagori is situated on the north side of Ioannina consisting from the villages of Ano Pedina, Asprangeli, Dilofo, Dikorfo, Dipotamo, Elati, Frangades, Iliohori, Kapesovo, Kato Pedina, Kipi, Koukouli, Laista, Leptokaria, Monodentri, Negades, Skamneli, Tsepelovo, Vitsa, Vradeto and Vrisohori. The most important monument of Zagori include the beautiful Voidomatis River, the spectacular Vikos Gorge, the deepest gorge in the world, the traditional stone bridges of Zagori, the Vradeto Stairs, and the Dragon Lake of Tymfi, one of the few alpine lakes of the country. The region of Zagori is one of the most popular places of the country for extreme sports including climbing, kayaking, mountain biking, paragliding and rafting. Some of the most beautiful villages of Zagori include Aristi, Dilofo, Kipi, Monodentri, Mikro and Megalo Papigo, Tsepelovo, Vitsa and Vovousa.

Zitsa is a semi-mountainous village located on the mountain slopes of Prophet Elias. The main monument of the village is the Folklore Museum of Zitsa that exhibits folklore items from the daily life of the local people. One of the most famous monasteries of the area is the monastery of Prophet Elias decorated with beautiful wall paintings from the 17th century. From the monastery of Prophet Elias, which distinguishes for its impressive belfry, one can admire spectacular views over the village. Other places worth visiting include Lithino village for the Agion Pateron Monastery and its wood=carved temple as well as the fairytale scenery of Theogefyro, aka the God’s Bridge, which stands out for its exotic landscapes, the Watermills of Kouklii and Ieromnimi that has been preserved since antiquity, and the War Museum of Kalpaki for its important exhibits from the Second World War. Zitsa is famous for the excellent quality of its wine. To this extend, the Wine Festival of Zitsa takes place at the churchyard of the monastery every year. The festival includes many artistic and athletic happenings in the surrounding villages.

Sunset Spots

Spot: Chapel of Ai Nikolas, Ambelohori Village, Tzoumerka

Spot: Monastery of Kastritsa, Ioannina City

Spot: Village of Ano Pedina, Central Zagori

Spot: Village of Pramanta, Tzoumerka

Spot: Village of Dipotamo, Central Zagori

Excursions

Road Trip The Region of Konitsa is one of the unexplored areas of Epirus. Nature at its finest, the sceneries of the region seem like a fairytale. Majestic mountains, dense forests, impressive gorges, rushing rivers and picturesque villages compose the diverse landscape of the wider region of Konitsa. Glorious reflections catch your attention, as if you want to capture them with you photographic camera and gaze there forever. You will feel an undescribable awe from the distinctive smell of the wood that burn by the fireplace while observing the misty atmoshpere that block the greyish ashalt roads. Inside your mind, you might also hear the flowing water of Aoos river as you might even believe that you will touch the sky. All your senses predispose you for one thing; you just reached the extremity of Epirus in the province of Konitsa. Grammos, Tymfi and Smolikas embrace one of the most marvelous gifts; pristine nature in its entire splendor with wild vegetation and authentic hospitality is in all its finest, Konitsa will excite even the most demanding traveller. From the traditional villages of Mastorohoria and the wildlife refugee of Bourazani to the wonderful paths of Aoos and the snowish mountain slopes of Vasilitsa, you will not be able to choose. Besides, this is the hard part; how to choose between the authentic villages of Mastorohoria and the stone villages of Zagoria? How to decide which of the two impressive gorges of Aoos and Vikos to hike in? And when it comes to the wonderful forest paths, how could you possibly select between the fairytale landscapes of Voidomatis and the cobblestone alleys of Stomio Monastery? Whatever you ultimately decide to do, it is certain that you will return back to Konitsa. However, the capital of alternative activities, Konitsa, will surpass your expectations with its heavenly beauties, as Konitsa is the par excellence paradise for nature lovers. When you think of Konitsa, you mind will directly travel to all sorts of activities in the mountains; whether you want to go for rafting in the wild water trails of Voidomatis River or you want to climb the craggy slopes of the mountains, it is certain that you will come one step close to nature in Konitsa. Will you unveil Konitsa’s mysteries through the river waters of Aoos, Sarantaporos and Voidomatis? 

Road Trip: The Villages of Zagorohoria are considered to be some of the best-preserved villages of Greece. Beyond the mountains, as evidenced from their Slavic name, lovely Zagorohoria conceal millions of beauties; calm and cosmopolitan with charming views or hidden in the mountains with spectacular sceneries on the bare peaks or the forests by the rivers with the crystalline waters or the alpine lakes, Zagorohoria is a destination for your bucket list; a destination you deserve to explore even for once in this life. Perched on the mountain slopes of Epirus, these forty-six stone villages challenge you to explore their mysteries. The captivating central square of Aristi under the eye of Gamila, one of the tallest mountains of Pindus, Vikos with its hypnotizing views to the stone towers of Astraka, the guardian angels of Papigo, the quiet atmosphere of Ano Pedina with its holy monasteries, the picturesque stone bridges of Kipi with its wonderful hiking routes, Vovousa, one of the most fascinating mysteries of Zagorohoria, tiny Kapesovo with its delicious local products, Vradeto, the most mountainous of all, with the outstanding stairs of Vradeto and the Beloi ‘balcony’ with views to Vikos Gorge, stately Tsepelovo with its traditional festivals, sophisticated Vitsa, unexplored Dikorfo with its verdant vegetation and charming Elati hidden in the foggy atmosphere with its astonishing views. The magical world of West Zagoria whose sensational views of the ravine from Aristi and Mikro and Megalo Papigo cannot be found anywhere else, the calm strength of East Zagoria with the picturesque villages of the valley of Vardas with their watermills and the once-best-kept-secret of Central Zagoria whose reigns are hold from Dilofo, Kapesovo, Kipi and Tsepelovo; how could it be possible to choose you own side of heaven? Inexhaustible Zagorohoria is a mysterious getaway escape; a few days in the spectacular sceneries of this stone fairytale will fill you with a breath of fresh air. You will always return in Zagorohoria for discovering the monuments you did not had the chance to discover; the gorge of Vikos, the lake of Drakolimni, the mountain of Tymfi, the national park of Valia Calda and the list never ends! If you were to describe Zagorohoria with one word, then this would definitely be authentic. Authentic Zagorohoria; this is what you will adore about Zagorohoria, the feeling of seeking for destinations off the beaten track. Authentic.

Road Trip: The Town of Metsovo, one of the most beautiful regions of Epirus, challenges all of your senses through its picturesque character, its traditional atmosphere, its high quality cheeses and its intoxicating red wines. Painting the most wonderful setting of your winter escapes, from both Evangelos Averoff, Foundation Tositsa and its local people, Metsovo will definetely steal a place in your heart. Cultural heritage and natural beauty will certainly enchant you on the crossroads between Epirus, Macedonia and Thessaly. Nestling in one of the highest peaks of Pindus Mountains, Metsovo, the largest Vlach village of Greece, will captivate your eyes with its fresh mountain air and its natural beauty. A town of Epirus that has managed to maintain its traditional colours will give you the opportunity to experience an authentic image of the Greek countryside through Metsovo distinctive atmosphere. Dominated from labyrinthine cobblestone alleys, Metsovo hides millions of mysteries; from the Art Gallery of Evangelos Averoff with works of some of the most important painters of Greece and the Folklore Museum with a remarkable collection of folklore materials and fighters weapons of the Greek Revolution housed in the 19th century mansion of Tositsa family to the picturesque stone houses of Metsovo, examples of the traditional architecture of Epirus, and the traditional stone fountains, every corner of Metsovo is a new surprize! Land of farmers and shepherds, Metsovo has excelled in agricultural products. It is definite that a journey in Metsovo will leave you with unforgettable memories; its traditional character, its ultimate tranquility and its alpine beauty will revitalize you. When time will come, you will leave behind the intoxicating aroma of Katogi wine and the spicy flavor of metsovone cheese blended with the fresh air of Pindus to discover Metsovo’s mysteries with your own eyes!

Activities

Bicycling: The city of Ioannina and the countryside of Konitsa, Metsovo and Zagori are ideal places for cycling lovers. There are numerous bicycle rentals on the Ioannina where you can rent a bicycle and discover the villages of the prefecture. One of the most beautiful routes is the circular road of the lake of Pamvotida where you will have the opportunity to admire wonderful sceneries in every season of the year. Zagori villages are also ideal for bicycling enthusiasts while you will enjoy delightful promenades in Metsovo town. The surrounding area of Monastiri village in the region of Konitsa is also quite interesting;

Bird Watching: The flora and fauna of Ioannina Prefecture is quite remarkable. The prefecture of Ioannina has a high ecological value, as it serves as major station and shelter for native and migratory birds. Pamvotida Lake is a favorite place for bird-watchers; Lesser Kestrels, Little Grebe, Penduline Tits, Pygmy Cormorants, Scops Owls and Whiskered Terns have been identified in the areas around the lake. Aoos Gorge is another bird-watching site that stands out for many species of eagles, hawks and vultures that reside in the area. Vikos Gorge, however, is the bird-watchers paradise; characterized as one of the most beautiful natural wonders of the country, Vikos distinguishes for its rich variety of fauna. It is worth noting that there is a natural viewing platform at Oxia (3km from Monodentri) that overlooks to the deepest part of Vikos Gorge, where you can observe the entire gorge without descending it. More than 121 bird species have been recorded within Vikos Gorge, and 26 of them are considered of conservation priority. Bird species you might encounter include Mediterranean Golden Eagles, Egyptian Vultures, Pelegrine Falcons, Alpine Choughs, Shore Larks, Western Rock Nuthatches, Alpine Swifts, Griffon Vultures and Common Kestrels.

Canoeing and Kayaking: The opportunity to practice kayak in the prefecture of Ioannina is definitely an unforgettable experience. Aoos River stands out as one of the most popular destinations for lovers of adventure sports; with a difficulty level from 3 to 5, Aoos offers great excitement! The impressive canyon, the stone bridge of Konitsa and the spectacular natural scenery will surely amaze you! One will find numerous agencies in Konitsa and Zagorohoria that organize canoeing and kayaking expeditions. Voidomatis River distinguishes as one of the most idyllic destinations of Epirus, a river ideal for canoeing enthusiasts. The route from Klidonia village with its old stone bridge to Konitsa village is quite spectacular. At the 4 kilometers route that runs through the Voidomatis Gorge, one will have the opportunity to enjoy the finest of nature!

Climbing: The wild topography and rocky terrain of the prefecture Ioannina makes it an ideal destination for the lovers of climbing. There are many climbing fields with different difficulty scales for those who want to stimulate their adrenaline. The limestone cliffs of Tymfi are considered to be one of the most remarkable and difficult climbing fields of the country; numerous climbing trails of different levels of difficulty have been carved at the mountaintops of Astraka (2.436m) and Gamila (2.497m). This field is accessible either from Monastery of Stomio in Konitsa or from the Astraka Lodge and the Karteros Passage. Tsouka Rosa, one of the most inaccessible vertical slopes of Greece, is an intriguing field for experienced climbers accessible from the slopes of Vrisohori village. Other climbing fields are located in Mount Mavrovouni in Klidonia village of Konitsa.

Hiking: The prefecture of Ioannina hosts numerous paths ideal for lovers of hiking. The regions of Konitsa, Metsovo, Pogoni, Zagori and Zitsa host some of the most popular routes. Tzoumerka Mountains, one of the most rugged and pristine mountain areas of Greece, is an ideal destination for hiking expeditions as it distinguishes for its rich ecosystem with rich species of flora and fauna. One of the best routes starts from Kalarrites village towards the monastery of Viliza. If you are brave enough, you can follow the route from Matsouki to the mountaintop of Strogula (2.429). It is a non sign-posted route that usually lasts 4 hours. Nearby, you will find the mountain shelter ‘Isioma’.   For the adventure seekers, one of the best routes is the one that starts from Konitsa and leads to Roidovothini (1.977m) and Trapezitsa (2.022m). The route that passes from Konitsa Bridge towards the Monastery of Stomio, the Karteros Passage and the Skamneli village is a quite adventurous one, as it crosses Vikos Gorge and usually lasts 10 hours. One of the most beautiful routes of the region of Zitsa starts from Kataraktis village and leads to the fairytale sceneries of Theogefyro, aka God’s Bridge, in Lithino village through a wonderful route full of verdant vegetation. Vikos Gorge, the deepest gorge in the world, is the hikers paradise; the gorge is is found on the core zone of the Vikos-Aoos National Park in Zagori. Lovers of hiking can follow the sign-posted trail that descends into the gorge from the village of Monodentri, and then leads to the springs of Voidomatis River and the village of Papigo. It is worth noting that there is a natural viewing platform at Oxia (3km from Monodentri) that overlooks to the deepest part of Vikos Gorge. Not widely known, Agia Paraskevi Monastery is one of the best observation points of Vikos Gorge; the cobblestone path starts from Monodentri village. Zagorohoria, one of the most beautiful regions of the country, is of the most impressive destinations as they are situated in an area with rich flora and fauna, of the richest of the country within the boundaries of Vikos-Aoos National Park. The 46 picturesque villages are ideal for hiking aficionados, as walking through the old paths and the stone bridges that used to connect the villages is definitely an experience of a lifetime. In Zagorohoria, there are 31 sign-posted trails from LIFE – Zagori program with yellow plates (Code Z) that connect the villages of Central Zagori and routes with Code P that connect East Zagori as well as important areas between Metsovo and Zagori. Of the most beautiful routes include (1) the route of Vradeto Stairs, the most imposing cobblestone road of Epirus, which connects Kapesovo and Vradeto villages, (2) the route from Mikro Papigo village to Drakolimni Lake of Tymfi through the mountain shelter (3) the route of Vitsa Stairs, made in the 17th century, that connects Vitsa with Koukouli villages, (4) the magical route that starts from Voutsas Monastery in Greveniti towards the village of Doliani, (5) the route that starts from Karyes village and leads to Anthrakitis village through Kavallari passing through traditional settlements and many monuments and (6) the route that starts from Kipi village towards Tsepelovo village. Grammos Mount, the fourth highest mountain of Greece, is yet another hiking destination. From Plikati village in Konitsa, one can approach the alpine meadows of Grammos Mountain and its mountain peak. Aetomilitsa and Grammoutsa are the most well known villages of Grammos. From the latter, it is possible to reach one of the largest alpine lakes of Greece namely Gistova. Grammos rich ecosystem is offered for hiking enthusiasts. Aetomilitsa offers great routes through the forests with panoramic views to the mountain ridges of Grammos Mountain. Katsanohoria is also an ideal destination for hiking expeditions, as they distinguish for their authentic sceneries and their wonderful villages overlooking the imposing mountains of Tzoumerka. At an altitude of 1960 meters, one will have the opportunity to admire Flega Lakes, the two tiny lakes of Mavrovouni Mountain in Flega; the lakes are accessible either from Metsovo town through the sign-posted P6 Route that follow the forest road until the mountain shelter of Metsovo and leads to the two lakes (2-3 hours), or from Vovousa village via the area of Arkoudorema that leads to the valley of Valia Calda National Park and Flega Lakes (5 to 7 hours). From Pogoni, one of the most unknown regions of Epirus, it is worth following the route that starts from Pogoni village towards the stone bridge of Gretsi, and the two watermills; however, it is highly advisable to ask for directions from the locals. Another quite interesting route of Pogoni starts from Dolo village up until Pogoniani village (2-3 hours). Numerous beautiful routes start from the villages of Meropi, Kefalovriso and Paleopirgos (3 – 4 hours) in order to enjoy the terrific sceneries of Pogoni from Nemertsika Mountain, especially from the regions of Prophet Elias and Bitsikopulo. Bouna Forest, close to Delvinaki village, is offered for beautiful hiking promenades as it is famed for its rich flora and fauna as well as the neighboring valley of Gormos. However, the route of Kouvaras Gorge, of the most beautiful gorges of Epirus, is spectacular. There are two paths that one can access Kouvaras Gorge in order to discover the beauty and majesty of Epirus countryside; one path begins from the village of Pogoniani while the other path starts from the village of Dolo. O1 National Hiking Trail together with 03 National Hiking Trail connects the E4 and E6 European Hiking Trails. It starts from Metsovo towards Sirrako and Kalarrites villages up until Gardiki. The cobblestone route from Kalarrites to Sirrako is probably the jewel of Tzoumerka (1 – 2 hours). According to many, 03 National Hiking Trail is one of the most beautiful trails of Europe. It starts from Ioannina city towards the mountain shelter of Mitsikeli through the villages of Dikorfo, Kipi, Vitsa and Monodedri. Then, it descends to the Vikos Gorge and continues to the springs of Voidomatis River, Mikro Papigo village, Vrisohori village, Aoos Bridge, Pades, Drakolimni Lake of Smolikas and the monastery of Agia Paraskevi where it connects with the E6 International Hiking Path. E6 International Hiking Trail enters from the region of Dodona, continuing to Loggades, Baldouma, Megali Gotista towards Peristeri mountain peak up until Metsovo. From there, it continues towards Milia village, Valia Calda National Park, Distrato village where it enters the Vasilitsa region of the prefecture of Grevena. Another route starts from Mikro Papigo village and leads to the lake of Drakolimni through Astraka Mountain Shelter. The route starts at the entrance of the village and its first part is paved. Passing by the shelter, one will continue towards Tsoumani sheepfold and Xerolimni; after crossing the stream, you will continue straight ahead to reach the lake of Drakolimni and you will be able to see the mountain peak of Gamila.

Horse Riding: The prefecture of Ioannina offers invigorating experiences for lovers of horse riding. At the plateau of Politses, close to the ski center of Prophet Elias in Metsovo, one will find trained riding horses and experienced riders who will guide you to you first steps in horse-riding. There, you will have the opportunity to enjoy spectacular routes in a sub-alpine landscape with stunning views of the surrounding area. Other beautiful routes include from Metsovo town to the Lake of Aoos and Milia village.

Lake Ski: Athletes or not, many people visit the Pamvotida Lake to practice their skills in lake skiing. Skiing in fresh water is easier, without ripples and winds. From slalom for all levels to barefoot and wakeboard, Pamvotida Lake is an ideal place to enjoy your favorite sport. The magical scenery of the lake is the true jewel of Ioannina. In fact, its calm waters compose the ideal settlement for hosting the Water Ski Tournament with participants from over 20 countries!

Mountain Biking: The rich natural diversity of Ioannina is highly suitable for mountain biking aficionados. As Ioannina is one of the most mountainous regions of Greece, it is certain that it hosts numerous places for mountain biking. From charming villages to impressive sceneries, the best routes mountain biking lovers can follow are located on Mitsikeli Mount, the Katsanohoria Villages, the Mastorohoria Villages and the Zagorohoria Villages.

Off Road: Lovers of off road driving can follow the dirt roads leading to the mountains of Pindus and Tzoumerka in order to explore the mysterious beauties of Epirus. The true paradise if you are exploring Epirus off-road is Tzoumerka Mountains. Sights worth exploring include the Anemotripa Cave in Pramanta and the Kokkini Eklissia in Paleohori. Numerous adventurous routes are found in the protected region of North Pindus from Vikos-Aoos National Park up until Valia Calda National Park. The mountainous around Kalarrites and Sirrako villages are ideal for off-road driving adventurous leading to peaks (2.000m) with wonderful vistas. In Zagorohoria, there are spectacular routes with isolated villages hidden within lush green forests that will definitely amaze you. From Tsepelovo village, the road continues to Skamneli and the Sheepfold of the Sarakatsani in Gyftokambos and Laista village. Vovousa village is yet another places for off-road expeditions. There is a wonderful forest path of 10 kilometers in Pogoniskos, one of the remotest villages of Pogoni, which leads to the villages of Kefalovriso; autumn is the best season to follow this road, as the oak forest has gotten the golden and fiery colours. Another interesting route starts from Kato Meropi village in Pogoni leading to the Monastery of Ioannis the Baptist that is situated in a wonderful location filled with oak trees. From Paleopirgos village, one can also visit Gretsi Bridge, one of the oldest bridges of Epirus, a terrific location for off-roading. Make sure you always check the maps of Ioannina before you get into your car!

Paragliding: Are you eager to experience the thrill of free flying in the beautiful land of Ioannina? Live the unique experience of a real take-off, touch the clouds and stimulate your adrenaline! The perfect climate conditions of Greece are ideal for paragliding experiences, since the drier the climate the better for the development of the sport. Take-offs in Ioannina takes place from the village of Asprangeli in Zagori, the village of Ligiades in Mitsikeli Mountain and Xirovouni slopes in Tzoumerka.

Rafting: Due to the abundant number of rivers in the mainland, Greece is an ideal destination for those looking for a rafting adventure. Rafting in Greece is the best way to discover the most hidden treasures of the country while sailing past steep gorges and verdurous mountain slopes. Arachthos River is one of the most popular destinations in Greece for the lovers of adventure sports. It has a level of difficulty from 3 to 5 0ffering an amazing rafting experience that passes through magical sceneries. It is worth mentioning that athletic games take place on an annual basis in Arachthos River. Kalarritikos River is yet another river ideal for rafting that distinguishes for its narrowness with consecutive ripples and interesting passages (3-4 level of difficulty). The route of Kalarritikos evolves through a narrow canyon with intense passages.

Skiing: With one of the most mountainous terrains in Europe, Greece is an ideal destination for skiing in winter. The heart of the winter in Greece beats on the snowish mountaintops where ski lovers desire adventures. In Epirus, there are three ski centers. Karakoli Ski Center is a small ski center located at the foothills of Pindus Mountains. The ski center consists from 3 pistes with a total length of 2.2 kilometers. The highest altitude of the pistes is at an altitude of 1.520 meters. Karakoli Ski Center has a chalet and provides equipment hire facilities. The ski center operates from December to March. Metsovo is located one and a half kilometers away from the ski center. Politsies Ski Center is a small ski center located at the foothills of Pindus Mountains. The ski center consists from 5 downhill ski slopes and one cross-country ski run. The highest altitude of the pistes is at an altitude of 1.620 meters. The ski center has three sliding lifts and one chalet. Politsies Ski Center provides equipment hire facilities. The ski center operates from December to March. Metsovo is located six kilometers away from the ski center. The Ski and Snowboard Center of Anilio is the newest ski resort of Greece located at the foothills of Pindus Mountains. The ski center consists from five ski slopes and one snowboard piste. The highest altitude of the pistes is at an altitude of 1850 meters. The ski center has five lifts and one chalet. It also offers snowkite training. Anilio Ski Center provides equipment hire facilities. The ski center operates from December until the beginning of May. Metsovo is located six kilometers away from the ski center.

Thermal Springs: Birthplace of medicine, Greece hosted the most important healing centers of the ancient world that continue to evolve up until today from the times of Hippocrates. Aside from the beautiful sceneries, Greece is blessed with natural springs with therapeutic properties, which have been known since ancient times. Amarandos Thermal Springs are unique in their kind throughout Europe. Hot air is released from 15 different sources at a temperature from 35 to 38 degrees of Celsius and a maximum humidity of 97 – 100 %. Amarandos Thermal Springs are ideal for chronic diseases including endocrine diseases, respiratory diseases, spondyloarthritis, neuralgia, rhinitis, vaginitis, back pain, post-traumatic disorders, paralysis, circulatory diseases, anemia and pharyngitis. Kavasila Thermal Springs are located six kilometers away from the village of Karavasila. Its sulphur waters have a temperature from 30 to 32 degrees of Celsius. Karavasila springs are suitable for numerous diseases including arthritic diseases, skin diseases, gynecological and neurological disorders and rheumatism. The springs contribute to the inhalation treatment of diseases of the respiratory system including asthma, bronchitis, rhinitis and pharyngitis. The thermal springs are open from June until the end of September.

Coffee Corners, Gastronomic Delights and Cocktail Inspirations

e-table_promo_728x90_2

Did you know that you can book your table with e-table?

Coffee Corners 

Filoistron: Traditional Cafeteria, Ioannina

Marché: Cafeteria, Ioannina

Makris: Cafeteria, Ioannina

Montage: Cocktails and Drinks, Ioannina

Select: Pies and Pastries, Ioannina

Synnefo 9: Cafeteria, Ioannina

Gastronomic Delights

Aggelos: Grill and Meat, Vovousa

Akanthos: Ouzo and Meze, Kalarrites

Armoloi: Greek Cuisine, Pyrsogianni

Boukia Boukia: Greek Cuisine, Ioannina

En Aristi: Grill and Meat, Aristi

I Pita Tis Kikitsas: Traditional Pies, Monodentri

Ioannidis: Greek Cuisine, Megalo Papigo

Kali Kardia: Ouzo and Meze, Vradeto

Kalliopi: Greek Cuisine, Megalo Papigo

Kanella Kai Garyfallo: Greek Cuisine, Vitsa

Katsaros: Traditional Greek Tavern, Kalentzi

Lithos: Greek Cuisine, Dilofo

Mystagogia: Ouzo and Meze, Ioannina

Ntrampatova: Greek Cuisine, Ntrampatova

O Mpoutzas: Grill and Meat, Pramanta

Omilos: Mediterranean Cuisine, Ioannina

Palio Aloni: Traditional Greek Cuisine, Koukouli

Seirios: Greek Cuisine, Ioannina

Sta Riza: Greek Cuisine, Elati

Stoa Louli: Greek Cuisine, Ioannina

Ta Soudena: Grill and Meat, Ano Pedina

Thucydides: Greek Cuisine, Kapesovo

To Kentriko: Greek Cuisine, Delvinaki

To Petrino: Grill and Meat, Vissani

Tsoumanis: Greek Cuisine, Megalo Papigo

Voidomatis: Seafood, Klidonia

Zagorisios: Grill and Meat, Koutselio

Zarkadas: Greek Cuisine, Monodentri

Cocktail Inspirations

Blue Gin Bar: Cocktails and Drinks, Ioannina

Marché: Cocktails and Drinks, Ioannina

Montage: Cocktails and Drinks, Ioannina

Route 66: Cocktails and Drinks, Ioannina

Vog.Ue: Drinks and Dance, Ioannina

Local Products & Specialties

Epirus is famous for its delicious local products and its rich gastronomic tradition. The main ingredient of the cuisine of Epirus is milk, which is used for the production of butter, yogurt and the renowned local cheeses; the great variety of Epirus cheeses is owed to the fresh goat and sheep milk that is a result of a long tradition in cheese-making. The feta cheese of Epirus is one of the finest feta cheeses of the country while other cheese types include smoked metsovone cheese, spicy vasilotiri cheese, creamy galotiri cheese that stands out for its strong-tasting, hard and spicy kefalotiri cheese made from goat and sheep milk, and salt-free manouri cheese made from sheep milk or a mixture of goat and sheep milk. To this extend, the meat of Epirus is also of the most delicious of the country. Epirus is also well known for its seafood; the crystalline waters of the Ionian Sea and the wetlands of Amvrakikos and Sagiada are known for their wide variety of fish species as well as the fish of the sweet water lakes that include species such as eels, trout, carps, crayfish and frogs. Epirus is also famous for its vinegar made from various grape varieties including Devina and Vlahiko. It is worth mentioning that the region of Zitsa is famous for its delicious white wines while Metsovo is renowned for its red wines; in fact, it is where Cabernet Sauvignon was first planted on the Greek soil. Make sure to taste the aged tsipouro of Epirus, a local alcoholic spirit, and the local blackberry and cranberry lickers.

The local specialties of Epirus comprise from a wide variety of agricultural and dairy products; Epirus gastronomical tradition is based on the cultivation of the exquisite natural products of her land. These include the traditional pies of Epirus that hold the main place of the region’s gastronomy, which can be practically filled with anything from meat, fish, vegetables and pasta. Some of the most famous dishes of Epirus are meat dishes made with wild boar, partridges, woodcocks and thrushes mostly accompanied from local noodles and lasagna. The syrupy sweets and phyllo pastries of Epirus have a brilliant traditional in Epirus; from the sweet flogeres of Metsovo and famous kataifi from Ioannina, you should leave room for the dessert. Some of the most delicious include almond and walnut cake, saragli, and famous gianniotiko from Ioannina, baklava dough sheets and spoon sweets made from local fruits.

Events & Festivals

Every year, the Panhellenic Rowing Games take place at the lake of Pamvotida in Ioannina.

Every 6th of January, the Epiphany Festival takes place at the lake of Pamvotida, which is observed from the sanctification of the water by casting the Holy Crosse into the sea under the psalms of the priests.

Every May, the Evathlos Athletic Festival takes place in the town of Konitsa. Evathlos is one of the most important athletic events of the wider area that includes races of adventurous athletic games with international participation. The festival includes canoeing, climbing, kayaking and rafting races. Evathlos usually takes place in the last week of May.

Every May, the Metsovo Ursa Trail Race takes place in the town of Metsovo. The aim of the race is to design the path that brings the athletes through the habitat of the bear in order to raise awareness about the protection of the brown bear Ursus Arctos, an endangered species of Greece. The total length of the race is 40 kilometers with a height difference of 2.700 meters along with an 18kilometers race known

Every May, the Tzoumerka Mountain Sports Festival takes place at the mountains of Tzoumerka. The festival includes mountain biking and running races organized under the auspices of the municipality of Central Tzoumerka.

Every summer, the Athens and Epidaurus Festival takes place in numerous archaeological sites and cultural venues of the country including the Ancient Theatre of Dodoni. The festival hosts musical and theatrical events for a period of four months.

Every 20th of July, the traditional celebration of Prophet Elias takes place at the churchyard of the monastery of Prophet Elias in Metsovo. The celebration is accompanied from traditional food, music and dance.

Every 26th of July, the traditional celebration in honor of Agia Paraskevi takes place in the village of Prosilio. A great amount of activities is organized in the wider region of Tzoumerka at the same period.

Every July, the Gathering of Vlachs takes place in the town of Metsovo. According to some scholars, the Vlachs were native to the area of Metsovo since the first Roman colonization of the southern Balkans and construction of the Via Egnatia (146-120 BC) and thus were also called Aromanians. They were a nomadic tribe based on livestock farming who thrived on trade throughout southeast Europe. The gathering of Vlachs usually takes place in the first weekend of July. The festival is dedicated to the diverse culture of southern Balkans demonstrating folklore dances, local costumes and traditions in their unique language.

Every 14th of August, the Tsipouro Festival takes place at the monastery of Panagia Molivdoskepasti.

Every August, the Celebration of Greek Women Farmers takes place in the village of Kalohori.

Every August, the Gathering of Sarakatsani takes place at Gyftokambos of Skamneli village. The Sarakatsani are a nomadic tribe with no permanent habitation, one of the purest Greek races who are thought to be descendants of the original pastoral tribes of Homeric Greece. Today, the Sarakatsani people form part of the scattered communities of Epirus who gather on the first weekend of August in Gyftokambos of central Zagori. The reunion usually takes place during the first weekend of August.

Every August, the International Festival of Cinema and Culture takes place in the village of Prosilio.

Every August, the National Festival of Polyphonic Song, one of the greatest culture festivals fo Epirus, takes place in the village of Pogoni.

Every August, the Protect Aoos MTB Ultra Race takes place in Epirus. The race include a 12o kilometers mountain biking race.

Every August, the Wine Festival of Zitsa takes place at the monastery of Prophet Elias in Zitsa village. The festival is held during the first fifteen days of August.

Every September, the Water Ski Championship takes place at the lake of Pamvotida.

History & Mythology

Mythology

According to mythology, Epirus was the daughter of Agave and Echion who accompanied Cadmus and Harmonia while carrying the body of their brother namely Pentheus. While she was in this land, she died and was buried in a thicket, which was later considered sacred; the entire region was renamed after her into Epirus.

History

Archaeological excavations show that the region of Epirus has been inhabited since the Paleolithic times. During the Neolithic period, Epirus was populated from seafarers along its coast while the mainland was dominated from hunters and shepherds who brought with them the Greek language; these people used to bury their leaders in large mounds. Identical burial chambers were used from the Mycenaean civilization, hence suggesting that the founders of Mycenae may have originated from Epirus and Albania. Two religious shrines of great antiquity were found in the wider region include the Oracle of the Dead on the river Acheron and the Oracle of Zeus in Dodoni. With the decline of the Mycenaean people, Epirus was the dominant region of the Dorian invasions of Greece; their invasions drive out the original inhabitants of the area creating three clusters of Greek-speaking tribes include the Thesproti, the Molossi and the Chaones. According to the historical texts of Thucydides, the people of Epirus were “barbarians” . The lone people of Epirus who were regarded as Greek were the Aeacidae, the members of the Molossi who claimed descent from Achilles. The efforts of Aeacidae to expand the Molossi state gained energy after the marriage of Philip II of Macedon to their princess namely Olympias. Alexander the Great, the son of Philip and Olympias, crossed into Asia, his uncle, attacked southern Italy until he was finally killed in 331. To this extend, the tribes of Epirus formed a coalition with the Molossian kind in command of the military forces; the greatest of all Molossian kings was Pyrrhus, who, along with his son Alexander II, ruled from Akarnania up to central Albania. His military adventured brought great prosperity to the region, while he also built the majestic stone theatre of Dodona and created the suburb of Ambracia, aka Arta, which was his capital. Following the end of Aeacidae monarchy, the alliance of Epirus was transformed into a federal state, the renowned Epirote League, which was driven into an difficult course during the conflicts between Macedonia and Rome during the Third Macedonian War; Molossia was captured from Rome, and all of its inhabitants were enslaved. Up until the Byzantine period, Epirus had not managed to recover while its coastal region continued to flourish as part of a Roman province. Following the separation of the Roman Empire (395), Epirus was the westernmost region of the Eastern Empire. However, an independent kingdom was maintained in Epirus, the famous Despotate of Epirus, when the Byzantine Empire spited; nevertheless, the Ottomans annexed it. Epirus suffered from deforestation and over cultivation in that period due to depopulation and soil erosion. During the 18th century, the Ottoman domination was threatened from Albanian lord Ali Pasha Tepelene, who was later recognized as the pasha of Ioannina; his rule was extended to most of the peninsula of Peloponnese by 1810, leading to the War of Greek Independence (1821 – 1829). A great part of northern Epirus was united with Greece by 1913, leaving some minorities on both sites of the Albanian-Greek frontiers. In 1939, Italy occupied Albania and invaded Greece in 1940. However, the Italian were driven back to Albania and the Greek forces took control of northern Epirus. The German occupation followed (1940–44) until the Allies restored the Greek-Albanian frontier.

Travel & Transport

By Air: Ioannina has a national airport with scheduled flights on an annual basis. The journey from Athens usually lasts forty-five minutes to one hour. Book your tickets with AirTickets.com!

By Bus: KTEL Buses operate routes from the Kiffisos Station in the city of Athens to the city of Ioannina on a daily basis. The journey usually lasts six to seven hours.

By Car (420 kilometers): The quickest way to reach the city of Ioannina is by following the National Road of Athens to Patra. After crossing the Rio-Antirio Bridge, you will keep driving to Ionia Highway and the National Road of Rio to Agrinio with a direction towards Arta/Ioannina/Preveza.

Mysterious Greece Tips

Adrenaline Rush: The Zagori Race

Attracting athletes from Greece and abroad, the North Face Zagori Mountain Running is one of the most popular and demanding mountain running races of Europe that has been included in the Zagori Excellence Network. Zagori Race is always held in the last weekend of July. Will you test your limits in the mountain massifs of Epirus?

An Excursion to the Island of Ioannina

Lake Pamvotida, the jewel of Ioannina, with its anonymous island is a unique spectacle of nature; an unbelievably beautiful island with great historical significance covered with lush vegetation that are the sole lake inhabited islands in Greece along with Agios Achilles Island in Prespa Lake. The village of the island is a real gem with traditional houses and picturesque cobblestone alleys that has been designated as an example of a traditional settlement due to its architectural beauty and its historical importance. The village of the island is a real gem with traditional houses and picturesque cobblestone alleys that has been designated as an example of a traditional settlement due to its architectural beauty and its historical importance. The main monuments of the island include the Pre-Revolutionary Period Museum housed in a cell of Panteleimonas Monastery, the Monastery of Philanthropinon for its rich history and the Monastery of Prophet Elias for its panoramic vistas. It is highly recommended to follow the path (2.5 kilometers) that goes around the island. Ioannina Island can be reached by boat from the city of Ioannina; routes operate every half an hour from the pier of the city.

An Experience of a Lifetime: Hiking at Zagoria

Zagorohoria, one of the most beautiful regions of the country, is of the most impressive destinations as they are situated in an area with rich flora and fauna, of the richest of the country within the boundaries of Vikos-Aoos National Park. The 46 picturesque villages are ideal for hiking aficionados, as walking through the old paths and the stone bridges that used to connect the villages is definitely an experience of a lifetime. In Zagorohoria, there are 31 sign-posted trails from LIFE – Zagori program with yellow plates (Code Z) that connect the villages of Central Zagori and routes with Code P that connect East Zagori as well as important areas between Metsovo and Zagori. Of the most beautiful routes include (1) the route of Vradeto Stairs, the most imposing cobblestone road of Epirus, which connects Kapesovo and Vradeto villages, (2) the route from Mikro Papigo village to Drakolimni Lake of Tymfi through the mountain shelter (3) the route of Vitsa Stairs, made in the 17th century, that connects Vitsa with Koukouli villages, (4) the magical route that starts from Voutsas Monastery in Greveniti towards the village of Doliani, (5) the route that starts from Karies village and leads to Anthrakitis village through Kavallari passing through traditional settleemnts and many monuments and (6) the route that starts from Kipi village towards Tsepelovo village.

Bird Watching at Vikos-Aoos National Park

The flora and fauna of Vikos-Aoos National Park is one of the richest of Greece; it is the bird-watchers paradise! Characterized as one of the most beautiful natural wonders of the country, Vikos distinguishes for its rich ecosystem. It is worth noting that there is a natural viewing platform at Oxia (3km from Monodentri) that overlooks to the deepest part of Vikos Gorge, where you can observe the entire gorge without descending it. More than 121 bird species have been recorded within Vikos Gorge, and 26 of them are considered of conservation priority. Bird species you might encounter include Mediterranean Golden Eagles, Egyptian Vultures, Pelegrine Falcons, Alpine Choughs, Shore Larks, Western Rock Nuthatches, Alpine Swifts, Griffon Vultures and Common Kestrels.

Cross the Deepest Gorge of Europe

Vikos Gorge, one of the most famous hiking destinations of Greece, is the deepest gorge in the world located in Pindus Mountains of Northern Greece. The gorge is on the core zone of the Vikos-Aoos National Park in Zagori beginning from the villages of Monodentri and Koukouli and ending at close to Vikos/Vitsiko village. Lovers of hiking can follow the sign-posted trail that descends into the gorge from the village of Monodentri, and then leads to the springs of Voidomatis River and the village of Papigo.

Driving in the Countryside of Ioannina

Grab your keys and start driving! It’s time for new explorations! In the area of Zitsa, except the impressive Theogyro, aka the God’s Bridge, which has been carved in the rock, you will find a series of wonderful ecclesiastical monuments including the Monastery of Prophet Elias and the Monastery of Agios Nikolaos. The route from the city of Ioannina to the village of Zitsa (25 kilometers) is a spectacular ride filled with Zitsa’s famous vineyards. The riverside driving route of Vouliasta – Hani Terovou – Klisoura Tunnel is also quite amazing; you can follow the route from Kouklesi village. The most imposing spot of the wider area is the riverbanks of Louros River. Dolo, the most beautiful village of unknown Pogoni, offers a spectacular ride with a pleasant journey through the villages of Kakkolakos, Meropi, Oreokastro and Vissani. One of the less known regions of Pogoni, though, is the waterfall of Heromneme. Start from the village of Kouklioi following the signs towards Heromnene and the waterfall. It is one of the most beautiful spots of Pogoni, reported even from Lord Byron. It is a terrific ride that passes through verdant sceneries. Another interesting driving route starts from Delvinaki towards Vissani. In Mastorohoria, lovers of photography will have the opporunity to capture magnificent sceneries at the road that leads from Pyrsogianni to Vourbiani. However, the jewel of Epirus that magnetizes all the travellers is the Zagorohoria. 46 picturesque village scattered on the mountain slopes of Vikos-Aoos National Park will certainly grasp your attention! The road that leads to Papigo is a feast for senses; it a spectacular ride crossed from Voidomatis River with panoramic views of Vikos Gorge. Make sure you pay attention to the narrow road! One of the most beautiful routes leads from Ioannina to Dikorfo passes through a magical forest and predisposes for the picturesqueness of the village. From Kato Pedina, the views become even more intriguing while a diffent stone village emerges at every intersection. Highlights of the route include quiet Elafotopos, traditional Vitsa, lovely Monodentri and the views from Oxia.If you desire to admire the impressive mountaintops of Astraka, then head to the villages of Aristi and Papigo, two of the most popular villages of Zagorohoria. Lesser known with glorious views is the village of Vikos while stately Dilofo, tiny Koukouli, traditional Tsepelovo and lovely Monodentri distinguish for their beauty. On the highest spot, Kapesovo stands out for its Sarakatsani Sheepfold while you will admire the best views in Elati!

Exclusively for Photographers

The natural diversity and the hidden hinterland of Ioannina city offer numerous astonishing sceneries to capture with your eyes! But it would be a shame not to remember those beautiful landscapes, wouldn’t it? So, make sure you bring your camera with you!

Exquisite Dairy Products from Metsovo

Metsovo, one of the most beautiful villages oif Epirus, is famous for its delicious cheeses. Of the most famous include the smoked cheese of Metsovone, the semi-hard cheese of Metsovella and the spicy cheese of Metsovisio. All of the dairy products of Metsovo can be found at the traditional shops of the central square of Metsovo!

Fairytale Sceneries

Whover believes that fairytale sceneries do not exist has never visited Epirus! Blessed with landscapes of outstanding natural beauty, Epirus is filled with numerous fairytale sceneries. In Vouliasta, one will have the opportunity to enjoy the Springs of Louros River; it is a small pond in which the green slopes of the hills are mirrored in the emerald colours of the waters creating a unique spectacle worth admiring. The Stone Bridges of Kato Lavdani is another wonderful scenery that bridges the river of Kalamas! Theogefyro Bridge, the God’s Bridge, is one of the most beautiful natural bridges of Epirus hanging over the river of Kalamas close to Lithino village. The Springs of Klifki, just below Kastri, are located in a lush landscsape with paths and bridges ideal for promenades. The Forest of Vovousa is yet another brilliant location of natural beauty while the Lake of Aoos Springs is just magical! Between Mikro and Megalo Papigo, you will find the small lake of Kolibithres, a place worth exploring!

Find More Information

You can find more information for the Archaeological Site of Dodoni from the Official Website of the Ministry of Culture. Zagorohoria Official Website, Konitsa Official Website and Metsovo Official Website can also help you find information regarding the destinations of Ioannina.

From Epirus With Love

Epirus is famous for its delicious local products and its rich gastronomic tradition. The main ingredient of the cuisine of Epirus is milk, which is used for the production of butter, yogurt and the renowned local cheeses; the great variety of Epirus cheeses is owed to the fresh goat and sheep milk that is a result of a long tradition in cheese-making. The feta cheese of Epirus is one of the finest feta cheeses of the country while other cheese types include smoked metsovone cheese, spicy vasilotiri cheese, creamy galotiri cheese that stands out for its strong-tasting, hard and spicy kefalotiri cheese made from goat and sheep milk, and salt-free manouri cheese made from sheep milk or a mixture of goat and sheep milk. To this extend, the meat of Epirus is also of the most delicious of the country. It is worth mentioning that the region of Zitsa is famous for its delicious white wines while Metsovo is renowned for its red wines; in fact, it is where Cabernet Sauvignon was first planted on the Greek soil. Make sure to taste the aged tsipouro of Epirus, a local alcoholic spirit made mostly from a local variety of grape known as Zambela, which is renowned all over Greece.

Hiking Higher than Highest

Smolikas Mountain is the second highest mountain of Greece. Its highest peak, the highest of the Pindus Mountains, is located at an altitude of 2.637 meters above the seal level. The entire area is of great ecological significance home to rare species of flora and fauna. Palioseli, one of the most mountainous villages of Ioannina, nestles at a height of one thousand meters on the selvages of Pindus overlooking the mountainpeaks of Tymfi. On the way from Palioseli to Smolikas, one will pass through the shadowy pathways and craggy slopes of the mountain and will have the opportunity to take a rest at the refugee of Smolikas (1.600 meters).

It’s All About Hiking

The prefecture of Ioannina hosts numerous paths ideal for lovers of hiking. The regions of Konitsa, Metsovo, Pogoni, Zagori and Zitsa host some of the most popular routes. Tzoumerka Mountains, one of the most rugged and pristine mountain areas of Greece, is an ideal destination for hiking expeditions as it distinguishes for its rich ecosystem with rich species of flora and fauna. One of the best routes starts from Kalarrites village towards the monastery of Viliza. If you are brave enough, you can follow the route from Matzouki to the mountaintop of Strogula (2.429). It is a non sign-posted route that usually lasts 4 hours. Neaby, you will find the mountain shelter ‘Isioma’.   For the adventure seekers, one of the best routes is the one that starts from Konitsa and leads to Roidovothini (1.977m) and Trapezitsa (2.022m). The route that passes from Konitsa Bridge towards the Monastery of Stomio, the Karteros Passage and the Skamneli village is a quite adventurous one, as it crosses Vikos Gorge and usually lasts 10 hours. One of the most beautiful routes of the region of Zitsa starts from Katarraktis village and leads to the fairytale sceneries of Theogefyro, aka God’s Bridge, in Lithino village through a wonderful route full of verdant vegetation. Vikos Gorge, the deepest gorge in the world, is the hikers paradise; the gorge is is found on the core zone of the Vikos-Aoos National Park in Zagori. Lovers of hiking can follow the sign-posted trail that descends into the gorge from the village of Monodentri, and then leads to the springs of Voidomatis River and the village of Papigo. It is worth noting that there is a natural viewing platform at Oxia (3km from Monodentri) that overlooks to the deepest part of Vikos Gorge. Not widely known, Agia Paraskevi Monastery is one of the best observation points of Vikos Gorge; the cobblestone path starts from Monodentri village. Zagorohoria, one of the most beautiful regions of the country, is of the most impressive destinations as they are situated in an area with rich flora and fauna, of the richest of the country within the boundaries of Vikos-Aoos National Park. The 46 picturesque villages are ideal for hiking aficionados, as walking through the old paths and the stone bridges that used to connect the villages is definitely an experience of a lifetime. In Zagorohoria, there are 31 sign-posted trails from LIFE – Zagori program with yellow plates (Code Z) that connect the villages of Central Zagori and routes with Code P that connect East Zagori as well as important areas between Metsovo and Zagori. Of the most beautiful routes include (1) the route of Vradeto Stairs, the most imposing cobblestone road of Epirus, which connects Kapesovo and Vradeto villages, (2) the route from Mikro Papigo village to Drakolimni Lake of Tymfi through the mountain shelter (3) the route of Vitsa Stairs, made in the 17th century, that connects Vitsa with Koukouli villages, (4) the magical route that starts from Voutsas Monastery in Greveniti towards the village of Doliani, (5) the route that starts from Karies village and leads to Anthrakitis village through Kavallari passing through traditional settleemnts and many monuments and (6) the route that starts from Kipi village towards Tsepelovo village. Grammos Mount, the fourth highest mountain of Greece, is yet another hiking destination. From Plikati village in Konitsa, one can approach the alpine meadows of Grammos Mountain and its mountainpeak. Aetomilitsa and Grammoutsa are the most well known villages of Grammos. From the latter, it is possible to reach one of the largest alpine lakes of Greece namely Gistova. Grammos rich ecosystem is offered for hiking enthusiasts. Aetomilitsa offers great routes through the forests with panoramic views to the mountain ridges of Grammos Mountain. Katsanohoria is also an ideal desintation for hiking expeditions, as they distinguish for their authentic sceneries and their wonderful villages overlooking the imposing mountains of Tzoumerka. At an altitude of 1960 meters, one will have the opportunity to admire Flega Lakes, the two tiny lakes of Mavrovouni Mountain in Flega; the lakes are accessible either from Metsovo town through the sign-posted P6 Route that follow the forest road until the mountain shelter of Metsovo and leads to the two lakes (2-3 hours), or from Vovusa village via the area of Arkoudorema that leads to the valley of Valia Calda National Park and Flega Lakes (5 to 7 hours). From Pogoni, one of the most unknown regions of Epirus, it is worth following the route that starts from Pogoni village towards the stone bridge of Gretsi, and the two watermills; however, it is highly advisable to ask for directions from the locals. Another quite interesting route of Pogoni starts from Dolo village up until Pogoniani village (2-3 hours). Numerous beautiful routes start from the villages of Meropi, Kefalovriso and Paleopyrgo (3 – 4 hours) in order to enjoy the terrific sceneries of Pogoni from Nemertsika Mountain, especially from the regions of Prophet Elias and Bitsikopulo. Bouna Forest, close to Delvinaki village, is offered for beautiful hiking promenades as it is famed for its rich flora and fauna as well as the neighboring valley of Gormos. However, the route of Kouvaras Gorge, of the most beautiful gorges of Epirus, is spectacular. There are two paths that one can access Kouvaras Gorge in order to discover the beauty and majesty of Epirus countryside; one path begins from the village of Pogoniani while the other path starts from the village of Dolo. O1 National Hiking Trail together with 03 National Hiking Trail connectes the E4 and E6 European Hiking Trails. It starts from Metsovo towards Sirrako and Kalarrites villages up until Gardiki. The cobblestone route from Kalarrites to Sirrako is probably the jewel of Tzoumerka (1 – 2 hours). According to many, 03 National Hiking Trail is one of the most beautiful trails of Europe. It starts from Ioannina city towards the mountain shelter of Mitsikeli through the villages of Dikorfo, Kipi, Vitsa and Mondendri. Then, it descends to the Vikos Gorge and continues to the springs of Voidomatis River, Mikro Papigo village, Vrisohori village, Aoos Bridge, Pades, Drakolimni Lake of Smolikas and the monastery of Agia Paraskevi where it connects with the E6 International Hiking Path. E6 International Hiking Trail enters from the region of Dodona, continuing to Loggades, Baldouma, Megali Gotista towards Peristeri mountainpeak up until Metsovo. From there, it continues towards Milia village, Valia Calda National Park, Distrato village where it enter the Vasilitsa region of the prefecture of Grevena. Another route starts from Mikro Papigo village and leads to the lake of Drakolimni through Astraka Mountain Shelter. The route starts at the entrance of the village and its first part is paved. Passing by the shelter, one will continue towards Tsoumani sheepfold and Xerolimni; after crossing the stream, you will continue straight ahead to reach the lake of Drakolimni and you will be able to see the mountainpeak of Gamila.

Just for Fishing Enthusiasts

Aoos River and Voidomatis River are offered for fishing enthusiasts out of the boundaries of the Vikos-Aoos National Park.

Lake Ski at Pamvotida Lake

Athletes or not, many people visit the Pamvotida Lake to practice their skills in lake skiing. Skiing in fresh water is easier, without ripples and winds. From slalom for all levels to barefoot and wakeboard, Pamvotida Lake is an ideal place to enjoy your favorite sport. The magical scenery of the lake is the true jewel of Ioannina. In fact, its calm waters compose the ideal settlement for hosting the Water Ski Tournament with participants from over 20 countries!

Observing Like An Olympian God

Wondering where you can admire the most amazing views in the prefecture of Ioannina? Here is a thought; grap a paper and start writing, as the locations are many! At the Monastery of Kastritsa, on the southeast side of Lake Pamvotida, and Ligiades Village you will have the opportunity to enjoy panoramic views of the lake of Ioannina. Seven kilometers away from Skamnelli in Zagorohoria, it is worth making a stop at the region of Bokovo; an old path (200 meters) leads to the mountainpeak of the majestic canyon of Havos. The spectacle from here is magnificent, as the scenery is a unique landscape of wil nature in all its splendor. The old settlement of Kontina, which is located close to Dafnoula village, offers wonderful views to the Canyon of Arachthos River. Tsouka Monastery, built at the top of a hill close to the village of Elliniko, offers spectacular views over the ravine of Arachthos, Ano Klidonia stands out for its views towards the meeting point of Aoos and Voidomatis River and the valley of Konitsa, Agioi Apostoli church in Molivdoskepastis is also quite spectacular, Kipina Monastery for its views to the wild ridges of Tzoumerka Mountains, Prophet Elias Monastery in Zitsa offers spectacular views to the countryside of Epirus and the Monastery of Metamorphosis of Sotiros in Romano Lakkas Souliou distinguishes for its views towards the mountain massifs of Epirus. Taxiarhes Monastery in Aidonohori village is a true balcony of Aoos Valley while Agia Paraskevi Monastery is one of the best spots to enjoy panoramic views to the wild sceneries of Vikos Gorge. Agia Varvara Chapel, else known as the balcony of Konitsa, is one of the best observation spots of the region as the views are quite amazing. Another beautiful village of Zagorohoria with a view is Dikorfo; on the hill above the village, the chapel of Agios Ioannis is the perfect place to enjoy panoramic vistas to the wild sceneries of Zagorohoria. Located on the highest spot of Zagoria, the Stairs of Vradeto is also an ideal location to enjoy the views. Another perfect point is the chapel of Agios Konstantinos on the hill of Dipotamo village; the views are unique and the views to the beautiful sceneries of Tymfi Mountain can be admired from the region of Lykoskoufi in Doliana village. The church of Agios Nikolaos in Kalarrites village offers astonishing views to the mountains of Tzoumerka, the chapel of Papavaso in Kato Pedina provides views to the valley of Soudenam the region of Pogoni and the mountains of Albania, the chapel of Prophet Elias in Kostitsi distinguishes for its views to the coinnection point of Arachthos and Kalarritikos Rivers, Platanousa village offers spectacular views to the valley of Kalentzi and the chapel of Agioa Athanasios in Pogoniani also stands out for its panoramic views. Explore your own spots in Epirus!

Picturesqueness At Its Best In Sirrako & Kalarrites Villages

Whether you choose Syrrako or Kalarrites, it its certain that you will appreciate the beauty of those twin villages. Dominated from the mountains of Tzoumerka, Kalarrites and Sirakko are the true jewels of Tzoumerka. Characterized as two of most beautiful villages of Epirus, the village distinguishes for their traditional character with their stone houses, their traditional fountains, their arched bridges and their cobblestone alleys that will charm you!

Promenades around the Pamvotida Lake

It is a must to do the lakeside stroll in Ioannina! Smothered from plane trees, the lakeside promenade is the true jewel of the city!

Rafting in Epirus

Due to the abundant number of rivers in the mainland, Greece is an ideal destination for those looking for a rafting adventure. Rafting in Greece is the best way to discover the most hidden treasures of the country while sailing past steep gorges and verdurous mountain slopes. Arachthos River is one of the most popular destinations in Greece for the lovers of adventure sports. It has a level of difficulty from 3 to 5 0ffering an amazing rafting experience that passes through magical sceneries. It is worth mentioning that athletic games take place on an annual basis in Arachthos River. Kalarritikos River is yet another river ideal for rafting that distinguishes for its narrowness with consecutive ripples and interesting passages (3-4 level of difficulty). The route of Kalarritikos evolves through a narrow canyon with intense passages.

Resorts for Summer Escapes

The mountainous destinations of Ioannina does not mean that western Greece lacks from summer resorts; whether you choose Parga or Syvoa, it is certain that you will appreciate the natural beauty of these summer destinations!

Speleology Lovers, Are You Ready?

A number of vertical caves are found in the area around Papigo village near Astraka and Gamila peaks; some of them bear names inspired from mythology including the chasm of Epos and the hole of Odysseus! Provatina Cave, aka Ewe’s cave, is one of the deepest caves in the world with a length of 408 meters!

Taste the Specialty of Ioannina

If you visit Ioannina, do not miss visiting the district of Ntamparatova where you can taste the famous food specialtie of vatrahopodara, aka frog legs, eels and trouts!

To the Arches of Independence Street

The old commercial center of Ioannina, one of the most beautiful regions of the city, has maintained a special charm up until today; from books, nuts and utensils to furniture and gift shops, you will find anything you might need in the countless shops of Anexartisias/Independence street. As the night falls, dozens of cocktail and ouzo bars take the lead to profilerate the listed historical arcades and buildings of the wider area. Stoa Liabei is also one of the best spots for your evening promenade while Stoa Maramenou distinguishes for its alternative shops.

Trekking in Valia Calda National Park

Endowed with impressive mountain ranges, stunning natural sceneries and forested slopes, Valia Calda is one of the most beautiful trekking destinations in Europe that distinguishes for its amazing trails! You trekking adventure can start from Vovousa village through beach and black pine forest contuning to altitudes of alpine terrain. The trail leads to the highest peak of the national park, the peak Avgo at an altitude of 2.177 meters. The views to the peaks of Pindus Mountains are breathtaking!

Unexplored Tzoumerka Villages

Tzoumerkohoria, one of the unexplored regions of Epirus, distinguish for their authentic sceneries on the mainland mountain landscape. From artificial lakes, imposing caves and towering canyons to monasteries hanging in the rocks and rugged peaks, Tzoumerkohoria invites the travellers to discover the unexplored side of Epirus. Vourgareli with its picturesque square, Kalarrites and Sirrako with their traditional character, the traditional festivals in Kipseli, the majesty waterfalls of Kataraktis, Matsouki village with the impressive frescoes of Viliza Monastery, Anemotripa Cave with its underground lakes and rivers, and the Kokkini Eklissia (Red Church) in Paleohori are some of the most interesting sights of the wider area. For the adventure seekers, Tzoumerka is even more stunning if you are exploring it off-road through its treacherous parts. Tzoumerkohoria are famous for the excellent quality of meat while tsipouro of Tzoumerka is renowned all over Greece.

Unknown Pogoni

Pogoni is one of the most unknown regions of Epirus. Pogoni is one of the most unknown regions of Epirus. The entire area is famous for its strong tradition through the centuries; the festivals of Pogoni are the best example of traditional music, dance and cooking. Worth visiting villages include Pogoniani village with the interesting collection of the Folklore Museum, Delvinaki village with the impressive church of Panagia, Dolo village that stands out with its picturesqueness and its spectacular views, which has been declared as a traditional settlement, Molivdoskepasti village with its homonymous monastery, one of the most impressive byzantine monuments of Epirus, Vasilikos and Vissani villages with their wonderful squares, and Kato Meropi village with its charming stone houses. Places of interest include the Soldiers Monument in Kalpaki that was founded in honor of the soldiers who lost their lives during the Second World War, the War Museum of Kalpaki, the Zaravina Lake with its spectacular sceneries, the Kouvaras Gorge, one of one of the most beautiful gorges of Epirus ideal for hiking lovers, the Bridges of Gretsi and Kato Ravenia with their verdurous sceneries, and the Monastery of Agios Georgios in Riahovo with one of the most beautiful wood-carved temples of Epirus. The villages of Pogoni are one of the most beautiful parts of Epirus filled with pristine landscapes of the mountains ideal for those looking for tranquility and relaxation.

Watch The Sunset

At the location of Alonia in Dipotama village, where there are still old threshing floors, one will have the opportunity to enjoy the best sunset with panoramic views to the other villages of Zagorohoria!

Photo Credits

×

Note: All the images are copyrighted from their owners. Please see Terms & Conditions. You can find the original images at the following links:

Aetomilitsa Village: Aetomilitsa Official Website

Ano Pedina Village: Primoula Guest House

Aoos River: Shutterstock

Bridge Kaber Aga: AgraKon by Panoramio

Bridge of Kalogeriko: Andrej Paušič by Panoramio

Bridge of Konitsa: Caspar Bichsel by Panoramio

Dilofo Village: Shutterstock

Dodoni Ancient Theatre: Shutterstock

Drakolimni Lake: Apostolos K. by Flickr

Elati Village: Zagorohoria Official Website

Frozen Lake of Aoos: Dkilim by Panoramio

Grammos Mountain: Kostas Doc by Panoramio

Houses at Dilofo Village: Dimitris Papazimouris by Flickr

Houses at Kalarrites Village: Shutterstock

Houses at Metsovo Town: Shutterstock

Kalarrites Village: Peppi9 by Flickr

Kalarritikos River: Vangelis Doutsios by Panoramio

Kipi Village: Nikos Spirou by Panoramio

Kipi Village: Shutterstock

Konitsa Bridge: Shutterstock

Lake of Zorika: Manolis Kalyvianakis by Flickr

Louros Springs: Anastasios Roussos by Panoramio

Metsovo Town: Shutterstock

Milia Village: Shutterstock

Monodentri Village: Shutterstock

Mount Lakmos: Pantelis65 by Panoramio

Pamvotida Lake: Fivos by Flickr

Papigo Village: Shutterstock

Perama Cave: Mary Valsamidi byFlickr

Pramanta Village: Makrydemetris by Panoramio

Sirrako Village: Pantelis65 by Panoramio

Sirrako Village: Shutterstock

Sunset at Zagorohoria: Dimitrios Lamprou by Flickr

Theogefyro Bridge: Vasilis Boukouvalas by Panoramio

Tymfi Mountain: Xenofwn Leivadiwtis by Flickr

Valia Calda National Park: Thodoris Kliafas by Panoramio

View of Konitsa Bridge: Robert Wallace by Flickr

View from Perama Cave Hill: Giannis Arvanitakis by Flickr

Vitsa Village: Shutterstock

Voidomatis Bridge: Alex Pappas by Flickr

Voidomatis River: Nikos Spirou by Panoramio