Metsovo

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Photo Courtesy of Nikos G.

The Diamond of Pindus

An Authentic Vlach Village Unveils its Traditions and Customs Under the Misty Atmosphere of Pindus Mountains

Descending through the misty atmosphere, dazzling lights twinkle in the ravine blending with the stone houses and their gray slate roofs between the labyrinthine alleys; this is Metsovo standing proudly between the imposing mountains and the flowing rivers. Charming 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 Tossizza and its local people, Metsovo will definitely 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. Tossizza Foundation, the standard cheese factory, offers one of the greatest views of Metsovo’s traditional stone houses. Local traditional shops with folklore art and woodwork objects along with elegant cafeterias identify the special natural scenery of this place. Agia Paraskevi church, the patron saint of Metsovo, holds its prominence at the central square of Metsovo, of the most beautiful squares of mainland Greece. There, you might even distinguish the locals through their lightweight Vlachic idiom. Following the path that climbs up to the town hall, you will have the opportunity to explore the most scenic neighborhoods of Metsovo while you might even meet local people with their traditional costumes wandering in the streets. 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 Tossizza 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. Of the most distinctive traditional products of Metsovo include its famous smoked metsovone cheese and its dry Katogi red wine; it was the desire of the president of Tossizza Foundation to establish a school where the young Metsovites could be trained to produce the best quality cheeses! In fact, most of the local shops sell dairy products. Reserved only for the connoisseurs, the delicious dry Katogi wine is produced from the French Bordeaux vines, growing in Metsovo whose vinification, maturation and bottling processes are held in their wonderful winery. However, Metsovo has also a rich tradition in its folklore art and gold embroidery. Hidden betweeen the cobblestone alleys, find those admirable objects in the local shops by youself! Nevertheless, the beauties of the wider region of Metsovo still continue; the artificial lake of Aoos Springs, one of the most important habitats of Epirus, whose natural sceneries is interrupted from small isles with large pine trees create images of unique beauty, especially during the dreamy sunset. And if you are winter sports lovers, don’t your worry; Metsovo has everything packed up for you. Three ski centers dominate the foothills of Pindus Mountains just for you to choose where you would like to slide like a pro! The less adventurous, though, can practice canoeing at the lake of Aoos, which, according to the locals, gets as beautiful as it can in the winter months when it gets frozen! And just behind the lake, one could go for hiking explorations to Valia Calda National Park, one of the most beautiful forests in Greece. 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!

Discover Metsovo

Best of Metsovo

The Art Gallery of Averoff

The Art Gallery of Averoff is located in the city of Metsovo. It is one of the most important museums of the prefecture of Ioannina that exhibits an enormous collection of paintings from local painters of the 19th and 20th centuries as well as a collection of sculptures from Gyzis, Lytras and Volanakis amongst others.

The Foundation of Tossizza

The Foundation of Tossizza is a remarkable exhibition hall of Epirus with representations of traditional local houses and collections of artworks and coins. Tossizza Foundation is located in the city of Metsovo.

The Lake of Aoos Springs

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 Monastery of Agios Nikolaos

The Monastery of Agios Nikolaos was one of the most historical monasteries of Epirus located on the southwest side of Metsovo. According to tradition, the monastery was founded from Abbot Isaiah in the Byzantine period. Historical texts document numerous repair works throughout its long history until its fully renovation in the 18th century. The monastery took its final form from the Foundation of Varonos Michael Tossizza in 1960. Agios Nikolaos Monastery distinguishes for its impressive wall paintings and its imposing architectural style.

The National Park of Valia Calda

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 Ski Center of Anilio

The Ski 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.

The Village of Kalarrites

The Village of 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.

The Village of Sirrako

The Village of 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.

Churches and Monasteries

The Monastery of Agios Nikolaos was one of the most historical monasteries of Epirus located on the southwest side of Metsovo. According to tradition, the monastery was founded from Abbot Isaiah in the Byzantine period. Historical texts document numerous repair works throughout its long history until its fully renovation in the 18th century. The monastery took its final form from the Foundation of Varonos Michael Tossizza in 1960. Agios Nikolaos Monastery distinguishes for its impressive wall paintings and its imposing architectural style.

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 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 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.

Museums

The Averoff Art Gallery is located in the city of Metsovo. It is one of the most important museums of the prefecture of Ioannina that exhibits an enormous collection of paintings from local painters of the 19th and 20th centuries as well as a collection of sculptures from Gyzis, Lytras and Volanakis amongst others.

The Folk Art Museum of Metsovo is housed in the Metsovitian traditional mansion of Tossizza. The museum exhibits an extensive collection of folklore objects including old icons, woven clothes, local apparels and folklore utensils.

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 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 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 Tossizza Foundation is a remarkable exhibition hall of Epirus with representations of traditional local houses and collections of artworks and coins. Tossizza Foundation is located in the city of Metsovo.

The Water Power Museum of Anthohori is located close to the city of Metsovo. It is an open-air museum with old watermills that represents the process of hydrokinesis.

The War Museum of Kalpaki is located in the village of Kalpaki. The collections of the museum include an extensive collection of pictures and items from the Second World War.

The WWF Museum of Papigo is an information center foc the culture and nature of Zagori area housed in the old elementary school of Mikro Papigo village. 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.

Natural Beauties

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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

The Ski Center of Karakoli 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.

The Ski Center of Politsies 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 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.

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.

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.

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 Tossizza 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.

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.

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.

Excursions

Road Trip: The City of Ioannina is one of the most beautiful cities of Greece. 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 silverish shadows 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 preseve a rich heritage with oustanding samples of folklore architecture, a wonderful reminder of the city’s past. The oasis of the water, the chriping 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. 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. 

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.

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.

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 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 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 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.

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!

Coffee Corners, Gastronomic Delights and Cocktail Inspirations

Coffee Corners 

Café Mesohori: Coffee and Pastries, Aristi

Metsovorama: Cafeteria, Metsovo

Mpimtsa: Cafeteria, Megalo Papigo

Mystika Tis Giagias: Pies and Pastries, Monodentri

Petrino: Coffee, Metsovo

Sterna: Cafeteria, Kapesovo

Tsimbas: Pies, Metsovo

Gastronomic Delights

5F: Grill and Meat, Metsovo

Aggelos: Grill and Meat, Vovousa

Akanthos: Ouzo and Meze, Kalarrites

En Aristi: Grill and Meat, Aristi

Galaxias: Greek Cuisine, Metsovo

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

Lithos: Greek Cuisine, Dilofo

Lixnari: Ouzo and Meze, Asprangeli

Mesohori: Ouzo and Meze, Kato Pedina

O Mpoutzas: Grill and Meat, Pramanta

Sta Riza: Greek Cuisine, Elati

Ta Soudena: Grill and Meat, Ano Pedina

Thucydides: Greek Cuisine, Kapesovo

To Koutouki Tou Nikola: Greek Cuisine, Metsovo

Tsoumanis: Greek Cuisine, Megalo Papigo

Zarkadas: Greek Cuisine, Monodentri

Cocktail Inspirations

Karma: Cocktails and Drinks, Metsovo

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 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 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.

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. From Ioannina, there are bus routes to the town of Metsovo on a daily basis (62 kilometers). 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 through Metsovo on a daily basis. The journey usually lasts six to seven hours.

By Car (490 kilometers): The safest way to reach the town of Metsovo from Athens is by following the National Road of Athens to Patra. After crossing the Rio-Antirio Bridge, you will keep driving with a direction towards Arta/Ioannina/Preveza. When you reach the city of Ioannina, follow the directions towards Metsovo. The journey usually lasts 7 hours.

Mysterious Greece Tips

 A Visit to the Cheese Factory of Tossizza Foundation

Somewhere around the mountainous slopes of Pindus, you will find the cheese factory of Tossizza Foundation that was established in the 1958 from the benefactors Michael Tossizza and Evangelos Averoff. The desire of the president of the foundation, Averoff, was to have a cheese-making school so that young Metsovites could be trained to produce the best quality cheeses. Its most famous cheese, the smoked metsovone, acquired its own identity as it was characterized as a product with protected designation of origin (PDO). Others include semi-hard cheese of Metsovella, the spicy cheese of Metsovisio and the Metsovo gruyere. The cheese factory of Tossizza Foundation is open for visitors every Friday.

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?

Above the Clouds in Zagori

Vradeto Stairs, one of the most spectacular monuments of Zagorohoria, is an architectural masterpiece of the traditional architecture of Epirus located on the highest spot of the villages of Zagori. Nestling at an altitude of 1.370 meters, the stairs of Vradeto were once the sole way to get from Vradeto village to Kapesovo village. It is highly advisable to follow this magnificent route in order to admire panoramic views of the untamed beauty of Zagorohoria!

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.

Dedicate A Day to the Averoff Museum

The museum was opened from art aficionado and politician Evangelos Averoff-Tossizza in 1988 in order to host his personal collections, which were later enriched from various donations. Known to few, Averoff Art Gallery is a treasure of Modern Greek art of the 19th – 20th century, second only to the National Gallery of Athens, with works of celebrated Greek artists including Nikolaos Gyzis, Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas, Nikiforos Lytras, Yiannis Moralis and Konstantinos Parthenis. Find more information from Averoff Museum Official Website.

Discover the Villages of the Craftsmen of Epirus

Mastorohoria was the origin of the famous craftsmen of Epirus who built the world; from America and Australia to Russia and Africa. The villages of the craftsmen are traditional villages with cobblestone alleys, picturesque houses, stone fourtains and arched bridges; they have nothing to be jealous of the famous Zagorohoria. Nestling on the mountain slopes of Grammos and Smolikas, the beautiful villages of Mastorohoria are filled with verdant vegetation sceneries. Kastanea with its stone bridges, Gannadio and Kastaniani villages with their traditional character and their beautiful squares that have been declared as traditional settlements, Pournia with its astonishing mountain landscapes, Agia Paraskevi with its traditional festivals, Pyrsogianni with its spectacular sceneries and its authentic spirit, Hionades 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. Magical villages worth exploring! Will you?

Driving in the Countryside of Ioannina Prefecture

Grab your keys and start driving! It’s time for new explorations! In the area of Zitsa, except the impressive Theogefyro, 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 opportunity 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 different 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 Metsovo 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!

Explore the Villages of Katsanohoria

Katsanohoria may not have the glory of Zagorohoria, but they have the natural beauty of the mountains. Dominated from Tzoumerka Mountains, Katsanohoria are the most authentic version of the continental mountain landscape that distinguishes for their spectacular location aside the riverbanks of Arachthos River. From the verdurous sceneries of Koritiani and Platanoussa, the traditional festivals of Fortosi, the beauty of Pramanta, the views from the Monastery of Prophet Elias in Kostitsi, the beautiful square of Plesia and the picturesqueness of Sirrako to the traditional character of Lazena, the Kalentzi village with Klifki waterfalls and the Tsouka Monastery in Elliniko, it is certain that Katsanohoria will surpass your expectations!

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

Whoever 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 landscape 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!

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 mountain peaks 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 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 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 mountain peak of Gamila.

Observing Like An Olympian God

Wondering where you can admire the most amazing views in the prefecture of Ioannina? Here is a thought; grasp 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 Skamneli in Zagorohoria, it is worth making a stop at the region of Bokovo; an old path (200 meters) leads to the mountain peak of the majestic canyon of Havos. The spectacle from here is magnificent, as the scenery is a unique landscape of wild 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 Molivdoskepasti 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 Soudena the region of Pogoni and the mountains of Albania, the chapel of Prophet Elias in Kostitsi distinguishes for its views to the connection point of Arachthos and Kalarritikos Rivers, Platanousa village offers spectacular views to the valley of Kalentzi and the chapel of Agios Athanasios in Pogoniani also stands out for its panoramic views. Explore your own spots in Epirus!

Participate in the Gathering of the Vlachs

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.

Picturesqueness At Its Best In Sirrako & Kalarrites Villages

Whether you choose Sirrako 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!

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 Syvota, it is certain that you will appreciate the natural beauty of these summer destinations!

To The Trails of Voidomatis River

The cleanest river of Europe, Voidomatis, hosts some of the most beautiful hiking routes in the region of Konitsa. Nestling at the exit of the gorge of Vikos, the river passes through a wonderful route from the bridge of Aristi. Whether you choose to hop into a rafting boat or you want to walk through the hiking route, the sceneries will surpass your imagination! One can also follow the short path that leads to the monastery of Panagia Spiliotissa; this wonderful path is located on the other riverbank of Voidomatis, which you have to walk by the river until the monastery of Agion Anargyron. The final destination is the beautiful bridge of Klidonia!

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 continuing 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.

Wine Experience at Katogi Averoff Winery

Located in Metsovo, Katogi Averoff Winery produces one of the finest Greek wine varieties. Its vineyards are the highest mountainous vineyards in Greece. Its cellars can boast over 1200 oak barrels in which the fine red wines mature, which can be bought along with other rare collectible bottles of vintage wines of the year 1974 onwards from the wine shop. Katogi Averoff offers to the visitors a guided tour o nthe history of the winery and wine production along with a wine tasting experience. Find more information from Katogi Official Website.

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