Tucked into a remote part of Epirus, Greece’s northwest region of Zagori is an off-the-radar slice of wild beauty and ancient tradition. Its wilderness is a great place to escape the summer crowds, and the Pindos Mountains ski resorts are a top draw in winter.
Here, traditional Greece is very much alive. You see it in the sleepy thousand-year-old hamlets and villages tucked below the pine-clad Pindos Mountains. UNESCO-protected Vikos Gorge cuts through the range, making it, according to the Guinness Book of Records, the deepest canyon in the world. The gorge lies at the heart of two national parks that provide a haven for endangered flora and fauna.
Zagori is also a hiker's nirvana. Orchid-lined trails wind through the region, linking its 40 or so villages via ancient staircases and stone bridges. Kayaking, whitewater rafting, and skiing in winter add further appeal, and Ioannina, a relaxed lakeside town, has plenty to hold your attention too.
Ioannina – Tsepelovo
Arrive at Ioannina airport. Meet your guide. Transfer to Tsepelovo, where we spend the night.
Tsepelovo – Vradeto – Beloi – Tsepelovo
From Tsepelovo (1050 m) we start walking on an ascending path towards the highest Zagori village. We return to the village of Vradeto and continue downhill to the village of Kapesovo. We walk down the famous Vradeto Steps, and then we are transferred back to Tsepelovo. Overnight stay in a traditional pension.
Tsepelovo – Kipi – Koukouli – Vitsa
We descend to the trailhead of the Vikos Gorge, marked by a stone bridge built in the year 980 A.D., called “Paliogefyra”. We will end our hike in the village of Kipi, lunch. From Kipi to the villages of Vitsa and Monodendri, build right on the edge of the gorge wall. Overnight stay in a traditional pension in Vitsa.
Vitsa village – Vikos village
Early in the morning, we descend the old Vitsa stairs into the Vikos Gorge. Voidomatis river springs. Early in the afternoon, we arrive in Vikos where we spend the night in a hotel.
Vikos – Papigo
Hike and view the beautiful ravines around Papigo, in the distance. Above us, the “Towers of Papigo” are rising abruptly to treacherous heights. Overnight stay in a traditional pension.
We follow the mule trail to the hut on the Astraka Col. Northward lie the Albanian mountains. Lunch at the refuge,
and up to the scenic Dragon Lake (2100m), return back to Papigo. Dinner at a local taverna. Overnight stay in a traditional pension.
Papigo – Ioannina
Transfer from Papigo to Ioannina. Free day in Ioannina city. Don’t forget to pay a visit to the museums. Overnight stay in a hotel in Ioannina.
The end of Trekking Zagori. Transfer to the Ioannina airport.