E.N. Story


10 must-see attractions in Zagorochoria

The region of Zagorochoria is the first in preference destination of montane Greece. Behind the Mitsikeli mountain there are 52 villages surrounded by wild nature, lakes, gorges and countless species of flora and fauna. From the famous Vikos Gorge to the Stone Forest and from the stone-built bridges to the Ovires and the waterfalls, the visitor has so many choices that they certainly will not leave disappointed. Wear your sports shoes and set off to…

Discover the most important attractions in Zagorochoria

Vikos Gorge

This gorge mesmerizes even the most “difficult” of the visitors with its rare, natural beauty. Its numbers and records are nothing compared to the unique, natural images that you will come across. The best way for one to enjoy it is by crossing it through the trail (O3), which starts at Monodendri and ends up at Vikos. The trip lasts for about 7(!) hours and it is safe and accessible almost all months of the year. Also, there are shorter routes starting from there (40 minutes up to 3 hours), which offer equally charming sights of the area. The most suitable months for you to walk through it individually are March-October. But if you choose to do it with an organized group, you can cross it any season you like. The main prerequisites are basic fitness, good mood and comfortable clothing, so you can move easily in all conditions.

Suggested visit time: 40 minutes-7 hours
Open: Always
Cost: Free (individually) – up to 40€/person (organized group)

 The know it all says: Because of its rare diversity, it has become a meeting point for the top climbing teams from all around the world!

The 3 Bridges: Noutsos’ or Kokkoris’, Plakidas’, Misios’

At a distance of about 3km you will find these three historic, stone-built bridges. They were constructed in different time periods, from 1748 to 1814, while each one of them bears its own architecture and story. Cross Plakidas’ bridge with the three arches and get lost in nature’s serenity. Explore Kokkoris’ famous bridge, in which there is the cave that bandit Davelis was hiding in. Finally, follow the path from Kokkoris’ bridge and proceed to the one of Misios’. It is a smooth trail of 1.4km in distance (around 25 minutes), next to the Voidomatis river. The sounds of the birds and water will make you feel relaxed and refreshed.

Suggested visit time: 2-3 hours
Open: Always
Cost: Free

 The know it all says: In the entire Zagori region, there are 93 stone-built bridges!

Kolympithres (Ovires) Papigo

On your route from Mikro to Megalo Papigo, or vice versa, you will come across the Rogovos stream. Between these two villages, the stream has created small craters, which are called ovires or kolympithres. It is another one of nature’s beautiful creations, with crystal clear waters that flow down mount Gamila’s springs. Do not hesitate to dive, of course only if the weather and your stamina allow it, since the water is very cold, even during the summer months. You should always be careful, as the spots that the sun doesn’t shine on are slippery and there is chance of falling. For the bold explorers we recommend the waterfall, which is at the end of the demanding route. The best seasons to visit them are spring and summer.

Note: Outside the ovires there is space for 10-12 cars, which means that during high season it will be hard to find parking space.

Suggested visit time: 1-1.5 hours
Open: Always
Cost: Free

 The know it all says: Even Ali Pasha of Ioannina used to enjoy his bath into ovires’ cold waters, during the summer season!

“God’s Balcony” (Oxia, Vikos gorge)

The exquisite route through the Stone Forest leads to the well-known Oxia viewpoint. From that point, a stone-paved path takes you to the famous God’s Balcony, which offers a breath-taking view of the world’s deepest (according to the Guinness Book of Records) gorge, that of Vikos. Both the trip and the perfect work of nature rivet and inspire awe. We do not recommend it to acrophobics, as the view into the void may frighten even those who are not afraid of heights! For the daring ones that would like to take the experience one step further, we recommend the narrow path (80m.) beyond the balcony, which leads up to the edge of the cliff. You should know that at this point safety is non-existent, so watch your steps. It is worth visiting the location in any of the seasons, while the best time to do so is before the sunset.

Suggested visit time: 40 minutes-1 hour
Open: Always
Cost: Free

 The know it all says: This spot offers a view of the gorge’s deepest spot (about 1km deep)!

Agia Paraskevi Monastery

While exploring Zagorochoria, you will find many monasteries and churches dedicated to Agia Paraskevi, the most well-known located in Monodendri. Before sitting at the village’s square for some coffee or tsipouro, follow the stone-paved alley (400m), just a little down the road, in order to visit the Holy Monastery. What makes it stand out is its location, as it “sits” at the edge of the cliff and, more specifically, the world’s deepest gorge. It is stone-built, while the dark, low-ceilinged spaces, which used to serve as a shelter during the Turkish occupation, are really impressive. Do not miss out on going out to the balcony, where the amazing view will take your breath away and blow your mind! Also, from this point, you can play with your voice, through the famous echo.

Suggested visit time: 45 minutes-1 hour
Open: Always
Cost: Free

 The know it all says: Past the Monastery, there is a path that leads to vaulted caves, which used to serve as shelters during the Turkish occupation!

Beloi viewpoint

Vradeto means hiking! Apart from the stairway, there is a trail that leads to another natural balcony. It is a trail of average difficulty, taking up 20-25 minutes, through an uneven, stone and dirt road, via a faint path. At the end you will find possibly the best spot to admire the gorge, with the view into the void being literally breath-taking. This path of rare beauty is suitable for families, children, couples and friends, who love hiking, while it is not recommended for elderly people and people with health issues. It should also be avoided by everyone when it rains, as the ground, at certain spots, gets swampy and makes its passage hard and dangerous. Finally, tracksuits and boots are a good choice of outfit, in order to feel comfortable during the entire trip.

Suggested visit time: 1-1.5 hours
Open: Always
Cost: Free

 The know it all says: You will find the same limestone slabs, as in the Stone Forest, on which you can lie, gazing into the void (zero safety)!

Vradeto Stairway

The small village of Vradeto offers something more DoDo, beginning outside of Kapesovo . The famous stairway connecting the two villages (Kapesovo – Vradeto) is the most beautiful, quaint, stone-built trail in Zagori. It consists of 1.400 stone steps, and this climb used to be the only thing connecting the village of Vradeto with the rest of the world. The trail was built to facilitate both humans and animals crossing at the same time, while the complete construction took more than two decades. Going up takes about one and a half hour, hydrate and don’t forget to take a break to catch your breath. Going down takes about one hour, hydrate, take a break, but this time make sure you catch the view. The route (2,5km) is doable, although tiring, a medium difficulty route which you can take as an organized group or solo.

Suggested visit time: 2-3 hours
Open: Always
Cost: Free (individually)- up to 20€/person (organized group)

 The know it all says: It is consisted of 39 turns, it is 1.5km long and 2.5m tall!

Monastery of Panagia

The dream-like Monastery of Panagia is located next to Voidomatis’ blue-green waters, below the village of Vikos. Eventhough you can admire it from the kiosk, it would be ideal to begin the descent, so you can come close to it. The route is demanding, because of the steep terrain, with lots of stone steps and many turns. You will need about 30-40 minutes to get there, but the images you see at the end will make you fall in love with the place! The small church of Panagia has a plain decoration, but is quite neglected and has been turned into a shelter for passers-by and hikers. The best time to make the descent is in the morning.

Note: special attention is required at the spots that are out of the sun’s reach, as there is high risk of falling.

Suggested visit time: 1.5-2.5 hours
Open: Always
Cost: Free

 The know it all says: It stands at a 300-meter distance (approximately) below the village!

Mpalta di Striga Waterfalls

Zagori’s hidden gem…A place of unique beauty that leaves no-one unmoved. They are three consecutive waterfalls in Iliohori, which form natural craters (kolympithres or ovires). The tallest one reaches up to 25 meters in height, while access is achieved through the path* of the church of Agios Nikolaos. Eventhough the distance from the village is just one kilometer, the waterfalls stayed under the general public’s radar for a surprisingly long time. If you can withstand the cold you can dive, as we did (!), into the freezing waters. During the summer months, you should be extra careful, because a lot of reptiles loom in the thick, virgin flora. Furthermore, on Sundays there are hiking excursions being organized, to them and other routes of the area. The ideal seasons to visit them are spring and summer, in the morning hours.

*Following the path from the church of Agios Nikolaos, at the crossroad, choose the road to the waterfalls and not to the Laista village.

Suggested visit time: 1.5-2.5 hours
Open: Always
Cost: Free

 The know it all says: The highest temperature ever recorded under water, does not exceed 10°C!

Stone Forest

Just a bit outside Monodendri there is a forest different from any other, the Stone Forest. Limestone slabs piled on top of each other, form a rare phenomenon that you will meet only in a few places worldwide. Entire hills of stone are formed in front of and on both sides of the route, creating an illusion of a landscape with thick trees. During the spring months, the largest part is covered in green, stealing a piece of its magic. On the other hand, in autumn/winter vegetation has a secondary role, helping you in understanding its topography. Its inadequate utilization and promotion, result in many of the visitors simply passing it by, while traveling to the Oxia viewpoint. It is also worth noting that during the whole route, there is not a single bench. Finally, watch your step, because the area is full of “biological” mines, due to the passage of many domestic animals.

Suggested visit time: 30 minutes-1 hour
Open: Always
Cost: Free

 The know it all says: The slabs are 35 to 160 million years old!

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