Things To Do In The Mountains Of Zagori Greece
In Zagori, Greece, you can easily lose yourself wandering cobbled alleys and admiring the traditional stone houses. This mountainous region has delicious local cuisine, amazing hiking trails, and some of the most incredible geography in the country. Although these villages make for a beautiful winter getaway, they are idyllic in every season.
Located in Northern Greece, this region has 46 villages that are just waiting to be explored. You can get here by driving from either Thessaloniki or Athens. Whichever route you choose there is so much to see along the way. If you prefer not to take a road trip you can fly into the city Ioannina, the capital of Epirus and explore from there.
Nestled high in Zagori Greece lies Vikos–Aoös National Park. The mountains here are covered in an abundance of trails that offer some of the most picturesque hikes in the country. The landscape is truly breath-taking, and this comes as no surprise as Zagorochoria is home to the deepest gorge in the world. Vikos Gorge.
The towering rock faces that soar upwards from deep green valleys are a sight to behold. The surroundings are a spectacular representation of Greece’s flora and fauna. Even if you are not a nature lover, you can stop at a multitude of viewpoints that offer stunning views of these mountainous vistas.
For the hikers, remember to do your research. The weather up in the mountains is changeable, especially in winter. So, make sure you have all the correct gear and choose a trail that suits your ability! If you’d prefer not to hike alone, you can hire a guide to take you on these amazing trails.
Also located in Vikos–Aoös National Park in Zagori Greece is the beautiful Dragon Lake or Drakolimni. Dragon lake is nestled high up in the mountain of Tymfi. This lake can be reached by hiking from the village of Papingo. The walk is not too strenuous but does require a reasonable amount of fitness as it is about a four hour journey uphill. The lake is best visited between May and October, as in winter the lake is frozen. Only experienced hikers should venture out during these snowy months.
Another reason to visit Zagori in Greece is due to the picturesque villages. There is a special feature that makes these quaint mountain towns in Zagori particularly photo-worthy. The stone bridges. Years ago, before the modern roads that we’re so accustomed to today, the mountains were a difficult thing to navigate. In winter, the rivers swelled making them unpassable and getting from one place to the other was near impossible.
That is until a network of stone arch bridges was built. As you can imagine this was an expensive feat at the time. So, these incredible bridges were named after the wealthy benefactors who enabled their construction. Not only are these bridges that dot the countryside a beautiful architectural addition, they also remind us of the rich history that these mountains hold. So, make sure you hire a car and explore the stone bridges of Zagori in Greece.
Try The Local Cuisine
As you travel through Greece you will notice subtle yet exquisite changes in the traditional food. Each region offers something different. Whether it be a twist on a Greek classic or something entirely unique, the local cuisine cannot be missed. This is the same for Zagori in Greece.
The location itself is what contributes to this region’s amazing food. The mountains are an isolated part of the country. Traditionally, the people of the villages needed to do their best to preserve as much food as they could to sustain them over the winter months.
In Zagori, you can sample some of the most delicious jam and marmalade recipes imaginable. We recommend the little café, Sterna. They have an incredible selection of preserves, marmalades and herbal teas. Another favourite of ours is Astra Inn which is a guesthouse that also has a wonderful restaurant. Here you can enjoy a delicious meal overlooking the canyon.
See The Voidomatis River
The Voidmatis river is one of the cleanest in Europe, the water here is crystal clear. Zagori in Greece boasts a huge number of natural attractions, and this is one of them. Come take a stroll along the banks, go for a swim, or even do some rafting. The lush green banks and cool waters are an enticing reminder that Greece is not just islands and beaches. The mainland really does offer so many treasures.