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The top places you should see in Epirus

Epirus ● Ioannina ● Metsovo ● Parga ● Zagorochoria ● 07 October 2018
 
Epirus is a very interesting area with mountainous villages, beautiful towns, seaside settlements and hiking routes. It literally combines sea and mountain giving you the opportunity to spend summer as well as winter vacation as it has gorgeous beaches with emerald waters and ski resorts in lovely romantic places hidden inside the biggest mountain range in Greece, Pindos. Discover all the amazing things you can do in Epirus and get ready for off-the-beaten-path holidays in a dream place!

Ioannina

Ioannina is the capital of Epirus, located around Lake Pamvotida. The natural environment and the traditional character of Ioannina make it one of the most wonderful cities of Greece. The Castle of Ioannina is the oldest Byzantine fortress in Greece, and it was built in 528 AD by the Emperor Justinian. In the castle, you can see the outer wall, the citadel with the mosque and the old, walled town of Ioannina, one of the best-preserved old towns in Greece. . Some of the most famous monuments of the city are located within the walls of the castle. The Aslan Pasha Mosque is home to the Municipal Ethnographic Museum, which showcases the local costumes, jewellery, blankets and woodcarvings of the Greek, Muslim and Jewish communities that lived there. The stunning Silversmithing Museum is devoted to Epirus's silversmithing tradition, and it has a beautifully presented collection of heirlooms, weapons, coins and icons. The Byzantine Museum comprises finds from local excavations as well as icons and frescoes from the wider area.
 
The Lake Pamvotida is a well-known site for the visitors of the area. With a round trip of the lake, you can explore the beauty of the nature and enjoy the view of the city. The water species, which live there, are one of a kind, and you can not easily find them in another place in Greece. Crawfishes, catfishes, carps, eels and many amphibians constitute the rare fauna of the lake, which will impress you. This island is one of the few inhabited lake islands in Europe. Its population is 300 people, and it is famous for its traditional stone-built settlement. It was the base of the notorious Ottoman governor, Ali Pasha, who lived there in the early 19th century. On this tiny island, there are seven Byzantine and post-Byzantine monasteries, making it an important monastic community after Agion Oros and Meteora. You can reach the island by boat, which departs from Ioannina every 30 minutes, and the journey lasts only 10 minutes.
 
The mountains of Epirus provide a wide range of herbs and spices, which create a unique cuisine that satisfies even the most demanding visitors. The fishes of the lake are cooked in many sophisticated ways, and a delicacy of Ioannina, which is the hallmark of this cuisine, are the frog legs. Moreover, you can also enjoy the famous desserts, such as the baklava and the sugar pie, a trademark of the multicultural character of the city. Don't miss also to buy wonderful silver jewelries from Ioannina. The silversmith's art is one of the most important aspects of the local culture. In the town, you can find many shops that sell traditional as well as modern jewelleries, which are elegant and delicate.

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Dodona historical site

Dodona, located 20 km from Ioannina Town, is one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece. It was home to the country's most ancient oracle (dating back to the second millennium B.C.) and one of the biggest theatres in antiquity. For over a millennium and until the 4th century B.C., the sanctuary of Zeus and Dione at Dodona was a renown oracle, second in fame only to Delphi and the host of the Naia festival which included athletic contests and theatrical performances. Among the structures uncovered during the excavation are the theatre and the stadium of the 3rd century B.C., the Acropolis, the Prytaneion and the Temple of Zeus, all from the 4th century B.C.

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Zagorochoria

Zagorochoria is a very attractive complex of stone-built villages in the slopes of Mt. Pindos, one of the best winter destinations in Greece. 46 traditional villages with gorgeous old mansions and bridges offer you unforgettable holidays. 
In western Zagori, the village Aristi with its elegant stone houses overlooks the Voidomatis River, one of the cleanest and coldest streams in Europe. The Panagia Spiliotissa Monastery near the village is built on a rock, offering an impressive view of the valley. From the village of Vikos, you can admire the Vikos Gorge, and then, you should follow the signs for Mikro and Megalo Papigo, two of the most traditional villages in the region, with wonderful architecture and cobblestone paths. Mikro Papigo is a car-free zone, and from there, you can hike the mountain to the Drakolimni Lake and the Astraka Peak.
 
Ano Pedina is the location of the Monastery of Evangelistria, a fortified construction dating back to 1647. A narrow road between Ano Pedina and Kato Pedina leads to the village of Elafotopos, which has remained untouched by mainstream tourism. In a short distance, are located the villages of Monodendri and Vitsa, which offer a sensational view of the Vikos Gorge. In central Zagori, there are also the villages of Dilofo and Kapesovo that will transport you back in time with their grand mansions and the well-maintained cobblestone pathways. Here, you can visit the highest and oldest village of Zagori, Vradeto, as well as the largest village of the area, Tsepelovo. In Vradeto, the main attraction is a stone-constructed 1.200 step staircase, which links the village with Kapesovo. Iliochori village features wonderful waterfalls, and Vrysochori has a splendid square with a huge and very old plane tree.

In eastern Zagori, you can visit in Negades the most significant church of the region, a triple-sectioned basilica dedicated to Saint George, Saint Dimitrios and the Holy Trinity. In this area, there are some extremely stunning places, such as the stone bridges around Leptokaria and the watermill in Tristeno. From the remotest village, Vovousa, begins a hiking route, which reaches Valia Kalda, the national park of Pindos. 

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Parga

Parga is a top summer destination in Epirus, and it is located in a secluded bay of the Ionian Sea in a close distance to Preveza. The colourful houses of this small town are constructed amphitheatrically along the slopes of a mountain. In addition to the nice view of the sea and its medieval character, with the imposing Venetian castle at the top of the town, Parga offers also amazing beaches with exotic waters, such as Valtos, Piso Kryoneri, Kryoneri, Sarakiniko and Lichnos. 

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Sivota

Sivota is a small picturesque town in the Ionian Sea close to Thesprotia with a typical Greek atmosphere and so beautiful pristine beaches that it is considered to be the Caribbean of Greece. The surrounding area is fully covered with lush greenery and bays with golden sand and turquoise waters. In a very short distance to the coast, are located three islands with imposing sea caves, hidden coves and gorgeous natural environment. Ideal to swim in a heaven on earth with shallow tranquil waters is Drepano beach, one of the prettiest beaches in Greece, perfect for families.

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Metsovo

Metsovo is a top winter destination in Greece, ideal for Christmas holidays as well as for winter sports as it has a famous ski resort. It is a traditional mountainous town with well-preserved old houses with red-tile roofs, cobblestone paths, green surrounding and cozy local shops. The settlement’s heart beats in the central square, where you can relax, drink coffee and eat the local delicacies. In a close distance, is located the Averoff Museum of Neohellenic Art, where paintings and sculptures by renowned Greek Artists are exhibited. You should also visit the Averofeios Garden where you will encounter endemic tree species of Pindos. It is a true oasis, and it will give you the chance to breath in the mountainous fresh air, while you relax on a bench behind the chapel of Agios Georgios. Metsovo is ideal for active vacation. In addition to the ski resort, it also has an artificial lake, where you can do canoeing, and three rivers for cayak and rafting.

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Mt. Pindos

Pindos is the biggest mountain range in Greece, located between Epirus and Thessaly, being the spine of the country. If you are a nature lover, Mt. Pindos is an amazing opportunity for you to discover extraordinary rivers, gorges and hiking routes. Besides the imposing mountainous terrain of the range, two significant gorges in Europe are situated in Pindos,  Vikos Gorge and Aoos Gorge. Together with the mountain valley of Valia Kalda, they have been declared protected regions and constitute the National Park of Northern Pindos. The Pindus region covers a wide range of elevations and habitats, from deep canyons to steep mountains. Large breeding colonies of herons, spoonbills, egrets, and pelicans fish the waters of the mountain lakes of the Pindus. Mt. Pindos is one of the few areas in Europe where the rare Dalmatian pelican can be found. Wolves, jackals and bears are found in the forests of Pindos. 

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Where to Stay

Hotel in Metsovo, Greece Hotel Kassaros
Hotel Kassaros
3, Tr. Tzoumaka Str., 44200 Metsovo, Greece

Hotel Kassaros is centrally located in the picturesque town of Metsovo. Ioannina town and airport are approximately a 45-minute drive away.

Boutique Hotel in Metsovo, Greece Archontiko Metsovou Luxury Boutique Hotel
Archontiko Metsovou Luxury Boutique Hotel
5, Zaousi Vassiliou Str., 44200 Metsovo, Greece

Archontiko Metsovou Luxury Boutique Hotel is located just a 2-minute walk from the central square of picturesque Metsovo village and offers accommodation in a traditional style mansion with spa facilities. Well equipped ski centers can be reached within a 10-minute drive from Metsovo. Ioannina town is at 50 km, while Meteora monasteries are 60 km away.

Appartment in Zagorochoria, Greece Elafotopos
Elafotopos
Elafotopos, 44007 Zagorochoria, Greece

The hostel is located in Lower Mahala village, next to the church of the Assumption and the Folklore Museum, always with the same flavors and hearty welcome Mrs. Eleni who makes you feel at home.


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