The forested region of Epirus features stunning beauty, peaceful villages and sea resorts, cosmopolitan urban centers, and high mountain peaks. Though not a top destination when it comes to vacationing in Greece, it has a lot to offer to visitors. Here are some of the best things to see and do in Epirus.
Tucked in the Pindus region, in northwestern Greece, the village of Metsovo is a charming place to discover. The town has maintained its traditions and culture, and if you sit on a bench in the main square, you may hear some Vlach, a local dialect with Balkan roots. You can pop by the folklore museum to learn more about the region’s history and discover the amazing tapestry and weaving tradition. You can also have a go at the local cow’s milk cheese, metsovone, which will remind you of the Italian provolone—pair it with a glass of the local wine, Katogi.
Epirus is an ideal year-round destination, but if you find yourself in the area during the winter, and you are passionate about snow sports, then a stop at Anilio Ski Center is a must. With five ski lifts, the ski station has a ski school with well-trained instructors, sleigh rentals, and a cozy chalet where you can enjoy a warm beverage after a day of skiing.
Kayaking and rafting enthusiasts will revel in the beauty of Epirus’ Voidomatis River. One of Greece’s cleanest rivers offers adrenaline-pumping fun to those into water sports and provides a sense of adventure. You will get to admire stone arched bridges, incredible nature and even enjoy stops at monasteries nearby. Many companies offer rafting adventures for those who want an active holiday in Epirus.
Blessed with high peaks, Epirus is a paradise for hiking aficionados. One of the most spectacular hikes you can do in Epirus is the trek to Mount Tymfi’s Dragon Lake, home to the alpine newt. This alpine lake lies between the Aoos and Voidomatis rivers, in the Gamila crest. Start from the picturesque village of Papigo (or Papingo) and make your way to the lake after a four-hour-long trek through nature.
Zagori (or Zagoria) is a cluster of over 45 villages hidden in the Pindus mountain range. These picturesque hamlets are famous for their distinct architecture, with stone houses and slate roofs, and are connected via arched bridges, some more than 100 years old. It is a place of total relaxation and delight, invigorating walks through nature and delicious food. After a day outdoors, you will quickly fall asleep in the coziness of your guest house.
If you think Epirus is only about nature and quiet villages, you are wrong. Meet Ioannina, the region’s capital. This vibrant city—complete with a university, a plethora of old monuments and museums, and a collection of cafés and bars—is the answer to those who cannot handle the quiet for too long. You can mingle with the locals at one of the many tavernas or head out for drinks in one of the quaint bars in the old town.
And for those of you who mistakenly thought that Epirus only has mountains, you will be quite surprised to find out that the region also has relaxed seaside towns, where you can enjoy some beach and water fun. Parga, a maritime seaside town with colorful houses near the shores, has a few beaches where you can get a tan. You can even rent a boat and find a secluded beach on the coast somewhere between Parga and the nearby town of Syvota or mingle with the locals at Karavostasi Beach.
If rafting or skiing doesn’t give you that much-needed adrenaline rush you want, then why not try paragliding? You can discover the area from above and enjoy unprecedented views of the sea, the mountains, and everything under you. Fly & Fun offers lessons and tandem flights so that you can enjoy a sense of freedom while marveling at the beauty underneath your feet.