Where is Zagoria villages - They are small villages in Pindos Mountains which is a distant jewel in here as an undiscovered corner of northwest Greece.
Sleepy villages nestle beneath pine-clad towering peaks, valley floors are covered in prolific wild flowers and the heat of the summer is tempered with cool mountain air and dips in natural pools. Hiking in Zagoria is strenuous. Most trails up the Gamila Massif are steep and lengthy. Using the Gamila refuge as a base, day hikes can be made to Drakolimni of Gamila, the peaks of Gamila and Astraka and explore the Mega Lakko Ravine. Arrangements for use of the refuge must be made at the EOS office in Megalo Papingo (Tel. 30-265-3041138) or through the EOS representative in Mikro Papingo (Tel. 30-265-3041257). They will also provide information and maps.
Here in mountains of Zagoria villages you can hike through the deepest gorge in the world in Vikos-Aoos National Park, wander the cobbled streets of tiny rural communities with their preserved old mansions in the unique Zagorian style.
Follow ancient tracks you can discover elegant stone bridges and refresh the clear rivers of Zagoria. From the beautiful village of Papingo you climb towards the high plateau of Mount Timfi (2497 metres) and up to Drakolimni - 'Dragon Lake' - offering breathtaking views out over the mountains and gorges.
The region has a greater variety of flora and fauna than anywhere else in Greece and the water is so fresh you can drink liberally straight from the source. The Pindos Mountains remain wild and untouched by modern day tourism - follow in the footsteps of Byzantines and Ottomans and experience it sooner rather than later. There are numerous small but very beautiful and interesting settlements in Zagoria, all built in a unique traditional way.
Drive to Vradeto, the highest village of the region and hike along the edge of the spectacular Vikos Gorge offering breathtaking views of the depths below your feet. Hiking thrue Vikos Gorge is at liest one day trip. So you have to take enough of time to spent walking through the gorge itself.
The gorge averages 700 metres in depth and is the second longest in Europe after the much busier Samaria Gorge on Crete. Here, however, you will only have the swooping eagles above for company.
You will walk right into the heart of the National Park where the sight of the deserted monastery of Agia Paraskevi, balanced in an 'eagle's nest' position over the Vikos Canyon causes many a heart to miss a beat! The gorge is still refuge to many wild animals such as bears, boars and birds of prey. Overnight is possible in the famous village of Papingo.
Room reservations are unnecessary in the Zagorohoria except during festival time, August 15th to 18th. The easier and the best approach is to locate the main square, the ‘plateia,’ ask for a room and you will be directed to the nearest hotel, pension or domatia. Rooms are clean and comfortable and cost about US€50-€75 for a double. Accommodation is asured in small family hotels in Zagoria villages. The most convenient way to visit Zagoria is by car. Cars may be rented in Ioannina, Thessaloniki and Athens but general availability and the best values are to be found in Athens. From Athens, take the National Highway to Larissa.An excellent primary road travels west from Larissa to Ioannina via Trikala and over the Katara Pass. This portion is an interesting and scenic drive that passes the famous monasteries of Meteora and through gorgeous mountain landscapes. Most of the access roads to Zagoria are located between Metsovo and Konitsa along the main highway from Ioannina to Kastoria.
In general Greece is well known for its long, dry, hot summers and its mild winters. However, up in the mountains things can be more unpredictable. If you plan your holidays in this region of Greece, you have to be ready for quick changes of weather. You can expect pleasant weather in May, June and September and it can be hot at lower altitudes. As the Pindos are fairly close to the coast, thundery storms can be expected some of which can be very heavy. From my own experinece the climate in Vikos Gorge is hot (in June) and I suggest that you bring whith us enough of water