ZAGORI – PURE MOUNTAIN MAGIC
When it comes to Zagori, superlatives fail. Across 1000 sq km of densely forested, mountainous landscape punctuated by deep gorges, pristine rivers, waterfalls, caves and more, 46 stone-and-slate built villages (the Zagorohoria) complete what can only be called a mountain paradise.
Nature-loving hikers will struggle to choose from the hundreds of kilometers of well-marked trails that run over old stone bridges, past monasteries inhabited and not, through protected forests teeming with life and across ridges with views that are heartbreaking.
More experienced mountaineers can challenge themselves by tackling the alpine territory of the surrounding peaks, while a number of companies offer dozens of activities from backcountry skiing to whitewater rafting to organized hikes, making the natural wonders of the area accessible to all.
Each of the villages is prettier than the last – the legacy of master masons considered to be the greatest in the country – and the accommodation options are many and of exceptional quality. And when you feel you need to dip back into civilization, the cultured city of Ioannina is a short drive away and a destination in its own right.
Simply a must-visit.
Good For: Nature lovers, hikers, whitewater rafters, adventurers, anyone with a pulse.
Getting there: 500 km from Athens (a 6 hour drive). 300 km from Thessaloniki (3 hour drive). One can also fly to the airport of Ioannina – 1 hour’s drive from the first village. A car to get around is a must (equipped with snow chains in the winter).0