Zagorochoria and the Greek “Grand Canyon"

Zagorochoria and the Greek “Grand Canyon"

4 minutes to read

It was about time to present this unique winter/autumn destination in Greece; attention - if you are a nature lover then you will definitely appreciate the beauty of the place that follows!

Recently one of my colleagues posted an inspiration called the Bosnian Himalayas (great page btw); when it got posted on Facebook a greek guy (probably coming from the place that follows) commented.. "So what about the Greek Himalayas? Zagorochoria and its surroundings? I think it’s a place worth mentioning! Don’t you think?". And here I am with a response to him! Of course I do agree, so here we go, enjoy Zagorochoria!

Towering mountains, virgin forests and impressive gorges; a wild and evocative landscape. Zagorohoria – to give the area its full name – is a cluster of 46 small stone villages, masterfully constructed bridges and monasteries curved into the mountains.

Zagorochoria, a cluster of 46 traditional villages
Zagorochoria, a cluster of 46 traditional villages
Ζαγόρι, Ελλάδα

Located in the north-west side of Greece (mountain Pindos), Zagorochoria are only a few hours (well… to be specific 3hours) away from Thessaloniki. For sure, it’s a pure and seductive holiday destination for all seasons but personally I’d suggest a visit during autumn or winter!

Traditional architecture, lovely people, incredibly natural beauty, clear rivers, mountain lakes, good food and multiple activities offered, are some of the factors that could convince you immediately to pay a visit to these amazing small villages!

As I have already mentioned Zagorochoria is a place that will steal your hearts! In this heavenly place you will be able to enjoy a whole range of sports and mountain activities such as rafting, canoe-kayak, horse riding, hiking, climbing and mountain bikes. Jeep trips and skiing are available in the winter. At the same time, feel free to bring your whole family since kids can safely participate and enjoy most of these activities as there are many ‘easy’ routes that you can take; the ones that I would personally suggest are the routes from Elafotopos to Vikos, of from Monodentri to Oxia.

The Greek Grand Canyon

For the Hiking Lovers a visit should definitely be paid to the gorge of Vikos, also known as the Greek “Grand Canyon”. There’s one famous route starting at the base of the Vikos Gorge. The route takes about 6 hours and it is well marked with many signs. While trekking you’ll be able to enjoy the natural beauty of the scenery and learn about the geological phenomenons that occurred and sculpted the area in that extremely beautiful way! At the same time, if you enjoy climbing you should visit Smolikas as it rises to a height of 2637m, being the second highest mountain in Greece after Mount Olympus!

Vikos Gorge
Vikos Gorge
Monodendri Monodendri, Monodendri 440 07, Grèce

Remember! This gorge is one of the longest (24km) and deepest (1.2km) in the world!

National parks & activities!

Essentially there are two of the most important national parks of Greece near Zagorohoria, Valia Calda and Aoos river with the gorge of Vikos that has already been mentioned. It is the ideal destination as there are villages for all tastes.

Trekking in Valia Calda
Trekking in Valia Calda
Περιβόλι 510 32, Ελλάδα
Mountain bike and Trekking in Zagorochoria
Mountain bike and Trekking in Zagorochoria
Ζαγόρι, Ελλάδα

The villages

As all villages in Zagorochoria are high in the mountains and far away from the nearest light polluting city you will be amazed by the clarity of the sky at night. Take a telescope or binoculars for a closer look if you have them, and kids will be amazed at this spectacle as seen even by the naked eye. All villages in Zagorochoria are gorgeous and whichever you choose will have an unforgettable time.

However, before leaving the area do not miss the most historic and picturesque villages there. Visit Mikro and Megalo Papingo which are definitely the most famous and cosmopolitan villages. They are both beautiful, picturesque, with narrow stone streets and breathtaking view. They are located in the western Zagori. Also, visit the village Kipi, another village with many visitors and beautiful places to wander. Monodendri also for many people is a base and is quite developed in tourism while at the same time it is picturesque and close to many interesting places. Finally, do not miss the chance to see Vítsa, one of the most traditional villages in central Zagori.

Try traditional dishes

The area is famous for its friendly people and wonderful traditional food which you must try. Try local dairy products made from local residents, their famous pies, wild mushrooms, local meat and sweets. You will also find wine from local producers. When you leave you can get products from cooperatives.

When your day comes to an end, experience the true magic of Zagorochoria: have a delicious meal in a mezedopoleio (local taverna), or enjoy a glass of fine wine by the fireplace in one of the traditional guesthouses of the area!

Enjoy!

The author

Chrisa Lepida

Chrisa Lepida

My name is Chrisa and I come from Greece. As nature lover, winter sports addict and Erasmus obsessed, I’m always writing about these topics.

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