We just lately returned to Athens after touring round northern Greece, and when our servers, guides and drivers requested us the place we arrived from, they had been delighted and shocked to listen to that we had come from Epirus. Everybody mentioned that we had been the first folks (that they had heard of) who had visited this hidden gem of Greece. One bartender instructed us she was so impressed with us going to Epirus that she supplied us scrumptious photographs of Mastika to sip on. That’s simply how impressed she will need to have been!
Most vacationers head to Santorini or Mykonos when touring to Greece. We agree, that these islands are extremely stunning, however there are different locations in Greece that may actually take your breath away, removed from the crowds of the well-trodden locations. Epirus, Greece is certainly one of them.
About Epirus, Greece
After we first obtained the invitation to Epirus, we needed to look it up. Have been there seashores? Verify. What about monasteries or historic ruins? Verify. How about out of doors actions? One other examine! Epirus has all of it. And we’re going to share an itinerary to journey via this secret nook of Greece, to create your individual journey of a lifetime.
The place is Epirus, Greece?
Epirus is situated within the northwest nook of Greece, bordered by Albania and the Ionian Sea. It’s a 1h 15min flight to the capital of Epirus, Ioannina (pronounced, Yo-ah-nah-nah) from Athens or you may hire a automotive. It is just a 4h 30min drive from Athens to Ioannina and attending to see the Greek countryside is an actual deal with. We all know, we’ve completed it!
Getting Round Epirus
Renting a automotive is certainly one of our favourite methods to get round in Greece, particularly when you get out of Athens. We flew into Ioannina (on this journey to Greece) and had a driver take us round on a jam-packed itinerary. Since we had been company of the Epirus vacationer board, we had the privilege of getting a personal driver, however we do recommend renting a automotive from the airport in Athens and hitting the street.
Nevertheless, in case your funds permits, hiring a personal driver is an incredible solution to journey and Prime Switch Companies excursions is an outstanding firm owned by our buddy Vasili who can get you round from place to position in security and luxury. Go to his web site to e book day excursions and transfers round Epirus, Greece.
Rental vehicles are fairly affordable in Greece in comparison with different European nations and Epirus points of interest are unfold out. Plus, you can also make a detour to Meteora, one other of our favourite locations in Greece alongside the way in which! You’ll wish to as a result of like Meteora, Ioannina has some of the essential Monastic settlements in Greece. It’s certainly one of solely three with the others being in Ioannina and the opposite in Halkidiki. See RentalsCars.com for worth comparisons.
So, are you able to see why you must journey to Epirus? Let’s go!
Locations to Go to in Epirus, Greece
Ioannina is the capital metropolis of the Epirus area and it’s price spending two to a few days on this bustline college city. We made a base on the Resort du Lac Congress Centre and visited all of its high points of interest and ended every day with the standard three-hour dinners that make Greek hospitality so well-known. Be ready for lengthy days, loads of meals, and lots of sightseeing as a result of there are lots of issues to see and do in Ioannina! Ioannina is a fortified city the place the citadel partitions nonetheless stand and residents reside among the many historic complicated with Its Kale (interior fortress) making for the right place to benefit from the sundown over the lake.
In your first day in Ioannina, catch a brief 10-minute ferry to the Island of Lake Pamvotida. That is the island with no identify, but it surely packs a giant punch. It’s right here you can go to the seven Byzantine monasteries that date again to the thirteenth century. The island itself is a stunning go to with purchasing stands lining the streets from the boat dock and loads of eating places and cafes shaded by large aircraft timber.
Whereas on the island, remember to cease within the Ali Pasha Museum to see the art work and jewels, and weapons together with the gold-plated rifle of Ali Pasha and the silk costume of Ali Pasha’s spouse, Kyra-Vassiliki. Make sure that to check out the caves that acted as a shelter in opposition to Italian air raids throughout World Warfare II.
Cave of Perema
Talking of caves, one place that’s not to be missed in Ioannina is the Cave of Perema. Positioned just some km from the centre of city, the Cave of Perema is the second largest collapse all of Greece. It was additionally used throughout WWII by locals to cover from the Nazis.
This stunning cave is huge at 161,000 sq. ft (15,000 sq. meters) and homes and homes hundreds of pristine stalactites and stalagmites the place it’s thought-about one of many best-preserved caves on this planet. Guides take you on a 45-minute journey via the system to view its waterfalls and its most well-known stalagmite, The Cross. Go to their web site for opening hours and value.
The tour completed excessive above town the place you emerge to see a few of the greatest views of Ioannina and Lake Pamvotida.
The place to Keep in Ioannina
Resort du Lac is likely one of the greatest locations to remain in Ioannina situated strolling distance (20 minutes) to Previous City. Its buffet breakfast was a spotlight for us with the eating space straight by the tranquil pool. Verify charges and availability on TripAdvisor / Reserving.com
The Lake Resort can be a well-liked convention middle with a ravishing pool overlooking Lake Pamvotida.Positioned close to the airport, it is a good spot to remain in your first or remaining day in Ioannina. Verify charges and availability on TripAdvisor / Reserving.com
Eating places in Ioanna
After exploring for a few days, you may have numerous eating places to select from lining the waterfront. Take pleasure in an Aperol Spritz earlier than dinner and with every drink, they are going to deliver you a snack. For a restaurant with a view make your approach as much as Frontzuou Politia Resort or for some fashionable Greek fusion, get pleasure from a multi-course meal full with wine pairing at Thamon (our favorite meal in Ioannina) within the Previous City and Seirios for his or her wonderful tree-covered patio.
Zagori is simply an hour and a half from Ioannina and in case you have a automotive, you are able to do day journeys from town to discover the journey capital of Epirus, however we advise making a base on the town to essentially benefit from it Alpine Zone is the corporate for all of your journey and adrenaline actions right here and there may be loads of issues to see and do in Zagori. They will arrange an itinerary for you, however listed here are a number of highlights that you just can’t miss when street tripping via Zagori, Greece.
Everybody in Epirus instructed us that Vikos Gorge is listed within the Guinness E book of World Information because the deepest gorge on this planet however I’ll admit I used to be skeptical. There are such a lot of gorges that attempt to maintain that declare, I can suppose of some off the highest of my head which can be most likely deeper. However upon additional investigation, we realized that it’s the deepest gorge on this planet in proportion to its width and that’s spectacular sufficient.
This gorge is spectacular and there are some stunning pull-offs the place you may exit to view its superb magnificence from safe lookout factors. There are many mountain climbing alternatives round Vikos Gorge and we noticed many individuals doing a little lengthy multi-day treks via the area.
One of the standard issues to do within the Vikos Gorge is to go whitewater rafting alongside the Voidomatis River. Who would have thought that whitewater rafting was a factor in Greece, however it’s! We donned our wetsuits and set off on a enjoyable journey downriver via one of many world’s deepest canyons.
The surroundings was beautiful however be ready, that water is simply 6 levels Celsius, (43F). Our journey took is a mere 16km from the Albanian border and it was a enjoyable solution to actually take within the energy of one of many world’s deepest canyons.
One of the shocking locations to go to in Epirus was Mount Tymfi. Alpine Zone took us up a steep and slender bumpy path through 4×4 to view the snow of Mount Tymfi. It was 30 levels (86 fahrenheit) under, however up right here we had been strolling on snow! They mentioned the snow can final nicely into August.
Stone Arch Bridges of Zagori
However the actual points of interest of Vikos are its gorgeous arched bridges spanning the Voidomatis River. The historic stone bridges of Kokkori and Tritoxo are actual standouts.
Kokkori is situated between two excessive cliffs and has change into the image of Epirus. Water fluctuates all year long with it working dry whereas we had been in Epirus, however at instances it runs so excessive that there are holes reduce into its excessive single stone arch to permit for water to stream via.
Trixoto is one other spectacular three-arch stone bridge that stands 55 meters excessive. It was inbuilt 1814 and it’s a stunner. Make sure that to stroll throughout these constructions and take within the views down the valley.
Kores Boutique Resort and Spa
Our favourite place to remain in all of Epirus was Kores Boutique Resort and Spa If you’re exploring the extra rural areas of Epirus, make a base right here on your out of doors actions. The house owners are pleasant and the facilities are divine. Examine charges and opinions on TripAdvisor
Tzoumerka is situated simply an hour from Ioannina and is likely one of the hottest locations to go to in Epirus on account of its beautiful village, out of doors adventures, stone arched bridge and well-known monastery.
It’s then on to some of the spectacular monasteries you’ll ever see exterior Meteora. The Kipina Monastery jogged my memory of the Casas Cosgodas in Spain with the construction clinging to the facet of a excessive cliff wall. Positioned simply exterior the village of Kalarrites in Tzoumerka, Epirus, this thirteenth century monastery might be reached by strolling a steep path to its entrance that crosses a small wood bridge dangling over the abyss.
The wood construction blends into the rocks and the monastery had been used not solely by the monks but additionally by villagers to cover from their Turkish occupiers. There’s a cave that continues behind the monastery deep into the rock. The monastery is free to enter and inside you’ll see spiritual work and altars, monks’ quarters and the cave. It’s really a powerful location and certainly one of our favourite locations to go to in Epirus. We aren’t spiritual, however we all the time are fascinated by the human spirit and dedication.
Plaka Arch Bridge
Tzoumerka not solely homes some of the extraordinary monasteries in Greece, it additionally boasts the most important stone arch bridge in all the Balkins. Spanning the Arachthos River the Plaka Arch Bridge is a single arch that rises 50 meters into the air. Trixoto could also be larger, but it surely took three arches to succeed in that top within the middle, that is one single arch that’s completely breathtaking.
Nevertheless it was our hike via nature that we loved probably the most. A stunning hike simply exterior Kalarrites took us alongside an historic path resulting in the dual waterfalls. It is a stunning hike that may take you all the way in which to and from the village of Kalarrites.
It’s now time to make your solution to the coast the place you get a style of the Greek Islands. We had spent days exploring the mountains and gorges of Epirus and had been shocked to see how stunning the villages alongside the Ionian Coast had been. Our first cease was the fishing city of Preveza.
Fishing Village Waterfront
We really felt as if we might reside right here. The strolling streets had been full of cafes filled with locals. Eating places line the waterfront and there are retailers loads all through its previous city.
Seashore life just isn’t removed from Preveza with the pristine Monolithi Seashore only a stone’s throw away. We had all of it to ourselves as we walked alongside a portion of the 22 km lengthy stunning stretch of sandy seashore. Monolithi Seashore is the longest seashore in Europe!
Seashore umbrellas line the sand with loads of watersport and sea enjoyable available within the clear waters. We might have spent days stress-free on this quiet seashore. It isn’t almost as crowded because the seashores of Santorini or Mykonos with solely (principally) locals figuring out of its magnificence.
Make sure that to finish your day at one of many eating places at Preveza’s waterfront. We tried the native shrimp at Alati eating places. We had been instructed that this shrimp is so good that Roger Moore’s James Bond solely eats Preveza prawns.
The place to Keep in Preveza
We completely cherished DALIZ Boutique Resort in Preveza. It has a stunning swimming pool, wonderful breakfast and stylish fashionable rooms.
To our shock, there was an much more stunning area on the Ionian Coast of Epirus. Parga is a city that rivals the likes of Greece’s southern islands. However in reality, Parga reminded us of the cities of the Cinque Terre in Italy.
The primary attraction of Parga is Parga Fortress the place you may hike up for stunning views of the colorful buildings lining the seashore. Parga Fortress was constructed by the Venetians, however all through the centuries it had been sacked by pirates, and dominated by the British, The Russians, and Ali Pasha earlier than lastly turning into part of Greece in 1913.
Parga is situated on the mainland, but it surely definitely looks like a Greek Isle, so even should you don’t make it to close by Corfu, you’ll get your fill of what a Greek Island trip looks like in Parga. There’s a stunning waterfront with eating places and secluded seashore that’s excellent for swimming and sunbathing.
Different close by seashores embrace Valtos Seashore which is commonly named the most effective seashores in Greece and Sivota and Plataria have seashores as nicely. Make sure that to calm down at a seashore bar to benefit from the native seafood, this a part of Greece if well-known for its gastronomy, which says so much since Greek meals, generally, is so wonderful! Learn Scrumptious Greek Meals – 29 Conventional Greek Dishes To Attempt Now
And eventually, in case you are on the lookout for extra issues to do in Epirus, make your solution to the city of Metsovo. Metsovo is a ravishing area nestled within the mountains with conventional cities scattered all through the rolling hills. It’s a well-liked place for snowboarding in Greece within the winter and in the summertime it’s full of journey sports activities. After we visited, there was a mountain bike race occurring and the village was a flutter with folks. We loved lunch at Apokentro with views of the deep valleys and mountains earlier than our eyes.
Museum of Hydrokenisis
One of many high locations to go to in Metsovo is the Museum of Hydrokenisis. This new attraction showcases the custom of washing carpets and harnessing the ability of water.
It’s a stunning setting with a restaurant and cafe the place you may order scrumptious Greek Espresso. You’ll be able to take a tour of the normal water mill to see the ability of the water working from the mountains. We even tried our hand at cleansing a carpet within the churning water. It’s so much tougher than it appears!
After a tour of the normal water mill, we made our solution to downtown Metsovo to tour this energetic conventional village that’s standard for out of doors adventures. See extra particulars right here
Katogi Averoff Resort and Vineyard
Considered one of our favourite issues to do in Metsovo was to take a tour of the Katogi Averoff Resort and Vineyard. You’ll be able to keep at this lodge as nicely, so should you bask in an excessive amount of wine, you may stroll on to your roome. This vineyard is a pioneer of wine tourism in Greece and you may tour its conventional wine cellars and tasting room.
Positioned subsequent to Apokentro, the Averoff Gallery is a contemporary artwork museum that homes the gathering of Evangelos Averoff. His grandson runs the gallery. It’s a fascinating assortment of well-known Greek items depicting historic occasions and each day lives of Greek historical past. It’s an important escape from the outside to absorb some native tradition.
Ebiking with Bikewise
If you’re trying to stretch your legs in any case that meals and wine, a enjoyable exercise is to go e-biking. Bikewise supply biking round AOOS Lake. Using on an ebike makes it really easy so you may benefit from the surroundings and when you’re completed they’ve a stunning unfold of Greek meals and Tsipiro, the native liqueur. This firm is aware of create an journey itinerary. Enjoyable within the outside adopted by food and drinks. Sure! Verify them out to e book excursions to cycle Greece.
And there may be your tour of Epirus, Greece. Have we made you wish to add it to your record? Whereas it isn’t as nicely often called another locations in Greece, it quickly will likely be. So make your solution to Epirus now earlier than the entire world finds out about all the wonderful locations to go to on this quiet nook of the nation.
The place are you stepping into Greece subsequent?