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 individuals (they’d heard of) who had visited this hidden gem of Greece. One bartender advised us she was so impressed with us going to Epirus that she provided us scrumptious pictures 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. Had been there seashores? Test. What about monasteries or historical ruins? Test. How about out of doors actions? One other test! Epirus has all of it. And we’re going to share an itinerary to journey by way of this secret nook of Greece, to create your individual journey of a lifetime.
The place is Epirus, Greece?
Epirus is positioned 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’ll be able to hire a automobile. 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 achieved it!
Getting Round Epirus
Renting a automobile 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 visitors of the Epirus vacationer board, we had the privilege of getting a personal driver, however we do recommend renting a automobile from the airport in Athens and hitting the highway.
Nonetheless, in case your funds permits, hiring a personal driver is a tremendous approach to journey and Prime Switch Companies excursions is an outstanding firm owned by our buddy Vasili who can get you round from place to put in security and luxury. Go to his web site to e book day excursions and transfers round Epirus, Greece.
For our adventures throughout Epirus, we used Alpine Zone which is the chief in journey tourism round Epirus. Try Alpine Zone to e book your individual Epirus, Adventures.
Rental automobiles are fairly affordable in Greece in comparison with different European nations and Epirus points of interest are unfold out. Plus, you may make a detour to Meteora, one other of our favourite locations in Greece alongside the best way! You’ll need to as a result of like Meteora, Ioannina has one of the necessary 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 need to 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 3 days on this bustline college city. We made a base on the Lodge 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 fort 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 title, nevertheless it packs an enormous punch. It’s right here which you can go to the seven Byzantine monasteries that date again to the thirteenth century. The island itself is a beautiful go to with procuring stands lining the streets from the boat dock and loads of eating places and cafes shaded by big airplane bushes.
Whereas on the island, be sure you 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 gown of Ali Pasha’s spouse, Kyra-Vassiliki. Be certain to check out the caves that acted as a shelter towards Italian air raids throughout World Conflict II.
Cave of Perema
Talking of caves, one place that’s not to be missed in Ioannina is the Cave of Perema. Situated 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. toes (15,000 sq. meters) and homes and homes hundreds of pristine stalactites and stalagmites the place it’s thought of one of many best-preserved caves on this planet. Guides take you on a 45-minute journey by way of the system to view its waterfalls and its most well-known stalagmite, The Cross. Go to their web site for opening hours and price.
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
Lodge du Lac is likely one of the greatest locations to remain in Ioannina positioned strolling distance (20 minutes) to Previous City. Its buffet breakfast was a spotlight for us with the eating space immediately by the tranquil pool. Test charges and availability on TripAdvisor / Reserving.com
The Lake Lodge can also be a preferred convention heart with a fantastic pool overlooking Lake Pamvotida.Situated close to the airport, this can be a good spot to remain in your first or last day in Ioannina. Test charges and availability on TripAdvisor / Reserving.com
Eating places in Ioanna
After exploring for a few days, you’ve got numerous eating places to select from lining the waterfront. Get pleasure from 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 means as much as Frontzuou Politia Lodge 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 glorious tree-covered patio.
Zagori is simply an hour and a half from Ioannina and if in case you have a automobile, 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 actually take advantage of 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 below are a number of highlights that you just can not miss when highway tripping by way of Zagori, Greece.
Everybody in Epirus advised us that Vikos Gorge is listed within the Guinness E book of World Data 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 are in all probability 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’ll be able to exit to view its superb magnificence from safe lookout factors. There are many mountaineering alternatives round Vikos Gorge and we noticed many individuals doing a little lengthy multi-day treks by way of the area.
One of the common 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 by way of one of many world’s deepest canyons.
The surroundings was pretty however be ready, that water is barely 6 levels Celsius, (43F). Our journey took is a mere 16km from the Albanian border and it was a enjoyable approach to actually take within the energy of one of many world’s deepest canyons.
One of the stunning locations to go to in Epirus was Mount Tymfi. Alpine Zone took us up a steep and slim bumpy path through 4×4 to view the snow of Mount Tymfi. It was 30 levels (86 fahrenheit) beneath, however up right here we had been strolling on snow! They mentioned the snow can final properly into August.
Stone Arch Bridges of Zagori
However the true 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 positioned between two excessive cliffs and has develop into the image of Epirus. Water fluctuates all year long with it operating dry whereas we had been in Epirus, however at instances it runs so excessive that there are holes lower into its excessive single stone arch to permit for water to circulate by way of.
Trixoto is one other spectacular three-arch stone bridge that stands 55 meters excessive. It was in-built 1814 and it’s a stunner. Be certain to stroll throughout these buildings and take within the views down the valley.
Kores Boutique Lodge and Spa
Our favourite place to remain in all of Epirus was Kores Boutique Lodge and Spa If you’re exploring the extra rural areas of Epirus, make a base right here to your out of doors actions. The homeowners are pleasant and the facilities are divine. Examine charges and evaluations on TripAdvisor
Tzoumerka is positioned simply an hour from Ioannina and is likely one of the hottest locations to go to in Epirus as a consequence of its beautiful village, out of doors adventures, stone arched bridge and well-known monastery.
It’s then on to one 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. Situated simply exterior the village of Kalarrites in Tzoumerka, Epirus, this thirteenth century monastery will be reached by strolling a steep path to its entrance that crosses a small picket bridge dangling over the abyss.
The picket 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 non secular work and altars, monks’ quarters and the cave. It’s really a formidable location and certainly one of our favourite locations to go to in Epirus. We aren’t non secular, however we all the time are fascinated by the human spirit and dedication.
Plaka Arch Bridge
Tzoumerka not solely homes one of the extraordinary monasteries in Greece, it additionally boasts the biggest stone arch bridge in the entire 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, nevertheless it took three arches to succeed in that top within the heart, that is one single arch that’s completely breathtaking.
However it was our hike by way of nature that we loved probably the most. A stunning hike simply exterior Kalarrites took us alongside an historical path resulting in the dual waterfalls. It is a stunning hike that may take you all the best way to and from the village of Kalarrites.
It’s now time to make your approach 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 full of locals. Eating places line the waterfront and there are outlets loads all through its outdated city.
Seashore life 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 enjoyable on this quiet seashore. It isn’t almost as crowded because the seashores of Santorini or Mykonos with solely (largely) locals realizing of its magnificence.
Be certain 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 advised that this shrimp is so good that Roger Moore’s James Bond solely eats Preveza prawns.
The place to Keep in Preveza
We completely liked DALIZ Boutique Lodge in Preveza. It has a beautiful swimming pool, glorious 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 Fort the place you’ll be able to hike up for stunning views of the colorful buildings lining the seashore. Parga Fort 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 positioned on the mainland, nevertheless it definitely looks like a Greek Isle, so even in case you don’t make it to close by Corfu, you’re going to get your fill of what a Greek Island trip looks like in Parga. There’s a beautiful waterfront with eating places and an excellent secluded seashore that’s good for swimming and sunbathing.
Different close by seashores embrace Valtos Seashore which is usually named top-of-the-line seashores in Greece and Sivota and Plataria have seashores as properly. Be certain to loosen up 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 superb! Learn Scrumptious Greek Meals – 29 Conventional Greek Dishes To Strive Now
And at last, in case you are in search of extra issues to do in Epirus, make your approach to the city of Metsovo. Metsovo is a fantastic area nestled within the mountains with conventional cities scattered all through the rolling hills. It’s a preferred 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 happening and the village was a flutter with individuals. 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 facility of water.
It’s a stunning setting with a restaurant and cafe the place you’ll be able to order scrumptious Greek Espresso. You may take a tour of the normal water mill to see the facility of the water operating from the mountains. We even tried our hand at cleansing a carpet within the churning water. It’s so much more durable than it seems to be!
After a tour of the normal water mill, we made our approach to downtown Metsovo to tour this energetic conventional village that’s common for out of doors adventures. See extra particulars right here
Katogi Averoff Lodge and Vineyard
Certainly one of our favourite issues to do in Metsovo was to take a tour of the Katogi Averoff Lodge and Vineyard. You may keep at this resort as properly, so in case you bask in an excessive amount of wine, you’ll be able to 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.
Situated 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 a fantastic escape from the outside to soak up 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 provide biking round AOOS Lake. Driving on an ebike makes it really easy so you’ll be able to benefit from the surroundings and when you find yourself completed they’ve a beautiful unfold of Greek meals and Tsipiro, the native liqueur. This firm is aware of methods to create an journey itinerary. Enjoyable within the open air adopted by foods and drinks. Sure! Test them out to e book excursions to cycle Greece.
And there may be your tour of Epirus, Greece. Have we made you need to add it to your listing? Whereas it isn’t as properly referred to as another locations in Greece, it quickly might be. So make your approach to Epirus now earlier than the entire world finds out about the entire superb locations to go to on this quiet nook of the nation.
The place are you moving into Greece subsequent?