The Awe-Inspiring Natural Landscape of Greece’s Zagori



The famous arched stone bridge in Vikos-Aoos National Park. Credit: Erik1980/Wikimedia commons

Zagorochoria is a region and a municipality in the Pindus mountains in Epirus, in northwestern Greece just northeast of Ioannina.

It is an awe-inspiring natural landscape with an incredibly well-preserved network of 46 villages and features national parks, a monastery, rivers and waterfalls.

Looking for a splendid all-year-round getaway to a place that is considered to be one of the most beautiful and rich eco-systems in all of Europe? Look no further. We have compiled a few of the many places worth visiting to make your experience unique:

Monodéndri

Panoramic view of Monodendri; in the background lies Vikos Gorge. Credit: Wikipedia
Situated at an altitude of 1,060 meters (3,278 feet) and listed as a national monument, Monodendri is one of  Zagori’s most picturesque villages. It hosts some beautiful two-story mansions and narrow streets that pass the village’s paved stone courtyards. The Monastery of St. Paraskevi can be admired from afar and a rocky trail that starts at the central square will lead you to the stunning Vikos Gorge.

Vikos Gorge

View of Vikos Goerge. Credit: Skamnelis/Wikipedia

The famous Vikos Gorge, the enormous canyon which is visited by many tourists throughout the year, is actually accessible from many vantage points. While there, you will have the opportunity to walk the famous Vradeto Stairs at the edge of the gorge. These  1,200 meter stone stairs connect the villages of Vradéto and Kapésovo.

Monastery of St. Paraskevi

Visit an abandoned monastery at the edge of Vikos Gorge which dates back to 1413-1414. This is a place where you can stop and meditate while taking in a unique view of the gorge.

 Vikos–Aoös National Park

The core of the park, an area of 8,402 acres, comprises the spectacular Vikos Gorge. The park’s remoteness and relatively small human population, rich plantlife, and a plethora of large mammals such as the brown bear, is what makes this park unique.

It is one of the last true European wild areas, hosting a variety of natural habitats and ecosystems that rank it among the most valuable parks for nature conservation in Greece. It is home to many rare, endemic and protected plant species as well. Aside from trekking, sport enthusiasts and nature lovers alike can also enjoy rafting in the Aoos river, which is also a unique way to explore the beauty of the landscape.

Waterfalls in Illiochori

Unknown to most people is the village of Iliochori, built on the eastern slopes of Tymfi. It is a small, quaint village that is home to three spectacular waterfalls that form two natural emerald-colored pools.

The waterfalls, located at “Balta di Striga;” the highest of them reaches a height of 25 meters (82 feet). The hiking route is very pleasant, with a marked path that begins at the village square — if in doubt, you can always ask one of the villagers, who will surely be able to show you the way.

The Famous Stone Bridges of Zagori

Konitsa Bridge, in Vikos-Aoos National Park. Credit: Michael Paraskevas – panoramio/Wikipedia

The bridges of Zagori are iconic presences in the area; all of them are constructed with stone yet each of them is unique in their own way. Surrounded by gorgeous landscape, these bridges are worth a stop, even if just for a quick selfie! Be sure to see them all, including Kondodimos (or Lazaridis) Bridge, Plakidas or Kalogeriko (Monk) Bridge, Milos Bridge, Kokkoris (or Noutsos) Bridge, Pitsionis Bridge, and Mirisis Bridge.