Visited in 1984, 2014,
2015, 2016 and 2018

Walking, hiking and trekking in Zagóri

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GENERAL INFORMATION

LINKS ZAGORI

HIKES

(last update on July the 26th 2018)

*** =  very beautiful

**** = exceptional

N = new in 2016
NNN = new in 2018

1. Astráka refuge - Drakólimni and back ****

2. Avgerinós - Mégas Lákkos - bed of the Veránia and back ****  + Gpx  NNN

3. Bridge of Arísti - Agii Anárgyri - Bridge of Klidoniá and back ****

4. Kapésovo - Gradísta - Iero Dásos - Víkos gorge - Kapésovo ****

5. Kapésovo - Kípi and back ***

6. Kapésovo - Koukoúli and back

7. Kapésovo - Víkos gorge and back

8. Kapésovo - Vradéto - Belóď and back ****

9. Kípi - Bayótikos - Mísios - Vítsa and back ***

10. Kípi - Koukoúli - Mísios - Vítsa - Monodéndri ***

11. Kípi - Mýlos - Plakída - Arkoúda - Dílofo and back ***

12. Klidoniá - Ano Klidoniá and back

13. Megálo Pápingo - Ano Klidoniá and back ****  N


14. Megálo Pápingo - Koúla - Ano Klidoniá - Megálo Pápingo ***  N

15. Mikró Pápingo - Astráka refuge and back ****

16. Mikró Pápingo - Kókkino Lithári - Evangelístria and back ****

17. Mikró Pápingo - Megálo Pápingo - (Ovíres) - Mikró Pápingo  N

18. Mikró Pápingo - Voďdomátis - Víkos and back ****

19. Mísios - skála Monodéndri and back NN

20. Monodéndri - Agia Paraskeví and back

21. Monodéndri - Ano Pediná and back  + Gpx  NNN

22. Monodéndri - Víkos gorge - Víkos ****

23. Monodéndri - Vítsa - Mísios - Koukoúli - Kípi ***  

24. Swimming in Zagóri *** 

25. The five bridges hike ****

26. Tsepélovo - Mégas Lákkos and back ****  N

27. Tsepélovo - Chátsios - Paliogéfyro - Tría Kefália - Kípi and back

28. Tsepélovo - Trýpa Nýfis - Kapésovo and back ****

29. Tsepélovo - Vradéto - Kapésovo ****

30. Víkos- source of the Voďdomátis and back ****  + Gpx  NNN

31. Víkos - Víkos gorge - Monodéndri ****

32. Vítsa - Dílofo and back ***

33. Vradéto - Avgerinós - Mégas Lákkos and back ****  N

Zagóri is part of the Greek region (periféria) Ipiros, which is one of the 13 Greek regions; Ipiros is located in the north-west, between the Ionian Sea and the Albanian border. It is also the most mountainous region of Greece: the Píndos massif, considered as the backbone of Greece, spreads from north to south over a distance of 160 km, with peaks as the Smólikas (2637 m), the Týmfi (2466 m ), the Gamilá (2480 m) and the Astráka (2432 m).

The area of Zagóri is 1000 km˛: the region lies more or less north of the city of Ioánnina, the capital of the largest province (nomós) of Ipiros. Administratively, Zagóri forms a single municipality (dímos), but it counts no less than 46 small villages, the so-called Zagorochoriá (chorió = village) or Zagoriá. However, the total population does not even reaches 4000 inhabitants, which corresponds to a density of less than 4 per km˛.
The name Zagóri is probably Slavonic and could mean "beyond the mountains".

This mountainous region is not easily accessible and is also crossed by some very deep valleys, with rivers like the Vikos, with its tributaries Vikákis and Mégas Lákkos, and the Voidomátis and the Aoös. During millions of years the Vikos has carved the canyon of Vikos, which is about 20 kilometers long and has a depth of 450 to 1600 meters; the canyon of Vikos thus appears in the Guinness Book of Records as the deepest canyon in the world - taking into account that the canyon has the greatest depth / width ratio, because the canyon is very narrow in some places.

Because of these geographical features, the history of this region of Greece is just as remarkable. While large parts of Greece have had a turbulent history, the region of Zagóri has been living  in relative safety during centuries, largely due to its difficult accessibility - invasions often avoided the region. Even when Ipiros fell into the hands of the Turks, in 1430, the region retained considerable autonomy. Many merchants came to live there, which contributed to a relative prosperity: many schools have emerged in the 18th century,  a lot of bridges and water mills were built, and the “archontiká" or large luxurious stone houses also testify to this prosperous period. It was only in the 19th century that the Turkish occupation became  more severe – until finally Zagóri was liberated from the Turkish occupation during the first Balkan War in 1913.

After the reunification with Greece, the region experienced a long exodus to the cities of Greece and a steady depopulation. It also suffered heavily during World War II , first as a result of  the Italian invasion, then of the German occupation, and finally of the civil war. All this has meant that the region of Zagóri remained cut off from the world: it thus  retained its original character - this explains the presence of very traditional villages and a well maintained trail and bridge network.

Most of these villages are very typical, with their central square or platía, with a large church, a huge plane tree and a public fountain; winding alleys cross the villages and a network of trails or monopátia connect the villages - with here and there the famous arched bridges. The most famous villages are Monodéndri (with Vítsa close to it), Tsepélovo (the largest village), Vradéto (the highest village, 1340 m) and the very attractive villages of Kípi , Koukoúli and Dílofo; north of the Vikos canyon you can find  the very famous villages of Megálo and Mikró Pápingo, the village of Vikos, Arísti , etc.
For the most beautiful villages of Zagóri, see e.g.
http://www.zagori.info/ or http://www.about-ioannina.gr/Zagori_en/Zagori.htm

If you want to see a slide show of our 2014 walks, see the following link: https://plus.google.com/photos/107661060150997737817/albums/6043273413225099505?authkey=CKXOz7us_87MtwE

The network of trails that connect the villages is well preserved, with also very impressive stairs – the famous skáles –, which allow you  to descend into the valleys from Monodéndri, Víkos, Vradéto or Koukoúli. In these valleys some splendid arched bridges can be found in certain places, see among others  http://www.about-ioannina.gr/zagori_en/the_bridges.htm. The most famous is probably the Plakída- or Kalogerikó-bridge with its three arches - see the beautiful pictures on http://flickrhivemind.net/Tags/plakidas/Interesting
These trails lend themselves to hikes of one day, but also to trekkings of 6-8 days, which are organized by many travel agencies. One of the most famous trekkings starts in Tsepélovo, taking the following steps: Tsepélovo - Vradéto - Kapésovo / Kapésovo - Koukoúli - Kípi / Kípi - Dílofo - Vítsa- Monodéndri / Monodéndri - canyon of Víkos - village of Víkos / Vikos - Megálo and Mikró Pápingo / and a stage of two days from Pápingo to the Astráka refuge and the Drakólimni lake - sometimes this trek is closed by a solitary stage back to Tsepélovo.

For some nice walks in and around Pápingo, there is the charming booklet Exploring Pápingo, by Frances Annear.

As so often, the best map is the one of Anávasi: the map 3.1 for Zagóri is a very good map with a  scale 1: 50.000 - it represents all of the major trails and is very accurate.

Some important practical information

* Even today, Zagóri is isolated: there are very little bus connections, and almost exclusively with Ioánnina, thus not between the villages...
See the information on the website of KTEL (bus) Ioannina, http://www.ktelioannina.gr/TRANSPORT7/PAGE_Routes/ZB4AAI8lw0BhZGpGbHJydVREDQA
(only in Greek).

In summer 2014, you could find the following connection
s:
- Ioánnina - Pápingo: only on Tuesdays at 5.30 am, return at 7.00am + (if there are travelers!) at 2.30pm, return at 4.00 pm
- Ioánnina - Vítsa – Monodéndri - Ano Pediná - Elafótopos: at 5.45am on Monday, return at  6.30
am +  at 2.00pm with return at 3.15pm
- Ioánnina - Skamnéli: at 6.00am and 1.35pm on Friday (by Koukoúli), return via Kapésovo and Koukoúli at 6.55am and direct return at 3.15pm
- Ioánnina - Frangádes - Leptokaryá: Thursday at 5.15 am, return at 3.15pm
- Leptokaryá - Frangádes - Dilofo - Ioánnina: Thursday at 6.45 am, return at 3.45pm (by Dilofo only if there are travelers!).

Conclusion: Given the fact that the connections are only on
ce a week and at difficult times, it is unlikely that the bus will help you to establish a good walking program...
Since taxis are very rare, a rental car is very useful ...
 
* Service stations are also rare: you will
find no service station at all in Zagóri itself! There is one (coming from Ioánnina) on the road from Metamórfosi to Monodéndri and another (coming from Kónitsa) in Klidoniá. You should therefore take your precautions ...

* The same foresight is necessary for cash: there are
very few teller machines (ATM) in Zagóri - there is since 2017 one in Monodéndri and one in Megálo Pápingo. Since many hostels and even hotels do not accept bank cards, you should provide with cash!

* The nearest pharmacy is
in Metamórfosi

* You easily will find accommodation with the help of the Internet
- see also the links on this site. Good centers for excursions are especially Tsepélovo and Mikró Pápingo, but also Kípi, Monodéndri, Vítsa and Megálo Pápingo are suitable
 
* Even in summer (July), not all taverns and restaurants are open, especially on weekdays. We found restaurants in Tsepélovo, Kípi, Dílofo, Vítsa and Monodéndri in central Zagóri, and in Mikró and Megálo Pápingo
, in Ano Klidoniá and Víkos.


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The skála Vradétou


UUView on the Víkos gorge, from the viewpoint of Belóď



The Drakólimni

 The Plakída bridge, with the three arches

The reflection of the Lazarídis bridge near Kípi

The platía of Tsepélovo 

The Mísios bridge

 

00The platía in Víkos

The Víkos gorge near Víkos