We not too long ago returned to Athens after touring round northern Greece, and when our servers, guides and drivers requested us the place we arrived from, they have been delighted and shocked to listen to that we had come from Epirus. Everybody mentioned that we have 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 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 lovely, 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 one in every of them.
About Epirus, Greece
After we first acquired the invitation to Epirus, we needed to look it up. Have been there seashores? Test. What about monasteries or historical ruins? Test. How about outside 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 possibly can lease a automotive. It’s only 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 performed it!
Getting Round Epirus
Renting a automotive is one in every 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 have been friends 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 highway.
Nonetheless, in case your finances permits, hiring a personal driver is an incredible strategy to journey and Prime Switch Companies excursions is an excellent 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 ebook day excursions and transfers round Epirus, Greece. For our different day excursions and adventures in Epirus, we used Alpine Zone which is the chief in journey tourism round Epirus. Take a look at Alpine Zone to ebook your individual Epirus, Adventures.
Rental automobiles are fairly cheap in Greece in comparison with different European nations and Epirus sights 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 one of the vital Monastic settlements in Greece. It’s one in every of solely three with the others being in Ioannina and the opposite in Halkidiki. See RentalsCars.com for value 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 value 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 prime sights and ended every day with the everyday three-hour dinners that make Greek hospitality so well-known. Be ready for lengthy days, loads of meals, and plenty of sightseeing as a result of there are plenty of issues to see and do in Ioannina! Ioannina is a fortified city the place the fort partitions nonetheless stand and residents dwell among the many historic advanced with Its Kale (inside fortress) making for the proper 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, however it packs an enormous punch. It’s right here which you could go to the seven Byzantine monasteries that date again to the thirteenth century. The island itself is a stunning go to with procuring stands lining the streets from the boat dock and loads of eating places and cafes shaded by large aircraft bushes.
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. Be certain to check out the caves that acted as a shelter in opposition to 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. 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 lovely cave is huge at 161,000 sq. toes (15,000 sq. meters) and homes and homes 1000’s of pristine stalactites and stalagmites the place it’s thought-about one of many best-preserved caves on the 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 value.
The tour completed excessive above town the place you emerge to see among 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 positioned strolling distance (20 minutes) to Outdated 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 Resort can also be a preferred convention heart with a stupendous pool overlooking Lake Pamvotida.Positioned close to the airport, it is a excellent place 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 gotten 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 approach as much as Frontzuou Politia Resort or for some trendy Greek fusion, take pleasure in a multi-course meal full with wine pairing at Thamon (our favorite meal in Ioannina) within the Outdated City and Seirios for his or her wonderful tree-covered patio.
Zagori is simply an hour and a half from Ioannina and you probably have a automotive, you are able to do day journeys from town to discover the journey capital of Epirus, however we recommend 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’s 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 highway tripping by way of Zagori, Greece.
Everybody in Epirus advised us that Vikos Gorge is listed within the Guinness Ebook of World Data because the deepest gorge on the 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 might be most likely deeper. However upon additional investigation, we realized that it’s the deepest gorge on the planet in proportion to its width and that’s spectacular sufficient.
This gorge is spectacular and there are some lovely pull-offs the place you possibly can exit to view its wonderful magnificence from safe lookout factors. There are many mountain climbing alternatives round Vikos Gorge and we noticed many individuals performing some lengthy multi-day treks by way of the area.
One of the in style 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 simply 6 levels Celsius, (43F). Our journey took is a mere 16km from the Albanian border and it was a enjoyable strategy 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 have been strolling on snow! They mentioned the snow can final effectively into August.
Stone Arch Bridges of Zagori
However the actual sights of Vikos are its beautiful 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 grow to be the image of Epirus. Water fluctuates all year long with it operating dry whereas we have been in Epirus, however at occasions it runs so excessive that there are holes lower into its excessive single stone arch to permit for water to move by way of.
Trixoto is one other spectacular three-arch stone bridge that stands 55 meters excessive. It was inbuilt 1814 and it’s a stunner. Be certain to stroll throughout these buildings 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 to your outside actions. The house owners are pleasant and the facilities are divine. Evaluate charges and critiques 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 result of its attractive village, outside 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 aspect of a excessive cliff wall. Positioned simply exterior the village of Kalarrites in Tzoumerka, Epirus, this thirteenth century monastery could 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 have 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 actually a formidable location and one in every of our favourite locations to go to in Epirus. We aren’t non secular, however we at all times 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, however it took three arches to achieve 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 essentially the most. A beautiful hike simply exterior Kalarrites took us alongside an historical path resulting in the dual waterfalls. This can be a lovely hike that may take you all the way in which to and from the village of Kalarrites.
It’s now time to make your strategy 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 have been shocked to see how lovely the villages alongside the Ionian Coast have been. Our first cease was the fishing city of Preveza.
Fishing Village Waterfront
We actually felt as if we might dwell right here. The strolling streets have been crammed with cafes full of locals. Eating places line the waterfront and there are retailers loads all through its outdated 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 lovely stretch of sandy seaside. Monolithi Seashore is the longest seaside 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 seaside. It isn’t practically as crowded because the seashores of Santorini or Mykonos with solely (largely) locals understanding 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 have 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 beloved DALIZ Boutique Resort in Preveza. It has a stunning swimming pool, wonderful breakfast and stylish trendy rooms.
To our shock, there was an much more lovely area on the Ionian Coast of Epirus. Parga is a city that rivals the likes of Greece’s southern islands. However in fact, Parga reminded us of the cities of the Cinque Terre in Italy.
The primary attraction of Parga is Parga Fort the place you possibly can hike up for lovely views of the colorful buildings lining the seaside. 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 changing into part of Greece in 1913.
Parga is positioned on the mainland, however it actually seems like a Greek Isle, so even when you don’t make it to close by Corfu, you’re going to get your fill of what a Greek Island trip seems like in Parga. There’s a stunning waterfront with eating places and a superb secluded seaside that’s excellent for swimming and sunbathing.
Different close by seashores embody Valtos Seashore which is commonly named the most effective seashores in Greece and Sivota and Plataria have seashores as effectively. Be certain to loosen up at a seaside bar to benefit from the native seafood, this a part of Greece if well-known for its gastronomy, which says rather a lot since Greek meals, normally, is so superb! Learn Scrumptious Greek Meals – 29 Conventional Greek Dishes To Strive Now
And at last, if you’re searching for extra issues to do in Epirus, make your strategy to the city of Metsovo. Metsovo is a stupendous 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 crammed with 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 prime 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 lovely setting with a restaurant and cafe the place you possibly can order scrumptious Greek Espresso. You’ll be able to 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 rather a lot tougher than it seems to be!
After a tour of the normal water mill, we made our strategy to downtown Metsovo to tour this full of life conventional village that’s in style for outside adventures. See extra particulars right here
Katogi Averoff Resort and Vineyard
Certainly 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 resort as effectively, so when you take pleasure in an excessive amount of wine, you possibly can 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 day by day lives of Greek historical past. It’s an awesome escape from the outside to soak up some native tradition.
Ebiking with Bikewise
If you’re trying to stretch your legs in spite of everything that meals and wine, a enjoyable exercise is to go e-biking. Bikewise supply biking round AOOS Lake. Driving on an ebike makes it really easy so you possibly can 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 easy methods to create an journey itinerary. Enjoyable within the open air adopted by food and drinks. Sure! Test them out to ebook excursions to cycle Greece.
And there’s your tour of Epirus, Greece. Have we made you wish to add it to your checklist? Whereas it isn’t as effectively often called another locations in Greece, it quickly will probably be. So make your strategy 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.
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