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 informed us she was so impressed with us going to Epirus that she provided us scrumptious photographs of Mastika to sip on. That’s simply how impressed she should 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 one in all them.
About Epirus, Greece
Once we first acquired the invitation to Epirus, we needed to look it up. Have been there seashores? Examine. What about monasteries or historic ruins? Examine. How about out of doors actions? One other verify! 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 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 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 carried out it!
Getting Round Epirus
Renting a automobile is one in all 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 visitors of the Epirus vacationer board, we had the privilege of getting a non-public driver, however we do counsel renting a automobile from the airport in Athens and hitting the street.
Nevertheless, in case your price range permits, hiring a non-public driver is an incredible option to journey and Prime Switch Providers excursions is an excellent firm owned by our good friend Vasili who can get you round from place to put in security and luxury. Go to his web site to guide day excursions and transfers round Epirus, Greece.
Rental automobiles are fairly affordable in Greece in comparison with different European international locations and Epirus sights 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 crucial essential Monastic settlements in Greece. It’s one in all 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 it is best 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 Resort du Lac Congress Centre and visited all of its high sights 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 a variety of sightseeing as a result of there are a variety of issues to see and do in Ioannina! Ioannina is a fortified city the place the fortress partitions nonetheless stand and residents dwell among the many historic advanced with Its Kale (interior 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 identify, however it packs a giant 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 beautiful go to with buying stands lining the streets from the boat dock and loads of eating places and cafes shaded by enormous aircraft timber.
Whereas on the island, you should definitely cease within the Ali Pasha Museum to see the paintings 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 sure that to try the caves that acted as a shelter towards Italian air raids throughout World Warfare II.
Cave of Perema
Talking of caves, one place that isn’t to be missed in Ioannina is the Cave of Perema. Situated only a few 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 very large 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 of one of many best-preserved caves on the earth. 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 price.
The tour completed excessive above the town the place you emerge to see a few of the finest views of Ioannina and Lake Pamvotida.
The place to Keep in Ioannina
Resort du Lac is likely one of the finest 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. Examine charges and availability on TripAdvisor / Reserving.com
The Lake Resort can also be a preferred convention middle with an exquisite pool overlooking Lake Pamvotida.Situated close to the airport, it is a good spot to remain in your first or remaining day in Ioannina. Examine 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. 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 manner 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 Outdated City and Seirios for his or her glorious tree-covered patio.
Zagori is simply an hour and a half from Ioannina and when you have a automobile, you are able to do day journeys from the town to discover the journey capital of Epirus, however we recommend making a base on the town to actually profit from 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 just a few highlights that you just can’t miss when street tripping via Zagori, Greece.
Everybody in Epirus informed us that Vikos Gorge is listed within the Guinness E-book of World Information because the deepest gorge on the earth however I’ll admit I used to be skeptical. There are such a lot of gorges that attempt to maintain that declare, I can assume of some off the highest of my head which are in all probability deeper. However upon additional investigation, we discovered that it’s the deepest gorge on the earth in proportion to its width and that’s spectacular sufficient.
This gorge is spectacular and there are some stunning pull-offs the place you possibly can exit to view its superb magnificence from safe lookout factors. There are many climbing alternatives round Vikos Gorge and we noticed many individuals doing a little lengthy multi-day treks via 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 via one of many world’s deepest canyons.
The surroundings was pretty however be ready, that water is just 6 levels Celsius, (43F). Our journey took is a mere 16km from the Albanian border and it was a enjoyable option 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 have been strolling on snow! They mentioned the snow can final effectively into August.
Stone Arch Bridges of Zagori
However the true sights 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 grow to be the image of Epirus. Water fluctuates all year long with it operating dry whereas we have been in Epirus, however at instances it runs so excessive that there are holes minimize into its excessive single stone arch to permit for water to movement via.
Trixoto is one other spectacular three-arch stone bridge that stands 55 meters excessive. It was inbuilt 1814 and it’s a stunner. Be 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 In case you are exploring the extra rural areas of Epirus, make a base right here to your out of doors actions. The house owners are pleasant and the facilities are divine. Evaluate charges and opinions 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 beautiful village, out of doors adventures, stone arched bridge and well-known monastery.
It’s then on to one of the crucial spectacular monasteries you’ll ever see outdoors 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. Situated simply outdoors the village of Kalarrites in Tzoumerka, Epirus, this thirteenth century monastery may 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 in addition 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 powerful location and one in all 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 crucial extraordinary monasteries in Greece, it additionally boasts the biggest 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, however it took three arches to succeed in that top within the middle, that is one single arch that’s completely breathtaking.
But it surely was our hike via nature that we loved probably the most. A beautiful hike simply outdoors Kalarrites took us alongside an historic path resulting in the dual waterfalls. This can be 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 option 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 stunning the villages alongside the Ionian Coast have been. Our first cease was the fishing city of Preveza.
Fishing Village Waterfront
We really felt as if we might dwell right here. The strolling streets have been crammed with cafes filled with locals. Eating places line the waterfront and there are outlets 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 stunning 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 stress-free on this quiet seaside. It isn’t almost as crowded because the seashores of Santorini or Mykonos with solely (largely) locals figuring out of its magnificence.
Be 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 have been informed 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 Resort 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 principle attraction of Parga is Parga Fort the place you possibly can hike up for stunning 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 should you don’t make it to close by Corfu, you’ll get your fill of what a Greek Island trip seems like in Parga. There’s a beautiful waterfront with eating places and a superb secluded seaside that’s excellent for swimming and sunbathing.
Different close by seashores embrace Valtos Seashore which is usually named among the finest seashores in Greece and Sivota and Plataria have seashores as effectively. Be sure that to chill out 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, basically, is so superb! Learn Scrumptious Greek Meals – 29 Conventional Greek Dishes To Attempt Now
And at last, if you’re in search of extra issues to do in Epirus, make your option to the city of Metsovo. Metsovo is an exquisite 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. Once we visited, there was a mountain bike race occurring 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 possibly can order scrumptious Greek Espresso. You’ll be able to take a tour of the standard 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 more durable than it appears!
After a tour of the standard water mill, we made our option to downtown Metsovo to tour this full of life conventional village that’s in style for out of doors adventures. See extra particulars right here
Katogi Averoff Resort and Vineyard
One in every 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 effectively, so should you bask 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’ll 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 every day lives of Greek historical past. It’s a fantastic escape from the outside to soak up some native tradition.
Ebiking with Bikewise
In case you are trying to stretch your legs in spite of everything that meals and wine, a enjoyable exercise is to go e-biking. Bikewise provide biking round AOOS Lake. Using on an ebike makes it really easy so you possibly can benefit from the surroundings and if you end up completed they’ve a beautiful unfold of Greek meals and Tsipiro, the native liqueur. This firm is aware of the right way to create an journey itinerary. Enjoyable within the outside adopted by food and drinks. Sure! Examine them out to guide excursions to cycle Greece.
And there’s your tour of Epirus, Greece. Have we made you need to add it to your checklist? Whereas it isn’t as effectively often called another locations in Greece, it quickly shall be. So make your option to Epirus now earlier than the entire world finds out about all the superb locations to go to on this quiet nook of the nation.
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