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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Greece Past the Seashores: the Undiscovered Epirus

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The hustle of vibrant Athens light as soon as we left town and headed for Epirus on the northwest aspect of the Greek mainland. Multicoloured concrete tradition switched into green-blue stone villages, historic arched bridges, ramshackle castles, quiet mountains topped with snow, and clear river gorges.

Greece is taken into account to be a high European vacation spot in terms of lovely seashores, and for a great motive. Sadly, journey brokers don’t often add mountainous locations to their itineraries, if in any respect.

Epirus, GreeceEpirus, Greece
Beautiful Pindus mountain vary.

The area of Epirus in Greece is underrated for a number of causes:

1. It’s fairly rugged and was not simply accessible for a few years (even now, the one method to attain it’s by bus or automobile.) New motorways have now made it simpler to journey to the area, however the superb technique of transportation when travelling round Epirus is by automobile.
2. The tourism trade began creating only some years in the past, when deserted homes have been renovated and became motels and guesthouses for vacationers.
3. The elevation of Epirus is extraordinarily excessive. It’s well-known for its frequent rainstorms, and due to that a number of travellers don’t contemplate the world for a vacation vacation spot.
4. The absence of dependable maps has made the area much less enticing for vacationers.

Discovering the precise mannequin of tourism enterprise in Parga.

At the moment, the state of affairs in Epirus is evolving and extra tourism associated companies have emerged alongside the seacoast. In small cities like Metsovo nevertheless, memento retailers have began to occupy the city centre. Hopefully, this mannequin of tourism received’t be the one one within the space, the place ecotourism might thrive as a sustainable mannequin of enterprise for a lot of unemployed locals there.

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undiscovered Epirusundiscovered Epirus

Terrain of arch-shaped bridges and stone villages

While you arrive in Athens, you’ll see that town remains to be recovering from a latest financial collapse. Deserted buildings are nonetheless awaiting new house owners, and people which are inhabited lengthy for restoration.

Epirus, GreeceEpirus, Greece
Kalogeriko stone bridge on the river of Voidomatis.

In Epirus, although, you’ll really feel like you’ve entered a realm the place the previous is charmingly current . 75 lovely arched bridges used to attach these small villages to one another, and have the power to rapidly transport guests to a bygone period.

Epirus, GreeceEpirus, Greece
A café in Kalarites brings life to the village.

The stone mansions in almost empty villages whisper their historic tales of desertion. Constructed from limestone from the close by mountains, and resistant wooden from the forests within the surrounding space; the buildings are speechless, but highly effective mementos of Epirus’ historical past.

Epirus, GreeceEpirus, Greece
What’s the story of this bridge?

Each bridge has a narrative; some joyful, others tragic, as a result of their building wasn’t all the time sturdy sufficient to carry the heavy carts crossing them.

Epirus, GreeceEpirus, Greece
The traditional Moni Tsoukas monastery.

In addition to the residential buildings, you’ll come upon Byzantine church buildings and monasteries from historic occasions; and strolling by means of them offers you an genuine image of how the lives of monks remoted within the mountains regarded.

Magic on the Dodona oracle

Epirus, GreeceEpirus, Greece
Getting nearer to Gods within the Theatre of Dodona.

Secluded from plenty, embraced among the many mountains, and so near Gods, Epirus was once residence to an historic oracle the place monks and priestesses regarded for indicators that might lead them in the precise route. At the moment, the location is beneath building, however you possibly can nonetheless stroll across the theatre of Dodona and its close by ruins.

Pristine and tough nature of Epirus

If there may be any benefit to Epirus’ poor infrastructure, it’s undoubtedly the pristine environment, the place one barely notices the sparse human contact. The vast majority of the terrain is tough, usually solely marked by a path that belongs to the official nationwide (O3) or worldwide (E6, Z, P, EPPER) community of mountain climbing trails.

One of many areas with essentially the most gorgeous views, mountain climbing trails, numerous animal species, and numerous vegetation is Pindos Nationwide Park. The spotlight of the park is the 20km Vikos Gorge (its deepest level is 1600ft (490 m.)

Sadly, we didn’t handle to go for a trek in Epirus, however we did some analysis on essentially the most really helpful and attention-grabbing mountain climbing trails within the area.

Advisable mountain climbing trails in Vikos Gorge (Occasions are round-trip)
* Mikro Papigko – Gkamila: 7 hours
* Vradeto – Drakolimni of Timfi: 6 hours 45minutes
* Monodendri – Vikos: 6 hours
* Vradeto – Beloi: half-hour
* Mikro Papigko – Astraka: 5.5 hours

Epirus, GreeceEpirus, Greece
The Stone Forest of Monodendri, Epirus.

Apart from mountain trekking by means of Vikos, you possibly can discover village life, cross historic bridges, and swim in waterfalls close to the 45 villages often called Zagoria.

Advisable paths in Zagoria (Occasions are round-trip)
* Dikorfo – Kipi: 4 hours
* Kapesovo – Vradeto’s Skala: 1hour 45minutes
* Dilofo – Vitsa: 1.5 hours
* Aspragelli – Holy Monastery of Aspragelli: 1 hour
* Iliohori – Waterfalls of Iliohori: 1 hour
* Kipi – Koukoli: 45 minutes

Seashore escape in Epirus

Epirus, GreeceEpirus, Greece
Turquoise heaven of Parga.

After mountain climbing time by means of the gorges within the Greek countryside…it’s time for the seaside! Arriving to the west coast of Epirus, you’ll discover a few of the best seashores of the nation. The vast majority of them are positioned across the charming city of Parga.

You’ll be able to work in your suntan on the sumptuous seashores of Valtos (5 minutes strolling distance from Parga,) Lichnos (8 minutes of driving) Sarakiniko (20 min of driving) Bella Vraka (35 minutes driving) Kastrosykia (40 min driving) or Loutsa and Ammoudia (each 25 minutes driving.)

Which locations to go to in Epirus

Until you’re tenting in Epirus, you’ll have to cease someplace to remain in a single day. Both that, or you have got the choice of taking a stroll through the cobblestone streets of some forgotten villages. Here’s a brief listing of locations we suggest to go to whereas travelling round Epirus:

Epirus, GreeceEpirus, Greece
The island of Ioánnina after the sundown.

Ioánnina: the biggest city within the area, the place you’ll likely begin your journey from for those who arrive from Athens.

Be certain that to take a ship and go to the island of Ioánnina and its Filantrhopinon Monastery.

Epirus, GreeceEpirus, Greece
Arachthos Gorge, Epirus.

Moni Tsoukas monastery: a serene place with outstanding Byzantine artwork and beautiful views of the Arachthos Gorge. Solely 17km from Ioánnina.

Epirus, GreeceEpirus, Greece
Silence of the Kalarites village.

Kalarites village: with solely 15 households, this place is a singular instance of the slowly disappearing inhabited locations of the area. Strolling by means of the empty village at sundown, when all sounds of life are melting into the darkish sky is certainly a robust and emotional expertise.

Kipoi village: price a go to for the uncommon three arch bridge close to the village.

Epirus, PargaEpirus, Parga
Isn’t the port of Parga attractive?

Parga: This might be your “seaside headquarters,” and you’ll love cozy feeling of the slim streets the place sea air mixes with the scent of freshly cooked do-it-yourself meals from open home windows.

Epirus, GreeceEpirus, Greece
Are you able to scent the lunch?

Parga is a quintessential Mediterranean city, the place you meet locals sitting in entrance of their homes chatting, and rhythm of the day relies on the warmth.

Find out how to journey to Epirus

Epirus, GreeceEpirus, Greece
Kokori, the oldest bridge within the space.

By automobile
A automobile is the best method to freely get round Epirus. Drive from Athens through Río–Andírrio bridge (route to Patra) will take you about six hours. On the bridge flip proper at Trikoupis Bridge after which drive by means of Mesolongi, Agrinio, Amfilochia and Arta, which is just 80 km removed from Ioánnina. When you journey from Thessaloniki, you’ll arrive to Ioánnina in 2.5 hours.

By bus
You’ll be able to take a direct bus from Athens to Ioánnina, which is able to take about eight hours and also you’ll pay about $42 for a one-way ticket. The journey from Thessaloniki lasts about six hours.

By airplane
There are many native flights from Athens to Ioánnina by Aegean airways and Olympic Airways. A flight takes 45 minutes and prices $55 and up.

By boat
From Corfu it’s three hours by a ferry (in a neighborhood bus) for $12 to Igoumenitsa and from there you possibly can take a bus to Ioánnina (takes 1hour 15minutes and prices $8) or hire a automobile in Igoumenitsa.

Epirus, GreeceEpirus, Greece
Tough, but rewarding Epirus.

Epirus is tough, but rewarding. When you make an effort and overcome the preliminary difficulties of transportation, you’ll earn some memorable prizes right here: delicious meals, energetic and curious folks, wild and rocky nature, stone-paved streets and… good Greek vibes. That is what Epirus is about.

Have you ever ever been to Epirus or Greece? Would you like to discover the seashores or hike within the Vikos Gorge?

Disclaimer: Our journey to Epirus wouldn’t have occurred with out the assistance of Go to Greece. Our opinions, village explorations, bridge crossings, and native smiles are our personal.


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