Zagorochoria are a network of 46 beautiful villages spread all over the mountains on the north east of Ioannina.
The word Zagori first appeared in a document of 1321 and it means “behind the mountains”. It is one of the many toponyms that come from the Slavic language.
The villages of Zagori are famous for their unbelievable natural beauty, their unique architecture and their long history. Not without a reason of course, since the smashing natural landscape, the picturesqueness of every single village and the unlimited opportunities for sallies and every kid of activities really charm and impress the visitor. There are so many things that one can admire that we cannot say for sure which is more impressive.
Zagorochoria is an area of about 1.000 sq.m. and it is divided into three geographical sections: West, East and Central Zagori. Each section has its own special beauty and history.
It lies on the noeth west of Ioannina and it includes the great famous villages of the Voidomatis valley, which are Megalo and Mikro Papigo, Aristi, Vikos, St. Minas and Mesovouni.
Papigo is one of the most popular villages of Zagori and it is located at a distance of 61km from Ioannina. It is separated into two settlements, Megalo (Big) and Mikro (Small) Papigo which are located at the base of Astraka at the western Zagori.
At Megalo Papigo you will find churches, old mansions made by white stone such as numerous narrow streets.
Mikro Papigo is situated precisely under the imposing mountain Tymfi. There you will be impressed by the hexagon bell-tower of Saint Vlassios church, the “Kolimbithres”, such as the natural piscine with its clear water, which shapes on the way to Mikro Papigo.
Here you will find the starts of many paths which lead to Tymfi Mountain, the shelter of Astraka and Drakolimni.
The landscape is impressing and the view is magical!!
The pretty Aristi, is the main large village which you will meet by exploring the western Zagori and it is 48km far away from Ioannina.
You will be impressed by the imposing church of Kimisi of Theotokos, the picturesque paved small roads, the old fountain and the traditional coffee shops at the central square of the village.
Don't miss to visit the Monastery of Panagia Spiliotissa which is built on the edge of the rock of a cave, above the river and the bridge at Voidomatis River, in 1579.
It lies on the north east of Ioannina and it includes beautiful villages such as: the villages of Vardas valley (Greveniti, Elatochori, Makrino, Flabourari, Tristeno), the villages of Zagoritikos (Anthrakitis, Karies, Doliani, Kavallari), the beautiful Vovousa, the villages Demati, Itea, Petra, Kastanona and the settlements of St. Paraskevi and Potamia.
Vovousa is a magical experience for anyone who firstly visits it. It is a lovely, mountain village, situated at the eastern side of Zagori and it is 77km far away from Ioannina. It is built at an altitude of 1.000m and Aoos River runs through it. At the center of the village you can admire the traditional stone bridge which connects the two shores such as the wood of Vovousa which is a part of the National Park of Pindos.
It lies on the north of Ioannina and it includes special villages such as Vitsa, Monodendri, the well-known Vlachohoria (Vrisochori, Iliochori, Laista), Kipoi, Dilofo, Asprangeloi and Koukouli, Kapesovo, Tsepelovo, Skamneli and Negades and the villages of Ano Vikos valley (vradeto, Elati, Ano and Kato Pedina). It also includes the villages Dikorpho, Manassi, Kalouta, Dipotano, Fragades and Leptokaria.
Monodendri is situated at an altitude of 1060 m, at central Zagori and it is 39km far away from Ioannina. Its wonderful location and its popular architecture will fascinate you. Walk to the cobbled roads, see the big square of the village, the stone built mansions and the churches of Saint Minas and Saint Athanasios. It is worth walking to the Monastery of Saint Paraskevi where you will be impressed by the extremely beautiful view and you will admire the remarkable gorge of Vikos, which is located at GUINESS book as the gorge of the smallest aperture, just 1100m at its most narrow spot. In the meantime, its depth is over than 900m.
Kipi is a lovely village, situated at the centre of Zagori. It is built on a hill and it is located 39km from Ioannina. The village's feature is its gardens between of which flows a decorated with stone bridges, river.
At the gardens you will find stone paved roads, stone houses, the clock and the tall bell-tower, the church of Saint Nikolaos such as the fantastic museum of Agapios Tolis with the wonderful folklore exhibits.
”Ontades”, spaces for men are also very interesting, such as the known bridge of Kokori where many advertising spots have been filmed.
You can visit:
- Voidomatis River, it is a paradise on earth with its spotless water and dense platens that are found in the area around the river.
- Traditional Bridges. We meet one of the traditional stone bridges almost in every step. You will be impresses by the excellent architecture and the picturesqueness of Zagori's bridges!
- The imposing Gorge of Vikos is a magical natural location and it has a big ecological value. Vikos gorge is listed in the Guinness book as the gorge with the smallest opening, only 1.100 m. in its narrowest point and at the same time for its depth that exceeds 900 meters.
In region of Zagori, you can also visit the archeological sites some of which have a particular historical importance, lakes with the beautiful wild nature that surrounds them, the picturesque cobbled such as the museums for those of you who are lovers of history and folkloric tradition.
How to Get there
- From Thessaloniki – Konitsa. Distanse: 320 km.
- From Metsovo. After 40kms you will find the first villages of East Zagori.
- From Ioannina. After 20kms you will find the first villages of Central or East Zagori.