Zagori is a mountainous area in the Pindos Mountains, northeast of Ioannina in Epirus. It consists of 46 villages, Zagorochoria. The villages are built in the heart of nature with architecture in which the stone and wood dominate. Zagori derives from the Slavic word za-gora that means "behind the mountains". That's why the area formerly called Paroraia and the residents Paroraioi (ie. Those who live behind the mountains). Zagori has an area of about 1000 square kilometers. The lowest point of the area is 500 meters while higher is 2497m. At this point with the highest elevation is the peak of Mount Tymfi or Gamila. It should also be noted that the region of Zagori encompasses in its border two national parks. One extends around the river Aoos and Vikos Gorge and the other in the area around the Valia Calda.
Zagori is divided in West, East and Central Zagori. The East Zagori consists of the villages: Anthracite, Vovousa, Greveniti, Bale, Doliani, Elatochori, Kavallari, Itea, Karyes, Kastanona, Makrino, Petra, Tristeno and Flabourari. The West Zagori comprises the villages Tsepelovo Vradeto, Vrisohori Iliochori, Kapesovo, Gardens, Cocoon, Laista, Leptokaria, Negades, Papigo - Small Papigo Skamneli and Fragades. Central Zagori consists of the villages: Asprangeloi, Aristi, Vikos, St. Minas, Mesovouni, Vitsa, Monodendri, Dilofo, Eláti, Elafotopos Ano Pedina Kato Pedina, Dikorfo, Manasseh, Kaloutas, Dipotamo.
From this huge variety of villages with natural beauty stand out the following: The Big and Small Papigo is 61 km. from Ioannina and is one of the most beautiful villages of Zagori region at an altitude of 980 meters. Monodendri is located 39 km. away from Ioannina and is built at an altitude of 1000 m. There you will find many options for accommodation and board. The picturesque Aristi is located 48 km. from Ioannina and is also one of the most popular villages. Vovousa is 77 km. from Ioannina. In the village you can enjoy the forest of Vovousa which forms part of the National Park of Pindos, and Aoos River that passes through the village offering activities such as rafting and canoeing / kayaking. Kipoi are 39 km. from Ioannina and is literally a village full of gardens and rivers with stone bridges.
Zagorochoria are 445 km. away from Athens, 320 km. from Thessaloniki via Konitsa, 20 km. from Ioannina and 40 km. from Metsovo.
At Zagorochoria you should undoubtedly visit the Vikos Gorge. Vikos Gorge entered the Guinness Book of Records as the deepest canyon in the world. It is part of the Vikos-Aoos National Park and is one of the largest wildlife refuges in Europe. Its length is 20 km. and its depth is ranging from 500m. up to 1778m. The canyon runs the river Voidomatis.
You can also visit the bridge of Voidomatis located in Klidonia village as many other bridges-sites. Skala Vradetou is a cobbled 1200 stairs that doesn’t leave indifferent the visitors of Zagori. Among the villages of Aristi and Papigo and next to the river Voidomatis you can visit the monastery of Panagia Spiliotissa that is built on the rock and constituted a refuge during the Turkish occupation.
Kolimbithres at Papigo are also a popular attraction. Approximately 500m. from Mikro Papigo you can follow a path that will lead you to Kolimpithres. During the summer months many don’t hesitate to even bathe in them.
In the area of Zagori are known two Drakolimni, Drakolimni Tymfi and Drakolimni Smolikas. Both Drakolimni are known for alpine newts (dragons) hosting in their waters. The Drakolimni Tymfi is an hour from the nearest shelter and four hours hiking from Mikro Papigo. The Drakolimni are ideal places for livestock. According to science, are considered glaciers remnants. However, according to tradition, are considered dragons’ habitats, who when they quarreled, the were throwing stones to one another.
All of Zagori area offers various activities and extreme sports. Hiking, mountaineering, climbing, horse riding, routes with cars or bikes, rafting and canoeing / kayaking are just some of the activities that visitors can choose.
The most popular activities are:
• A tour of the Vikos Gorge and the route from Monodendri to Vikos village. The trip lasts 6 hours and promises to holidaymakers landscapes of incredible beauty. From Viko one can be directed with hiking and to Papigo.
• The ascent to Tymfi from Mikro Papigo lasts about 6 hours until the nearby shelter. Another hour is needed to reach Drakolimni.
• Walking in Skala Vradetou, located between the villages Kapesovo and Vradeto, is an activity that many travelers choose.
• Also, more active ones can try rafting on the river Voidomatis and Aoos River.
• Many choose hiking trails in Konitsa, while is particularly popular the climbing of Mount Smolikas. Mount Smolikas has an altitude of 2637 meters and by a 5 hours route results in Drakolimni Smolikas.
• In addition, those who wish, can follow the path into the gorge of the River Aoos, which hosts species that are endangered. In the course of the route you will find the waterfall of Gravos and the monastery of Stomio. There are places where visitors can immerse themselves in the waters of the River Aoos.
For your stay there are hotels and accommodation in most villages in Zagorochoria. For your diet you should know that in Zagorochoria are traditional taverns and cafes where you can taste traditional dishes such as pies, local meats and sweets that will not leave untouched the Greek cuisine lovers.