Vitsa – Kipi Difficulty: Average Altitude variation: 900 – 600 – 800 – 650 m Duration: 4 hours
This picturesque trail winds its way through the shadows of mountains Mitsikeli and Tymfi as well as the villages of Vitsa, Koukouli and Kipi of the Zagorohoria. Along the route, hikers will cross the Mikios, Noutsas, Lazaridis and Kalogeriko Bridge, all of which are prime examples of how well the builders of Zagori had mastered their art. The Kalogeriko Bridge is unique in that it is the country’s only bridge with 3 arches. The trail ends in the village of Kipi where walkers can visit the Folklore Museum and the Botanical museum, featuring information on the rare plant species that grow throughout the Vikos Gorge and the traditional herbal doctors that kept a plethora of information regarding the special healing qualities of the indigenous herbs and plants within the area.
Monodendri – Vikos/Papingo Difficulty: Average Altitude variation: 900 – 600 – 800/1000 m Duration: 5.5 / 6.5 hours
Hikers begin this route in the picturesque village of Monodendri and descend into the Vikos Gorge, walking its length and ascending to finish in Vikos or continuing another hour to the village of Megalo Papingo. While in Monodendri, walkers shouldn’t miss the opportunity to explore the village and visit the Rizareios Craft School as well as the impressive Monastery of Agia Paraskevi, which dates back to the 13th century. Along the bottom of the Gorge, hikers will be able to admire the unique eco-system found there, including several plant and animal species that can only be found in the gorge. Several large raptors and rare bird species can also frequently be seen throughout the gorge. Walkers opting to continue on to Megalo Papingo will add an extra hour to their itinerary but will certainly not regret it once they reach one of Zagori’s most beautiful villages. Here, people can explore the narrow alleyways and impressive traditional houses and large squares of village.
Voidomatis Gorge – Aristis Bridge/ Papingo – Voidomatis Bridge Difficulty: Easy Elevation variation: 550 – 470 m Duration: 2.5 hours
This leisurely hike takes walkers from the Aristis Bridge through the Voidomatis Gorge along its eponymous river and finally to the village of Papingo. Along the way, walkers will pass the ancient fortification of Kastraki dating back to the 3rd century BC as well as the impressive Aristis Bridge and the Panagia Spiliotisa Monastery.
Papingo – Kleidonia Difficulty: Average Elevation variation: 1000 – 1500 – 400 m Duration: 5 hours
Starting from the village of Papingo, walkers will head north through the side slopes of Mt. Tymfi and on to the village of Ano Klidonia. From there it’s a downhill walk to the village of Klidonia. A large chunk of this route is within the Vikos-Aoos National Park, and hikers will surely appreciate the immense natural beauty of the area.
Papingo – Tsepelovo Difficulty: Hard Elevation variation: 1000 – 2200 – 1000 m Duration: 10 hours
One of the most difficult routes throughout the entire region of Ioannina is this path which takes hikers from the village of Papingo up towards the top of Mt. Tymfi, past the legendary Drakolimni or “Dragon Lake”, and stops at the village of Tsepelovo nestled in the foothills of Mt. Tymfi. Walkers will pass the Information Centre for the Nature and Culture of Zagori and WWF Greece along the way, and it’s a great place to learn about the region and the delicate ecosystem it supports. As hikers continue their ascent up Mt. Tymfi, they are likely to see several large birds of prey. Once walkers reach the Astraka Refuge, they have the option of continuing their climb to the unique alpine lakes of Drakolimni, or head southwards towards the village of Tsepelovo, passing the Megas Lakos River and church of Agios Nikolaos along the way.
Skamneli – Vrisohori Difficulty: hard Elevation variation: 1000 – 2300 – 1000 m Duration: 9 hours
Another challenging route begins in the village of Skamneli and takes walkers on a long journey through the side slopes of Mt. Tymfi and the Northern Pindos Natural Park before ending in the village of Vrisohori. Walkers will have the opportunity to see several types of large raptors and may even spot a bear or two along the way. Near the beginning of the trail, walkers will pass the ruins of an ancient fortification outside the village of Skamneli and towards the end they will encounter the Church of Agios Haralambos just outside Vrisohori.
Vouvousa – Valia Kalda Difficulty: Average Elevation variation: 900 – 1350 m Duration: 4 hours
Starting in the village of Vouvousa, hikers will cross the picturesque Vouvousa Bridge and have an opportunity to visit the distinctive Water Mill Museum on the outskirts of town before heading southward. The trail continues alongside the Aoos River and through sections of intense natural beauty. Walkers may witness brown bears or a Balkan Chamois throughout the duration of the path. About halfway along the course, the Aoos River converges with the Arkoudorema River and the trails continue along its path until stopping in Valia Kalda.
Elatohori – Kastanonas Difficulty: Average Elevation variation: 900 – 600 – 900 m Duration: 2.5 hoursThis short hike winds through the villages of Elatohori and Makrino before finishing in Kastanonas. The route crosses and follows a small section of the Vardas River before heading to the Central Zagori Forest, a protected Natura 2000 area. Walkers will have a chance to visit the Monastery of Koimisis Theotokou in the village of Makrino.
Oreino – Stavroskiadi Difficulty: Hard Elevation variation: 850 – 1700 – 900 m Duration: 6 hours
Hikers begin this challenging route from the village of Oreino and continue northward until they reach the Albanian Border. Here the path continues along the Makrikambos Mountain range and follows the border of the two countries for approximately the first half of the trail. The route then heads eastwards to the village of Stavroskiadi. The route offers outstanding views and a highly probable spotting of large birds of prey such as the elusive Golden Eagle.
Pogoniani – Dolo Difficulty: Easy Elevation variation: 750 – 600 – 850 m Duration: 1 hour
This route could be characterised as a long walk rather than a hike, though hikers of all abilities will enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way. The path begins in the picturesque village of Pogoniani which boasts some fine examples of regional architecture and design, as well as well-preserved historical buildings. Walkers with some time to spare should check out the Folklore Museum located here. The trail crosses the Kouvaras Gorge and finishes in the charming village of Dolo, which is another great example of a traditional settlement within the region.
Kakolakkos – Merope Peak Difficulty: Hard Elevation variation: 1000 – 2209 m Duration: 4.5 hours
From the village of Kakolakkos, walkers begin their ascent to the heart of Mt. Nemertsika and alongside the Gormos Valley. The route offers walkers spectacular views over the valley and the possibility of spotting a brown bear or two.
Kalama Falls Difficulty: Easy Elevation variation: 400 – 600 m Duration: 1 hour
Between the villages of Riahovo and Kataraktis starts this mesmerising journey along the banks of the Kalamas River. Walkers will feel as if they’ve entered another world under a canopy of green and filled with the gentle sounds of the flowing river and birds singing overhead. Half-way through the journey, hikers will reach the beautiful Kalama Falls.
Palio Mavronoros – Stratinista Difficulty: Average Duration: 3.5 hours
Hikers begin their journey along this path from the village of Palio Mavronoros, a traditional settlement with some excellently preserved historical buildings. The trail begins to ascend through Mt. Kasidiaris, where hikers can observe several species of birds of prey. The path ends in the quaint village of Stratinista which is home to a Folklore Collection showcasing the heritage of the region.