It’s easy to see how this is one of the best rated guesthouses is Papingo, which is among Greece’s most amazing mountain areas. Once you get to Papavangelou Hotel, you’ll understand why. The property looks like it’s right out of a fairytale, with stone-built houses and rock-shingled rooves, along with cobblestone pathways and scenic views surrounded by lush nature.
While respecting the traditional style and architecture of the area (happily required by local Greek laws), Papavangelou has managed to create a rustic-meets-modern ambiance that makes this hotel really comfy and Zen at the same time. Great bedding, light-colored stained wood, stone arches, wooden-beam ceilings, and cozy fireplaces for the colder months add a magical backdrop to this mountain break.
Beyond the physical property itself, what makes the experience really special is the fabulous breakfast combined with the warmth of the owners, George and Markella. The mornings will greet you with a small feast that includes homemade cake and jams, authentic Greek yogurt, village bread, mountain-sheep feta cheese, and occasionally even trout from nearby rivers. The couple makes an effort to use local ingredients as much as possible, focusing on freshness and flavor.
Activities steeped in nature and tradition
Step outside and you’ll be greeted with numerous possibilities such as hiking along stunning nature paths and verdant hills, horseback riding along streams and oak trees, river rafting in gorges and mountain biking. The owner has teamed up with several activity providers and can even arrange pick-up right from the guesthouse. In the great outdoors you’ll come across the stone-built bridges that Zagori is famed for, as well as nearby viewing spots that afford fabulous views of the famous Vikos Gorge (the world’s deepest if the Guinness Book of Records is anything to go by). Oak, pine, fir, and beech trees – along with holly and numerous therapeutic herbs – make up an important part of the greenery here.
Do explore the local culture as well, as such the women’s cooperative that produces traditional knit rugs and lace. There’s a highly acclaimed periodic photography exhibition in the village of Monodendri just 30 minutes away.
Budding green philosophy
The owners of Papaevangelou Hotel are increasingly going down a green path towards sustainable tourism. In an area that lacks recycling facilities they make an effort to separate trash and take it to Ioannina where there are recycling bins. This philosophy started several years ago with the installment of heat pumps that were considered cutting-edge in energy saving. LED lighting, double glazing, fresh mountain water and a greener vision of the future all contribute to making this lovely hotel a strong candidate to join the Ecotourism-Greece family.