Written by Natalie Holmes
Greece gets a lot of consideration for its coastline and islands—and rightly so. But there’s an additional, unknown side to the nation that is equally wonderful, one of a kind, and captivating. Zagori is situated in the northwest mainland area of Epirus, not far from the North Macedonia border. The name Zagori comes from the Slavic term which means “behind the mountains”. The location harbors some of Europe’s most extraordinary geological formations, produced more than millions of years, pristinely preserved and awaiting discovery. From a forest of layered limestone pillars to a single of the world’s deepest gorges, and a miniature canyon that sparks pure delight, the area is an adventure playground for active households.
At two million hectares, the Northern Pindos National Park is the biggest terrestrial national park in Greece. With a range of altitudes, the park is household to remarkable biodiversity, from brown bears and wolves to roe deer and wild boar. Appear to the sky for Egyptian vultures and even, if you are fortunate, a golden eagle.
I visited Zagori in October 2018 as component of a investigation mission to uncover exceptional locations in Greece for Terracotta Travel, a dynamic travel corporation committed to luxury experiential travel in the world’s most spectacular and unknown destinations. As a lengthy-time Grecophile I was stunned to uncover a component of the nation so distinct from the rest, and with the southern sun nonetheless warm and the summer time vacationers lengthy gone, the mountainous plains and quaint villages felt deliciously undiscovered. Right here are 5 attractions to assistance you start out preparing your family members adventure in Zagori, Greece.
5 Attractions Appropriate for a Household Adventure in Zagori, Greece
A UNESCO-protected geopark and a single of the world’s deepest gorges, Vikos Gorge is a highlight, and accessible for any activity level. From the official viewpoint you can gaze down at the breathtaking chasm, or clamber to a secluded spot and setup a picnic. Panoramic views are also readily available from the 15th century Ayia Paraskevi monastery in the quite village of Monodenri. Carved into the rock, the monastery exudes a captivating sense of history, spirituality, and nature. Adventurous households can embark on a hike of the gorge, tracing its route by way of the river valley.
The Stone Forest
Supplying a vivid lesson in geography for adults and kids alike, the Stone Forest is an additional need to-see. Layered limestone pillars produced on the ocean floor millions of years ago compete for space with towering oaks and maples amongst today’s landscape. Due to a quirk of geology, the rocks have been eroded at distinctive speeds by the ancient glaciers, resulting in dramatic formations.
Arched Stone Bridges
Zagori is dotted with picturesque, centuries-old stone bridges, which stay strong by way of thoughts-boggling workmanship and physics. In between March and September the complete rivers snake a turquoise trail beneath the bridges, whose arches type best circles in the watery reflection. There are so several to discover, but there are two bridges that stood out for the duration of my check out. The initially is the Bridge of Milos, which dates back to 1748 and stands subsequent to a crumbling water mill. The second is the iconic tri-arch Bridge of Plakidas, constructed in 1814.
Flanked by ancient plane trees and pure white limestone rocks, the crystalline water of the Voidomatis is a regional highlight. Regularly certified as Europe’s cleanest waterway, the river is best for peaceful rafting, thanks to its calm present. Also good for households is the effortless 3-kilometer path along a single of the most wonderful sections of the riverbank. At Papingo Bridge there’s a gorgeous beach exactly where you can take a cooling dip in the crisp, fresh water.
Papingo Rock Pools
Whilst you are in Papigno, do not miss the remarkable rock pools all through late spring and summer time. Inviting blue pools inside a miniature limestone canyon and joined by small waterfalls, tends to make for a singular all-natural bathing encounter.
Exactly where to Keep in Zagori, Greece
In the heart of area, surrounded by ancient villages perched atop not possible peaks, the Aristi Mountain Resort is a luxurious base for your Zagori adventure. The hotel characteristics a spa with jacuzzi and indoor pool, and a restaurant serving exquisite regional specialities against a backdrop of vertiginous mountain views. For travelling households, committed rooms are set more than two floors, with a double bedroom upstairs and a twin on the ground floor. Alternatively, the Residence sleeps up to six in a separate private villa set apart from the major hotel complicated.
Travel Recommendations Household Adventure in Zagori, Greece
- You can access Zagori, from Ioannina, an exciting stopover offering lively atmosphere and scenic Byzantine and Ottoman history.
- Olympic Air operates two day-to-day flights involving Athens and Ioannina, with a flight time of significantly less than an hour. Also, buses connect Athens and Ioannina, with a journey time of about seven hours like refreshment stops.
- Alternatively, Thessaloniki is about 250 km from Ioannina, and buses connect the cities. Private transfers are also achievable.
- In addition, if you are travelling to Greece, you could possibly appreciate reading these suggestions for flying with little ones.
This guest post was written by Natalie Holmes. Natalie is a freelance writer and editor based in Berlin. She is also Terracotta Travel’s Content material Lead, telling stories about the world’s most captivating destinations and accountable travel experiences. I haven’t had the pleasure of going to Zagori, Greece, but immediately after hearing about it from Natalie, I’m keen to program a family members adventure.