The prefecture of Ioannina has a jaw dropping natural scenery and numerous significant monuments that make the area one of the most intriguing destinations in Greece. On your journey here, you’ll encounter the national park of Vikos-Aoos; the archaeological site of Dodoni; imposing mountains; gorges; lakes; lush green forests; rivers with arched stone-built bridges; Ancient Byzantine Monuments; traditional villages as well as exceptional services and facilities that will make your vacation all the more pleasant. Moreover, the area’s pristine nature is the perfect place to enjoy outdoor activities.
Our tour begins from the town of Ioannina, the capital of Epirus Region, which embraces the city’s landmark, lake Pamvotida, with its small picturesque island. The town is home to a number of great novelists and poets; it holds a strong cultural tradition with numerous events throughout the year and promises to offer you the opportunity to get acquainted with the roots of Epirus’ intellectual life.
A walk through the city will make you feel the atmosphere of a bygone era, as it is filled with legendary street corners. Take a look at the modern structures that lay beside well-preserved old buildings; imposing monuments; museums; picturesque neighbourhoods; charming public squares; folk art workshops, which produce among other things, the famous Ioannina silverware. Finally, head for a stroll on the sidewalk by the lake and breath in nature’s fresh air while gazing upon the magnificent reflections on the water’s surface.
Time for a car ride:
– At only 4 km NW of the city, towards Metsovo, you’ll get the chance to visit the cave of Perama with a large number of stalactites and stalagmites.
– Visit one of the most important archaeological sites, Dodoni (21 km SW), where the famous shrine and ancient theatre lay.
– Make a stop by Metsovo (58 km NE) as it is a unique traditional village renowned for its mountainous charm, cheese, wine, tavernas and local customs.
– You shouldn’t miss Zagorochoria, which means villages behind the mountains, as you’ll get the chance to explore 46 traditional stone built settlements in the wider mountainous area of Tymfi, Pindos and Mitsikeli Mountains.
– The town of Konitsa, located 65 km N from Ioannina, is surrounded by the awe-inspiring national park of Vikos-Aoos and holds the reins in sports activities. It’s landmark is none other than the mind blowing single-arched bridge that happens to be one of the largest in the Balkan Area.
– Pay a visit to the beautiful Mastorochoria Villages of Konitsa; built among the mountains of Smolika and Grammou. These fifteen traditional settlements is where the renowned stone craftsmen came from and who during the Ottoman occupation traveled throughout the area to build unique stone structures.
– The two stone built villages, Syrrako and Kalarrytes, are referred to as Epirus “eagle’s nest” and are another must visit destination, which is located at 56 km from the town of Ioannina. The two villages are separated by a ravine and Kalarrytiko River. Nonetheless, a shaded trail through the Chrousia Ravine unites the two settlements in the most delightful way.
Activities in Nature
If you wish to spend an active holiday then this is the place for you. Activities throughout the year that promise to pump your adrenaline sky high!
– Skiing or snowboarding at Metsovo’s ski resorts: Karakoli, Profitis Elias and Zygos.
– Hiking up Mitsikeli, Tymfi, Mavrovouni, Smolika, Pindos and Pramanta Mountains where you’ll come accross various huts.
– Walking by the banks of Voidomatis River and cross Aoos and Vikos Ravines.
– Rafting and kayaking in the crystal clear waters of Voidomatis, Aoos, Kalarrytikos and Arahthos Rivers.
– Mountain biking at Mitsikeli and Tymfi mountains.
– Trekking up to Astraka’s Hut and continue until you reach Tymfi’s Dragonlake.
– Paragliding at Konitsa, Asprolagos and Kalentzi.
– Horseback riding in Metsovo or at Voidomatis River.
– Canoeing, boat-rowing, kayaking and water skiing at Lake Pamvotida.
– Off-road adventures with 4×4 or motorcycles.