There are few places where Man’s Art joins hands with Nature’s Architecture to this degree. Flying on a small helicopter over Zagori, one can not have enough of the natural beauty as well as the cultural monuments that are so beautifully in balance with the environment.
Rivers and elegant bridges, roofs, chimneys, fences, benches, fountains, wells, schools, squares, streets, high mountains, wild canyons, gorges, chasm caves, impressive waterfalls and untrodden forrests, archaeological sites, lakes, cobblestone alleys, places of worship and bell towers, mansions, libraries and folklore art museums, they all attract the traveller’s admiration.
Zagori is the big secret even for a successful family trip in spring and summer! Hiking in gentle trails, ideal for children too, different activities in Greece’s bluest river, loom lesson and how to make a Zagori pie lesson, interesting folklore and excellent food.
- Vikos Gorge: with a length of 20 km, it starts from Vikos and ends at the village of Kipoi. This is the deepest gorge in the world! Crossing it takes 5 hours. The traveller can enjoy the gorge from Oxia and the monastery of Agia Paraskevi (Monodendri village) as well as from Beloi (Vradeto village).
- Lake of Drakolimni Tymfi or Gamila: Drakolimni means Dragon Lake since it stands at an altitude of 100 m on Tymfi Mountain. It was created 10.000 years ago from the melting of the last glaciers! Extraordinary alpine scenery, never lacking water and with its characteristic alpine newts (a rare amphibia like a lizard), it can be reached after a 4 hour trek from Mikro Papigo.
- Stone Bridges: Kokkoris Bridge, Kalogeriko Bridge or Plakidas Bridge (three-arched) on the way to the village of Kipoi and the Voidomatis Bridge, considered to be built at this location in Kleidonia (at the end of the gorge) before
- Natural Kolimpithres (Pools): a rare natural phenomenon as it is a «narrowing» of the Rogovou stream, making it a small canyon, thus creating small natural pools (they are found between Megalo and Mikro Papigo).
- Stairs of Vradeto : this is a cobblestone street of200 steps built out of local stones and was the only way of communication between Vradeto village and neighboring Kapesovo village until 1970 (the hiking takes about 40 minutes).
- Stone forest (on the way between Monodendri – Oxya) is a set of limestone formations that attract admiration. It is made of layers of stone that look as if someone put one over the other (their age varies from 160 to 35 million years). Erosion caused by rain and wind resulted in this. The view towards Vikos and the Gorge is amazing from this position.
- Impressive waterfalls at Eliohori village.
- Sarakatsani hamlets (in Gyftokampos – representation of huts, fold, pen, kiosk, loom, dairy, teacher’s hut, church etc, in order to show the old semi-nomadic way of life and livestock farming).
Faith Tourism & Holy Monasteries
- Monastery of Evangelistria (at the entrance of Ano Pedina village)
- Monastery of Rogovou (built in the 11th century and fabled for its gold plated wood carved altar piece and the frescoes dating back to 1765 (found between Tsepelovo and Kapesovo villages)
- Monastery of Panagia Spiliotisa (built in 1579, found on the steep rocks between the villages of Aristi and Papigo, near the Voidomatis River banks)
- Monastery of Agia Paraskevi in Monodendri village (one of the most ancient monasteries of Epirus, its founding is placed in It is a real stone fortress offering a unique view to the Vikos Gorge, as it stands on the cliff right above it)
- Monastery of Voutsas, Panagia Pogoniotisa (can be found between the villages of Greveniti, Flabourari, Doliani. According to tradition, the monastery was founded by Byzantine Emperor Konstantinos D’ Pogonatos.
- Natural History Museum of Lazaridis (a collection of240 different species of rare plants that can be found in the gorges and rocks around Vikos, in the village of Koukouli)
- Rizareio Exhibition Centre-handmade carpet making artifacts (in the village of Monodendri)
- Agapios Tolis Folklore Museum (in the village of Kipoi)
Legends & Traditions
In the area around Zagori, there were rumours about the presence of dragons, and legends like the Dragon slayed by Saint George helped give the two lakes their name “Drakolimnes”, Dragon Lakes. It is also said that the dragons were asleep at the bottom of the lakes and used to fight, the one throwing rocks from Gamila mountain, the other throwing huge trees.
Historical events in Epirus were always mixed with mythological ones, from the brave warriors of the Greek Revolution to Kyra Frosyni, from the famous Zagori merchants and pedlars, to the travellers and their troubles, from the laments to the festivals, from the joy and the weddings, from all those things sung with unending passion, the history and tradition rooted in this place are unmistakenly revealed.