Epirus, located in northwestern Greece, is a region of unparalleled natural beauty and cultural significance. With its majestic mountains, crystal-clear rivers, ancient stone bridges, and traditional villages, Epirus is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking an authentic and adventurous experience in Greece.
In this post, we’ll provide an optimized 6-day itinerary for exploring the highlights of the region. Some of them are the Vikos Gorge viewpoint, the Perama cave, Holy Kipinas Monastery, Meteora, Metsovo, Beloi Viewpoint hiking, Angastromeni Springs, beautiful bridges such as Kokkorou Plakidas and Lazaridi bridges, Sarakatsaniki stani, Konitsa village, and the Stone Forest.
The most realistic scenario is that you will start your trip from Thessaloniki, the second biggest city in Greece with one of the biggest airports in North Greece. Hence our itinerary starts from Thessaloniki!
This itinerary is perfect for those who want to explore the natural beauty and traditional architecture of the area. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water and snacks to keep you energized throughout the days.
Day 1: Meteora and Metsovo
Majestic Meteora: Explore Greece’s Iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site on Your Way to Epirus
As you drive from Thessaloniki towards Ioannina in Epirus, make sure to stop by one of Greece’s most impressive landmarks. Meteora.
Located approximately 3 hours away from Thessaloniki, Meteora is a UNESCO World Heritage site that is home to some of the most impressive rock formations and monasteries in Greece. With its towering rock pillars, ancient monasteries, and breathtaking views, Meteora is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Epirus.
Spend a day exploring the monasteries and hiking the surrounding trails, or simply enjoy the stunning views from one of the many viewpoints in the area. For the ultimate experience, consider spending a night in the nearby town of Kalambaka or Kastraki. Wake up to a sunrise view of the majestic rocks.
Discover the Charm of Metsovo: A Traditional Mountain Village on Your Way to Epirus
As you drive from Thessaloniki towards Ioannina in Epirus, make sure to stop by the charming mountain village of Metsovo. Located in the Pindos Mountains, Metsovo is famous for its traditional architecture, handicrafts, and for its gastronomy. Local delicacies such as smoked ham, cheese, and wine are sure to tantalize your taste buds!
Take a stroll in the village’s picturesque streets, and admire the stone-built houses and the traditional fountains. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Averoff Museum, which houses an impressive collection of Greek art and artifacts.
Day 2: Vikos Beloi Viewpoint and stoned arched bridges
View Point Vikos Gorge – Beloi
Start your day by driving to the Beloi Viewpoint, which is located on the border between Epirus and Macedonia.
Beloi hike is an unforgettable experience for anyone looking to explore the natural beauty of Epirus. The Beloi hiking path is among the easiest in the area so go for it without second thought!
The highlight of the hike is undoubtedly the Beloi Viewpoint. It offers breathtaking panoramic views of the gorge and the surrounding mountains. From this viewpoint, you can see the vast expanse of the gorge and appreciate the grandeur of the area. The hike is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Epirus!
The viewpoint offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and is an excellent spot to take some memorable photos. Take some time to soak in the stunning scenery and appreciate the natural beauty of the area.
Kokkorou or Nutsos bridge
Next, head to the Kokkorou Bridge, an old stone bridge that dates back to the Ottoman era. The bridge is located near the village of Aristi and spans over the crystal-clear Voidomatis River. Take a walk across the bridge and admire the stunning views of the surrounding mountains and river. You can also opt for a refreshing dip in the river during the summer months.
Afterwards, continue your journey to the Plakidas Bridge, another beautiful stone bridge located in the village of Vikos. The bridge is an excellent example of traditional stone architecture and is surrounded by lush greenery and pristine natural beauty. Take a walk around the area and enjoy the tranquility of the surroundings.
Finally, make your way to the Lazaridi Bridge, which is located near the village of Kipi. Lazaridi Bridge is one of the most photographed bridges in Epirus and a perfect spot for a pic nik! Take some time to explore the area and admire the stunning views of the surrounding mountains and rivers.
Day 3: Discovering Traditional Culture and Stunning Sceneries – Sarakatsaniki Stani and Konitsa
Discover the Unique Culture of the Sarakatsani People at Sarakatsaniki Stani Open-Air Museum
The “Sarakatsani Stani” is a one-of-a-kind open-air museum that provides a glimpse into the lifestyle and culture of the Sarakatsani people. A nomad population that raised livestock. The museum is situated near the village of Skamneli in Gyftokampos. It was established by the Sarakatsani Brotherhood of Epirus and spans 20 acres of public forest filled mainly with fir trees. The objective of the Sarakatsani Stani is to replicate a seasonal settlement where the Sarakatsani people used to move with their animals during the winter months.
Visitors to the museum can explore the real-sized lodgings, which include thatched cabins utilized as houses or workshops and animal kennels. Every lodging is equipped with objects that match its purpose, such as bedding, cookware, looms, and cheese tools. The Sarakatsani Stani provides a distinct opportunity to discover the rich cultural heritage of the Sarakatsani people and learn about their daily life and traditions.
The museum is open year-round, and entry is free. However, it may be difficult to explore the huts during winter due to the heavy snowfall in the area. The first weekend of August each year, the Sarakatsani Stani hosts an annual festival that attracts many Sarakatsani people.
Konitsa: A Picturesque Town and a Breathtaking Trip
The scenery on the road from Sarakatsaniki Stani to Konitsa is nothing short of spectacular. As you leave Sarakatsaniki Stani, you will immediately be greeted by sweeping views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, with the Pindus range looming in the distance.
The road winds its way through the mountains, taking you through dense forests and past rushing rivers. Along the way, you’ll pass small villages and traditional houses and you will find yourself asking: “How do those people live here?”.
As you approach Konitsa, the landscape becomes even more dramatic, with towering peaks and deep gorges all around you. You’ll cross the historic Konitsa Bridge, which spans the Aoos River and offers stunning views of the town and the surrounding mountains.
The town of Konitsa itself is nestled in a valley surrounded by rugged peaks. You will notice the ancient fortress of the Despotate of Epirus perched on a hill overlooking the town. The old town is full of traditional houses and narrow streets, giving you a sense of what life was like here centuries ago.
One of the most striking features of the landscape in this part of Epirus is the abundance of water. The Aoos River, which runs through Konitsa, is one of the cleanest and most beautiful rivers in Greece.
Overall, the scenery on the road from Sarakatsaniki Stani to Konitsa is rugged, wild, and breathtakingly beautiful. Whether you’re a nature lover, an outdoor enthusiast, or simply someone who appreciates stunning landscapes, this drive is sure to leave you in awe.
Day 4: Hiking to Voidomatis Springs and Visit the Stone Forest
Exploring the Enchanting Stone Forest of Zagori: A Natural Wonder in Epirus
The Stone Forest of Zagori is a truly magical destination that captures the imagination of all who visit. This natural wonder is a collection of towering limestone rock formations that resemble a forest frozen in time.
The Stone Forest was formed over millions of years by the gradual erosion of the rocks. The result is a landscape that is truly awe-inspiring. Visitors to the Stone Forest can explore the maze of towering rocks and discover hidden paths and caves. Each with its own unique character and charm. The experience of being surrounded by these ancient, otherworldly formations is truly unforgettable.
Discovering the Crystal Clear Waters of Angastromeni Springs
The Angastromeni Springs hike is a popular activity with let’s say medium rate of difficulty. It offers a chance to explore the natural beauty of the region while experiencing the rejuvenating powers of mineral-rich springs.
The hike took us through a stunning landscape of lush vegetation and towering mountains. Drinking water from one of the clearest rivers in Europe at the end of the hike was the best reward!
You will need approximately one hour and a half downwards and 50 minutes for returning. Do not forget to take with you a flask of water which of course will refill in the springs!
We will highly recommend prior to your visit to study the area and the needs of each hiking path. Both the international Alltrails website and the Greek topoGuide are very informative sites and cover the entire area.
Day 5: Holy Kipinas Monastery and Dodoni archaeological site
Discover the Rich Cultural and Religious Heritage of Epirus at Holy Kipinas Monastery
If you’re looking for a spiritual and historical experience, you should consider visiting Holy Kipinas Monastery. Carved into the mountainside, it features a unique bridge that was designed to be lifted as a defense mechanism against potential raids. Today it offers a fascinating glimpse into the region’s rich cultural and religious heritage.
You can explore the well-preserved complex, which includes a beautiful church, a bell tower, and a series of interconnected chambers that were once used by the monks. As you wander through the monastery, you’ll be struck by the peaceful and serene atmosphere, which is only heightened by the stunning natural surroundings.
The monastery is a popular pilgrimage site for both locals and visitors, and it’s easy to see why and something totally unique! The drive is quite long but totally deserve it!
Exploring the Dodoni Archaeological Site in Epirus
For history buffs and ancient Greece enthusiasts, a visit to the Dodoni archaeological site in Epirus is a must. The site is located near the modern-day city of Ioannina and was an important religious and cultural center in ancient Greece.
Visitors can explore the remains of the ancient theater, the Temple of Zeus, and the Oracle of Dodona. A place where ancient Greeks believed they could communicate with the gods. The site also offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and is a great place to take a stroll and soak up the rich history and natural beauty of the region.
Day 6: Discover the Charm of Ioannina
Nestled in the heart of Epirus, Ioannina is a picturesque city that boasts a rich history and culture. This charming Greek destination offers something for every kind of traveler, from history buffs to foodies, outdoor enthusiasts to art lovers.
Walk around the old town and admire Ottoman-era architecture, explore the fascinating museums, and indulge in the mouth-watering local cuisine.
With its welcoming locals, stunning scenery, and endless possibilities for exploration, Ioannina is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Greece and deserves a separate post!
Perama Cave is a fascinating underground world in Epirus. Discovered in the 1940s, it features unique formations such as stalactites, stalagmites, and impressive chambers. A 45 minutes guided tour will take you through this natural wonder, and provide a glimpse into the geological history of the region. With its stunning beauty and rich history, Perama Cave is a highlight for any traveler exploring the region.