Walking and Trekking in Zagori
Walking routes in Greece's wild and beautiful northern Pindos mountains
Guidebook to 30 walks and 3 treks centred on Zagori and Konitsa in mainland Greece. From easy strolls to demanding hikes along remote mountainous traverses, including the rugged peaks of Mt Timfi and Mt Smolikas in the Pindos range, Drakolimni Lake, and the dramatic Vikos Gorge. With background information on architecture, history and wildlife.
SeasonsThe best time to walk the routes is in springtime (end of May - June) and autumn (September - October) when the sun and temperatures are milder and the region quieter.
CentresKipi, Dilofo, Tsepelovo, Monodendri, Elafotopos, Papigo, Konitsa, Pades, Metsovo, Vovousa
DifficultyRoutes range from easy one-hour strolls on clear and well-waymarked paths suitable for all hikers (Grade 1) to strenuous ascents and rugged non-technical mountainous routes for which a very good level of fitness, route-finding skills and experience in high mountain terrain are required (Grade 4).
Must SeeVikos Gorge; scenic villages with unique architecture; amazing 18th-century stone bridges and cobblestone path network; Drakolimni alpine tarns (also known as the Dragonlakes); rafting opportunities on the Voidomatis River; stunning mountain scenery; the mystical Valia Calda National Park
Zagori in Greece's Northern Pindos National Park is among the last relatively undiscovered and unspoilt hiking destinations in Europe. This guide presents a selection of thirty walks and three short treks showcasing the region's captivating scenery, from dramatic gorges to mystical forests, crystal-clear turquoise rivers, rugged alpine peaks and characterful mountain villages. Routes vary from easy walks on clear paths to strenuous ascents and mountain traverses, meaning that there is something to suit most ambitions and abilities.
Clear mapping accompanies the route description, and the introduction to the guide covers all the practicalities, including getting to Zagori, accommodation, equipment, maps and safety. There is also a wealth of information about the region's rich history, architecture, geology, plants and wildlife, as well as fascinating notes on points of interest encountered on route.
The routes are presented in five chapters, covering Central Zagori, Vikos Gorge and vicinity, Mt Timfi, Konitsa and Mt Smolikas, and Valia Calda National Park and Metsovo, with highlights including Mt Timfi and Mt Smolikas (Greece's second highest mountain), the breathtaking Vikos Gorge, traditional stone arch bridges and the alpine tarns of Drakolimni (Dragonlakes). With so much stunning scenery, this is a region that cries out to be explored.
Zagori: a historical and cultural overview
Geography and geology
Plants and wildlife
When to go
Food and drink
What to take
Maps and GPS
Emergencies, rescue and health services
Using this guide
1 Central Zagori
Walk 1 The round of the stone bridges
Walk 2 Kipi to Dilofo and Vitsa
Walk 3 Kipi to Kapesovo and Missios Bridge
Walk 4 Kipi to Tsepelovo and Kapesovo
Walk 5 The Vradeto staircase and Beloi viewpoint
Walk 6 Vikaki (Selato) Gorge
Walk 7 Mt Mitsikeli
Walk 8 Iliochori waterfalls
2 Vikos Gorge and vicinity
Walk 9 Vikos Gorge crossing
Walk 10 Oxia viewpoint
Walk 11 Voidomatis Springs and Theotokos Monastery
Walk 12 Voidomatis Gorge crossing
Walk 13 Kokkino Lithari viewpoint
Walk 14 Papigo villages and Ovires Rogovou natural pools
Trek 1 An alternative approach to the Vikos Gorge
3 Mt Timfi
Walk 15 Astraka Refuge and Drakolimni Lake
Walk 16 Robozi Lake
Walk 17 Gamila summit
Walk 18 Astraka summit
Walk 19 The round of Astraka
Walk 20 The Davalista trail (Astraka Refuge to Konitsa)
Walk 21 Astraka Refuge to Konitsa or Vrisochori over the Karteros Pass
Walk 22 Tsepelovo to Vrisochori traverse
Trek 2 The ultimate Zagori trek
4 Konitsa and Mt Smolikas
Walk 23 Mt Trapezitsa and Roidovouni Peak
Walk 24 Stomiou Monastery
Walk 25 Konitsa to Vrisochori traverse
Walk 26 Pades to Drakolimni of Smolikas Lake
Trek 3 The classic ascent to the Dragonlake of Smolikas
5 Valia Calda National Park and Metsovo
Walk 27 Valia Calda National Park
Walk 28 Avgo Peak
Walk 29 The Flega Lakes
Walk 30 Following the footprints of the brown bear in Metsovo
Appendix A Route summary table
Appendix B Useful contacts and other practical information
Appendix C English-Greek glossary and expressions
Appendix D Further reading
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I unreservedly recommend this guidebook.
This has all the qualities one expects from a Cicerone Guidebook: handy pocket-size, excellent route-maps and photographs, concise and clear route descriptions. Add to that the words of an author who clearly knows the region well and has a personal affinity with both its natural wonders and unique cultural history and the result is exemplary. It is a guidebook worthy of the region it describes, one of the great and little known natural treasures of Europe. As someone who has visited the region many times during forty years I unreservedly recommend this guidebook.
Michael, by email.
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