- Region : Epirus
- Population: 3.700
Zagorochoria, a cluster of 48 traditional picturesque villages (Epirus), built amphitheatrically in the wider area of Timfi, Pindos and Mitiskeli (Zagori region).
The Zagorohoria's traditional stone-and-slate villages, tucked into the Pindos range, offer atmospheric accommodation, crisp alpine air, many outdoor activities, sublime views, great architecture defined by stone, wood and slate rock ... and many local legends.
The name “Zagori” is Slavic and means “beyond the mountains”. During Ottoman rule, the area reached its economic and intellectual peak. However, Zagori declined after Ali Pasha’s death (1822) when it lost the benefits it enjoyed. The wars of the 20th century also had devastating effects. Zagori is divided into Western, Central and Eastern Zagori.
Once connected only by mountain paths and stone bridges, they're now connected by paved roads, some of which enjoy spectacular twists and turns.
Solitude-seekers will delight in Zagorohoria’s tranquil and unpeopled villages, such as romantic Dilofo, which has only a handful of inhabitants; traditional Kipi; and barely touristed Negades. But most visitors either head for romantic and rugged Monodendri, embark on outdoor adventures from Kato Pedina, Ano Pedina and Aristi, or navigate precipitous mountain roads to the Papingo villages.
Although time and emigration have depopulated many villages, boutique and environmental tourism have allowed savvy locals to prosper by converting arhontika (mansions) and smaller traditional homes into inviting guesthouses.
Hikers also come for the immediate proximity to the Vikos Gorge and other mountain routes. After Constantinople was conquered (first by the Crusaders in 1204, later by the Turks in 1453), noble Byzantine families fled here, safeguarding their Greek culture and traditions.
The Ottomans also gave the Zagorohorians privileges and autonomy in exchange for guarding the mountain passes. The locals thus became quite wealthy and also worldly, creating a cultured diaspora in centres of learning and commerce in early modern Europe.
Megalo Papigo is perhaps the most captivating of the Zagorohoria. Situated at the end of a 12 km long mountain road, with a series of impossibly sharp turns (at least for buses!), it enjoys a dramatic with great views of the rocks of Mount Gamilla. Instead of having been spoilt by tourism, this village has been revived by it. While a few decades ago there were no more than a couple of kafenions, you now find several nice little cafés and places to eat, and the atmosphere, while still quiet and laid-back, has become just pleasantly lively.
Ano Pedina is situated on a plateau at an altitude of nearly 1000 m, Ano Pedina has more of a rural ambience. This village is not the most typical of the Zagorohoria, but it is unquestionably pretty with its distinctive 18th and 19th century houses made of natural stone and slate roofs. Just outside the village you can visit the monastery of Evagelistria (built in 1786) and the monastery of Agia Paraskevi (dating from 1750).
The village of Dilofo is only about ten kilometres from Ano Pedina, but it is a again a different proposition. It lies hidden amongst the trees on the mountainside, and houses are tightly clustered together. As much as a cliché this may sound, in Dilofo you really get the sense that time has long stood still. If you arrive by car you will have to leave it on a small parking at the entrance of the village, and continue on foot over uneven stone paths, past the large school building (dating from 1860) to the village with just a little kafenion. Most of the year you have the whole village practically to yourself – except if it is a long weekend, when understandably there are a few more people around.
Kipi is one of the principal villages in Central Zagori of Epirus – literally the “area behind the mountain” and one of the most picturesque traditional corners of Greece. The village is surrounded by rivers and numerous fresh water springs. Every season is perfect for exploring Kipi and its surrounding cobble stone paths, stone bridges and rivers. At an altitude of 800m Kipi lies between the mountains of Mistikeli and Gamila and a basin for many rivers. It is home to the arts and crafts museum of “Agapios Tolis”. The six beautifully preserved stone bridges that connect the paths around the village have provided vital access to the village centuries years. Each is named after its benefactor or locality and all be visited in a two to three hour trek.
How to get there
Fly to Athens (510km) and then take domestic flight to Ioannina (45 mins ), or fly into Preveza (45km - restricted flights).Tickets can be bought in advance for almost all flights via our partner website
If you want to explore the region while you're here, we recommend that you rent a car, other means of transport are limited and/or infrequent. We suggest our sister website, which offers competitive prices and you can collect your car at either airport.
Where to stay
Kipi Suites is a small, stylish, boutique hotel nestled in the magical network of mountains, valleys and rivers in #Zagori -#Zagorohoria ...
What to do
The area of Zagori in North West Greece, is famous for its attractions and activities:
Visit the renowned stone built villages of Zagori with their unique architecture, walk in the cobblestone alleys or just sit for a drink (locals call it “tsipouro”) under the shade of the plane tree.
Explore the iconic stone bridges of the area. The most famous are Kokkoris bridge, the three-arch bridge of Plakidas (or the “monk’s bridge”), and Missios bridge.
Visit the local churches and monasteries of the area including St Nicholas church at Tsepelovo, St Paraskevi church at Monodendri, Evangelistria monastery at Ano Pedina, Spilitissa monastery at Aristi.
Admire the view of Vikos Gorge, world’s second deepest after Grand Canyon, Arizona. Today, the National Park of Vikos – Aoos maintains and preserves the natural beauty of the area. The Vikos Gorge at the heart of the National Park is an unspoilt haven for numerous endangered species – and varied ecosystems.
Get acquainted with the history and culture of Zagori through the museums at Monodendri, Koukouli, Elafotopos etc.
Zagori can be visited all year round. During Spring, the snow melts and nature blossoms. It is the perfect time for rafting and mountain biking.
Summer offers great trekking possibilities under the shadow of the trees. At the end of the trek a dive in the rivers is a must! It is also the perfect time for paragliding as the sun heats the slopes of the mountains creating rising currents.
Autumn is the most celebrated season in Zagori. The flora is one of the richest in Greece. The colours that dominate are between orange and dark purple.
Finally, Winter is the ideal season to sit in front of the fireplace read a book, have a glass of wine and see the snow falling, while snug inside a traditional Zagori stone house.
The last years, the Zagori marathon has captured audience from all over the world competing for distances ranging from 5km to 50km, through the mountains of Timfi.
Zagori mountain bike race has provided trails for all tastes and levels of endurance.. The Zagori marathon and the mountain bike race take place on the last weekend of July.
The area of Zagori is famous for the old trails, most of which are kept in very good condition. We have divided the trails in three categories of endurance. Those that start from the hotel are the most popular. Our selected treks are highly flexible and can be undertaken in whole or in part.
Demanding treks: Gamila mountain top Astraka mountain top Mikro Papigo - Vradeto Vikos - Mikro Papigo Moni Stomiou - Vrysohori Moni Stomiou- Skamneli
Popular Treks: Vradeto - Beloi Kapesovo - Vradeto Iliohori falls Zagori stone bridges highlight Crossing the Vikos Gorge Drakolimni
Starting from Kipi Suites: Kipi - Koukouli Kipi - Kapesovo Kipi - Tsepelovo Kipi - Negades Kipi - Dikorfo Kipi - Elati
For a city beak, Ioannina with Pamvotis lake and its vibrant night life is just 30Km away. Visit the museums, walk in the old city in the castle or take a short boat ride to the island in the middle of the lake.
Where to eat & drink
Zagorohoria has the mother nature as their prime supplier for food. Local farmers for meat and vegetables as well as the endless forest, will yield superb meat delicacies grilled on charcoal, delicious homemade savory and sweet pies characteristic to the wider region of Epirus, traditional cooked meals and freshly cut salads. For those of you looking for more modern and jumbled culinary versions, there is a plethora of restaurants to accommodate your needs.