Epirus – a single base walking holiday in unspoilt mainland Greece

Epirus, Greece

Holiday overview

Destination

Greece


Type

Guided


Difficulty

Moderate to Strenuous


Month

Jan - Dec


Price

£ 569 pp


Duration

6 nights


A single base holiday in a charming B & B in one of the most unspoilt regions of Greece, among the beautiful Pindus Mountains of Epirus, a historic area that was the site of Dodona, the most ancient of Greek oracles, second in fame only to Delphi. You stay among the old stone villages of […]

Day 1:

Pick up from Ioannina/Thessaloniki/Athens airport or bus station

Transfer to Papigo.

Welcome drink: Tsipouro (the local grappa) or local mountain tea.

Settle in hotel, walk around the village and dinner.

 

Day 2:

Breakfast: home made whole grain bread and marmalades from local figs, berries and prunes, wheat pie (local specialty), home made cakes and local cheese and ham, local yoghurt and good quality muesli, dried fruits. Freshly squeezed orange juice, coffee (espresso, cappuccino, filter coffee or ice coffee) and a selection of Twinings or Yoghi teas, local mountain tea. Everyday there is another local speciality offered alongside the bread: marmalades, cheeses, ham, cakes, yoghurt etc.

Trek to Astraka Refuge. Stop in the refuge for a break or a drink. Continue to Drakolimni (Dragon Lake is at an altitude of 2050m above sea level, the remains of ancient glaciers, and is inhabited by a species of alpine newt whose resemblance to small dragons gives the lake its name). Swimming (optional) and picnic by the lake: e.g. homemade meat balls, feta cheese and tomato sandwiches, avocado and cucumber sandwiches, olives. Return to Papigo for relaxation and dinner.

Walking time including lunch and swim in Dragon Lake if summer: 9 hours.

Difficulty level: Difficult.

Altitude difference: From about 1000m to about 2200m and back down.

 

Day 3:

Trek to Mikro Papigo through a part of path #24. Visit Bistries (ancient caves) and picnic in Mikro Papigo.

Visit Rogovo Gorge for some gentle canyoning (if required) and a swim if summer and return to hotel.

Relaxation and dinner.

Walking time: 4 hours including picnic.

Difficulty level: easy.

Altitude difference: from about 930m to about 880 and then up to 1000m

 

Day 4:

Breakfast. Transfer by mini bus to Monodendri Village (45minutes). Visit Agia Paraskevi monastery (built in 1413 at the edge of Vikos Gorge). Trek through Vikos Gorge (Guiness Record 1989 as the deepest gorge in relation to its width, with geological and botanical interest) to the sources of the River Voidomatis (15km river, known as the cleanest and coolest river in Europe) and to Panagia Monastery (built in 1738) for picnic.

Hike up to Papigo village. Arrival in hotel for dinner.

Walking time: 8 hours including visit to monastery.

Difficulty level: difficult.

Altitude difference: from about 1050 to 550 and up to 950.

 

Day 5: 

Breakfast. Several options today:

Transfer to Aristi bridge by mini bus (10 minutes). Rafting down Voidomatis river from Aristi Bridge to Klidonia  Bridge. Picnic by the river. Return on foot back to Aristi Bridge and transport with mini bus to Papigo. Rafting: 1.5 hours, walking: 2 hours.

Difficulty level: easy

Altitude difference: very small

 

Other option: instead of rafting down the river , walk river path.

Difficulty level: easy.

Altitide difference: none

Third option for more advanced hikers: Trekking up to Astraka refuge. Continue through the less known, virgin Davalista gorge and through the huge pine tree forests where we might see wild Chamois (rupicapra rupicapra). Arrive to isolated Stomiou Monastery in the heart of the gorge (first built in 1570, still functioning). Have a welcoming loukoumi (local sweet) and make our own Greek coffee in the monastery. Picnic and continue trekking beside the River Aoos to Konitsa village. Transfer with minibus to Papigo (transfer about 45 minutes). Relax and dinner in Papigo

Walking time including monastery visit: 8 hours, three uphill and 6 downhill.

Difficulty level: difficult.

Altitude difference: from about 1000m up to about 2000m and then down to about 650m.

 

Day 6:

Trekking to Ano Klidonia village (deserted in 1940 with only one resident). Lunch in the only taverna of the village. Return along the same path to Papigo for BBQ farewell dinner.

Walking time, including lunch 6 hours.

Difficulty level: medium.

Altitude difference: very small

 

Day 7:

Breakfast and transfer to airport or bus station.