A stone's throw from Ioannina, at the foothills of Pindos, there are 46 settlements that pretty up the mountains of Greece, Zagorohoria!
Architecture and nature
During a visit to Zagorochoria you will come across one of the most beautiful natural sceneries that exist. You will come across villages huddled in dense forests, with immense views of the nature of Zagori, enchanting colors that last all year round, rivers with crystal clear waters and mysterious dragon-lakes! Most of the 46 villages in the area have been declared as traditional settlements because of their architectural, cultural and historical features. Primarily, the architecture of the area is based on the local culture and for this reason the dominant architectural materials are stone and wood. Almost every part of the inhabited area of Zagori, such as the houses, the bridges, the courtyards, the fountains, the wells, the chapels and the squares, are stone-built and coexist with the wildness and the imposing landscape of the mountains with the dense forests, while creating a beautiful scenery.
The beautiful streets of Zagori lead you to places of unparalleled natural beauty where you will come across towering imposing mountains, ravines, deep gorges, caves, rivers, waterfalls and plains that will impress you and give you the opportunity to admire the greatness of nature.
The traditional bridges of Zagori
The bridges that are scattered all over the area of Zagori are surely something not to miss. The traditional stone bridges, great ambassadors of the Zagorian architecture and culture, have stood for centuries between forests, dense vegetation, over rivers, adorning the surrounding natural environment with their grace. Most of the bridges you will encounter, ranging from one, two or three arches bridges, are built during the 18th and 19th centuries, with the most famous being the Plakida or Kalogerikos Bridge, a three-arched bridge built in 1814 and located near the villages of Kipoi and Koukouli in central Zagori and the bridge of Kleidonia or Voidomatis, a single-arched bridge built in 1853 and located in the village of Kleidonia, where the Vikos gorge ends.
The Vikos Gorge, which has won a Guinness record as the deepest gorge in the world in proportion to its width (width 1.100 meters, depth 900 meters, length 11 km), is one of the most important attractions of the region with great environmental significance. Vikos Gorge is part of the Vikos - Aoos National Park, one of the most important ecosystems in Greece, due to its rare flora and fauna. Besides the unique and rare biodiversity, Vikos Gorge is characterized by the torrent that crosses it and ends up in the crystal clear waters of the Voidomatis river. Your best choice is to cross Vikos Gorge by following a 5-6 hour hiking trail, with experienced guidance, and enjoy the enchanting natural scenery and all the rare species of this great ecosystem.
The lucky ones who visit Zagorohoria discover that this magical place gives you the opportunity to explore it in many different ways!
Zagori is one of the best mountain destinations and a paradise for those who love hiking in nature. The diversity of the area’s landscape gives you the opportunity to enjoy hiking trails in the dense vegetation where the guided trails lead you into the paths of tradition and history of the area. Walking routes will take you to some of the traditional stone-built villages, along the crystal clear waters of the rivers, to traditional bridges and impressive gorges.
For the most adventurous guests there is the opportunity to participate in extreme sports such as rafting in the Voidomatis River, horse riding by the river or canyoning in the Vradeto Gorge, as part of organized groups that are escorted by proffesionals.
Drakolimni of Tymphi
During your visit to Zagori, do not miss the chance to visit Drakolimni of Tymphi. It is one of the alpine lakes that exist in the mountains of Epirus, and at an altitude of 2,050 meters. According to local folktales the lake used to be inhabited by dragons, which is also the reason it is called ‘drakolimni’ (drakos in greek means dragon and limni means lake).
The Lake Hotel provides services for organizing all of the above tours and activities, in cooperation with local companies and organizations.