VISIT TO KONITSA
One of the most interesting and adventurous nearby excursions that you can experience, during your time in Ioannina is in the area of Konitsa! Konitsa is located in the northernmost part of Ioannina Region, and about 1 hour away from the city of Ioannina (64.7 km). Konitsa is a protected area, part of the NATURA 2000 European Nature Conservation Network, and the whole southeastern part of the wider region of Konitsa (Smolikas, Vasilitsa, Trapezitsa, Tymphi, Aoos valley and gorge, Vidomatis gorge) is part of the North Pindos National Park, the largest national park of Greece (2 million acres) with great environmental value at a national and global level.
The area of Konitsa is of extreme natural beauty and probably one of the most impressive in the country, full of rich vegetation and fauna, canyons, mountain lakes of unique beauty, 3 rivers (Aoos, Voidomatis, Sarantaporos) and protected areas (National Park of Vikos-Aoos, Natura 2000 Networks, Dusko-Nemertsica, Aoos-Voidomatis riverside, Sarantaporos Straits, North Pindos National Park).
In addition to the captivating natural scenery, the area also hides other surprises, with great environmental and wildlife significance, as it is a habitat for the brown bear, the wild boar, the deer, and many other animal species!
Konitsa is an area with incredible SIGHTSEEING opportunities that will take you to a journey through the history and cultural heritage of the place. Some of the most unique landmarks of the area are the Aoos Bridge - a stone bridge at the exit of Aoos canyon and the largest one-arched bridge in Greece, Hamko’s Residence - Zeinel Bey's mansion, father of Hamko who mothered Ali Pasha of Ioannina, Stomio Monastery - one hour and ten minutes hike from the Konitsa bridge, the Folklore Museum of Konitsa and the Bouzourani environmental park.
A one of a kind experience for the whole family can be discoverd in the wide range of HIKING ROUTES in the wider area of Konitsa!
The hiking route choices are numerous, with the most widespread and loved, to be at the 2 alpine lakes - the alpine lake of Gamila and the alpine lake of Smolikas - located in the surrounding area of Konitsa and Zagori, because of their natural beauty and geological significance.
1. The alpine lake of Gamila
The alpine lake of Gamila is located at an altitude of 1,900 meters, near the top of Tymphi Mountain. It is one of the favorite and most popular hiking destinations and is well known for the alpine newts (dragons) inhibiting its waters. The hiking route from Mikro Papigo to the alpine lake of Gamila lasts 4 hours, while from the organized and fully equipped shelter of Astraka 1 hour. More experienced hikers, can choose a longer-lasting journey, which starts from the Aoos Bridge, meets the Stomio Monastery and ends at the lake, with a duration of seven and a half hours (a 12 km route). Access is only possible on foot.
2. The alpine lake of Smolikas
The alpine lake of Smolikas is located at an altitude of 1,900 meters, near the top of Smolikas Mountain, the second highest mountain in Greece. Also one of the most preferable and commonly visited destinations for hiking lovers worldwide! The hiking route choices to the alpine lake of Smolikas are several, with the most widespread being the ones that start from the village of Pades village, Palioseli or Agia Paraskevi. Hiking lasts 5 hours and is one of the most beautiful and popular hiking routes on the Greek mountains.
More hiking routes:
- Route: Kleidonia – Uper Kleidonia
- Route: Kleidonia – Vikos Gorge
- Route: Konitsa - Stomio Monastery – Alpine lake – Mount Gamila
- Route: Konitsa - Kalogeriko or Plakidas stone bridge – Siadi Migas
- Route: Konitsa - Stomio Monastery
- Route: Konitsa – Mount Trapezitsa
- Route: Aetomilitsa – Epano Arena
- Route: Plikati – Mount Grammos
- Route: Pades – Alpine lake – Mount Smolikas
- Route: Palioseli – Alpine lake - Mount Smolikas
- Route: Agia Paraskevi – Alpine lake – Mount Smolikas
More information about the area of Konitsa and an excellent choice of accommodation in the area can be found on the website of Konitsa Mountain Hotel: www.konitsahotel.gr