Six Magnifisant days in Ioannina, and the charming Zagorochoria
Ioannina; Nestled on the picturesque western shore of Lake Pamvotis, the enchanting city of Ioannina exudes a captivating charm, making it a must-visit destination in northern-west Greece. Boasting a rich cultural heritage and opulent wealth, it was renowned throughout the Ottoman Empire for its skilled silver craftsmen. Within the protective walls of its ancient fortress, known as the Kastro, lies a peaceful neighborhood dotted with ornate minarets, while a car-free island in the lake offers a tranquil escape. As the sun sets, the glistening lake transforms into a silvery spectacle, with the majestic mountains behind turning a dreamy shade of lilac.
Whether you visit Ioannina during the warm summer months or the crisp winter season, it never fails to mesmerize. For a deeper immersion into the Epiros region, be sure to allocate at least a couple of days in this beautiful city, which is a popular romantic getaway. Be sure to add this must-see to your itinerary! Located just a quick drive southwest from the town, Dodoni boasts a captivating ancient site that is not to be missed.
Zagorochoria; As you travel northwest of Ioannina, brace yourself for a wondrous journey over a steep ridgeline, leading you to the enchanting Zagorohoria or the
Zagori villages. A collection of 46 tiny settlements, nestled within the lush gray stone borders and distinguished by their charming slate roofs, blend effortlessly into the green-clad mountains. These picturesque villages boast narrow, car-free streets and connect to each other through ancient stone pathways, staircases, and elegant arched bridges dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Despite being less than an hour’s drive from Ioannina, the surrounding area exudes a secluded ambiance, offering tranquility, invigorating hikes, and unspoiled natural landscapes that will leave you captivated. Each turn reveals breathtaking vistas that will simply take your breath away.
One of the most breathtaking sights in the region is undoubtedly the majestic Vikos Gorge, which plunges almost 1km into the earth. However, the snow-covered peaks to the north also vie for attention, creating a stunning backdrop. This entire area is encompassed within the boundaries of the Northern Pindos National Park.
So, Let our local experts to take care of the planning and immerse yourself in the authentic Ioannina, and zagorochoria experience.
Highlights of the Magnifisant Ioannina, and Amazing Zagorochoriaa 6 days tour
- Ioannina island
- Silversmithing Museum
- Its Kale
- Pavlos Vrellis Wax Museum of Greek History
- Perama Cave
- Ioannina Lake Pamvotis
- Ioannina island. The only lake island in Greece
- Municipal Ethnographic Museum
- The imposing “towers” of Astraka
- Aristi and Vitsa
- The Voidomatis river
- Vikos gorge
Description of the picturesque mountainous Greece Ioannina, Zagorochoria, Vikos Gorge, Meteora 5 days tour
Did you know that Greece is home to a magnificent collection of mountains? In fact, there are 307 peaks reaching over 1000 meters, including 47 soaring above 2000 meters, 105 ranging between 2000 and 1500 meters, and 155 falling between 1500 and 1000 meters. While the precise count of mountains under 1000 meters remains unknown, one can only imagine the stunning and diverse terrain that awaits visitors in this stunning country.
Day 1: Athens, Ioannina
Let’s embark on our journey from Athens in the morning, weaving through the charming and historic towns of Greece until we reach our destination: Ioannina! After checking into our hotel, we’ll venture to the stunning Ioannina lake for a tranquil cruise and a visit to the unique island of Ioannina – the only inhabited island in a European lake!
Ioannina; An adventure through a realm of enchantment. Nestled in the heart of Epirus lies Ioannina, a charming town adorned with the stunning Lake Pamvotida. This majestic body of water serves as the defining feature of the town’s natural surroundings, and its tranquil waters and picturesque island are fondly revered as the area’s signature icons. The lake serves as a testament to the vitality of the area, permeating through the very heart of the community. Ioannina boasts a rich cultural heritage, as it is home to a plethora of esteemed novelists and poets. The town’s vibrant artistic and intellectual scene offers a diverse range of events throughout the year, allowing visitors a glimpse into the vibrant roots of Epirus’ intellectual life.
Strolling through the city transports you to a bygone era, evoking a sense of mystery and wonder. Every corner holds secrets and stories waiting to be discovered. From the impressive House Matei Hussein to the captivating Ottoman mosque of Veli Pasha, the entire historic center of the town is brimming with one-of-a-kind attractions.
The city of Ioannina has long been a melting pot of diverse cultures, with a rich blend of Christian, Islamic, and Jewish influences. This vibrant fusion of traditions is beautifully showcased in the city’s historic center. One prime example is the Stoa Louli arcade, where the three communities collaborated and thrived. Originally an inn, this magnificent structure went on to become a bustling hub for commerce and trade in the region of Epirus.
Spend a peaceful evening at leisure and indulge in the charming atmosphere of Ioannina. Enjoy an overnight stay in this enchanting city.
Day 2: Ioannina, Metsovo
Metsovo; Get ready for an unforgettable day on the second leg of your tour. We’ll pick you up right at your hotel and take you on a journey through the charming towns of West Greece. Our first stop? The quaint village of Metsovo, nestled in the picturesque northern region of the country. This hidden gem has something for everyone, particularly those who are fascinated by traditional village life. Be prepared to immerse yourself in a one-of-a-kind experience, from sampling local delicacies like red wine and smoked cheese, to being mesmerized by the stunning mountain vistas. It’s no wonder that Metsovo has long been a beloved destination for Greeks. With endless opportunities for hiking, biking, and even snow skiing, the thrill-seeker in you will never be bored.
But it’s not just about adrenaline-pumping activities – make sure to also take the time to connect with the Vlach community, their unique language and customs will add a special touch to your stay. Prepare to be captivated by the charming ambiance of Metsovo – one visit simply won’t be enough. This enchanting town, also known as Amintziou among its Vlach locals in this culturally rich area, boasts a fusion of Greek and Balkan influences.
Metsovo, a charming Greek village, has gained widespread recognition for its exquisite handcrafted textiles. These intricate creations are a testament to the skilled shepherds of the Vlach community, who have inhabited the town for countless generations. Boasting a prime location on key trading routes between northern and southern Greece, Metsovo played a vital role in the 17th and 18th centuries. Its abundant supply of wool not only catered to the needs of nearby villages and the bustling town of Ioannina, but also satisfied the demands of various Balkan countries and even distant North Africa.
Check out the following activities that are sure to capture your attention:
- Experience the beauty of the Averoff Gardens and lose yourself in the majestic Pindos Mountains.
- Indulge in the flavorful wines of Metsovo at the renowned Katogi Averoff Winery.
- Let the Averoff Gallery mesmerize you with its impressive collection of Greek artwork.
- Immerse yourself in the rich history of Metsovo at the Folk Art Museum.
- Embrace the unique cheese-tasting traditions of Metsovo.
- Venture to the charming neighboring villages to witness the authentic culture and customs
As our adventure nears its end, we make our way towards Papingo, a beautiful and esteemed village located in the Zagorochoria region. After a full day of exploring the area, you’ll have the opportunity to relax and take in the tranquil atmosphere of this quaint village before retiring for the night.
Overnight in Papigo
Day 3: Zagorochoria Villages – Papingo
Come across a charming group of stunning villages nestled in the grand Mitsikeli mountain range, just a hop, skip, and jump from the lively city of Ioannina. Immerse yourself in the genuine allure of these villages as you wander along their quaint cobblestone paths and absorb the lively community vibes.
The picturesque village of Papingo in Zagorochoria
Welcome to the stunning region of Zagorochoria, situated in the splendorous northwest of Ioannina. Tucked away within the embrace of Mount Mitsikeli, this cluster of 46 villages boasts an unforgettable charm. Our journey through this enchanting area will lead us along the winding cobblestone paths, providing us with the perfect opportunity to soak in the captivating beauty of the stone houses and historic churches adorned with breathtaking murals from the 18th and 19th centuries. Let’s not forget to also explore the ancient stone bridges, steadfast through the ages, and indulge in the delectable homemade recipes that are unique to this region. And for those seeking a touch of adventure, Zagori offers an abundance of activities such as kayaking, hiking, and climbing, making it the ultimate destination for thrill-seekers.
Get ready for a day packed with stunning landscapes as you embark on a journey to the highly acclaimed villages of Zagorochoria. From Papingo and small Papingo to Aristi and the iconic Voidomatis River, each stop promises to leave you in awe. This renowned river is hailed as the cleanest in all of Europe, boasting pristine drinking water and a steady temperature of 6 degrees all year round. Get ready to be in awe as you take in the magnificent Papingo Bridge and the historic Stone Bridge of the Voidomatis River.
As the sun sets, lose yourself in the delightful allure of our idyllic and mesmerizing hamlets, each one bursting with lush foliage, meandering waterways, quaint cobblestone trails, and scenic bridges. Our adventure culminates in the cozy village of Papingo, where you can relax and revel in the rejuvenating atmosphere of Mother Nature. Allow yourself to be enraptured by the extraordinary surroundings as you spend a restful evening in one of the charming villages of Zagorochoria. “Be sure to take a moment to appreciate the grandeur of the towering Astraka at Papingo!
Experience a wide range of exciting activities, including white-water rafting, hiking, horseback riding, guided walks through the breathtaking Vikos Gorge, rock climbing and rappelling, team building exercises, and countless other adventures. Overnight in Monodendri!
Day 4: Vitsa, Monodendri, Vikos Gorge, Ioannina
Vikos Gorge, Monodendri; On the fourth day of our exclusive tour, you will have the opportunity to experience the charm and beauty of two of Zagorochoria’s most renowned villages. After indulging in a delicious breakfast, we will set off to the enchanting village of Vitsa, followed by Monodendri, the largest village in the area. Our destination is the magnificent Vikos Gorge, a natural wonder known as the deepest gorge in the world and a popular destination for outdoor activities such as hiking, rock climbing, and rafting in Greece.
Make sure not to miss out on the chance to leisurely explore the renowned Vikos Gorge, a must-see attraction on this incredible tour. As we journey along, we will make a special stop at the enchanting Agia Marina monastery. From the lofty heights of its impressive balcony known as “Balkoni,” you can soak in the sweeping vistas of the gorge below. Prepare to be captivated by the sheer majesty of the Voidomatis River, as it meanders through the awe-inspiring Pindos Mountains. This iconic canyon, boasting the record for the world’s deepest due to its impressive width, is sure to leave you in awe. Its famous seven-mile-long, 400-yard-wide expanse has been intricately carved by the powerful Voidomatis River, cascading down a staggering half mile from the southern slopes of Mount Tymfi.
Prepare yourself for an unforgettable adventure as you traverse the winding and at times, elusive trail that hugs the tree-lined waters of the breathtaking gorge. This scenic route connects the idyllic village of Monodendri to the charming village of Vikos. Be sure to allot at least four hours for the challenging hike – a descent from Monodendri followed by a steep incline towards Vikos. And after conquering the trail, treat yourself to a well-deserved feast at a nearby taverna. Savor every bite of a succulent venison stew and quench your thirst with a cold beer. It’s the perfect way to cap off a triumphant journey.
Indulge in a worry-free evening in Ioannina as you take a leisurely stroll along the breathtaking Pamvotida lake. Quench your thirst at one of the charming cafeterias lining the lake’s edge. End the night in Ioannina, truly savoring the experience.
5th Day: Ioannina
On the fifth day, don’t miss out on the chance to fully immerse yourself in the charming and storied city of Ioannina during a free morning. Embark on a fascinating journey through the reign of Ali Pasha, a formidable leader who once held dominion over Greece during the Ottoman era. Explore the remnants of his grandeur with a captivating tour of the monuments and museums nestled in Ioannina Castle, located in the breathtaking region of Epirus.
With a rich and storied past, this fortified old town, also known as the Castle of Ioannina, stands as the enduring legacy of a bygone era. Uncover treasures from as far back as the 4th and 3rd centuries BC, which have been unearthed through excavations amidst its ancient walls. History comes alive as you wander through the oldest continuously inhabited Byzantine castle in Greece, said to have been established by the revered emperor Justinian I in the 6th century. Prepare to be enthralled by the captivating charm of Ioannina Castle, steeped in centuries of culture and heritage.
The current renown of this place may be attributed to the late Ottoman era and the influential rule of Ali Pasha. From 1787 to 1822, he ran a semi-autonomous region covering large parts of Greece and Albania, leaving a legacy of both terror and charm – taking out foes (even Ottoman Turks) and transforming Ioannina into a hub of economic and cultural prosperity. As you explore the Castel and roam the ancient streets, it’s impossible to deny the rich historical ambiance that permeates this city.
Spend your afternoon leisurely strolling along the lake’s scenic walking path, dotted with charming cafes and restaurants. Take a break to indulge in a refreshing drink and soak up the vibrant atmosphere. Complete your day with an overnight stay in beautiful Ioannina.
Day 6: Ioannina, Athens
Finally, the time has come for our return to Athens. But before we leave, we will embark on one last adventure in Ioannina, starting with a delicious breakfast. As the sun rises, we will explore the awe-inspiring Perama Cave. What an unforgettable way to end our trip! For a truly awe-inspiring experience, venture just 4km outside of town to uncover the breathtaking Perama Cave, sprawling over 14,000 square meters. Explore its ancient remnants, fossils, and stunning murals, which draw inspiration from the legendary tale of Hades and Persephone. Located on the outskirts of Ioannina, this magnificent cave is one of the largest and most stunning in all of Greece.
Its discovery in 1940 was a stroke of luck for locals fleeing the dangers of war, and now visitors can explore over 1100m of enchanting chambers on guided tours lasting 45 minutes. Led by knowledgeable guides fluent in both Greek and English, you’ll learn all about the cave’s fascinating geology and the rare creatures that call it home. Don’t forget to dress warmly, as the temperature inside is typically cooler than outside.
As the day winds down and you make your way back to Athens, relish in the awe of a scenic cruise from Antirio to Rio, where you can take in the splendor of Europe’s largest and most magnificent cable bridge. The tour concludes in Athens, with an arrival in the late afternoon.
- Shore Excursion - Private tour
- Activity level: Moderate
Included in the tour
- Car and Driver
- A professional English-speaking driver or escort with good knowledge of the history and culture of Greece, to guide you till you enter archaeological sites and museums. Tour drivers are not licensed to companion you inside the archaeological sites and museums. If you'd like to have a licensed state tour guide to escort you inside the sites and museums, we can arrange it for you at an additional cost. Licensed by the state tour guides are freelance and it is subject to availability on bookings day!
- Transport by air-conditioned Mercedes-Benz vehicle or similar appropriate for the size of your group
- Accommodation is based according to availability (for multiple-day tours only)
- Pick-up from and return to your hotel
- Pick-up from the Port of Piraeus
- Private tour, Road tolls and local taxes
- Our terminal: Leof. Andrea Siggrou 37, 117 43 Athina, Greece.
Excluded from the tour
- Entrance fees to the archaeological sites and museum
- Wine tasting fee (wine tours)
- Olive oil tasting fee (olive oil tasting tours)
- Gratuities (optional)
- Food and beverage
- Your private chauffeur/guide will discuss a program best suited to your interest and mobile abilities. Option for a professional tour guide with a state license at an extra cost. Read more for the difference between a STATE LICENSED TOUR GUIDE and a TOUR DRIVER GUIDE in Greece!
- Dress: religious and marmoreal sites: shoulders and knee must be covered
- Terms & Conditions and Frequent Questions
- Confirmation will be received at the time of booking
- A voucher will be emailed to you with our contact numbers and all necessary information for your tour.
- This is your ticket and proof of purchase. On the day of the tour please present a paper voucher in order to redeem your tour/activity.
Persons with Disabilities
- Due to uneven surfaces, certain sites are not recommended for persons with walking disabilities or using a wheelchair. Such sites are the Acropolis, the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion, Mycenae, Delphi and Meteora
- In all cases, we recommend comfortable flat-solid walking shoes, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
- Please note that on this tour, your tour driver is not licensed to accompany you on your climb. If you want this service you may book a licensed by-state tour guide for an extra cost.
- In case a group is followed by a licensed tour guide or an English speaking tour-escort the professional driver is not obliged to speak English!
Opening hours & Admission fees
- Opening Hours:Summer April 1st to October 31st from 08:00 AM to 07:30 PM
- Winter: November 1st to March 31st from 08:30 AM to 03:00 PM
- Free admission fees: Children under 18 & Students from E.U.
- Reduced admission fees: Citizens of the E.U. aged over 65 & Students from countries outside the E.U.
Free admission days
- March 6: In memory of deceased Minister of Tourism & visionary Melina Mercouri
- June 5: Environment international day
- April 18 : International monuments day
- May 18: International museums day
- September 27: International tourism day
- The last weekend of September annually (European Heritage Days)
- National Holidays
- Sundays in the period between 1 November and 31 March
- The first Sunday of every month, except for July, August, and September
- NOTE: If the first Sunday is a holiday then the second is the free admission day
Holidays in Greece
- January 1: closed
- January 6: 08:30 AM - 03:00 PM
- Shrove Monday: 08:30AM - 03:00 PM
- March 25: closed
- Good Friday: 12:00 PM - 03:00 PM
- Holy Saturday: 08:30 AM - 03:00 PM
- Easter Sunday: closed
- Easter Monday: 08:30 AM - 03:00 PM
- May 1: closed
- Holy Spirit Day: 08:30 AM - 03:00 PM
- 15 August 15: 08:30 AM - 03:00 PM
- October 28: 08:30 AM- 03:00 PM
- December 25 & 26: closed