General Information & Reviews

Table of contents:
General infoUseful linksGallery (7)Reviews (8)

Zagoria Greece is the name of a 46 villages group, in the mountains of Epirus, in the northwest of Greece. In fact, its name derives from a Slavic word meaning "behind the mountains". These villages result quite outstanding because of their beauty and their picturesque surroundings.

The many crystal clear rivers in this area are part of this beauty, as well as the mentioned mountains, full of firs and pine trees. The landscape varies according to seasons. In winter, the mountains get picturesquely covered by snow and visitors can go skiing in close ski centers. In spring and summer, the area seems to blossom with the running waters of river Voidomatis.

Zagoria also hosts the Gorge of Vikos, the biggest in Greece, which is considered by many ecologists as one of the last paradises in Europe. The general atmosphere on Zagoria is very low-key. During recent years it has been developing tourism, but not in a massive way. Therefore, the only periods in which it is important to book accommodation beforehand are on Christmas season and on Easter.

In fact, almost every village has at least one hotel and guest-house. Regarding its places of interest, the visitor will find many imposing Byzantine monuments and impressive houses with unique architecture.

Some villages are placed at an altitude that provides wonderful views. For example, Tsepelovo is built at 1.100 meters. Additionally, it hosts the church of St Anargyri, which has a great panoramic view of this village. Skamneli is also another example, as it is perched on a height about 1.200 meters. Moreover, it offers a wide variety of restored mansions and churches, as well as houses from the 18th and the 19th century.

Fortunately, the villages can be visited not only by car but also on foot, due to the paved walkways and the stone bridges that connect them. Some of those are Asprangeli, followed by Elati, Dilofo, and Kipi, among others. No matter what period of the year you choose for visiting Zagoria, you will surely enjoy its wonderful features, which offer the best conditions for amusement and relaxation.


8 Reviews
  • G_Matheson 20 Feb 2010
    Feel rural life and extreme sports
    Just returned from a week in Zagoria where we tried all kind of sports! Why you Greeks don't advertise more your treasures? There are people you don't want to go to Santorini only, but want to feel the rural side of your country. Give them a chance to discover it.

    I found about Zagoria while surfing this site and I was first impressed by the landscape. Looked for photos and info and discovered a whole range of amazing things you can do there. A boat ride from Venice to Igoumenitsa and then by rental car to Papigo (the most beautiful village of Zagoria for me!!), where we stayed in a stone hotel at the edge of a steep cliff side, five minutes walk from the village square.

    The fireplace in our room make evenings sweeter, when we returned tired and cold from kayak, rafting or trekking. It was my greatest rafting root to go down the river and see all these colours painted by the sun and the beautiful trees around. The route may seem dangerous at first sight, but don't worry, instructors are experienced. We booked these activities through Trekking Hellas and the hotel owner suggested us some paths to trek in the forest. We will surely come bak next year in Christmas and hope next time it will be snowing!!
  • richardjck 31 Jul 2009
    Visit in spring or autumn
    I believe spring or at least early autumn is the best seasons to go to Zagoria because in winter the weather is bad up there. It is snowing, it is very cold, trekking paths are sliding and the river is too cold for rafting. I suggest early April or late October, when there is not much snow (you may find some in high altitudes) and it will be more easy to drive or go trekking from one village to the other or to monasteries. There are a lot of nice monasteries in Zagoria, all old and with nice environment. Some have no nuns and others have two or three. Most beautiful villages are Aristi, Papigo and Monodendri. The hosues are really remarkable and I like that all houses have yards in front. Organize some activities for you. Trekking Hellas has good organization and many sports.
  • melimax 30 Apr 2009
    Authentic rural life
    We arrived to Igoumenitsa by ferry from Ancona, Italy. As usual, when we go to visit a sunny country, we always start with rain. Anyway, Ioannina is quite worth to see even with umbrella. It is at a lake side and we even went by a small ferry boat to an island in the middle. Here we have tried Greek coffee for the first time, let's say it has nothing to do with Italian espresso. Seems like sand in hot water. It was only some days later when we understood that you have to wait until "sand" goes down and then it is quite drinkable, better to say it is good.

    We slept in a nearby small village called Zitsa as guests of a local family from Hospitality Club. It was a fantastic experience to live some days in this rural place, with very nice and friendly people, beautiful landscape, good wine and food. It is absolutely worth to visit this place, so many things to see here which were not mentioned in our lonely planet and in our Italian guide. Old bridges, canyons, monasteries, clean water and lots of sheep. It is not just Zagoria village, but many other places around. Authentic rural life with lovely people, not just a false remake for tourists.
  • luca29 18 Feb 2009
    Amazing sports activities
    I had one of the best excursions of my life this Christmas in Zagoria!! Everything was perfect. Fortunately, the weather was very good, although two days before we go it was snowing. When we went, snowing had stopped and there was only some on the sides of the streets. The villages of Zagoria are truly traditional and untouched. Our hotel in Papigo was cozy and had a balcony with excellent mountain views. I tried skiing for the first time in my life in the ski centre of Vasilitsa, an amazing experience. We also did some rafting in Voidomatis river. The hotel owner suggested us to try rafting and told us where the starting point was. It is really a shame that Zagoria villages are not much promoted. If we knew about these activities, we would had arranged some trekking and horse riding, too. Next time...
  • yairap 04 Jan 2009
    Everything was wonderful
    Everything in Zagoria was wonderful -the villages, the mountains, the tracking routes and the people were very, very hospitable. We especially loved Kokouli, Elati and Kapesovo, though the rest of the villages were also great. We loved the places we stayed in and the restaurants, although there were not many vegeterian meals to try. River rafting was also well organized. We have no complaints and we were only sorry we couldn't stay longer. However, we felt it was because the local people were nice that we had such a great time, and not because the authorities organize things for tourists. Public tourism organization was quite poor in Zagoria, except for an information centre in Papigo. Stay more than a week in Zagoria, there are so many things to do and to see. Have time for the villages and tracks because it's all so beautiful. Try and get to know the locals, they are vey nice and you can learn about Greece from them.
  • rachelbnb 20 Jun 2008
    A must see
    I was in Zagoria last February and I have to say, my days there were something to remember of. We decided to go by our own, without a guide, although I think now that it would be better if we had one. However, we managed to have a pretty good trip, starting from Ioannina city by bus. We were excited about visiting the famous Vikos Gorge and according to our information from the Internet , we had planned to stay at Monodendri. This village is the usual starting point for the walk through the gorge. It was really worth the effort! Beautiful nature, peaceful and pure.
    I also liked very much the houses of the villages, almost everything on Zagoria is made of stone. The arched typical bridges-you can see some of them around the village of Kipi- are so characteristic of the area. You will absolutely need to take a camera with you on this trip...
    If you are interested in nightlife, though, do not expect this kind of entertainment in Zagoria. It's a place for sightseeing, trekking and taking deep breaths of clear air!

    The only disadvantage I could mention was the difficulty to reach the villages, so the best choice is to have a guide to help you with this. He will also give information about the weather, it can change very quickly.
  • williamss 13 Mar 2008
    A true break from reality
    A few days ago, in February, when we went to Tsepelovo, it started snowing and we were cut out for 3 days! We had booked a room there and wanted to experience some hiking through the rocky passages of the area. Actually, we go there every winter. The next day of our arrival, a snowstorm started and lasted for more than a day. Not to mention, the main roads were cut out from the rest of the civilization for 3 days. Of course, we didn't do any hiking because we would get frozen. However, we had the best snowing days of our lives; we were sitting by the fireplace, eat hot soups served by Mrs Maria, the owner of the hotel and an excellent cook. We spend many hours inside and would wrap blankets around our arms to warm up. When the snow stopped, we played snow games on the hotel yard. I really miss those days; they were a true break from reality.
  • bevchc 24 Jan 2008
    Amazing Zagoria
    Zagoria is one of the areas of Greece that impressed me the most.
    It is just amazingly beautiful and you get the feeling that time is not the same like in our busy worlds.
    I recommended to all the people who want to see an other kind of Greece beauty.