Hiking in Epirus, Greece: A Hidden Paradise for Hikers

This post may include affiliate links, including Amazon Associate links. I may earn money if you click on one at no extra cost to you.

I have two confessions: 1) I had never heard of Epirus, and 2) nor had I ever given any thought to hiking in Greece. 

I was excited to learn about hiking in Epirus, Greece. I’m an avid hiker who’s in the Alps almost every weekend. Someone who’s done epic hikes like the Tour du Mont Blanc, in France, Italy, and Switzerland and the Alta Via 1 in Italy. But hiking in Greece? Nope.

Adveture Travel - Pindo Mountain Range in Epirus, Greece
Pindo Mountain Range in Epirus

Is There More to Greece than Beaches and Islands?

I don’t think I’m alone in this. When I passed on my two confessions to Dimitra from Greece Tourism, she sighed and said All people think about is beaches and islands (like the gorgeous island of Mykonos) when they think of Greece, and there’s so much more.

After visiting the incredible UNESCO site of Meteora and hiking in Mount Olympus National Park and now Epirus, I can certainly agree with her. 

After spending several days exploring North Pindos National Park, I’m torn. Part of me wants to keep the secret to myself. The other part wants to shout from the rooftops Go to Greece for AMAZING hiking!!!!!

I’ll settle for somewhere in between by writing a blog post.

Recommended Reading: Hiking in Greece: The Top 9 Places

Why You’ll Want to Go Hiking in Epirus, Greece

Stone Forest, with the Pindo Mountain Range in the background.
Stone Forest, with the Pindo Mountain Range in the background.

Even when you’re not hiking among ancient Greek ruins, you’re still following historical paths. North Pindos National Park is famous for its arch bridges.

At one time there were 125, today there are approximately 75. Besides looking pretty, they served the important role of connecting villages both to each other and to the outside world, long before there were roads.

Related Reading: Day Hiking Packing List: Everything You Need to Stay Safe

One of the many arch bridges to be found in Epirus, Greece.
One of the many arch bridges in Epirus.

Today, you can reach the villages by road. Fortunately, hikers can still retrace the ancient steps of merchants and craftsmen by hiking from village to village, over the stone arch bridges.

Travel tip:  Be sure to ask the locals the legends of each bridge. Each one has a secret story!

This bridge was one of my favourites in Epirus!
This bridge was one of my favourites in Epirus!

2000 Km of Hiking Trails in Epirus, Greece Alone

There are literally hundreds of day hikes you could choose from. There is an incredible  2000km of trails! I plan to return at some point and hike through Vikos Gorge.

Related Reading: Crete White Mountains Hiking Tour

Hiking Vikos Gorge

It’s the deepest gorge in the world at 120 – 490m!

It takes approximately 7 hours to hike. The trail is a 20 km long trail. It’s best done in summer or early fall when the river is shallow. Always check with the tourist office first to be sure the water levels are OK. 

As you do need to be very careful of the water levels and the start and endpoint are 20 km apart, I’d recommend doing a full-day tour with a guide. Not only will you get lots of useful information but you can be sure that it’s safe to do it. And it saves you the hassle of trying to figure out how to get back to your car at the starting point.

Alternatively, if that’s too strenuous, consider this tour to Vikos Gorge which is an easy 3-hour hike. 

Vikos Gorge, found in Epirus, Greece is the deepest gorge in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
Vikos Gorge, the deepest gorge in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Village-to-Village Hiking in Epirus, Greece

Besides, Vikos Gorge, the village-to-village hiking really caught my attention. My motto is adventure seeker by day, luxury seeker by night.

Hiking all day and then retreating to a nice hotel in a historic village enjoying some delicious Greek food and wine is my ideal trip!

One of the centuries old villages to be found in Epirus, Greece.
Kipi, one of the centuries-old villages to be found in Epirus.

And with 46 villages within the park, there’s no shortage of villages to choose from. I stopped for coffee in Kipi. It’s a small hillside village with buildings made of stone and heavy slate roofs.

I spent an hour walking around Kallartyes, a village with 15 people, and no that wasn’t a typo, 15 people.

Village of Kallartyes, home to 15 people.
Village of Kallartyes, home to 15 people!

If you’re seeking something a bit more populous try visiting Metsovo. It’s also home to Katogi Averoff Hotel & Winery. And it has the distinction of being Greece’s only winery hotel.

It also happens to be the coolest wine cellar tour I’ve ever done with art installations built into the cellar!

One of the art installations at Katogi Averott Hotel & Winery in Metsovo
One of the art installations at Katogi Averoff Hotel & Winery in Metsovo.

But perhaps even a bigger surprise than the fantastic hiking opportunities in North Pindos National Park. 

THERE ARE BEARS!  

And no not ones that lived in Greece long ago, but ones that live in the present.

Just ask Maria from the Katogi Averoff Hotel & Winery who told me:

Bears are the best consumers. They eat 20% of the grapes, starting with the white, then moving on to the red.

That knocked my socks off! I had NO idea there were bears in Greece. So a warning if you’re hiking. Be careful to store your food properly!   Unfortunately, I didn’t see one…yet another reason to return to Epirus…and discover more secrets!

Related Reading: Greek Cyclades Islands of Tinos and Naxos Hiking Tour

Location of Epirus

 

Travel Tips for Epirus, Greece:

  • It’s ~ a 6-hour drive to Ioannina from Athens.  I highly recommend stopping at Meteora along the way. Spend at least a day there checking out the monasteries on cliffs.
  • Ioannina makes a great base for a couple of days if you’re doing day trips. However, I would also recommend staying in the smaller villages as well like Metsovo.
  • This is a really remote part of Greece. Therefore public transportation options are limited. If you want to easily visit villages and hike, I would recommend renting a car for getting around.
  • Alternatively, you can book a private tour of Epirus with hotel pickup.
    Besides hiking, be sure to try rafting on the Voidomatis River.
  • Check out VisitGreece.gr for further information.

Epirus, Greece is an incredible place for hiking with 2000 km of hiking trails.

Consider hiking in Greece, especially Epirus if you’re looking for a hidden paradise, gorgeous landscapes, medieval villages and incredible food.

Disclosure:  I was a guest of VisitGreece.gr.  As always all opinions are my own.

10 thoughts on “Hiking in Epirus, Greece: A Hidden Paradise for Hikers”

  1. Epirus is a Greate place, maybe one of the most beautiful places on Greece. Greetings from an Arvanite (orthodox Albanian)

    Reply
  2. We’ve been wanting to take the boat over from Brindisi to Greece and explore this area for ages. Thanks for providing so many good reasons for walking the talk. I just love the arched bridges.

    Reply
  3. I must admit I’ve never heard of it either. Saying that the place looks amazing and when I make it to Greece now must add that to my list of places to visit.

    Reply
  4. Ioaninna is an interesting part of Greece, Close to Albania – and in some ways, similar in landscape. Never seen these bridges, though – so beautiful and unusual. And bears, too…

    Reply
    • @Sophie – Agreed! I loved it! I want to go back and also visit Albania. We could see it from some parts in Epirus, but of course seeing it, isn’t the same as visiting it.

      Reply
  5. Epirus looks amazing! We had the opportunity to spend some time exploring Greece last year and were blown away by all of the natural beauty. For those that think that all Greece has to offer are the islands (as beautiful as they are) are really missing out.

    Reply

Leave a comment

Hiking for Beginners Online Course >>

FREE TODAY ONLY!

hiking for beginners

Use Code "MONKEYSANDMOUNTAINS" at Checkout