Epirus is a region in northwestern Greece, bordering Albania and the Ionian Sea. It is one of the most mountainous regions in the country, with rugged landscapes, clear rivers, and deep ravines. Despite its natural beauty, Epirus remains relatively unknown among tourists, making it one of Greece’s best-kept secrets. In this article, we will explore some of the top places to visit in Epirus and discover why this region should be on every traveler’s bucket list.
Ioannina is the capital of Epirus and a vibrant university town. It is located on the shores of Lake Pamvotis, a picturesque lake with a small islet in the center. The city’s historic quarter is a maze of narrow streets and old houses, with traditional shops and restaurants. The castle of Ioannina stands on a hill overlooking the city, offering panoramic views of the surroundings. Visit the Municipal Museum, where you can learn about Ioannina’s history and culture, and explore the Ottoman-era buildings, such as the Aslan Pasha Mosque and Ali Pasha’s Palace.
Zagori is a historic region in the heart of Epirus, famous for its traditional stone villages, high mountains, and deep gorges. The villages of Zagori are connected by a network of hiking trails, known as the Vikos Gorge Trail, which runs along the Vikos Gorge, one of the deepest gorges in the world. The villages of Papigo, Aristi, and Monodendri are among the most beautiful Zagori villages, with stone houses, cobbled streets, and ancient churches. Visit the Dragon Lake, a small lake situated at an altitude of 2,100 meters, and the Acheron River, a crystal-clear river with indigo-blue water, perfect for rafting and kayaking.
Metsovo is a small mountain town located in the Pindos Mountains, famous for its traditional architecture, colorful festivals, and local cheese and wine. Metsovo is a great place to visit year-round, but it is particularly beautiful in the winter when it is covered in snow. Visit the Averoff Museum, where you can see a collection of Greek and European works of art, and the Folk Art Museum, where you can learn about the region’s traditional crafts and costumes. Try the local specialty, “metsovone,” a smoky cheese made from sheep’s milk, and the local wine, “krasi tou Metsovou,” which is made from a native grape variety.
Parga is a beautiful seaside town located on the Ionian coast, south of Ioannina. The town is built on a hill overlooking the sea, and it is famous for its castle, beaches, and turquoise waters. The castle of Parga stands on a hill above the town, offering panoramic views of the Ionian Sea and the surrounding islands. Visit the Venetian-style houses in the town’s atmospheric old quarter, and relax on the beaches of Valtos, Lichnos, and Sarakiniko. Take a boat tour to the nearby islands of Paxos and Antipaxos, and admire their crystal-clear waters and green landscapes.
Preveza is a charming coastal town located on the western coast of Epirus, at the mouth of the Ambracian Gulf. The town has a long history, with evidence of its existence dating back to the 4th century BC. Visit the Ancient Nicopolis, an impressive archaeological site located just outside the town, and learn about the region’s Roman and Byzantine history. Walk along the town’s promenade, and admire the Venetian-style buildings and the marina. Preveza is also a great place to taste fresh seafood, such as octopus, shrimp, and fish.
Epirus is a region of Greece that is often overlooked by travelers, but it has a lot to offer in terms of natural beauty, history, and culture. Ioannina, Zagori, Metsovo, Parga, and Preveza are just a few of the top places to visit in Epirus. Whether you are interested in hiking, history, food, or beach life, Epirus has something for everyone. Next time you plan a trip to Greece, consider adding Epirus to your itinerary and discover this hidden gem.