Epirus and Thessaly Feature
Hiking in the Zagora and Epirus
Hiking is one of the real pleasures of the Zagorohoria region, but trails can be challenging, not to mention dangerous. Your safest bet is to go with a guided walk; a number of outfitters schedule gorge hikes (the famed Vikos is a eight-hour trek!) and other invigorating activities. Make sure you have proper footwear, hiking gear, food and water, and emergency supplies and provisions, and never hike in heavy rains or go far in groups of fewer than four. Staff at most hotels can provide basic maps and put you in touch with local guides or trekking clubs.
Anavasi. One of the best hiking maps of Zagori is by Anavasi. It's GPS compatible and includes shorter and longer walks in the area. 210/3218104. www.mountains.gr.
If you're a physically fit hiker, you may want to hike at least part of the steep and long Vikos gorge. To get to the gorge, you follow a precipitous route from the upper limestone tablelands of Monodendri down almost 3,300 feet to the clear, rushing waters of the Voidomatis trout stream (no swimming allowed) as it flows north into Albania. It's a strenuous but exhilarating eight-hour hike on which you are likely to see dramatic vistas, birds of prey, waterfalls, flowers and herbs, and hooded shepherds tending their flocks.
This is but one of the celebrated hikes available in Epirus. In Ioannina, contact the Greek Alpine Club for complete walking-tour information. It can organize treks to the Pindos mountains. Aris Talaris can arrange excursions, in his eight-seater minibus, around the Metsovo area and Kalambaka, as well as hiking trips to the Vikos gorge, mainly during summer season. Metsovo Alpine Club has information on hiking trails and the nearby ski center. Robinson Expeditions in Ioannina specializes in outdoor tours and can make arrangements for single travelers or groups to hike the Vikos gorge; other programs are hang gliding, rafting, kayaking, and studying nature. The company also schedules rock-climbing excursions around the Meteora. For alternative adventures and extreme sports, contact Trekking Hellas and No Limits (both for the Zagorohoria) and Ecoexperience (for Metsovo).
Aris Talaris (Hotel Egnatia, Tositsa 19, Metsovo, 44200. 26560/41263 or 26560/41900. www.hotelegnatia.gr.)
Ecoexperience (Metsovo, 44200. 26560/41770 or 26560/41719. www.ecoexperience.gr.)
Greek Alpine Club (October 28th 17A, Ioannina, 45332. 26510/22138.)
No Limits (Central square, Konitsa, 44100. 26550/23777. www.nolimits.com.gr.)
Robinson Expeditions (Kipi [Gardens], Ioannina, 44018. 26530/78668. www.robinson.gr.)
Trekking Hellas (Spyrou Labrou 7, Ioannina, 45332. 26510/71703. www.trekking.gr.)
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