When to Go

Ioannina is easy to visit year-round, but excursions to the countryside are best May through October, when most places are open. Winter is great for skiing and curling up by the fire, although spring, when the abundant and broadly variable natural surroundings blossom, is captivating, especially in the fabled Zagorohoria region. Metsovo can be blissfully cool even in high summer (especially at night). This helps make the town panagyri (saint's day festival) for Ayia Paraskevi, held July 26, quite pleasant, but the heat is oppressive elsewhere in this region at this time. The Meteora monasteries attract considerably fewer people in winter, but keep in mind the Thessalian plain can bake during summer in the vast oven formed by the surrounding high mountains. Maximum enjoyment will be obtained in the spring, especially at the Meteora monasteries. At this point, the mountains are still snow-covered and blend harmoniously with the green fields, the red poppies, and the white and pink fruit trees.

In Epirus, local tourist offices and most hotels will provide information about festivals, including the famous Ioannina International Folk Festival showcasing the region's music and dancing, which takes place in July. For those seeking the haunting traditional klarino (clarinet) music and graceful circle dances of Epirus such as the pogonisios and beratis, this is a fascinating event. Local groups also perform eerie polyphonic singing, another unique folk tradition rooted in the region.

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