One of the loveliest inland destinations in Greece and the first one I always recommend to foreigners who want to skip the islands and explore the country side!
Zagori is actually the name of the mountain that rules the area. Zagorochoria is the name the area goes by and it literally means “the villages of Zagori”.
Zagorochoria are situated less than an hour drive away from Ioannina, one of the top 5 most picturesque towns in Greece and a must-visit on its own. They are also 5 hours drive from Athens. And less than 2 hours drive from Igoumenitsa, the port you’ll likely arrive to if you’re driving all the way to Greece.
Zagori during the seasons
Winter: This is your chance to experience the Greek winter in full force. The cold here is not like in Athens and you’ll likely run into tons of snow even in March, depending on the part of the mountain.
Spring & Summer: Spring sees lots or raining and Summer here is cooler than on the islands of course. Still, both seasons are ideal for hiking (the trails are nothing less than idyllic), some easy rafting down Voidomatis river, even horse riding along the river.
Fall: Perfect season to see the stone built villages dressed in red and orange. Expect rain in November, but it will still be warm and sunny in October.
Activities with kids around Zagori mountain
Ask your concierge about activities and sports organized near you. Some will be kid friendly. If you wish to explore on your own, the trail leaving from Klydonia bridge is easy and flat and the surroundings will wow you.
Our top 5 in Zagori with kids
Vikos Gorge: It might be a difficult hike, but the panoramic views from Oxia near Monodendri village are enough to wow you. Another amazing view point is Beloi; an easy 35 minute hike from Vradeto village.
Kolybithres: You’ll find them on the road connecting Big and Small Papigo. It really means “Bathtubs” and it’s actually a water streaming down the rocks, forming small pools of azure epicness on its way. If you’re here in the Summer, bring your swimsuits!
Old stone bridges: This part of Greece is famous for its stone built bridges, old and wonderful. The scenery around each one is dreamy, too: forests as far as the eye can see and crystal clear azure waters in the rivers below them. Kleidonia is a famous one, near Papigo village. On its shores, there’s an easy, flat trail you can hike for as long as you like. The bridges close to Kipi village are also amazing, with the largest and most famous being Kokoris. You can walk to Mylos, Vikaki and Plakida bridges from Kipi, but you’ll also run across many more on your drives around the mountain. There are parking spaces near them all.
Zagorochoria literally means “Zagori Villages”, so this is what the area is famous for, its amazing, small quaint villages. All old and built using the characteristic dark stone, from the alleys to the roofs, they are also very friendly to explore.
No-car villages: These are unbelievably cute and quaint and the kids will love the no car policy. The cobblestone alleys are impossible to navigate with a stroller, so just carry your baby and enjoy. Mikro Papigo, Megalo Papigo with great views to Astraka mountain top (really unique), Εlafotopos, Dilofo, Kapesovo are all lovely options (make sure your camera has enough space) and there are taverns here too. In the summer, the no-car squares are amazing to relax while the kids play.
Large villages: These are just as cute, but more “touristic”. There’s a road passing through them, no pavements to walk on, but all the cute taverns and gift shops as here. Of course there are alleys here too, but they are fewer and the taverns are easier to reach. Ano Pedina, Kipi, Monodendri, Vitsa, Tsepelovo, Koukouli, Aristi are all very quaint.
Where to eat
You haven’t tasted real Greek food if you haven’t been to the mountains. The remoteness here has kept the cuisine untouched from foreign influences. And the lack of mass tourism has kept the cooking local and traditional, really humble. People in these parts of Greece love enjoying themselves, drinking some tsipouro from 11 am and dipping on some meze to help the alcohol down. If you’re a meat lover, you’ll be in heaven! If you enjoy cheese, try them all. If you like warm homemade bread, you’re in for a treat. If marmelades are your thing, make room in your luggage! Don’t leave before trying some local bean soup with sausage on the side, chickpeas in the oven, mushrooms creatively cooked and all the local pies you can find.
Where to stay
Our family friendly recommendation is Kipi Suites, an exclusive boutique hotel nestled at the top of the ancient village of Kipi. Its eight luxurious suites and terraces offer panoramic views of the village, Mitsikeli mountain, Baya river and Milos. Throughout the seasons Kipi Suites offers a perfect escape for lovers of nature and country living.
The location is ideal, as it’s close to many villages, just 35 minutes from the nearest view point of Vikos Gorge (Oxya), and you can even go on foot to the river and walk along 3 very old stone bridges, Milos, Plakida and Vikaki. Kipi village also has cozy taverns and some cute cobblestone alleys to explore.