Architecture and nature
Just a stone's throw from Ioannina and Krikonis Hotel, at the foothills of Pindos, there are 46 settlements - ornaments of mountainous Greece, Zagorohoria!
A visit to Zagorochoria will confront you with a beauty that is hard to find. You will come across villages huddled in dense forests, but with immense views of the nature of Zagori, magnificent colors throughout the year, rivers with crystal clear waters and natural dragonflies! Most of the 46 villages in the area have been declared traditional settlements because of their architectural, cultural and historical features. Primarily, the architecture of the area is based on the local culture and for this reason the materials that dominate are stone and wood. Wherever your eye falls, the built environment of Zagori, such as houses, bridges, courtyards, fountains, wells, churches and squares, is stone-built. This feature creates a harmony that marries with the wildness and imposing landscape of the mountain and dense forests and creates beautiful scenery.
The beautiful little streets of Zagori lead you to places of unparalleled natural beauty where you will meet from towering imposing mountains, ravines, deep gorges, caves, rivers, waterfalls and plains that impress and give every visitor the opportunity to admire the greatness of nature.
The bridges that are scattered all over the area of Zagori are surely something not to miss. The traditional stone bridges, the ambassadors of Zagorian architecture and culture, have stood for centuries between forests, dense vegetation, over rivers, joining land and decorating with their grace and impossibility the costumes of Zagori at all times of the year. Most of the bridges you will encounter, ranging from one, two and three arches, are built in the 18th and 19th centuries, with the most known being the Plakida or Kalogerikos Bridge, a three-arched bridge built in 1814 and located near the villages of Kipoi and Koukouli in Central Zagori and the Bridge of Kleidonia or Voidomatis, a one-arched bridge built with it in 1853 and located in the village of Kleidonia, where the Vikos gorge ends.
The Gorge of Vikos, which has won first place in the Guinness record as the deepest gorge in the world in proportion to its width (width 1,100 meters, depth 900 meters, length 11 km), is one of its most important attractions a region of great environmental importance and a special natural spell. Vikos Gorge is part of the Vikos - Aoos National Park, one of the most important ecosystems of Greece, due to its rare flora and fauna. Characteristic of the gorge, apart from its unique and rare biodiversity, is the torrent that crosses it and ends its way out into the crystal clear waters of the Voidomatis river. Your best choice is to cross Vikos Gorge by following a 5-6 hour hiking trail with experienced guides to enjoy the enchanting natural scenery and all the rare species of this great ecosystem.
The lucky ones who visit Zagorohoria discover that this magical place gives you the opportunity to discover it in many different ways!
Zagori is one of the best mountain destinations and a paradise for those who love hiking in nature. The diversity of the area gives you the opportunity to enjoy hiking trails in the dense vegetation where the guided trails show silently the magic, tradition and the history of the place. Walking routes will take you to some of the traditional stone-built buildings villages, along the coastal waters of the rivers crossing the area, traditional bridges or even impressive gorges.
For the most adventurous guests there is the opportunity to participate in extreme sports such as raiding in the Voidomatis River, horse riding by the river or canyoning in the Vradeto Gorge, as part of organized groups that are escorted by professionals.
During your visit to Zagori do not miss the chance to visit, Drakolimni of Tymphi. It is one of the alpine lakes that exist in the mountains of Epirus, and at an altitude of 2,050 meters. According to local folktales the lake used to be inhabited by dragons, which is also the reason it is called ‘drakolimni’ (drakos in greek means dragon and limni means lake).