As autumn approaches, our mind continues to travel and, after the many beaches of the summer, seeks destinations in the mountains. After all, the first rains of the season are more charming when you’re walking on path in the Vikos gorge or when you’re strolling among the stone houses of the Tzoumerka and Zagori villages.

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Under the eye of the Astraka towers

A unique universe that consists of natural beauty, truth and the tenacity of its people; that’s what Papigo is, perched on the slopes of mount Tymfi, it balances between its magic, its mystical dimension and human intervention. Leaving river Voidomatis behind, going uphill, after each of the 14 sharp, dizzying turns of the road, you’ll discover a new reality, a new perspective, a place that causes intense feelings and fills you with satisfaction and contentment.

The villages Megalo and Mikro Papigo, under the eye of the Astraka towers, those huge, distinctive vertical rocks, become a meeting destination and transform a simple visit into a unique experience. Original traditional architecture of the Zagori region, cobbled alleys, and slate roofs create a balanced beauty. The Megalo and Mikro Papigo, across each other, appear to be in conversation, and charm you instantly. Between them, the natural basins called Ovires Rogovou, where on hot summer days, travellers can swim and cool off.

Crossing the Vikos gorge

Crossing the Vikos gorge is an important moment in any hiker’s life, since it is, undoubtedly, the most famous and most impressive gorge of mainland Greece. It’s part of the Vikos – Aoos National Park and also part of the UNESCO Natura network. It’s the deepest gorge in the world, in proportion to its width, while the view of the vertical rocks becomes even more impressive if you think that they were formed 150 million years ago in the bottom of the sea.

The gorge stretches 11km, and at some spots it’s more than 1,000m deep. To complete it, you’ll need about 5 hours. Crossing the gorge can start at Vikos and end in Monodendri or vice versa. If you decide to cross the gorge, you’ll experience unprecedented emotions, walking inside the gorgeous nature that is home to about 1,800 different plant species.

The emblematic villages Syrrako and Kalarrites in Tzoumerka

Perched on the slope, the village of Syrrako in Tzoumerka is filled with examples of Epirotic architecture. Stone is the main material in the village with the rich history, founded in the 15th century by Vlachs. It is the birthplace of the author Kostas Krystallis, and the home of a folklore museum with his name, as well as beautiful guesthouses in historic buildings. A village with a long history of trading, since the villages in the past took advantage of the power of water to process wool. With the wool they made textiles, capes and linens that they exported, putting the name of Syrrako on the trading map of the time, and becoming popular with the noble families of the time. At the opposite slope, Kalarrites also have a long history in the trading of textiles and silk, in addition to gold and silver smithing.

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