• Late afternoon sunlight on the Pindhos Mountains, northern Greece
  • The Plakidhas triple arched bridge at Kipi, Zagori, northern Greece
  • The Metamorfosi peak as seen from the trail to Mount Olympus, Greece
  • The spectacular Vradheto Steps near the village of Kapésovo, Zagori, northern Greece

Hiking Northern Greece

Zagori, Pindhos and Olympus

Northern Greece Slide Show

In the “hidden” region of Zagori you’ll discover a landscape filled with lovely mountain villages connected by a network of stone-tiled pathways and bridges. Here also you’ll find high country meadows ablaze with crocus and ringed by towering limestone peaks along with one of the deepest gorges in the world. Thrill to the spectacle of the monasteries of Meteora perched precariously atop towering sandstone pinnacles. You’ll also have an opportunity to climb to the summit of Mount Olympus, legendary home of the Greek gods and the highest point in Greece.

Day 1
Overnight in Kipi (Zagori)
Begin the day with a walk in Ioannina’s old town before traveling to visit the sanctuary of Dodona, the oldest Hellenic oracle, devoted to the god Zeus. The impressive amphitheater known as the Theatre of Pyrrhus dominates the site. Following the visit, continue into the Zagori region where stone-tiled paths and humpbacked bridges link isolated mountain villages filled unexpectedly with archontikons (“mansions”) built in the 19th century during the region’s heyday. Zagori (whose name comes from the Slavic words meaning “behind the mountain”) is one of the least densely populated regions of Greece and boasts a “showstopper” landscape whose centerpiece is the Vikos Gorge, the jewel of Greece’s Vikos-Aoos National Park and one of the deepest gorges in the world! This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner. You’ll spend the next three nights in a lovely traditional inn in Kipi village, one of the prettiest in the Zagori region.

Day 2
Overnight in Kipi (Zagori)
A short transfer by vehicle will bring you to Tsepolovo village where today’s hike begins. Descend the trail from Tsepolovo to the Paliogefira stone bridge. Cross the bridge and continue through pine and beech woodlands to return to Kipi where you’ll enjoy lunch. If you desire, an afternoon hiking option presents an opportunity to tackle the Koukouli Steps which will bring you to the peaceful village of the same name. Return to Kipi for the evening.

Day 3
Overnight in Kipi (Zagori)
Return by vehicle this morning to Tsepelovo village from where a trail leads to the Beloi viewpoint which offers an outstanding view over the Vikos Gorge. Continue to the village of Vradheto, the highest village in the Zagori region (4,400 feet above sea level). In the afternoon, descend the 17th century Vradheto Steps to the village of Kapésovo. The hike along the Vradheto Steps is one of the highlights of a visit to the Zagori region! Return to Kipi village for the evening.

Day 4
Overnight in Mikro Pápigo
Today you’ll have the chance to hike the full length of the Vikos Gorge! In the morning, travel by vehicle from Kipi to the village of Monodendri. From Monodendri, a trail drops steeply into the spectacular Vikos Gorge descending all the way to the Voidhomatis River. A well-graded footpath then parallels the river through woodlands and leads to the Voidhomatis Spring, a great place for a picnic lunch! After lunch, ascend to the stone village of Pápigo, your base for the next two nights.

Day 5
Overnight in Mikro Pápigo
From the village of Mikro Pápigo, hike up to the Astráka Refuge in the Pindos Mountains at an elevation of 6,400 feet above sea level. The refuge is situated in a broad “col” between the peaks of Astraka, Lapatos and Gamila. Energetic hikers can continue higher into the mountains to reach high country pasturelands and the Dragon Lake (Dhrakolimni) nestled on the flanks of the Gamila massif. Retrace your steps to return to Pápigo for dinner and overnight.

Day 6
Overnight in Kastraki
Depart Pápigo and the Zagori region bound for Meteora, well known for its monasteries built atop impressive sandstone rock pillars. (Meteora means “suspended in the air.”) En route, pause at the village of Metsovo for lunch before continuting to the town of Kastraki set at the foot of the rock towers of Meteora. A short hike will lead you past the sight of the ruined Saint George Monastery (built in a cleft of a sheer rock face above Kastraki) and introduce you to the spectacular World Heritage landscape of Meteora!

Day 7
Overnight in Kastraki
Enjoy a full day at Meteora! From Kastraki, follow old paths to the dramatically-situated Monastery of St. Barbara. Continue to the Agia Triada (Holy Trinity) Monastery which crowns a massive rock pinnacle. Descend by footpath to the lively bustle of the town of Kalambaka for lunch. In the afternoon continue your exploration of Meteora with a visit to the Grand Meteora or Varlaam Monasteries. Dine this evening in Kalambaka and overnight once again in quiet Kastraki.

Day 8
Overnight in mountain refuge
In the morning, travel by vehicle to Prionia (3,600 feet above sea level), site of a former 15th century monastery on the slopes of Mount Olympus. The climb of Mount Olympus begins from here. Ascend steadily through a forest of hardwoods that eventually gives way to Bosnian pine woodlands to reach the Spilio Agapitos Refuge at 7,200 feet. Enjoy a tasty meal—which might include fasolatha (bean soup), Greek salad, feta, olives—and settle in for the evening.

Day 9
Overnight in Litochoro
An early morning start will be required for those choosing to attempt the summit of Mount Olympus. The hike to the Mount Olympus summit is straightforward, but quite steep as you approach the summit ridge. Mount Olympus’s summit ridge is crowned by three high points. You have a chance to reach two of these—the peaks of Skala and Skolio. The thrill of reaching the “home of the gods” at over 9,500 feet above sea level—not to mention the wide-ranging views—is compensation enough for the effort! After the hike to the summit return to the Spilio Agapitos refuge and continue the descent to Prionia trailhead. A short transfer by vehicle brings you to the town of Litochoro at the base of Mount Olympus. Overnight in Litochoro.

Other Resources

Read Ron Hall’s account of his journeys in Greece (including the Zagori region) in “Greek Secrets” in the March 2007 issue of Conde Nast Traveler magazine.

Printable version of trip itinerary

Northern Greece Slide Show

Photos on this page are by John Osaki (© All Rights Reserved) except as otherwise credited.

THIS TRIP IS NOT CURRENTLY SCHEDULED.
Over the years, Mountain Hiking Holidays has developed and operated trips to a variety of destinations including this one, but not all trips are offered every year. If you are interested in joining a scheduled departure of this trip in the future, please send us an email and let us know. Click to send us an email.

We can organize and operate this trip as a private group departure with a minimum group size of 4-5 persons. Start organizing your private Northern Greece hiking adventure here.

Meeting point is normally in the northern Greek city of Ioannina. Accommodations in hotels and inns except for one night on Mount Olympus where accommodations are in a mountain refuge. Mid-May to mid-June is our favorite season for this trip.

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Trips for the adventurous hiker since 1996

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