Zagorohoria is a cluster of 46 picturesque stone villages scattered throughout the foothills of the Pindus, about 1.5 hours from Parga. The main characteristics of the region are steep mountains, dense flora, rivers and stone arched bridges. The most well known villages are Aristi, Kipoi, Monodendri, Ano Pedina, Mikro and Megalo Papingo.
Among the numerous sights which stand out and ‘steal every visitor’s heart’ are:
-River Voidomatis. Its springs originate from the Vikos Gorge and it is one of the very few rivers whose water is drinkable. The trails around its banks, covered with plane trees, are of unprecedented natural beauty and suitable for hiking. The visitor can go for a swim or engage in various other activities in its crystal clear waters.
-The Vikos Gorge. It is a place of outstanding natural beauty and great ecological importance and has also been listed in the Guinness Book of Records. The gorge, along with the Voidomatis River, is found in the core zone of the Vikos- Aoos National Park. The visitor can follow stunning hiking trails descending into the gorge from different villages.
-Kolymbithres. They are natural pools surrounded by huge slippery schist rocks in dense vegetation and waterfalls and are ideal for swimming and diving.
-Drakolimni Gamilas is a lake located in an alpine meadow at an altitude of 2.100m above sea level and in its waters live Alpine Newts, a rare amphibian which bears resemblance to a small dragon.
A trip to the village of Glyki (Acheron springs) and the Nekromanteion. Glyki is 30km from Parga and it is built along the river banks of the mythical river Acheron. Acheron and the surrounding area, characterized by dense flora, compose a complex ecosystem which is protected by Natura 2000.
The visitor can enjoy swimming in the crystal clear waters of the river, coffee or a meal at the banks under the centenarian plane trees as well as various activities such as rafting, canoeing and kayaking, horse riding along the river and hiking. According to mythology, the river signifies the path through which Charon ferried the souls of the deceased to Lake Acherousia and into the Realm of Hades. Near the shores of Acherousia is the Nekromanteion , the most important sanctuary of the God of the underworld and a communication channel between dead and living souls.
Today, a visitor to the Nekromanteion can walk across underground mazes, cleansing rooms, resting rooms and places for offerings to finally reach ‘the chamber of the dead’, the sanctuary, where dead souls could foresee the future. Only 5 kilometers from the Nekromanteion, you can find the estuaries of Acheron River and the small fishing-village of Ammoudia, where you can indulge in fresh seafood and generally the Greek cuisine.
Meteora is about 200 km (2h30m) from Parga.
It is an unearthly conglomerate formation of enormous, dark colored rocks which were created approximately 30 million years ago, when the sea once covering the area started to recede.
The monasteries built on some of the rock pinnacles compose a significant monastic community, second in importance only to Agion Oros.
Meteora is included into the World Heritage List of UNESCO.
Apart from a pilgrimage, visitors can take a tour around the Hellenic Culture Museum where they delve into the history of Greek education through extremely rare and old books of great historical value as well as projections.
In the Natural History Museum of Meteora and Mushroom Museum, you can admire exhibits of rare bird species and mushrooms hard to find elsewhere.
The legendary city of Ioannina (1h from Parga) is amphitheatrically built on the banks of Lake Pamvotis. The city was founded in the 6th century by Emperor Justinian and, along with Constantinople, had been the most significant centre of the Modern Greek Enlightenment. It was liberated from the Turks in 1913 and then incorporated to mainland Greece.
Ioannina boasts a plethora of sights and museums, the most important of which are:
-The Castle of Ioannina is of great museological, historical, archaeological and religious importance. Is the oldest Byzantine castle (528 A.D) and during the reign of Ali Pasha it used to be the largest administrative centre in the country.
-Pavlos Vrellis Museum of Wax Effigies hosts 150 life-sized wax effigies in 36 historical themes, inspired by major events in Greek History.
-The Island of the Lake. It is the only inhabited island in a lake all over Europe. It is an unnamed island which hosts seven Byzantine and post-Byzantine monasteries and Ali Pasha’s summer retreat as well. Today, as a museum, it brings the history of Ali Pasha to light through exhibits and representations.
-Perama Cave is located in close proximity to the idyllic lake, only 4 km from the city. It was accidentally discovered in 1940 and consists of many successive halls and corridors decorated with stalactites, stalagmites, curtains and impressive columns in unique shapes. The tourist route is 1.100m in total and absolutely rewarding for the visitor.
First stop-Ancient Kassope. It was a great political and cultural center during the 3rd century BC. The visitor can admire parts of the ancient market, the Prytaneion and the theatre overlooking the impressive Ionian coastline.
By climbing 410 steps, you can reach Zalongo, the place of mass suicide of women from Souli, where an imposing monumental structure depicts abstract female figures at the edge of the cliff as a symbol of sacrifice for love and freedom.
Visitors can stop in Nikopolis, the largest in size ancient city in Greece, on their way to Preveza. Preveza is a coastal town the heart of which can be found in the historical centre (pedestrian zone) with cobbled streets leading to a promenade for an evening walk. In the ancient town, a number of sites will attract your attention -some of which are the Venetian Clock Tower, the Metropolitan Cathedral of St. Charalampos, the famous Seytan Pazar and Neoriou Arches where you can find fish taverns and taste Greek traditional cuisine and especially seafood.
They are lilliputian islands in the Ionian Sea which can take the visitor to Paradise. Exotic beaches, blue-green waters, fine white sand or white pebbles at the bottom of the sea and lush vegetation stretching to the beaches create a fairy tale setting.
On the beaches Voutoumi and Vrika, the visitor can enjoy swimming in turquoise waters similar to those of the Caribbean. The small traditional tavernas in Loggos, Lakka, Gaios and Antipaxos are ready to satisfy any gastronomic desire of yours.