Welcome to Epirus, a hidden gem in Greece that is waiting to be discovered. Epirus is a region located in the northwestern part of Greece, known for its breathtaking natural beauty, rich history, and unique culture. Despite its many attractions, Epirus remains relatively unknown to most tourists, making it an ideal destination for travelers who seek an authentic and off-the-beaten-path experience.
Epirus is a destination that has it all. From the majestic peaks of the Pindus Mountains to the crystal-clear waters of the Ionian Sea, Epirus is a region of stunning contrasts and diverse landscapes. It is home to some of the most beautiful beaches, lakes, and rivers in Greece, as well as some of the most impressive historical and cultural landmarks.
Whether you’re a nature lover, history buff, or foodie, Epirus has something for everyone. The region is famous for its outdoor activities, including hiking, skiing, rafting, and swimming. It is also a hub of culture and history, with ancient ruins, monasteries, and museums that offer a glimpse into the rich history and traditions of the region. And of course, no trip to Epirus is complete without tasting the local cuisine, known for its delicious flavors and unique ingredients.
In this article, we’ll explore the 18 best things to do in Epirus, from hiking in Vikos Gorge to visiting the ancient city of Kassiopi. We’ll provide you with detailed information on each attraction, including what to expect, how to get there, and what to see and do. So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in Epirus, Greece.
Tourist Map of the Things to Do in Epirus
To make your trip planning easier, I created a map with the best things mentioned in the article.
1. Hiking in Vikos Gorge
If you’re a nature lover, hiking in Vikos Gorge is a must-do activity in Epirus. The gorge is located in the heart of the Vikos-Aoos National Park and offers breathtaking scenery and a range of hiking trails to suit all levels of fitness.
The gorge is over 20 kilometers long and over 1,000 meters deep, making it one of the deepest gorges in the world. As you hike through the gorge, you’ll see stunning rock formations, crystal-clear streams, and lush greenery. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the beauty of the gorge.
2. Exploring the Monasteries of Meteora
The monasteries of Meteora are one of the most popular tourist attractions in Greece and for good reason. The monasteries are built on top of towering rock formations, and the views are simply stunning.
Visiting the monasteries is an unforgettable experience that will take you back in time to the Byzantine era. You’ll see impressive frescoes, learn about the history of the monasteries, and admire the breathtaking views from the top. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes as you’ll have to climb some stairs to reach the monasteries.
3. Discovering Ancient Nicopolis
Nicopolis was an important city in ancient Greece, founded by the Roman emperor Augustus to commemorate his victory over Mark Antony and Cleopatra. Today, the ruins of Nicopolis are a fascinating archaeological site that will transport you back in time.
The site includes a theater, an amphitheater, a stadium, and a Roman aqueduct, among other impressive structures. Take a guided tour to learn about the history of the city and the different periods of occupation.
4. Swimming in the Blue Lagoon of Parga
Parga is a beautiful coastal town in Epirus, with stunning beaches and crystal-clear waters. The Blue Lagoon is a popular swimming spot, with turquoise waters and beautiful surroundings.
The lagoon is accessible by boat or by hiking through a scenic trail that offers stunning views of the coastline. Once you reach the lagoon, you can swim, snorkel, or just relax on the sandy beach.
5. Visiting the Traditional Village of Zagorochoria
The Zagorochoria is a group of 46 traditional villages in the mountains of Epirus. The villages are known for their unique architecture and beautiful scenery.
Exploring the narrow streets and stone houses of Zagorochoria is like stepping back in time. Make sure to visit the traditional cafes and taverns to taste the local cuisine and experience the authentic way of life in the mountains.
6. Skiing in the Pindus Mountains
The Pindus Mountains offer some of the best skiing in Greece, with ski resorts like Metsovo and Anilio.
The resorts offer a range of slopes for all levels of skiers, and the scenery is simply breathtaking. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced skier, skiing in the Pindus Mountains is an unforgettable experience.
7. Rafting in the Voidomatis River
The Voidomatis River is one of the cleanest rivers in Europe, with crystal-clear waters and stunning scenery. Rafting in the river is a thrilling experience, with rapids ranging from class II to class IV.
The river is surrounded by lush greenery and towering mountains, offering a unique perspective of the Epirus landscape. Make sure to wear a wetsuit and bring a waterproof camera to capture the excitement of your rafting adventure.
8. Tasting the Local Cuisine
Epirus is known for its delicious cuisine, with traditional dishes like tsipouro, a strong distilled spirit, and bourdeto, a spicy fish stew. Tasting the local cuisine is a must-do activity in Epirus.
Make sure to visit the traditional taverns and restaurants to taste the authentic flavors of the region. Don’t miss the chance to try traditional cheese pies, grilled meat, and fresh seafood, accompanied by local wine or tsipouro.
9. Visiting the Ancient Theater of Dodona
The ancient theater of Dodona is one of the oldest and largest theaters in Greece, with a capacity of up to 18,000 spectators. The theater was built in the 3rd century BC and is still in remarkable condition.
Visiting the theater is a unique opportunity to experience ancient Greek culture and architecture. You can walk through the theater’s impressive seating area, admire the ancient stage, and take in the stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
10. Exploring the Village of Ioannina
Ioannina is the largest city in Epirus and a hub of culture and history. The city’s old town is a maze of narrow streets, traditional houses, and historic landmarks. The castle of Ioannina is a must-visit attraction, with panoramic views of the city.
Take a stroll by the lake of Ioannina, enjoy a coffee in one of the many cafes, and visit the city’s museums to learn about the rich history and culture of the region.
11. Enjoying the Beaches of Preveza
Preveza is a popular beach destination in Epirus, with long stretches of golden sand and crystal-clear waters. The beaches of Preveza are ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.
You can rent a sunbed and umbrella, take a dip in the sea, or try your hand at windsurfing or kitesurfing.
Don’t miss the chance to visit the nearby island of Lefkada, famous for its stunning beaches and turquoise waters.
12. Discovering the Caves of Perama
The caves of Perama are a fascinating natural wonder in Epirus. The caves were discovered in the 1940s and are famous for their impressive stalactites and stalagmites.
Take a guided tour to explore the underground chambers and learn about the geological history of the region. The caves are illuminated with colorful lights, creating a surreal and otherworldly atmosphere.
13. Exploring the Ancient City of Kassiopi
Kassiopi was an important city in ancient Greece, located near the modern-day city of Ioannina. The city was known for its strategic location and played a key role in the wars between Greece and Rome.
Today, the ruins of Kassiopi are a popular tourist attraction, with impressive temples, fortifications, and public buildings. Take a guided tour to learn about the history of the city and the different periods of occupation.
14. Admiring the Views from the Acheron Springs
The Acheron Springs are a group of natural springs located in the mountains of Epirus. The springs are believed to be the entrance to the underworld in Greek mythology. The views from the Acheron Springs are simply stunning, with snow-capped mountains and lush green forests.
Take a dip in the cold and refreshing waters, or take a scenic walk along the riverbanks. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the beauty of the landscape.
15. Exploring the Village of Papingo
Papingo is a picturesque village located in the heart of the Zagori region. The village is known for its traditional stone houses, narrow streets, and stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Exploring Papingo is a must-do activity in Epirus.
Visit the village’s central square, admire the traditional architecture, and take a hike along the nearby Vikos Gorge. Make sure to taste the local cuisine and buy souvenirs from the village’s artisan shops.
16. Visiting the Byzantine Museum in Ioannina
The Byzantine Museum in Ioannina is a fascinating museum dedicated to the Byzantine art and culture. The museum has an impressive collection of religious icons, frescoes, and manuscripts from the Byzantine period.
Take a guided tour to learn about the history and significance of the exhibits, and admire the intricate details and vivid colors of the artwork. The museum is a must-visit attraction for history and art lovers.
17. Relaxing in the Thermal Baths of Loutra Ipatis
The thermal baths of Loutra Ipatis are a popular destination for relaxation and wellness. The baths are known for their therapeutic properties, with mineral-rich waters that help to alleviate stress and fatigue.
Take a dip in the warm and soothing waters, and enjoy the peaceful and tranquil surroundings. You can also book a massage or a spa treatment for a truly indulgent experience.
18. Taking a Boat Tour of Lake Pamvotis
Lake Pamvotis is a beautiful lake located near the city of Ioannina. Taking a boat tour of the lake is a great way to admire the stunning scenery and learn about the history and culture of the region.
The boat tour takes you around the lake’s perimeter, stopping at different points of interest along the way. You’ll see the picturesque island of Ioannina, the traditional villages around the lake, and the historic monasteries and churches. Don’t miss the chance to take some amazing photos and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.
Visting Epirus with the Family
Epirus is a great destination for families, with a range of activities and attractions that are suitable for all ages.
The region’s natural beauty and outdoor activities are perfect for kids who love to explore and play. From hiking in Vikos Gorge to swimming in the Blue Lagoon, Epirus offers a range of fun and exciting experiences that the whole family can enjoy.
Families can also visit the region’s museums and historic landmarks to learn about the rich history and culture of the region.
Make sure to plan your itinerary in advance and choose activities that are suitable for your family’s interests and age group. Keep in mind that kids are easily bored so prioritize some activities for them.
How Many Days to Visit Epirus
To fully experience the beauty and attractions of Epirus, it is recommended to spend at least 5-7 days in the region.
This will allow you to visit the most popular destinations like the monasteries of Meteora, Vikos Gorge, and Nicopolis, as well as some of the lesser-known attractions like the thermal baths of Loutra Ipatis and the caves of Perama.
If you have more time, you can also explore the traditional villages of Zagorochoria and Papingo, and enjoy the beaches and coastal towns of Preveza and Parga.
When I visit a place I always try to plan my itinerary by adding 1-2 additional days for unexpected adventures and experiences.
5 Days Epirus Itinerary
Day 1: Visit the Monasteries of Meteora and Explore the Ancient City of Kassiopi
Start your Epirus adventure by visiting the famous monasteries of Meteora, located in the nearby region of Thessaly. These monasteries are built on top of towering rock formations and offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape. You can take a guided tour to learn about the history and significance of these monasteries, and explore the nearby town of Kalambaka, known for its traditional architecture and delicious cuisine.
In the afternoon, head to the ancient city of Kassiopi, located near the modern-day city of Ioannina. This city played a key role in the wars between Greece and Rome, and its ruins are still visible today. Take a guided tour to learn about the history of the city, and explore the different temples, fortifications, and public buildings. Don’t miss the chance to visit the archaeological museum of Kassiopi, which houses an impressive collection of ancient artifacts.
Day 2: Hike in Vikos Gorge and Swim in the Blue Lagoon of Parga
Start your day by hiking in Vikos Gorge, one of the most impressive natural wonders of Epirus. This gorge is the deepest in the world, and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and forests. You can take a guided hike to explore the gorge and learn about its geological history, or simply walk along the scenic trails and take in the stunning scenery.
In the afternoon, head to the coastal town of Parga and visit the Blue Lagoon, a beautiful natural pool with crystal-clear waters. You can swim, snorkel, or simply relax on the beach and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. Make sure to try some of the local seafood in one of the many restaurants and taverns in Parga, and enjoy the vibrant nightlife of this charming town.
Day 3: Visit the Ruins of Nicopolis and Explore the Traditional Villages of Zagorochoria
Start your day by visiting the ancient city of Nicopolis, located near the town of Preveza. This city was founded by the Roman emperor Augustus and played a key role in the history of Greece and Rome. You can visit the ruins of the city and explore the different temples, public buildings, and amphitheaters. Don’t miss the chance to visit the archaeological museum of Nicopolis, which houses an impressive collection of ancient artifacts.
In the afternoon, head to the traditional villages of Zagorochoria, located in the heart of the Pindus Mountains. These villages are known for their traditional stone houses, narrow streets, and stunning views of the surrounding mountains. You can explore the different villages, taste the local cuisine, and take a hike along the nearby Vikos Gorge. Make sure to buy souvenirs from the village’s artisan shops, and enjoy the peaceful and tranquil surroundings.
Day 4: Ski in the Pindus Mountains and Relax in the Thermal Baths of Loutra Ipatis
Start your day by hitting the slopes in the Pindus Mountains, one of the best skiing destinations in Greece. The ski resorts of Metsovo and Anilio offer a range of trails and slopes for skiers of all levels, and are known for their stunning scenery and hospitality. You can rent ski equipment and take lessons from experienced instructors, or simply enjoy the breathtaking views and fresh mountain air.
In the afternoon, head to the thermal baths of Loutra Ipatis, a popular destination for relaxation and wellness. These baths are known for their therapeutic properties, with mineral-rich waters that help to alleviate stress and fatigue. Take a dip in the warm and soothing waters, and enjoy the peaceful and tranquil surroundings. You can also book a massage or a spa treatment for a truly indulgent experience. Make sure to try some of the local honey and other natural products that are available in the nearby shops.
Day 5: Take a Boat Tour of Lake Pamvotis and Visit the Byzantine Museum in Ioannina
On your final day in Epirus, take a boat tour of Lake Pamvotis, a beautiful lake located near the city of Ioannina. The boat tour takes you around the lake’s perimeter, stopping at different points of interest along the way. You’ll see the picturesque island of Ioannina, the traditional villages around the lake, and the historic monasteries and churches. Don’t miss the chance to take some amazing photos and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.
In the afternoon, visit the Byzantine Museum in Ioannina, a fascinating museum dedicated to the Byzantine art and culture. The museum has an impressive collection of religious icons, frescoes, and manuscripts from the Byzantine period. Take a guided tour to learn about the history and significance of the exhibits, and admire the intricate details and vivid colors of the artwork. The museum is a must-visit attraction for history and art lovers.
You can take this itinerary as an example and customize it to your needs and desires.
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What is Epirus known for?
Epirus is known for its stunning natural beauty, including the Vikos Gorge, the Zagori region, and the Tzoumerka mountains. It is also known for its rich history and cultural heritage, including ancient sites such as the Oracle of Dodona.
Where in Greece is Epirus?
Epirus is located in the northwestern part of Greece, bordering Albania to the north and the Ionian Sea to the west.
How to get to Epirus from Athens?
The easiest way to get to Epirus from Athens is by flying to Ioannina Airport, which has several daily flights from Athens. Alternatively, visitors can take a bus or drive from Athens, which takes around 5-6 hours.
Is Corfu part of Epirus?
Corfu is not technically part of Epirus, as it is an island located off the coast of northwestern Greece. However, it is geographically close to Epirus and shares some cultural similarities.
What is the closest airport to Epirus?
The closest airport to Epirus is Ioannina Airport, which is located in the city of Ioannina and serves the wider Epirus region. Other nearby airports include Aktion Airport in Preveza and Thessaloniki Airport in northern Greece.
What is the easiest Greek island to get to from Epirus?
The easiest Greek island to get to from Epirus is Corfu, which is located just off the coast of northwestern Greece and has frequent ferry connections to the mainland. Other nearby islands include Paxos and Antipaxos, which are also accessible by ferry from Igoumenitsa.