Located in the mountains of Northern Greece, the region of Zagori offers an unforgettable experience for travelers with its beautiful landscapes and well-known hiking trails. Historically significant, Zagori thrived as an important center for trade and commerce during the Ottoman Empire. Today, the area attracts adventurers and nature lovers eager to explore its remarkable natural wonders and picturesque stone villages.

Home to the Tymfi and Smolikas mountain ranges, the Vikos Gorge, and the Aoos River, Zagori presents a unique opportunity for those looking to go beyond the beaten path and immerse themselves in the extraordinary.

Zagori’s Stone Villages

The Zagori region is home to a collection of picturesque villages that beautifully showcase the area’s rich history, architecture, and traditions. These charming villages, each with their own unique character and allure, provide a glimpse into the region’s authentic local life.

Papigo (Megalo and Mikro)

The twin villages of Megalo (Big) Papigo and Mikro (Small) Papigo are among the most popular destinations in Zagori. These villages feature traditional stone houses, narrow cobblestone streets, and beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. Megalo Papigo is known for its 18th-century church of St. Vlasios, and Mikro Papigo offers access to the beautiful natural pools known as the Rogovo Ovires.


Monodendri is a beautiful village located amidst the mountains, characterized by its stone mansions, slate roofs, and elegant courtyards. Monodendri is also home to the historical Monastery of St. Paraskevi, perched on the edge of the Vikos Gorge and offering gorgeous canyon views.


Near the entrance of the Vikos Gorge, the village of Vikos is an ideal base for exploring the surrounding natural attractions. The town has traditional stone houses, a laid-back atmosphere, and beautiful views of the surrounding landscape.


The lovely village of Kipi is known for its arched stone bridges, such as the Kontodimos or Lazaridis Bridge, the Plakidas Bridge, and the Mylos Bridge. These bridges, dating back centuries, showcase the region’s architectural ingenuity and historical significance.


Vitsa is another charming village with traditional stone houses, cobbled streets, and vibrant floral courtyards. It’s an excellent starting point for hikes towards the nearby Vikos Gorge and the Monastery of St. John the Baptist.


Aristi, with its old-world charm, offers magnificent views of the surrounding mountains and the Vikos Gorge. The village is known for its well-preserved stone houses, ancient churches, and proximity to the Voidomatis River, a popular destination for rafting and kayaking.

The Beautiful Landscapes of Zagori

Zagori’s natural beauty spans a hodgepodge of landscapes, including mountains, gorges, and lakes. The region is home to some of Greece’s most remarkable mountain ranges, such as Tymfi and Smolikas, which rise over 2,400 meters above sea level.

In addition to its distinctive mountains and gorges, Zagori is known for its unique geological features, such as the karst formations (the result of the dissolution of soluble rocks like limestone, which take on a range of shapes and sizes) as well as waterfalls and rock pools.

The Vikos Gorge

One of Zagori’s most outstanding natural attractions is the Vikos Gorge, a canyon that stretches over 30 kilometers and reaches depths of approximately 1,350 meters. This gorge is a refuge for a wide variety of wildlife, like Balkan lynxes, wolves, bears, and birds of prey.

Drakolimni: The Dragon Lake

Drakolimni—or Dragon Lake—is a high-altitude glacial lake in the Tymfi mountain range. Local legends tell of dragons that once dwelled in these lakes, engaging in fierce battles that produced the thunderous sounds of avalanches reverberating through the mountains.

Plants and Wildlife

The region’s diverse landscapes support a wide variety of plant life, with myriad types of trees, such as beech, oak, and pine, dominating the forests. These forests provide a habitat for many smaller species of animals, including squirrels, foxes, and countless types of birds.

Hiking Trails and Treks in Zagori

Zagori’s gorgeous landscapes are a popular destination for hiking enthusiasts, showcasing some of the most exciting trails in Greece. With varied terrain and inspiring sights, this region makes for an unforgettable hiking experience for adventurers of all skill levels.

Exploring the Trails: Vikos Gorge and Drakolimni

Two of the most popular hiking destinations in Zagori are the Vikos Gorge and the Drakolimni trails, providing access to the region’s most famous natural wonders. The Vikos Gorge trail takes hikers on a journey through the canyon, with breathtaking views of the gorge and the surrounding mountains, plus a chance to spot rare wildlife species. Meanwhile, the Drakolimni trail leads to the enchanting Drakolimni Lake high in the mountains.

Challenging Hikes and the Tymfi Summit

For experienced hikers seeking a more demanding challenge, Zagori delivers rigorous routes such as the Tymfi summit trail. This strenuous trek takes hikers to the summit of Tymfi’s highest peak, necessitating exceptional fitness, experience, proper equipment, and thorough preparation.

Guided Hikes and Learning Opportunities

Zagori offers a range of guided hikes and tours for those who prefer an expert to navigate. These adventures not only help you traverse the region’s varied landscapes, but also give you a chance to better understand the area’s natural and cultural heritage as they guide you. Various resources, including detailed maps and trail information, are available to support hikers in their exploration.

Where to Stay

Wild camping isn’t recommended here, but there are accommodations throughout the area suitable for hikers on multi-day treks. You can join a guided tour with housing already arranged, or choose your own adventure. If you’d like to truly unwind and enjoy a bit of luxury after a strenuous hike, there are fantastic hotels, mountain resorts, and spas throughout the region.

Wrapping Up

While Greece is famous for its gorgeous beaches and ancient architecture, the mountainous regions definitely shouldn’t be ignored! If you’re looking for a different kind of experience and the chance to explore areas of the country that are a little less touristy, Zagori is a fantastic choice.

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Related: 7 Best Greek Island Hopping Cruises: Cruise the Mediterranean

Featured image by Feri & Tasos on Unsplash 

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