The little known region of Epirus, situated on Greece's north-west mainland, is home to the traditional Zagoria Villages (Zagorohoria) and the Northern Pindos National Park. This region is spectacular and quite unlike any other part of Greece! It is located, as the crow flies, almost directly opposite the Ionian island of Corfu. It is a remarkably timeless and traditional region with a wonderfully vibrant and impressive nature. The main focus of our tour is the Zagoria Villages, which consists of 46 traditional villages, some of which have been declared national historical monuments. The National Park is not just a nature reserve but also a cultural monument to the mountain villages and their traditional lifestyle. It is an area with an extraordinary natural beauty, a vast temperate ecosystem, a distinctive architecture and an ancient way of life that will captivate the imagination of any visitor.
The word Zagoria comes from the Slavic language and means "behind the mountains", Za meaning "behind" and gora "mountain". Visiting the region and experiencing its undulating and dramatic landscape that includes the second highest mountain in Greece, Mount Smolikas, and the imposing Mount Tymfi range, it is easy to understand why the region was given this name. The National Park covers an area of 2500 sq. km with the dramatic 10km Vikos Gorge slicing through the middle. Its status has ensured the rich flora and fauna of Epirus has been vitally protected. More than 1800 species can be found here, many of which are endemic and considered endangered. Wildlife in the park includes 60 species of mammals, the most famous being the European Brown Bear. 187 bird species, 30 species of reptiles, 14 kinds of amphibians and 17 species of fish are also known to inhabit the park. It is a delightful area and a region of Greece that is quite unique. Its spectacular countryside is perfect walking country with a wonderful anonymity, which means it remains undeveloped, little visited holding on to its unique style and its mountain traditions.
We combine our visit to Zagoria with one night in Corfu, which provides the opportunity to explore the historic and atmospheric capital of the island, Corfu town.
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