A week of self-guided walking in the magnificent Zagori region of north-west Greece, a little known landscape of ancient trails, superb local food and traditional guesthouses. Categorised as an easy to moderate walking holiday, and suitable for solo travellers, explore Vikos-Aoös National Park and its stunning Vikos Gorge. Starting in Kipi, famous for its historic stone bridges, walking in Zagori reveals a plethora of rural villages, the great Gorge itself, dramatic cliffs and river valleys.
- Vikos Gorge, the world’s deepest canyon in proportion to its width
- Vikos National Park
- Arch stone bridges and historic cobbled paths
- Ancient settlements
- Monodendri stone forest
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Day 1: Arrival in Kipi
After your arrival at Ioannina airport or bus station, take a taxi to Kipi (or pre-book a transfer with us). Kipi is a picturesque village known for its impressive stone arch bridges. Built centuries ago to connect the villages, especially during winter when rivers became impassable, each bridge is named after the wealthy family who built it.
- Accommodation: Hotel Machalas or similar
Day 2: Kipi to Monodendri | 9km
From Kipi, descend and cross the River Voidomatis via Mylos bridge. Walk along the river and cross it again via Kokkorou bridge. This is the upper entrance to Vikos Gorge where you get a taste of what is to come in the following days. Cross Misiou bridge and head up to the village of Vitsa on the edge of the gorge. Continue to Monodendri where your hotel awaits.
- Walking for the day: 9km, 3h, ↑450m ↓150m
- Accommodation: Hotel Zarkadas or similar
Day 3: Monodendri circular walks | 1.6 – 7.7km
From Monodendri, you have three walking options all taking you to different viewpoints over Vikos Gorge. We recommend at least going as far as Agia Paraskevi monastery, from where you have stunning views over the gorge. Oxya viewpoint is the most famous, accessible via a path surrounded by eroded rock pillars. The viewpoint at Agioi Apostoloi chapel is the least visited of the three.
- Walking for the day:
Option 1: 7.7km, 2.5 h, ↑325m ↓325m
Option 2: 1.6km, 30min, ↑60m ↓60m
Option 3: 2.1km, 50min, ↑50m ↓50m
- Accommodation: Hotel Zarkadas
Day 4: Vikos Gorge | 12.5km
Today’s walk is the highlight of the trip. Descend 400m from Monodendri to the bottom of the gorge and then move up along the river bed as far as Voidomatis Springs. For most of the time, you walk close to the river bed and sometimes a bit higher. Along the way, there are lots of opportunities to swim or just cool your feet in the fresh water. From Voidomatis Springs, ascend via a beautiful cobbled path up to Vikos, a tiny village overlooking the gorge.
- Walking for the day: 12.5km, 4-5h ↑700 m ↓1000 m
- Accommodation: Foris Guesthouse or similar
Day 5: From Vikos to Papingo | 5.3 – 6.3km
Take time to take in the magnificent views of Vikos Gorge before descending to Voidomatis Springs. On the way, you have an option to make a small detour to the church of the once bigger monastery, Panagia tou Vikou. At Voidomatis, cross the river. Note that until June, when the waters are still flowing, you may have to take your boots off to cross. Follow the zigzagging path uphill to Megalo Papingo, one of the most popular Zagorian villages located under the Towers of Astraka – impressive limestone buttresses. You stay in a beautiful mansion in the village for the next two nights.
- Walking for the day: 5.3km, 2h ↑450m ↓530m
With optional detour: 6.3km, 2.5h ↑550m ↓630m
- Accommodation: Saxonis Houses or similar
Day 6: Papingo circular walk | 8.6km
Today is a circular walk from Megalo Papingo. First, walk towards Mikro Papingo, the smaller twin village of Megalo Papingo. You have an option to make a loop to Kokkino Lithari, meaning the Red Rock. From this point, you have a superb view of the Papingo villages and surroundings. Back in Mikro Papingo, continue towards the Rock Pools, or Kolymbithres in Greek, idyllic bathing spots in summer. After an afternoon relaxing at the pools return to nearby Megalo Papingo for your last hotel stay.
- Walking for the day: 8.6km, 3h ↑600m ↓600m
- Accommodation: Saxonis Houses or similar
Day 7: Departure
After breakfast, head to Ioannina bytaxi or by private transfer (upon request). We can also book extra nights for you in the beautiful city of Ioannina and give you some ideas about extending your adventure in the region.
What to expect
Accommodation on this tour is in traditional mansions, built from limestone and most with traditional slated roofs. Some hotels date back to the 17th and 18th-century, during the era of Turkish rule. Many of the hotels boast elegant carvings and big fireplaces. Although balconies are not a feature, there are often cool, shaded terraces to enjoy an aperitif after a day of walking in Zagori. All our hotels are carefully selected based on a variety of criteria including their location, warm hospitality, fine local food or commitment to responsible tourism. All rooms have en-suite or private bathrooms.
Click to view default hotels
*Hotels are subject to availability. In the event of a particular hotel being fully booked for your chosen dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.
The overnights are on a B&B basis, with a traditional breakfast using locally sourced ingredients. For packed lunches, there are plenty of small shops in the villages, and one recommendation is to seek out the region’s pies, made with feta and wild herbs. in most hotels you can order a packed lunch, payable locally. Occasionally there are tavernas along your walking itinerary, and there are plenty in the villages for dinner, when you finish your day of walking.
Difficulty and terrain
This holiday requires a good level of fitness. The daily walks are typically 3h to 5h (9km on average), the only exception being the five-hour Vikos Gorge walk (read more about difficulty grades). The walks are on footpaths and cobbled paths (kalderimi). The terrain is quite hilly, but the walks are not as difficult as you would expect looking at the dramatic scenery. Some sections of the trails are steep and considerable sections follow old cobbled footpaths dating back to the 17th and 18th-century. Summers can be warm; many walks are partly through shaded forest. You can get close to steep drops at some viewpoints, but it is up to you how close you get to the edge, and you can avoid this in case you suffer from vertigo. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. We are also using a specialised app for walking and cycling holidays. We recommend all guests to download the app and create an account on which we can upload all the information needed for the trip routes.
When to go
This trip is available between end of March and October. The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date in the season.
The climate in Zagori is Mediterranean continental with an average of 100 days of sunshine in the May-September period. It is influenced by the mountain range of Pindos and spring and autumn are pleasant with cool nights and occasional rain. Depending on location and altitude, temperatures vary, but generally, in the May-September period, the daily averages are 15–25C. High summer daytime temperatures are rarely too hot as even though temperatures can occasionally reach 30C. Summer nights are quite cool and pleasant.
Click to view travel options
Our recommended arrival airports are Thessaloniki and Preveza which are well connected to major UK and European airports. Ioannina is also well connected to other airports in Greece by internal flights.
By train or bus
- Flight to Preveza: Preveza has flight connections to some cities in Europe. From the airport, you can take a taxi to the bus station (KTEL) in Preveza city. There are direct long-distance buses from Preveza to Ioannina, approx. eight buses per day on weekdays and four on the weekends. Duration of the trip is 1.5h.
- Flight to Thessaloniki: From Thessaloniki airport, you have to take a taxi or public bus (app. 45mins) to Thessaloniki bus station, with approximately six buses per day to Ioannina, the last bus due to depart app. 20.30. Price is approx. 25 EUR p.p. one way. Duration of the trip is approx. 4h. You can prebook the airport taxi in combination with the bus ticket along with your booking.
- Flight to Athens: If you arrive early afternoon at Athens airport, you can travel by taxi or public bus to the bus station (KTEL) of Athens. There is a public bus approx. six times daily with the last bus around 18.00. Duration of the trip is approx. 5h and costs approximately €35 per person, one-way. You can prebook the airport taxi in combination with the bus ticket along with your booking.
- Ioannina-Kipi: You have to take a local taxi or pre-book a taxi from Ioannina bus station or airport to Kipi.
- Leaving Papingo: Your trip ends in Megalo Papingo. There is no public transport from Papingo. You have to take a taxi or pre-book a taxi to Ioannina airport (domestic flights to Athens) or bus station. From Ioannina, you can travel to Preveza airport, Athens bus station or Thessaloniki bus station by public bus.
- More information about Ioannina-Athens and Ioannina-Thessaloniki connections is available on ktelioannina.gr. It is possible to book tickets online, but the site is only available in Greek. Therefore we offer the possibility to provide you with bus tickets in combination with the airport transfer.
- 6 nights accommodation (private en-suite)
- Breakfast on each day
- Luggage transfers when changing hotels on day 2, 4 and 5
- 24/7 telephone assistance, just a phone call away
- All the needed navigation materials in digital format
- Airfare and connecting land transfers
- Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
- Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
- Personal expenses
- Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
- Any items not explicitly listed as included
Options, extras and supplements
- If you’re travelling in a group, a supplement applies to group members who would like to have a room of their own.
- This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
- Extra nights in Ioannina before or after the holiday
- Private arrival and departure transfers from/to Ioannina