Between the Mountain Range of Pindos and the Ionian Sea is Epirus, a region that perfectly combines the wild beauty of the mountains with the coastal and wet elements. Τhe wider area is full of rivers, mountains, gorges, hidden coves, lakes, historic stone, and arched bridges while the history of the place is literally lost through the centuries. Of particular interest is the sweet coexistence of mountainous traditional stone villages with sparkling sandy beaches. One thing is certain, a weekend in Metsovo and Ioannina, whether it is winter or summer will leave you breathless! 

Let’s discover the beauties of these two magnificent cities of the Epirus Region! 

The first stop is Metsovo, the gem of Pindus Mountain Range

The authentic traditional character and the endless nature and greenery of the area make Metsovo one of the most visited destinations in northern Greece. In fact, it is a settlement that is amphitheatrical built giving all visitors but also the locals, the opportunity to enjoy incredible landscapes of unparalleled natural beauty. Apart from the nature that is given to you generously, the architecture of the place with its stone houses and buildings, the enchanting alleys, the traditional character of the city, the hospitality of the people but also the authenticity of the place create a unique atmosphere.

Especially if you choose a winter month to visit Metsovo, you will feel an incredible warmth and peace. From the first moment you get there, you will be impressed not only by the evocative architecture and the harmonious environment but also, you will feel like you are going back to your home and to your roots. The wonderful and imposing atmosphere of the light fog, the harmonious combination of the stone with the green color of nature, the smell of the burnt woods, the coal but also the spit invite you to a unique adventure.

Metsovo is distinguished for its local flavors and delicacies as it produces special dairy products (gruyere, yogurt, butter), fresh pasta, and exceptional wines such as the famous Katogi Averoff. For meat lovers, traditional dishes simmered with local ingredients is a must. Kontosouvli, boiled goat, Metsovo sausage, lamb, and handmade pies with the signature of the Metsovo tradition are some of the local specialties you should definitely try. 

Here, you will also have the opportunity to admire wonderful wood carvings and textiles, tour the winery of the area, admire the traditional costumes but also visit the impressive preservable manor houses. The traditional guesthouses of the area will give you the feeling of peace and tranquility you are looking for on your weekend in Metsovo and Ioannina, with the fireplace, jacuzzi, and other small luxuries to accompany your special nights.

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Ioannina, the charming capital of Epirus 

Heading to Ioannina city, the capital of Epirus with the charming lake and the outstanding character! It is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Greece, while it is distinguished for its remarkable cultural history. Ioannina is also an important tourist station, while the city is also known among youths as  “Campus”, as the university is considered one of the most populous with about 35,000 students.

A stroll around the city will offer you the feeling of another era, as the innumerable sights and museums dominate, among them the Ottoman Mosque, the galleries, the cobbled alleys, the Castle, the Fethiye Mosque and the impressive city clock. The Castle of Ioannina, built in 528 AD, belongs to the oldest Byzantine fortresses of the mainland, while Ali Pasha also lived there. The history of the city is endless. Between the walls, you will also have the opportunity to admire the famous Its Kale and the Aslan Mosque.

A walk around Lake Pamvotida and the wonderful views of the surrounded mountains will relax you. The whole lakeside area is full of cafes, restaurants, and bars. Choose a place to enjoy a hot drink or a traditional tavern where you will have the opportunity to try incredible delicacies and local flavors overlooking the enchanting lake. Do not miss to try the famous traditional sweets of Ioannina such as baklava and other syrup desserts as well. 

If the weather conditions allow it, do not hesitate to take the boat and enjoy a short but romantic boat trip on the well-known Ali Pasha island. Within a 10-minute boat trip from Molos, you will find yourself in a place that looks like time has stopped. The small Island of Ioannina with the few inhabitants looks like it wants to tell you stories and tales. Definitely the museum of Ali Passa worth a visit, where you will be impressed by the exhibits from the era of Ottoman rule and the personal items of Ali Pasha. 

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The exploration of the region of Epirus does not stop here. From Byzantine monasteries, caves, bridges to dozens of other attractions are waiting for you to discover. A weekend in Metsovo and Ioannina may not be enough to discover all the beauties of this incredible place, but it is enough for an unforgettable excursion. Pack your bags! Let’s go explore! 

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