Epirus: Zagorochoria and Tzoumerka, favorite winter destinations
In Syracos, Kalarrites and Kipinas Monastery. In the most beautiful villages of Tzoumerka
Built on the green slopes of Mount Lakmos, at an altitude of 1150 meters. Enjoy the wonderful architecture of the village with its stone houses, cobblestones, bridges and unique fountains, water running from everywhere. Drink water from the Goura spring with its incredible dome, next to the main square. Cars stay outside the settlements. The houses were built by Vlachs in the 15th century. Since the area is not suitable for agricultural crops due to the abundant waters of the Chrousia river, animal husbandry developed and also the exploitation and processing of wool.
Sirrako was the only village in Epirus that rose up during the first year of the Revolution of 1821 but, it was completely destroyed by the Turks.
Today, 50 residents live in the village. When visiting ask the village people to give you the key for the church of Agios Nikolaos with its wood-carved iconostasis of Metsovit taliadors, the paternal house of Kostas Krystallis and the beautiful Folklore Museum of Fotiados. Look also for the waterfalls where a canyoning track has been formed.
Exactly the same is worth doing in the neighboring Kalarrites. Approach them from the historic cobblestone path that connects them, through the Chrousia ravine: the route takes one hour and is beautiful.
You will find the same architectural features in Kalarrites. At the end of the 18th century silversmithing flourished in the village. Merchants sold their creations throughout Europe. The well-known Bulgari was originally from the Kalarrites. There is also a Museum of Silver and Goldsmithing.
Admire before reaching the villages visit the Kipina Monastery of 1212 built inside the rock.
To the Beekeepers village ... with the running waters
Melissourgioi is a mainland village with stone-built houses built at an altitude of 860 with running water and plane trees of the area, the Melissourgiotiko river and the neighboring fir forests.
The name of the village is due to its inhabitants... they have always been industrious like bees. In the upper square there is the church of Agios Nikolaos which was built in 1778 with particularly remarkable frescoes. The waterfalls in Kefalovrysos, the highest in the country, and in Krioneri are of exceptional natural beauty.
The Melissourgi refuge is another must see in the area. It is located at 1,023m. altitude and offers visitors countless options for outdoor activities. (tel. 6974-374172, katafigiomelissourgwn.blogspot.gr) there is a wonderful mountain refuge, which hosts trekkers.
Rafting in Aoos and Voidomatis
The Aoos and Voidomatis rivers are ideal for rafting and kayaking and have both easy and difficult routes, reaching up to 27 km in length. As far as rafting is concerned, the route of the Voidomatis River is suitable for beginners, unlike the Aoos River, which is one of the most specialized in Greece, it is only suitable for those who are in good physical condition and, above all, experienced.
Aoos is the only Greek river that flows outside the Greek borders, offering a unique rafting experience, ideal for very experienced rafters! The most popular route on the Aoos river starts from the Aoos bridge between the villages of Palioseli and Vrysochori and ends at the Konitsa bridge. The route ends in the Stomion Monastery area and lower than the Aoos dam, and continues towards the largest bridge in Greece, the Aoos Bridge. The route is of high demands, since it has continuous high difficulty levels V and VI, its length is 15 km and its duration from 4 to 8 hours, depending on the flow of the river.
In Zitsa, for the wines and a walk on the Kalamas river
24 km from Ioannina is the beautiful Zitsa, which is particularly known for its wines. Around the village you will see vineyards of the Debina variety. The 2000 acres produce the white sparkling wines of the designation of origin, which are famous for their delicate aroma and taste.
The streets of the village are beautiful and the old houses are unique attractions. Be sure to visit the Library, where you will also see many rare publications.
Another attraction of the area is the rushing Kalamas river which is the second longest river in Epirus (96 km). Its ancient name was Thyamis derived from the word Thyo, which means to move vigorously. It got its new name from the springs near Doliana that have a lot of reeds.
Near the village of Lithino, Kalamas performed his miracle. He carved the big rock with its wild waters and presented the strange creation "The Bridge of God" which for centuries facilitated the passage of the river since it, with its many waters, did not allow the passage elsewhere, but just as nature created it, so the destroyed. The rushing waters in 2018, after the heavy rains they washed it away.
In Koronesia and Amvrakikos
Just 25 km from the city of Arta is Koronesia, watered by the Amvrakiko gulf, in the Logaros lagoon. The islet of Pera Nissi is joined by a 6.5 km strip of land to the rest of the mainland. By visiting Koronesia you will enjoy a beautiful travel and gastronomic experience.
Beyond the natural environment and the beauties of the wider area, it is worth spending some time for a visit to the Byzantine church of Panagia Koronisia which dates from the 7th (according to others the 10th) century and refers to a rare type of cruciform semi-inscribed with a dome church .
The Ambraki Gulf is the largest wetland in Greece. Louros and Arachthos are the two big rivers that flow into the gulf, forming more than 20 lagoons. It took its name from the ancient Amvrakia, a city that was built on the Arachthos river, on the site of today's Arta. The Amvrakikos National Park, established on 21-3-2008, belongs to the NATURA 2000 network and is protected by the Ramsar Convention. 33 species of fish have been recorded in the Amvrakiko Gulf, of which 15 are caught. The fish are caught with gillnets or gillnets.
Amvrakikos roe has a small production but excellent taste. It comes from the female mullet fish called buffa. The eggs of the female fish after being salted, with coarse salt, and dried in a shady place, are then waxed with beeswax. Buffs lay eggs from July – October, and are fished for roe when the eggs are ripe, from mid-August to early October. Roe is rich in Ω3- polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamins mainly E, but also A, B, C, selenium, iron, calcium.