WalkingWith the exception of the descent from the Gamila refuge to Stomiou monastery, the walking is on well-defined paths, mostly in fir forest and open moorland above the treeline. The optional ascent of Smolikas is over steep cross-country terrain. In the Vikos gorge there is one river-crossing (still, knee-high waters) and the path is narrow and rocky in places. There may be poor visibility and/or high winds above 2000m on either mountain. Participants will be expected to carry some food on the treks.
Day by day programme
Day 1 Arrival in Athens and arrive to Ioannina on your own (flight or public bus)
Meet at Ioannina airport with your English speaking guide and from there transfer to your hotel in the Zagori region. Overnight in Monodendri or to the nearby Zagorian village, Ano Pedina (D)
Day 2 Short walk to Agia Paraskevi Monastery
We will visit the monastery of Agia Paraskevi, close to the edge of the gorge dating from the 15th century. Rest of the day free. O/N in a guesthouse. (B,L, D)
Day 3 Monodendri to Vikos and O/N in Papingo.
Walk to Mikro Papingo through the Vikos Gorge with its turquoise river-pools (5 to 6 hours). A classic trek in one of Europe’s finest canyons. Spectacular cliff walls tower up on both sides as we follow the riverbed downstream, or a small path alongside (4 hrs). We end with a further 2 hours uphill beneath the towers of Papingo. We may cool off with a dip in the natural swimming pool of a nearby stream before settling into our rooms. O/N in pension. (B,L,D)
Day 4 Papingo to Mt Gamila Refuge and Dragon Lake (6 hrs)
Todays walk starts with 3 hours uphill from Mikro Papingo to the “Astraka” refuge on Mt. Gamila, at 1950m. Here we picnic and leave our packs for the afternoon walk to the first of the Dragon Lakes, an hour away across grassy uplands studded with flowers and (until July) some small snow pack. We return to the refuge for the night. (B,L,D)
Day 5 Loop walks on Gamila and Astraka’s summits (7 hrs round trip)
There are two summits that we can ascend in a loop walk, if we are fit enough and in a good shape: Mount Gamila at 2480m and Mount Astraka at 2436m. We may choose on the spot which of the two summits to climb from where we can enjoy the panorama over the plunging Aoos ravine. We return to the refuge for the night. (B,L,D)
Day 6 Walk down to Klidonia (6 hrs)
We walk down to Papingo and then to Kato Klidonia village one of the most beautiful stone arched bridges of the Balkans via the deserted hamlet of Klidonia. Spend the night in Konitsa in a guesthouse. (B,L,D)
Day 7 Travel to Ioannina and back to Athens
We catch an early bus to Ioannina, to arrive around noon. Depart from Ioannina to Athens.
Age range, type of group
Leadership and group sizeYour tour leader will be with you throughout the week to guide you along the route, help organise and interpret in the villages and assist the group in any other way possible.Our leaders are fluent in English and Greek as well as often another language, and have walked in the area before. They will try and give you a real insight into the local way of life and, for those interested, will happily give some basic Greek lessons while walking or over evening drinks. Although not specialists, they are interested in the area's flora and fauna and usually carry field guides. We expect to run this trip with a group of 6-16 participants.
Sleeping and meals
Accommodation & FoodWe spend 4 nights in 2- to 4-bedded rooms with private facilities in traditional village guest-houses, which also provide delicious local food; and 2 nights in comfortable mountain refuges (1700-2000m altitude). The first refuge is a staffed “Alpine-style” hut with food and drink supplied; the second is unstaffed - we are likely to be the only visitors - but fully equipped; we carry and prepare our own food. We usually eat pasta dishes with meat or fish sauce, plus salads and sweet. All huts have cold water, dormitory bunks and bedding. Lunches are picnics taken at a scenic spot en route.
7 FILELINON STR.
ATHENS 105.57 GREECE