Zagorochoria: An autumn excursion to the villages of west Zagori

Autumn is one of the best seasons to visit Zagorochoria. Nature embraces the area with the colours of autumn, creating a magical landscape worth discovering. In this article, we will guide you through the world of this region and give you all the information you need for your stay and entertainment.

The area of Zagori in the Prefecture of Ioannina, from where the Zagorochoria owe their name, consists of 46 villages, each of which has retained its uniqueness until today. Stone-built houses, picturesque squares, special churches and arched bridges are what basically make up the landscape of Zagori.

On September 19, 2024, at a UNESCO meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, it was decided to include Zagori in the World Heritage List as a cultural landscape.

West Zagori

West Zagori, northwest of Ioannina, includes the villages of Aristi, Mikro and Megalo Papigo, Mesovouni and Agios Minas. Villages of unparalleled beauty and natural beauty. Aristi, a picturesque traditional continental village, is one of the largest villages of Zagori. The old name of the village was “Architsa”. It is built at an altitude of 650 metres and spreads along a green hillside.
In the central square of the village, you will find the traditional café-restaurant En Aristi where you will taste excellent Zagori dishes. You will be surprised to see the abundance of mansions you will see – a fact that testifies to the prosperity the place has known in the past.

At Aristi Mountain Resort Hotel you will have a unique experience, as well as at Gamila Rocks Mountain Hotel.

Aristi is located on the road to Papigo and can be the starting point of your excursion since access to the sights of the area is easy.
Megalo Papigo is one of the most popular destinations in Zagori. As you enter the village you will see the church of Agios Vlasios where the completion of its construction dates back to 1852. Old stone houses have now been converted into traditional guesthouses, taverns and cafes pop up in beautiful, picturesque alleys and squares that draw you to sit down to enjoy the tranquility and nature of the place. Sterna is such an example of a café that will impress you. It is located in a fairy-tale setting where you can find local products, gifts and at the end enjoy your coffee or a tsipouro.
About your stay we have selected a few and we recommend the following:

Papaevangelou Hotel

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Papigo Towers Hotel

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Rupicapra Villas

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Avragonio Apartments

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The accommodation is traditional, tasteful and hospitable to provide you with the authentic Epirus hospitality!


The Kolimbithres in Papigo consist of a series of small rock formations. The crystal-clear waters that flow in this area create an impressive spectacle. They are located at an altitude of 980 metres. There the Rogovou stream has eroded the ground, resulting in this stunning landscape!
Two kilometres from Megalo Papigo is Mikro Papigo. The mountain range of Tymfi that rises above it gives the landscape a peculiarity. For many years there were few accommodation and entertainment options in the village. The only visitors were the mountaineers who went to the refuge, Gamila and Drakolimni.
Another popular village is that of Vikos. It owes its name to the homonymous gorge. For Zagori, Vikos is one of the most important tourist destinations, which is confirmed by the increasing trend of visits from Greece and abroad.
The village of Vikos along with Mikro, Megalo Papigo and Monodendri are located within the boundaries of the Vikos-Aoos National Park.

Vikos Gorge

The most imposing side of Zagori. It crosses the western and central Zagori. In 1997 it entered the Guinness Book of Records as the deepest and narrowest gorge in the world. It should be noted that any activity in it is prohibited as it is an Area of Absolute Protection.

Doctor’s of Vikos

In the area of Vikos it was known that there were over 250 species of medicinal plants. Thus, in the 17th century, empirical healers who lived in the villages around the Vikos gorge, known as the ‘Vikoyiatroi’, that is, doctors of Vikos, exploited the properties of these plants and created recipes that reached the Balkans, Constantinople and Russia. Modern medical science has endorsed the therapeutic properties of these plants which is why many herbs are still collected today for drinks etc.
You will love the route and the traditional architecture of the villages of Zagori. The nature and the hospitality of its inhabitants will touch your soul. The excursion to the villages of west Zagori will remain engraved in your memory, as well as its beautiful landscapes.

Autumn has arrived and Zagorochoria is waiting for you!