Pindos Hiking in Northern Greece
"Conquering three of Greece’s highest peaks and exploring three mythical alpine lakes..."
A vast complex of mountains, peaks, plateaus, valleys and gorges traverses the Greek mainland from the Northwest to the Southeast, creating the Pindos mountain range – the so called “Spine of Greece”.
Pindos is considered the southernmost extension of the Dinaric Alps and lies in the rugged and mountainous Epirus region, which boasts an incredible history and culture dating back to ancient times.
During our 9-day trek you will explore three of the highest mountains of Greece – Grammos, Smolikas and Tymfi – and their alpine lakes, remnants of the Ice Age. Dramatic high altitude sceneries and incredible landscapes will be a feast for your eyes!
Locals in Greece call high altitude alpine lakes ‘dragon lakes’ or ‘drakolimnes’ because they are believed to have been created by dragons throwing stones at each other. Each ‘dragon lake’ bears the name of the monster that created it. We will aim to spot the Alpine newt Triturus alpestris, a very rare amphibian species living in these lakes, believed to be one of the few survivors of the dinosaurs’ era.
Every day you’ll rest at picturesque guesthouses and refuges at remote villages such as Grammousta (Mt Grammos), Pades (Mt Smolikas) and Papigo & Elafotopos (Zagorohoria, Mt Tymfi). You will have time to relax and wonder around the most picturesque villages in Greece, the attractive and mysterious Zagorohoria and traverse Vikos gorge, the deepest canyon in the world; a real paradise for nature lovers!
Finally you’ll experience how life is perceived at the highlands of Greece… where one of the last remaining original mountainous tribal cultures of Europe still exists! If we are lucky we’ll join one of their famous “panigiria”, village celebrations that take place throughout the summer.
Here is an example of what you will experience during our unique Pindos hiking & alpine lake hopping in Northern Greece:
Join our Pindos hiking & alpine lake hopping adventure!
Those who will dare to take the endeavor will reward themselves with the experience of a lifetime:
Conquering three of Greece’s highest peaks,
Exploring three mythical alpine lakes,
Wander around the most picturesque and remote villages of Greece, the attractive and mysterious Zagorohoria,
Traverse the Vikos gorge, the deepest canyon in the world in proportion to its width,
Enjoying unspoilt sceneries with breathtaking views,
Swimming into crystal clear waters,
Meeting locals and the most original mountainous tribes in Europe,
Spotting unique wild life and endemic flora!
This is a relatively demanding hiking adventure, with treks at high attitudes and remote alpine zones and large cumulative elevation throughout the week. You should estimate between 6 and 10 hours approximate walking time per hike. Though previous experience is not necessary, a reasonable fitness level is required.
Temperatures can get pretty chilly at night, even during the summer months, while rain is always a possibility. You are strongly advised to come prepared for a real mountaineering experience, meaning you’ll need a good pair of hiking shoes and walking poles, a backpack of no less that 40lt, a day pack, waterproof shells, warm clothes and socks and a personal first aid kit. Full list and further information will be provided. Away from the big towns, there are no shops, so you’ll need to purchase everything you need prior to the beginning of the adventure.
The itinerary below is subject to changes according to the weather conditions or other special events taking place during the week. The enjoyment of our guests and their safety are always our main priorities.
Flexible itineraries are available based on the needs of our guests. We can organise a more challenging or a more relaxed-pace itinerary offering you more time to relax and enjoy the mountains and nature of Pindos and its picturesque Zagori villages.
It is possible to join us for 7 or 9 days or extend your hiking adventure for a few days and explore Olympus mountain or Meteora… or combine it with a week at the Ionian islands of Lefkada or Ithaca. Please contact us for further information.
We have reserved for you lovely authentic family-run guesthouses and mountain refuges at very picturesque locations. The refuges in Greece are quite basic but they provide shelter. The owners are very hospitable and helpful and are known to provide the most delicious breakfasts and meals. We’ll send you full details.
Solo travellers are welcome. It’s always more fun to walk with a group of like-minded travellers.
We look forward to show you the best North Greece has to offer! This unique cross-country hiking holiday is a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience the Greek mountainous nature, history and culture, off-the-beaten track… while enjoying the great outdoors to the maximum.
We organise our hiking and alpine hopping adventure in Northern Greece between May and October.
Contact us for further information and special offers!
HIKING & ALPINE HOPPING IN NORTHERN GREECE HOLIDAY FEES
9-day hiking holiday staying at traditional family-run guesthouses and refuges:
All prices are per person for two people sharing a standard double room.
- 9 nights – EUR 996 to EUR 1107 depending on the season
- Supplement for single rooms: EUR 135
We offer group and special offers. Please contact us for further information…
The fee includes:
- 6 guided hikes at Zagorohoria & Grammos, Smolikas, Tymfi mountains
- Accommodation x 9 days
- 24% VAT
- Transfer from and to Thessaloniki
- Luggage transfers
- Transfers to and from our starting and ending walking points
- Client’s information brief by e-mail
- An arrival briefing
- Presentations and information on the biodiversity & local flora and fauna
Book your walking holiday and discover the best Northern Greece has to offer!
Take a few moments to breath in the air from Greece‘s second highest peak and the highest of the Pindos Mountain range (2,637m). After admiring the scenic views we will return to Pades village for a delicious dinner at our favourite local tavern.
(Distance: 22km. Technical difficulty: Medium. Actual walking time: 8-10 hours.)
Here you will have the opportunity to enjoy some majestic views over the Vikos gorge, in a short walking distance from the village or hike down the famous “Skala of Vradeto”, a stone built path, connecting Vradeto with its neighboring village, Kapesovo.
At the end of your trek, you will reach Astraka refuge for a heart-warming dinner and a long sought after rest. By spending the night in the mountain refuge, you will experience the “mountain spirit” and hopefully a clear night sky offering excellent opportunities for stargazing.
(Distance: 18km. Technical difficulty: Medium to Challenging. Actual walking time: 8-10 hours.)
On the way to the lake, you will pass from a spring and another seasonal lake named “Xeroloutsa”. The surrounding landscape, although naked, is incredibly impressive, offering panoramic views to the surrounding mountain peaks. After a delightful picnic you will start your descent to the charming village of Mikro Papigo, where we will spend the night.
(Distance: 10 km. Technical difficulty: Medium. Actual walking time: 7-8 hours.)
Vikos is an enclosed ecosystem and our guide will introduce you to its unique flora. You will also have to opportunity to refresh by jumping into the cold waters of the springs! You will end your hike by ascending to Monodendri village and after a rewarding lunch, you will be transferred to our guesthouse at Elafotopos village.
(Distance 17km. Technical difficulty: Medium. Actual walking time: 8-10 hours.)
Today you will enjoy a relaxed walk to the nearby villages of Vitsa, Koukouli and Kipi through traditional stone-built paths and arched bridges. The area is full of rivers where, still today, some remarkable centuries-old arch bridges can be seen. We will stop for lunch at Koukouli village and visit its unique folk and botanical museum. After visiting Kipi village we will make our way back to Elafotopos for a rest and dinner.
(Distance 7 km. Technical difficulty: Easy. Actual walking time: 3-4 hours.)
Your introductory hike to Grammos will take you through a lush forest up to Kotili tower, a watchtower during time of war, with panoramic views of the surrounding peaks. You will end the hike with a visit to the “Museum of National Reconciliation” for a guided tour of its historic collection and a home-made lunch prepared by local women. Eventually you will be transferred to Gramousta village and a unique lodge, totally hand-built from local wood, where dinner will be served.
(Distance: 7km. Technical difficulty: Easy to medium. Actual walking time: 3-4 hours.)
Those courageous enough will continue for another two hours up to the highest peak of Grammos, “Τsouka Petsik”, at an elevation of 2,520m. Back at our lodge, a farewell BBQ will be your reward!
(Distance: 20 km. Technical difficulty: Medium to challenging (if continue to the peak). Walking time: 8-10 hours.)
“The Tymfi area had outstanding natural beauty and it would have been better to have more time there… Taking the trip in early June meant an abundance of wild flowers too. Yannis and Daphne were both great fun to travel with, the itinerary was well thought out and everything was seamless thanks to their hard work, not to mention great food, good weather and a nice group. It is fair to say that we enjoyed the experience very much.”
"Thanks for the follow up and for all the support you gave us in the build up to the holiday – this left us with a very positive impression. Yannis and Daphne were both great fun to travel with, the itinerary was well thought out and everything was seamless thanks to their hard work, not to mention great food, good weather and a nice group. It is fair to say that we enjoyed the experience very much J Sadly back to the routine of work now."
"Hiking around Vikos Gorge was amazing. A fairly remote place, the hikes were challenging but beautiful and the food at the end of each day was superb. A truly memorable experience."