Hiking The Merchants Trail in Zagori
About The Place
Zagori, nestled in the pristine region of Epirus, Greece, is a place of enchanting natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, picturesque villages, and a history that stretches back for centuries. This captivating region is a hidden gem in the heart of the Pindus Mountain range, offering an unparalleled experience for travelers seeking a harmonious blend of nature and culture.
The landscape of Zagori is a breathtaking tapestry of lush greenery, rugged mountains, and crystal-clear rivers. The Vikos Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is the crown jewel of the region, boasting the title of the world’s deepest canyon in proportion to its width. Hiking enthusiasts will be drawn to the countless trails that wind through dense forests and lead to awe-inspiring viewpoints, providing panoramic vistas of the wild terrain. The Vikos-Aoös National Park is a haven for biodiversity, with diverse flora and fauna inhabiting its protected borders.
Culturally, Zagori is a treasure trove of tradition and heritage. The local population is renowned for their distinct dialect and deep-rooted customs. The region is dotted with centuries-old stone bridges, built by skilled craftsmen in a style unique to Zagori, testaments to the historical importance of the area. Monasteries and churches, adorned with intricate frescoes, are scattered throughout the landscape, offering a glimpse into the spiritual history of the region.
The charming villages of Zagori, known as “Zagorochoria,” are the soul of the region. These stone-built settlements are nestled into the mountain slopes and exude an air of timelessness. Papingo, with its two parts – Mikro Papingo and Megalo Papingo – is a perfect example of this architectural marvel, where traditional guesthouses and tavernas blend seamlessly into the landscape. Each village has its own unique character, yet all share the warmth of the locals, who welcome visitors with open arms.
The history of Zagori is steeped in legends and tales. It was once a vital crossroads on the trade routes between the Adriatic and the Aegean, with merchants and travelers passing through, leaving their mark on the culture and architecture. During the Ottoman rule, Zagori was a center of resistance, with the locals fiercely defending their autonomy. The region played a crucial role in the Greek War of Independence in the 19th century.
Today, Zagori has preserved its heritage and natural beauty, offering a serene escape from the bustling world. The traditional festivals and celebrations, like the Zagorohoria Arts and Culture Festival, continue to honor the region’s history and cultural legacy. Additionally, the Zagori Nature and Culture Center provides visitors with valuable insights into the local traditions, flora, and fauna.
In conclusion, Zagori in Epirus, Greece, is a land of captivating landscapes, cultural richness, charming villages, and a history that weaves its way through time. It’s a place where nature’s grandeur mingles with the traditions of its people, where the past and the present coexist harmoniously. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or a cultural explorer, Zagori will leave an indelible mark on your heart and soul. It is a destination that invites you to step back in time and experience the enduring beauty of Greece’s wild and wonderful Epirus region.
- 6 – 7 hours
This wonderful circular hike is ideal for travelers who wish to discover the natural beauty of Central Zagori villages and its iconic arched bridges.
The tour will give us the opportunity to see, admire and walk on the arched stone bridges, which connected Zagori villages, years ago.
The hike starts from Vitsa village, where we downhill the old cobblestoned path, known as ‘Vitsa Steps’. We will meet the iconic Misios stone bridge, located in the river bed and we will continue hiking towards Koukouli, a beautiful Zagori village. Upon arrival to Koukouli, it is possible to visit Lazaridi’s museum, which features a collection of rare herbal species collected from the Vikos gorge.
Following Koukouli, our next destination is Kipi village, once served as a local government, where we will hike amongst the famous triple-arched bridges of Zagori. Our walk will continue through dense forest towards Dilofo village. Dilofo, is one of the best preserved stone villages of the area. As soon as we leave behind us Dilofo, we have spectacular views to the Vikos gorge and its vertical walls. After a while, we reach Vitsa village, where our circular route comes to an end.
Distance : 14 Km
What to Bring
Comfortable hiking shoes & trousers
Bottle of water
Certified & Experienced Guide
Pic nic snack (seasonal fruits, energy bars)
Pair of hiking poles per person
1 backpack for 4 persons
- Good physical condition and mental health
- Minimum Age 12+ years
- Starting Time 09:00
- Ending Time 15:00
Cancellation Policy - Flexible
- Whenever you cancel 4 days or earlier than the confirmed activity starting date, your fee will be refunded for the entire activity charge.
- In case of cancellation within 48 and 96 hours before the scheduled activity starting date, you'll get 50% reimbursed.
- Those who cancel 48 hours or beyond are considered last-minute cancellations. There will be no refunds