The Pindos National Park "Valia Calda" is one of the most important and virgin parks in Greece. It was founded by the Royal Decree 487/1966 (Government Gazette 120/A/66) in order to protect the rich flora and fauna. It has an area of about 69,000 acres divided into the core and peripheral zone of the park. It is located in the Pindos mountain range on the borders of the prefectures of Grevena and Ioannina.
It includes the valley of Valia Calda, which is located at an altitude of about 1400 meters and is surrounded by the mountains Lygos and Mavrovouni (Flega 2,159 meters) up to the peaks of Mount Avgo (Altitude 2177 meters). The valley is crossed by several streams, the most important being Arkoudorema, which is a tributary of Aoos.
The name "Valia Calda" means warm valley in Aromanian. Apparently the park got its name euphemistically, due to the fact that it is one of the coldest and wettest areas in Greece. The climate is mountainous – Mediterranean, one of the richest in Greece in precipitation (1,500mm/year) and snowfall. Summers are cool with several local rains. Cloudiness is high and frosts are common from October to May, while snow covers the Park 7 to 8 months a year.
The geological composition of the Park consists of rocks of the flysch group with enough serpente, gavros, limestone and dolomite with a dominant appearance of serpentine. The soils of the park were formed by the weathering of peridotite and serpentine. It is loamy, loamy loam texture, acid chemical reaction and rich in magnesium and iron and often contain toxic concentrations of chromium, nickel, manganese and aluminum.
The Valia Calda National Park is one of the last habitats of the brown bear and a place where various species of Greek fauna find winter shelter. such as chamois, roe deer, wild boar, vultures, woodpeckers, golden eagles, black storks, nocturnal birds of prey and other birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammal. A total of 72 species of birds, 6 species of amphibians and 7 species of reptiles have been counted, which are quite rare and protected around the world.
Apart from the rich fauna of the park, its flora is particularly characteristic. Huge and dense forests of black and white-skinned pine and beech cover a large part of the park. Also, there are scattered trees of other species such as fir, oak, maple and other deciduous broad-leaved trees. Riparian, vegetation includes plane trees, various species of willow, alder, aria, etc. In undergrowth It is dominated by boxwood, many species of bush, climbing plants as well as deciduous shrubs. Many protected endemic and rare species of flora also grow. Finally, it is noteworthy the appearance of two small stands of forest pine (red pine) with 32 trees and 30 trees respectively in the valley and near the stream Saliatura.
Mushrooms are among the most interesting and impressive life forms hosted in the park.
In general, the landscape in Valia Calda is impressive. The dense forests alternate from bare alpine and rocky areas and huge cliffs, while the intense presence of the water element in combination with the extremely rich fauna and the impressive form of many mushrooms makes Pindos National Park a special destination annually for hundreds of nature lovers.