Return to Home Page Harrys Greece Guide

The Vikos Gorge & the Zagoria villages Page 4

The gorge walk from Monodhendri to Papingo

The Monastery of Spilotissa ArisitiAfter yet another hour the gorge widens out and there is a choice of going staight, on the clearest path, to an 18th century chapel of the Panaghia, beyond which the path turns into a good kalderimi (cobbled path), which ascends in about half an hour to the village of Vikos (or Vitsiko), where there are two inns. The O3 route leads to the two Papingo villages, reached by crossing the gorge bed at Voidhomatis springs, some five hours total walk from Monodhendri. From here it's about two hours walk to Mikro Papingo (Little Papingo), a little less to Megalo Papingo (Big Papingo), with the path forking at around ninety minutes after the streambed crossing. There are some fine views halfway up .

Megalo Papingo consists of around fifty houses along a tributary of the Voidhomatis River. This village has become very popular with wealthy Greeks, and offers many inns and tavernas. The place might be avoided in high season, considering its trendiness. Mikri Papingo, the smaller village, is situated very dramatically below grey limestone rocks known as the Pyrgi (Towers). There's one main inn here, whose propietor likes trekkers and gives discounts to backpackers. There are also some rented rooms in the village. A mountain guide, whose name is Panos Sotiropoulos, lives in the village.

Bus service, at least up until recent years, has been rather erratic, making it worth renting a car to give you more control over your journey, if you can afford it, Aristi, west of Voidhomatis River, usually has plenty of accommodation. There's nice place to picnic along the river near a bridge below Aristi, accessible by a paved road that descends from the village. No camping is allowed but there are trails along the river that pass by nice shady spots upstream before the rocks begin to close off the gorge, at which point rafts and kayaks are in order. The water is too cold for swimming, which is also forbidden. The monastery of Spiliotissas is downstream (above right), clinging to the cliff. You get to it via a path through a grove of plane trees, west of the road, and about 400 meters before the bridge, but the best views of it are from the road as you ascend to Papingo. From Papingo, there are routes to hike up and across the Gamila range into the central Zagori, routes linked by the O3 long distance trail.

More The Vikos Gorge - Aoos Gorge - Zagori Villages Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11