Trips and activities around Ioannina
- Parga Town and beach
Parga is located in the North-West Greece, 100 km from Ioannina with vibrant nature and beaches.
The Ionian Sea breeze makes it perfect for relaxing or exploring its unique nature. Canoeing is perfect to explore its caves and unspoiled beaches.
Also, boat trips to the spectacular Paxos island are definitely a once in a lifetime experience.
Located 1 hour away from Ioannina, Sivota offers a unique natural area with bays and beaches ideal for those who want to enjoy its crystal waters and its unique beauty.
The trees meet the sea with the green of the forest so naturally turning to the turquoise and to the deep blue of the sea.
- Lefkada Island
Lefkada is well-known for its impressive coastline with the white sand beaches and the turquoise waters, resembling the tropical paradise of the Caribbean.
The lovely beaches and the crystal clear waters are not the only reason for the island’s unbelievable beauty. Lefkada is a truly verdant island, full of trees and green hills.
Porto Katsiki, voted as one of the three most beautiful beaches in Greece is definitely a must see. For those who love watersports, Lefkada is one of the most famous destinations for windsurfing and kitetesurfing having everyday almost the perfect conditions somewhere around the island.
For the even more adventurous Lefkada’s combination of high cliffs just above the beaches is ideal for paragliding and enjoying the bays from above.
- Corfu Island
Very close to Ioannina is the island of Corfu. In the beautifully preserved Old Town of Corfu, a UNESCO world heritage site, Renaissance, Baroque and Classical “repertoire” came to be successfully applied to local artistic traditions.
Strolling through a complex of narrow cobbled streets with stairways and vaulted passages, the so-called “kantoúnia”, will make you feel as if you’ve travelled to Genova or Naples.
Its rich multi-cultural heritage, its historic monuments, its stunning natural landscape, its crystal clear seas, and its excellent weather all year round explain why Corfu is one of the most cosmopolitan Mediterranean destinations weaving a powerful spell on its visitors.
A region 1 hour away from Ioannina in the Pindus Mountains that contains 45 villages. It is an area of great natural beauty, with striking geology and two natural parks.
The unique villages of Zagori are interconnected by mountain roads and traditional arched stone bridges. In one of its villages, ‘Monodendri” there is the breathtaking Vikos Gorge at 490m deep which is one of the deepest in the world, indeed the deepest in proportion to its width.
The Vikos Gorge is also a site of major scientific interest, because it is in almost virgin condition, is a haven for endangered species and contains many and varied ecosystems. Trekking and white-water rafting are the most popular outdoor activities that allow the visitors to enjoy the magnificent nature that the area offers.
- Metsovo and Valia Calda Natural Park
Located 40 minutes away from Ioannina, the picturesque town of Metsovo is famous for its local cheeses (Metsovone and Metsovela) and winemaking industries, including the Katogi vineyard of the Averoff family. Metsovo is also a popular winter vacation destination and a ski resort. Valia Calda means "warm valley".
Valia Calda National Park, is one of the most attractive trekking destinations in Europe. The visitors can admire the high, impressive mountain ranges, the forested slopes and the stunning natural landscape.
Visitors are likely to spot in the highlands of Valia Calda brown bears ambling down to Arkoudorema (meaning Bear Creek) to drink water. The reserve is a unique ecosystem, and a safe refuge to several mammals (wolf, fox, wild hog and mountain antelope), rare bird species (the golden eagle and the black stork) as well as reptiles.
- Ski Resorts
For the lovers of winter sports there are two ski resorts relatively close to Ioannina. One is the Anilio ski resort, near the town of Metsovo and only 40 minutes away from Ioannina.
There is also the ski center of Vasilitsa. It is situated in the borders of Ioannina and Grevena prefectures. It is a modern ski center with 18 tracks and its altitude reaches 2000 meters.
- Arcturos (Nimfaio Town) – Brown bear protection refuge
Arcturos is a Greek, non-governmental organization located in Nymfaio, seeking to enhance biodiversity and sustainability in the Greek rural areas. Within its 12.5 acre fenced area of natural beech forest, 12 previously captive bears are hosted and people can see them slowly adapting back to nature.
Its aim is to protect the brown bear and other large mammals such as the wolf and the Greek shepherd dog.
Visiting the bear sanctuary educates of visitors about the development of the species, the geographic distribution of their population, the biology and ecology of the animals and the threats they face in the wild.
ADD_CONTENT_HEREArcturos myth: Arcturos story begins thousands of years ago...: Callisto was the daughter of Lycaon, king of Arcadia. Since she was a little girl, she was devoted to Artemis, goddess of hunt and wild animals and vowed to remain a virgin, always faithful to the goddess’s service.
Thus, she went to live with Artemis in the woods, hunting wild beasts. One day, Zeus, the father of Gods saw Callisto and fell in love with her. In order to seduce her, he took Artemis’s form and forced Callisto to lie with him. Callisto gave birth to a son, Arcas.
Zeus knew that if Hera, his wife, found out, she would be furious with Callisto, so he transformed her into a bear. Callisto roamed the forests for years looking for her son. When she eventually found him, he was a grown man, and she tried to embrace him. But Arcas tried to kill her, not knowing that the bear was his own mother. Zeus felt sorry for them and in order to prevent the matricide, transformed them both into constellations (Ursa major and Ursa minor) and took them with him to heaven. Hera, who never ceased to be angry, ordered Ocean, the river that surrounds earth, not to let them bathe in his waters for eternity.
That is why these two constellations never set. Moreover, in order to save them from Hera’s jealousy once and for all, Zeus placed near them another star called Arcturos, whose name means guardian of the bear (bear is called ‘arctos’ in ancient Greek), to accompany and protect them for ever.
According to the science of astronomy, Arcturos belongs to the constellation Boötes, and it is located on the tail of Ursa major. It is one of the brightest stars in the sky.
'Suspended in the air' (the meaning of Meteora in Greek), these bizarre rock formations topped with Orthodox monasteries represent a unique sight. The monasteries are built under impossible conditions on rock pinnacles, which rise starkly over 400 m above the Peneas valley and the small town of Kalambaka, 2-hour-drive from Ioannina.
A breathtaking experience! From the rocks themselves which seem to have sprung up out of flat ground, to the monasteries that look like they are hanging in air. Hermits and ascetics probably began settling in this extraordinary area in the 11th century building monasteries, six of which are still inhabited and welcome visitors.
Those who look for adventure they can find their thrills rock climbing and paragliding from the summits, or there is nice hiking for those active people who would prefer to keep their feet firmly planted. Simply amazing!
‘God’s bridge’ . It is a natural bridge that is formed from the rocks joined together above Kalamas River just 30 minutes drive from Ioannina.
Achillea’s watermill is an old mill transformed into a splendid restaurant with traditional food and welcoming hosts inviting you to enjoy their hospitality.