Vikos-Aoos National Park is located in northern Greece, near the border with Albania – an unknown gem and one of the most untouched areas in Greece. You will not meet many other tourists here which together a wild and untouched nature makes this place completely unique.
The journey begins in Athens from where you travel to Vikos-Aoos National Park in northern Greece. On this hiking trip you cross the impressive Vikos gorge in the heart of the national park which is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the deepest gorge in the world. You hike to the mountain lake Dragon Lake where you sleep in a refuge (hiking cabin) on the mountain. You will also visit many of the picturesque stone villages in the Zagori region and experience the Greek culture up close. Before returning to Athens, try rafting on the Voidomatis River, which is said to be one of the clearest rivers in Europe. While you glide calmly down the river, you enjoy the fantastic landscape all around, surrounded by the crystal clear water. The trip ends with a day in Athens where you can explore the small streets and visit the world-famous temples.
Day 1: Departure to Greece and arrival in Athens
Today the adventure begins when you fly to Athens where you arrive the same day. You will be picked up at the airport and driven to your accommodation. Upon arrival at the hotel, you will meet your group and the guides who will take you on a short walk in central Athens. In the evening, the guide will introduce you to Greek food at a cozy tavern with gyros, fresh feta cheese, marinated souvlaki, creamy tzatziki and juicy Kalamata olives.
Day 2: Transfer to Vikos-Aoos National Park, hike on the Vradeto stairs and visit a local village
After breakfast, check out from the hotel in Athens and the group will then drive north to the Zagori region and Vikos-Aoos National Park. Today’s hike starts in the village of Vradeto, the highest village in the area of 1340 m. Until 1974 it was only in contact with the rest of the world via the famous “Vradeto stairs” which you of course go up today. On today’s hike you will also come to Beloi from where you will get a very impressive view of the Vikos gorge. You eat a light lunch in the village of Kapesovo and have plenty of time to explore the village and enjoy the local delicacies. You then walk with the group to the village of Dilofo where you spend the night. ( F , L , M )
Day 3: Hike through the Vikos ravine – the world’s deepest ravine
Today awaits you a tough but beautiful day when you will cross the impressive Vikos Ravine which is located in the heart of Vikos-Aoos National Park. According to the Guinness Book of Records, this is the deepest ravine in the world! The hike from the village of Monodendri to Vikos takes about 7 hours. Along the way, you get a light lunch, but feel free to pack an extra protein bar or fruit for safety. Upon arrival in Vikos, you will have plenty of time to enjoy the beautiful views before hiking on to the village of Papigko where you will spend the night. ( F , L , M )
Day 4: Hike to the mountain lake Dragon Lake
Today’s target is Dracolimni, also known as Dragon Lake. You start the day early by hiking up through a wooded area and the higher up you get, the fewer trees there are around you until you reach the tree line in the alpine zone at Mount Tymphe. During the day’s hike, you pass small springs with clean drinking water where you can fill your water bottles. After about four hours of hiking, you will reach the Astraca’s refuge where you can relax and have lunch. This is also where you will sleep tonight so you leave your luggage and hike the last bit, which takes about 1 1/2 hours, up to Dragon Lake. The lake is incredibly beautiful and is surrounded by the highest mountains in the Epirus mountain range! After some time by the lake, it takes approx. 1 hour to walk back to Astraca’s refuge where you have dinner again and spend the night. ( F , M)
Day 5: Hike down to the village of Pades
After breakfast at Astraca’s refuge, you walk approx. 5 hours down to the village Konitsa. Along the way you stop at Ovires, a very beautiful and quiet place with natural pools and waterfalls where you can swim and cool off. There is time for a short break in Konitsa to have lunch before a 45 minute transfer to the small isolated mountain village of Pades, near the border with Albania. From the village you can with the group go down to the river Aoos and take a dip in the clear, cold water. Return to the village and enjoy a well-deserved local meal. ( F , L , M )
Day 6: Rafting on the crystal clear Voidomatis river
Today you can look forward to rafting on the Voidomatis River !. This is a very calm and quiet rafting trip without our passages so there is plenty of time to relax and enjoy the nature around you. You are in the middle of Viko National Park as you paddle down the river in the crystal clear, blue shimmering water. Perhaps the clearest river in all of Europe. After the rafting trip, it’s time for a transfer back to Athens. ( F , L )
Day 7: Return from AthensYou have the day on your own until it’s time to fly home from Athens airport. It is possible to extend the trip by several days in Athens, add a beach holiday or perhaps island getaway in the Greek archipelago. (F)
Two nights at guesthouse in Athens
One night at guesthouse in Dilofo
One night at guesthouse in Papigko
One night at guesthouse in Astracas refuge
One night at guesthouse in Pades