It is a great pleasure to discover the beauty of your own country. Vikos Gorge, located at the Northwest part of Greece, well known as Zagorohoria, is one of those.
Vikos Gorge is the deepest gorge in the world. At a specific point it gets deep as much as 2,950 feet while is 3,600 ft from rim to rim. That means, a depth 82% of its width.
The hiking route length is 12km. Here (below) is how a really small part of it looks.
Getting to Vikos Gorge
The whole area of Zagorohoria area, after the newly delivered highway allows you to be there in less than 5 hours, by car, from Athens (following the Peloponnese route and then up from Antirio). It used to be 7+. This makes the location an ideal weekend (better more a long weekend) trip.
The whole driving to get there is really comfortable as you stay on highways for the 95% part of it.
Entrance points of Vikos Gorge
The best location to enter into Vikos Gorge is through the village of Monodendri. You can choose not to stay there but in any other nearby village, yet do calculate the driving time along with the actual hiking route.
You can get a small idea of Vikos Gorge from atop, when you visit the church of Agia Paraskevi, nicely situated at cliff edge. Go through the church and follow the narrow cliff path (be careful) and you will get some great shots.
Vikos Gorge demands around 6 hours of hiking, with a normal pace. That is 6 hours one way. It is best not to do this a round-trip, as with resting time you will end up with more than 13 hours hiking. Night will fall even if you start on day break. It is better to enjoy the hiking as the route is not a circular one. You will return from the same point, seeing the same things. Beautiful, yes, but loss of time (and energy).
Both entrance and exit locations (exit is at Vikos village unless you choose to add 1-2 more hours to exit at Papigo village) are steep.
In winter time you will encounter ice/snow in the Monodendri village entrance but -usually- not at Vikos village exit. It is good to be informed.
It was not our first attempt to go to the Zarogohoria area to do Vikos gorge. We were planning for that a couple of years ago but locals mentioned heavy snow conditions. Six hours in a gorge with ice and snow while you have to climb a bit in some points or pass over slippery rocks is not the best thing to experience.
It was winter time but weather was relatively “sweet”. You know, the kind that is cold but not too cold, not too warm. It was the ideal for long distance hiking.
When you see this spring below, you know you are half way, needing the same amount of time to reach the exit.
Excluding the steep entrance and exit locations, the rest of the route was not so difficult. We would grade it from 1 to 2 tops.
But, was it beautiful? Yes it was.
Winter time provided that cool winter silence where you walk and you here only… you and the river.
The very clean “blueish” waters of river Voidomatis that runs through Vikos gorge invite you to dive in. Well it was very cold, but you need to know that Voidomatis is well known to have the cleanest ice-blue drinkable water.
Exiting at Vikos Village
Going uphill for the village provides equally beautiful panoramic views.
At the exit location there are no buses or such. You will have to arrange for transportation ahead. Make sure there will be availability. Better book a taxi to wait you at Vikos village in a specific time and be there on time as cellphones don’t have good reception inside the gorge. We got some decent cell signal when we reached the uphill exit towards the village.
Here is Vikos Gorge from the “other side”. 12km of hiking were completed.
In our case (it was Epiphany day) we visited the -one and only- tavern of Vikos village (great food by the way), where the owner was extremely polite and helpful to arrange a taxi (aka private car) to come from Small Papigo village (!) and take us back to Monodendri village. Total cost from Vikos to Monodendri: 35 euro.
If you go there just visit this tavern: Hristoforos Tsoumanis. Note: It has only 4-5 tables but the food is really tasty and much needed after all the hiking.
After our lunch the taxi was right outside to take our tired bodies to get some rest.
That was one really beautiful experience for us.
Pin this for others to find.