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suggestions for itinerary to Zagori area...

Melbourne, Australia
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suggestions for itinerary to Zagori area...

Hi all..my family and I are visiting North Central Greece in late September for 10 days. So far, I am thinking we will drive from Thessaloniki to Ioannina, stay there for 5 days for some sightseeing (to include Meteora), then drive to Kastoria for another 5 days (to visit family further north). My question is whether we should stay in Ioannina or Papingo? I noticed there is quite a distance between the two however I have found an amazing house in the latter! Our children are aged between 5 - 12; am I being too ambitious travelling to this area with young children and more importantly, what are the roads like around the Ioannina/Papingo area? I read on another website that the roads are dangerous, and someone even commented on this forum they wouldn't want to take a car into Ioannina. I haven't booked accommodation yet as I am still trying to nut out the best places to stay; unfortunately we cannot stay in one area as both our families are from opposite ends and the travel distance is too far if we commit to one place; any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

Molaoi, Greece
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for Naxos, Peloponnese
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1. Re: suggestions for itinerary to Zagori area...

There is an unbelievable amount of rubbish published on the internet and elsewhere about Greek roads being dangerous. You simply shouldn't believe what you read. In general, the roads are good but, as anywhere in the world, you need to drive with care and be prepared for Greek drivers to do things that you wouldn't do such as overtaking on bends or stopping for a chat in the middle of the road.

The roads in Zagoria are generally good but with sharp bends and steep gradients in places but nothing to worry about.

As for where to stay, Papingo is very much out on a limb and not the ideal place for exploring the region but the scenery is pretty spectacular. Personally, I would choose to stay in a more central place such as Monodendri from where you can strike out in any direction. Ioannina is also not the best place to stay for exploring Zagoria as it is some distance outside.

Bear in mind also that it will be autumn and you may well have rain in that area- more so, the further north you go, and it will be cooler.

Melbourne, Australia
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2. Re: suggestions for itinerary to Zagori area...

Thank you Philhellene, your reply has helped me heaps! I will look into Monodendri as I have not heard of this area..you are absolutely right.."you shouldn't believe what you read" but as you can appreciate, as a first time traveller to this area, I rely heavily on websites, opinions and forums to get ideas. It's amazing how many people criticise you for travelling with kids…making out as if everything is so hard! My children are used to travelling & walking long distances…the long car drives…not something any of us look forward to! Thank you again….

South Pole
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for Lesbos, Zagorohoria
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3. Re: suggestions for itinerary to Zagori area...

Excellent advice from Philhellene which I can totally agree with. You should do a drive up to Papingo - children will think the road is a fairground ride! It is an amazing route with fantastic views, & you just have to take it eas & let any local drivers get on their way whilst you relax & enjoy.

I would not take a car into Ioannina to stay there as you then have parking/traffic to cope with. However it is good to visit the city & take a boat trip on the lake to the island. On the road from the city to Zagori you could have a stop at Perama & visit the caves (tip: we enjoyed these caves far more than the ones by the lake in Kastoria)

Zagori is really about views, rural villages & main activity is walking. One highlight for the whole family could be to walk up the Skala Vradheto - a seemingly impossible kalderimi which snakes up a cliff face. But it is not as bad as you might expect if you take it steady - another fairground ride for the children! And of course you must not miss a visit to either Oxia or Beloi Lookouts to see the spectacular views down the Vikos Gorge.

Winchelsea, United...
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4. Re: suggestions for itinerary to Zagori area...

We found the main road from Ioannina to Konitsa rather less potholed (and certainly quieter) than many roads on South East England, when we visited 18 months ago.

Mike

Molaoi, Greece
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5. Re: suggestions for itinerary to Zagori area...

I posted the local bus schedules on this thread:

tripadvisor.co.uk/…54566871

Unfortunately, the link doesn't seem to be working at present but it may come back up eventually.

Edited: 30 March 2014, 07:18
Molaoi, Greece
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6. Re: suggestions for itinerary to Zagori area...

Sorry. Wrong thread!

Melbourne, Australia
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7. Re: suggestions for itinerary to Zagori area...

great. great advice…thank you and I will look into everything you have suggested…as long as the roads are 'safe', I'm happy. Let all drivers pass! I hear you loud & clear….

Melbourne, Australia
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8. Re: suggestions for itinerary to Zagori area...

…looked at monodendri as suggested….just wondering, has anyone done the drive here from Thessaloniki??? Is it an 'easy' one considering the mountains?? I get that it will most definitely be winding and many sharp turns, but is it doable with a large car (we have no choice but to hire a 9seater to cater for the entire family)…I am nervous about driving such a big car around these areas or will it be okay?? The accommodation in monodendri looks absolutely amazing and definitely a winner if it's relatively easy to get to. From there, we will be driving around, including a day trip to Meteora. Any thoughts? Thanks again in advance.

Molaoi, Greece
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9. Re: suggestions for itinerary to Zagori area...

There's a direct motorway link from Thessaloniki to Ioannina which would be much easier than driving from Athens. I'm not sure of the timings but I guess you could do it in under 3 hours. For Meteora, it would be easier to go directly from Thessaloniki rather than try to do it as a day trip from Zagoria.

Melbourne, Australia
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10. Re: suggestions for itinerary to Zagori area...

You're absolutely right philhellene, driving from Thessaloniki to zagori is under 3 hrs…that's where we will be coming from. May I ask why you suggest going straight to Meteora from Thessaloniki rather than a day trip from Zagoria? Is it because of the roads? I was thinking of staying in Zagoria for at least 5 days so we can do day trip to Meteora..even if we go to Meteora first, we would still have to drive to Zagoria area to stay there…I will look at the maps given your suggestion but I am curious to know whether you think the road to Meteora from Zagoria poses any problems? Thank you again for your help.