Is this possible? We will be coming from Meteora mid-May and headed toward Albania. Up or down would be OK.
I think the nearest you will get will be Kipi, but Zagori is not well served by bus services apart from catering for locals. Nor will you find taxis in the villages but you might be able to pre-book something out of Ioannina but it won't be cheap.
I see from your various posts you are "real" hikers & whilst the Skala will be a piece of cake for you it is one of the most amazing experiences in the area.
Your best chance to get there (start at the bottom, go right up & continue to Vradheto village & then continue out to Beloi Lookout) is to try to beg lifts locally. Are you staying nearby? Otherwise you are going to need a car.
However if this is part of a backpacking journey over several days you could plan a route that will perhaps allow for public transport to get you into Zagori & away to your next destination.Edited: 29 March 2014, 15:12
Yes, it is part of a backpacking journey. How would I find this public transport?
I think the DE for Epirus (ConnySir) might be more help to you on the logistics. He spends a lot of time in the area (albeit with a car) & is likely to have the most up to date sources. Drop him a PM if he does not appear on this thread. As I always have a hire car & can only get to Greece for one annual holiday I don't keep track of public transport. Try Googling for Epirus bus services, or perhaps Ioannina - which is where the services will generally run to/from for locals to access shopping, hospitals, etc.
LOL! I just realised that your thread title can be read another way & I suddenly had a vision of a bus toiling it's way up the Skala!!!
Of course the steps are not really as steep as some might expect - after all it was originally built to cater for donkeys & it is not that many years since it was the only access to Vradheto. The new road up there is worth the ride for non-walkers as it does afford some excellent views, but it is very winding so no need to hurry!
I can't even find bus schedules I can read for anywhere in the region except major lines to Ioannina.
My vague understanding is that the skala goes from Monodhéndhri to Vradheto, so it seems logical to go to Monodhéndhri, walk up the skala to Vradheto and to the Beloi viewpoint, spend the night or not depending on bus schedules, walk back down to Monodhéndhri, then go on our way.
We would love to spend more time in the region, but Albania will be beckoning. Of course there's always next time.
Just wrote long reply on mobile & lost it! Will get back to this tomorrow.
I posted the local bus schedules on this thread:
Unfortunately, the link doesn't seem to be working at present but it may come back up eventually.Edited: 30 March 2014, 07:22
Ha! Ha! Yes - I had that link bookmarked & found a while ago it did not work so had deleted it.
Try not to lose this post . . . .
OK - I have never walked from Monodendri towards the Skala Vradheto (we always start from parking car on the road towards Tsepelovo) but there are 2 paths on the Anavasi Zagori map to Kapesovo. From Monodendri you take the path down into the Vikos Gorge & these paths then continue from the opposite bank of the river. However I don't see any bridge indicated to cross the river & only local knowledge would be able to confirm if river levels allow a crossing at any particular time.
From Kapesovo it is a short walk along the road leading east out of the village to where you first take a left fork then left again turning down a track into a valley from where the Skala starts to climb. You would do Monodendri to Beloi & return in the day so no need to stay anywhere else - although I do recall there was a small hotel in Vradheto (this was a couple of years ago) & also an excellent taverna in the centre.
This is a link to a company based in Kipi who organise adventures & walks in Zagori area & they might be able to offer some useful local advice about routes, river levels, local transport etc or suggest other links to such information
Certainly Monodendri is your best option for access to/from the area by bus, but sorry I also cannot find anything that helps here. As said before - it's not designed for visitors, the majority of whom are either in hire cars or on organised trips. And of course do appreciate when you only have a short time you really need to plan ahead for these services & cannot wait until you get to say Ioannina to find out your onward options.
Well, as I recall, services such as they are originate in Ioannina very early in the morning and just follow a couple of routes either side of the gorge. Best thing is to enquire at the KTEL bus station in Ioannina on arrival and take it from there.
I can honestly say that although I know they do exist I have never actually seen a public bus in any Zagori village. I also believe that they originate from Ioannina VERY early in order to transport people from the villages to schools, hospitals etc & then probably run again in the early afternoon to bring people home again. That early start is of course ideal for those coming from Ioannina with walking in mind & who want an early start, especially if aiming to trek the Vikos Gorge but the lack of an online timetable does make planning tricky. Unfortunately we don't seem to have anyone these days on the forum who lives in Ioannina or Zagori who would have local knowledge. We always stay in room where the owners speak no English & do not have websites/email adresses so there is no-one I can contact on your behalf.
MsNomer - have you made enquiries about accomodation in the area? You could do a general search for rooms/hotels, pick out one or two who claim to speak English & email them to ask if there is a bus you can catch if you wanted to stay there. Monodendri is very popular with German/Swiss/Austrian travellers so a lot of the places do speak German if that is any help.