North Tzoumerka – Stunning rivers, unique monasteries and picturesque villages

Tzoumerka is an earthly paradise that combines unique experiences to all visitors no matter what they are asking for. Beautiful villages and traditional stettlements surrounded by gorges, rivers and steep mountains.

Waterfalls of Tzoumerka. One of two picturesque waterfalls in the mountains of a national park in eastern Tzoumerka, in the vicinity of the village of Kriopigi. Greece
Waterfalls of Tzoumerka

Tzoumerka is probably the less known and widespread area of Epirus without that meaning that it falls short in anything than the rest of them. The complex mountainous terrain and the clear rivers will charm you and take you many years back as you sense the great tradition and history of the place.

Where is North Tzoumerka Greece?

Map of Zagoria in Epirus, Greece
Click to enlarge map – Coordinates: 39°31′N 21°6′E

Athamanika or Tzoumerka is a mountain in the northeastern Arta Prefecture, the southeastern Ioannina Prefecture and the southwestern Trikala Prefecture. The mountain is part of the Pindus mountain range. Its maximum elevation is 2,393 m. The GR-30 passes to the north with difficultly. It has mountain roads to a point where it rarely connects with the other basin. Its length is approximately 40 km from north to south and its width is 15 – 20 km from east to west. The Arachthos river flows to the west.

  (1) Ioannina (2) N. Tzoumerka (3) Dodona (4) Zagori (5) Zitsa (6) Konitsa (7) Metsovo (8) Pogoni

Epirus – How to get there?

Epirus has two airports. One is in Ioannina and the other in Preveza/Aktion. The airport in Ioannina receives domestic flights from Athens. Aktion/Preveza airport is working during the summer months receiving charter flights from abroad.
From Athens you can travel by bus to the largest towns in Epirus. The buses for Epirus depart from Kifissos KTEL Stations in Athens. Arriving in the largest towns of Epirus you will find local buses for the smaller towns.
Igoumenitsa is the largest port of Epirus, receiving ferries from Italy daily. It also serves ferries the islands of Corfu and Paxi.

The old villages of North Tzoumerka

Pramanta is one of the most impressive mountainous villages of Tzoumerka and it is found about 65 km in south east direction of Ioannina in 850 meters altitude. It is built on the foot of the top Strogoula and its amphitheatric aspect gives it particularly special beauty. You will have the chance to admire historical churches and splendid monasteries like that of Saint Paraskevi. Furthermore, do not forget to visit the beautiful Cave of Anemotripa which is found near the road leading to Pramanta.

Syrrako village in North Tzoumerka, Epirus, Greece
Syrrako village in North Tzoumerka

Syrrako, a historical village of Epirus, is located 52 km southeast of Ioannina at an altitude of 1200m, on the mountain Peristeri. It is built on a steep slope and represents an example of traditional architecture. Natural and artificial monuments are widely spread. It is the hometown of prominent men (benefactors, politicians, army leaders) and others who succeeded in different fields like literature, arts, politics, trade, cattle breeding. The poet and author Kostas Krystallis and the first constitutive Prime Minister of Greece, Ioannis Koletis are included among them. Syrrako is a place where the visitor gets a unique experience caused by the harmonious and respectful connection between the past and the present.

Traditional village of Kalarites in Tzoumerka, Pindus mountains, Epirus, Greece
The traditional village of Kalarites in Tzoumerka

Kalarites, yet another beautiful and picturesque mountainous village of Tzoumerka. Stonehouses are built according to the traditional Epirotic architecture in a magical location under gorgeous imposing mountains.  It has been famous from the period of the Turkish domination for the incomparable art of its silversmiths. In the village you will find shops that sell samples of this insuperable art, pieces that are genuine works of art. 

Tzoumerka – What to see?

Ioannina Kipinas Ancient Architecture holy monastery hanging from a cliff in Tzoumerka Stone build inside a cave of mountain in 1212 close to pramanta, kalarrites, and syrrako villages
Kipina Holy Monastery hanging from a cliff in Tzoumerka. Stone-build inside a cave of the mountain in 1212 close to Pramanta, Kalarrites, and Syrrako villages

First of all, you will have the opportunity to admire every kind of sights, from impressive cultural monuments, ancient monasteries and churches to traditional stone bridges and noteworthy museums. Furthermore, River Arahthos, one of the biggest rivers in Epirus, as well as River Kalaritikos will offer you great thrills with their exciting athletic activities and moments of peace and magic with their fantastic natural landscapes.

Activities in N. Tzoumerka

EPIRUS, GREECE- Politsa bridge over Arachthos river, Katsanochoria region, North Tzoumerka municipality, Ioannina prefecture
Politsa bridge over Arachthos river, Katsanochoria region, North Tzoumerka

Don’t leave Tzoumerka without having tried a descent in one of the rivers by raft or kayak.
River Arachthos is one of the most popular rivers in Greece and it is sailable at a length of 65 km. These 65 km are divided into four sections: Upper and Under Arachthos, Arachthos Ravine and Arachthos Gorge. The main characteristic of River Arachthos is the fact that it is sailable almost all year. The second descent can take place in river Kalarrytikos that is as beautiful as Arachthos and it has passages of difficulty up to IV degree. At a certain point you will meet River Arachthos and finally you will reach the way out a bit higher than the artificial Lake of  Pournari.

Mountain biking 
The lovers of the bike will have the chance to enjoy magnificent rides by their bike in Tzoumerka as there are a lot of truly enjoyable routes. Those who will not arrive appropriately equipped will be able to address one of the companies that offer this kind of activities and they will take on to give you the right equipment as well as guide you. The most ideal route in order to enjoy a ride by your bike is the Faneromeni and you follow a forestall street through pinewoods. You will pass by streams, you will enter the dense forests, you will pass by bridges and will end up southwest towards the village Patero. It is a fantastic 1,5 hour-route! The most ideal seasons are summer and spring, as snow melts and there is abundant water everywhere.

Horseback riding in Greece
Horseback riding in Tzoumerka

Horseback riding in Tzoumerka Those of you who want to make your trip to Ioannina unique should do nothing more than try a ride in the dense forests of Tzoumerka with a horse. You will find there both horses, equipment and a guide who will save you from unpleasant adventures. Even if it is your first time, no problem! The most ideal route in order to enjoy a ride with horses is the route towards Prophet Elias in Kostitsi. There you will have the chance to admire the view to the ravine of Arachthos on the horses, while in order for you to reach there, you will pass through dense forests of firs and pines. An equally beautiful route is the one that begins from the center of riding in Lazena. You follow the way through the dense forest above the village.

Woman with a backpack hiking in the mountains of the Tzoumerka nature reserve in Epirus, Greece
Hiking in the mountains of Tzoumerka nature reserve

Hiking in Tzoumerka
The first route begins from Sirrako and leads to Kalarites. It is a route of 4.5 km, popular in Tzoumerka because the landscapes you meet really capture you. You begin from the square of Sirako and you follow the cobbled road until you go down to the watercourse of river Kalaritikos. This route does not require excellent fitness. You will reach your destination within about an hour and a half.

The second route begins from Kataraktis and leads to Katafridi. It is a quite long route since its length is about 8 km. You will begin from the square of the village in 800 meters altitude and follow an eastern course. Soon you will meet the stream of the village and follow the path along the stream. You will begin to go up smooth slopes, pass through dense forests, meet abundant water and later pass by alpine fields. Except adventure, your destination is the location Aloni. There you  will find a dirt road, which leads to the mountain lodge. The altitude is 1.500 meters there and in winter everything is always covered with snow. (read about more routes…)