When thinking about Greece most of you will probably think of endless beaches, white churches with blue domes and pink bougainvilleas. Greece is known as one of the most popular summer destinations for travelers from all around the world. Far less people know Greece as a winter destination, though.
Family ties recently brought me to the Greek mountains, to the village of Miliana, to be precise. Miliana is a small village about 60 kilometers east of Arta in the Epirus region. The small mountain village served as our starting point for an adventerous road trip in the Greek mountains.
Day 1 - From Miliana to Elati
Our trip began heading northeast towards the Tybanos mountain. While the roads welcomed us with potholes the size of bathtubs and rocks the size of small cars on the road, the view of the mountain scenery made up for everything we lacked in traveling comfort.
The Epirus region is characterized by rugged mountains and deep gorges. It stretches form the Ioanian Sea in the west to the Pindus mountains in the east. The landscape is green like nowhere else in Greece. If you want to experience a different side of Greece far from mass tourism, the Epirus should be on your bucket list.
Day 2 - Exploring the area around Elati
Elati is a small mountain village on the slopes of Mount Koziakas in the Pindos mountain range in the Thessaly region. Set in green nature and at a short distance from the city of Trikala, Elati is a very popular tourist resort. The surrounding mountain landscape is reminiscent of the Alps.
One of the most impressive sights in the area around Elati is the historic stone bridge of Palaiokaria. This arched bridge with a lenght of 26 meters was built in the 16th century. The 12 meter high waterfall behind the bridge creates an awe-inspiring image.
Day 4 - The Meteora Monasteries
The Meteora is an impressive rock formation near Trikala. On top of the bizarre natural pillars several Greek Orthodox monasteries dating back to the 13th and 14th century were built. From the early Christian times the cliffs were considered one of the most perfect places to achieve absolute isolation and solitude.
The surreal landscape was created by mother nature millions of years ago. The actual origin is not easy to explain geologically. The rocks are made up of a mixture of sandstone and conglomerate. The conglomerate was formed of deposits of stone, sand and mud from rivers flowing into river delta millions of years ago. About 60 million years ago movements of earth pushed the seabed of the lake upwards creating a high plateau with m any vertical fault lines. The rock pillars were shaped by nature's forces of water and wind.
Day 5 - Exploring the old town of Trikala
Trikala is a city in the Thessaly region in northwestern Greece. Trikala is a modern and lively city with picturesque buildings and old neighborhoods with traditional architecture. Varoussi, the old town of Trikala, is particularly charming. Most houses were built between the 17th and 19th century and their preservation is now protected by law.
P.S.: Photography prints of the impressive Greek mountain landscape and the picturesque cities and villages will soon become available, so stay tuned.