5 Activities You Need To Try When Visiting Konitsa in Epirus
Summer has begun and you are trying to organize your vacation. If you love nature, mountains and rivers, you should put Konitsa on your list and what is the reason? Of course, the activities that you should definitely do when you visit this beautiful natural landscape, which will give special interest to your vacation but will also maintain your physical condition at very good levels.
1) Hiking at the top of the second highest mountain in Greece.
The mountains of Konitsa are considered the paradise of the hiker and climber. The beautiful high mountains of the area contribute to this with the peak of Smolikas standing out as it is the second-highest mountain with Olympus.
The trail starts from a mountain refuge in Palioseli (1680 meters). From there, going uphill, you reach the ridge of Mougourida and then Misorachi (2200 meters). Turn slightly east and reach Drakolimni of Smolikas (2150 meters). From Drakolimni, you ascend in an easterly direction to the top, where you reach in about an hour and a half.
The route is well signposted, except for the section from Drakolimni to the top. Much of the route takes place in forests with black pines and beeches and above the shelter in forests and sparse clusters and centuries-old Bosnian pines. From Misorachi and above the course takes place in a landscape with bare vegetation (subalpine plateaus). You can reach the shelter by car as there is a moderately passable forest road that starts just before the village of Palioseli.
Degree of difficulty: moderate.
Travel time: 4 hours.
Altitude rating: 1680 meters – 2637 meters.
2) Rafting on the river Aoos
The river Aoos is ideal for rafting and kayaking and has two routes, one easy and one difficult for those who have good physical condition and mainly experience in this sport.
On the easy route, the river Aoos with its connection with Voidomatis, follows a quiet course of the 2nd-degree route where it starts from the iron bridge in the village of Bourazani and ends just before the border with Albania, near the Monastery of Molyvdoskepasti. Easy route for beginners, lasting about an hour.
The second and most difficult route starts in the area of Stomio Monastery, with continuous 3rd-degree passages and leads to the famous stone bridge of Konitsa, a marvel of architecture, with a length of 40 meters and a height of 20. The area is dominated by the beauty of the green gorge of Aoos the unique natural landscape makes the route truly enchanting. Moderately difficult 3rd-degree route lasting 40 minutes.
3) Hiking at Stomiο Monastery
Starting from the big stone bridge of Konitsa on the Aoos river, follow a dirt road on the right bank, which in about 2 km ends at the small concrete dam in the riverbed. From there a wide path that alternates from time to time with a narrow road, continues for about 40 minutes, parallel to the right bank of the river and then ascends to the Stomio Monastery through a beautiful green forest. Alternatively, in about 30 minutes from the concrete dam, you can follow the old path on the right side of the road, which offers a more vivid sense of the wild beauty of the landscape and the unique vegetation of the Aoos gorge.
Degree of difficulty: low.
Travel time: 2 hours.
Marking: not some clear marking.
Altitude gradient: 450 meters – 650 meters.
4) Daily 4×4 excursions
Enjoy the wild beauties of nature by making trips with four-wheel-drive vehicles (4×4) on routes that conventional cars cannot do.
The routes are preselected off-road on dirt roads through forests, while they usually contain some other difficult points. The routes can be done by everyone, all year round when the weather conditions allow it with a better period from spring to autumn.
The rich forest road network of the mountains of Smolikas, Grammos, Trapezitsa and Vasilitsa can offer the visitor unprecedented experiences in landscapes of special natural beauty.
5) Aoos River Trekking
A special experience that we left for the end is the river trekking in Aoos. It is an activity that includes hiking along rivers, meaning walking both on the shores and in the water. This activity is unique as you can cross the entire Aoos gorge across the river without a boat or anything like that, just on foot.
*Tip: The area of Konitsa consists of a number of religious monuments, many of which date back to the Byzantine period. Through the above activities, you can admire many of the religious monuments of the area of Konitsa.