Villages Beyond the Mountains
The remote Pindos mountains of north-western Greece are home to Zagori, ‘the land beyond the mountains.’ Its quiet tarmac roads wind their way between enchanting mountain villages that, with their cobbled streets and squares, seem to have leapt straight out of a Victorian fairy tale. With gorges, rich forests, high grazing pastures, crystal clear rivers and some of Greece’s oldest monasteries to explore, Zagori is truly one of Greece’s hidden gems. Take time to learn about our Zagori experiences here. And after you’ve had a good look around, you can choose whether you would like to travel as a private group or on one of our set-date departures.
We create journeys to suit your tastes. However, we tend to say 5 nights is perfect for cycling and walking with us in Zagori, all accompanied by a team of three: two local guides and a host. As a company we’re about more than cycling, and Zagori has far more to offer than fabulous roads. It’s trading history is fascinating, its food and wine to die for and its people full of warmth and hospitality. As with all our journeys, we encourage our guests to escape the trappings of everyday life for a while and allow us to show off a land of staggering beauty.
Our Story in Zagori
In about 2016 guests started asking where they could travel next with us. Until then we’d just enjoyed getting to know Transylvania really well, but we did begin to look around in Europe. We knew it would be a tough job matching the experience we had created there. A friend told us about a mountainous land somewhat set apart from the rest of Greece. Intrigued, we asked Bree, who had looked after so many of our guests in Transylvania, to take a look. She fell in love with the place, and spent much of 2018 and 2019 making friends and creating the special experience that has become so popular with our guests.
On the Move
We walk up ancient mule tracks, through traditional villages, across pastoral landscapes, and alongside the fast-flowing Voidomatis river in the depths of the magnificent Vikos Gorge. We cycle almost exclusively on very quiet tarmac roads, although there is the occasional gravel track. The Pindos Mountains are steep and dramatic, and there are a few long hills – both up and down – along the route, making an e-bike the preferred option for the vast majority of our guests. Pedalling is assisted so you’re able to choose how much energy to expend.
As in all our destinations, guests are accompanied on our trips here by two guides and a host. We have a fabulous team in Zagori. Lefteris is an outdoor enthusiast born and bred in Ioannina, Epirus’ main city; and Josh is an English classicist who has lived in Athens for much of the past decade. He is a writer and translator whose favourite corner of Greece happens to be Epirus, and particularly Zagori.
When to Go?
The weather in Zagori is pretty good. We tend to begin running trips in Zagori in mid to late May, when temperatures are usually in the twenties and the wildflowers are wonderful. August is the only month we usually avoid, but even then it only gets up towards the mid-30s. The quality of the light and the autumnal colours in September and October are glorious.
We’re very grateful that over the years we have hosted and looked after so many lovely, interesting and kind folks. It never feels like work, is always a pleasure and is especially gratifying when we get a lovely email or letter after their travels. We get lots, and we think they give a pretty good sense of what it’s like to travel with The Slow Cyclist.