It may be the size of a small town, but its atmosphere is redolent of a village. The heart of Kalavryta beats on the pedestrian street of 25th Martiou, where you will find everything you need, and more – shops, restaurants, cafés, groceries selling local products and small souvenir shops. The infrastructure – in particular the restaurant scene – is largely based on catering to weekend visitors.
The area’s gastronomy is focused on local meats, accompanied by handcrafted pasta, while also featuring pulses from the nearby Feneos plateau. Of course everything serves to honor the most famous product of the area, the PDO feta cheese from Kalavryta. Whether you are in search of action and adventure, or just want to experience a different type of travel experience, the area around Kalavryta offers a plethora of choices for a “fun-packed” weekend.
When, in 1994, a group of youngsters from Vamos decided to transform the village in the Apokorona area into a destination for agritourism, the rest of the country did not know the meaning of the term sustainable tourism. The village, which was once the capital of the Sfakia region, housed public services and was dotted with stately mansion houses. The group began renovating their family homes, turning them into guest houses and they also set up a taverna, the Sterna tou Bloumosifi.
None of them had actually taken this endeavor seriously, and perhaps this is the secret of their success. They operated and managed the spaces themselves: those who had the “better” degrees were assigned lower positions, with the doctors and engineers exclusively involved in peeling potatoes! The youngsters grew older, the configurations changed and now everyone has their own business while new members are constantly joining the group. Yet the rationale remains exactly the same; at Vamos you will find a beautiful village for walking, guest houses for all budgets, a taverna with exceptional baby lamb with stamnagathi (wild chicory) cooked in the wood oven, and an agritourism activities center, to name a few.
Read more about Vamos, and other villages in the area, here.
Megalo Horio, Evrytania
Stone, natural springs and forest. This is the essence of a stone-built village on the banks of the Karpenisiotis river, at an altitude of 720 meters on Mount Kaliakouda. Despite its name, Megalo Horio (which translates to big village in Greek), is not disappointingly large. It has a central road lined with tourist shops and is easy to walk through, as traversing the village takes about 15 minutes on foot.
It is picturesque and carries the proud grandeur of mountainous Greece, with the lovely church of Aghios Gerasimos, a spacious square with a plane tree and the tall Roloi clock tower, which was brought here by the villagers who lived in Constantinople in 1926 and was riddled with bullets during the Second World War. If you walk along the narrow street behind the clock tower you will come across the old cobblestone street. Here there is complete architectural cohesion – the street suddenly becomes a stone wall, which then turns into the wall of a house. Stone is the only building material used, adding to the landscape’s sense of permanence and harmony.
One of the most popular villages of Zagori and one of the first to attract tourists thanks to its position as the starting or finishing point of traversing the Vikos gorge, but also thanks to Kikitsa’s flour pies that satiated the hunger of the area’s first hikers in the 1960s. Monodendri became an important destination in the area over the next few years and still is to this day.
The monastery of Aghia Paraskevi still hangs over the Vikos gorge, dating back to the 15th century. Enjoy your coffee in the square filled with plane trees, buy some fine honey and be sure to visit one of the spaces of the Rizarios Institute, such as the Handicraft School of Monodendri, where the traditional arts of weaving, embroidery, tapestry making and sewing are taught.
One of the most mountainous villages in the Peloponnese, Zygovisti is located just 5 kilometers from the famous Dimitsana, on the road to Stemnitsa. It has been recognized as a traditional settlement, while it also boasts an important history, mainly during the war of 1821. As you enter the village you will see the large marble monument in honor of the 200 men who fought alongside Theodoros Kolokotronis.
In the square with the large plane trees you can enjoy your coffee, breakfast or meals throughout the day. Try the village-style rooster, wild boar, eggs with siglino (cured pork) and delicious meatballs. Head to the highest point of the village and turn left at the end of the paved road. This accessible dirt road will lead you to a dense fir tree forest in about 5 minutes, walking past the chapel of Aghios Georgios.