Route through the Pindos Mounts and our encounter with the Fireflies.
If you are going to Greece you have to stop here. Is Beautiful, magical. Despite the herds of wild dogs, you will not want to leave.
It is not a very busy area, not even for the Greeks. It has hundreds of routes, breathtaking views, fauna, vegetation, villages lost between the mountains, waterfalls, good food, and fireflies!!
Perhaps, for many of you seeing fireflies is not so strange or surprising, to us, that we had never seen them, it was unforgettable. We were spending the night inVikos Gorges area, on a dirt road and with a beautiful summer night. While walking around with the flashlight we saw a sparkle, a tiny light. We looked at each other and wondered, “have you seen that as well?”.
It couldn’t be a car as we weren’t so close to the main road. We began to walk towards the light and then we saw another one. Bright yellow sparkles going on and off all over the tress and right next to us. Tends of them. A private show of Nature. There we were, in the middle of the night, surrounded by Fireflies. Magical.
It was August and we hardly saw anybody walking through the mountains. Sleeping at any site is not a problem, you feel at ease and at peace wherever you stop. It is you, Nature and endless sky above you head.
“After travelling to one place or another you always realize there are still many more things to do there. Pindos is one of those places.”
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We drive towards Monodendri, and on the way, we will pass Vitsa. Both, small charming villages with cobble streets and stone houses. From Monodendri we drive 15 min on a road which views are an invitation to spot, and at the end of the road we have to park and continue on foot to find Vikos Gorges (Oxia). Where you can see how the green of the trees seems like a river streaming down between the mountains.
After spending the night in the vicinity of Vikos Gorges, and being surprised by tens of Fireflies, we set off towards the natural pools located between Papingo and MikroPapingo. You can walk along the edge the pools, holding yourself on the walls, but the walls start narrowing soon, leaving no space for you to put your feet. At this point, you have to decide if you have seen enough, or if the chilly temperature of the water is not a barrier for you, and swim from pool to pool deeper into the mountain. Go for it!!.
Next day in the morning, we head towards Vradeto, (on the way we can see Noustsos Bride over the river Voidomatis). Vradeto is the last village we find driving on this road, and after that, we only can continue by foot through a dirt road followed by a footpath, which will take us to a viewpoint over the Vikos Gorges. There is a very authentic bar in the tiny village, if you have a chance, try their local wine and the stew the make. There is nothing better after the walk.
We spend the night in one of the street in the village, where we have a second encounter with Fireflies. Amazing!
The following day our first destination is Iliochori .Once there, the first street of cobblestones on the right hand side, take us down into the square, where we can begin out walk towards a seclude waterfall.
In the square there is a small bar and a water source, in case you need to fill the tank or clean yourself.
At the same time, approaching Iliochori, we will see a sing that says: Kalives Karakatsaneo. It is an open museum where you can see huts where people used to live along with several tools of the time. Entrance free.
You can drive slowly, stop wherever you like to spend the night, and enjoy everything that surrounds you.
Tranquility and nature, a sensation of freedom in a magical environment.