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Northwest of Ioannina, the road leads over a steep ridgeline and into the Zagorohoria (Zagori villages). More than 40 tiny settlements built of the local gray stone, right up to the slate roofs, blend almost seamlessly into the flanks of the heavily forested mountains. Most of their streets are too narrow for cars, and they're linked to other villages by old stone paths and staircases and graceful arched bridges, all built in the 18th and 19th centuries. Although many of the villages are less than an hour's drive from Ioannina, the area feels much more remote, and it delivers on silence, quality hiking and nature, plus breathtaking views at every turn. The main attraction is the dramatic Vikos Gorge, nearly 1km deep, but snow-capped peaks to the north compete; the whole area is inside the Northern Pindos National Park.

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