Driving Tour: Vikos Gorge
- Start Asprangeli
- End Mikro Papingo
- Length 110km; six hours
This route hits the big landmarks in a day, but it could easily extend over several days or a week, leaving time to lounge, hike and explore some of the intervening villages not mentioned here.
After the national park info centre in Asprangeli, take the left fork then the right, following signs for Kipi. Your welcome to the region: picture-perfect Kokkori Bridge. After this, take the right fork, and before Kipi on the right is triple-arched Plakida Bridge. Backtrack to the first fork and follow signs for Vradeto. Go past the village on a short dirt track, then park and walk about 10 minutes to Beloï Viewpoint, for your first glimpse of the gorge. Back at the village, walk to the Vradeto Steps and down a bit for the best view; the whole walk takes about 45 minutes.
In the car, head back downhill and to Monodendri, on the other side of the gorge. Bear right before town, to park on the lower side (more scenic) and walk to Moni Agia Paraskevi; grab a snack from Pita tis Kikitsas and visit Rizarios Exhibition Centre. Then pass through the eerie stone forest on the way to one more viewpoint: Oxya.
Continue to Ano Pedina, to see the beautiful frescoes at Moni Evaggelistria, then on to Aristi, where Alexandra, owner of the kafeneio, makes a particularly good alevropita (quick cheese pie), or you can enjoy a full lunch and view at Salvia. While you're eating, look to the opposite hillside for the zigzag road to Papingo: that's next.
Drive downhill and stop for a short walk to Moni Panagia Spiliotissa. Just ahead at the Voïdomatis River, a narrow car bridge mimics the arch of the old stone constructions; there's a lovely beachy area on the riverbank. In Megalo Papingo, get out of the car to safely gawk at the majesty of the Astraka Towers. Continue to Papingo Rock Pools, where you can swim in summer. End in Mikro Papingo, with a snack at Veranda 1700, to see how high you've climbed.