Continuing west from Metéora, you soon encounter the rugged peaks, forested ravines and turbulent rivers of the Píndhos Mountains. Over the centuries, this range has insulated the communities and culture here from outside interference, securing a large measure of autonomy even under Ottoman rule. Yet, today it’s the mountains themselves that provide the strongest attraction. Their physical beauty is stunning, with limestone peaks, dramatic gorges and dense forest contrasting with stone-built villages and arched packhorse bridges.

Roughly halfway over the mountains stands Métsovo, the most convenient venue for alpine life Greek-style, plus a taste of the local Vlach culture. Down on the plain below is the fascinating lakeside city of Ioánnina, capital of Epirus, the last region of Greece to be liberated from the Turks. Farther to the north, back up in the Píndhos mountains, authentic stone hamlets and the stunning Víkos Gorge provide unforgettable scenery and hiking opportunities.

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