Karpenissi is one of Greece’s last undiscovered corners; tranquilly enfolded in the arms of its pine-clad mountain slopes and snowy peaks, it hangs in the azure air in a world that hovers, all on its own, above the hubbub of the coasts. To the the East lies the sparkling Aegean and its glamorous, light -filled hotspots. Facing West, the limpid limpid Ionian gently laps the sandy shores of its green and Italianate islands. To the North, crouching like a bear, are the Balkans, the the South spreads out the balanced beauty of the heartland of Ancient Greece.
This most isolated and mountainous region of Greece is no more than a 3 hour drive from the sandy beaches of either coast, and from Athens. Alpine peaks rear up over 6,000 ft and are gashed and studded with ravines, rivers, meadows, waterfalls, lakes, thick forests, byzantine monasteries, and lovely traditional villages.
As befits a vast natural park, designated by UNESCO as one of Europe’s cleanest areas, there are activities of all kinds – White water rafting in the Trikeriotis and Tavropos rivers, canyoning in Vothonas, skiing and paragliding in Velouchi, riding, canoeing, hiking, mountain biking, swimming, trekking in the Pantavrechi ravine, fishing for trout in the Karpenissiotis river, shrimping on the coast of Acarnania, truffle hunting – Karpenissi offers it all.
You will need to some of these things to work off the pounds put in by eating the hearty and wholesome dishes of this area, famed for its home cooking. Evi has just returned from a quiet retreat with these tips and some beautiful photos of Spring. And a couple of extra pounds….
View to the Kremasta Lake from Fidakia village.
View to the Karpenissi valley and the mountain peaks from Velouchi ski resort.
“To Steki” in Klafsi for divine lamb chops, cabbage dolma and traditional pies.
“Afoi Mathe” in Klafsi for the eagle view down the valley and home cooking with locally sourced ingredients.
Porketta, the roasted baby pork of Proussos (advance booking required).
Do not leave without trying/buying
Feta and Katiki (soft, creamy cheese) from the happy Karpenissi sheep and goats.
Fir tree honey.
The naturally matured prosciutto of Stremenos family, in Proussos.
Pork sausages with red wine, leek and spices.
“Mouro” – unique local grappa style spirit made of black mulberries.
Proussos Byzantine monastery.
Ghost village and stone bridge of Old Viniani.
Breathe, breathe, breathe! The air here is the cleanest in Europe.