48 hours in Greece: Ride to Meteora & Zagori

Meteora and Zagori: two unique destinations in Greece, two of the most beautiful parts of the country with extraordinary landscapes. 

We decided to pay a visit to these places over a weekend and enjoy the route with a rented BMW R 1200 GS.

We covered 1000+ kilometres within 48 hours without feeling tired, all thanks to the comfort offered by the Bavarian bike.

In the first part of our trip (Athens-Meteora) we had to cover a distance of 356 km, with quite large lines and several toll stations (up to Lamia). The new section of the highway joining Lamia with Trikala - while avoiding Domokos and its closed turns - has now been handed over. In the summertime a unique landscape can be an en route companion filled with vast lands of flourishing sunflower fields and cornfields

After 4,5 hours of driving pleasure including two stops, we arrived at Meteora. We decided to spend the night in Kastraki and took the opportunity to gaze at the sunset in this special morphological place. Unique rocks and visitors from all over the world who were also there to enjoy the scenery.

A landscape that filled colors and shadows as the sun said farewell. You have to see this scenery at some point, because telling you about it or even looking at pictures does not come close to the experience.

After having enjoyed the scenery we found a room to stay overnight in Kastraki, a small village close to Kalambaka, much more beautiful and authentic than the big and indifferent town of Kalambaka. Consisting of low houses, beautiful people and also tranquility, and hidden between the foothills of these idyllic rocks. A double room here costs about 30-40 euros for one night, and you wake up to the most beautiful view.

Breakfast and early coffee is served in the most beautiful cafe, right across from the village bakery. A delightful couple took over the ruins of an old coffee house and with fresh ideas managed to keep the traditional beauty and appearance, with a little detail and emphasis on catalog and decoration, while giving a fresh look of aesthetics.

We left behind the amazing Meteora, discreetly heading off, away from the motorbike mirrors and following the route of the old national road Ioannina - Trikala, passing by Katara. In 3 hours we reached Kipi, the heart of Zagori.

We were delighted to participate in the most beautiful event that takes place in Zagorohoria every summer, the Zagori Mountain Race. An event dedicated to mountain sports and the mountain itself. 4 matches depending on the level of each athlete in some of the most beautiful places of unique Zagori. Many athletes consider it to be the most beautiful race, combining demands and landscape beauty. The route of the most demanding race, that of 80 kilometers, passes through Drakolimni, the bridges and the plateaus of the area. The most notable thing about it is the organization of the event, in which everyone refers to it with the best words. We also made an appointment for the following year and we continued to enjoy the area.

Next stop for a drink at the Voidomatis. We took the route to Aristi and from there to Papigo. 5 minutes after Aristi, there is the Aristi bridge, or Papigou's bridge and the small coastline that forms the river, giving visitors the opportunity to swim in the river. Diving, of course, is not as easy as it sounds, as the river has a constant summer-summer temperature around 4 degrees, quite frozen, to a point where you do not get used to it. Voidomatis is the cleanest river in Greece and has incredible beauty as well. We relaxed on the small shore, enjoyed the scenery, the plain trees and the butterflies, the nature in all its grandeur. Others more courageous people made dives from rocks and other rafting on one of the most beautiful and easy routes.

In the afternoon we continued uphill to Papingo to visit Kolimbithres while looking at the impressive rock of Astraka. Kolimbithres is like small swimming pool along the course of a small river and is on the way between Mikro and Megalo Papigo. During the summer months, residents and visitors of the area choose to cool down and take a dip. With warmer waters, warmer than those of Wikimedia, it's easier to dive and relax on the rocks by reading your book.

Eating in the Astra, out in the courtyard overlooking Astraka and traditional flavors with raw material from the gardens of the restaurant and after relaxing. Relaxing under the plain tree of the church in Megalo Papigo, coffee and sweets in Sterna. Sweet handmade, tasteful and cute boutique with very nice gifts and supplies for your kitchen. Dried mushrooms, garlic, handmade liqueurs and much more. You can also get Debina, their own production. A wonderful wine to enjoy with your company. Do not miss Sterna.

As the day went by and dusk arrived, we slowly started to return. 3.5 hours to Patras (from Zagori) thanks to the new National motorway and two more hours to Athens. A lot of toll stations, but comfortable safe driving with no turns and good road surface. Several kilometers, but easy thanks to BMW's bike, the ideal choice for such excursions. The boxer's engine and ergonomics give you the comfort you need to move safely without fatigue. If you can dedicate more days, this route will reward you. Zagori has so much to give you to relax and enjoy.

 

Read more about Christos on his blog.


Photos © λ3 by Christos Tzoutis

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