Ioannina and the Vikos Gorge, Greece

Passing through Saint George gate is like walking from the past into the future in Ioannina.

The fall colors are just beginning in Northern Greece in October. We saw the changing of the seasons through the bus window on our way to Ioannina from Meteora.

Sleepy streets in old Town Ioannina.

We stayed within the castle walls in old town Ioannina. Inside the walls are sleepy cobble stone streets. Once you pass through Saint George gate there’s a bustling, young hip area full of bars and restaurants crowded with university students.

A busy university city awaits outside the castle walls.

For culture buffs you can visit several museums and two mosques within the castle walls. Then take a ferry across Lake Pamvotida to the Island of Ioannina. There are quaint walking streets, monasteries, restaurants, tourist shops and a very impressive museum at the actual site of Ali Pasha’s assassination at his home in 1822. We were surprised by the amount of Eastern influence in this area and of it’s historical importance.

The mosque with rusty cannon balls.
An example of beautiful artistry and weaponry in the Ali Pasha museum.

We rented a car and drove an hour away to the Vikos Gorge in the Zagoria region. Tiny villages with houses made of stone are nestled against cloud frosted mountain sides. Centuries old stone bridges built by monks are set against the backdrop of fall colors.

One of the largest stone bridges in the gorge area. See Ian on top?
Ancient stone bridges among fall colors.

Vikos Canyon is considered the deepest for it’s width in the world. Due to rainy and foggy fall weather we could only imagine how dramatic it must be in the summer months.

The Stone Forest is an abstract rock formation near the gorge.
The fog filled Vikos Gorge.

We stayed in a two hundred year old limestone mansion that felt like a castle. I guess you need to build thick walls of stone if you live in a place that gets snow in the winter.

Our room in the two hundred year old stone mansion.
Beautiful blue water in the Vikos Gorge area.

We managed to see some beautiful sites even though it rained on us the entire time. The weather added a mystical quality to our experience of the gorge area.