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5day trekking / North Pindos section / Valia Calda - Smolikas

09 Oct 22 - 15 Oct 22
5 days
North Pindus
5day trekking / North Pindos section / Valia Calda - Smolikas

5day trekking / North Pindos section / Valia Calda - Smolikas



 Pindos is the largest mountain range in the country. Its impressive and life giving mountains cover most of western Greece, while geomorphologically they are the extension of the Illyrian and Dalmatian mountain ranges .

Forming a unique mountainous terrain from the Greek-Albanian border to the Corinthian Gulf, Pindos is an important asset for the country due to its ecosystem, primary sector production, folk traditions, but also a profound history.

 North Pindos is one of the larger parts of the range. In this area we find large mountains, verdant valleys, rivers and scattered picturesque villages .

Due to intense biodiversity and limited human presence or exploitation, the wider area of northern Pindos is one of the most important wildlife refuges in Greece. One of the great advantages of the area, are the vast forest areas and the continuous water of the springs that provide the area with a balanced ecosystem!


                                                                          The route

 The hiking crossing of northern Pindos has been recommended in recent years by our office in the context of highlighting and utilizing the old abandoned hiking trails of the mountain range.

The purpose of the invitation is to tour safely and get to know the wonderful ecosystem and topography of northern Pindos, following the forest living paths that in the past connected the isolated villages of the Vlachs. In recent years, the trails of the area are maintained by groups of volunteers, giving hiking enthusiasts the opportunity to get to know the unique landscapes and traditions of the Vlachs!


                                                             Detailed program description


9/10 Arrival in Metsovo

  • The 230km journey from Thessaloniki airport to the main town of Epirus, Metsovo, is via the National Road (Egnatia Odos) and lasts 2.5 hours.
  • Upon arrival in Metsovo, it is recommended to settle in the hotel and get information, while there is free time left for a tour of the village and dinner in a central tavern.
  • From the shops in the market, everyone can additionally purchase, snacks and personal necessities to hiking equipment (clothing, footwear, accessories) and local products, such as cheese, cold cuts, herbs, wine, etc.



Day 1 Mavrovouni - Flegga Lakes - Valia Calda -> 11 km / 6 h

1 hour drive with minibus from Metsovo to the refuge of Mavrovouni.

 - Morning awakening 7 am

 - Breakfast 7:30 am

 - Departure 8 am

 - Arrival at the starting point of the route 9 am


The refuge is located at an altitude of 1,836 meters in a commanding location in Mavrovouni. Situated in a beautiful natural environment overlooking the lake of the springs of the Aoos river the building it remains out of operation, but is an ideal starting point for daily or multi-day hiking activity.

The route starts from a high altitude, in order to facilitate the advancement of the team in the isolated valley of Valia Calda, where the first 2 days of the crossing take place.

The first part of the route is ideal for an introduction, with smooth plateaus and wonderful views, leading in just 1.5 hours to the peak of the mountain, Flegga at 2159m altitude.

The view from the highest peak of Mavrovouni is revealing, especially for those who visit the mountains of Pindos for the first time.

A vast mountainous area with mountains exceeding 2,000m and beautiful valleys form the topography of the great mountain range.

A special gift of North Pindos is the dense wild vegetation and the intense hydrology that offer shady routes with countless springs for the good hydration of hikers even in the summer months.

Below the Flegga peak are the twin alpine lakes formed unevenly at altitudes of 1,920 and 1,950 meters. The descent path passes through the springs and the shore of the upper lake, before entering the colorful autumn scenery of the forest, in the direction of the core of the National Park.

* The base of the camp will be set up on a plateau with clusters of black pine, beeches and maples, next to the bank of Arkoudorema. The support team takes care of the necessary accommodation equipment and food.



Day 2 : Valia Calda - Arkoudorema - Vovousa -> 12 km / 6 h

 -Morning awakening 7am

-Breakfast 7:30 am

-Arrangement of equipment 8 – 9 am

-Departure time from the camp 9:15 am


 The route from the core of the Valia Calda forest to the picturesque village of Vovousa is beautiful with gentle slopes and freshwater springs at regular intervals.

The path moves next to Arkoudorema following its course until it flows into the Aoos river 6 km below. Starting on the 2nd day from the camp site we head Northwest. The route leads through the valley in a landscape of incomparable beauty with a rich variety of vegetation and running water. Along the way the path crosses the stream 3 times, adding extra interest to walkers, as in Valia Calda you will not find a bridge and crossing the stream is done using stepping stones.

Following the meeting of the Aoos and Arkoudorema rivers there is another 6 km of riverside route to the village of Vovousa, where the 2nd day of the hiking ends.



3rd day : Vovousa - Valia Stathi - Distrato -> 16 km / 6 h

 - Morning awakening 7:45 am

- Breakfast 8 am

- Start of hiking: 9 am

 The route starts from the stone arched bridge located in the picturesque square of Vovousa. The third consecutive daily hike, which connects Vovousa with Distrato is beautiful and leads through a dense forest of coniferous, broadleaf and fruit trees, where every autumn it is elaborately painted and gives wonderful images to visitors.

Mostly route leads through the forested slopes of the isolated valley of the Aoos river, which gathers the entire volume of water flowing from the surrounding mountains.

Three of the dozens of small streams that flow to the banks of the Aoos, are in wonderful locations along the route and crossing them is easy.

The whole route is impressive, passing through the isolated verdant forests that cover much of the Aoos valley.

It is an old forest route of moderate difficulty, which once served the locals to come and go daily with their livelihoods transporting products for trade or everyday needs.

The isolated "Valia Stathi" is located in the middle of the route and truly amazing. At its centre we find rare vegetation and one of the most important habitats of the brown bear in Greece.

Leaving the shady forest of Valia Stathi and with final destination the village of Distrato, the landscapes of the valley of Aoos, Tymfi, Smolikas and Vasilitsa, are revealed at every step.

After 6 hours of enjoyable hiking in the virgin forests of the area, the 3rd day of the route is completed.



4th day : Distrato - Gomara - Samarina -> 16 km / 6 h

 -Morning awakening 7 am

-Breakfast 7:30 am

-Start of hiking 8 am

 The daily route crosses one of the most pristine and wild forests of the country, which is located on the geographical borders of Epirus with Western Macedonia, where the village of Samarina is to be found. The path starts from Distrato square at 1150m and with a course North, passes to the green slopes of Mount Gomara, reaching an altitude of 1600m. From there the route becomes easier and more enjoyable, following a beautiful traverse, adorned with black pines, beeches, maples and age-old robola trees, which stand proudly on the mountain slopes. Walking on the path the spectacle is unique. The deep ravines of the area in combination with the alpine landscape of the majestic Mt. Smolika, located directly opposite, compose images of incomparable beauty that impress. The route, after 2 hours at high altitude, descends into the Samarinian stream and takes us to the opposite bank, where we ascend to the Byzantine monastery of Ag. Paraskevi. From the Monastery there is 2.5 km path to Samarina Square, which is on record as the highest residential area in Greece!



Day 5 : Samarina - Smolika - Pades -> 22 km / 10 h

 Finally, we will complete the five-day hiking route, crossing Smolika, the 2nd highest mountain in Greece with a maximum altitude of 2637m.

 -Morning awakening 6 am

-Breakfast at 6:30 am

- Start of hiking 7:15 am


The route starts from Samarina square and gently ascends through the forest zone to the plateaus on the north side of Mt. Smolika.

From the high pastures heading south, the path leads to a uniquely wonderful terrain with plateaus, ridges and scattered small alpine lakes.

A path follows from the ridge that leads to the highest peak of the mountain. The view from the peak of Smolika is indescribable as we are surrounded by valleys and well-formed, high mountains such as Tymfi, Trapezitsa, Nemertsika and Grammos on the Greek-Albanian border. The whole area is considered of the highest ecological importance and due to the limited human intervention; it is one of the most important wildlife refuges in Greece.

Descending from the peak, the path leads to Drakolimni (‘Dragon’ lake) "Lyga" which is formed at 2150m and offers the ideal conditions for a satisfying stop. The descent from the lake to the village square is through a dense pine forest with freshwater springs and takes about 2.5 hours.

     15/10 -> Departure by road for Thessaloniki from the village of Pades.

  • The trip from the village of Pades to the airport of Thessaloniki will be made through Konitsa and Ioannina.
  • The total distance of the return trip is 300km and takes 3.5 hours.
  • During the return trip, an intermediate stop is recommended in the area of Zagori or at another point in the route.