Papigo: Nestled in the “arms” of the imposing Astraka


Papigo has been characterized as a traditional protected settlement and attracts thousands of travelers every year. At the end of the Byzantine era, Papigo was the capital of West Zagori whilst “Papigo” was stated the mountain of Tymfi that lies above it.

Important personalities of literature, science and arts originating from Papigo. The philologist, director of the Institute for the Blind Perkins of Boston and benefactor of Papigo Michael Anagnostopoulos (1837 – 1906), George Anagnostopoulos (1867 – 1952) professor of Linguistics in the University of Athens, Zacharias Sardelis (1830 – 1913) philologist, journalist and editor of newspaper “IRIS” in Bucharest and Christodoulos Tsiotidis (1838 – 1894), the Greek consul in Bucharest were some of the people who originate from Papigo.

Map Papigo (Megalo & Mikro Papigo)

Megalo Papigo: Megalo (Big) Papigo is one of the most famous and beautiful villages of West Zagori. The village of Papigo exists since the 14th century and it is divided into two settlements, Megalo and Mikro Papigo. Situated at an altitude of 900 meters at the foot of Astraka, Megalo Papigo is 2 km from Mikro Papigo.

Megalo Papigo is one of the most beautiful villages of Zagori. It is 60 km from Ioannina and it will impress you with its impeccable architecture. Cobbled streets, mansions, beautiful fountains, old churches based on the traditional local architecture give a special color to the village. To reach Megalo Papigo you should pass from Aristi and “Kagelia”  a “snaky” road with 14 sharp turns.

Next to the impressive church of Agios Vasilios is the elementary school, the work of Michael Anagnostopoulos who in 1888 founded the famous Kallineia Schools, five in total, in Big and Small Papigo. Today, it houses the library of Anagnostopoulos who was Director of the Blind and Deaf Children School Rerkins Institute of Boston and contains rare works.

Megalo Papigo has a big tourist development, featuring many hotels, guesthouses, inns, taverns, restaurants and cafes and all carefully made and based in the local traditional architecture. Despite the great tourist development of Megalo Papigo, it has remained intact in time, offering a unique natural landscape.

Megalo Papigo has incredible views of the towers of Astraka combined with the springs of Voidomatis, the natural swimming pool “Rogovo” and the refuge of Astraka Mountaineering Association create a landscape of unique natural beauty that amazes and the most-traveled visitor.

Mikro Papigo: Mikro Papigo with Megalo Papigo constitute the two settlements of Papigo. It is one of the finest and most famous of Zagori, located northeast of Ioannina, 62 km from the city. Built at an altitude of 980 meters it is located in a particularly imposing landscape below Mount Tymfi.

The traditional local architecture, lush vegetation, the incomparable beauty and the wilderness of the landscape make it an ideal destination for the most traveled visitors. Stone paths, old mansions with folk frescos, old stone churches, narrow streets and rich natural landscape create a uniquely beautiful scenery at Mikro Papigo.

A few meters before arriving at Mikro Papigo are the fonts, the natural swimming pool “Rogovo“. In the stream of Rogovo by water erosion have been formed round pits that look like small ponds, which the locals call “ovires“. During the summer months you can swim and relax in one of the fonts.

At the entrance of the village, next to the Church of the Archangels, is the old school, also work of Michael Anagnostopoulos, where it is hosted the WWF Information Centre that gives information about the fauna and flora of the region.

Mikro Papigo under the supervision of the five imposing towers of Astraka of whom the highest reaches 1788 meters,  and the mythical Drakolimni, will enchant you with its rich natural landscape that blends in with the architecture of Epirus.

As a traditional preserved settlement Mikro Papigo attracts many visitors without affecting the charm and the particular way of maintaining the territorial and cultural organization of the local community.

Mikro Papigo has a very good tourist infrastructure with traditional inns, hotels, inns and taverns and restaurants to enjoy the local specialties.

Mikro Papigo with its cultural heritage, the tradition of its exemplary hospitality, the numerous activities, the incomparable beauty of the natural landscape and the breathtaking views make the visitors return again and again to experience once mor ethe magic of the area.

Local Flavours & Products

 In Papigo and in all villages of Zagori you will find rich and delicious dishes, traditional dishes such as the famous Zagori pies all made with fresh local ingredients. The traditional flavors of Zagori satisfy even the most demanding visitor.

Try the local meat cooked in a pot, lamb in a pot, pompari, Easter crumbs, fried pork, kontosouvli, ewe grilled, baked beans, briam. Of course it would be a great omission not to try some of the famous Zagori Pies like flour pie or zymaropita, spinach pie, milk pie, nettle pie, gkizopita, pumpkin pie, frumenty pie, chicken pie, cheese, mushroom and almond pie, baklava, pancakes and apple in the oven. You can accompany your meal with locally produced wine, fine raki or ouzo.

From Papigo and other Zagori villages you can buy dairy products, chestnuts, apples, walnuts, honey, mushrooms, sweets, jams, pickles, local meats and folk art.

Cultural Events

In Papigo take place many cultural events and various exhibitions.

– Feast of the Prophet Elias on July 20th  in Papigo.
– Feast of St. Panteleimon on July 27th in Avragonia position.
– Feast of Our Lady of Paliouri on September 8th in Mikro Papigo.

Papigo Attractions

Churches Megalo Papigo:
– The church of Agios Vasilios, the patron saint of shepherds, built in 1852 in the place of an older temple of 908. The church is built with unique architecture and features paintings 100 years old. The stone church of Agios Vasilios is a large basilica and has a hexagonal steeple. The church celebrates on February 11.

– A cobbled path leads you to the church of St. George built in 1774 and renovated in 1880. The interior is significantly decorated with rare icons and the bell tower which has a height of 10 meters is really impressive.

– Other churches to visit in Megalo Papigo is the church of St. Nicholas, the Assumption of the 18th century and the churches of St. Christopher located in a prime position with wonderful views of Ai Lias (Saint Elias).

Churches Mikro Papigo:
– The Church of the Archangels is the only church that exists in Mikro Papigo and has been classified as preserved by the Ministry of Culture. It is estimated that it was built in its present form in the 18th century and inside there are old special icons. The temple is very old and has ornate decoration.

The Library of Michael Anagnostopoulos: It is located in Papigo in West Zagori and it is personal collection. The collection includes over 1.250 volumes, most foreign language as the Greek were looted during the possesion period. All books have been published between 1750 and 1906.

The monastery of Panagia Spiliotissa: It is built on a rock on the left bank of Voidomatis River. It is located on the road leading from Aristi to Papigo and it is dedicated to the Assumption. According to I. Lambridis the monastery was built in 1579 while the preserved inscriptions indicate that it was built in 1665 by the monks Joachim and Sophronios and the hagiographies were painted by the monk Parthenios in 1673.

The residents fled τo the monastery of Panagia Spiliotissa when they were in danger from the Turks. The monastery acquired  great prosperity and fame in the late 17th century and early 18th century. Although it is dedicated to the Assumption, is celebrated in Zoodochos Pigi’s.

The gilded carved iconostasis is the highest art of the 17th century while the abbot is decorated with plant representations, work of G. Anastasiou Chioniaditi painter who painted it in March 1874. The frescoes of the monastery date back to 1673 and is the work of the painters Ioanis, Dimitriou and Georgiou. The monastery kept in very good condition due to the successive maintenance in recent years.

Kolimbithres (Fonts) Papigo: About 500 meters before arriving at Mikro Papigo is the stream of Rogovo and a sign that informs you about the fonts. If you follow the path you will reach the first fonts where substantially narrows the stream and converts into a small gorge. During the summer months you can swim or relax in one of the fonts.

Drakolimni of Gamila is located in Tymfi at an altitude of 2.100 meters. It is located in a unique natural landscape and it is a popular hiking destination. The alpine lake has permanent water and its special feature are the Alpine Tritons (Triturus alpestris), a rare species of amphibian that resembles a small dragon. The lake can be reached after about 4 hours hiking from Mikro Papigo and it is an 1-hour from  the shelter in the saddle of Astraka.

The National Park of Vikos-Aoos: It is located in Zagori, on the north of Ioannina and at the northeast borders of the National Park of Pindos – Valia Calda. It is a protected site of natural heritage that was declared a National Park in 1973. The area is part of the European network of protected areas Natura 2000 and is distinguished by the changes in the scenery: dense wooded areas sequence steep cliffs.

The area of ​​the Vikos-Aoos is one of the ten National Parks of Greece and includes the Vikos Gorge, along with Voidomatis River are the core of the park. Also in the area includes part of the range of Tymfi the Aoos gorge and some conserved settlements.

Within the boundaries of the park are some of the most important villages of Zagori such as Monodendri, Mikro and Megalo Papigo and Vikos. Around the park there are Aristi the villages Vitsa, Agios Minas, Vradeto, Kapesovo and Vrisochori.

The Park has an area of ​​122.250 hectares of which 34.120 hectares is the main core. The area is steep with high peaks with the highest that of Gamila at 2.497 meters in Tymfi. There are five endemic species unique in the world. Impressive is also the collection of the naturalist Kostas Lazarides who has collected 1.240 different plant species representing 96 of the 149 plant families. The collection can be admired at the natural history museum in Koukouli.

The Park has a rich fauna which includes 10 species of amphibians as the rare alpine triton, 21 reptile species, 130 bird species such as the endangered black stork and the golden eagle and 24 species of mammals such as bears, boars, deers etc. Vikos-Aoos include a very rare and extremely sensitive ecosystem so it is not allowed any human activity, except for browsing and recreation.

Surrounding Area

Vikos: Vikos village is built at an altitude of 770 meters, on the top of a large rock on the coast of Voidomatis River. The village got its name from the gorge of Vikos. The village of Vikos has easy access to the church of Our Lady of the canyon, the sources of Voidomatis, Kastraki, the St. John and Elafotopos.

Built in a commanding location, Vikos, looking from above Papigo and the tops of Astraka. The view can be enjoyed from the village is unique.

Aristi: Located in West Zagori is one of the largest villages of Zagorochoria. The beautiful village of Aristi is built on a green slope at an altitude of 650 meters and is located 48 km. From Ioannina.

Mesovouni: The Mesovouni located on the sunny side of the hill and distinguishes the rich vegetation. In the village you will find dozens of different types of flowers while the hill is the cemetery of the Greek-Italian war in 1940-1.

Agios Minas: In the beautiful village of Agios Minas you can visit the bridge of Voidomatis river and the Church of the Annunciation dating from 1576.

Papigo Activities

Papigo is the starting point for many mountain activities such as hiking, climbing, mountaineering, climb to the lodge of Astraka and Drakolimni, descent in the Vikos Gorge etc.

Rafting – Kayak: Voidomatis river is ideal for lovers of rafting and kayaking. One of the most beautiful routes for rafting and kayaking is the path that starts from Papigo bridge and ends at Kleidonia bridge. The path length is about 5 km., And takes 1 hour and 30 minutes.


– Ascent to Tymfi. The ascent to Tymfi from the village Mikro Papigo. It takes 6-7 hours to the lodge and another hour to Drakolimni.

– Vikos – Mikro Papigo. The route starts from the village of Vikos and leads in Mikro Papigo. The distance is about 2 km and lasts for two hours due to the uphill road.

Starting from Mikro Papigo you can go:

– Papigo – Monodendri – Vikos Gorge. Duration about 7 hours.
– Papigo – Voidomatis springs – Vikos. Duration about 3 hours.
– Papigo – Astraka refuge. Duration about 3 hours.
– Papigo – precipice “Provatina” – Papigo towers. Duration about 4 hours.
– Papigo – Astraka. Over 4 hours and 30 minutes.
– Papigo – Drakolimni. Over 4 hours and 30 minutes.
– Papigo – Kokino Lithari. 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Starting from the Mountain lodge you can go:

– Mountain lodge – Drakolimni. 1 hour and 30 minutes.
– Mountain lodge – Gamila. Over 2 hours and 30 minutes.
– Mountain lodge – Lapatos. 1 hour and 45 minutes.
– Mountain lodge – Karteros col – Vrisochori. Duration approximately 9 hours.
– Mountain lodge – Tsepelovo. 6 hours and 30 minutes.
– Mountain lodge – Vradeto. Duration about 7 hours.
– Mountain lodge – Aoos ravine- Monastery of Stomio- Konitsa. Over 5 hours and 30 minutes.

From Papigo bridge at Voidomatis can go:

– Papigo Bridge – Kleidonia stone bridge. Duration 2 hours and 15 minutes.

How to get there

Papigo is 62 km from Ioannina.

From Athens you can reach Zagori via Patras and Rio Antirio. After about 20 km from Ioannina you will meet the first villages of Central or East Zagori. The distance is 445 km and the journey takes about six hours.

From Patras you get to Zagori via Rio – Antirio. The distance is 236 km.

From Thessaloniki you can get to Zagori via Egnatia Odos in Ioannina. The distance is 370 km. You can also arrive from the Egnatia Motorway via Grevena.

From Metsovo after 40 km you will reach the first villages of East Zagori.

By car you can reach Zagori through the highway Kozani – Ioannina from Kalpaki or Metamorphosis (Karyes). Shortly after Kalpaki turn right Aristi – Papigo.

Daily bus itineraries from Athens, Patras, Thessaloniki, Arta, Preveza, Igoumenitsa to Ioannina and then there is a connection from the city of Ioannina by suburban bus to Zagori.

Papigo Useful Telephone Numbers (Calling code for Greece 0030)

Municipality of East Zagori (Miliotades)
26560 31101
Post Office Tsepelovo
26530 81212
Municipality of Central Zagori (Asprangeli)
26533 60300, 26530 22536
Ioannina Forest Department
26510 26482
Municipality of Tymfi (Tsepelovo)
26530 81203
Greek National Tourist Organization Ioannina
26510 41142
Vovousa Community
26560 22843
Tourist Police Ioannina
26510 65922
Papigo Community
26530 41931
Hospital Ioannina
26510 80111
Asprangeli Clinic
26530 22551
Radio Taxi Ioannina
26510 46777
Aristi Clinic
26530 41180
Bus Station Ioannina
26510 26286
Greveniti Clinic
26560 31201
Bus Station Athens
210 5148856
Tsepelovo Clinic
26530 81202
Bus Station Thessalonica
2310 595424
Police Station Kipi
26530 71606
Ionnina Airport
26510 26218
Police Station Tsepelovo
26530 81201
Eleftherios Venizelos Airport
210 3530000
Police Station Aristi
 26530 41294
Alpine Zone (Activities)
 26510 23222

Megalo & Mikro Papigo Photos