During my second trip to Greece we headed to the northern part of Greece, famous for its beautiful mountains and monasteries. I had heard a little about those amazing monasteries located on the side or top of the rocky hills and I couldn't wait to be there and enjoy the great views and the ambience. But before reaching there, we passed quite a few amazing places in the Zagorahoria area north of Ioannina.
We visited Vradeto to walk up the renowned Vikos Gorge to view the beautiful scenery. We arrived a bit late in the tiny town after a long drive through the region. We parked our car at a small hotel and tried to work out when was the best time to do the hiking. We met the restaurant owner inside the place and a few of his regular customers eating and drinking wine. After a long chat, we realized that people only spent their summer time in the town to serve tourists and now being Autumn, there are only a few people staying in to take care of their houses. These regular customers were helping their relatives to build a house nearby. One of the young guy came over to our table and talk to us. He spoke very good English and we had a nice conversation. He explained a bit about the culture of the local area, the food and travel around this area. We decided to stay overnight and do the hiking the next morning. Unfortunately, there was no heater during the night (the temperature was only 3 to 5 degrees). We were the only people in the restaurant and the owner gave us extra blankets and it wasn't too bad. I went down stairs in the morning to ask for hot water to clean my face and the owner was already in the kitchen preparing our breakfast. He's a really funny man and a really good cook and we enjoyed his food very much.
It took us 45 minutes to walk up to the Vikos Gorge, truly beautiful even along the walk. There are quite a few different animals accompanied by their keepers walking up the mountain with us as well, cows with bells, deers, dogs... Very nice and peaceful atmosphere. We stood up there for a while enjoying the cool fresh air, the view and took some photos. Absolutely love this place heaps!!!! We walked back to the restaurant and headed further north to Kastoria, on the edge of western Macedonia. After checking into a B&B, we drove outside of this pretty town on Lake Orestiada. We wanted to visit the Prespe Lakes region, which sits right on the border of Greece, Macedonia and Albania. We reached a small village where we saw a man selling different pickles in jars and they tasted so nice. We walked toward the end and we found a restaurant for our lunch. We had to admit that we had the best meal for a long long time. Thank god we found this town for our great experience with totally traditional great northern Greek dishes.