7 Fantastic Experiences In Epirus, Greece’s Best Kept Secret

The perfect destination if you love Greece but don’t want to share your vacation with lots of other tourists.

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1. Visiting Dodona

The Largest Theater Of Ancient Greece



Photo: KAREN WARREN.

The site — which happens to be set in some stunning countryside — is open year round.

You can explore the remains of the theater, and fragments of the ancient town.

Dodona was also the home of the god Zeus, and the location of an important oracle, second only to Delphi in significance.

It is still considered a sacred place: perhaps you will pick up some of the spiritual vibes as you walk around!

2. Chilling Out In Preveza

The seaside town of Preveza is primarily a place to relax, with a large yacht marina and long sandy beaches



Photo: PIT STOCK / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM.

However, you will want to explore the old town with its famous alleys. These are a series of tiny streets full of shops and restaurants, and buildings from the Byzantine and Venetian periods.

If you want to do a bit of sightseeing, there are three castles in Preveza, including the Venetian Pantocrator Castle. There is also an art gallery and several museums.

3. Discovering The Historic Town Of Arta

One of the main attractions of Arta is its Byzantine churches.



Photo: KAREN WARREN.

Although Arta does have some small archaeological sites, including one of the theaters of the Cultural Route, many visitors will find the medieval and Byzantine town more interesting.

One of the main attractions of Arta is its Byzantine churches. I visited the church of Panagia Parigoritissa, which is unremarkable on the outside, but the interior contains some magnificent medieval wall paintings.

You should be able to explore Arta comfortably in a single day.

4. Walking Around The Old Town And Lake Of Ioannina

Ioannina is the main town of Epirus and is primarily a convenient base for exploring rather than a tourist center.



Photo: KAREN WARREN.

However, you may want to spend some time in the Kastro, the 6th-century citadel. This small walled area encloses the streets of the old town and includes some ancient buildings such as the Fethiye Mosque.

You can walk or cycle around the lake, or take a boat trip to the tranquil and car-free island with its fishing port, monasteries, and centuries of history.

5. Enjoying The Gastronomy Of Epirus

There is no shortage of restaurants where you can enjoy the local cuisine.



Photo: KAREN WARREN.

This is based on very fresh, local ingredients: the emphasis is on the quality of the ingredients rather than on elaborate dishes.

Look out for the local olive oil, which is often organic, and always of high quality, the vegetables (especially the fresh wild greens), and the citrus fruit.

PRO TIP: It is easy enough to find tourist staples such as kebabs or moussaka.

However, you’ll enjoy the food more if you seek out local restaurants with simple, regional specialties. Slow food is the rule in Epirus.

People often eat just one main meal a day, with several courses spread over two or three hours.

6. Getting Out Into The Countryside

The countryside is beautiful and surprisingly verdant.



Photo: HERACLES KRITIKOS / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM.

verywhere you go, you are surrounded by tall tree-covered mountains.

There are large lakes and rivers, many crossed by ancient stone bridges.

This is an agricultural region, with citrus trees and olive groves, and the occasional vineyard where you can enjoy a tasting.

PRO TIP: Epirus describes itself as a year-round destination. However, you need to know that there is abundant rainfall in autumn, and it can be snowy in winter.

On the other hand, all those trees must make a spectacular autumn display!

7. Exploring The Roman Town Of Nikopolis

There is so much to see.



Photo: KAREN WARREN.

Nikopolis is not Greek, but Roman, built by the emperor Octavian in 31 BCE to celebrate an important naval victory.

e most impressive part is the former walled city, which was inhabited until the 6th century and contains remains of Christian basilicas with magnificent mosaic floors.

You’ll also see fragments of roads, walls and villas, and examples of Roman plumbing.

Pro Tip: To get a flavor of Roman theater-going, try to visit during the Preveza Festival, which takes place each year between June and September.

Some performances take place in the Odeon of Nikopolis.

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