Vovousa is one of the most picturesque and traditional villages of East Zagori. It’s located near the National Park of Valia Calda, in North Pindos. River Aoos passes through the village (it’s said that the village was named Vovousa from the noise of the waters of the river). The inhabitants are mostly Vlachs and there are few families of Sarakatsanoi. Today Vovousa has few inhabitants living from logging and tourism. In the middle of the village there is the single-arched stone bridge of Misios which was built in 1748. This arch connects the two shores of Aoos river and neighborhoods of the village. Near the bridge, there is the church of St. George, built in 1814. At a short distance there is the chapel of St. Paraskevi, where a 3 days traditional festivity takes place every year on the 26th of July.
The visit to the village is a truly unique experience for the friends of the mountain, the hikers and the lovers of the mountain sports. It’s an ideal starting place for many activities such as mountain bike, climbing, canoe-kayak, rafting and hiking.
Below you can find some indicative hiking routes
National Park of Valia Calda
The National Park of Valia Calda was established in 1966. In the local Vlachs dialect, Valia Calda means “Warm Valley”. The core of the National Park of North Pindos area is included in the NATURA network, European farm protection of biodiversity and special bird protection areas. It’ is characterized by dense forests of black pine and beech but there are also clumps of robolo (bushes) in the park’s lower and middle altitudes. At higher altitudes Balkan pine dominates. 19 species of orchids, tulips, lilies, carnivorous plants, 86 species of mushrooms grow in the park.
The area hosts a variety of species, rare and of great importance such as bears, wild boars, wolfs, wild goat, wild cat, Balkan chamois, deer, polecats and otters. The park provides shelter for more than 80 species of birds, including 10 types of rare bird species such as the Eastern imperial eagle, the Golden eagle, woodpeckers and the Lanner falcon. The area is also an important habitat for reptiles and insects. In Arkoudorema and Aoos river lives and reproduces populations of trout (Salmo trutta).
The hiking starts from the core of the National park following the International walking route E6. You cross the National Park, along the river Arkoudorema till you reach its awesome waterfall. During the summer time you can dive into the clear waterfall. 3 times the hiking route crosses the Arkoudorema. You continue the route through dense vegetation of pines, beech and ferns. Just before the end of the route, you cross the river Aoos. Valia Calda is an amazing, vibrant landscape of uparallel beauty and an important ecosystem. The hiking time lasts approximately 6 hours.
The hike starts from the core of the National park of Valia Calda following the European walking route E6. You cross the National Park, along the river Arkoudorema till you reach to a point where there is a sign for lakes Flega. You follow this route and at an altitude of 1940m and 1960m you find two small lakes, in the Flega mountain. The lakes host rare amphibians such as toads (Bombina variegate, Rana graeca) and newts (Triturus alpestris). You continue hiking to the Flega peak at 2159 m. From there you can exploit the unique view and admire the beautiful area. The hiking time is about 6-7 hours.
Vovousa – Avgo peak
The hiking starts from the Vovousa village to the peak of Avgo at 2.177 meters. You reach the peak through beech and black pine forests continuing as the altitude rises at alpine terrain. The view from the peak to the gorge of Arkoudorema and the mountain Ligkos and North Pindus is breathtaking. The hiking time is 5-6 hours.
Vovousa – Distrato – Basilitsa
The route starts from the village Vovousa following for 1500 meters the dirt road to the village “Perivoli”. You turn left to the forest road for 2500 m. Following the International walking route E6 descend to the stream “Waterfall”. After the stream, you meet the forest road which passes from ” Paliomonastiro ” and ends up in dead end . Five hundred meters before the dead end turn left into the path that leads to the stream ‘ Stathis’, and follow the stream that leads to Distrato . After Distrato following signaling, you arrive in Vassilitsa in three hours. The hiking route lasts approximately 8 hours.
Lake of the springs of Aoos river
The walking route P5 starts from the point where the Aoos river meets the Arkoudorema stream, on the west part of the National Park. After 12 km hiking route, you end up to the lake of the springs of Aoos river. The route takes approximately 4 hours.
Milia village – Salatoura (Milia) -Flega -Arkoudorema -Vovousa
The route starts from Milia village and follows the International walking route E6 up to the narrow passage “Salatoura”, where the southeastern entrance of the National Park is. You continue southwestern to the Mavrovounio following the sign P7 until you meet the path P1. You continue up to the Flega peak (2159m) and from there following the path E6, you cross Arkoudorema and reach Vovousa.
Vovousa is a place to experience many different things that comfort the eye and soul.