Two villages worth discovering

In the autumn, the upland villages of Greece are at their best; in fact, some of them keep their distance from the spotlight, thus sparking the interest of real nature lovers and those fascinated by off-the-beaten-track destinations. Not far from the famous castle-city of Mystras, perched on the slopes of the majestic Mount Taygetos, you’ll find the village of Anavryti, which you will reach from Sparti. With the beautiful square with the marble fountains as your starting point, visit the stone-built elementary school, which now houses the Botanical and Geological Museum, the church of Agios Nikolaos with the impressive bell towers, and the Monastery of Faneromeni, with the always trim courtyard. Explore the Caves of Katafygi and Panayitsa and wander through the paths of the village. In the only guesthouse in Anavryti, the “Archontiko”, the owners offer warm hospitality to its guests. As far as dining is concerned, in the “Amaranto ton Vryseon” at the entrance of the village, you can taste traditional Greek dishes around the large stove. In the region of Epirus now, if you’ve already visited the most popular villages in Zagorohoria, such as Aristi and Papigo, Kato Pedina is an alternative option, especially now that the brand new Ionian Road is making the trip much shorter. The village, overlooking the fertile plain of Soudena, exudes a “Tuscan” air that favors relaxation, as do the walks in its atmospheric alleys with the old Byzantine churches. The meeting point for both locals and tourists is the “Mesochori”, the artistic coffee shop-tavern that offers spectacular views of the green slopes. There, you can taste traditional pies with handmade filo pastry and meat dishes. In the village, you have two accommodation options that emphasize personalized hospitality: the guesthouse “Apeiros Chora” that is housed in an exemplarily restored 16th-century mansion; and “Anemi”, a modern-style inn with bold colors dominating.