Papigo - Nature’s playground steeped in history
Nestled in the Vikos – Aoos National Park, Papigo consists of two villages – Megalo (greater) Papigo and Mikro (lesser) Papigo – and is an integral part of 46 villages that constitute the Zagori region. The great economic prosperity enjoyed by the mountain settlements of the area between the 15th and 17th centuries is still evident in all the man-made structures, which are in complete harmony with the natural environment. Papigo pays homage to the traditional architecture of the region, characterized by cobbled lanes, stone mansions and arched bridges, 60 of which have been preserved to the present day. A photographer’s heaven, Papigo has the power to awaken artistic features in even the most prosaic visitor. And if you enjoy more dynamic activities, you will definitely be spoilt for choice.
Drakolimni (Dragon lake)
Drakolimni of Tymfi is one of the alpine lakes formed in the
northern Pindos mountain range. It is located at an altitude of 2050 meters between the peaks of Ploskos (2377m) and Gamila (2498m). It is one of the most known and beautiful mountaineering destinations in the area and is 1 hour’s walk from Astraka’s refuge and 4 hours of hiking from Mikro Papigo. Drakolimni is known for its small alpine Tritons, small amphibians that live in most of the the Alpine lakes of Greece and are also known as dragonflies.
Drakolimni is embraced by different eternal myths. According to
the most popular myth, there was a dragon living in Drakolimni of Tymfi and another one living in Drakolimni of Smolikas. The two dragons were fighting in a daily basis, throwing huge stones to each other. The above, according to the locals explains the fact that the waterside of Drakolimni of Tymfi is white with scattered black stones and the one of Drakolimni of Smolikas is black with scattered white stones.
The shortest route to Drakolimni starts from Mikro Papigo andis one of the most popular mountaineering routes of the area, leading first tothe refuge of Astraka at an altitude of 1950 meters, 5.5 km away from thevillage. The trail to the refuge starts crossing a section of low vegetation anddeciduous trees. In this part of the trail the hiker will find two fountains(Avragonio and Antalki) with crystal clear, cold water. A few meters above Antalki fountain, the wooded section of the route is replaced by sparse cedarbush trees and the path starts climbing even more from that point. There aretwo more fountains, Trafos first and Krouna 45 minutes away from the refuge. Arriving at the courtyard of Astraka’s refuge, the hiker can admire the peaks of Ploskos and Gamila, as well as the slopes of Astraka. Drakolimni is 2.5 kmaway from the refuge with the path going down to Lakka Tsoumani (oldshepherd sheds), finishing with a steep uphill before Drakolimni emergesahead and the peak of Gamila in the background.
Rogovo – Natural Pools
A true wonder of nature, the natural pools are located between Megalo and Mikro Papigo and are know as “Rogovo”. These are natural crystal – clear pools, formed in limestone rock cavities and have been created over the years by the flow of Rogovo stream. The natural pools are ideal for swimming in their cool water, as well as for relaxing and enjoying the tranquility offered by the enchanting scenery.
Hiking – Trekking – Mountaineering:
Hike on well-marked trails of easy to moderate difficulty. Cross the famous Zagori bridges, marvel at natural crystal-clear pools formed in rock cavities and view the local fauna and flora up close.
Trek through the Vikos gorge, the world’s deepest canyon. Test your fitness level on the steep descend and be rewarded with a leisurely rest by the Vooidomati springs with their ice-cold waters.
Mountaineer the peaks of Tymfi; Gamila and Astraka are just two of them. Make sure you visit Drakolimni (Dragon Lake) at an elevation of 2050m, and look out for the Tritons, small dragon-like amphibians that are the namesakes of the lake.
An adrenaline activity, canyoning combines hiking, mountaineering and swimming. And if you think it is only for experts, you will be pleasantly surprised to discover that Papigo is the departure point of canyoning tours of Rogovos canyon for families with children as young as five years old.