Whether it’s skiing at the Velouchi Ski Centre, climbing to the Black Cave, or rafting in the Tavropos River – Karpenisi’s rich natural wonders keep adventurers busy and red-cheeked for days.
Located in Evrytania, this traditional and verdant mountain destination offers all the winter charms – pretty architecture, good food and great places where you can curl up by the fire.
Here are the Best Things to See and Do in Karpenisi!
Ski at one of Greece’s largest resorts
The Velouchi plateau is one of the largest and most challenging ski resorts in Greece. Spread over 5,500 square metres, at an altitude of 1,850 to 2,000 metres, it features 11 slopes. Here you can ski, snowboard, or just sit back and sip on a glass of wine or warm tea as you enjoy the incredible views.
Stroll around town
Take a walk around the square to see the historic monuments, including statues of Antonis Katsantonis and Markos Botsaris (heroic figures of the 1821 Greek War of Independence). Also check out the church of Agia Triada, the beautiful plane tree in the centre of the square and the charming mountain-water spring. As you make your way down Zinopoulou (the main road) you will come across a range of tavernas, kafenion (traditional coffee shops), bars, boutiques, and a variety of stores where you can pick up some local delicacies shopping (make sure your list includes aromatic herbal teas from the local mountains, as well as wild herbs.)
Experience traditional village life
The beautiful villages surrounding Karpenisi give this place such a unique appeal and each village has its own warm feel. Make sure you check out Korsychades- through this historic settlement’s stone streets, with their well-preserved old homes. In the main square, you’ll find the church of Agios Athanasios, built in 1865, and the historic public school from 1901, which now houses the fascinating Museum of National Resistance. Megalo Xorio (a large village) and Mikro Xorio (a small village) are also must-see spots filled with captivating landscapes.
Karpenisi is a very important religious destination in Greece. On the road from Karpenisi to Prousso, there are seven markings of white marble on the dark rock that can be seen on the slope; they have a distinct shape of human footprints which are said to be the actual footsteps of Panagia (Virgin Mary), from when she brought her miraculous icon to the cave. Every year, thousands of pilgrims from around the world also make their way to the historic miracle-working Monastery of Proussos. Here you will find the icon of the Virgin Mary (Panagias tis Prousiotissas), regarded as a miracle worker. The icon is said to have been brought here from Proussa (Bursa) in Asia Minor.
Explore the stunning lakes and waterfalls nearby
For a day of adventure head out to Pantavrechi (meaning always rains), where you will discover some wonderful waterfalls. The gorge of Mavri Spilia stands out as one of the most impressive gorges of central Greece, if not of the entire country and is a must! Also, visit Dipotamo- this is where Krikellopotamis and Karpenisiotis rivers merge between two mountains and it looks like a canyon; a perfect spot for river rafting. This is a magical place with lakes, waterfalls, caves, and steep cliffs. Tip: make sure you are wearing comfortable and non-slippery shoes.
Indulge in local cuisine
Most famous for its locally made fir honey, traditional sausages, katiki or tsalafouti (soft cheeses made with goats and sheep’s milk) here you can taste fresh river trout, as well as traditional pies with handmade filo pastry with various fillings. Karpenisi is also famous for its cold cuts- don’t miss its famous prosciutto.
You will find a lot of recipes that include locally grown mushrooms; and meat lovers should try the chasapiko (veal-based dish where the meat is slowly cooked in a clay pot on hot sand), wild boar and shallot stew, lamb in a pot, boiled goat, and pork with greens. Other Greek comfort foods to taste here are the giouvetsi (lamb cooked with orzo in a red sauce) and stifado (rabbit stew). We recommend you head to Paradisos Taverna, Ellinon Gefsis, Taverna Mesostrati, Antigoni Pame Platia, Panorama and Kapetanios Tavern for homemade-style dishes. Also, add Mylos Café and Foufis to your list. Last but definitely not least, Rakomelo Karvelis for the tastiest galaktoboureko and ekmek (Greek sweets). And for those who really want to warm up – sip on some Mouro, the local tsipouro made of mulberry distillate.
Stay at a charming boutique hotel
For a traditional country-style hotel head to Magemeno Vouno where you will feel as though you have stepped back in time and you can smell the fresh mountain air. For a more modern boutique hotel Oniropetra is set amongst lush surroundings and is 5 km from the centre of Karpenisi, the stone-built Oniropetra Hotel has elegant studios with modern decor, a fireplace and balcony or patio overlooking Mount Velouchi.
You can drive from Athens to Karpenisi, it takes around 3 hours and 20 minutes, otherwise a bus will take just under five hours. We highly recommend hiring a car, as you will need one to reach most of the areas we have mentioned above.
Main Images: Magemeno Vouno Hotel