Highlights of Metsovo

Nestled within the Pindos mountain range at an altitude of 1,200m, the charming town of Metsovo is set at the ‘crossroads’ of Epirus, Thessaly, and Western Macedonia.

Built like an amphitheatre, it boasts a collection of traditional houses with tile roofs and wooden porches, as well as grand mansions that are nestled between lush greenery. The town flourished in the 18th and 19th Centuries and ever since was supported by a local
benefactor and politician Evangelos Averoff, who created a foundation to fund local crafts, cheesemaking, and winemaking. Indeed, Metsovo is known as a capital place to find excellent cheese in all varieties, the most famed of all from the region being the smoky, toffee-coloured PDO Metsovone.

Insights Greece - Highlights of Metsovo

Top Things To Do

-Explore the town – stroll along cobblestone streets and sip coffee in Agia Paraskevi square, admire the traditional architecture and visit the Averoff Museum, Aghios Nikolaos Monastery, and the Folk Art Museum.

-In early spring or late Autumn especially visit the man-made Aoos Springs Lake.

-Southeast of that is the high Katara Pass (5km northeast of Metsovo) where you can challenge yourself in a climb or hike and admire stunning vistas.

Insights Greece - Highlights of Metsovo

Best Places To Eat

-Visit Galaxias, which serves good regional cuisine and is located in the main square of Metsovo. We recommend you try the homemade pites (pies), traditional kontosouvli, as well as handmade local pasta.

To Koutouki Tou Nikola serves simple yet delicious local fare, from meats and mezedes to grilled saganaki cheeses and hand-cut chips in a cozy ambiance.

-No-frills in terms of its appearance, Aspasia’s (20 minutes from Metsovo) honey cuisine has character and packs a punch in flavour. Local meats, cheeses, and wines are served up in well-sized and affordable portions.

Don’t leave Metsovo without trying: Agiorgitiko wine at the Averoff Winery and Hotel, and cheeses such as gyalotyri, Metsovone, graviera, and goat’s cheese. Hard cheeses travel well and can be bought at I Pygi or the Tositsa Foundation Cheese Factory.

5 Fairytale Villages in Greece

Any part of Greece you choose to visit will unveil unique landscapes of incredible beauty! But the truth is, villages are often overlooked by the sun and sea seekers, who mostly visit the Greek island villages.

However, the country has a plethora of lovely places to explore, destinations that go beyond the hustle and bustle of the most well-known spots.

Immerse yourself in five of Greece’s fairytale villages and make sure you add them to your travel list.

Insights Greece - 5 Fairytale Villages in Greece


Situated in the mountains of Pindos, in Epirus, Metsovo is one of the most picturesque Greek villages, tranquil and beautiful, ideal for escaping the daily urban routine. Wander around its maze of alleys, enjoy the mountain peak views, and go for a refreshing hike. Metsovo keeps its traditional and authentic character and welcomes visitors all year long.


*You have to try its local, delicious cheeses, especially Metsovone; a smoked semi-hard cheese, made of both cow and goat milk that gets naturally smoked. 

*Go hiking in the nearby Valia Calda National Park, one of Greece’s best trekking destinations. Take in the beautiful natural landscape and, depending on the season, pick your favourite activity and have fun!

Insights Greece - 5 Fairytale Villages in Greece

Nymfaion, Florina

This mountain village in northern Greece is a stunning spot; a true gem. Explore the local shops within the cobblestone streets, capture the stone-built houses, drink a glass of locally produced wine and discover its rich history and traditions. 


*If you’re an adventurous type of traveller, enjoy one of the various activities, depending on the season; try horseback riding, go mountain biking or enjoy canoeing. 

*Go to “Omegas tigris” for tsipouro and cold cuts.

Insights Greece - 5 Fairytale Villages in Greece

Agoriani, Parnassos

This tiny village on the slopes of Parnassos is a true fairytale. Agoriani, also known as Eptalofos, offers a beautiful natural landscape and is the best getaway alternative to the very popular Arachova. Unwind at one of the local tavernas under the plane and walnut trees, go skiing in the nearby ski centre, or hike in one of the trekking routes. 


*Try the local delicacies, including honey and a range of meat.

Insights Greece - 5 Fairytale Villages in Greece

Stemnitsa, Arkadia

Stemnitsa is a mountain village in Arkadia, Peloponnese, and is considered one of Greece’s dreamiest locations. This charming village is known for its monasteries, stone houses, and silver and gold craftsmanship.


*Don’t leave without buying a ring, a silver icon, or other jewellery items.

Insights Greece - 5 Fairytale Villages in Greece
Monemvasia, Laconia

No words can successfully describe the beauty of Monemvasia. Admire its medieval village enclosed within the “Kastro” (Fort), its romantic alleys that absorb the bougainvillea colours, and marvel at one of the most authentic Greek villages that manage to maintain their identity despite the mass tourism.


* Try locally produced fruity wine.

*Try Matoula’s homemade recipes for local tastes. 

Feeling inspired? Which fairytale escape will you choose?

6 Lush & Traditional Greek Destinations for your Winter Bucket List

Mainland Greece is magnificently multifaceted, and just as you can find stunning seaside locations for carefree summer fun full of aquatic adventures and seafood in summer you can relish lush, cozy alpine settings in winter.

From spas to action sports like hiking, skiing, rafting and climbing to strolling through picturesque villages with great restaurants, surrounded by marvellous landscapes and historic ruins, the options are endless. So start planning your post-lockdown adventures in wintertime Greece now!


One of Greece’s lushest zones year-round, Mount Pelion is often compared to Tuscany for its beautiful nature and rustic architectural charm. A series of villages with pretty squares, cobblestone pathways and thickly forested areas resounding with the sound of running water from crystalline mountain springs and the smell of firewood immerse you in a romantic winter wonderland. In winter Pelion is perfect for trekking, enjoying heartwarming homemade-style traditional stews and soups at the old-fashioned taverns and skiing at world class resorts.


With 46 traditionally-built and beautifully preserved villages of stone houses with slate roofs, amongst them some exemplary bed and breakfast places and boutique hotels, this region is tranquil, delightfully scenic and beautifully verdant. In Zagori you’ll also find the spectacular Vikos gorge, the deepest in Europe, with breathtaking views, and lovely rivers for white water rafting. See our story on Zagori here.


Other-worldy with its giant stacks of rock that reach to the skies, rocks into which 25 monasteries are mystically built, this UNESCO World Heritage site is without a doubt one of the most incredible destinations in the world. Stay in the village of Kalabaka and take a few days to explore the geologically incredible landscape by foot, rock climbing, mountain biking or even by hopping into a hot air balloon to get an idyllic view from the top.


From skiing at the Velouchi Ski Centre and climbing to the Black Cave or rafting in Tavropos river, Karpenisi’s rich natural wonders can keep action adventure lovers busy and red-cheeked for days. Located in Evrytania, this traditional and verdant mountain destination offers all the winter charms one could wish for – pretty architecture, good food and quality accommodations where you can curl; up by the fire.


Sprawling under Parnassos mountain – one of Greece’s most popular skiing destinations -is the traditionally picturesque and simultaneously modern and glamorous village of Arachova. The alpine village is wonderful for shopping everything from local foods to designer items, sipping a glamorous cocktail at a trendy bar and taking in the culture of the nearby areas, such as the stunning ancient site of Delphi only 15 minus drive away or the Corycian Cave dedicated to the God Pan.


Almost like a film set because of its perfectly preserved traditional style, this Epirus village beneath the Tzoumerka mountain range is a favourite spot for skiers and fans of alpine allure. You’ll find everything from tourist shops selling ‘traditional’ items to cozy tavernas, but Metsovo is especially known for its excellent choice of local cheeses (especially the smoky Metsovone) and top-quality wines produced by the Averoff Estate.

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A Crash Course in Greek Cheeses

France is famous for its camembert, brie, and bleu d’Auvergne, but did you know Greece has a delightful variety of cheeses that go way beyond Feta? 

In fact, Greece has a century-old cheese-making tradition, which is a rich part of the country’s history. Below is a list of varieties that we love to serve on our lavish cheese boards, grate over our pasta and crumble into our homemade pies!


Made with sheep or a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milk, Feta is aged for several weeks before being stored in barrels filled with brine for a minimum of two months. It’s Greece’s most popular table cheese and used in salads, baked in pies, sprinkled on famous dishes such as Gemista (stuffed vegetables), as well as being added into recipes like prawn saganaki.


Greece’s second most popular cheese is graviera- made from a blend of cow’s, goat’s, and sheep’s milk. It’s produced in several regions- mostly Crete, Naxos, and Lesvos. Graviera from Crete is made from sheep’s milk and matures for at least five months and has a slightly sweet flavour, while graviera from Naxos is primarily made with cow’s milk. Also a table cheese, it can be cut, grated, and served as a meze or mixed into baked dishes.

Kapnisto Metsovone

Originating in Metsovo, a lovely mountainous town in Northern Greece, Metsovone is a semi-hard smoked cheese made from cow’s milk or a blend of cow and sheep or goat milk. Metsovone is produced using the pasta filata technique, just like Italian provolone. A European protected designation of origin since 1996, Metsovone is a great table cheese and also perfect for grilling. Note: this is one of Greece’s very few smoked cheeses.


This is a semi-hard cheese made from sheep’s milk and is pale-yellow in colour, has a soft, stringy texture, and requires unpasteurized milk to obtain the right flavour. Aged for four months, it’s a common table cheese that’s also found throughout the Balkans and in Italy. This variety is fairly mild and subtly sweet in flavour, making it ideal to serve as a meze; and because of its slight salty note, you’ll also find it included in many classic baked dishes.


Mizithra comes in both dried and fresh versions and is produced all over Greece. Made from pasteurized sheep’s or goat’s milk, or a mixture of both and whey, this cheese is quite creamy and is often served as a dessert drizzled with honey. It also makes a perfect addition to a cheese platter- right next to a quince or fig paste. The salt-dried and aged- variety is commonly used for grating over pasta.


Very similar to mizithra, anthotiro is made with milk and whey from sheep or goats milk and is available both fresh or dried. Produced in a variety of areas and regions in Greece, it’s soft or semi-hard and has a sweet, creamy taste, with no rind and no salt. This can also be served drizzled with honey, otherwise as a meze with some olive oil and oregano. The dry variation is usually hard and salty and is grated onto pasta or in salads.


Primarily produced in Thessaly and Epirus, this is a milky cheese, combining Feta, milk, and yoghurt. Many people use it instead of Feta however it is milky and soft. Galotiri is ideal as a spread and it resembles cottage cheese or ricotta.


A traditional hard cheese, kefalotiri is predominately a hard cheese used for grating. It’s made from sheep’s milk, goat’s milk, or a mixture of both. Quite salty and sharp, this hard cheese really holds its form and consistency when cooked, making it popular for Greek dishes such as saganaki (pan-fried cheese). It can also be grated over pasta or included on your cheeseboard.


A perfect table cheese, Kefalograviera has a firm texture with a flavour profile that ranges between mild to sharp. It can be made from sheep’s milk or a combination of cow’s and sheep’s, or sheep’s and goat’s milk and is usually left to mature for three months before eating. It has a salty taste, rich aroma and holds well when fried- making it perfect for frying or sprinkled on top of pasta.

Insights Greece - A Crash Course in Greek Cheeses


This semi-soft, almost cream-cheese is made from sheep or goat’s milk and is mild, slightly sweet, and very tasty. Although it’s salty it works really well in desserts, in particular those with pastry. Many people use it in their cheesecake recipes and other filo pastry sweets.


Meaning “oil” cheese, this is a salty, hard yellow cheese made from sheep’s or goat’s milk. What makes it unique is that during its 12-month ageing process, it’s kept in olive oil. Ladotyri is a specialty of Lesvos and Zakynthos. Lesvos produces a more kefalotyri-style consistency. Zakynthos, on the other hand, produces more of a briny ladotryi, which is nice in salads and pairs well with olives and bread.

Main image by IN+SIGHTS GREECE ©

A Mountain Top Hideaway That’s One of Northern Greece’s Best Kept Secrets

With an unrivalled location, Grand Forest Metsovo Hotel is a place where you can completely unwind and take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks, discover the lush pine forests, and explore the cultural old town nearby.

Where & Why?

The stunning Grand Forest Metsovo lies on the slopes of the Pindus Mountain range, near Pindus National Park. The center of the city is a 15-minute drive from the hotel while Ioannina Town is around 45 km away. 

From the minute you arrive at the secluded hideaway, you will feel a step closer to nature. With awe-inspiring views of the mountains, suites that boast floor-to-ceiling windows, an outdoor terrace infinity pool, and an indoor pool beneath the striking sunroof- Grand Forest becomes your complete gateway to rest and relaxation.  

Style & Feel

Warm, cozy, and rustic- this charming and authentic boutique hotel features elements of modern architecture and sleek designs that blend in beautifully with nature.

Food & Drinks

Experience modern local dishes and breathtaking views at the exquisite Metsovo 1350. The restaurant is set high up on the mountainside and the sublime backdrop is accompanied by tempting plates from the Epirus region, which are all created using fresh local produce. The Lobby Café serves light dishes, snacks, and drinks, while The Pines bar is the perfect spot to enjoy some exquisite malts, ports, and cigars by the fireplace. 


The hotel offers 62 well-appointed, non-smoking suites. Every guest room is a luxury suite, many of which offer a garden or mountain view. Suites include the Junior suite with garden/mountain views, Superior suites, Panorama suite, and the opulent Grand Forest suite.

Ideal for…

Couples, families, solo travellers, plus spiritual and adventurous types- as the hotel provides personal advisers who are ready to help cater to your needs and create exclusive itineraries designed specifically for each guest. Here you can take part in horseback riding, wild truffle hunting in the countryside, and wine tasting. If you are after a thrill-seeking experience you can enjoy some rafting, paragliding, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, paragliding, mountain biking, skiing, and snowmobiling. For those who are in search of a spiritual journey, there are many monasteries and churches to visit, and history buffs will relish in the museum and art tours. You can also visit Metsovo town to experience local culture and traditions, while families can take advantage of the 24-hour Kids Club.

Facilities & Services

The Fontus Spa is not to be missed as it features a heated indoor pool, Hammam, sauna, and jacuzzi and if you want a full pampering session there is also a beauty salon on site. There is also an outdoor infinity pool, gift shop, gym, Kids’ Club, function rooms, free WIFI, restaurants and bar, and free parking.

*All images courtesy of Grand Forest Metsovo