Ecotourism in Community of Aspropotamos
Aspropotamos: From Meteora to Metsovo
Traditional architecture & Churches
Traditions & Local Food
The culture of Aspropotamos : The Vlachs
Photos of community
FROM METEORA TO METSOVO
| Greece is undoubtedly one of the most famous destinations for holidays. Almost everyone knows the Greek islands. However, few are familiar with the beautiful Greek Mountains. This is a result of lack of promotion. Despite this, there are some places in mountainous areas which are visited by thousands of people every year. Two of them which are close to each other are Meteora (Hugh rock formations with monasteries on their tops) and the famous village Metsovo. Meteora is in the prefecture of Trikala in the District of Thessaly while Metsovo is in the District of Epirus.The route from Meteora to Metsovo is a great experience through forests, white rivers and villages with houses and churches built the traditional way. The natural beauty and fresh air will create memorable feelings. This is where the community of Aspopotamos is located.
The trip, actually, begins from the city of Trikala, which has more than 50.000 inhabitants, but the best part of the trip is from Meteora to Metsovo. This is because from Meteora to Metsovo you can see high mountains, such as Lakmos (2295) and Kakarditsa, the river Aspropotamos (White River) which is the first tributary of Aheloos (the second biggest river in Greece) and beautiful forests with tall trees. This trip is recommended to all the visitors who want to go from Trikala to Metsovo or to the city of Ioannina and have time to spent. You will meet a different Greece and you will be surprised by the beauty of the Greek mountains.
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To make your stay at Aspropotamos more exciting you can try several activities. Firstly, you can go trekking in the bushy mountains or go mountain climbing on the highest mountain tops. You can also try rafting in the waters of Aheloos. In addition, you can go fishing (with your own equipment) or go swimming. In addition, you can visit the several monasteries and take a look at traditional houses as well as try some roasted meat or other locally made traditional food. Finally, you can go all the way up to the springs of Aheloos (1 kilometer walk), the second biggest river in Greece, and enjoy the surrounding natural beauty.
When to go :
The best time to visit or pass through the community of Aspropotamos is between May and October. During winter there are only few people living in the area.
How to get to Trikala :
There is a highway from Athens to Lamia and from there a national road links Lamia to Trikala (331 km).
There are, also, trains to Trikala from Athens.
Finally, there are buses to Trikala from Lamia, Athens (331 km) and Thessaloniki (215 km). There are, also, local buses that connect Trikala with nearby cities such as Karditsa, Volos and Larissa.
How to get to Aspropotamos :
The best way to get to Aspropotamos is by car or motorbike. However, during the summer months there is a bus from the city of Trikala going to the villages three times a week.
Where to stay :
There are several small hotels in the area operating from May to October. At any time there are some rooms vacant in some of these hotels. No booking is necessary.
[Click here for more information about hotels]
The climate is cool in the summer and very cold and rainy in the winter. From October to April the tops of the mountains are white from snow. The water level in the rivers rises and they run quickly as if they try to catch something. In this period most villages are uninhabited, but this does not stop people visiting them. When the spring comes the inhabitants look forward to go to their villages to breath the fresh air and drink the crystal water. From May to September the weather is very cool so lots of people go there to escape from city pressure.
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|The main characteristic of the structures in the area is that they are made from finely elaborated stones. There are 4 main kinds of structures. Firstly, the churches and the monasteries. They are the most elaborate structures of the area. The monastery Moni Timiou Staurou is one of the most remarkable Byzantine monuments in Greece. Secondly, the several houses that can be found in any village of the area.
These houses have been built the traditional way like the churches. Thirdly, there are bridges which have been built with stones as the only ingredient used. Those bridges that once used to facilitate transportation are now reminders of a beautiful architecture. Finally, there are the stone made roofs over several water springs showing the variety of the elaborate structures in the area. The traditional architecture is also evident in the narrow streets of every village which are paved with flagstones.
churches of Aspropotamos
||Every village has at least 3 churches or monasteries and some of them, such as Haliki, have up to 8. The large number of churches shows that the people who lived in this area were very religious and also that they were a prosperous part of Greece. Church architecture is unique and can be found in few places in Greece. Churches, including their rooftops, are made of stones. The building of each of those beautiful churches lasted many years and the materials were carried by animals. Some of them were built 400 years ago or more.
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TRADITIONS & LOCAL FOOD
Traditions at many places in Greece have disappeared. In Aspropotamos they are still alive and strong. The way of life is nice and simple. Without television people come closer. Nearly all the people of every village go to the square in daily basis to meet each other, eat delicious grilled meat and enjoy themselves. Every village has a festival once a year mainly on 26 of July or on 15 of August. In these dates, people get all together and dance as several groups play beautiful traditional music (Epirotica) and touch the souls of the people who still live the old Greek way. Sheeps appearing on the nearby mountains bring people even closer to nature. This simply beautiful scenery calls you to forget everything and relax. Maybe this is the reason why the inhabitants love the valley of Acheloos so much.
The first thing that attracts your attention when you go to the public square of a village at night is the smell of the meat roasted on a slit. Of course you can not resist in this smell and you try. It is time to forget about your diet. The kontosouvli, souvlaki and kokoretsi which are made from meat of local production are waiting for you. During the day, you can try the traditional pies (with vegetables or cheese) or several soups. The delicious cheese, which is locally produced, completes the excellent local cuisine. Small taverns can be found in any village.