My initial thought was ” lets go to the seaside….”
That was an ideal choice since the weather in Ioannina was better, with the temperature being similar with the one all around Greece, moreover summer was in our door. However because i woke up late and i had a few errands to do in the supermarket i end up being ready at 16:30. Too late for an one day excursion to the seaside. Where should i go, where should i go……. tell me have you ever been to Theogefyro???
The Theogefyro is one of the most interesting sights and destinations of the region. It is not far away from the city of Ioannina and its ideal for a one day trip. There are 2 routes you can follow to visit it. If you take the first one you will drive on the old highway between Ioannina and Igoumenitsa, you will pass the crossroad to Zitsa and you will make a turn on the second crossroad, on your right hand, that goes to the villages of Lithino, Ierimnimi and Parakalamo. In case you take the second route you will drive on the old highway between Ioannina and Kozani and you will turn left on the crossroad right before the village of Lykostomo, heading to Zitsa. I totally recommend the first route since it is both shorter and the road is better.
The route is pleasant, as you drive through the all-green environment and time flies. Road sighs will give you information about the tens of villages along the way, that form a vivid part of the Epirus country. The road has its own character with straight parts and curves, that keep taking turns, offering a lovely driving experience, as you follow the rich texture of the region. It won’t take too long to reach the crossroad to the village of Lithino, which means that Theogefyro is only a few kilometers away and……. just a moment, i haven’t told you what is Theogefyro.
So Theogefyro is nothing more than a natural bridge. The rapid waters of the river Kalamas have carved the rock and shaped a huge arc. Just like the beautiful, stone bridges with arcs, that can be found in the region of Epirus, the Theogefyro formed a connection above the raging river. For many years, people were using this natural passage and thinking of it as a bridge, they named it Theogefyro, God-made bridge ( Theogefyro: Theos = God and Gefyra = Bridge in Greek ) On the crossroad to Lithino turn right and after while you will see an old, steel military Bailey bridge that marks your arrival.
That’s the bridge that nowadays serve the people and cars that pass the raging river. Soon after you pass it, park your car in an open space. The Theogefyro is right next to the bridge, although it can’t be seen from up there. You will have to go down all the way to the riverside. A nicely modeled space, on you right leads you to the path you will have to follow.
The path is being defined by a wooden fence and disappears in the rich, natural habitat. Ivy is dominating the place, wherever you look and covers parts of the path on both your left and right side. You must be cautious as you walk since the stone stairs require delicate steps.
The distance to Theogefyro is quite short and as you walk you won’t feel very tired, due to the downhill path. However the majestic scenery will reward you. As you descent more and more, heading to the river you will feel the temperature dropping and the atmospheric humidity increasing. The nature is vast and the habitat is all-green, wherever you look. Tall trees cover with their leafs the sky above you creating a canopy and the natural light is significantly less. Move through this amazing scenery, following the path and soon after you will reach an open space, being formed by the surrounding wooden seats. That’s the observation post.
You have reached it. Catch you breath after walking for that long and admire the magnitude of the nature. The Theogefyro, this natural, geological, formation, that took thousands of years to be shaped, is right in front of you. It is truly amazing how nature managed to create it through the centuries. Its proportions are breathtaking. It has a length of 45m, its 3 to 4 meters wide and if you look all the way to the top you will easily measure its height, which is 20m.
If you are bold enough, you can climb, being very cautious, on the rocks that are beside the shore, in a lower point than the one where the observation post is located. It requires a lot of caution but the view of Theogefyro from there is more completed and definitely more impressive. The arc, supporting the rocks, can be seen clearly, as well as some human additions that were made for better stabilization of the rocky mass. Furthermore, from down there the Theogefyro’s resemblance with the arced, stone bridges is more visible than before.
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Around you, the green and the water element prevail. The rapid water of the river Kalamas hit the rocks constantly and give life to the region! The rich vegetation of the place makes you feel like you are in an exotic destination, like in a jungle in the Amazon. If you look up you will see the military bridge that you passed moments before. Its the only part that doesn’t fit with the rest of the, harmonically tied, whole. Place parallel to the Theogefyro it is covered in many spots along its length, from the leafs of the trees that have reached its height. The surrounding temperature is noticeable lower making the destination ideal during summer.
The route all the way back is uphill and all who don’t work out might feel a bit tired. So what’s better than visiting afterwards Achilles’s mill, that is just a few hundred meters away!On the spot of an old watermill, a new building with traditional architecture was built, and serves as a restaurant and cafe-bar. The surroundings were made with respect towards nature and the main building as well as the three levels where the customers sit, are tied harmonically with the river and the leafy habitat. There you will relax away from the city’s stress and noise and you will admire the scenic landscape that nature created. Truly, during summer its an oasis, where you can it great, cheap food and drink your coffee or you beverage right above the river. Try the roasted rooster with wine dressing, when you go there, as its one of the dishes that makes the difference.
The time flies and especially when we have a great time. The excursion to Theogefyro was lovely, it was like a change to the Saturday’s routine in the city! The summer is expected to be hot and the Theogefyro will surely be among the choices of those you seek a bit of cool, far way from the city, of those you just want a quick return to nature.