GREVENA - MOUNTAIN MAGIC
The Prefecture of Grevena with its capital city of the same name is one of the four prefectures of western Macedonia. It borders Ioannina, Kastoria, Kozani, Larissa and Trikala. It is a Macedonian city with picturesque villages, impressive stone bridges and old churches that is one of the favorite mountain destinations in Greece. The enchanting landscapes of the forests together with the rivers that flow through the prefecture offer a unique wild natural beauty. The most characteristic points of the prefecture and the most important attractions for visitors are the National Park "Valia Calda", the National Ski Center of Vasilitsa as well as the varieties of wild mushrooms that grow in the area. Vlach villages offer unique experiences to visitors, beautiful, proud and hospitable villages such as Samarina and Avdela.
Emilianos Square is the central square which was named after Metropolitan Emilianos, with an important action for the Hellenism of Macedonia. A trademark of the city is the clock located in Eleftherias Square and is a building of the Turkish occupation which functioned as a Turkish mosque. In the old school, there is the Folklore Collection which also gives information about the socio-economic conditions under which they lived before the war. Milia of Grevena became internationally known for the pair of the largest tusks in the world that in 2011 occupied a place in the Guinness Book of Records and the exhibition space of palaeontological findings. The area is the richest in stone bridges in all of Macedonia as they are the largest and most impressive. In 1995, the ephorate of Byzantine monuments declared the bridges as protected monuments.
Vlachochoria is located on the slopes of the Pindus mountain range and is Perivoli, Avdella, Smixi, Krania and Samarina. To the north is the famous Samarina, the most famous Vlach village that is said to be the tallest in all of Greece. It is primarily a livestock village and from it came a number of fighters of 1821 and the resistance of Messolonghi for whom the famous traditional song "Children of Samarina'' was written. In the square is the church of the Assumption of the Virgin since 1819, with the characteristic pine that grew in the sanctuary of the church. Perivoli 45 km from Grevena is built at an altitude of 1260-1370 meters. The inhabitants are Vlachs,with the well- known Rigas Ferraios, they are engaged in animal husbandry, cheese making and logging. Its characteristic is the National Park of Pindos, the "Valia Calda''.
Avdella at an altitude of 1,300 meters, is one of the most mountainous settlements in Greece on the borders of the Valia Calda forest. From which came Miltos and Giannis Manakias, the first Greek cinematographers. It was created when Vlach cattle breeders from the place Fantines moved to Avdella due to climate. Smixi at an altitude of 1220 meters was created by the "mixing" of the settlements Pinakades and Biga. It is one of the most mountainous villages in Greece and is very close to the ski center of Vasilitsa as well as Krania at an altitude of 906 meters. For this reason they have developed tourist facilities and have emerged as an ideal place to stay as they offer easy access to the ski resort.
North Pindos National Park is one of the most important protected areas in Europe. It includes two National Parks of Vikos and Valia Calda, 11 areas of the Network of Protected Areas "Natura 2000", the whole area of Zagori, part of Konitsa and Metsovo and the western part of Grevena. Valia Calda, which means warm valley is one of the most magical places in Europe. The valley is crossed by several streams, with Arkoudorema being the most important of the last brown bear habitats. 72 species of birds, 6 species of amphibians and 7 species of reptiles have been counted, which are rarely protected worldwide. The mushrooms that are hosted in the forest is another reason that makes it special. The Mushroom Museum in Lavda hosts wild natural mushrooms, dried, as well as sculptures, in showcases which are a miniature of nature.
The areas are one of the best for hiking as from Samarina passes the international mountaineering path of Smolikas with Drakolimni and the big waterfall known as Kremasto water. The route of Avdela is part of the international path E6 on the axis Valia Calda - Perivoli - Avdella - Vasilitsa Ski Resort - Samarina. The roads of Valia Calda are also ideal for cycling as excellent cycling tours start from the Vovousa Shelter. The National Ski Center of Vasilitsa, one of the most beautiful and largest in Greece that stretches on two slopes of Mount Vasilitsa. Characteristic is the landscape of wild natural beauty that surrounds it. It has slopes of all difficulties and for children, lifts and walking paths. Winter sports enthusiasts are sure to find "shelter" here. It has sixteen slopes, offering guests unique experiences and for those who want something special, night skiing is offered on a low-light slope.
Extreme sports enthusiasts will find activities such as horseback riding, archery or climbing, under the guidance of experienced guides. The paragliding is a unique experience and in recent years Vounasa is an excellent destination as conditions favor. Kivotou baths are located on the road to Neapoli, a few meters from the bridge of the prefectures of Grevena - Kozani. The temperature of 15.5o C classifies them in the category of cold metals. The beneficial properties of the springs are widely known while their use was made in the traditional way, heating water in cauldrons. Today the water gushes from two wells in a natural environment that highlights the natural beauty. For those who want hot baths, there are wooden houses that function as private baths.
In the prefecture the visitor will find many meats, hunting such as partridges, pheasants, hares, wild boars, cheese such as batzio, galotyri, anevato and of course pies of various kinds such as trachanopites, prasopites, mushroom pies, meat pies, and many other trachana. What makes the cuisine of the place special is the mushroom that is a feature of the gastronomic culture as more than 2000 species of mushrooms have been recorded. The city of Grevena has been declared as "the city of mushrooms'' which is also offered as a dessert. Definitely one should get textiles, flocks, velvet and rugs which are the only local products.