With the integration in Natural Environment and Climate Change Agency (NECCA) of the Management Body of Northern Pindos National Park, the Management Unit of Northern Pindos National Park operates under N.E.C.C.A.’s Protected Areas Management Directorate (Sector A), based in Aspraggelous Zagoriou.
Its spatial area of jurisdiction includes the following Natura 2000 sites:
|GR1310002||VALIA KALNTA KAI TECHNITI LIMNI AOOU|
|GR1310003||ETHNIKOS DRYMOS PINDOU (VALIA KALNTA) – EVRΥTERI PERIOCHI|
|GR1310004||ORI ORLIAKAS KAI TSOURGIAKAS|
|GR1320002||KORYFES OROUS GRAMMOS|
|GR2130001||ETHNIKOS DRYMOS VIKOU – AOOU|
|GR2130002||KORYFES OROUS SMOLIKAS|
|GR2130004||KENTRIKO TMIMA ZAGORIOU|
|GR2130006||PERIOCHI METSOVOU (ANILIO – KATARA)|
|GR2130009||OROS TYMFI (GKAMILA)|
|GR2130010||OROS DOUSKON, ORAIOKASTRO, DASOS MEROPIS, KOILADA GORMOU, LIMNI DELVINAKIOU|
|GR2130011||KENTRIKO ZAGORI KAI ANATOLIKO TMIMA OROUS MITSIKELI|
The National Park of North Pindos was established in 2005 with JMD 23069 / Government Gazette 639D ‘(14/6/2005). It is located in northwestern Greece and administratively belongs to the Regional Units of Ioannina and Grevena. It is the largest land National Park in our country, with an area of 1,969,741 acres, including within its borders the entire area of Zagori, the areas of Konitsa and Metsovo, as well as the western part of the city of Grevena. The North Pindos National Park was created with the administrative unification of these areas and has as a main goal the preservation, protection and promotion of the natural and cultural heritage of the area.
The National Park includes the second highest mountain in our country, Smolika (2,637m), the imposing Tymfi mountain range, the mountain range of Lygos, Vasilitsa, Mitsikeli and other lower mountains. Within the protected area originate the rivers Aoos, Voidomatis and Venetikos, as well as the tributaries of Arachthos: Bardas and Zagoritikos.
Impressive elements within the National Park constitute the gorges and ravines with mainly the gorge of Vikos and the ravine of Aoos in the area of Ioannina, the gorges of Portitsa, Mikrolivado and Tsourgiaka in the area of Grevena.
The high and steep peaks create an intense and diverse relief with a variety of habitats and species. The changes of ecosystems offer unique images in the region during all seasons of the year, the color changes of Orliakas, indicative of the various existing forest species are considered unique in our country, which is why Orliakas was aptly named the “mountain of colors”. Throughout the National Park, many rare, endemic and endangered species are hosted, composing an exceptional biodiversity, which determines the special ecological value of the area.
Within the protected area of the North Pindos National Park, two protection zones have been defined in which stricter restrictions are provided for the protection of their ecosystems. Specifically, the three cores of the National Park, which are the core of the Pindos National Forest (Valia Calda), the gorge of Vikos and the ravine of Aoos, are characterized as Nature Protection Areas (Zone I). Around the above areas, as well as in some additional locations of the National Park, the Habitats and Species Conservation Zones (Zone II) extend in four sub-areas. Finally, outside the National Park and for its most effective protection, four sub-areas have been designated as Regional Zones (Zone P).
The highest degree of protection characterizes the Nature Protection Areas (Zone I), in which the main management goal is to maintain the existing state of the natural environment and its effective protection to follow its natural evolution without human intervention.
Habitats and Species Conservation Zones (Zone II) can also be characterized as a high degree of protection, as they also aim to maintain the existing state of the natural environment and its effective protection, though within their limits it is allowed for prGGects and work, research and activities, mainly of a traditional nature to be carried out.
In the area of the National Park the degree of protection is milder, while its main purpose is the preservation of the natural heritage and the maintenance of the ecological balance, in relation to the activities of the inhabitants, which should be improved in the direction of the their traditional character and at the same time providing opportunities for ecotourism and educational activities.
Finally, the Regional Zones of the National Park (Zones P) aim to control land uses, activities and prGGects that may have a negative impact on the natural environment of the National Park, as well as the conservation and restoration of areas important for the protection of the bear. At the same time, in these Zones, activities are supported with the aim of the gentle development of the area, as well as the development of mild forms of recreation.
The legislative and prescriptive frame of the Northern Pindos National Park includes:
GREEK STATE LAWS
L.1650/1986 “For the protection of the environment”. (GG160/Α/16-10-86)
L.2742/1999 “Land planning and sustainable development and other provisions”. (GG207/Α/07-10-99)
L.3044/2002 “Transport of building coefficient and regulation of other subjects of Ministry of Environment, Land planning and Public works”. (GG197/Α/27-08-22)
3937/2011 “Preservation of biodiversity and other provisions”. (GG60/Α/31-03-11)
L.4519/2018 “Protected Areas Management Bodies and other provisions”. (GG25/Α/20-02-18)
L.4685/2020 “Modernization of environmental legislation, incorporation into Greek legislation of Directives 2018/844 and 2019/692 of the European Parliament and of the Council and other provisions”. (GG92/Α/07-05-20)
EUROPEAN COUNCIL DIRECTIVES
92/43/EEC “On the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora”.
2009/147/EEC “On the conservation of wild birds”.
MINISTERIAL COMMON DECISIONS
Common Ministerial Decree 23069 “Characterization of the terrestrial are of the mountainous masses of N. Pindos as National Park, determination of protection zones and determination of uses, terms and restrictions for building”. (GG 639/D/14-6-05)
R.E. 487 “Establishment of Pindos National Forest”. (GG120/A/11-06-1966)
Presidential decree. 213 “On the declaration of Vikos-Aoos area as National Forest”. (GG198/Α/1973)
Ministerial Decree 164686/2772 “Approval of operating regulation of Vikos-Aoos National Forest”.(GG531/Β/16.9.85)
Ministerial Decree 165054/2865 “Approval of operating regulation of Pindos National Forest”.(GG589/Β/2.10.85)
Ministerial Decree 36427 “Approval of operating regulation of the board of the Vikos-Aoos and Pindos National Forests management body” (GG1401/Β’/13.9.04)
Ministerial Decree 36431 “Approval of financial administration regulation of the board of the Vikos-Aoos and Pindos National Forests management body”. (GG1401/Β’/13.9.04)
Ministerial Decree 21732 “Regulation of services and stuff of the management body of Vikos-Aoos and Pindos National Forests”.(GG787 Β’/10.6.05)
Ministerial Decree 34939 “Approval of regulation for the execution of works, for the entrustment, monitoring and receipt of studies and services, products and for the signing and executing similar contracts of the management body of the Vikos-Aoos and Pindos National Forests” (GG1311B’/19.9.05)-“Correction of mistake at 34939/4-8-2005 decision of Ministry of Environment, Land planning and Public works”. (GG560/1-04-2008)
The authorities responsible for any useful information regarding the Northern Pindos National Park are: Forestry Directories of Grevena and Ioannina Prefectures, Management Bodies of National Forests of Vikos-Aoos and Pindos and the nearby forest authorities.
There are 30 types of natural habitats at the Northern Pindos National Park. A large area of the park is covered by 15 natural forest habitats, mostly comprised of black pine, beech, fir and oak. Apart from these, forests and tufts of Bosnian pines, chestnuts and near-river vegetation of sycamores, poplars and other are also included. In addition, 4 types of natural habitats are composed by shrubs. Finally, there are 5 types of meadow natural habitats (usually at higher altitudes), 1 type of peatland, 3 types of natural habitats on rocky surface and 2 other types at rivers.
Seven types of natural habitats of the Northern Pindos National Park are characterized by high ecologic value and uniqueness in European level, according to the evaluation criteria of 92/43/ECC “On the conservation of natural habitats and wild fauna and flora”. That means they are natural habitats of high priority. This includes the black pine forests, which cover a large area of the park, the canyon forests with basswoods (Tilia sp.) and maples (Acer sp.), the forests with foetid junipers (Juniperus foetidissima), the sward formation of several species of Nardus on silicate surfaces and the forests with European alder (Alnus glutinosa) and other tree species.
– 6210 * Semi-natural dry grasslands on limestone substrate (Festuco – Brometalia) (* important areas with orchids)
– 6230 * Rich in grassland species with Nardus spp., Of various species, on a siliceous substrate of the mountainous region (and sub-mountainous region, in mainland Europe)
– 7220 * Cratoneurion springs
– 9180 * Canyon forests (ravines or slopes or boulders) with Tilio – Acerion
– 91E0 * Alluvial residual forests (Alnion glutinoso – incanae) or Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae)
– 9530 * (Sub) Mediterranean pine forest with endemic species of Black Pine
– 9560 * Mediterranean forests with junipers (Juniperus spp.)
The Northern Pindos National Park hosts more than 2000 flora species. Five species of the wild lily flourish in the area: The Madonna Lily (Lilium candidum), the red Lily (Lilium chalcedonicum), the lily of Cheldraich (Lilium heldraichi), the orange Turk’s cap lily (Lilium albanicum) and the Martagon or Turk’s cap lily (Lilium martagon).
Some other impressive flora species are the Poet’s Daffodil (Narcissus poeticus), the Australian tulip (tulipa australis), the spring gentian (Gentiana verna), the Houseleeks or Liveforever (Sempervivum marmoreum) and the Saxifraga spruneri.
Various medicinal herbs and plants flourish in the area, such as the mint (Mentha longifolia), the sage (Salvia officinalis), the Winter Savory (Satureja montana), the thyme (Thymus teucrioides) and the mountain tea (Sideritis raeseri) , the helleborus (Helleborus cyclophyllus), the daphne (Daphne oleoides), the willowherb (Epilobium alsinifolium), the conium (Conium maculatum), the myrtle spurge (Euphorbia deflexa), the danewort (Sambucus ebulus), the False Helleborine (Veratrum album) and many others.
The flora of the ophiolite rock mountains (such as Mounts Smolikas, Vasilitsa, Ligos, Flambouro etc) is particularly interesting and it includes plants, that are adjusted to heavy metal-rich soils, such as the Alysum smoliKanum, the Allium sphaerocephalon, the Viola albanica, the Galium ophiolithicum, the Cerastium smolikanum, the Centaurea ptarmicaefolia etc.
The Orchidaceae are a diverse and widespread family of flowering plants with colorful and fragrant blooms, commonly known as the orchid family. The orchids are widely found in valleys and several mountain peaks and slopes in the Park’s region such as the Orchis mascula, the Orchis pallens, the Orchis ustulata, the Orchis coriophora, the Orchis laxiflora, the Orchis proνincialis, the Orchis pauciflora, the Orchis papilionacea, the Orchis quadripunctata, the Orchis morio, the Orchis tridentata, the Orchis purpurea, the Orcis italica, the Orchis simia, the Orchis pyramidalis, the Dactylorhiza saccifera, the dactylorhiza sabucina, the dactylorhiza kalopissii, the Dactylorhiza baumanniana, Dactylorrhiza maculate, etc.
The National Park hosts a large number of rare, endemic and endangered species, such as the Tymfi’s centaureio (Centaurea tymphaea), the Centaurea vlachorum, the Sedυm tymphaeυm, the Pavlov’s centaureio (Centaurea pawlowskii), the Tymfi’s centaurea bommuelleri (Bommuellera tymphaea), the netted Iris (Alyssum heldreichi), the Silene pindicola, the Onosma epirotica, the Minυartia pseυdosaxifraga, the lilies (Valeriana crinii epirotica), the Pindos snowbells (Soldanella pindicola), the Saxifraga biflora-epirotica, the Galiυm sacrorυm, the Hieraciυm dasycraspedυm, etc.
Other remarkable species with limited geographical distribution in the National Park area, are the Serbian ramonda (Ramonda serbica), the Pingυicυlla crystalline ssp hirtiflora, the iris (lris sindenisii janka) etc.
Several remarkable species of fungi are found in the area, among which over 2000 species of mushroom have been documented: The Meadow mushrooms (Agaricus campestris), the Maned Coprinus (Coprinus comatus), the Chanterelles (Cantharellus cibarius), the Saffron milk cap (Lactarius deliciosus), the Fly agaric (Amanita muscaria), the Violet crown-cup (Sarcosphaera coronaria), the White Morels (Morchella deliciosa), the Collared Earthstar (Geastrum triplex), etc.
The Northern Pindos National Park is an important habitat for a great number of species, among which many are endangered and protected by national law.
The area hosts about 60 species of mammals. These include almost all the endangered mammals of Greece, such as the bear (Ursus arctos), the wolf (Canis lupus), the wild cat (Felis sylvestris), the otter (Lutra lutra), the Balkan chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra balcanica) and the roe (Capreolus capreolus) and the more common ones, such as the wild boar (Sus scrofa). Some smaller mammals that live in the National Park are: The fox (Vulpes vulpes), the badger (Meles meles), the hare (Lepus europaeus), the hedgehog (Erinaceous concolor), the squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), the marten (Martes foina), the rare European pine marten (Martes martes), and several bat species.
Among the 180 species of birds that the area hosts, the birds of prey are of great interest and particularly the Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus), the golden eagle (Aguila chrysaetos), the robin (Falco peregrinus), the fish hawk (Hieraetus pennatus), the osprey (Circaetus gallicus) and the golden hawk (Falco biamicus). There is also a remarkable woodpecker presence, such as the large black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius) and the Balkan woodpecker (Dendrocopos syriacus). Furthermore, within the National Park, we come across some other important species, such as the mountain partridge (Alectoris graeca), the willow tit (Parus montanus), the Wallcreeper (Tichodroma muraria), the dipper (Cinclus cinclus), the Black Stork (Ciconia nigra), the shore lark (Eremophilla alpestris), snowfinch (Montifrigilla nivalis) etc.
30 reptile species are encountered in the National Park area, including 16 lizard, 10 snake and 4 turtle species. Indicatively, we note the presence of the Dalamatian Algyroides lizard (Algyroides nigropunctatus), the Japanese striped snake (Elaphe quatuorlineata) and the Spur-thighed Tortoise (Testudo graeca).
Out of the 14 amphibian species that are hosted in the area, those ones of particular interest are the salamander (Salamandra salamandra), the Common Toad (Bufo bufo), the European green toad (Bufo viridis) and the Alpine Newt (Triturus alpestris). The latter forms small colonies in ponds and lakes, located at high altitudes, such as the Dragon lakes at Mounts Smolikas, Tymfi and Flega.
The Park’s rivers and their tributaries make an excellent habitat for 17 species of fish, among which: The pindovinos (Orhrias pindus), an endemic species, only found in Aoos River, the Albanian Roach (Pachychilon pictus), also found in Aoos River and some more common species, such as the trout (Salmo trutta), the fresh water mullet (Leuciscus cephalus vardarensis), the common nase (Chondrostoma vardarensis) and the barbel (Barbus peloponnesius).
In the northern and eastern part of the National Park i.e., in Smolikas, Flampouro, Vasilitsa, Tsouka Rossa and the Lygos mountains, ophiolite rocks dominate. On the contrary, in its southern and western part, i.e., in Tymfi, Trapezitsa and Mitsikeli, as well as in some places in the central (Kousta, Koziakos) and north-northeastern (Orliakas), limestone prevails.
The limestone mountain complex of Tymfi was sculpted by water millions of years ago, creating the famous gorge of Vikos and the ravine of Aoos. The most ancient rocks, 210 million years old before today, are discovered in the gorge of Aoos and are the gray-black dolomitic limestones (Viglas limestones). The dolomites at the bottom of the Vikos gorge are 160 million years old today, while the limestone at the top of the gorge is 35 million years old.
In the area of the National Forest of Pindos (Valia Calda) and in the mountain peaks that surround it, the region is dominated by volcanic rocks of the series of peridotites (serpentine, etc.), that were created 170 million years ago. The Valia Calda peridotites formed, at depths greater than 100 kilometers from the earth’s surface, when parts of the earth’s mantle began to rise to its surface. In the process, the mantle rocks partially melted, creating magma and leaving an undisturbed residue which is the peridotites we see today. The magma, in the form of lava, found its way to the surface of the earth mainly through underwater volcanoes of the sea of Tethys of that period. This lava, which is the product of the melting of surface-rising peridotites, is visible today in Perivoli, Mikrolivado and Monahiti.
Finally, we should point out the origin of the rocks in the artificial lake of the Aoos springs, where the nearby catchment area is divided into two parts. In the first part which occupies the largest percentage of the area and is made of flysch and in the second part which is limited to the north of the Lake and is made of peridotite.
The climate that prevails in the protected area is typical of high mountains with lush forests. The climate, between the Mediterranean and the European, with generally cold winters and cool and humid summers, varies depending on the altitude zone and is decisively influenced by the diverse terrain. It is characteristic, that the area receives the most rainfall in Greece, a fact that is reflected in the extensive vegetation. At high altitudes, the winters are very severe with low temperatures, clouds, abundant rains, frosts, frequent snowfalls and prolonged snow cover that lasts from October to May. At lower altitudes the climate becomes milder, the snow cover lasts a few weeks – the frosts are significantly reduced in time, there is limited sunshine and the rains are less in summer. The annual temperature range is particularly large.
MONITORING – MANAGEMENT ACTIONS
Since 2013, in collaboration with experts, scientific monitoring programs have been implemented. These programs are related to the management and protection of the following species:
– the Balkan wild goat (Rupicapra rupicapra balcanica),
– the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra)
– the species of fish fauna that live in the three catchments of the National Park (Aoos, Arachthos, Aliakmonas-Venetiko), with emphasis on the species of 92/43 / EEC
– the alien sunfish (Lepomis gibbosus) in the artificial lake of Aoos springs and The Macedonian newt (Triturus macedonicus) and
– the brown bear (Ursus arctos)
The aim is to draw conclusions and interpret the results from the scientific monitoring in the protected area and to transfer experiential experience and specialized knowledge to the scientific staff of the Management Unit, so that after the end of the program they will be able to carry out new scientific programs, by their own means.
The wild goat and the otter are emblematic and protected species of the area of the Northern Pindos National Park, while the recording and evaluation of the species of fish fauna, is a strong biological indicator of the state of conservation of surface waters within the protected area.
Finally, the Management Unit participates in the Life Arcprom program, which aims to improve the conditions of coexistence of the brown bear and man in three National Parks of Greece (Prespa, North Pindos, Rhodope Mountains) and one in Italy (Majella).
SUPERVISION / GUARDING
The purpose of the Park Protection-Patrolling Program is the implementation of protection and management measures in order to preserve the natural heritage, the preservation of the ecological balance of the protected area of the National Park, as well as the implementation of individual measures.
The Management Unit has a group of guards consisting of six people, which is complemented by two guides, who fill in the vacancies after the removal of two guards from the Unit in previous years. For the fullest possible coverage of the protected area of the National Park, the guard team is divided into 4 levels (Asprangelon, Kleidonia, Metsovo and Mavranei).
The patrolling staff monitor the area to prevent and avoid violations of the terms and restrictions set out in the legal framework for its designation as a National Park, as well as the wider environmental legislation. They are kept up to date on an annual basis on issues such as the legal framework of the park, the approach of visitors, fire safety, wider environmental legislation, the relevant prohibitions and the use of equipment. For the implementation of the action, the Management Unit has four pick-up vehicles which are fully equipped for the needs of storage with electronic (Navigator, GPS, Digital camera) and auxiliary equipment (pairs of binoculars, portable fire extinguisher, chainsaw, lawn mower, pharmacy ax), as well as autonomous fire-fighting systems, with the main purpose of immediate intervention, in cases of small fires during the fire-fighting period.
In summary, the watchdogs are obliged to:
– Comply with all the prescribed rules of supervision-guarding and the relevant provisions of the legislation.
– Report all illegal activities to the competent authorities. • Assist in prevention and extinction
– Actively participate in the respective programs of scientific monitoring of species of flora and fauna.
– Support the giving information and raising awareness of the local population and the visitors of the area, in matters of protection of the natural environment.
ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION/RAISING AWARENESS
In order to introduce visitors to the important ecological and cultural features of the protected area of North Pindos, as well as to inform them on the natural and man-made environment, five Information Centers operate in Asprangeli and Mikro Papigo in the Zagori region of the park, one in Mavranei in the Grevena region of the park and seasonally in Vovousa village, while the operation of the Klidonia Information Center in Konitsa is expected soon.
Their visitors are provided with free printed material and they are informed according to their interests about the sights, the observation posts, the hiking trails, etc.
ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS PROGRAMS FOR STUDENTS
The mountain forest ecosystems of the Northern Pindos National Park, the endangered species of fauna, the rare species of vegetation and flora, the special geomorphology as well as the unique historical and cultural elements of the anthropogenic environment of the protected area, are some of the topics of the activities designed and implemented by the Management Unit for students of all levels of education.
Specifically, after the appropriate permission from the Ministry of Education and Religions, the ‘Environmental Awareness Programs’ are implemented within school premises, by the certified executives of the Management Unit, as well as within the premises of the Information Centers of the National Park (Aspraggeloi and Metsovo in the Ioannina region of the park and Mavranaei in the Grevena region of the park). The Programs are often combined with Environmental Interpretation Tours within the protected area. In addition, there is a remarkable Environmental Awareness Package entitled “Northern Pindos National Park… Let’s learn, let’s play-with…”, appropriate for students aged 6 to 12, approved by the Institute of Educational Policy (IEP).
PROMOTION – ORGANIZATION OF EVENTS
In the context of promoting and highlighting the special values of the National Park, the Management Unit has established some annual events, such as guided hiking tours to celebrate the World Environment Day in early June, as well as the Bird Fest events every early October. A huge positive response is given by the local community and the visitors of the National Park to the hosting of exhibitions, relevant to the protected area in the premises of the Information Centers, as well as to the presence and assistance of the Management Unit in a number of events organized by the local government and Associations.
In addition, in the context of developing an open dialogue in order to inform the local community and find opportunities for sustainable development of the area, the Management Unit holds meetings and seminars with groups of the local population.
RESIDENTIAL – CULTURAL ENVIRONMENT
The area has been inhabited since the Stone Age. Tools and weapons made of stone and bone, as well as animal and fish bones were discovered in rock cavities in Voidomatis river, at the rocky roof structures of Boila and Kleidi. They seem to have been used by nomadic hunter groups who survived by fishing in Voidomatis river and by hunting animals on mount Tymfi and the Konitsa flat land. Its later history is depicted in archaeological sites, historical locations and monuments, that are a part of the tangible and intangible cultural heritage.
Today there are 68 settlements within the boundaries of the Northern Pindos National Park and another 14 near its boundaries. These settlements are divided into geographical – cultural units. The inhabitants of the Konitsa settlements engaged- among other things- in construction, an art in which they excelled. The Zagori villages saw their inhabitants migrate, build a better life abroad and turn into benefactors of their homeland.
The Vlachs of Grevena mostly engaged in nomadic livestock farming and forestry, while the Kopatsaraioi, who lived further to the east, engaged in agriculture and livestock farming.
The villages of Metsovo (of which only Milia lies within the National Park) were known, among other things, for the small-scale manufacturing of woven wool products. The social expression of these people, their work and professions, their traditions, music and songs are an important part of the intangible cultural heritage of Northern Pindos and underpin its significance.
Standing tall over time as true construction masterpieces, the stone bridges provide the Northern Pindos with a special character and they consist of a part of Greece’s traditional architecture and cultural heritage.
The oldest bridges were made only of timber. Heavy stone structures were built in the 18th – 19th centuries when tradesmen’s caravans had to cross rivers. Local builders had used stone from the mountains in various forms and each bridge has a unique story and design.
Hanging over towering rocks, nestled in natural cavities or built-in settlements, the churches and monasteries of Northern Pindos, made of stone and wood, with a minimal exterior but rich interior, indicate the wealth and artistic development of the area during the Ottoman period.
Northern Pindos National Park can be approached from the North, South, East and West. Its southeast and east borders are connected to the Egnatia Highway. Grevena is 165km (approximately 1h and 40min by car) from Thessaloniki and 414km from Athens (approximately 5h and 31min by car). Ioannina is 262km (approximately 2h and 30min by car) from Thessaloniki and 454km from Athens (approximately 5h and 45min by car).
In order to get to Grevena from Thessaloniki, you may take the Egnatia Road E90/Α2 and then take the exit 9. In order to get to Ioannina from Thessaloniki you may take the Egnatia Road E90/Α2 and take the exit 5. From Ioannina, someone can access Zagori and Konitsa regions, which are located at the south west and west part of the Park. Metsovo region is 218km from Thessaloniki, through the Egnatia exit to Metsovo.
Also, from 63rd km where Konitsa settles to 80rd km, the western boundaries of the Park perfectly match the national road of Ioannina-Konitsa-Kozani. So, from 63rd km someone reaches Konitsa and from there he can reach the inner part of the National Park following the local road to the villages of Lakkas Aoos at the hillsides of Smolikas. Also, from 80rd km (junction to Agia Paraskevi) the borders of the Park turn east from where someone can reach the northern part of Smolikas (which matches the northern boundaries of the park) and through mountainous passages, unites the part of the Park which settles into Grevena region.
From Athens you may take the E75, E65 and E92 motorways in order to visit the Grevena region of the Park and then follow the district street from Kalambaka to Grevena. To go to Ioannina you can take the E75, E65 and E92 and from Malakasi follow the E90 motorway to district road Arta/Ioannina E951/ΕΟ5.
AIRPORTS AND PORTS
There is an airport in the city of Ioannina at 25km distance from the National Park’s borders. The next nearby airports are at Argos Orestiko (60 km) and Thessaloniki (180 km) and the closest international port at Igoumenitsa (108 km).