When someone thinks of Greece, even people of Greek descent, it is easier than not to daydream of sandy beaches, island life, and the nightlife comes with it. What if I told you that there was more to Greece than just the islands, with their iconic white roofs and blue shutters? Admittedly, it’s hard, even for me, due to my family on both sides being from islands in the north and south of the Aegean. Nevertheless mainland Greece is a place I must share with you, a treasure that is yet to be fully discovered, something that during the global health pandemic can be music to one’s ears. We all want a change of scenery after being cooped up due to COVID fears, and maybe if some of those fears, even if you are vaccinated, have not subsided then Epirus is absolutely a prime destination for you and your family. An uncrowded, culturally and historically rich region tucked in the top left corner of mainland Greece has been overlooked for far too long.
Due to the fact that Epirus receives the most rain in winter months of any other mainland region in Greece, one can be captivated by the lush green and the lively collision of the agricultural and urban life in the capital of the region, Ioannina. Sometimes the choice between beach or mountains is a false. Epirus, for example, possesses both and is therefore the perfect destination for those that are up for outdoor adventures and lazy, relaxing holidays sprinkled with cultural visits to museums and historic sites.
Epirus is also presents fascinating stories, particularly to the people of the Greek diaspora. Some of the most prominent Epirotes of the last centuries were the Zosimas brothers who made their trade fortunes in Livorno Italy, Ukraine, and later Moscow. Like Diaspora Hellenes, they never forgot their roots, and so, when they ‘made it’ financially they returned to Epirus and committed to the educational development of their hometown of Ioannina. They built multiple schools, contributed heavily to the first National Library of Greece, and built orphanages and homeless shelters in their ancestral homeland. This is the spirit of Epirus, and those who go are forever bound to the land and no doubt that applies not only to national benefactors like the Zosimas brothers, but to visitors too.