Vikos is actually part of Zagori, a 1,000-square-kilometre realm where two national parks and 46 quaint, beautiful mountain villages – the Zagorochoria – linked on roads which criss-cross rivers via arched bridges (although in many cases these now stand next to newer bridges in the name of preservation). It’s a wonderful, pristine place. You’ll visit some of those villages, including Metsovo, home to traditional mansions, gardens and the Averoff Museum of Neohellenic Art, and Kastraki, whose spectacular, 16th-century monastery lines the Vikos-bound Voidomatis River.
Your base is just outside Aristi, another such village, at the soulful Aristi Mountain Resort. Numerous activities are possible, depending on your preference. Up to 140 species can be glimpsed while birdwatching in alpine meadows, gorges and oak forests. There are photo safaris led by a professional local snapper, wine-tasting in Zitsa, cookery lessons teaching the filo-sheeted pies for which this area is known or trekking and rafting tours along the Voidomatis.
A word about the food: the unusual soil in Zagori allows for a great variety of local product, including cheeses and wines, which you won’t find elsewhere in Greece – but which inspire Aristi’s excellent al-fresco restaurant.