With the Christmas holidays over and done with and a new year looming ahead of us, it is imperative to start anew with a fresh outlook on life. New Years resolutions are hanging by a thread, and if its anything to go by, we’re pretty sure they mostly include several iterations of the weight loss variety. Panettone be damned! Fret not, though. We suggest a visit to Metsovo, up in the north of Greece. This is the Epirus region. Charm is abundant as the trees are green. Available activities: taking it easy and enjoying life.For those wanting to shed the extra pounds from the bacchanal festivities, it is manna from heaven. Metsovo is teaming with outdoorsy-ness.
SKIING & SNOWBOARDING
For one, its home to some pretty scenic ski resorts. The Anilio resort offers 5 slopes with varying degrees of difficulty that ought to shake you into shape. You’ll slalom your way to acceptable levels of fitness. And you’ll breathe some mountain air, too. There are child friendly rides, a snowboard slope and an off-piste route. Similarly, the Politsies ski resort has 5 slaloms with a chalet and amenities that include ski- renting equipment and lessons. The third resort, Karakoli, is more of a grown up piste without much in the way of amenities. It is however a more acquired taste.
If skiing isn’t really your cup, rest assured in the knowledge that the unique mountain retreats around Metsovo are scenic as they are functional. There are numerous trails and mountain paths with refuges for hikers and mountaineers, not to mention the Aoos spring lake nearby.
FOOD & WINE
After all that exercise, you’ll be wanting to wind down. The food in Metsovo is really good. And that saying something in Greece, where you are virtually guaranteed to have a good meal anywhere you go. Proof of this is the famous Metsovone cheese with its smoky taste. Local meat cuts and stews are de riguer, particularly with temperatures at 10 degrees Celsius all year round.
Metsovo is an historic town. It is one of Greece’s finest purveyors of wine, owing its fame to local statesman Evangelos Averoff. He bequeathed a number of institutions and facilities with his capital. One of those is the famed Averoff winery. The Katogi Averoff is one of the best Greek wineries-hotels. It makes fabulous wine that it also showcases to visitors in guided tours of the vineyards and the distilleries. And at the end, you can stay in the homonymous Katogi Averoff boutique. The Averoff Museum of NeoHellenic Art and the Averoffeios Garden round up the man’s legacy.
Other local cultural institutions include the Tositsas Folk Art Museum, the Monastery of Panagia and the Monastery of Agios Nicholaos.
Metsovo is the quintessential sleepy Greek mountain town. Covered in mist as it sprouts down the mountain, it is magical and mysterious all at once.