Katsanochoria: Mouthwatering Heights
There’s precious little by way of public knowledge of the Katsanochoria cluster of villages on the outskirts of Tzoumerka. Very little indeed. Limited. And of course that can only mean one thing, folks. We’re on to a winner. A bit like how islands with no airport are more authentic, the same would apply here. For if one knows not about it, one cannot visit it. And while we here are fully aware of the inherent irony of our endeavors, we also stand firmly on the side of responsible and sustainable tourism. Katsanchoria then, are by all accounts a rustic set of 11 villages that interconnect with each other through ancient trails and bucolic paths. This is one of the most secluded places in Greece not called Thrace.
The main villages are Kostitsi, Nistora, Aetorachi, Lezaina, Agios Georgios, Platanousa, Pigadia, Monolithon, Pateron, Dafni and Ellinikon. Much like the Zagorochoria cluster, one can expect to find solitude and a peace of mind that seeps into one’s psyche.
This area is chock full of greenery with abundant fauna and flora. The zinger though, is foraging for truffles and mushrooms, of which all sorts of exotic and endemic types of fungi exist, all while taking in the awesomeness of the natural habitat.
But the real deal is the river Arachthos. Going down the rapids on the kayak has got to be one of the most fulfilling activities. There’s 20 kilometers of river to go through and after such an exhausting workout (it is) one has to only look out for the first smell of grilled meat from one of the nearby taverns. Sausages, cured meats, grilled meatiness and an impressive selection of cheeses are what’s on the menu.
The Katsanochoria are not devoid of history and culture, as one might reasonably deduce. Here to say I told you so is none other than the jaw-dropping monastery of Tsoukas, standing proud after 10 centuries. What’s special about it is that it’s been carved on to the cliff face at 760 meters altitude. Try that on for size.
There’s also the small matter of the stone bridges that invariably dot the landscape up north. There are a lot of them. A lot of them are imbued with historical significance, and round those parts the king is the stone bridge of Plaka. Suffice to say that it’ll take a lot to bring that bridge down.
Katsanochoria may just be one of the least visited places in Greece. The fact that yours truly had never heard of them a week before should provide ample evidence as to how authentic an experience you should expect to live once there.