Porfyron in Ano Pedina in the Zagorohoria is lovely mid-19th century mansion that used to be the residence of the village doctor, until in the fifties it became a boarding school where girls learned arts such as weaving and embroidering. It is now owned by Rita and Yiannis Kirligitsis, a kind Dutch-Greek couple, who have turned it into a charming guesthouse. Porfyron has eight individually decorated bedrooms that offer space, comfort, charm and (most of them) far-reaching views. Walls are painted in soft colours that combine beautifully with the original woodwork; antique furniture is combined with local-style handmade pieces; and beds are made with beautiful embroidered linens. Some of the rooms also have a fireplace – not just for decoration: if you want you’ll get wood to make a fire. Altogether it is a very attractive package. In the evenings guests and villagers join Rita and Yiannis in the large sitting room for drinks, home-cooked meals and long chats. Whenever I am in the Zagorohoria, I go back to Porfyron, to sleep, to have a meal, to taste some of Rita’s latest homemade jams and herbal teas, or simply to say hello to this couple who have become my friends.
There are many reasons why I always so much enjoy going to Porfyron. The charming, spacious rooms. The easy-going atmosphere and the homely feeing. The delicious home cooked food. And of course to see Yiannis and Rita.
As often the case in historical buildings, I noticed that the sound insulation between some of the rooms is not 100% perfect. Also, the mattresses are a little too firm to my taste. But I know many people like that...
1 room for 2 persons (this is a smallish room with two single beds)
3 double rooms
3 rooms for up to 3 persons
1 maisonette for up to 5 persons
Prices for two persons from 60 Euro per night, breakfast and taxes included. For a full overview of room rates, please contact Rita.
En-suite bathroom (bath, Jacuzzi bath or shower)
Bar/sitting room with fireplace
Rita is in charge of breakfast (and also prepares fantastic jams from local fruits), and Yiannis, an experienced chef, takes care of lunch dinner. For breakfast, Rita serves fresh bread, homemade jams, eggs, yogurt, cake and fresh orange juice in the winter and sometimes also little (or not so little) extras such as genuine Dutch pancakes.
At lunchtime you can order from a small menu and if you go out hiking for the day, you can ask for a packed lunch.
For dinner you have the choice between a few dishes of the day, always including a vegetarian option. It is all freshly prepared (with local ingredients), really good Greek food. Some of the recipes used are Rita’s own, has shared the best in a beautiful cookbook published in the Netherlands. Some of Rita’s recipes, as well as more traditional ones, can be found in English on the website of Porfyron.
If you want to try some other Greek restaurants, you have several to choose from in Ano Pedina. The restaurant of Monopati serves refined Greek cuisine, and for a relaxed meal Dizaki is a great place. There are plenty of more traditional Greek restaurants in Ano Pedina and villages nearby – Rita and Yiannis can give recommendations.
We stayed at Porfyron with our children when they were young, and they had a great time. The family suite, where we stayed, has two traditional built beds in the main room, and two single beds in an extra bedroom. It is perfect for families with two or three children. There also is another room with two single beds that is nice for two kids to share (parents can ask for a room on the same floor), and a few of the double rooms have an extra bed for a child. You can also ask for a cot/crib, and there’s a high chair in the restaurant. Opposite to the guesthouse there is a small playground for children (nothing fancy…).
The surroundings of Ano Pedina are great for active family vacations. Your children (as long as they are not too young) will enjoy walks through the gorge, swims in the rock pools in the mountains and rafting in the Voidomatis River. There are also possibilities for horseback riding. Teenagers may enjoy mountain biking organised by Trekking Hellas.
Walking and hiking
Set off hiking trails leading you through the unique mountain scenery of Zagori. Rita can make arrangements for guided walks in different parts of the region. There’s an eight-hour hike from Mikro Papigo to the “Drakolimni” lakes at an altitude of 2050 m, a six-hour trek through the Vikos Gorge, and a five-hour walk that will take you through some of the most picturesque villages in the area. There are also several three-hour walks past historical stone bridges, rivers, streams, rock pools, water springs and gorges. So bring your hiking shoes!
Other outdoor activities and sports
Trekking Hellas organises rafting on the Voidamatos River as well as mountain biking. In Papigo there’s a great place for horseback riding. Trout fishing and fly-fishing can also be arranged, and you can ask Yiannis to prepare the catch for dinner.
Come for creative, wellbeing or culinary workshops and spend a few days learning the ins and outs of Greek cooking, making liquor and preserves, doing yoga and Tai Chi, felting or drawing & painting. Contact Rita for more information and available dates.
Keep a day to explore the northern Zagorohoria – Vikos, Aristi, Megalo Papigo and Micro Papigo – and walk from the latter to some beautiful rock pools for summer dips. It takes more than just a day to visit all villages in the central part of Zagori, but try at least to see Dilofo, Koukouli, Kapesovo and Kipi. Monodendri get a few too many visitors to my taste, but is worth seeing as well.
Guesthouse Porfyron is in Ano Pedina, a pretty mountain village, one of the Zagorohoria, situated on a plateau at an altitude of nearly 1000 metres. Even though in recent year several new hotels and guesthouses have opened the village, it still does not attract as many visitors as some of the better known villages in the area, and has a pleasantly laid-back, rural ambience. It is very quiet.
From Ioannina, take the road in the direction of the airport and then Konitsa. Turn right about 13 km after the airport towards Tsepelovo (right after you pass under a footbridge). After 11 km, rather then going right towards Tsepelovo, continue straight in the direction of Ano Pedina. Take the road up into the village, and you will see the terracotta-coloured (or rather Byzantine red, the meaning of porfiron) building on your left.
Porfyron was fantastic. A beautiful house and nicely furnished. Enough possibilities to sit somewhere outside your own large room: a pretty well-kept garden with a rocking chair, a sunny terrace and in the large (dining)room a reading table and a comfy sitting corner by the open fire. A really warm welcome and personal care by the hosts. Something to recommend for those who want to have a real holiday. We walked through the Vikos gorge and saw bear excrements. A Dutch family one week later saw the bear from 5 metres distance! One afternoon Yiannis took me collecting wild asparagus, a totally new experience for me. I had no idea you could eat the long part of this prickly plant. They are not real asparagus, but that’s what they are called. Of course we bought some of Rita’s own homemade jam and tea. We slept like babies and treasured the peace and quiet. To be repeated!