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Mountains
Pindus National Park
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Pindus National Park also known as Valia Calda (Hot Valley) is part of the National Park of North Pindus along with Vikos-Aoos National Park. It stretches in the rough areas of Pindus between the Provinces of Grevena and Ioannina. The park was founded in 1966 and covers an area of 66.000 acres, the 33.500 of which constitute its core whereas the rest belong to the wider protected zone. Its thriving feature, apart from the rich flora and fauna, is its natural geomorphology that consists of valleys, steep cliffs and gorges. No settlements spread in the park. The settlements Vovousa, Milia, Metsovo and some others lie in its perimeter.

 

Geography

The main geological compounds of the park are serpentine, gabbros, dolomite and lime stone. Specifically, the south and central part is composed of stones of serpentine composition, the east part of lime stones whereas in Valia calda and the surrounding mountain peaks dominate stones of volcanic origin.

The climate is Mediterranean with cold winters, wet and cool summers and many rainfalls. It is affected by the area’s anaglyph and differentiates according to the altitude. The annual average temperature is 10-14°C. Lots of clouds and frosts complete the climate chart whereas snowfalls are a common phenomenon here for about 7-8 months.

Aoos River and its tributary Arkoudorema run through the park that is composed by the high mountains of Lygkos complex. There are many peaks over 2000m high like Avgo (2177m), Milia (2160m), Tria Synora (2050m) and others. The two small lakes that stand at 1960m altitude on Mavrovouni and Flega Heights are really impressive. The only discordant features into this serene landscape are the provincial roads that cross the park and connect the villages Perivoli and Krania in Grevena with Milia in Metsovo and Vovousa in Ioannina.

 

Flora-Fauna

Pindus National Park has been identified as an area of high biological, ecological and research interest and constitutes one of the most significant biotopes for many endemic species in Greece.

The most thriving characteristic of the park is the long, dense forests where the Black Pine tree and the Oak Tree dominate. Many small plant species are scattered around the whole area, most of which are rare or endemic like: the Cyclamen, the wild Crocus, the red Crocus and others. In a nutshell, the park is the natural habitat for about 415 plant species, some of which are endemic for the wider Balkan region like the Dianthus deltoids, the Pinus leucodermis and the Allium.

Pindus National Park is one of the few European shelters for some rare big mammals like the Brown Bear, the Wild Cat, the Roe and the Balkan Lynx. The rivers and the streams that run through the park constitute a natural habitat for the marine mammal, the Otter. Moreover it provides shelter to more than 70 bird species such as the rare birds Shore Lark and the Lanius excubitor and many birds of prey like the Golden eagle, the Golden Hawk, the Imperial eagle and the Vulture. The area’s waters host many fish species; the Trout thrives in the big streams whereas the Flathead Mullet and the Syrtari can be found at smaller altitudes.

 

Hiking

The National Park is an area of splendid natural beauty with a dense network of signed and not-signed paths; therefore a paradise for hiking lovers. Two of the most interesting paths that you should follow are the National Path O3 (part of which crosses the park and connects the villages in Zagori and Konitsa) and the International Path E6 (that connects the villages of Matsovo and Grevena through Lygkos Mountains). Other paths of amazing beauty are those that reach Flega Lakes (approximately 3-4 hours of hiking).

 

How to reach the area

You can reach the area through Ioannina Province via the provincial roads Metsovo-Milia-Grevena and towards the villages Greveniti, Flambouri and Vovousa. A different way to approach the area is through Grevena Province via the provincial roads Grevena-Mavranea-Perivoli and Grevena-Krania-Milia-Metsovo.

The two basic entrances to the National Park are in the village Milia (right after Metsovo) and in the village Perivoli of Grevena Province.

 

Useful Information

Any information related to the National Park and the wider area is provided by the Information Kiosk of Valia Calda Natural Park that is located in the settlement Mileas in Metsovo. The Forest Service in Grevena is always available to let you know the Park’s regulations.

 

Information Kiosk of Valia Calda Natural Park: Tel/Fax: +30 2656061356,

E-mail:pemileas@germanosnet .gr.

Forest Service in Grevena:  +30 2462076400, +30 2462076390