Guide To Karpenisi: Real Greek Life In Central Greece

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Post author Gabi

Written by our local expert Gabi

Gabi is an award-winning writer who lives on the Island of Crete in Greece. She is an expert in Greek travel and writes guides for the everyday traveler.

Thirteen thousand people call Karpenisi home, and with my Karpenisi travel advice, you can join them for some authentic Greek Life. I have written for you a list of things to do in Karpenisi as well as tips for where to stay in the place they call the “Switzerland of Greece.”

Greece Travel Blog_Guide To Karpenisi

Nestled on a mountainside, Karpenisi embodies the essence of a Greek mountain getaway. A beloved winter retreat cherished by both locals and travelers, this place is a true hidden gem.

Karpenisi isn’t your run-of-the-mill destination. It’s a unique, picturesque haven, far from the tourist crowds, offering an authentic taste of Greek traditions amidst a breathtaking alpine backdrop. Here, you’ll find a world of opportunities for outdoor adventures, winter sports, and cultural exploration. 

This charming town in Greece is renowned for its natural beauty, boasting majestic mountain ranges, winding scenic roads, enchanting stone villages, and lush forests that beckon explorers. From thrilling skiing escapades to embarking on hikes leading to hidden waterfalls, from tranquil monastery visits to leisurely drives along winding mountain routes – Karpenisi offers a medley of experiences.

Don’t miss the chance to discover nearby traditional Greek villages like Palio Mikro Chorio and Megalo Chorio, each with its unique allure. Savor local delicacies, immerse yourself in the rich culture, and find accommodation in hotels that promise stunning vistas.

Karpenisi is your ticket to an authentic Greek mountain escape, a place where nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers can revel in the beauty of an untouched paradise.

Where Is Karpenisi

Capital of the regional unit of Evrytania, in central Greece, the city of Karpenisi is located in the valley of the river Karpenisiotis in the southern part of the Pindus Mountains.

This enchanting small town is surrounded by the mountains of Kaliakouda, Helidona, and Timfristos, and it has often been dubbed the small Switzerland of Greece.

The place is a popular tourist destination during the winter months. Yet, its incredible pine tree forests and rugged landscape make it a fantastic destination all year round for those fond of the outdoors.

How To Get To Karpenisi

Getting to Karpenisi is an adventure in itself, as this charming town is tucked away in the heart of Greece’s stunning mountainous terrain. The place is about 300 kilometers from Athens, and it can be easily reached by car after a four-hour drive via Lamia.

By Car

Although it is possible to get there by bus, renting a car is strongly recommended as there is no public transportation connecting the town to surrounding villages, making it very difficult to move around once at the destination.

The journey from Athens to Karpenisi takes approximately four hours—head west on the E65 highway, enjoying the scenic drive through the Greek countryside. As you approach Karpenisi, you’ll wind your way through picturesque mountain roads with breathtaking views.

When To Visit Karpenisi

Cityview at mountain village of Karpenisi, Evritania, Greece

Karpenisi is a popular destination for the Christmas holidays among locals. As it is a prime mountain and ski resort, most visitors visit the area during winter. Unlike other regions of Greece, including much of the coast and the islands, Karpenisi is a great place to visit all year round.

Yet, visiting Karpenisi in summer can also be a great idea, especially if you like to spend the summer in the mountains.

The average temperatures are mild during the summer, and the environment feels pleasantly dry. This makes Karpenisi a good destination if you prefer a cooler summer getaway and don’t enjoy beach life.

Best Things To Do In Karpenisi

Mountain village of Koryshades, Greece
Mountain village of Koryshades, Greece

Central Square

The first place to visit in town is its central square, a typical Greek piazza surrounded by traditional kafenia (authentic Greek coffee houses) where locals gather for long chats while playing a game of tavli (a board game similar to backgammon often played in bars and cafeterias all over the country).

Sit and enjoy your cup of Greek coffee while you admire the mountainous landscapes and soak in the atmosphere of this charming town.

If you visit during the holidays, you will love the Christmas decorations and stalls with lights and music that adorn the central square of Karpenisi.

Culture And History Centre Of Evrytania

Pay a visit to this interactive museum in Karpenisi that showcases the culture and historical facts of Evrytania through interesting educational programs and experiential methods. The museum is divided into different halls, two of them designed as screening rooms fitted with cutting-edge technology. There are augmented reality rooms proudly powering unique time travel.

The Museum is in a renovated building thoroughly blending with the natural surroundings and is only meters from the central square of Karpenisi.

Megalo Xorio

Among the best things to do in the area is exploring the small, quaint villages surrounding Karpenisi. The first one you should visit is Megalo Xorio (or Megalo Chorio, literally meaning “Big Village”).

Despite its popularity, this small settlement maintained its unique character and traditional traits.

During the visit, check out the small alleys with shops offering local products, admire the tiny houses, and head to any kafenio for a cup of original Greek coffee and a treat. For instance, indulge in a portion of galaktoboureko, a beloved sweet in Greece made from crispy phyllo pastry, filled with vanilla custard, and drizzled with mouthwatering sweet syrup.

Not far from the center of the village, follow the stone path leading to the wood outside Megalo Xorio. Here, ancient plane trees, pines, and mountain streams combine with ancient wooden bridges to offer an enchanting landscape perfect for a relaxing walk or a brisk hike in the mountains.

Mikro Xorio

Another village to see is Mikro Chorio (meaning Small Village). This tiny settlement is divided into two different sections, an older one and a newer one, which gives the two areas the names of Palio Mikro Xorio (old small village) and Neo Mikro Xorio (new small village).

The old settlement is a must-visit place. It was devastated by a landslide back in 1963, but only a few villagers died as the tragedy occurred on a Sunday, and most of the inhabitants were at mass.

The church that gave shelter to the locals, Agios Sostis, is still open and one of the few sights not to miss in Palio Mikro Xorio.

Also, during your visit to the village, please pay a visit to the History and Folklore Museum of Mikro Chorio, where it is possible to learn about the cultural products made by the residents.

Panagia Prousiotissa Monastery

Proussos monastery near Karpenisi town in Evrytania

It’s impossible to visit Greece without coming across a beautiful old monastery. In Karpenisi, take your car and head to the Monastery of Panagia Prousiotissa, built in 829. This gorgeous building hosts one of the most important monastic communities in Central Greece.

On the premises, you can visit a cave that kept an icon of the Virgin Mary hidden back in the same year the monastery was built, a time when religious images and icons were banned and destroyed in the Balkans (a movement known as Iconoclasm).

Not far from the religious site, you can take a look at the tiny village of Proussos, where no more than a dozen villagers dwell. The views of the surrounding mountains and the underlying valley are breathtaking from this mountain settlement.

Mountain Museum Of Karpenisi

If you are visiting Karpenisi because you are interested in skiing or any other mountain sport and snow adventure, this museum is a place you will need to add to your list. Here, you can take mountaineering, skiing, and mountain living courses.

This is the only mountain museum in Greece and the only place offering all information about mountain activities.

Adventure Park

Families with small kids will enjoy spending time at an original adventure park located at the foothill of Mount Velouchi.

Saloon is a Western theme park featuring the style and vibe of the old Wild West. It has a lake, streams, and green fields where kids can try horseback riding. The place is known in the area for the Saloon Cafe, a perfect place to try some of the best sweets you can even imagine!

Panta Vrechei Gorge

A girl standing in front of a waterfall in Central Greece, experiencing the beautiful Greek Life at Panta Vrechei Gorge

This stunning gorge is definitely worth a visit, but it’s only accessible during the summer months. The gorge itself is 80 meters wide, and you’ll find waterfalls and swimming spots, all with a welcoming, cool feel from the heat of the summer.

This gorge is entirely off the beaten track, so make sure you go prepared with hiking boots and all the necessary equipment, but it’s certainly worth the fantastic views and natural scenery all around you.

Kefalovriso Park & Monument

This huge park is a beautiful spot to chill out and go for walks, but it’s also a historic area too. A battle in the War of Independence took place here, and you’ll find a monument dedicated to those who lost their lives, as well as Markos Botsaris, a commander in the Greek army.

Velouchi Ski Centre

Yes, it snows in Greece during the winter months! This ski resort is one of the oldest in the country and dates back to 1978. There are ten slopes in the resort, ranging from beginner level to advanced, and seven ski lifts. The apres ski opportunities are also plentiful, and the views are simply amazing.

Church of St Demetrios

This beautiful church offers fantastic views from the top of the hill, and you can still see some ruins from the old defense walls. You can walk to the top of the hill, but if you want to avoid sweating during the summer months, you can also drive. Bring your camera for this one; the panoramic views are fantastic.

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Hiking In Karpenisi

Hikers love visiting Karpenisi, as the place is filled with challenging hiking trails that cross the beautiful hills in the area and surround the town and other smaller villages.

One of the most popular trails is the one that takes you through Panta Vrechei, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Greece.

Panta Vrechi Gorge

Waterfalls on the river Krikiliotis at Panta Vrexei in Evritania - Greece Waterfalls

When you decide to hike in Karpenisi, you must see one natural place. One of the most beautiful gorges in Greece, “Panta Vrechi” (meaning “It always rains”), features quite an exotic landscape between the villages of Roska and Doliana, crossed by the river Krikelopotamos.

You can access the gorge following three different routes, all leaving from Karpenisi. Once at the narrowest point of the gorge, the icy waters coming from Mount Kaliakouda fall from the top of the cliffs. Due to the altitude, the water flow creates a sense of continuous rain, while different small natural pools are formed at the base of the waterfalls.

Skiing In Karpenisi

One of the places to hit is the Karpenisi – Velouchi Ski Center. Located on Mount Tymfristos, the slopes are 1840-2220 meters above sea level. Nestled in the sheltered southwest side of Karpenisi, it is the best place to visit in winter if you enjoy snow sports.

The area has 18 ski slopes of various difficulties, four off-piste runs, five lifts, four aerial, and one sliding. The resort includes a shelter, a chalet, an ice bar, and a snowboard park with a natural free-flow slope.

There are places to rent ski equipment, snowmobiles and a school for beginners and kids who want to learn how to ski. The Karpenisi Ski Center is open from December to April, from 9 am to 3 pm.

Where To Eat In Karpenisi

Greek Food - Greek Salad

If you’re looking for a good place for a bite in Karpenisi, don’t overlook these recommendations.


Mylos is a restaurant specializing in Greek food and serves every meal of the day, from breakfast to dinner, and it’s also open for drinks late at night.


Another top place for authentic food and a traditional atmosphere, head to Paradisos to taste the most amazing dishes of the Greek diet. The place is located in Megalo Xorio.

To Rizoma

To Rhizome serves up incredible mountain views to match mouthwatering dishes in Neo Mikro Xorio. The place offers both Greek and European cuisine.

Best Time Of Year To Visit Karpenisi

The best time to visit Karpenisi depends on the type of experience you’re looking for:

  • Winter (December to February): ideal for winter sports enthusiasts, especially skiing at the Velouchi Winter Sports Centre. Enjoy the cozy atmosphere with snow-capped mountains and warm tavernas.
  • Spring (March to May): perfect for outdoor activities like hiking, with milder temperatures and nature in bloom. Melting snow makes waterfalls and rivers especially impressive.
  • Summer (June to August): offers pleasant weather for outdoor adventures, including trekking and village exploration, without the intense heat of other Greek regions.
  • Autumn (September to November): Cooler temperatures and stunning autumn foliage make this an excellent time for hiking and enjoying the natural beauty with fewer tourists

Each season offers a unique experience, so choose according to the activities you’re most interested in. Winter is ideal for cozy mountain experiences and winter sports, while spring and autumn are perfect for outdoor activities in milder weather.

Weather In Karpenisi

Here is a look at what temp it will be when you visit.

Season High Temperature Low Temperature
Winter (Dec – Feb) 6°C / 42.8°F -2°C / 28.4°F
Spring (Mar – May) 17°C / 62.6°F 4°C / 39.2°F
Summer (Jun – Aug) 29°C / 84.2°F 15°C / 59°F
Autumn (Sep – Nov) 18°C / 64.4°F 6°C / 42.8°F


Where To Stay In Karpenisi, Greece

These are some of the resorts and hotels we recommend checking out when you’re ready to book accommodation in the area.

Affordable Accommodation In Karpenisi: Hotel Elvetia

A super cheap place to stay in Karpenisi, this hotel is in the center of town, offering an excellent base to explore the landscapes and natural beauty of Evrytania, and only 13 km from the famous Velouchi Ski Centre. The hotel’s large and comfortable lobbies offer unique relaxing spots with two cozy stone fireplaces.

Mid-Range Accommodation In Karpenisi: Orinopetra Boutique Hotel

Greece Travel Blog_Guide To Karpenisi_Oniropetra Boutique Hotel
Photo Credit: Oniropetra Boutique Hotel

This family-friendly property is 5 kilometers from Karpenisi, surrounded by lush landscapes, and near bars, shops, and taverns. This stone-built hotel has elegant studios with a fireplace and a balcony or patio overlooking Mount Velouchi. It offers a snack bar and a spacious lounge area. There is also a kids’ club supervised by specially trained staff.

Luxury Accommodation In Karpenisi: The View Village – Villas Suites & Spa

Greece Travel Blog_Guide To Karpenisi_The View Village - Villas Suites & Spa
Photo Credit: The View Village – Villas Suites & Spa

The ideal hotel if you’re looking for a pet-friendly property, this place is at the foot of Mount Velouchi. It has an outdoor and indoor heated swimming pool and a spa center, just 1.8 kilometers from the central square of Karpenisi. Every villa has a living room with a fireplace and floor heating. Every morning, guests can enjoy a homemade, traditional breakfast in the comfort of their room. The property also has a bar on-site, and guests can enjoy their drinks by the pool or fireplace.


What is Karpenisi known for?

Karpenisi is a charming small town known as the “Switzerland of Greece” due to its dramatic mountain ranges, traditional villages, dense forests, and picturesque villages. It’s a great destination for those who love nature and outdoor activities.

What are some popular activities in Karpenisi?

Activities include skiing at the Velouchi Winter Sports Center, trekking through pine forests, visiting secret caves and Orthodox chapels, and exploring small villages with traditional tavernas. You can also enjoy river rafting and hiking to hidden waterfalls and religious shrines.

What makes Karpenisi a unique destination in Greece?

Unlike the popular Greek islands, Karpenisi offers a different experience with its mountainous landscapes, winter sports opportunities, and tranquil natural settings. It’s also less known to international tourists, offering a more authentic and secluded getaway. Greece’s best-kept secrets are often found here.

Are there any notable villages to visit near Karpenisi?

Yes, notable nearby villages include Megalo Horio, Palio Mikro Chorio, Neo Mikro Chorio, Megalo Chorio, and Gavros, each offering unique attractions like beautiful churches, traditional architecture, and local tavernas.

What can I expect from the Monastery of Proussos?

The Monastery of Proussos is an important historical and religious site dating back to 829 AD. It’s a significant pilgrimage site and offers spectacular views of the surrounding area, making it worth visiting.

What are some local delicacies to try in Karpenisi?

Local delicacies include wild boar, rabbit casserole, country sausages, katiki cheese, and the dessert galaktoboureko. Many restaurants offer farm-to-table dining experiences with locally sourced ingredients at traditional character tavernas and coffee shops.

What are some recommended places to eat in Karpenisi?

Recommended dining spots include Taverna Mesostrati, Kafeneio tis Kyra Paraskevis, To Rakomelo, Mylos Cafe Meze, and Helidona Guesthouse Restaurant. These are an excellent option for experiencing the local cuisine.

What are the accommodation options in Karpenisi?

Accommodations range from guesthouses like Semeli Guesthouse to luxury hotels like Selestina Boutique Hotel and chalets like Chalet Likouresi Village—ideal places to stay for a comfortable retreat.

How can I reach Karpenisi?

Karpenisi is about a four-hour drive from Athens. Visitors can drive or take a KTEL bus, though having a car is more convenient for exploring the region. The easiest route from Athens is by car through country roads lined with dense vegetation and fir trees.

What is the best time to visit Karpenisi?

Karpenisi can be visited year-round, offering different experiences in each season. Winter is ideal for skiing and cozy mountain experiences, while other seasons are great for hiking and exploring the outdoors. Beautiful views can be enjoyed in every season, and the old plane tree in the town center is a popular spot for visitors.

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