Guide To Karpenisi – Outdoor Activities, Winter Sports & Real Greek Life
Located on a mountainside, Karpenisi is a gorgeous destination in Greece and a favorite winter resort for locals and visitors alike.
Unique, picturesque, and off-the-beaten path, Karpenisi offers a real taste of authentic Greek traditions, surrounded by an inspiring alpine scene, ideal for outdoor activities, winter sports, and cultural visits.
If you plan a trip to Karpenisi, this guide will offer all the information you need.
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
The place is about 300 kilometers from Athens, and it can be easily reached by car after a four-hour drive via Lamia.
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.
When To Visit Karpenisi
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
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.
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.
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
It’s impossible to visit Greece without coming across a beautiful old monastery. In Karpenisi, take your car and head to the Panagia Prousiotissa Monastery, 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.
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!
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
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 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
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 Rhizome serves up incredible mountain views to match mouthwatering dishes in Neo Mikro Xorio. The place offers both Greek and European cuisine.
Where To Stay In Karpenisi
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
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
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..
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