Grevena region is considered to be Greece’s “Highlands” because of its gorgeous nature and the unique landscapes. It is also known as the “Mushroom City” and is an hour and a half west of Thessaloniki, right on the Egnatia National Highway, with 32,000 inhabitants, many of whom still live in traditional villages, working as farmers and shepherds. There is no better place to enjoy traditional products.
This place, an unspoiled wilderness area preserved in Greece for thousands of years, is hidden within its mountains and hills, with stone bridges dating back to hundreds of years old, Byzantine Monasteries, waterfalls in pristine mountain, rivers and lakes.
In summer the air is crisp, fresh and breezy, perfect for a swim in the Venetikos River or beneath the waterfall.
The National Park of Valia Calda at Grevena Region gives shelter to bears and wildlife while the Vasilitsa Ski Center and mushroom picking make Grevena a pole of attraction for nature and mountain lovers.
The Gorge of Portitsa
Portitsa is famous for its gorge and the old stone bridge which dates back around 1743. Materials carried by the river have buried more than 8 feet (2.5m) of the bridge.
The best season to visit this unique scenery is summer and early autumn because you can take a walk in the river and get inside the gorge as well, which is magnificent.
The spot is accessible by feet from the close village of Spilaio or by car (keep in mind though that the last 5km is a dirt road). There are several more gorgeous locations to visit around Portitsa and Grevena in general. Locals are friendly and accommodation reasonably priced.
The Village of Samarina
Samarina is a mountainous village of the Grevena district, the biggest in Greece, located at the highest (1.600m 5.250ft) altitude on the peak of Mt Pindos. Most of its inhabitants move to lower levels during the cold winter months and return in summer. The surrounding area is of extreme natural beauty, and now, with the nearby Vasilitsa Ski Center, the streets are cleaned from snow in the winter and hotels remain open all year round.
The small old church dates back to 1812 and is devoted to Virgin Mary. Every year on August 15 people from over the country come to the big celebration on that specific date. At some point, a small pine tree which is over 100 years old, grew inside the church’s temple and now it comes magnificently out of the roof. The tree is over 100 years old.
Old Stone Bridges
The old stone bridges in the region are diamonds of folk art, blending beautifully with their surrounding environment. They pop right in front of our eyes, next to modern roads and bridges. Others lost in mythical landscapes that make your mind travel to the eras of winged elves and fairies.
Built by craftsmen and old masters of stone, the old bridges are pieces of art usually without architectural or engineering studies. Several of these magnificent stone bridges are still in use.
Grevena the ‘City of Mushrooms’
There is nothing better than taking a walk outside, in the forest, and enjoy the colours and the smells of autumn! Living where I live was an inspiration by default, for this collection of images. Mushroom is an important part of the local economy. The city of Grevena is awarded the title “The City of Mushrooms” because of the large quantities and especially the excellent quality of mushrooms.
Have in mind that wild mushroom hunting is not something that you can do on your own. Only an expert can distinguish the edible from the poisonous ones.
The rule that generally applies when collecting mushrooms is the one that says, we gather for food only those whose characteristics we know with absolute certainty. The slightest doubt would be a reason for rejection. Knowing, therefore, the specific characteristics and careful observation are the only warranties and conditions, to secure recognition.