Tymfi Mountain | Zagori | The Vertical Caves
Updated: Apr 26
Tymfi is a mountain in the region of Zagori, part of the northern Pindos mountain chain. It is part of the famous Vikos-Aoos National Park and it includes the also famous Vikos Gorge. The closest cities to Tymfi mountain are Ioannina and Konitsa, and the closest villages are Vikos, Papingo, Tsepelovo, Skamneli, Vrysochori, Iliochori and Laista.
Tymfi Mountain is surrounded by other mountains of Pindos chain, and it is close to Smolikas, the highest mountain of the chain, and to Aoos River and Voidomatis River. The south sides of the mountain are smooth, while the north and west sides are steep, with 400 m cliffs and the Vikos Gorge as a border. The highest peaks of Tymfi Greece are: Gamila (2.497 m), Gamila ΙΙ (2.480 m), Karteros (2.478 m), Megala Litharia (2.467 m), Gkoura (2.466 m), Astraka (2.436 m), Tsouka Rossa (2.379 m) and Ploskos (2.377 m). One of the most famous dragonlakes in Greece, Drakolimni, a creation of old glaciers, is located at 2.000 m height, close to Ploskos peak. There are many other lakes formed after the winter, most of which drain totally during the summer.
Tymfi Mountain consists of a number of uplifted blocks forming several vertical caves, one of its unique characteristics. Based on their depth (from 400 to 450 meters), the most famous are: the Chasm of Epos, the Hole of Odysseus and the Cave of Provatina. The climate is Mediterranean, with extreme low temperatures in the winter, gradually increasing by late May that the snow melts. Considering that Tymfi is part of the Vikos-Aoos National Park, there are many unique fauna and flora species, several breeding and several threatened. There are significant populations of chamois deers, snake eagles, golden eagles. wallcreepers, vipers and more.
Tymfi Mountain has 17 climbing fields, which cover most peaks and geological resources. Gamila, Gamilla II, Astraka and Tsouka Rossa have most climbing routes. Climbers must be aware that several routs have not been ascended or descended for many years, so pitons might not be present or in good state.
The most common route for hikers is the one starting at Mikro Papingo village (980 m) and leading (through O3 trail) to the Astraka hut (6 Km - 3 hours). From the Astraka hut there is a route to Drakolimni (2,8 Km - 2 hours) and a route to Gamila peak (6 Km - 3 hours). Other more difficult routes are: from Vrysochori village, from Vradeto village, from Konitsa village and from Tsepelovo village.