Nature, local traditions, history, and the environment entwined — this is what can be found in the famous mountain village of Samarina, one of Greece’s gems.
It is located at an altitude of 1,600 meters (5,250 feet), on the slopes in of Mount Smolikas, which at 2,637 meters (8,651 feet) is the highest peak of Greece’s Pindos range, in West Macedonia.
Just before the top of majestic Mt. Smolikas, the second tallest mountain in Greece, lies the famed “Dragon Lake” near the summit, which is known for its pristine beauty.
The region is home to rolling mountains, lakes, and forests that are home to a wide range of flora and fauna, even wild horses.
Village is located at the foot of Mt. Smolikas
Samarina is among the highest villages in Greece, and the dramatic landscape surrounding the village have made it famous in Greece.
The stunning village has a summer population of about 5,000, but during the rest of the year, only a few hotels remain open due to the harsh weather conditions.
However, visitors do take trips to see the stunning area and explore its natural surroundings during the Winter months.
The area of Samarina is surrounded by pine forests and there’s plenty of natural water sources. The village is also known for its charming beauty and its healthy climate, which has earned it the name of “Good Samarina.”
Samarina, Greece known for stunning landscape
Seen from a distance, the landscape is that of a postcard; the picturesque village at the foot of Mt. Smolikas, one of the most beautiful mountains in Greece, is under snow-capped peaks which remain white until the end of May.
The buildings of the village are also well-known for their uniqueness. One of them, the church of the Panagia, is the largest Basilica of the Pindus region; inside the sanctuary, there is a living pine tree that passes through the roof to reach the open air.
Samarina is the most famous of the Aromanian (Vlach) villages of the Pindus, where locals are proud of their heritage and continuously honor their traditions. The Vlachs speak a Romance language, and have their own distinct culture and history. They are found throughout the Balkans.
On Aug. 15, Samarina celebrates the Dormition of the Virgin, an event that sees Samarinans from different parts of the world returning to the village in order to celebrate.
On that day, thousands of people gather on the main square of the Great Church for their “Great Dance” (Tranós Chorós in Greek, Corlu Mari in the local dialect). They hold hands and form concentric circles while singing their traditional songs.