This traditional mountain village has become so popular that at times its original appeal is in danger of being overwhelmed by tourism at its worst. Still, most visitors find it satisfying -- some even find it magical. It's about a 1 1/2-hour bus ride east of Ioannina. A couple of buses go to Metsovo in the morning, but only one returns from Metsovo in the late afternoon that allows for a day in the village. So either pay close attention to the always-changing bus schedule or, better still, rent a car. (Buses also come from Athens and Thessaloniki.)
Metsovo sits at about 1,000m (3,300 ft.) above sea level, nestled among peaks of the Pindos Mountains. In addition to day-trippers, serious nature lovers and hikers are drawn here from all over Greece and Europe. Overnight accommodations are often strained, especially during Greek holidays. And with ski slopes nearby, Metsovo is also a popular winter destination.
Visiting with the Vlachs -- One special inducement to visit Metsovo is that it's the center (in Greece) of the Vlach people, who claim descent from Latin-speaking Wallachians of what is now Romania. The Vlachs were originally shepherds who followed their flocks, and some still do just that; but over the centuries, many others settled down in Northern Greece and prospered in crafts, commerce, trade, and now tourism. Some wealthier Vlachs made their money dealing in wool. Because the Vlachs wrote little of their Latin-based language down and because it's not taught in the schools, it's in danger of being lost as the new generation marries and moves away. You'll find the Vlachs of Metsovo extremely congenial -- and patient -- when visitors ask them to say something in Vlach. (Don't expect your Latin to help much!) A declining number of older people wear traditional Vlach clothing every day, but fancier costumes come out on Sundays and holidays. If you want to see their dances, July 26 is the village's feast day, but be forewarned -- the village will be jammed.