Metsovo is a picturesque, traditional village in the north of Greece near the Albanian border, a place where time has stood still. From its mountain perch, over 1000 metres above sea level, it promises to show life in Greece from another era. The town was once a haven for shepherds guarding the Katara pass, and a site for Greek culture where the only Greek language school existed in a time of Turkish repression.
The original inhabitants of the town came from the North bring the unique architecture to the area. The Katara Pass was the only access to Southern Greece from the north for many years, and the townsfolk had privileges not seen in the rest of the country for giving safe passage to the incoming Ottoman troops. Before the time of Ali Pasha, the town was an important financial, cultural and agricultural centre. The town was nearly destroyed in 1854, but wealthy benefactors have seen the town restored to its former glory.
Now it is a place where tourists can see what life was like in the Greek mountains in times gone past. The white houses with their tall white walls and red roofs are reminiscent of a Swiss village. The local townsfolk often dress in traditional costume, there are many handicrafts to be bought and regional fare to be sampled. The town now thrives on tourism, but remains true to its roots. The wine and cheese of the region are known as some of the best in the country.
Being a mountain village, Metsovo has access to the skiing fields near the Metsovopass. The skiing is as good as it is anywhere in Greece.
Around the town, there are a number of cultural sites to be taken in. The Tositasas Mansion gives an insight into life in the 19th century, the rooms faithfully restored with original artefacts. The Averof Gallery has one of the best collections of 19th and 20th century Greek painting and sculpture as well as having items for sale. The fourteenth century monastery at the bottom of the gorge dedicated to St Nicholas is a thirty-minute walk out of the town and has some fascinating frescoes and icons.