Visit Mount Ainos National Park in Kefalonia
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When you think of Greece, your mind probably immediately conjures up images of white, sandy beaches and impossibly blue water bordered by colorful coastal towns. If you venture inland however, you’ll find there is still an abundance of beauty to be found in Greece. You will find Mount Ainos National Park located on the island of Kefalonia. While Mount Ainos is the smallest national park in Greece, it has some pretty special features that makes it well worth a visit. Here’s more information about what to see while here:
Mount Ainos National Park is named as such since it contains Mount Ainos, the tallest mountain on Kefalonia. Mount Ainos offers several different hiking paths ranging in difficulty so you can pick the one best suited for you. If you’re an expert hiker, you can venture to the tallest peak of Mount Ainos, called Mesas Soros, from which you’ll be able to see an amazing view of neighboring mountaintops and islands in the Ionian Sea.
Kefalonian Fir Trees
Mount Ainos National Park is home to the indigenous Kefalonian Fir Trees, which cover nearly two-thirds of the park. These fir trees are such a dark green color that they make the forests appear black, earning Mount Ainos the nickname “Black Mountain.” The park was created in order to protect this species of trees and the animals that live within it.
The Horses of Ainos
If you visit Mount Ainos, don’t be surprised if you come across wild horses. They’re quite famous in the park, and it’s said they come from a small group of domesticated horses that were released during Greece’s civil war. Built to survive in harsh conditions, these horses are short with powerful legs, able to navigate the rocky mountain ground with ease. The best place to catch a glimpse of the horses is around the Zoodochos Pigi monastery. Ainos’s only freshwater is located there, so the horses must eventually go there to drink.
Zoodochos Pigi Monastery
Whether or not you’re hoping to see the wild horses of Mount Ainos, it’s still worth giving the Zoodochos Pigi monastery a visit. Zoodochos Pigi, which means “life-giving source,” was named as such by the Archbishop of Athens, who was miraculously cured of a serious illness after he drank water from the nearby spring. He founded the monastery, which now contains valuable religious artifacts from the 14th and 16th century, a library of books, a museum with holy vessels, and a collection of prehistoric tools. Even if you aren’t interested in the religious artifacts, the monastery is located at an altitude of 1200 meters on Mount Ainos, offering beautiful views of the southeast portion of Kefalonia and the surrounding sea.
The next time you’re planning a vacation, be sure to add Mount Ainos National Park to your list of dream destinations. You won’t be disappointed by everything this beautiful park has to offer. Take a walk through the Kefalonian Fir trees, head for the peak of Mesas Soros, marvel at the freedom of the wild horses, and let Mount Ainos show you how beautiful the world is.
This post was written by Greek Boston