1km straight down

And the prize for the world’s deepest canyon goes to…wait for it…

Vikos Gorge in northern Greece! Amazing, but true. Vicky and I went on a recent location-finding mission and travelled to the Zagori region near the Albanian border. It was quite a trip to get there but the views were well worth it.

To get to what most regard as the best viewpoint of the gorge – at Oxia – you have to travel up a long winding road through some very nice traditional villages. We weren’t quite expecting to see a record-breaker, but then we saw this sign, we knew that something special lay ahead of us:

Oxia - the world's deepest gorge

We weren’t expecting to drive through a stone forest either. Just before we arrived at Oxia we passed through eerie rock formations that mingle with the trees to create a landscape straight out of a Tolkien novel.

Stone forest

And when we looked out the rearview mirror we had the following amazing view. Who would have thought we were in Greece? Click on the image to take a closer look.

Pindos mountains

When we finally did arrive at the end of the road we thought we’d taken a wrong turn. There were no signs, no people and no gorge in sight. But upon closer inspection we found a simple stone path and a small sign explaining that we were in the right place. It was amazing to see how under developed the site was.

 Oxia trail

And then about 150 metres down the above path, we were greeted by this:

Oxia gorge in Greece

A photograph doesn’t really do the depth of the canyon justice. It is simply mind-blowing. The fact that the site has been left relatively untouched makes it so special – and bloody dangerous if you’re not careful. I don’t usually get scared of heights, but looking almost 1km down is enough to bring any man to his knees:

Oxia gorge in Greece: 1km straight down

When we got back to Athens we discovered that there are indeed deeper canyons in the world, the deepest being in Peru. However, Vikos is the deepest based on its width:depth ratio, which makes it all the more impressive.

 

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