Epirus region of Greece
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Epirus

Leading producer of dairy products

Major dairy and livestock producer, with a scenic mountain landscape

Located in the northwest corner of Greece, Epirus is one of the country’s most sparsely populated regions.

Dominated by the Pindos mountain chain that divides western and eastern Greece, Epirus is a region of scenic natural beauty that is regarded one of the last truly wild areas of Europe. It is sparsely populated with most residents located in its major towns like Ioannina and Arta.

The region’s economy is supported by pastoralism and Epirus is a major producer and exporter of meats and dairy products. It is home to two of Greece’s leading dairy companies.

In recent years, the rugged beauty of the region, its wildlife, and its scenic villages of traditional stone houses have led to the development of a thriving tourism industry, particularly in ecotourism, drawing a growing number of visitors from northern Europe. Epirus is also being explored for potential hydrocarbon reserves.

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Key Facts
Epirus

Major producer of livestock and dairy products

Indications of hydrocarbon reserves with exploration underway

Rugged mountains and coastline boosting tourism

Agri-Food

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Tourism

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Energy

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Regional Opportunities

Agri-Food

Tourism

Energy

Leading exporter of Greek cheeses and dairy products.

The region of Epirus has long been known for its dairy production, especially cheese products like Greek feta as well as local cheeses such as metsovone and manouri, but also yoghurt, sheep and goat milk, and butter. The region is home to two of Greece’s largest dairy product exporters – Dodoni and Epirus – that have been investing in their operations to boost their international presence further. In terms of live bovine animals, Epirus ranks 4th in Greece, with a livestock population of 564,000 according to 2019 data.

Learn more about Agri-Food in Greece

The number of international visitors to Epirus has grown 15% in two years.

The rugged, forested mountains of Epirus are home to some of Greece’s richest flora and fauna, drawing nature lovers from places like Germany, Italy, and the UK, while its dramatic coastline has also seen record numbers of arrivals. Between 2016 and 2018, the number of international visitors to Epirus jumped 15% according to the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), albeit from a very low base: the region currently attracts less than 2.5% of total international arrivals and less than 2% of tourism receipts.

Learn more about Tourism in Greece

A Greek-Spanish joint venture is exploring for oil in Epirus.

In late 2017, the Greek government awarded a concession to a Greek-Spanish joint venture comprising Energean and Repsol, respectively, to explore for oil in Epirus given indications of hydrocarbon reserves in the area. Combined with exploration taking place off western Greece and in neighbouring Albania and Montenegro, there are signs that the Ionian Sea, the Adriatic, and the western slope of the Dinaric Alps may harbour vast oil and gas reserves.

Learn more about Energy in Greece

Epirus
In Numbers

Epirus has been slow to attract investment but is seeing growing interest in food processing and tourism.

  • €4,077 million

    GDP in 2018, in current prices

  • €12,200

    Per capita GDP in 2018, in current prices

  • 2021

    Expected launch date of exploratory drilling activities for oil and gas

  • 40.6%

    Percentage of active regional population with tertiary education and/or employed in science and technology (2018)

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Epirus Demographics

Epirus is among the least populated regions of mainland Greece.

While the region ranks 2nd in terms of active population with tertiary educational attainment and/or employed in science and technology, Epirus is among the least populated regions of mainland Greece with almost one third of the region’s total population residing in the municipality of Ioannina, the capital city (population: 167,407 in 2018). The city, built on the shores of Lake Pamvotis, the largest lake in Epirus, dates back to the Byzantine Empire when it served as a leading commercial and transport hub for the region.

  • 333,696

    Population (2019)

  • 3.11%

    Share of Greek population (2019)

  • 33.8%

    Tertiary Educational Attainment of population aged between 25-64 (2018)

  • 36.8/km2

    Population Density (2018)

Sources: Eurostat, Hellenic Statistical Authority, European Commission, Regional Governments, SETE, Enterprise Greece, and HWEA

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