Ioannina: Embraced by the lake of legends Pamvotida


Capital: Ioannina

Ioannina is the capital of the prefecture and it is a contemporary city with history of many years. It is built at the shores of Pamvotida Lake and fascinates with its beauty and warm surrounding.

Ioannina seems to be created by Justinian, in the 6 th century A.C. by changing of resinence of Evria. The first presence of the city with the name Ioannina has been found in the records of the Synod of 879, which was held in Konstantinoupolis and the second, in a publication of 1020, of the emperor Valisios Bulgaroktonos. It is one of most important cities of North Greece and it is considered to be the biggest commercial and industrial center of Epirus.

Ioannina Map

Ioannina is popular for the cattle-breeding (dairy products and aviculture), silversmithery, wine-making and the last years for the marble for decoration.

Pamvotida Lake, the jewel of Ioannina, the lake of the legends, of Mrs Frosini and Dourachan, with its full planted shores and the reflected mountains of Epirus on its water, gives to the city this exceptional sense of peace and beauty.

The castle is built at a small peninsula which appears at Pamvotida Lake. A walk to the picturesque narrow streets of the castle revives the legends of Ali Pasha and Mrs Frosini.

The islet of Pamvotida Lake, which is inhabited until today, a rare fact globally, has been connected with the story and the death of Ali Pashas. A traditional settlement of 350.000 sq. m. with picturesque narrow streets which lead to shops, coffee shops which serve traditional “Gianniotika” desserts or to small taverns. Here, you can see many monasteries such the one of Saint Nicolas of Filanthropinon, where there are depicted the seven entire philosophers of Antiquity: Platon, Solon, Aristotle, Plutarch, Thucydides, Apollonian and Chilon.

The Vikos ravine is one the loveliest locations of Greece and has length 12km and 700m. height. In its depth flows Voidomatis River with its crystal water. The Vikos ravine is a National Park since 1973, for the protection of the rare kinds of flora and fauna.

Among the beauties of Ioannina are the traditional buildings, the numerous mansions, the outdoor Frontzou theatre, the clock of the central square, important museums for fond of tradition and nature such as the museum of wax effigies P. Vrelli and numerous spots in the city, with intense historical and cultural value and are excellent samples of Epirus architecture.

Ioannina is a city full of taverns, restaurants, “tsipouradika” and original tastes, traditional and international cuisine. Ioannina is also known for its intense nightlife. The entertainment starts from big night clubs playing Greek or foreign music ending to calm cafe and small bars. There are also piano-bars for peaceful preferences.

Idyllic spots for fond of nature and unlimited capabilities for extreme sports for the daring people. A magical wandering in a city which combines many choices and deserves to be visited!

Ioannina Attractions

Metsovo, the lovely large village of Pindos, is amphitheatrically built, at an altitude of 1.160m, borders northern to Grevena Prefecture, eastern and southeastern to Trikala Prefecture, western and southwestern with rest part of Ioannina Prefecture. It is one of the most picturesque cities of Greece which captures the visitors with its exceptional pictures. It is known for its developed textile and woodcarving art which are mostly the main occupation of the inhabitants.

Visit, the Tositsa mansion, the Evangelos Averof art gallery, the cobbled roads, the monastery of saint Nikolaos, the museums and the twenty traditional fountains.

Additionally, visit Anthochori with the outdoor museum water-driving, the village Anilio and Votonosi, Chrysovitsa and the Monastery of Virgin Mary, such as the traditional settlement of Milia. The whole area will give you special and unforgettable experiences!

Traditional small taverns, traditional tastes, picturesque coffee shops, restaurants, bar, cafe, are waiting for you to enjoy the great variety of tastes and nice moments of relaxation.

Konitsa is one of the loveliest distant areas of Greece, which is located on the slope of the Mountain Trapezitsa, at an altitude of 630m. At its foot is extended the plain of Konitsa and Klidonia.

The city of Konitsa, according to the tradition, is built on the ancient Konissos. P. Aravantinos, the historiographer of Epirus, supposes that the place-name came from the name of the ancient continental city of Knossos. In addition, the traveler Poukevil thinks that the source of the name is Slavic, Konitza, namely “horse market”.

Konitsa is built according to the traditional style of the continental architecture. You will admire the old mansions, dated back to the period of the Ottoman Donation, the paved narrow streets, the traditional stone bridges, monasteries and many cultural monuments. It’s about a complete unity of yesterday with today.

Enjoy the exceptional view next to the shores of Aoos River and its magical ravine or have fun by rafting. Don’t miss to taste the delicious titbits at the small taverns of the area!

Dodoni is a historical place, famous for its ancient theatre and the Oracle, which was the second of importance in Ancient Greece, after the Oracle of Delphi. The archeological site of Dodoni is situated 22km southwestern to Ioannina city, on the foot of Tomaros Mountain. The name Dodoni, probably came from the homonymous Oceanid Nymph or from Dodonos River.

An excursion to Dodoni area is ideal because it combines many different choices. Except the archeological site and the lovely landscapes, you have the opportunity to discover museums, monuments, and the picturesque villages of Dodoni Municipality.

Distrato is located at the borders of the Prefectures of Ioannina and Grevena and it is built on the foot of Vasilitsa and Smolika, at an altitude of 1100m.. Its older name was Briaza. The village is situated at an area of rare beauty full of woods of pine, beech and cedar trees such as rivers and brooks which pass through the slopes to end to Aoos River. The abundant vegetation and water are one of the most important facts for the ideal living of wild animals and mammals.

There are two entrances for Distrato from two sides. The first one is from Konitsa, through the villages of Lakka of Aoos and the second is through the ski center of Vasilitsa which is located in a distance of 11km from the village. You can visit the country church of Prophet Helias which is located at the north side of Distrato, ski at the ski center of Vasilitsa where you will find the unlike chalet “Distrato” with the majestic view, walk through the picturesque paths and enjoy kayaking at Aoos River.

Zagori is a network of 46 beautiful villages spread all over the mountains on the north east of Ioannina.

The villages of Zagori are famous for their unbelievable natural beauty, their unique architecture and their long history. Not without a reason of course, since the smashing natural landscape, the picturesqueness of every single village and the unlimited opportunities for sallies and every kid of activities really charm and impress the visitor. There are so many things that one can admire that we cannot say for sure which is more impressive.

Zagori is an area of about 1.000 sq.m. and it is divided into three geographical sections: West Zagori that includes the villages of Megalo & Mikro Papigo, East Zagori which includes the villages of Vardas valley, the villages of Zagoritikos and Central Zagori that includes Monodendri, Vitsa, Kipous, Dilofo etc. Each section has its own special beauty and history.

You can visit:

Voidomatis River, it is a paradise on earth with its spotless water and dense platens that are found in the area around the river.

Traditional Bridges. We meet one of the traditional stone bridges almost in every step. You will be impresses by the excellent architecture and the picturesqueness of Zagori’s bridges!

– The imposing Gorge of Vikos is a magical natural location and it has a big ecological value. Vikos gorge is listed in the Guinness book as the gorge with the smallest opening, only 1.100 m. in its narrowest point and at the same time for its depth that exceeds 900 meters.

In region of Zagori, you can also visit the archeological sites some of which have a particular historical importance, lakes with the beautiful wild nature that surrounds them, the picturesque cobbled such as the museums for those of you who are lovers of history and folkloric tradition.

How to get there

By car: You can drive to Ioannina via the national routes: Antirio – Ioannina, Kozani – Ioannina, Igoumenitsa – Ioannina, Trikala – Ioannina.

From Athens the distance is 435 km
From Thessalonica the distance is 357 km
From Patras the distance is 236 km

By bus: There is bus service of the KTEL from Igoumenitsa, Athens, Thessalonica, Patras, Preveza, Arta, Volos, Karditsa, Kavala.
By plane: There is airline service from Ioannina airport.

Ioannina Photos

Ioannina Useful Telephone Numbers (Calling code for Greece 0030)

Ioannina Hospital
26510 99111
Delvinakio Health Center
26570 22222
Ioannina Police Station
26510 91290
Metsovo Health Center
26560 41111-2
Ioannina Traffic Police
26510 26308
Metsovo Police Station
26560 41233
Ioannina Arcaeological Museum
26510 33357
Konitsa Health Center
26550 23111
Ioannina Art Museum
26510 20515
Konitsa Police Station
26550 22202