The Enchanting Gem of Northern Greece: Exploring Kastoria's Lakeside Beauty


Nestled amphitheatrically on a slender peninsula, surrounded by the reflective waters of Orestiada Lake and cradled between the Grammos and Vitsi mountains, Kastoria beckons with its captivating charm. Embark on a leisurely tour around the lake, beginning from the southernmost point and winding your way up to the northern shores.

Strolling along the narrow lakeside path immerses you in idyllic beauty and tranquillity. The shaded promenade, adorned with beech and plane trees and the neighbouring forests, exudes a mystical atmosphere, providing a haven for various bird species. The exploration of Kastoria reveals a tapestry of experiences:

  1. Touring the Lake: Orestiada Lake is a haven for approximately 200 different species, some rare and endangered. Local fishermen share the waters with waterfowl, creating a lively ecosystem. A visit to the Dragon's Cave unveils seven underground lakes adorned with mesmerizing stalactites. For a panoramic view of the city, ascend the verdant path to Profitis Ilias Church and continue to the Agios Athanasios viewpoint.
  2. Touring the Neighborhoods: Explore the old Doltso neighbourhood, a picturesque enclave dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries, flourishing during the city's fur treatment and trade era. Converted buildings, like Neratzi Aivazi mansion hosting the Folk Art Museum, offer a glimpse into Kastoria's rich history. The aristocratic Apozari neighbourhood boasts Byzantine churches and splendid mansions, exemplifying Macedonian architecture.
  3. Discovering Byzantine Treasures: Kastoria boasts over 60 Byzantine and post-Byzantine churches from the 9th to the 19th century. Notable examples include Panagia Koumpelidiki and the Monastery of Panagia Mavriotissa, adorned with impressive murals depicting Byzantine Emperors. The Byzantine Art Museum in Dexameni Square showcases well-preserved artifacts from the Byzantine period.
  4. Don't Miss Out On:
    • A scenic boat tour around the peninsula to enjoy the lake's beauty and a panoramic city view.
    • A visit to the Balkans' largest freshwater aquarium, providing a refuge for common and endangered lake and river fish species.
  5. Admire the renowned fur art in Kastoria's Fur Center (EDIKA).

Venture beyond Kastoria to explore:

  • Dispilio reveals a Middle Neolithic lake settlement on an artificial island in Lake Orestiada.
  • Nestorio is a traditional village hosting the famous River Party on the banks of the Aliakmonas River during summer.
  • Nostimo is home to a 20-million-year-old petrified forest.
  • Vitsi ski centre near Polykeraso for winter sports.
  • The abandoned villages of Koresteia showcase unique mud brick houses.

With its blend of natural beauty, historical treasures, and cultural richness, Kastoria invites you to uncover the many facets of this lakeside jewel in Northern Greece.

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