Ioannina is the capital of Epirus and the largest commercial, intellectual and cultural center of northwestern Greece. Located 440 km from Athens and almost 250 from Thessaloniki. A city that combines tradition with modernism and historical memory, natural beauty with development. The opening of Egnatia road connects Ioannina to the west, north and east of Greece, while roads around the city are generally pretty good. The city also has an international airport that connects it with many cities in Greece and all around the world. Finally Ioannina can be your base for your exploration in very beautiful and picturesque destinations such as Zagori and Metsovo.
It was built in Ioannina in 528 AD by Emperor Justinian for the fortifications of the Byzantine Empire. It is the oldest Byzantine castle, and at the times of Ali Pasha it was the largest command center of the whole Greece. The enormous historical importance castle consists of four parts, the area size within the walls is about 200 acres and the perimeter is two km. Typical is the impressive gate, which is kept in very good condition, while inside you can visit the mosque, Turkish baths (hamam), the Turkish library with domed roofs of exquisite art and the Byzantine Museum.
Into the lake Pamvotida is located "The island". It is the only permanently inhabited lake island in Europe. The about 100 families who inhabit today, dealing with tourism and fishing. The island has been historically connected with the death of Ali Pasha, while into the cells of the monastery of St. Panteleimon there are still holes from the bullets that were shot against him. The connection with the city is by boat, operating every half hour.
One of the most important caves in the world is just four kilometers from the city center of Ioannina. Covering a distance of 1,100 meters, visitors have the opportunity to tour for 45 minutes and admire this natures piece of art.
Neat the highway from Athens, twelve kilometers before we enter the town you can visit the Paul Vrellis Wax Museum. Mr Vrellis worked many years with passion and he managed to leave behind a very large project. You will admire reproductions of great moments from the great Greek history. The models look so vivid that you would not believe that it is wax.
Located in the city center of Ioannina its main purpose is to house the archaeological treasures of Epirus from the ancient times to the post-Byzantine times, and a great collection of Greek paintings of the 19th and 20th century. For several years hosted Byzantine artifacts too, which now are housed in the new Byzantine History Museum.
Meuseum of Ali Pasha
On island in the lake of Ioannina, there is the monastery of St. Panteleimon, which is configured to house various everyday objects from earlier times. Υou will be amazed by the table illustrates the head of Ali Pasha onto Sultans hands. You will also see an opening in the floor from where it is assumed that the bullet that killed him was passed.
Movement within the city of Ioannina is quite comfortable. The distances are small and parking is relatively difficult, so the car is not necessary. But if you wish to visit a destination outside the city, you will definitely need it. Moving by taxi is easy too, just be aware that taxis are dark green and not yellow. The buses are quite comfortable, start from the main town square and are helpful for movement within the city and to all the nearby villages of Ioannina.
In Ioannina you' ll find a wide range of hotels whether you are here for a business trip or vacation. Some of the most impressive are Epirus Palace, hotel du Lac and Cezaria. The tourist destinations of the region are also very well organized. In Zagorohoria as well as in Metsovo you' ll find many comfortable hotels but be aware and book a room as soon as you can because during the turist-season will hardly find one.
In Ioannina fun never stops! The thousands of students make the city really interesting with dozens of spots for every taste. Choose to walk through the seawall, Avenue Dodona or through the streets of Independence and Garibaldi. From Ioannina don't dare leaving without testing the tens of tidbits might. These go with tsipouro (an alcoholic beverage) but try to show restraint.Finally you would surely appreciate and several coffee-bars near the lake, creating a very romantic setting.
Flavors and shopping Giude
The food tradition of Ioannina is particularly rich. Meat cooked with all kind of recipes, delicious pies, famous cheeses and fabulous wines. For fish lovers recommend trout, eel and frog legs. Try also local liquor (tsipouro) together with a wide variety of local delicacies. Finally famous are the sweet produced here, such as baklava, kantaifi and various others. Leaving Ioannina, except food products be interested in buying silver jewelry and other items. For centuries, it has been developed the particularly traditional art of hand made silver items, resulting the famous "Ioanninas silvers" to be recognized as the best of its kind.