Very nice hotel with traditional design, clean, comfort, with friendly staff. Many choices for excurcions. We recomend it with close eyes.
Location – Access
The Prefecture of Kastoria is located at the west end of Western Macedonia, bordering with the prefectures of Florina, Grevena, Kozani and Ioannina, as well as with Albania, to the west.
The city of Kastoria unfolds amphitheatrically 620 metres above sea level. It is built on a peninsula that penetrates Orestiada Lake, in the shade of the impressive mass of Grammos and Vitsi Mountains. According to the last census, the population of the Prefecture is 53.483 inhabitants, 20.636 of whom live in the city.
Kastoria is connected with Athens by air, through the “Aristotle” International Airport at Argos Orestikon. The Prefecture is nowadays easily accessed via Egnatia Highway. Alternatively, one can always use the old national road.
Alternative Forms of Tourism
Agrotourism, that is currently developing in the region, can offer unique experiences to its visitors. Getting to know the agricultural activities, local products, the traditional cuisine and the everyday life of natives gives another dimension to a trip. The visitor can admire the landscape and feel the joy of discovering and adventure.
Local agricultural products are known for their top quality: beans are cultivated in all the settlements of the prefecture, in two brands: the white ones and the colored ones. They have strong anti-oxidant qualities and very rich taste. The brand of Gigantes-Elephantes has been classified as Protected Geographic Mark products.
The unique climate of the region highly contributes in making cultivated apples very sweet, crispy and resistant. They are also classified as Protected Geographic Mark products. Edible wild mushrooms are collected from the humid, sunless and leeward woody slopes, the ravines and valleys of the Grammos and Vitsi Mountains or they are cultivated.
Their top quality is partly due to the climate of the country as well as to the lack of acid rain. In the mountain forests of Kastoria, 800 metres above sea level, chestnuts offer their extremely nutritious fruit. On the slopes of the mountains and the ravines, there are three different varieties of walnuts: the soft, the semi-hard and the hard ones.
The long tradition of the region in cheese making is still going on, providing various types of cheese with special taste and top quality. These types of cheese are classified as PDO products. Feta cheese, kasseri (hard cheese), cephalotyri and cefalograviera are made of high quality milk from sheep and goats living in the alpine pasturelands of the prefecture of Kastoria.
The spa of Ammoudara is located 20km from Kastoria and 4km from Argos Orestiko.
The hydrotherapy unit is one of the most modern ones and it operates around the year. It has 10 individual bathtubs, a kinesitherapy pool, gym, health centre, a tub for drinking therapy, facilities for inhaling therapy and a hostel.
The waters of Ammoudara have a temperature of 15oC and they are recommended for the treatment of rheumatoid diseases, skin diseases and various types of arthritis.
The monuments of orthodoxy are an important expression of the Greek culture and attract many visitors. Kastoria, is really a live museum of the Byzantine art.
Touring around its numerous monuments provide us with an integrated overview of the different phases and expressions of ecclesiastic art from the late 9th to the 14th century.
Panagia Koumbelidiki, Taxiarches Mitropoleos, Agios Stefanos, Agioi Anargyroi and Agios Nikolaos Kasintzis are only few of the 80 magnificent churches adorning the city.
In the monasteries around the region, the visitor can enjoy the traditional hospitality of the monks.
The Monastery of Panagia Mavriotissa in the city of Kastoria, of Agioi Anargyroi in Melissotopos, of Agios Nikolaos in Korisos, of Panagia in Kleisoura, of Agia Paraskevi in Vasiliada were very active on the crucial historical moments by offering shelter to the believers.
The forest mountains of the region (Grammos, Vitsi) are ideal for hunting. The most common games are hares, partridges, wild boars and thrushes.
The natural beauty of Kastoria and the alternations of the landscape over the seasons offer multiple stimuli for amateurs as well as professional photographers.
In the beautiful natural environment, visitors can enjoy trails and 4x4 tours and have the opportunity to discover all the beauty of the natural wealth of Kastoria.
The magnificent natural environment of the region is ideal for children to experience different things and feel the joy of escaping in nature.
Touring of the pupils around a land with such rich tradition can be a live history lesson.
The lake of Kastoria, one of the most beautiful in the Balkans, is directly linked to the character, history and development of the city. It has been classified as “Monument of Natural Beauty” by the Ministry of Culture and it has been integrated in the European Network “Nature 2000”.
It covers an area of about 28 square kilometres and its maximum depth is 9.5 metres. In the region, there are nine streams flowing into the lake. The largest one of them is the stream of Xeropotamos.
Apart from the streams and the rain water, Orestiada lake is also supplied by several underwater springs. It is a wetland of great importance for both aquatic and predator birds, since this is where they reproduce, feed and winter.
It preserves a rich bird fauna – about 200 species – including rare and endangered species, protected by international and national law. The most typical species are pygmy cormorants and Dalmatian pelicans, four species of herons, mute swans, wild ducks, night herons, cormorants and many waterside birds.
Apart from the large number of birds inhabiting the lake, it is the only lake in Greece where one meets an important area of lakeside forests of hydrophilic trees, consisting one of the most rare habitats in Europe.
The lake of Kastoria is the second most productive lake in Greece in terms of fishing. The fish species inhabiting the lake are the following: carp, perch, chub, tench, wells, muskellunge, roach and butterfly ray.
Grammos mountain is a land of incomparable beauty and maybe one of the few unexplored destinations in Greece. It is at the borders with Albania and its highest peak reaches 2.520 metres.
Its peaks are characterised by the extended grasslands, the alpine rivers and the virgin forests of beeches, oaks, firs, chestnuts, sycamores and pines. Here is where Aliakmonas and Sarantoporos rivers flow from. The forest of Barouga has been classified as “nature monument”. The absence of human interventions over the years maximises its ecological importance.
In the heart of Grammos, on the site called Arrenes, there is a small lake called Drakolimni (Dragon Lake). It is a small natural wonder, located 1.740m above sea level. Among the frogs and water lilies of the lake, one can see a rare aquatic specie, the alpine triton, that natives call “fish with legs”.
Another alpine lake is in Sakouli and it can be accessed from Grammos village. The region is inhabited by many species such as the brown bear, the wolf, the wild cat, the wild boar, the roe deer and the wild goat.
There are also many birds living and reproducing in this region: honey buzzard, short-toed eagle, golden eagle, rock partridge, grey-headed woodpecker, semi-collared flycatcher, chough, capercaillie, boreal owl. Walking in the daedal paths of the mountain is fascinating, full of surprises.
The alternations of the landscape, passing from the shadowy forests to the alpine grasslands with bloomy flowers, the sound of flowing water offer unique feelings to any visitor.
Aliakmonas River, the largest river of Greece, is 297km long. It flows from Grammos mountain into Thermaikos Gulf.
It is the only river of Western Macedonia and it is a rare wetland habitat and one of the richest water resources in the region. On the riverbanks, there are dense forests of deciduous trees creating a complex ecosystem of unique beauty.
In Aliakmonas, there are about 30 fish species such as river trouts, barbells, mullets and nases. Fishing with cane on the riverbanks is allowed around the year, except from the period when fishes reproduce.
The diversity of birds seen in the region is wide, including some rare, protected species.
Some of the birds reproducing near the river are the following: honey bizzard, Egyptian vulture, short-toed eagle, long-legged buzzard, booted eagle, rock partridge, common tern, roller.