The town of Kastoria is a well-known fur production and trading centre. It's built amphitheatrically on a narrow peninsula between Grammo and Vitsi Mountains and close to Lake Orestiada.
The town is modern yet it has preserved its traditional character - Byzantine churches, old mansions & monuments from the Ottoman period are waiting to be discovered. Wander the alleyways of the old town, visit the Dragon's Lair (one of the caves in the area), the Byzantine museum & archaeological museum.
In Kastoria there are more than 60 Byzantine and post-Byzantine Churches, dating from the 9th to the 19th century. Sitting by the lake the Monastery of Panagia Mavriotissa (1802) has impressive murals depicting Byzantine Emperors. Make a stop by the Byzantine Art Museum (in Dexameni square), which showcases artifacts from the Byzantine period; over 700 well-preserved Byzantine sculptures, murals, paintings and icons are displayed here.
Many say that Lake Orestiada is the most picturesque lake in Greece. Enjoy a stroll on the narrow lakeside promenade, which is shaded by beech and plane trees. The lake is home to 200 different species of birds, some rare and some endangered. During your walk stop by the Dragon’s Cave, where you’ll see seven underground lakes and caverns with incredible stalactites.
A short distance from the lake is the pretty neighbourhood of Doltso, with buildings dating back several centuries. It is here that the successful traders lived.
If you want to admire the city from above, follow the verdant pathway towards Profitis Ilias Church and continue even higher up to the Agios Athanasios viewpoint.
Hotels to visit
One of the oldest buildings in the district & restored using traditional materials. Situated in Doltso Square, the most picturesque area of Kastoria, a 10 minute walk from the town centre.
20 minutes' drive north of Kastoria this hotel enjoys fine views towards the lake and has the benefit of a swimming pool.
N Berwin, UK, September 2022
L Marangos, May 2022