Have you heard about Ioannina? Me neither. It’s the first town in Greece when you cross the border with Albania. I decided to spend a night here before heading to the famous Meteora.
Even though there is not much to do here, I recommend spending a day or two just to soak up the peaceful and local atmosphere.
The town has around 80 000 people living here, so it’s quite big, but once you are in the center you can’t feel it at all. The little streets, the charming cafes, the colorful decorations made me feel like I’m in a movie and I loved it!
If you are looking for some time alone, look no further. There is a castle on the lake and it is really empty. Inside, you will find some houses, people living there quietly, no restaurants or bars, just life. And if you walk to the lake, you will see the fisherman trying to catch their dinner, couples holding hands and old ladies chatting about their day. It’s resourcing.
Inside the Castle, you will find a few Museums worth visiting, like the Byzantine Museum and Archeological Museum of Ioannina.
The island of Ioannina is reachable by boat in a few minutes for around 3 euros one way. It has a real Romeo and Juliette story to it. It is also a rare island on a lake where people actually live.
The Vikos Gorge
This Canyon, located only a few minutes drive from the city holds the Gunness Record for being the deepest Canyon on earth! The busses run three times a week, so without a car it’s going to be complicated. It was very warmly advertised by my hosts and the pictures look amazing!
Beautiful caves located just outside the city. It’s definitely worth stopping by if you are in the area. The distance is walkable and there is even a little train circling between the city and the entrance to the Cave. So no excuses!
Where to stay
Backpackers and Travelers Hostel is definitely a great choice. The owners live here, so they take really good care of the place. It’s sparkling clean, located in the City Center, just next to the Castle and it’s just 15 minutes from the Bus Station. The owners are very nice and helpful. I had great chats with them when I stayed here.
Where to eat
Rakoumel is a local Mezze bar. They have the proper “tapas” culture here. Hore every drink, you get a little plate to fill your stomach. It’s a great way to keep people from leaving 😉