Here's a fine, green hotel with an amazing lake view, homemade breakfast and a variety of propositions for exploring the area, along with its nearby mountains. The hotel recommends hiking around the hills of Kastoria, crossing the Vitsi mountain range and discovering the virgin forests of Grammos-Eptahori.
One of the few landlocked regions of Greece, Kastoria, makes up for its lack of coast with a magnificent lake in its midst and two mountain ranges that are home to stunning fauna and flora, as well as to the ski center of Vitsi. The small city of Kastoria – which boasts the same name as the greater region – is a gem, built on a peninsula that juts out into the magnificent Lake Orestiada.
The city has as many as 80 historical churches and temples that were built between the 9th and 14th centuries, meaning some of these are more than 1000 years old. As you wander around these temples, you’ll come across some fascinating religious drawings on their walls, reflecting the best of Byzantine art during the 12th century. Wander into the city’s old neighborhoods of Doltso and Apozari to admire magnificent mansions from the 17th and 18th centuries, becoming to the times of lords and serfs. Drop by the town’s museums – including the Byzantine Museum, Folk Art Museum and Traditional Costume Museum – to get a more genuine feeling of what life was like in the recent past. Close to the city as well, the Cave of the Dragon will impress you with its seven underground lakes.
Beyond the city limits you are likely to encounter some superb stone-built bridges built by traditional masons. The briges of Beriki, Eptahori, Kousioumblis, Koromilia and Zouzouli are worthy examples. Also just 7 km from the city lies an archeological site from Neolithic times known as the Dispilio Lake Settlement, along with its Ecomuseum. The Petrified Forest Museum in Nostimo and the Archeological Museum in Argos Orestiko will also take you back in time.
At Ecotourism-Greece.com we would like our visitors to focus on the culture, heritage and nature of the region and ask you to support businesses that are not part of the fur trade there. Fur “manufacturing” has been going on for 500 years in the region, fed more recently by demand from Balkan neighboring countries. We hope that ecotourism and sustainable tourism will flourish, helping to direct the economy away from what we believe is an outdated practice along with hunting.
On the other end of the eco scale, Kastoria has been cultivating pulses (beans, lentils, chickpeas) for over 7,000 years! You must try the bean or lentil soups or stews, along with the crunchy sweet apples of the area. The region is also known for excellent mushrooms and good wine.
In terms of ecotourism activities, there are numerous hiking, mountain climbing and mountain biking opportunities, in addition to sailing on the lake. If you’re up to it, pass by the hot springs of Ammoudara to relax after a day of outdoor activity. The region of Kastoria has some revered monasteries that are hundreds of years old, offering an island of serenity surrounded by nature. These are usually open to visitors before 3 pm.
Lastly, it is worth underling the rich fauna and flora of the region, from bears and wolves and foxes and deer. You’re bound to come across rock goats and hares as you explore nature, and even wild boars. The lake attracts pelicans, ducks, seagulls and swans, while the skies above Kastoria are home to hawks, eagles and partridges. Rare birds such as the pygmy cormorant can also be occasionally spotted.