Ioannina, the capital of Epirus, spreads out around beautiful Lake Pamvotida. The natural environment, the climate and character of the town are defined by this stretch of water – the area’s trademark. The lake, with its still waters and its small island, is a natural monument, around which the entire area lives and breathes. The strong cultural traditions of the town, home to a number of great novelists and poets, and the artistic and intellectual events which are organized throughout the year, give visitors the opportunity to get to know the roots of the intellectual life of Epirus.
A walk through the city has the feel of a bygone era, full of secret places and legends still living. Wonderful buildings like the House Matei Hussein, the Ottoman mosque of Veli Pasha and the entire historic of the town are unique attractions.
Ioannina was always multicultural, dominated mainly by Christian, Islamic and Jewish influences. This coexistence of cultural influences is clearly evident in the historic city . The Stoa Louli arcade is one of the locations where the three communities worked together and prospered. The arcade was originally an inn and then became a mercantile exchange of great importance throughout the whole of Epirus.
The organizing committee of the 12th Panhellenic Congress of Nuclear Medicine, is going to offer a free transfer for the congress attendees, from Athens and from Thessaloniki to Ioannina and back. The transfers will take place only in case there are enough people. In case you chose to go to Ioannina in a different way, below you will find alternative means of transport:
The road to Ioannina requires special caution, especially for those who visit the city for the first time. The distance from Athens is 445 km through Patras, almost 6 hours long. The distance form Thessaloniki is 260 km. through the Egnatia road, almost 2 hours and 40 minutes.
There are one to two flights daily from Athens, operated by Aegean airlines, almost an hour long. There are no direct flights from Thessaloniki to Ioannina.
Useful telephone numbers:
- Athens Airport: +30 210 9616161
- Thessaloniki Airport: +30 2310 260121/9
- Ioannina Airport: +30 26510 26218
In order to organize your trip, you can contact with our office
Speg Consulting, Τel.: +30 210 5238777, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Fax: 210 5239886
There are buses daily from Athens, Thessaloniki, Patras, Larisa, Trikala, Agrinio, Arta, Preveza and other cities. From Athens, there are 7 buses departing daily and backwards and the route lasts approximately 7 hours. From Thessaloniki there are 6 buses departing daily and the route lasts almost 6 hours.
Useful telephone numbers:
- KTEL of Athens: +30 210 5129363
- KTEL of Thessaloniki: +30 2310 595442
- KTEL of Achaia: +30 2610 623888
- KTEL of Ioannina: +30 26510 26286
Moving in the city
The public buses are blue and white and they depart from the city centre to various neighborhoods of the city.
Telephone: +30 26510 22239
In any case, the distances inside the city are short and easy to walk. If you wish to hire a taxi 24/7 please contact :
- Alexandros Tasoulas: +30 6945 784 975
- Radiotaxi: +30 26510 46777-9
Begin your walk from the central square of the city, in front of the administrative building. Behind the building stretches the commercial zone with numerous options for shopping. On the way, you will see the Folklore Museum , the Post Office building, the library, the former Weavin School, the former “Kaplanio School” and the “Pirsinella Mansion”. You can also visit the municipal gallery which is an important cultural landmark of the city.
Before leaving the city centre make a stop in the Archeological museum of Ioannina. The building was created by the architect Aris Konstantinidis and it is located in the “Litharitsa” park. The exhibits begin from the era of the human appearance in Hepirus and reach the late Roman Times. There you can learn about the findings from the Temple of Dodoni, one of the most important oracles of the Greek world.
In “Litharitsa” you can enjoy a partial view of the historic centre and the lake and a couple meters away you can see the mosque of “Veli Pasa” and the mosque of “Kaloutsiani”
A walk in the historic centre and the lake
The historic centre is worth visiting if you are in the mood to wonder around. Begin your walk from the watch in the city’s square (1905), across from the Town Hall. When you walk down the central road you will find jewelry shops, folk art and souvenir shops. The historic centre is a small labyrinth with monumental buildings, old shopping arcades, inns, old folk homes and small walkways. A breath away from the historic centre is the Μια αναπνοή από το ιστορικό κέντρο, το lakeside. You will be stunned by the wonderful scenery and the natural beauty by taking a walk in the lakeside road.
Close to “Akti Miaouli” there is the “Traditional Crafts Centre” of Ioannina, where you can find jewelry and other creations of silversmithing.
Α walk in the island...
The island in Lake Pamvotida is one of the most important landmarks of Ioannina. The island has a picturesque settlement which consists of almost one hundred families. Traditional houses, narrow cobblestone alleys and shops form this unique place.
In the island you can see many religious monuments; The monastery of Saint Nicolas, the “Gioumaton” monastery, the “Stratigopoulou” monastery, the “Eleousis” monastery, the monastery of Prophet Helias on top of the hill, the monastery of Saint Panteleimon etc. In the monastery of Saint Panteleimon you will find the Ali Pasa Museum, the place where the legendary Ali was killed. in its cells you can see the holes from the bullets which were shot against Ali Pasa, when he tried to be rescued from the siege of Husrit Pasa.
In the monastery of Saint Nicolas there are post-byzantine frescoes of an excellent quality. One remarkable detail to notice is that its frescoes depict seven philosophers of the ancient Greece; Plato, Solon, Aristotle, Plutarch, Thucydides, Apollonius and Chilion.
The island’s connection with the city is with small boats from “Molos”, running daily every half hour, from 8 am until 12 am. The trip lasts 15 minutes and the fare is 1 euro. In the island there is the Information Centre for Lake Pamvotida. Do not forget to taste some of the local specialties such as frog legs, eel, crayfish etc.
Transportation Information to the island:
Tel: +30 26510 81081
The castle town of Ioannina
The imposing castle of Ioannina was built in 528 AD by the Emperor Justinian, and was an ambitious expression of the might of the Byzantine Empire. It is the oldest Byzantine fortress in Greece with significant influence over the history of the town which grew around it. Over the years it evolved into a thriving with a highly developed intellectual life. Ali Pasha, that enigmatic symbol of Ottoman rule, lived here. His great love for the lady Kyra – Frosini resonates still as an integral part of the history of the town. The castle is divided into four sections: the outer wall, the northwestern citadel, which is dominated by the Aslan Mosque, the southeast citadel of Itch-Kale and finally the actual castle town - the old, walled town of Ioannina.
The Municipal Museum
The Aslan Mosque in the castle, now houses the Municipal Museum. It was built in 1618 by Aslan Pasha, after the failed revolution of Dionysius the Philosopher in 1611. Around the mosque there are other buildings that constitute a single cluster of Muslim. The exhibits are divided, according to their origin, into Greek, Hebrew and Turkish. In a hall of the museum with the Greek element, there are traditional Greek costumes displayed, such as the Courtly costume of Ioannina, the costume of “Souli”, “Pogoni” and “Zagoria”. There are also weapons of the late 18th - 19th century. All the exhibits in the museum characterize the era where the three communities co-existed (Greek, Hebrew and Turkish).
The Byzantine Museum
The building was built in 1958 by the Greek army and it was used as a Royal Pavilion. Before this, the military hospital was in this place, which was built after 1870 in the courtyard of “Seragios”. Its repair and the conversion into a museum became progressively from 1986 to 1995.
It is located in the large indoor Citadel (Its Kale) of the castle and contains a set of buildings such as the Treasury, the kitchen’s building, the Tomb of Ali Pasha, where his headless body was buried in 1822, the gunpowder building and the “Fethichie Mosque”. The walls of the citadel are owned to the fortification work of Ali Pasha and they were built in the period from 1795 to 1815. The design and the construction were made by European engineers who worked at the court of Ali Pasha. The junction to the settlement is done via three main gates and via two secondary. The museum exhibits are two; The main one, with findings of excavations (sculptures, coins, pottery) from the early Christian to the late Byzantine period, as well as images and relics from the 16th to the 19th century and the Silversmith exhibition, which is housed in the Treasury and includes collections of two main sections, according to their use, the ecclesiastical and the secular. Finally, it is completed with the representation of a silver workshop.
The Village of Perama and the Cave
Perama is built in the shore of the Lake, just 4 km. from the city of Ioannina. In the entrance of the village, across the Port, there is the “Information Centre of the “Perama Cave”. In the centre you can see an exhibit of geological and paleontological findings and you can relax in its cafeteria. In the village of Perama, is one of the rarest and largest caves in the world, the cave of Perama. It is a feast of natural styles, creations of stalactites and stalagmites from the depths of centuries. Elaborate statues, symbols and whole structures constitute the entire inner world of the cave. How would you feel to see a cross and around of it models of pilgrims that are all made of stalactites? Or a nice Santa Claus, as we imagine him, to standing around the stalactites, and a dome resembling a palace? The visitor will undergo a distance of 1.100 meters and be toured for 45 minutes. For the easiest and fun tour in Perama and its cave you can use the train designed from the Municipality of Perama for the ease of its visitors. The starting point is in the entrance of the village, next from the provincial road “Ioannina- Metsovo”.
Perama Cave information Centre: 09:00 - 16:00.
The Wax Muesum
Just 12 km. from Ioannina, on the highway from Athens in the area Bizani there is the Wax Museum “Pavlos Vrellis”. There you will find sculptures from the Greek history. The sculptures are so lifelike that it is difficult to believe they are made out of wax.
Entrance fee: Regular 6€, Elders & children 8-12 years old 3 €.
Tel: +30 26510 92128
The Oracle and the Ancient theater of Dodoni
The archeological site of Dodoni is located 22 km southwest of Ioannina and it is an inextricable part of the Greek civilization, history and tradition. The Oracle of Dodoni is the most ancient Greek oracle and Homers is referring to it in Iliada. The ancient theater of Dodoni was built in the 3rd century b.c. from the king Pirros. It has a capacity of 18.000 people and it’s one of the largest ancient theaters in good shape in Greece. It stopped operating on the 4th century b.c. In the archeological sight there are plenty other monuments worth seeing, such as the acropolis etc. The access to Dodoni is easy, since it is located at a distance of 22 km from Ioannina.
Tel: +30 26510 82287
Fax: +30 26510 01052
Tickets: General entrance €2, Reduced entrance €1
Hours of operation: Summer: 08.00-15.00 Monday Closed
Metsovo is a mountainous town of Pindos, built on the ruins of the ancient city of Tymfi. Keeping the tradition, it manages to reconcile it with the modern life and despite the gradual growth of tourism in recent years, it manages to maintain its distinct character. One of the main attractions of Metsovo is the Monastery of St. Nicholas, which stands upright from 1380, at least, until today and it is said that the abbot was Isaiah. Metsovo has a number of monasteries and churches. Many of these are authentic Byzantine monuments of huge beauty and importance and are a jewel for the region. You will also have the opportunity to admire the twenty traditional taps, which are still running the local water of unique quality and to walk on the small streets. Also, do not miss the artificial lake of Aoos that although it was originally built for practical reasons, it has evolved to a real gem for the region and also see the Averofio garden, a ten acre park of amazing natural beauty that is a thumbnail of the flora of Pindos. Do not forget to visit the gallery and the mansion of “Tositsas”, which also operates as a museum of Epirotic art. For the more adventurous and nature lovers, Metsovo is ideal for extreme sports, because of the natural range, such as kayaking, rafting, snowmobile, mountain bike, horseback riding, skiing and hiking.
Zagorochoria are located in the region of Ioannina, between Metsovo and Konitsa. It is an area of unique beauty. Zagorochoria are 46 separate villages built on the mountains close to the gorge of of Vikos, which is considered one of the deepest gorges in the world and it is more than 900 meters deep. You can admire the stone -bridge of Voidomatis, the traditional village Papigko and the village Aristi. Additionally, the villages Vovousa and Flabourari are also worth visiting. They are being characterized by their traditional beauty. In the traditional residencial area of Monodendri you will find the monastery of Agia Paraskevi. In Tsepelovo you will admire the old villas and the historic churches and in Elati you will admire the beautiful views.
The villages of Mastorochoria cover the northern part of Ioannina region and are the homecountry of renowned stone-builders and artists, who have built some of the most important buildings in Greece and the Balkans. The area is full of traditional settlements built by stone.
During your visit, it is worth visiting:
• The stone bridge of Konitsa in river Aoos, the folklore museum, the centre of Environmental education,
the exhibition of prehistoric monuments, the villas of Housein-Sisko and Hamkos
• The Museum of Natural History in Mazi
• The Byzantine temple of the Red Virgin in Ano Kotsina
• The settlement of Klidonia
• The archeologigal site in Liatovouni
• The monastery of Stomio
• The environmental education park in Bourazani
• The ski resort of Vasilitsa
• The museum of “the builders of Hepirus” in Pirsogianni