Blessed by the Greek gods, Ioannina flourishes with natural beauty. Sheltered by the Pindus Mountains, this Greek city lies on the shore of Lake Pamvotis, spread across the mainland and the island. Full of strong cultural traditions and hosting a range of artistic and intellectual events, a walk through Ioannina’s historic centre gives the feeling of a bygone era.
Things to do in Ioánnina
Get your bearings in Ioannina by taking a boat ride around Lake Pamvotis. For a scenic way to get around, hop on one of the motor or rowing boats. Ioannina Island is in the middle of the lake, where you can visit six monasteries, the oldest of which dates back to the 11th century. The Agios Panteleimon Monastery is now the island’s museum, and it includes a re-creation of the private quarters of Ali Pasha, a former Ottoman ruler.
Back in Ioannina itself, prepare to get lost in the maze of medieval streets leading up to the castle, designed to confuse pirates tempted to attack. Within the inner citadel is the Fethiye Mosque, built on the ruins of a Byzantine church, and a museum about Ioannina’s early Christian and Byzantine history.
Other religions are equally well represented in the fortress, and their places of worship are also open to the public. There are three Greek Orthodox churches and a cathedral, and a Jewish synagogue within the citadel walls. You can learn more about the history of Ioannina’s Muslim, Christian, and Jewish populations if you visit the Municipal Ethnographic Museum inside the Aslan Pasha Mosque.
Getting around Ioánnina
Just three hours from Thessaloniki, Ioannina can also be reached from Athens via Patras over the beautiful Rio Antirrio Bridge. When in the city, you can get around on public buses, but most travellers prefer to explore the streets by foot.