is one of the most
beautiful cities of Greece. Surrounded by abundant natural
beauty and endowed with rich historical evidence, the city
flourished through the times becoming an important financial
and cultural center; a historic 'Metropolis of knowledge'
renown since the times of the great Byzantine Empire.
with a population of approximately 100,000 inhabitants, lies
in the middle of a plain (600 m altitude), surrounded by
mountains. The beautiful old town, trapped within the walls of
its castle, spreads to the shores of the legendary lake of
Pamvotis; the lake of Ioannina with its picturesque little
island in the middle. Today, Ioannina acts as a commercial and
cultural center of the North-Western part of Greece. It is the
capital of the province of Epirus, which is the most
mountainous place in Greece.
The city of
Ioannina is about 450km north-west from Athens and about 60km
south of the Albania border. The city boasts a wide range of
sporting and recreational facilities including indoor swimming
pools, football and basketball stadiums, theaters, cinemas,
Art Galleries, Museums, dancing floors and many colourful bars
and pubs. It is famous for its popular art of golden and
silver jeweleries and wood sculpture. Within an hour's drive
is the coastline of Ionian Sea with small harbour towns that
link Ioannina with the Ionian Islands via fast ferries. Only a
few kilometers away over the mountains, the ancient oracle of
Dodoni silenced forever, awaits for the last pilgrims to come.
To come and cherish the awesome view from its impressive
amphitheater, dating from the 3d century B.C.
connected by bus to Athens (7 hrs), Thessaloniki (6 hrs),
Igoumenitsa (1.5 hrs, ferry boat connection to Italy and
Corfu) and other important cities. The two bus stations are
located downtown. The city also enjoys a modern airport at the
distance of 4km from the city center and 10km from the
University Campus with every-day flights to Athens (1 hr) and
three flights per week to Salonica (40 min). There is also an
international flight per week to Tirana (Albania, 1 hr).
Dodona: One of the best
preserved theaters in all of Greece is located here and it is
the big draw. Dodona
is around 13 miles from Ioannina, nestled into a valley
between spectacular mountains on one side and some large hills
on the other. The sanctuary at the theater was the reason the
complex was built in the first place. It was an oracle
much like Delphi but much older. There are few remains
at the Archaeological
Site of Dodona, but the acropolis does extend from the top
of the theater.
Metsovo: (2,705 inhabits.) Actually two towns divided by a gorge,
it is in some of the highest mountains of all Greece. It
is a quaint little town with a surprising tourist edge due to
the amount of crafts made here. There are ski resorts nearby
and the town is a nice stop. The Pass of Katara over the
Pindus mountains nearby is at 1707m. and is amazing. It should
only be attempted in the best weather though, since it is
above the snow line.