It pops up in front of you suddenly, like a fairytale picture from a postcard and captures you instantly. Built essentially on a peninsula, which is watered all around by Lake Orestiada, Kastoria is endowed with a natural landscape that few cities possess.
Surrounded by the imposing mountains of Grammos and Vitsi, built amphitheatrically, with the picturesque, tiled houses mirrored in the peaceful water element, this beautiful city of Western Macedonia, is a magical destination that never disappoints its visitor!
And if the old glorious days of fur, when Kastoria was bustling with life and commercial traffic have passed, today it still carries glimpses of its past glamour, this time investing more in its relaxing rhythms, its unique atmosphere and harmony of its natural landscape.
A legendary swan lake
Touring the lake is the best way to discover its beauty. Don’t let the bitter cold put you off. Good clothing and an even better mood are all you need for an idyllic winter walk. Start from the South Beach and move towards the North, walking along the narrow lakeside street lined with centuries- old plane trees and towering beeches. Let the landscape take you on a journey and make all the necessary stops: at the Byzantine monastery of Panagia Mavriotissa (1802) which inspires admiration with its frescoes. In the Cave of the Dragon, where a true spectacle of stalagmites and stalactites awaits you. And if you get tired halfway, you can stop for a hot drink in one of the cafes you will come across while walking.
Dolce vita… in Doltso
In the famous neighborhood of Dolco, with its beautiful mansions of the 17th and 18th centuries, outstanding examples of Macedonian architecture, time stops. Indulge your palate in quaint taverns and quaint cafes, and get carried away by lazy séances on the narrow cobbled streets.
Don’t miss visiting the local museums: the Neratzi Aivazi mansion which houses the Folklore Museum and the Emmanuel mansion which houses
the Costume Museum.
Culture, nature and other stories
If the Byzantine culture fascinates you, in Kastoria you will find countless ways to travel your spirit. More than 60 Byzantine and post-Byzantine churches adorn the neighborhoods of the city, composing a true historical and cultural treasure. Along with them, a visit to the museum of Byzantine Art in Dexamenis square is a must, as is the prehistoric lake settlement of Dispilio, dating back to 5,000 BC.
Nature fans can plan a visit to nearby Nestorio, which hosts the River Party festival on the banks of Aliakmonas river every year, while for winter sports enthusiasts, the Vitsi ski center is at a distance of only 22 kilometers!