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The charm and history of Western Macedonia, the Lake and the fur trading; Kastoria is definitely one Greece’s most romantic and photogenic locations! Search for cheap air tickets to Kastoria, to experience a travel destination traditional yet cosmopolitan, pristine yet developed, more idyllic than you can imagine. Kastoria is a good example that can rarely be seen nowadays in Greece, of a successful combination of urban planning and nature. Perched around a dreamy lake and lined with Byzantine churches and historic traditional mansions, Kastoria boasts a majestic past - and guarantees a stay of quality and essence. Ideal for nature lovers and environmentally-concerned travellers, in Kastoria you can discover the explorer in you. Cheap accommodation in Kastoria is easy to be found, as long as you plan ahead, so book your flights now!
Stretching around idyllic Lake Orestiada – or Lake Kastoria – Kastoria is one of the most charming and atmospheric cities in Greece. Kastoria is centred on a rocky strip that touches the centre of the lake and extends to the city’s oldest neighbourhood, Doltso, famous for its wealth of historic mansions that reflect the majesty of the past and ranks among Greece’s most precious locations.
Fur trading was a crucial factor to the economic development of Kastoria, leaving a great architectural heritage that, blended with the Byzantine character and monuments of the city, created a particularly beautiful and interesting backdrop.
Kastoria lets no one down; whether you love history, nature or just seek some laid-back moments of relaxation, in Kastoria you will find exactly what you’re looking for.
Visiting during summer? Be sure to check out the River Party festival, held on an iconic location at the banks of the Haliacmon River.
The airport of Kastoria (Κρατικός Αερολιμένας Καστοριάς “Αριστοτέλης”) is located in the town of Argos Orestiko, 10 kilometres from Kastoria and is accessible by bus and taxi.
Getting around Kastoria
You can get around Kastoria by bus and taxi. Fares start from 1.10€ and taxi fares depend on the selected route.
The city of Kastoria is situated on an idyllic location, on a peninsula that faces Lake Orestiada, 600 metres above sea level. Emperor Justinian I was the first to fortify the city in the 6th century, with Ali Pasha later extending the fortifications and the city itself, during the 19th century. Ruins of the city walls can be seen today in various locations of Kastoria.
At the top of the Castle of Kastoria, the Byzantine Church of Panagia Koumpelidiki dominates the skyline; this church is the city’s most important Byzantine monument and one of the most significant churches in Macedonia.
The church was built in the 11th century by Byzantine emperor Basil II - also known as Basil the Bulgar Slayer – and was named after the Turkish word for dome, “Koumpes”. A large part of its value is attributed to the great wealth of frescoes that decorate the interior of the church, dating back from the 13th to the 17th century.
Kastoria boasts over 70 Byzantine churches, decorated with elaborate murals and masterpieces of Byzantine art, typical of the religious decorations at the time.
When in Kastoria, you should definitely visit some of the city’s interesting museum. Highlights include:
- The Museum of the Macedonian Struggle, housed in a renovated mansion and inaugurated in 2010, exhibits photographs, documents, military uniforms and traditional costumes, as well as books and video presentations related to the great struggle of the Macedonian Hellenism to overthrow the Turkish. With rich collections and material, this museum is a valuable part of Macedonia’s heritage, with particular focus on the contribution of Kastoria to the struggle.
- The Folklore Museum of Kastoria, housed in the Nerantzi-Aïvazi mansion by the lake, represents a fine example of local architecture of Kastoria, showcasing the local tradition, lifestyle, crafts and everyday life of the people of Kastoria, with special interest in the long tradition of Kastoria in fur manufacturing.
The most undeniably significant sight in Kastoria is the selection of historic renovated mansions, reminders of the city’s honourable past and architectural heritage.
Ntoltso and Apozari are the places to be if you wish to see the best of Kastoria’s mansions, a charming, atmospheric neighbourhood that monopolises visitors’ interest. The mansions were built during the 17th and 18th centuries and belonged to wealthy merchants and fur traders that arrived in Kastoria from Central Europe. Built in the traditional Macedonian style, the mansions are made mostly of stone and are usually surrounded by flowered yards and beautiful gardens.
Particularly impressive and is the combination of a unique architectural structure that sometimes reminds us of a fortress, enriched with traditional Kastorian details and the lavish decoration with paintings, wood carvings and furniture.
Lake Orestiada or Lake Kastoria covers a surface of 28 sq.km and is one of the most important wetlands in Greece. As a natural habitat of over 200 rare and endangered bird species, the lake is protected by the NATURA 2000 network.
Ideal for long walks, romantic sunsets and idyllic moments, Lake Orestiada will be the ultimate highlight of your trip to Kastoria!
The official language in Kastoria is Greek.