Finding the right travel locale can be a daunting task. In-season travelers will undoubtedly look for something less crowded, while off-season travelers search for a place that continues to operate. A trip to Athens earlier this year had my family asking a for a little bit of both. Stops in Thessaloniki and Athens provided the big city stops that we usually crave, however, we wanted to find something a little more subtle to experience. Kastoria, Greece provided exactly that.
A little mountain town located on a peninsula into Lake Orestiada in the region of West Macedonia, Kastoria has become well known for the Byzantine churches, Ottoman style architecture, and local trout which provides the base for most local cuisine. The town has a rich history that reaches back to antiquity. Since the 13th century, Kastoria has gained a reputation for fur trading which continues to thrive. Today, it appears to be a quiet little place that is surrounded by adventure and culture.
when to go and what to do
The nature surrounding Kastoria make it a year-round Greek travel spot. Summers in Kastoria provide cultural events along with celebrations on the lake. The winter offers skiing on Mount Verno and Vitsi Ski Center. Five slopes with differing degrees of runs provide opportunities for skiers of all ages and skill.
Apart from skiing to occupy winter and the lake and rivers in the summer seasons, the surrounding hills and mountains provide enough outdoor adventures to keep the traveler occupied year-round.
Even if you wish to stay in the town, strolling along the lake and climbing the hill to overlook the town offer different perspectives of this small, Greek haven. Staying around town provides the opportunity to wander the old neighborhoods and discover the Byzantine churches that have survived from 10th and 11th centuries.
While strolling the town, make sure to stop and say hello to the local fishermen. But don’t interrupt them too much as they complete the day’s work.
where to stay
Accommodations in Kastoria range in levels. Higher end hotels offer all the amenities one can dream. Hostels along with mid-range hotels are also available. Our experience involved a local bed and breakfast that was small and family owned. A quick search will pull a variety of options sure to please. However, it is hard to beat the local, Greek hospitality.