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Epirus Travel

11 photos of Ioannina

June 8, 2019

Welcome to Ioannina in the northwest of Greece, Epirus is the province. Here I have spent at least a few weeks every summer the last 30 years. Ioannina is our family’s home base in Greece. The city is visited by Greeks and foreigners who love nature experiences of all kinds. Here around the lake Pamvotida there are mountains, exciting landscapes, high mountain peaks, rapids, ravines and many trails to wander in. Its only 45 minutes drive to the 46 stone villages of Zagori from the city. Read about it in a separate blogpost here.

So finely last year the city got its first charter travellers from Sweden. You can now combine your trip with accommodation on the coast in Parga or Sivota and the mountains so you can get the best holiday experience ever in Greece. From here it is only one hour to Albania if you want to take your first day trip there.

 Every autumn, new students come from all over Greece and Cyprus and are looking for accommodation, Ioannina is a university city. Here, it is bursting with life in the city’s cafes, bars and restaurants.
The most famous family is probably Averoff, which has its roots in the village of Metsovo 15 minutes from the city by car. Evangelos in the Averoff family were Foreign Minister and Defense Minister in Greece. He founded Metsovo’s art museum, vineyard and other cultural activities for the area. More about him and his work at the Averoff museums website.
The most famous woman in the city is Kyra Frosini, a woman from the upper class of the city from the end of the 1700s. She was immersed in the lake Pamvotida along with 16 other women by Ali Pasha, Albanian ruler who ruled over the Ottoman region where Ioannina was the capital. If it was because of political reasons or because of jealousy there are different opinions about it. At the lake’s promenade there is a landmark over her.
The city’s most famous sport is the canoe. In the Pamvotida lake, new generations of canoeists are regularly trained. During the 2004 Olympics, the games were organized here.


What to do & see

Pamvotida lake – walk down the main street Averoff towards the lake and enjoy. This is the meeting point in town with a lot of cafes, restaurants and bars. Take a walk around the lakeside or Molos as it called by the locals. A nice view of the lake and the island from above is shown in this video.

To Nisi – means the island in Greek, so here we have an island with no name. The boat trip from Molos takes less than 15 minutes. There are about hundreds of families living with fishing and tourism on the island. There are charming houses and alleys to stroll in, shops with handwork from the neighborhood and silver jewelry to watch as Ioannina is famous for its many silver smiths. Seven monasteries was built here and was once an excellent place to live as a monk. The island is most famous for the murder of the powerful ruler Ali Pasha. His home and house on the island is now a museum and attracts many visitors.

Old castle – Ioannina’s old castle is built during the Byzantine era, its the oldest Byzantine fortress in Greece. The old town has charming houses and alleys, the houses are culture-marked of course. The most popular area is called Its Kale where you find nicely preserved buildings from the time of the Ottoman Empire, the area used to be Ali Pasha’s palace. A minaret, a large kitchen that is now a charming café overlooking the lake that can be seen in the pictures below. The Byzantine Museum, and a Silversmiths museum are located in the park. Concerts and other cultural events are held here often and might be on the agenda while you strolling or sit at the café.
Another impressive building is Aslan Pasha Mosque building, which today houses the Ethnographic Museum of Ioannina. Here you’ll learn about the ways of life of the Christians, Jews, and Muslims who harmoniously lived in the city of Ioannina.

Where to eat

The most famous dish in Ioannina and Epirus is Pita, which is a large pie made in the pan in the oven. Pita is often made of filo dough but not necessarily because the women in the area here have been creative and the filling is varied from spinach and cheese to sweet varieties that contain cinnamon and sugar with other greens. Ioannina has a large selection of restaurants and here are a few restaurants I have visited more than once.

  • Seirioskouzina – Patriarhi Evangelidou 1. Located near the lakeside serves greek dishes with a meditarrenian touch.
  • Parko Naftikou Omilou – Kanari 10 Limnopoula . Trendy restaurant by the lake with greek food and a lot of vegetarian dishes.
  • Mpoukia Mpoukia – Akadimias 4. Cozy restaurant resided in a two-storied neoclassical house with a lovely garden.
  • Frontzu Politia – Agia Triados Hill. If you want to have the best view of Ioannina in a classy restaurant this is your choice.
  • Rakoumel – Kallari 30. Located just outside one of the entrances of the old castle. Here you will find mezedes in a cozy atmosphere, a meeting point for all ages.
One of the entrances of the old castle
Charming houses
Alleys in the old town
Fethiye Mosque – Its Kale
Old weapon storehouse
Pamvotida lake
Old Cook Shop

Do you have a question about Ioannina? Post a message in the comments below. Follow me on Instagram to get an update when I post a new blogpost.

Epirus Sustainable Lifestile Travel

I’m back!

January 25, 2019

I envy the fisherman’s lifestyle, a daily life without stress and deadlines. In the middle of the university city of Ioannina and yet in a calm as few can get away in today’s digital world.

What lifestyle have you chosen in your daily life? Do you live in a big city, in the countryside or somewhere in between? Do you hear the birds in the morning or are you sitting with the headphones on the bus on your way to work? I envy those who left the big city and moved to the countryside and chosen a still life…

Have you heard the story about the fisherman who lives in the present?
A poor fisherman sat on the beach when a rich businessman passed by.
“Why do you sit here with a lazy look? Why are you not fishing?” the businessman asked.
“Because I caught enough fish for today,” said the fisherman. “Now I’m sitting here enjoying the sun.”

The businessman shook his head.
“Now when you have time you could catch more fish, do not just sit here and do nothing”
“What would I do with the fish,” wondered the fisherman.
“You could sell it and earn lots of money,” said the businessman. “Buy one bigger boat with bigger engine and fish even more and earn more money.”

“What would I do then?” wondered the fisherman.
“You should be able to sit and just enjoy life”, said the businessman.
“I do that right now”, said the poor fisherman.

Lake Pamvotis
is the only lake in Greece with an inhabited island within its perimeter. And maybe one of the resons why it’s such a popular travel destination. Ioannina is the capital of the Greek province of Epirus. The city has about 100,000 inhabitants. Ioannina can be followed back to the 900’s but became important as Epirus’s first city in 1204 and became independent in 1913.

The photo is shot from Aslan Pasha Mosque in the old castle of Ioannina. The island or to nisi as the greeks says is interesting with its history and role as the scene of the murder of Ali Pasha, ruler over Ioannina in the 1800s.

Epirus Photography

It’s all about the light

May 19, 2018

I love to photograph when I travel and explore new places or destinations. And of course I want to take some great photos. I’ve had my current camera for more than a year and it’s not always easy to learn all the amazing features that are in it. I practice as often as I can and not only when I’m on holiday in Greece. Often my composition in the image is perfect, but the colors in the picture are not always as expected. A lot of hours of practice and many photos later provide experiences, so here are my tips for beginners.

My best non-technical tips for beginners:

  • The light is alfa and the omega as the greeks says, and makes the difference between a good photo and the best photo. The image tends to get sharp shadows and shapes when you take it in the middle of the day, specially during the summer. The best light is available in the morning or in the afternoon, the “golden hour” is often the hour before the sunset.
  •  But often when we travel, we do not have the luxury to be in place early or late in the day. I usually look for a shadow to stand in and shoot from that spot, it gives my photos a softer impression and bring some more colours in my picture.
  •  Another tip is to shoot the image from several directions. For example, on a street, I shoot the picture in two different directions. Sometimes the difference is seen immediately in the camera or mobile phone and sometimes you see it when you export the picture to your computer.
Epirus Travel

Zagori – beyond the mountains

April 28, 2018
Megalo Papingo

I grew up in Stockholm, in the middle of the city. Landscapes views and nature were not around the corner. It was usually up to date on summer holidays when we went to Greece. The exception is my earliest childhood year when I lived with my grandparents in a small mountain village. As the years goes by I’m drawn to the mountains like a magnet and love the views of the those hilly landscapes…

Mikro Papingo
Megalo Papingo

In the region of Epirus, in the north west of Greece, you will find the 46 stone villages in a magnificent landscape, just one hour drive from the city Ioannina. Zagori means beyond the mountains, from the Slavic za “behind” and gore “mountain”. The area had its greatness during the Ottoman period and that is evident in the architecture of the houses, the unique bridges and monasteries. Kalderimi is the name of the cobblestone paved roads around the stone villages in Zagori. They are designed for foot and hoofed traffic and tie together many of the villages in the region. Zagoria or Zagori or Zagorochoria (villages of Zagori) is divided into three regions, western, eastern and central Zagori. Here is the attractions you do not want to miss.

Rogovo

West Zagori:
The villages you must visit here is Megalo Papingo and Mikro Papingo, its the villages in the photos aboveFrom Mikro Papingo you can start your hiking up to the mountain top of mountain Tymfi and reach the top Gamilla with an altitude of 2436m. The famous lake Drakolimni is also on the way up to the top and about 4,5 hours from Papingo. Between the two villages you find he natural swimming pools of Rogovo, recommend you to take a swim here during the summer. On your way to the village Aristi, stop at Aristi bridge and perhaps join the rafting groups for a pleasant rafting tour in the river of Voidomatis.

Aristi bridge

Central Zagori:
The main attraction here is Vikos gorge, listed as the deepest gorge in the world by Guinness Book of Record. It begins between the villages of Monodendri and Koukouli and ends near the village Vikos. The village Monodendri has the most tourists as you have a spectacular view to Vikos gorge from this point. In the centre of the village you have Rizario Exhibition Culture Centre with nice handcraft and photography exhibitions. Central Zagori has the most famous stone bridges and monasteries in Zagori, don’t miss them if you are nearby. Villages like Dilofo, Kipoi are just some of the 20 villages in this section.

Aristi

East Zagori:
Consist of 16 villages which has the oldest villages in the area. This part of Zagori is for nature lovers, hikers, scouts and hunters. On your way up to the very east you find the villages Greveniti, Elatochori, Vouvousa and Perivoli among others. I have been to Vouvousa twice as its at least a few hours drive from Ioannina city. Here you can enjoy the national forrest of Pindos and the river Aoos which flows through the village.

Epirus Travel

A quite place

March 15, 2018

My parents met nearby this peaceful bay during the summer of 1963. My father was long, blonde and handsome young man and my mother short and with that Mediterranean look. They met through mutual friends and after a few weeks they got married and went abroad to make themselves a new future. The move abroad happens to many Greeks today as well, but back then it was of course a gigantic step to the big wide world at least for my mother and her first journey abroad..

Koronisia, Amvrakikos gulf

Amvrakikos gulf is a quite place with 250 km coastline in the north west of Greece. According to naturelovers it has 20 lagoons hosts more than 160 species of birds, many species of fish, turtles (Caretta – Caretta) and dolphins. Here in Koronisia you can find the traditional hamlets of the local fishermen who still use the old fishing methods. Traditional fish taverns serve local fish such as sardines, prawns mullets, eels and cuttlefish.

Epirus Travel

My first blogpost!

March 7, 2018

A new experience! So far I have posted my photographs on Instagram to improve my photography. Now I take the next step and out of my comfort zone. Hope to learn more about blogging and be able to share stories about Greece, where I was born, with you! 

As you might have seen I started a new hashtag at Instagram called #girslaroundgreece. I want to encourage and inspire women to create and promote their photos and stories. It’s even a way to encourage friends at Instagram to follow and use the hashtag to keep up with all the amazing work women create together.  

There are so many hashtags but I hope this one will be filled with a lot of wonderful pictures. A hashtag can grow organically as time goes by, something to go to when you need inspiration or when you want to connect with women who share the same interest about Greece!  

Thank you for reading my first blog post, hope you pop back soon!