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General Information for Kastoria

Kastoria Western Macedonia has so many surprises to offer. One of them being the nome of Kastoria, especially the capital city, Kastoria, which is one of the most beautiful and significant cities of Western Macedonia. Myths, traditions, long history, lakes, rivers, forests, picturesque settlements and the outstanding architecture - featuring the lovely archontika (mansions), the homes of the town's elite - constitute the enchanting picture of this region. Approximately 135 miles west of Thessaloniki, between the precipitous mountains of Grammos and Vitsi, the lovely town of Kastoria stands on a promontory that extends into the gorgeous Orestias Lake. You will indeed be fascinated with this extraordinary landscape. It takes its name from the numerous beavers (kastores) which lived in the lake till the start of the previous century. Next to the lake there is the charming Doltso quarters, characteristic feature is the architecture of the region.

If you are a nature lover you should attempt the tour of the peninsula from Kastoria. Admire the idyllic lake; visit the local villages and marvel at the panoramic view that extends in front of you. You will miss a beautiful site if you overlook the astounding mountains: Grammos and Vitsi. The route to Vitsi is suitable for hiking, while a ski center operates during the winter. Another alternative is to follow the route of Nestorion (that takes you to the top of Grammos) and camp at Arrenes - amidst of extended verdant forests, murmuring waters and superb lakes- and if rowing or sailing is your sport, you may enjoy the calm waters of the Orestias Lake. Kastoria is a wealthy town due to the extensive fur-industry known the world over. The impressive surviving archontika (at the Doltso quarters), demonstrate the classical European style of the 17th and 18th centuries. The most improtant ones are: Natzi, Bassara, Skoutari, Papapetrou, Ghaki, Vergoula, etc.
Unfortunately, they are closed to the public, except one of the Aivazis family, which has been converted into the Folklore Museum of Kastoria with a significant collection of folklore art. In addition, museums like the Byzantine and the fur-workshop, are very interesting. Enjoy the idyllic view from the hill of Prophet Elias, having a refreshment at the club of the Friends of the Enviroment, or take the peripheral road of the lake and get to know the lovely villages of: Dispilio, Mavrovo and Polycarpi, amidst stretches of apple orchards. At the banks of the lake there are many restaurants and tavernas serving traditional dishes and fresh seafood, along with the specialite of the region: sarmathes (ground meat with rice, wrapped in pickled cabbage leaves). Among the best restaurants is the Omonoia and in the center of town many cafes and bars are located, where you can enjoy the evening in the company of very hospitable people.