Kastoria is a city in northern Greece, in the region of Western Macedonia. It is the capital of the Kastoria regional unit, and it is situated on a promontory on the western shore of Lake Orestiada, in a valley surrounded by limestone mountains.
What is Kastoria Known For?
Kastoria is famous for its many Byzantine churches, its Byzantine and Ottoman-era domestic architecture, its lake and its fur clothing industry.
Famous Drinks in Kastoria
One of the most popular drinks in Kastoria is tsipouro, a strong distilled spirit made from grape pomace. Tsipouro is often served with meze, small plates of appetizers such as cheese, olives, cured meats, and salads. Tsipouro is also used to make ouzo, a similar drink that is flavored with anise and diluted with water.
Another traditional drink in Kastoria is raki, a type of brandy that is also made from grape pomace. Raki is usually consumed after a meal as a digestive, and it can be flavored with herbs, honey, or fruits. Raki is sometimes mixed with coffee to make rakomelo, a warm and sweet drink that is popular in winter.
A third drink that is typical of Kastoria is wine, especially red wine. The region of Kastoria has a long history of viticulture and wine production, dating back to ancient times. Some of the local grape varieties are xinomavro, negoska, roditis, and moschato. The wines of Kastoria are known for their rich aromas, balanced acidity, and complex flavors.
Famous Sports in Kastoria
Kastoria is a city that offers many opportunities for sports and outdoor activities. One of the most famous sports in Kastoria is rowing, which takes place on the lake Orestiada. The lake hosts several rowing events throughout the year, such as the Balkan Rowing Championships and the International Dragon Boat Festival. Rowing is also a popular recreational activity for locals and visitors alike, who can enjoy the scenic views of the city and the mountains from the water.
Another sport that is popular in Kastoria is skiing, which can be practiced on the nearby mountains of Grammos and Vitsi. The ski resorts of Vitsi and Pisoderi offer slopes for all levels of skiers, as well as facilities such as lifts, chalets, restaurants, and equipment rentals. Skiing in Kastoria is a great way to experience the natural beauty and the snow-covered landscapes of the region.
A third sport that is common in Kastoria is hiking, which can be done on various trails and paths that cross the city and its surroundings. Hiking in Kastoria allows visitors to explore the historical and cultural heritage of the city, as well as its rich flora and fauna. Some of the most interesting hiking routes are the ones that lead to the Byzantine churches, the old neighborhoods, the Dragon’s Cave, and the Agios Athanasios viewpoint. Hiking in Kastoria is also a good opportunity to observe the diverse birdlife that inhabits the lake and the forests.
Famous Streets in Kastoria
Kastoria has many streets that reflect its history, culture, and character. One of the most famous streets in Kastoria is Averof Street, which runs along the lakefront and connects the southern and northern parts of the city. Averof Street is lined with cafes, restaurants, bars, shops, and hotels, making it a lively and vibrant place to walk, relax, and enjoy the view of the lake. Averof Street is also where some of the main events and festivals of Kastoria take place, such as the Carnival Parade, the Fur Fair, and the Christmas Market.
Another famous street in Kastoria is Doltso Street, which is located in the old neighborhood of Doltso. Doltso Street is one of the oldest and most picturesque streets in Kastoria, where visitors can admire the traditional stone houses that date back to the 17th and 18th centuries. Doltso Street is also home to some of the most important museums of Kastoria, such as the Folk Art Museum, the Costume Museum, and the Byzantine Museum. Doltso Street is a must-see for anyone who wants to experience the authentic charm and elegance of Kastoria.
A third famous street in Kastoria is Metropoleos Street, which is located in the center of the city. Metropoleos Street is where some of the most impressive buildings and monuments of Kastoria are situated, such as the Cathedral of Agios Dimitrios, the Town Hall, the Clock Tower, and the Ottoman Baths. Metropoleos Street is also a commercial and administrative hub of Kastoria, where visitors can find banks, offices, shops, and services. Metropoleos Street is a street that showcases the diversity and the dynamism of Kastoria.
FAQs about Kastoria
- What is the best time to visit Kastoria?
The best time to visit Kastoria depends on what you want to see and do. If you want to enjoy the lake and the outdoor activities, spring and autumn are ideal seasons, as the weather is mild and pleasant. If you want to experience the winter sports and the festive atmosphere, winter is a good option, as the city is covered with snow and decorated with lights. If you want to avoid the crowds and the high prices, summer is a less popular but still enjoyable season, as the lake offers a refreshing escape from the heat.
- How to get to Kastoria?
There are several ways to get to Kastoria. The easiest way is by plane, as Kastoria has a small airport that connects it with Athens and Thessaloniki. Another way is by bus, as Kastoria has regular bus services from major cities such as Athens, Thessaloniki, Ioannina, and Florina. A third way is by car, as Kastoria is accessible by road from different directions. The distance from Athens to Kastoria is about 500 km, from Thessaloniki to Kastoria is about 200 km, and from Ioannina to Kastoria is about 100 km.
- What are some of the best things to do in Kastoria?
Some of the best things to do in Kastoria are:
- Visit the Byzantine churches and admire their architecture and frescoes.
- Explore the old neighborhoods of Doltso and Apozari and see the traditional mansions and museums.
- Take a boat ride on the lake Orestiada and enjoy the scenery and the wildlife.
- Go skiing or hiking on the mountains of Grammos and Vitsi and discover their natural beauty and diversity.
- Shop for fur products and souvenirs in the local markets and shops.
- Taste the local cuisine and drinks in the taverns and cafes.
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