A beautiful city on the lake in northwestern Greece in the region of Western Macedonia…about a two-hour drive from Salonika with a pit stop in Edessa (another visit there later on this year will be my blog for it). A truly lovely sight where the entire city is built around a very large lake; shops and restaurants rim the strand where long walks beckon as you watch the geese go by. Kastoria, a place we visit every time we come to Greece. Why we come to Greece: https://www.retirementexplored.com/stories/why-i-love-greece/
Written mention of this city/area dates back to the 11th century, but it could very well have been there long before it was ever mentioned in history books. Numerous Byzantine churches abound in this area. One particular one, which we visited on a prior trip, is built into the mountain with an amazing small door that almost cannot be seen with the naked eye. Tiny but most holy as the mosaics there are in amazingly excellent condition for the ten centuries of it’s existence.
Where we stay
Snow comes to this part every winter and the lake freezes over. A late spring blooms and the place comes alive with tourists and citizens flooding the entire city where numerous hotels can be found at very reasonable prices. Some newly built hotels are available and although Zaf prefers these, I like the older, more charming ones – often the B and B’s, Guest Houses or my personal favorites the Mansions dating back to the 18th century that are now the Boutique Hotels of Greece.
Our hotel is over 200 years old; a former home of some very important and wealthy family at the time, it has been purchased by an enterprising young man who turned it into a boutique hotel with many original pieces in place and an abundance of updates for modern conveniences. And, as with other hotels we have stayed at so far, we were reminded of the lock-down restrictions in place – but when not “looking” allow us some trespasses…nothing major, just some minor adjustments!
Shopping or Not!
Kastoria is known for the fur industry and although this is not very popular in many places around the world, it is indeed a flourishing industry. Warm slippers are must buy for Zaf and they last a really long time. I tried on a really beautiful vest but alas, it did not fit and there was nothing larger…bummer!
We spent a pleasant day here walking around and browsing the windows of some of the closed shops, ate some delectable food, had a good night’s rest and off we went to our next stop…2 hours southwest to Ioannina.
Retire well, Helene
Photo of Lake City of Kastoria From the Personal Collection of Helene and Zaf