Kastoria is one of the most magical places to visit in northern Greece. It is truly a beautiful city that emerges from Orestiada lake and is closely linked with Byzantine culture. Stroll through the cobblestone streets of old town, explore the scenic Orestiada lake and check out the Dragon’s cave with its otherworldly atmosphere. Also don’t miss the aquarium, presenting the various species of fish and aquatic organisms living in Lake Orestiada. Continuing your exploration, exploit the opportunity to visit the Neolithic lakeside settlement, with findings estimated to be among the oldest in Europe.
In this article you will find a full guide of exploring Kastoria’s sights.
The Old Town – Doltcho
The first point of reference in the journey of exploring Kastoria is the Οld town. Doltcho, as the old town is called, is the oldest and most picturesque quarter in Kastoria. Like something out of a movie set, it will make you want to wander among its cobblestoned streets, and discover beautiful traditional mansions, faithful to the Macedonian and Byzantine architecture. Also, in the area there are many Byzantine churches that reflect the city’s cultural history. A walk in the old town will offer you a trip back in time.
Orestiada lake or Kastoria’s lake, as it is commonly known, is the city’s most important treasure. Surrounded by beautiful landscapes, wooded hills, wet meadows, reed beds, lakeside forests, marshes and fields, that support a rich avifauna. A walk, bike or car ride around the lake and another boat ride in the lake are required. A route of about 9 kilometres runs alongside the lake, around the peninsula and connects the southern and northern shores of Kastoria. On the shores of Kastoria’s lake there are many cafes and restaurants, so you can enjoy your coffee or food with the incredible view offered by this magical landscape.
The Dragon’s Cave as they used to call it has a length of 300 meters of natural path. Towards the exit an artificial tunnel of 35 meters has been created. Dozens of stalactites and stalagmites with strange shapes create an atmosphere of unparalleled beauty capable of impressing all visitors. What definitely makes the difference are the four lakes inside and the constructed bridges. These are undoubtedly unforgettable images. If you like fairy tales with dragons, then you should definitely explore the Dragon’s Cave in Kastoria.
The Byzantine Museum of Kastoria is located at the highest point of the city. It is a unique thematic museum of icons, since its collections consist mainly of portable religious paintings of the Byzantine and post-Byzantine periods, dating from the 12th to the 18th century. Also, in the museum, you can explore other exhibits like frescoes, ancient manuscripts, representing the cultural heritage of the place.
By visiting Kastoria you will have the opportunity to explore its aquarium. This Aquarium is the largest freshwater aquarium in the Balkans and is home to over 200 species of fish and other aquatic organisms. The aquarium consists of 49 aquarium tanks, while an important exhibit is the tank that represents the lake of Kastoria and has an area of 45 square meters.
Neolithic Lakeside Settlement
The Neolithic lake settlement is just 7 km from Kastoria and is located on the southern shore of Lake Orestiada. It was accidentally discovered in 1932 when the level of the lake in Kastoria was lowered and the remains of wooden piles appeared. The houses of the settlement are built of wood, reeds and clay on wooden piled platforms. The modern reconstruction of the lake settlement provides a wonderful picture. Its aim is to present a direct, experiential picture of life 7,500 years ago, always based on the findings of archaeological research.
From the mysterious old town and the enchanting lake to the Neolithic lake settlement, visit and explore Kastoria and you will surely be delighted by the unique experiences you will gain.
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