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Overview

Ioánnina is a beautiful and fascinating lakeside city in northwestern Greece, and the capital of the Epirus region. It stands on the shores of Lake Pamvótis, with mountain views around, and is a captivating place with a long and colorful history that has made it the intriguing city it is today. It was founded in the 6th century AD by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian, and it was later a hugely important city under the Ottoman Empire, before finally becoming Greek in 1913. All these and other influences, including a once-large Jewish community, have shaped Ioánnina into what it is. Its most interesting area is the old town within its castle ...

Ioánnina is a beautiful and fascinating lakeside city in northwestern Greece, and the capital of the Epirus region. It stands on the shores of Lake Pamvótis, with mountain views around, and is a captivating place with a long and colorful history that has made it the intriguing city it is today. It was founded in the 6th century AD by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian, and it was later a hugely important city under the Ottoman Empire, before finally becoming Greek in 1913. All these and other influences, including a once-large Jewish community, have shaped Ioánnina into what it is. Its most interesting area is the old town within its castle walls, where you will find mosques and museums to explore, as well as the tomb of Ali Pasha, who ruled this part of the mighty Ottoman Empire from Ioánnina. Ali Pasha was murdered at the age of 80 on the island of Nissi, which is in the middle of Lake Pamvotis, and is an essential visit, as are nearby attractions such as the Perama Caves and the ancient site at Dodóni.

Mike Gerrard
About the Expert

Mike Gerrard is the author of the National Geographic Traveler Guide to Greece, as well as guides to Athens, Crete, Corfu, the Greek Mainland, and the Greek islands for publishers including AA, AAA, Thomas Cook, Dorling Kindersley, Michelin, and New Holland. With his wife Donna Dailey, he also publishes the Greece Travel Secrets website.

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Mike Gerrard for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Ioannina is located 450 km northwest of Athens, 290 km southwest of Thessaloniki and 80 km east of the port of Igoumenitsa in the Ionian Sea.
  • Language: Greek
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Ioannina
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Ioánnina is pleasant all year round, with spring and autumn being especially appealing.