Top 5 things to do in Ioannina

Ioannina is a beautiful town, the largest in the region of Epirus, which satisfies even the most demanding visitors. It is a lively and modern town with many green areas that also hosts a bustling university. The slab-paved streets and old picturesque buildings of great architectural importance attract a large number of tourists throughout the year. If you visit Ioannina, these are 5 of the things you shouldn’t miss out on your trip there. 1) Have a tour in the Castle The castle of Ioannina is a major town landmark. It is definitely worthwhile to take a stroll around in the slab-paved picturesque alleys. Pay a visit to the Municipal Museum which is located at the Ioannina Castle from which the view is unique, as well as the Byzantine museum within the southeastern citadel. After your tour, the ideal spot to enjoy your coffee is in the historic Its Kale (meaning “inner fortress”) which offers a magnificent view of Ioannina. 2) Explore the island of Mrs Frosini If you want to visit the famous island, you will have to take one of the traditional boats tied to the pier of the lake. Daily round trips take place every half hour in the summer and hourly during the winter. Once you arrive, take a stroll around the perimeter of Lake Pamvotis Island (about half an hour). Taste the local specialities, such us  frog legs and eel. Before you leave, buy local products from the women's co-operative (such as spoon sweets, liqueurs, klostari -a kind of baklava, etc.). 3) Go to the town's tsipouradika After touring the historic sights, it is time for some evening fun. The drink that brings young people together and warms them up on the frozen and rainy winter evenings in Ioannina is tsipouro (a Greek kind of pomace brandy). So, make sure you spend a night or two in one of the dozens of tsipouradika that are full every night. Drinks are always accompanied by free mezedes (titbits). 4) Winter and summer excursions One of the biggest advantages of the town is that it is the basis for both winter and summer excursions. Zagorochoria, Tzoumerka, Metsovo and Dodoni are located in the same region, at a short distance from Ioannina. During the summer months, tourists tend to prefer the beautiful Ionian Islands, as well as Parga and Syvota, two seaside towns which are now on the rise as tourist destination, at a handy distance from Ioannina. 5) Taste and buy local cheeses Epirus is renowned for the variety and unique quality of its dairy and cheese products. Taste the famous traditional metsovone – a local smoked cheese- and of course the Dodoni feta. Once you’ve tried them, you’ll want to stock up with these goodies on your way home. Eleni Aravani