Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Unique Greek Vacation: Kastoria

Tired of traveling to central "tourist" cities and feel like you're missing out on a true, cultural experience? While metropolitan areas certainly provide the opportunity to enjoy museums and glamorous night life activities, smaller cities can offer us a more unique and well-rounded perspective on the country, as well a more authentic experience. Greece is full of beautiful locations where travelers can soak in breathtaking scenery, visit important landmarks, taste authentic cuisine, and get to know Greek culture a whole lot better.

Kastoria is one of Greece's fabulous smaller cities. Located in the western Macedonian region, the peninsula of Kastoria borders Lake Orestiada. The city is suspected to be named after the Greek word for beaver (kastoras), which makes sense upon learning that Kastoria is internatio
nally renowned for manufacturing and trading furs for more than 1,000 years!

Kastoria is known for more than just the fur trade, though. One of the city's major attractions is its extensive Byzantine motif. The Byzantine walls and churches of the town draw tourists from all around the world. In this little city, travelers can visit 17th and 18th century traditional mansions admired for their distinguished designs, as well as stone bridges (such as the Zouzouli) which are surrounded by lush forest and high peaks. Upon witnessing the intricate architecture set in enchanting landscapes, visitors can explore one of the many museums located in Kastoria including the Folklore Museum called “Nerantzi – Aibazi”.

And here's a special tip for anyone traveling during the month of January to Kastoria: Make sure to check out the Ragoustaria, an exciting, twelve day festival whose name stems from the Latin word rogatores meaning beggars. Householders are asked for gifts in order to chase bad spirits away. No worries if you can't make it to the January festivities though because Kastoria is also known for the “Orestia”, a chorus festival, its fur exhibition, and many food and drink festivals throughout the year! Another perk of traveling to the endearing city of Kastoria? Direct flights leave frequently between Athens and Kastoria, making it easily accessible!

Source: Greek News Agenda

No comments: