Kastoria Greece

Kozani.The Prefecture of Kastoria is located at the west end of Western Macedonia, bordering with the prefectures of Florina, Grevena, Kozani and Ioannina, as well as with Albania, to the west.The city of Kastoria unfolds amphitheatrically 620 metres above sea level. It is built on a peninsula that penetrates Orestiada Lake, in the shade of the impressive mass of Grammos and Vitsi Mountains. According to the last census, the population of the Prefecture is 53.483 inhabitants, 20.636 of whom live in the city.
Kastoria is connected with Athens by air, through the “Aristotle” International Airport at Argos Orestikon. The Prefecture is nowadays easily accessed via Egnatia Highway. Alternatively, one can always use the old national road.accommodation for those who want to get away even from the small towns of the area.

The lake of Kastoria

One of the most beautiful in the Balkans, is directly linked to the character, history and development of the city. It has been classified as “Monument of Natural Beauty” by the Ministry of Culture and it has been integrated in the European Network “Nature 2000”. It covers an area of about 28 square kilometres and its maximum depth is 9.5 metres. In the region, there are nine streams flowing into the lake. The largest one of them is the stream of Xeropotamos. Apart from the streams and the rain water, Orestiada lake is also supplied by several underwater springs. It is a wetland of great importance for both aquatic and predator birds, since this is where they reproduce, feed and winter. It preserves a rich bird fauna – about 200 species – including rare and endangered species, protected by international and national law. The most typical species are pygmy cormorants and Dalmatian pelicans, four species of herons, mute swans, wild ducks, night herons, cormorants and many waterside birds. Apart from the large number of birds inhabiting the lake, it is the only lake in Greece where one meets an important area of lakeside forests of hydrophilic trees, consisting one of the most rare habitats in Europe. The lake of Kastoria is the second most productive lake in Greece in terms of fishing. The fish species inhabiting the lake are the following: carp, perch, chub, tench, wells, muskellunge, roach and butterfly ray.

Kastoria - Photos Anne

The Aliakmonas River

Aliakmonas is the largest river of Greece, is 297km long. It flows from Grammos mountain into Thermaikos Gulf. It is the only river of Western Macedonia and it is a rare wetland habitat and one of the richest water resources in the region. On the riverbanks, there are dense forests of deciduous trees creating a complex ecosystem of unique beauty. In Aliakmonas, there are about 30 fish species such as river trouts, barbells, mullets and nases. Fishing with cane on the riverbanks is allowed around the year, except from the period when fishes reproduce. The diversity of birds seen in the region is wide, including some rare, protected species. Some of the birds reproducing near the river are the following: honey bizzard, Egyptian vulture, short-toed eagle, long-legged buzzard, booted eagle, rock partridge, common tern, roller.

Grammos mountain

Grammos mountain is a land of incomparable beauty and maybe one of the few unexplored destinations in Greece. It is at the borders with Albania and its highest peak reaches 2.520 metres. Its peaks are characterised by the extended grasslands, the alpine rivers and the virgin forests of beeches, oaks, firs, chestnuts, sycamores and pines. Here is where Aliakmonas and Sarantoporos rivers flow from. The forest of Barouga has been classified as “nature monument”. The absence of human interventions over the years maximises its ecological importance. In the heart of Grammos, on the site called Arrenes, there is a small lake called Drakolimni (Dragon Lake). It is a small natural wonder, located 1.740m above sea level. Among the frogs and water lilies of the lake, one can see a rare aquatic specie, the alpine triton, that natives call “fish with legs”.
Another alpine lake is in Sakouli and it can be accessed from Grammos village. The region is inhabited by many species such as the brown bear, the wolf, the wild cat, the wild boar, the roe deer and the wild goat. There are also many birds living and reproducing in this region: honey buzzard, short-toed eagle, golden eagle, rock partridge, grey-headed woodpecker, semi-collared flycatcher, chough, capercaillie, boreal owl. Walking in the daedal paths of the mountain is fascinating, full of surprises.
The alternations of the landscape, passing from the shadowy forests to the alpine grasslands with bloomy flowers, the sound of flowing water offer unique feelings to any visitor.

Places of interest in Macedonia (the 13 prefectures)

Thessaloniki, Halkidiki (Chalkidiki), Kavala, Drama, Serres, Kilkis, Pella, Imathia, Pieria, Florina, Kozani, Grevena and Kastoria.

The Macedonian map

The map of Macedonia Greece

Drama Agion Oros - Athos Chalkidiki Kavala Pieria Serres Kilkis Thessaloniki Pella Florina Imathia Kozani Kastoria Grevena



Text source:
ource: Prefecture Commission for Tourist Promotion of Kastoria and The Hellenic Tourism Organisation

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