Photo CC-BY-SA 3.0 by Evmeos
Igoumenitsa’s port is located in the northernmost part of the Greek coast across the Ionian Sea; Igoumenitsa (or Igoumenitsa) is part of the ancient Thesprotia Region, very close to Epirus. Behind the town, heading towards the hinterlnd, there is the Pindos mountain range. Instead , just in front of it, looking towards Italy, there is the island of Corfu.
Indeed arriving by ferry (book here) seems to be inside a postcard view: the sea, the port and the city with the woods behind create a bright green and blue backdrop under a clear sky. Nature is very lush here, due mainly to the Balkan climate, meaning cold in winter and hot in summer, but without reaching the typical scorching temperatures of the south.
while landing in Igoumenitsa you won’t be able to see that the city is modern with a historical center as in most of the Greek cities; there aren’t ancient monuments and churches to explore. The explanation is that, unfortunately, the whole city was destroyed during World War II; the inhabitants have rebuilt with great effort and undivided commitment, but of course they couldn’t do much about restoring to the previous beauty the lost ancient monuments.
Luckily something is left, such as the FORTRESS Ragio with its 5 meter high walls that had to protect the city from enemy attacks. Here, in more than a few ruins, you can also see the Bronze Age findings.
The port of Igoumenitsa has been rebuilt in 1960; the new port instead was built in 2003. It was a necessary decision also because the city, thanks to its strategic location, has a great flow of travelers, especially from the sea. There are several Italian ports on the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, from which are able to ship ferries to Igoumenitsa: for example from Brindisi it takes about 8 hours to get there.
Photo CC-BY-SA 3.0 by Evmeos
Exploring Greece from Igoumenitsa: Egnatia Odos
From Igoumenitsa also you can reach very quickly CORFU as the isle is very close, as well as the ISLAND OF PAXI.
If traveling by ferry transporting a car or a motorcycle, you can take the famous Egnatia Odos, which is the highway that, from Igoumenitsa, allows to cross the mountain range of Pindos and arrives very quickly into all the major Greek cities; Thessaloniki, Ioannina and Athens; the latter is far from Igoumenitsa just 480 km. The Egnatia Odos comes to the border with Turkey, the Kipi border crossing.
If you are not bringing your own transport, it will easy to rent out something using one of the many charter agencies here in town. It will certainly become a different holiday because you will also be able to shoot a little in the rear and going after less tourist sites with the most picturesque views.
One of the most magical and charming places in all of Greece is no doubt METEORA, near the city of Kalambata. It is a short distance from Igoumenitsa but absolutely worth going there. A number of orthodox monasteries will look at you, perched on high rocks: the name literally means “in the middle of the air”. Watching from afar these monasteries, one wonders how they could possibly have built them on top of those rocks. Yet they were built as many as 24! Of these, however, only 7 remain standing , 6 of which are inhabited by monks: Agios Stefanos, Agios Nikolaos, Aghia Triada, Gran Meteora, Roussanou and Varlaam. You get to the monasteries going up the stairs in the rock. But be careful because women must have their legs covered in order to be allowed inside and visit the monasteries (the monks themselves may provide a towel).
METEORA was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.
You can also move easily around just using public transport. Buses make several trips a day in the direction of the main Greek cities, but also to the seaside resorts as PARGA, SAGIADA and SIVOTA or the beaches of PLATARIA. The latter is located at 12km from the city, towards south, and it is a small fishing village – you can eat cheaply in one of the many tavernas on the waterfront. Its beaches of ELENA, the beach of SOUFIS and ELIA are popular with tourists.
The Drepanos beach is only 5 km far from the port of Igoumenitsa and extends over 7 km. You will enjoy a beautiful stretch of white sand, a crystal clear sea and pine and eucalyptus trees that give very generously shade and fragrance.
Instead if you are staying n the city, you have the option of cheap hotels. You must taste the typical Greeks dishes in one of the many delicious restaurants and taverns that are located near the port or on the coast. It would be better to avoid those restaurants offering international cuisine: just take full advantage of this holiday to sample amazing and original Greek food which is very tasty.
This way you can say that you have done everything necessary to deepen your knowledge of the territory, with all its incredible elements to discover, and your Greek holiday will be very successful.