When you visit Ioannina don’t miss to take the boat to the small island of the Lake Pamvotida, which is the one and only “anonymous” island in the middle of a lake in Greece.
It is a small miracle of nature, unbelievably beautiful, and of great historical significance. It is situated towards the north western part of the lake, a hair’s breadth away from the village settlement of Amfithea.
Its west side has a gentle coastline, while the remainder of its coastline is rocky, with impressive stony outcrops which plunge into the water. It is covered in woodland – the climate created by the lake favours the growth of lush vegetation. It truly is an earthly paradise. It and the island of Agios Achilleios in Prespa are the only lake islands in Greece which are inhabited.
There is only one village on the island which is a real gem, with picturesque paved alleys and folk art shops. The village has been designated an example of a traditional settlement, due to its exceptional historical importance and its architectural beauty. It used to be an important monastic center and today you can still visit five monasteries of great historical significance.
You can also visit the Pre-revolutionary Period Museum which is housed in a cell of Panteleimonas monastery where Ali Passa was murdered in 1822. Its collection includes exhibits from the period of the Ottoman occupation, Ali Passa’s personal items and unique relics from the Ottoman period in Ipeiros, offering visitors the opportunity to become better acquainted with the history of Ioannina. We recommend you to follow the path which goes around the island. The tour is 2.5 km long and it is very beautiful.
An island full of history
The island was first inhabited in the 13th century, by monks who also founded the monasteries which visitors can admire today. The first monastery, built in 1292, is the Monastery of St. Nicholas Philanthropinon. The founder, Michael Philanthropinos (the Philanthropic), was the Metropolitan Bishop of Ioannina. At around the same time the Monastery of St. Nicholas Dilios was founded by the Strategopoulos family.
The monastic community flourished particularly in the 16th century, leading to the building of famous monasteries such as Saint Nicholas Methodius, the Monastery of John the Baptist, the St. Panteleimon Monastery, the Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Saviour and the Monastery of the Prophet Elias which stands on the highest hill on the island.
How to get there?
The island is connected with the city of Ioannina by ferries, which carry residents and visitors back and forth every day till 24.00 during the summer period and till 22.00 in winter.