Greece, Epirus Region, Ioannina, elevated city view, Lake Pamvotis and Nisi Island.

Walter Bibikow/Getty

Ioannina Island


In the middle of the lake, the reed-encircled patch of land locals just call To Nisi (The Island) is a pretty, peaceful destination, whether you just want a boat ride and a stroll on some car-free streets, or you're up for sightseeing, at the interesting little Ali Pasha Museum, the Lake Pamvotis Information Center and a fresco-bedecked Moni Filanthropinon. (The island is Greece's third-largest monastic community, after Mt Athos and Meteora). Boats leave frequently from near Plateia Mavili; the ride takes about 10 minutes.

In the 17th century, refugees from the Mani, in the Peloponnese, built the little settlement where boats arrived; about 200 people still live here. Away from this little town area, the island is a little wilder, and a walking path leads around the circumference. Traditionally, the island was a destination for a meal of fish and eels from the lake. Pollution has dampened the local appetite for these dishes, but the tanks still feature outside restaurants. The real treat is the baklava and other nut snacks hawked at a lot of the shops.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Ioannina attractions

1. Lake Pamvotis Information Center

0.11 MILES

Learn about Ioannina Island's natural world – and how humans have worked with it for centuries – at this two-storey exhibit space. After a quick visit,…

2. Ali Pasha Museum

0.13 MILES

On Ioannina's idyllic island, the monastery where Ali Pasha made his last stand (or recline, really) in 1822 is now a small, cheerfully morbid museum,…

3. Moni Filanthropinon

0.23 MILES

This monastery, active at least since the 13th century, bursts with flowers and is tended by kindly nuns – in stark contrast with its church, in which one…

4. Byzantine Museum

0.83 MILES

This museum presents early Christian and Byzantine art, pottery, coins and silverware, plus post-Byzantine icons and manuscripts, early Venetian-produced…

5. Municipal Ethnographic Museum

0.87 MILES

Set inside the Aslan Pasha Mosque (1619), the museum exhibits local costumes and period photographs, along with tapestries and prayer shawls from Ioannina…

6. Its Kale

0.88 MILES

A more heavily fortified section within the Kastro, the Its Kale (Inner Castle) today feels less like a citadel than a city park. Inside the ramparts, on…

7. Silversmithing Museum

0.93 MILES

Although the centre of Ioannina no longer rings with the distinctive tapping hammers of the city's famous artisans, that sound and their trade are…

8. Kahila Kedosha Yashan Synagogue

1.04 MILES

Open only by appointment, this temple, built in 1829, is nonetheless worth scheduling ahead if you're interested in Ioannina's deep Jewish history…