Castle of Ioannina Greece, blue sky with white fluffy clouds

Hidden gem of Greece, Ioannina surpassed all of our expectations! It has an amazing food scene, Ioannina Island is really charming and the city itself is also very scenic. Additionally, Ioannina is a great stopover between Corfu and Meteora and is the perfect addition to any Greece trip. We love off the beaten path destinations and Ioannina certainly ticks all of the boxes! Find out more about Greece’s best kept secret in our Ioannina destination guide.

Short on time? Here are our Ioannina Greece top recommendations:

Highlights: admire the historic Ioannina Castle and take a ferry across Lake Pamvotis to explore the charming Ioannina Island.

Activities: book your Ioannina Greece Tours with Get Your Guide.

Accommodation: we use to find the best hotels.

Car Hire: for great value car rental in Greece we recommend

Transport: FlixBus for intercity buses.

Flights: find cheapest flights with cashback on WayAway.

Airport Lounge Access: start your holiday the right way with Priority Pass.

Travel Medical Insurance: SafetyWing Nomad Insurance is the ideal choice for long-term travellers and digital nomads.

What is Ioannina Greece known for?

Ioannina is a lively university town that is also known for its rich Byzantine history, which is still evident in landmarks like Ioannina Castle. Additionally, it offers tasty local cuisine as well as beautifully crafted silverwork. Furthermore, if you’re interested in history, you’ll find plenty to explore here. The castle is a must-visit, and there are several museums in the city that are worth checking out. If you’re a foodie, you’ll love the local cuisine. And if you’re looking for unique souvenirs to take home, the silverwork here is some of the best in Greece.

Why you should visit Ioannina Greece

Streetview Ioannina Greece
Ioannina Greece

Ioannina is the perfect place for anyone wanting to experience an authentic Greece city away from crowds of tourists. Set on the edge of the picturesque Lake Pamvotis, Ioannina is a pretty city which boasts a number of historic sites as well as a vibrant food scene. We particularly enjoyed relaxing walks by the lake, indulging in culinary delights such as frogs legs and baklava and exploring the rustic Ioannina Island.

Ioannina Destination Guide: Know before you go

Basic info about Ioannina Greece

  • City name in Greek – Ιωάννινα or Ioánnina in romanised letters. Also known as Yannena.
  • Language – Greek. English is becoming more widely spoken in the country. However not everyone you meet will be able to speak English.
  • Currency – euro (EUR). This has been the official currency of Greece since 2001. Currency exchanges can be found in most cities and ATMs are also available widely throughout the country.
  • Population – 66,000 (2011)
  • Area – 47 km2
  • Administrative region – Epirus
  • Regional unit – Ioannina
  • Emergency number – 112
  • Police number – 100, 171 (tourist police)

Utilities in Ioannina Greece

Katsari Park overlooking Lake Pamvotida Ioannina Greece
Katsari Park overlooking Lake Pamvotida Ioannina Greece

  • Electricity – Greece uses Type C and also Type F power plugs. The country operates on a 230v supply voltage at 50Hz. Power outages are common in Greece.
  • Water –the tap water in Ioannina is safe to drink.
  • Toilets – sit-down flushing toilets are the most common type of toilet in Greece, although Turkish style squat toilets can be found in some places. Don’t flush your toilet paper – use the bins provided. Public toilets are uncommon in Greece. Furthermore the public toilets that are around often have the toilet seat missing and have a charge for use. The charge is usually around 50 cents.
  • Telephone country code: +30

Where is Ioannina Greece?

Ioannina is in the Ioannina region of northwest Greece. It is an inland city of mainland Greece and is located on Lake Pamvotis.

The closest major Greek city to Ioannina is Igoumenitsa on mainland Greece. It is 410km (255miles) northwest of Athens and also 260km (162miles) southwest of Thessaloniki. Ioannina is 1.5 hours by bus from Igoumenitsa, 3.5 hours by bus from Thessaloniki and 5.5 hours by bus from Athens.

How to get to Ioannina Greece

Ioannina destination guide: Arriving by land

Ioannina Greece intercity land transport

KTEL Bus from Igoumenitsa to Ioannina Greece
KTEL Bus from Igoumenitsa to Ioannina Greece

The main transport options for travelling overland to Ioannina Greece are:

  • Private vehicle
  • Private transport operator
  • Shuttle Bus
  • Bus
  • Bike

Driving to Ioannina from within Greece

If you are driving to Ioannina from within Greece, here are the travel times and distances:

  • Igoumenitsa – 1 hour (78km, 49miles) with tolls or 1 hour 25 minutes (88km, 54miles) without tolls
  • Kalabaka – 1 hour 38 minutes (105km, 65miles) with tolls or 2 hours 14 minutes (118km, 73miles) without tolls
  • Patras – 2 hours 30 minutes (217km, 135miles) with tolls or 3 hours 54 minutes (237km, 147miles) without tolls
  • Larissa – 2 hours 44 minutes (188km, 117miles) with tolls or 3 hours 18 minutes (200km, 124miles) without tolls
  • Thessaloniki – 2 hours 51 minutes (261km, 162miles) with tolls or 4 hours 27 minutes (302km, 188miles) without tolls
  • Volos – 3 hours 24 minutes (246km, 153miles) with tolls or 4 hours 12 minutes (262km, 163miles) without tolls
  • Athens – 4 hours 21 minutes (411km, 255miles) with tolls or 6 hours 55 minutes (462km, 287miles) without tolls

Intercity trains to Ioannina Greece

There are no trains in or near Ioannina Greece. However the closest train station is in Kalambaka Greece, which is over an hour drive away.

Intercity buses to Ioannina Greece

KTEL Thesprotia Bus Terminal Ioannina Greece
KTEL Thesprotia Bus Terminal Ioannina Greece

A common way to get around Greece is by using intercity buses. These are budget friendly and the network is also extensive. KTEL is a popular intercity bus company in Greece. Popular bus destinations from Ioannina include:

  • Athens Greece – travel time 5 hours 30 minutes. Tickets start from 39 euro one way.
  • Thessaloniki Greece – travel time 3 hours 30 minutes. Tickets start from 28 euro one way.
  • Igoumenitsa Greece – travel time 1 hour 30 minutes. Tickets start from 10 euro one way.

Ioannina destination guide: Arriving by air

There is an international airport on Ioannina called Ioannina National Airport (Airport code IOA). This airport is 4km (3 miles) away.

Other nearby airports include:

  • Corfu International Airport (Airport code CFU). This airport is 81km (50 miles) away.
  • Aktion National Airport (Airport code PVK). This airport is 83km (51 miles) away.
  • Kastoria National Airport (Airport code KSO). This airport is 94km (59 miles) away.

The national airline of Greece is Aegean Airlines S.A..

Ioannina destination guide: Arriving by boat

Ferry sailing to Ioannina Island Greece
Ferry sailing to Ioannina Island Greece

Ioannina is an inland city. The closest port to Ioannina is Igoumenitsa. Ioannina is on Lake Pamvotis. Ferries operate between Ioannina and Ioannina Island, which is in the middle of the lake.

Cruise Critic

Ioannina destination guide: How to get around Ioannina Greece

Walking in Ioannina Greece

Ferry at Ioannina Marina Greece
Ferry at Ioannina Marina Greece

By far the easiest as well as the cheapest way to get around Ioannina is to walk. Furthermore, most of the main attractions in the city area are within easy walking distance.

Local buses in Ioannina Greece

Local buses service Ioannina.

Trams in Ioannina Greece

Ioannina does not have a tram system.

Local trains in Ioannina Greece

There are no trains on Ioannina.

Metro trains (subway or underground) in Ioannina Greece

Ioannina does not have an underground train line.

Vehicle hire in Ioannina Greece

Speedboat on Lake Pamvotida Ioannina Greece
Speedboat on Lake Pamvotida Ioannina Greece

A wide variety of vehicles can be rented in Greece. This includes:

  • Bicycles – you can hire a bike from a bike hire shop such as Time for Cycling.
  • Electric scooters
  • Motorcycles
  • Cars
  • SUVs
  • Boats

Drivers in Greece drive on the right side of the road.

Taxis in Greece

Taxis are common in Greece. Fares are regulated and are also usually metered. However outside of major cities taxis may not have meters. In this case the fare will be a fixed price. However in general your fare will include the following costs:

  • The pickup fee or minimum fee – this is charged as soon as you get into the vehicle. This is set at 3.70 euro (price as at 2023).
  • Price per kilometre. This is set at 1.50 euro (price at 2023). A higher charge may be levied at night.
  • Price per hour – this is a price that gets charged when the taxi is stuck in heavy traffic.

There may also be extra charges for heavy luggage and for larger groups.

Ensure the meter is turned on when you get into the vehicle.

It is not necessary to tip taxi drivers in Greece. At most, Greeks may round up the fare to the nearest dollar as a tip.

Ride-share services in Ioannina Greece

There are no ride-share services in Ioannina.

Ioannina destination guide: Is Ioannina worth visiting?

Ioannina is a vibrant cosmopolitan city with a laid-back atmosphere and a great food scene. It is off the tourist trail, but if you enjoy authentic local experiences, we think it’s definitely worth visiting. We were surprised at how much we enjoyed this city. There are plenty of great restaurants to discover, historic sites to explore, and the crowning jewel for us was Ioannina Island. Ioannina is conveniently positioned between Corfu and Meteora, making it a great stopping point when traveling overland through Greece. We highly recommend adding this Greek hidden gem to your Greece itinerary.

Ioannina destination guide: How long to spend in Ioannina Greece

Shops at Ionnina Island Greece
Shops at Ionnina Island Greece

Ioannina is a large city with plenty to explore explore. Allow at least a couple of days to enjoy the city as well as the nearby Ioannina Island. We spent 2 days in Ioannina and enjoyed the great food scene as well as the many activities on offer in the area.

Ioannina destination guide: What to do in Ioannina Greece

Ioannina is a vibrant Greek city with many activities on offer. It has a range of great free activities as well as paid activities.

Ioannina destination guide: Free things to do in Ioannina Greece

Fethiye Mosque Ioannina Greece
Fethiye Mosque Ioannina Greece

There are enough free activities in Ioannina Greece to keep you entertained for a weekend or even a leisurely week:

For more details, see our Ioannina travel guide on the 12 Best Free Things To Do in Ioannina Greece.

Ioannina destination guide: Paid activities in Ioannina Greece

A number of attractions in Ioannina Greece charge an entry fee:

  • Ali Pasha Museum – entry fee is 3 euro for adults (as at 2024).
  • Silversmithing Museum – entry fee is 4 euro for adults (as at 2024).
  • Dodoni Sanctuary and Theatre – entry fee is 8 euro for adults (as at 2024).
  • Archaeological Museum of Ioannina – entry fee is 6 euro for adults (as at 2024).
  • Aslan Pasha Mosque – entry fee is 2 euro for adults (as at 2024).
  • Municipal Ethnographic Museum of Ioannina – entry fee is 2 euro for adults (as at 2024).
  • Outdoor Theatre EHM – prices vary depending on the concert or performance.
  • Byzantine Museum of Ioannina – 3 euros (November-March) or 6 euros (April-October) (as at 2024).
  • Perama Cave – entry fee is 8 euro for adults (as at 2024).
Ali Pasha and Revolutionary Period Museum Ioannina Island Greece, Greek flag
Ali Pasha and Revolutionary Period Museum Ioannina Island Greece

Weather in Ioannina Greece

Ioannina enjoys a warm temperate climate that is classified on the border of humid sub tropical and Mediterranean. Whilst summers can be hot, its inland location makes it colder and wetter than on the coast during winter and snow is not unheard of in January and February. It has cold winters, with average temperature range between -1°C and 9°C in the coldest month of January. Summers last from June to September and are hot and sunny, with the average temperature range between 15°C and 31°C in the hottest month of July. Ioannina is the wettest city in Greece and the month with the most rainfall is November with 9.9 days of rain on average and the driest month is July with an average of 2.0 rainy days.

Best time to visit Ioannina Greece

The best time to visit Ioannina is between May and September, when the weather is most pleasant for outdoor activities. The peak tourist season is between July and August, so expect higher prices at that time. Ioannina is popular for local tourism, however not as regularly frequented by foreign tourists, so you will not find it as crowded as other Greece destinations in the summer months. We visited Ioannina in early June and found it an ideal time to visit.

Internet and mobile phones in Greece

Since June 15th, 2017, Roam Like at Home (RLAT) rules came into force for European Union countries. Due to these rules, people with European Union mobile numbers are no longer charged temporary mobile roaming fees if they travel within the European Union. Consequently if you have a European Union mobile number, you can use that number anywhere within the European Union and you will be charged for calls, texts and data in the same rates as if you were in your home country. There are limits to this in order to prevent abuse of these rules.

There are three major internet and phone companies in Greece – Wind, Cosmote as well as Vodafone.

5G has been in Greece since December 2020. 2G is expected to be switched off in Greece in December 2025 and 3G was switched off in 2023.

Greece is ranked 34th fastest in the world for mobile internet speeds and 102nd fastest for fixed broadband. For Fixed Broadband the average download speed is 50mbps and upload is 9mbps (as at April 2024).

Cell phone SIM cards can be bought in a numbers of places throughout Greece. These include phone stores, from street vendors as well as at airports.

How much to budget for Ioannina Greece?

Is Ioannina expensive?

Ioannina is a very affordable place to visit. As a university town, Ioannina offers plenty of bargains for those on a budget. Accommodation costs are quite reasonable, and it is a very walkable city. There are plenty of free or cheap activities to do here, so you can enjoy your time without breaking the bank.

Ioannina destination guide: Daily spend for a couple travelling in Ioannina Greece

Balsamico Restaurant Ioannina Greece
Balsamico Restaurant Ioannina Greece

As a rough guide, we recommend the following budgets for a couple:

  • Low-budget daily spend – 100 euro per day for a couple will get you budget accommodation, self catering and bakery meals, walking or catching local transport to get around the city and also free or cheap activities.
  • Mid-range daily spend – 300 euro per day for a couple will get you mid-range accommodation, walking or catching local transport to get around the city, dining at reasonably priced cafes and restaurants as well as some paid activities.
  • Luxury spend – 600 euro per day for a couple will get you a premium experience, staying at high end hotels, travelling by private transport, doing a range paid activities as well as eating at high end restaurants.

Ioannina destination guide: Accommodation in Ioannina Greece

Airbnb Ioannina Greece, loungeroom, television and orange couch
Airbnb Ioannina Greece

There is a good range of accommodation to suit most budgets in Ioannina Greece. Airbnb operates in Greece.

Where to stay in Ioannina Greece

We recommend the following accommodation in Ioannina:

  • Best hostel in Ioannina – Backpackers and Travelers Hostel is a charming and welcoming place to stay near the historic Ioannina Castle. The friendly owners share their insider tips on the best sights and activities in the region and make you feel at home. The hostel is spotless and well-organised with a great atmosphere. You can enjoy the panoramic views from the rooftop terrace and cook your own meals in the fully stocked kitchen.
  • Best mid-range hotel in Ioannina – IALNA Boutique Hotel is a unique and elegant accommodation inside the Castle of Ioannina. It combines the historic charm of the castle with the contemporary amenities of a modern hotel. The breakfasts are delicious and varied, offering something for every taste and dietary need. The beds are extremely comfortable, ensuring a peaceful sleep in a cosy setting. The staff are also very kind and helpful, ready to assist you with anything you need.
  • Best luxury hotel in Ioannina – Hotel Antique is a gem of a hotel in the centre of Ioannina. They offer exquisite breakfasts that will energise you for the day ahead. The hotel is full of charming details that add to your enjoyment. The rooms are immaculate, cosy and relaxing. Staff are always eager to help you with a friendly attitude and the place has a very warm and welcoming atmosphere.
  • Best luxury apartments in Ioannina – Selin Luxury Residences is a modern and stylish property with incredible lake views. The owners are hospitable and ready to respond to your every need. The property is spotlessly clean and extremely comfortable. Moreover, there is also a beautiful pool area complete with a waterfall.

How much is accommodation in Ioannina Greece?

For short-term accommodation, a general price per night is as follows:

  • Budget accommodation – 15-22 euro for a dorm
  • Mid-range accommodation – 45-100 euro for a private room
  • Luxury accommodation – 100-150 euro a night for a luxury hotel
  • Rental property – 70-300 euro a night for a fully furnished 3-4 bedroom home

Ioannina destination guide: Food in Ioannina Greece

Samples from Baklava shop Ioannina Island Greece
Samples from Baklava shop Ioannina Island Greece

Frogs, eels as well as trout from the lake are very popular in Ioannina.

How much does food cost in Ioannina Greece?

Our price guide for your food budget in Ioannina Greece is as follows (prices as at 2022):

  • Restaurant meal – 10-25 euro for a main dish
  • Bakery food (bread/pastry/cakes) – 1-2.50 euro
  • Glass of wine – 3-7 euro
  • Coffee – 2-3.50 euro

Couvert charge for restaurants in Greece

Most restaurants will charge a couvert charge if you are dining in. This cover charge is usually around 1-3 euro, but may be higher in touristy areas. It is a fixed per person charge and covers things like table linen, tableware as well as bread.

Service charge for restaurants in Greece

Some restaurants also charge a service charge. This service charge is generally around 5-15%. The service charge is instead of a tip. If you see a service charge listed on the bill, there is no need to leave an additional tip.

Regional dishes in Ioannina Greece

Frog's legs Ioannina Island Greece
Frog’s legs Ioannina Island Greece

  • Alevropita – thin-batter feta pie made with flour
  • Debina – white wine
  • Kefalograviera – a hard table cheese made from sheep’s milk or a blend of sheep’s and goat’s milk. Often used to make saganaki
  • Sker bourek – sugar pie
  • Baklava – a sweet dessert made from phyllo pastry, filled with crushed nuts and also sweetened with honey syrup
  • Alcohol free liqueur
  • Sherbetia – a sweet wine flavoured with fruit and flowers
  • Local recipes using frogs, eel and trout
  • Frogs legs with porridge and grilled vegetables

Other traditional Greek dishes found in Ioannina

Saganaki Cheese from Fysa Roufa Restaurant Ioannina Greece
Saganaki Cheese from Fysa Roufa Restaurant Ioannina Greece

  • Moussaka
  • Cheese Saganaki
  • Souvlaki & Gyros

Cheap Eats in Ioannina Greece

  • Souvlaki as well as gyros are our go to cheap eats option in Greece. Expect to pay around 5-6 euro per serving (prices as at 2022).
Assorted Greek pastries at Christides Bakery Ioannina Greece
Assorted Greek pastries at Christides Bakery Ioannina Greece

Ioannina Greece culture

Greece national holidays

  • New Year’s Day – 1 January
  • Epiphany – 6 January
  • Clean Monday – 1st day of lent for Orthodox Christians, typically March or April
  • Independence Day – 25 March
  • Orthodox Good Friday – typically in April or May.
  • Orthodox Easter Monday – the Monday after Easter Day, typically in April or May.
  • Labour Day – 1 May
  • The Ochi Day (Mera tu Ochi) – 28 October
  • Christmas Day – 25 December
  • St Stephen’s Day – 26 December

National symbols of Greece

Ferry at Ioannina Island Greece, Greek flag
Ferry at Ioannina Island Greece

  • Greece flag – a sky blue and white flag with nine equal alternating stripes of five blue and four white. In the upper hoist-side corner there is a blue square bearing a white cross.
  • Greece coat of arms – a white cross on the blue shield surrounded by two laurel branches.
  • National flower – laurel
  • National bird – little owl
  • Greece national animal – dolphin

Greece pastimes

  • National dish – moussaka
  • Popular drinks – ouzo, Ellinikos Kaffés (Greek coffee), frappe, Greek wine
  • National sport – football (soccer)
  • Religion – 90% Greek Orthodox, 3% Other Christians, 2% Islam (as at 2017)

Famous people from Ioannina Greece

  • Famous people born in Ioannina Greece – singer Amalia Bakas, former President Karolos Papoulias, military leader Mehmet Esat Bülkat, composer Dinos Constantinides, computer scientist Apostolos Gerasoulis, photographer Yannis Kontos, Holocaust survivor Michael Matsas, composer Takis Mousafiris, banker Georgios Stavros, politician Meropi Tzoufi, theologian Hierotheos Vlachos
  • Sports stars from Ioannina Greece – football manager Georgios Simos, Olympic rower Ioannis Tsilis, Olympic skiier Apostolos Angelis, Olympic judoka Ioulietta Boukouvala, volleyball player Ioannis Fakas, basketball player Nikos Filippou, Olympic water polo player Konstantinos Kokkinakis, basketball player Lefteris Mantzoukas, Olympic weightlifter Georgios Markoulas, Olympic weightlifter Maria Tatsi, basketball player Andreas Tsoumanis, Olympic handball player Georgios Zaravinas

Is Ioannina Greece Safe?

Greece travel guide: Safety in Greece

We travelled through Greece for two weeks and found the country to be extremely safe. Greece ranks 60th safest country on the Global Peace Index (as at 2024). As with any country, there are good areas and bad areas. Watch out for pickpockets particularly at crowded tourist attractions. Make sure no-one is watching whenever you are entering pin codes and never lose sight of your credit card when making a purchase.

Greece travel guide: General safety tips for Greece

Other general safety considerations for travel in Greece:

  • Drinking water – the tap water in Greece is safe to drink in most major cities in mainland Greece. However tap water quality varies throughout Greece, particularly on the islands. If in doubt, ask at your accommodation.
  • Mosquitoes – the tiger mosquito has been found in Greece. This type of mosquito spreads diseases such as Zika, dengue and chikunguya. After being eradicated in 1974, malaria returned to Greece in 2011. It is generally limited to May to October and only in some agricultural areas.
  • Altitude sickness – Greece has areas of high altitude. This comes with the risk of altitude sickness. If you are planning to visit any high altitude areas in Greece, be sure to allow sufficient time to acclimatise. If you experience any signs of altitude sickness, such as headache, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, tiredness, loss of appetite or shortness of breath, get help immediately.
  • Road safety – Road accidents are a significant risk on Greece. Road conditions are an issue, particularly in rural areas as well as in inclement weather conditions.
  • Water safety – If you visit any of the islands, coastal areas or lakes, take care when swimming as currents and waves may be stronger than you expect.
  • Earthquakes – Greece experiences earthquake activity. If you experience an earthquake, stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls and anything that could fall. If you are inside get under a table, desk or solid furniture and hang onto it. Cover your head and torso to protect from falling objects. If you are outside, stay outside and go to an open area away from buildings.
  • Sun safety – Exposure to the sun can have adverse short-term and long-term effects on the skin, eyes and immune system. Sun protection such as sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses is very important to ensure you don’t get burnt.

As with any destination, take all of your normal safety precautions.

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