Handpicked travel choices in Kastoria.


 

Accommodation

The sophisticated simplicity of a cherry tree countryside guesthouse

Being revamped recently, Vissinokipos (from the Greek word meaning cherry tree) reinforces all the aspects of your Kastoria experience. Rooted in the local vernacular and lovingly cared for, this modest countryside property, decorated with vintage items, pop artifacts and even some Mickey Mouse posters dotted throughout the property; combines hospitality with creativity, and therein lays its greatness. Providing a full accommodation package makes you feel at home ... away from your home and at the same time is acting like an agent of discovery that exposes you to an alternative destination, opening your eyes to North Greece – which hasn’t spoiled its charms and Kastoria.

Back in 2015, a young couple from Thessaloniki together with their toddler decided to leave regular jobs and city life behind to create a cultured shelter. The choice to integrate art with personalized care under the same roof, would have the dual benefit of giving Kastoria guests an accommodation choice that was absent in the area.

The tourist product currently represented by Christos and his wife Christina - the hospitable, approachable, and discreet owners of the lodging, is not part of any travel mold. It is the result of their own view, as travelers who frequently roam the world with their motorbikes, and a long-lasting understanding on hospitality forming a memorable detoxifying retreat that responds to your needs for short and long getaways alike. They live in the elegantly minimalist and bohemian Vissinokipos 360 days of the year, with no extra staff, so they are always on hand, and thus, you get the feel staying at a relative’s home.

accommodation-tried-and-tested-vissinokipos-aposkepos-kastoria-greece-stemajourneys.com.jpg

The essence of holidays in Kastoria is taking in images and aromas on the banks of Lake Orestiada.

- SteMajourneys

www.stemajourneys.com-vissinokipos-aposkepos-kastoria-greece-365.jpg

Though not located at the heart of Kastoria, Vissinokipos is accessible via car approximately 10 minutes, away from the Kastoria’s hullabaloo. Ideal for folks who need a hint of remoteness, but also those who want to experience the graciousness of North Greece throughout the year. Found at a key location, the property is a good start for excursions all around the region – being not far from Florina and Prespa Lakes as well it is laying under the historic mountains of Macedonia. Thus, you can do many scenarios based on Vissinokipos. Unless you get stuck there like we did. As it Tsehof-name suggests, Vissinokipos has already weaved a holiday story for you and your company.

The guesthouse’s entire infrastructure is expanded in a-6-acres land, fenced by a flora, mostly cherry and willow trees - perfect for summer feast next to the stone-built barbecue. Also, there is a spacious parking lot for the guests and a small playground (in the backyard).

From the moment you arrive, checking-in Vissinokipos, you encounter the expansive lush outdoors, a well-maintained garden and homey open-air lounge. Built on a hill-side facing Kastoria’s fairy-tale lake, your choice of accommodation already feels like a haven. The interior design is simply great: wondering inside the property feels like you are transported to an acting-stage. A single white bar, a humble dining room (in reception debts), a kitchen and a living room with a fireplace screening the lake, comfy loungers for endless chit-chats with other guests, a well-loaded book library full of inspiring books about Kastoria and beyond, and the breakfast tables next to a smart glass partition (on the right). On the walls, there are brilliant sketches from Greece’s contemporary painter, Kostas Lakis, a huge blackboard for impromptu scribbles and a tiny corner full of children toys, next to the book collection, adding to the guesthouse’s conveniences.

Vissinokipos features 10 rooms (2 triples, 4 doubles and 6 chambers), altogether stretched between the first and the second floor. Each lodging is decorated in a unique way (diverse wallpapers or colors), with pictures or canvases hanging on its walls, soft divans as well as old-fashioned furniture. Every room has a veranda with a view either on the lake, the mountain or the guesthouse’s garden, as well as free Wi-Fi access, TV, a/c, fridge, hairdryer and bath amenities.

Breakfast awakening (served in front of the glass partition facing the garden) with a great selection of local delicacies, such as the scrumptious fresh goat butter bought from a local shepherd, Christina’s mouthwatering seasonal fruit jams (taste the one from cherry plums) and delicious homemade pastries (leek-spinach-cheese pies). Then, brunching on the loggia, enjoying a greek coffee or tsipouro (local liquer), while taking in the serenity of Lake Orestiada.

Vissinokipos will not try to impress you with extravagances. Treat your stay there as a seemingly acting performance, that would inspire even Tsehof himself if he had visited Western Macedonia.

Tip: Upon request, Vissinokipos can also accommodate large groups of people by reserving all of its 10 rooms. For top-notch travel tips you won’t have to go far either: Christos will help you wander around the region. Not being competitive to the local culinary scene of Kastoria, does not serve any other meals apart from breakfast, but Christina can prepare lunch/dinner with home-grown products upon her tight schedule and inspirational mode. Expect an excellent varied hearty, homemade fare based on the season.

Info: Vissinokipos, Aposkepos Kastoria, 24670-29721/6944830493, https://www.hotelvissinokipos.gr; doubles from 50€ (breakfast included).

Food

 

To Steki tis pareas

food-tried-and-tested-to-steki-tis-pareas-kastoria-greece-stemajourneys.com.jpg

Found at the entrance of the city To Steki tis pareas is popular among the locals (operating since 1966, when it was mainly feeding soldiers) and with a side view on the lake Orestiada. With tasty Greek homemade cuisine, good quality meat on the grill and scrumptious desserts from Vangelis, who owns the place by adding his creative touch onto various traditional dishes, is a must-try. Top chef's dishes include pork tenderloin in plum sauce, beef cheeks and the specialty of the region, "batzo" - a fried slice of a rather salty and spicy cheese topped with tomato and eggs).

WHY TO GO:

  • Temperatures are normally below zero in Kastoria, but here the atmosphere is always warm and welcoming.

  • For its experimental kitchen

  • For the large portions of food

Cistevo

Cistevo is located a few kilometers away from Kastoria, well-known for its specialty in mushrooms being foraged by the owner from the high mountains of Macedonia and cooked by his wife in different versions. Thus, at the same dinner date you can taste a mushroom omelet, pickled mushrooms or even mushrooms sweet spoon! In case you do wish to indulge into something else, there is also a variety of local meat as well as homemade pies. Besides, the historic village of Sidirohori, apart from mushrooms it also serves jaw dropping panoramic views of the lake Orestiada.

WHY TO GO:

  • For the haunting taste of fried mushrooms with onion, garlic and herbs

  • For the cinematic narratives that were born on its tables

  • To take a walk on the surrounding mountains -  battlefields during the Greek Civil War

 
 

Follow your nose to the nearby Thea Dimitra (aka the Greek Goddess of harvest ) for a chocolate croissant or their legendary cookies stuffed with orange cream – the best way to start your day. Afterward, shift your gaze toward Arsanas (next to the Panagia Mavriotissa Monastery on a quite secret side of the lake) to enjoy a coffee or other refreshment. For a seafood feast and homemade tsipouro, visit Paraskevas, a rustic little fish tavern that counts years of quality food and thus, maintaining a good reputation. For a drink head to Antho's all-day café-bar that apart from greek nibbles introduces various music bands to a lively local crowd. For supplies from around Kastoria, go to Mr. Kostas Vlachodemo’s market.


 
practical-info-stemajourneys.com.jpg
 

Thea Dimitra, franchise around Kastoria, 2467082669

Arsanas, Agiou Nikolaou (next to the Cave of Dragon), 2467085506

Paraskevas, Kefalari, 2467072521

Anthos, Agiou Athanasiou 6 (Davaki Sq.), 2467502971

Kostas Vlachodimos, Megalou Alexnadrou 11 (bus starting point), 2467083850