Flights to Ioannina
Ioannina is a large city located in the north-west of Greece, and it dates back to the 6th century when it was founded by Emperor Justinian. Today Ioannina is both a modern and a historic city rolled into one.
Four kilometres from the city is the Ioannina National Airport (airport code: IOA), which is served by a number of major airlines all offering 2-stop flights to Ioannina. These airlines all have different routes when travelling from South Africa; United Airlines connects in New York City and Athens, while KLM will go via Amsterdam and Athens. A flight to Ioannina with British Midland has stop-overs in London and also Athens. Flights to Ioannina can vary widely in times, with some routes taking just 20 hours, and some as long as 40.
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The Tourist Attractions of Ioannina:
Nisaki Isle on Pamvotis Lake
Pamvotis Lake is a lovely attraction in its own right, but the small island in the middle is a common destination for locals and tourists visiting Ioannina. There are ferries that go back and forth frequently, so it is easy to get to. You can shop at a number of small shops, and see some local monasteries that have been converted into museums. There are six monasteries in all, including two from before the 12th century.
The Fethiey Mosque was built during the Ottoman Empire and is a popular historical attraction for Ioannina. Ali Pasha, ruler during the 1700s undertook a lot of remodelling to this 14th century building and he himself is buried at the site.
Cathedral of St. Athanasius
There was an old Orthodox Cathedral here prior to construction of the Cathedral of St Athanasius, but it was destroyed in an 1820 fire. The current structure was completed in 1833, and is an important pilgrimage destination for pilgrims of St. George of Ioannina.
The Perama Caves are about 4 kilometres outside of town and should not be missed when visiting Ioannina. The elaborate underground stone formations are amazing, some of which are very rare. There are 19 different types of stalactites present, and visitors can enjoy one of the regular tours of the cave, which take less than an hour.
Like with most Greek cities, there are ancient ruins nearby to Ioannina that you should try to get to. Some parts of the Dodona site date to 350BC, including the large and impressive open-air theatre that is still in place. There are many smaller buildings and temples around the site too, including a temple specifically for the worship of the Goddess Aphrodite.
Museums in Ioannina
There are a number of excellent historical museums around Ioannina, including the Byzantine Museum, the National Archaeological Museum of Ioannina and the Fotis Rapakousis Museum (located in the Aslan Mosque). Any of these will show you great collections of ancient artefacts from around Ioannina and other parts of Greece.
When Should You Visit?:
The weather in Ioannina is mild through the year with warm (but not too hot) summers. Winters from December through February are usually above freezing but there can be quite a bit of rain those months, making them poor for travel. Instead, plan to visit Ioannina between May and October. Though it will reach 25C (76F) during July and August, these months are generally the nicest for sight-seeing.