One of the least inhabited islands of Europe’s lakes is here, in Ioannina. The island has a world first … it has no name! They call it “Islet of the Lake” or “Islet of Ioannina” and has about 250 inhabitants, a community of mainly fishermen. It is a rock damp in the pine trees, with a unique stone settlement around its natural harbor. Though small, the island has seven monasteries – the third largest monastic community in Greece, after Mount Athos and Meteora.
Lake Pamvotis embraces the island and the route to it marks the passage to another era, enchanting that it only takes ten minutes to experience it. Gray slabs on the rooftops, white washed streets, kind people, plenty of flowers are the scenery. Fishing unites the inhabitants of this distinct and particular society with the wet element. The boats that bind to the pier lead you to the island, to the famous Ali Pasha’s home.
The inhabitants of the island are among the most hospitable people you will ever meet. For decades, at the monasteries’ gatherings thousands of people have been gathering on the island. During the years of the Ottoman Empire, the inhabitants of the multicultural Ioannina rented the boats of the islanders, brought with them food and musical instruments and made night boats under the light of the moon. On their holidays, always. Sunday Christians, Saturday Jews, Friday Muslims.They are always ready to tell you stories, traditions and legends. The sense of travelling in time accompanies you in your tour in the island. The walk in the narrow streets formed between the traditional stone houses of Epirus construction is magnificent. Folk art shops and small traditional taverns are waiting to please the visitors. It is one of the few places in Greece that you can enjoy frog legs or fresh eels, crawfish and even pestrofa fish, of course, along with a local tsipouro. If you continue hiking (cars do not exist), the picturesque whitewashed paths will lead you to the monasteries of the island.
You walk beside the water and you feel the tranquility of the scenery, you see the lake and the city opposite, you hear only the singing of the birds, the sound of the water and the reeds, the steps on the fallen leaves. You climb up the hill and gaze at you. Now you can understand the myths and legends of the area that want a secret tunnel to unite the island with the city or a hole on the wooden floor of St. Panteleimon’s monastery to be made of the murderous sphere that sealed the fate of Ali Pasha and her area.