Ioannina

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Template:Ioannina is a city in Greece. is the capital and largest city of Epirus, an administrative region in north-western Greece, with a population of 112,486 (in 2011). It lies at an elevation of approximately 500 metres (1,640 feet) above sea level, on the western shore of lake Pamvotis (Παμβώτις). It is located within the Ioannina municipality, and is the capital of Ioannina regional unit and the region of Epirus. Ioannina is located 450 km (280 mi) northwest of Athens, 290 kilometres (180 miles) southwest of Thessaloniki and 80 km (50 miles) east of the port of Igoumenitsa in the Ionian Sea.

Hitching out

East and North-East towards Macedonia, Bitola, Skopje, Thessaloniki

From city center you just follow main road toward highway and after maybe 10 minutes you will come on petrol station(on right side of road), there is a lot of traffic but people are not keen to pick you up. Wait time was about one hour. They could drove you to highway that leads to Thessaloniki and than you can catch ride on high way intersection. You have okay place to hitch hike there because cars are going from both direction on this high way to Thessaloniki. On high way fence you can read mark that this is not so good place for hitchhiking, somebody wrote this before. There were not so many cars but you can catch a ride to Kozani and than from Kozani to Bitola in Macedonia. If somebody drop you in Kozani and you need to go Macedonia-Bitola, Skopje that will not be so good. You can ask driver maybe if he could drive you to highway 27 and than driver can go right on petrol station and back to Kozani city. Now you are really on high way and only this road is going to Macedonia, Bitola, Skopje, you could not go anywhere from that place and you need to try to hitchhike there. Cars drive fast but you could catch a ride there and stop car (even that is high way but sometimes you do not have any other option). In Greece they really do not like if you say that you will go to Macedonia, better you say that you are going toward Skopje. (hitchhiking there in June 2013.)

Tip: If you head for Macedonia, you can just take Ikea bus (it's free) from city center and stop near the entrance of Egnatia street. Then hitch on the ramp to direction Thessaloniki... It's easier than go to that petrol station mentioned above

Also this on ramp is perdect if you go to Thessaloniki (did many times, never had a problem).


East towards Meteora, Larissa

Do NOT take the old national road that swings north over the lake. No one uses that road. Though there is a bus for 5 euro to the next town East where you can keep hitching. Take the IKEA bus (free) from the center, and get off at the crossroads of the ignatia (highway), Hitch on the on-ramp. If you go to Meteora or Larissa some kilometers after Metsovo you have to leave Egnatia and take E06 road.

From Meteora to Ioannina, you have to get on the E92. Just after the camping-rooms Meteora Gardens, there is a cafe on the side of the road. There's a long stretch opposite. If you come from Krastraki, you can walk down the road that cross the E92. The cafe is at that crossroad.

East towards Albania, Gjirokaster, Tirana

Take the airport bus from the center (#2) and get off at the airport. There is a traffic light and a bus station where people slow down and have tone of place to pull over. You can see many Albanian driver plates and hitching without a sign can be done as there is no other town in between the border and Ioannina.

Sleeping

On the North-East side of town there is a school, a running track, and a jet-ski/watersports area. In this general area there are many potential sleeping locations. Nearer to the water and the white tower for the water sports area is a nice grassy location. There is also a water source there.

In the city center, right at the lake, there are some steps with fishermen during the day. If you do not pitch a tent you can easily crash in one of the lower steps as nobody sees you from the street. Just do not go all the way to the lowest step as it can be wet depending on the water level which depends on the time of the year.

Next to the lake there is the old town of Ioannina and the Castle around it. There are some places that you can climb the walls of the castle and you can sleep up there having a nice view of Ioannina and the lake. It's safe because not many people go there. I did it sometimes and even put up a tent.