West Macedonia is full of rich forests that include plane trees, pine trees, leafy oak trees and many more. In them live many species of Greek fauna: wild boars, bears, wolves and foxes, deer and hares, as well as birds such as eagles, hawks and many kinds of game birds. Hidden small but valuable treasures, like mushrooms and herbs, complete this wonderful puzzle of nature.
So, if tourism and the environment are among your favorite activities and you love hunting, fishing or gathering mushrooms and herbs, Kastoria will offer you a unique trip, full of pictures and flavors that will please even the most demanding of you. A tour guide like this or the help of a local club will help you taste alternative vacations in Kastoria and live a special and wonderful experience.
Hunting is one of the oldest habits of man and has remained a favorite hobby for many. Turtle doves and quail are the prey that earned the preference of hunters, while in winter the hunting of wood pigeons and woodcocks claim this interest. Those who prefer four-legged game are traditionally hunting hares and wild boars. The hunting clubs of Kastoria can guide you to the best hunting grounds as well as the species and the places you will find them.
The hunting club of Kastoria takes action on the protection and rational management of game wealth, improving hunting grounds and managing wildlife and flora. With respect for the environment and following all legal procedures, the hunting season for turtle doves and quail begins around the 20th of August and around the 15th of September begins the hunt for other game, like wild boar and hare as well as partridges, woodcock and mallards.
For friends of shooting sports, there is also the Kostarazi Shooting Club (https://www.facebook.com/skopeftikileshi.kostaraziou) which has been operating since 1999. Built on modern installations amidst a green background that you can visit as a excursion to admire nature, the club opens in late April and remains open until the end of August. Stakeholders must meet certain prerequisites for their participation in matches or training sessions.
KASTORIA HUNTING CLUB,
VAN FLEET SQUARE,
Tel.: +30 24670 29387
and ARGOS ORESTIKO HUNTING CLUB,
Gr. ALEXANDER str. 55,
Tel.: +30 24670 43373
An integral part of Kastoria is its fishermen! As you enter the city you will see them casting their nets in the waters of the lake. Fishing from the coast is quite widespread. Fishing alone or in groups, fishers form a very beautiful picture as you see them around the lake fishing while their radios emit all kinds of music. The picturesque and unique boats of the city, also known as "Kastorian ships", will surely grab your attention as they float around the lake.
An old Kastorian saying was "either fisherman either furrier", which suggests a rich fishing tradition. Even since 5000 B.C., the lake of Kastoria was a source of life for the locals, as shown by the findings in the lake settlement of Dispilio. Nowadays, Kastorian fishermen use nets, fishing lines and of course fishing on the boat.
The lake hosts plenty of fish (http://kpe-kastor.kas.sch.gr/site%20lake/fauna/fishes.htm), such as carps, pikes, flathead grey mullets, pumpkinseed, catfish and eels. Apart from the lake, there is also the Aliakmonas River which originates from the Grammos Mountain. Wild scenery, rushing waters and 33 different species of fish (including trout, gilt-head bream and barbel) make up the longest river in Greece. If you like fishing in a river then you definitely need to include it on your trip.
Fishing is allowed throughout the year except during the breeding season. During the hot nights, evening pike fishing is very popular. You will meet many fishermen as they spend their time sharing stories until they sting a fish.
Even if you are not a fan of fishing, you can visit the Kastoria aquarium. It showcases many species living in the prefecture's waters and beyond. For fishing gear, there are local shops in the city that can supply you with what you may need. The traditional mansion hotel Orologopoulos (http://www.orologopoulos.gr/) is an excellent choice for accommodation. It's located just a few meters from the lake and less than five minutes by car from the Environmental Education Center where the aquarium is housed.
With a stroll through the dense forests of the prefecture, you will discover numerous treasures. Mountain slopes fill the eye of the naturalists with beautiful pictures and their stomach with edible mushrooms, free of fertilizers and pesticides! Wild mushrooms are harvested from slopes, streams and valleys of Grammos and Vitsi mountains.
Pleurotus, the most famous fungus, grows on dead wood of broad-leaved trees during the winter. Rich in antioxidants and eritadenine, it's fit for a good meal. Boletus is found in forests of chestnut, oak, birch and pine trees mainly during the rainy months of the year. Finally, Cantharellus is found in forests with coniferous trees and has a flavor and taste that will please even the most demanding gourmets. In mid-May you will be able to discover and fill your own basket!
Last but not least, the top preference of mushroom hunters, the famous and fragrant truffle. Kastoria has satisfactory sizes and quantities and is thus high on the list of sites for the aspiring truffle hunters.
Gathering of Herbs
Coming to Kastoria you will notice many plants and herbs on the slopes of the mountains. Some of them are precious medicines for our health.
In your walks from June to October you will meet arnica, a plant similar to yellow daisy. It's used to treat bruises, used in cream form prepared from its leaves only. The humble and wonderful chamomile can be found in many large areas. Offering a beautiful image and light fragrance, it is also an essential herb that is found in every home. Chamomile blooms in spring and is a natural tranquilizer, soothes stomachaches, rheumatism and arthritis.
Kastoria's favorite beverage is of course the wild mountain tea. Aromatic and rich in caffeine, with a unique and intense flavor, it comes first on the list during the cold winter months as it helps in colds and is antioxidant. You will find it during the summer months and you must let it dry in a shady place before use.