IOANNINA, Greece — What’s not to like about this island, with its cobbled streets, traditional stone-built houses, affordable fresh fish, and a quiet 15-minute boat ride from the mainland?
But Pamvotis Island is missing out on Greece’s tourism boom, hurt by its geography and the country’s severe financial crisis.
Not in the Aegean or the Ionian Seas, the island is in a lake near Greece’s border with Albania, and was popular domestic destination before Greece came to the brink of bankruptcy four years ago.
Its 300 permanent residents have seen bookings drop by half, and have had to adapt their businesses while waiting for crippling recession to end.
Many locals split their time between fishing and working in tourism services, and have expanded lake fish exports to eastern Europe, while promoting the tiny island as a destination of weddings and family ceremonies, as well day-trip stop thanks to a newly built highway that spans across northern Greece.