Sightseeing & Activities: what to see and what to do in Prespes


When exploring a destination, aside from flagship attractions, going beyond your personal limits and getting as much as possible familiar with the place is also a must-do.

Waking up before dawn, birdwatching on the banks of the Big and Small Prespa Lake, off-road biking and 4x4 adventures, are just a few of the things one can experience in Prespes. Whether an adrenaline-enthusiast or a local culture-digger, it is more likely to immerse in discovering any secrets of the lake-valley, walking through innumerable trekking paths and enjoying the wild Nature Northern Greece has to offer.

www.stemajourneys.com-prespes-greece-1299.jpg
 

01

Just sit on one of the benches laid on the 800-meter floating footbridge linking the islet of Agios Achilios (Saint Achilles) to the coast. Go into seclusion overlooking Small Prespa Lake with its calm and cooling breeze. Migratory birds floping around the pond are also offering spectacular views of the surrounding natural environment.

 

02

Around the main square of  the village of Laimos (means the neck in Greek) you can have a look at the old church of Agia Paraskevi, built in 1896, as well as the Byzantine chapel of Hypapanti. The community is a treasure trove for bookworms and museum enthusiasts, as the local Library as well as a small folklore collection are both located here. Alternatively,  you can go on a get-to-know-the-area tour with the Society for the Protection of Prespa.

 

03

A must-go is Psarades village, known as the only Greek community on the shores of Great Prespa Lake. Here you will bump into a handful limestone -dwellings of Macedonian architecture along with the church of Virgin Mary.

www.stemajourneys.com-prespes-greece-1775.jpg
 

04

The biggest village in Prespes, Agios Germanos, is recognized for the church of the same name that dates back to the 11th century. Prepare to get yourself enchanted by the pretty wooden loggias of the early 20th century, the stone houses built up to the World War II, along with the fully restored traditional watermill (which also won the Europa Nostra prize). Before you go, don’t forget to visit one of the last traditional tsipouro distilleries in the area, as well as the Prespa National Forest Management Body in order to grab a map of the local area.

 

05

Standing on the shores of Small Prespa Lake, one of the two inhibited lake islands in Greece, Agios Achilios (Saint Achilles) stands at the top of everyone's to-do list. With its amazing landscape littered with Byzantine and Post-Byzantine ruins, it is rightly one of the most photographed sights in the whole borough. Despite the fact that it is home to just 11 dwellings in total, the islet hosts the biggest Basilica in the Balkans. 

 

06

Pay a visit to one of the smallest hamlets in the region, Kallithea (means fantastic view in Greek), so that you come around the Balkan Poetry Asylum, and the chapel of Agios Athanasios overlooking Small Prespa Lake.

www.stemajourneys.com-prespes-greece-1631.jpg
 

07

Head to Vrontero village and keep an eye peeled on those stone goat sheds or ask the local shepherds to guide you to the hidden Museum of fossil and coins, located in the village square. 

 

08

Get going to Platy village, where Villa Platythea is hosting an intersting collection of ancient local tools.

 

09

Why not mountaineering the European trail (E6), which traverses impressive Varnountas Mountain? There's a few more series of walkways taking you also on uphill trails, like Triklario (Sfika) and Mount Devas that afford some stunning views.

www.stemajourneys.com-prespes-greece-565.jpg
 

10

If you want a real thrill, you can leap off lake altitude to really high cliffs. Vigla Ski Center in Pisoderi village is considered as the snow sport haven here. 

 

11

You can't go to a bird nest county without giving bird-watching a shot.  The short cliff of Goritsa offers great photo opportunities of the local celebrities, the Dalmatian Pelicans, which fly atop Great Prespa Lake to cast a fish. On an extra note, the top of Krina hill (facing the isle of Agios Achilios) is also a considerable spot for observation. 

 

12

Surely Prespe’s topography with its mountains, vast forests and the dramatic vistas fascinate every traveler. Steep routes, tor peaks are just right for mountain bikers and frankly anyone who appreciates some of Greece’s most secret alluring scenery. 

www.stemajourneys.com-prespes-greece-1726.jpg
 

13

With miles and miles of forest tracks, wild and remote landscape of old-aged cedars, hills and farmland, this marshy valley is by and large any off-roaders’ paradise. 

 

14

Take in unbroken 360 degree views of Small Prespa Lake from the top of Kale hill or Mount Devas (considered as the best viewpoint). Nonetheless, the abandoned villages of Daseri, Sfika, Agkathoto and Krania are also worth your clicks.

 

15

Hop on a boat trip from Psarades to admire the three Byzantine hermitages with the colored rock painting on the shores of Great Prespa Lake. Ask from the captain to lead you to the famously known as the “invisible boarders” of three nations (Greece, Albania, FYROM). On top of that, you can also splash around the lake (recommended only during the warmer months).

www.stemajourneys.com-prespes-greece-896.jpg
 

16

Follow one of the well-marked trails fenced in reeds, that flourish all over the lake breezes and where you are more likely to encounter more sheep than tourists. 

 

17

Relax along the shores of Small Prespa Lake and watch fishermen cast their fish from traditional boats called «plaves».

 

18

Excite your inner adrenaline seeker by canoeing amidst the Small Prespa Lake.

www.stemajourneys.com-prespes-greece-662.jpg
 

19

Venture into Kokkali’s cave, which served as a makeshift hospital for the wounded rebels of the Democratic Party of Greece during the Civil War (1946-1949).

 

20

Trek the uphill trail to spot Zachariadis cave, which served as the shelter of the secretary of the Greek Communist Party during the Civil War (1946-1949).

 

21

Take a short trip to Karyes to spot the church of the Assumption.

 
www.stemajourneys.com-prespes-greece-351.jpg

Take a tour at Koresteia, a really hidden cultural gem of the area filled with beautifully preserved historic buildings, and take a deeper look into the history of the county. The name of this regional unit derives from the city of ancient Orestida (today known as Argos Orestiko), an ancient Macedonian kingdom that was present at the grand army revue of the Alexander the Great.

Koresteia is a cluster of abandoned villages built in the 19th century that were abandoned during the Greek Civil War (1946-1949). The houses that one can spot around this district are compiled by a series of red-brick folklore constructions (great remnants of the Macedonian vernacular architecture, a type of construction that was preserved until the mid-20th century). It was back then that the Slavic-speaking people, who were helping the communists, were driven out of the province and were dislocated elsewhere by the National Army of Greece.

Due to the unique atmosphere and the houses of mud, this place was also used as a set location in the films: Philipos Fylakto's "Pavlos Melas", John Glen's "James Bond: For My Eyes Only", Pantelis Voulgari’s “Psyhi Vathia” and the masterpiece of Theodoros Angelopoulos, "The Suspended Step Of The Stork".

The Koresteian villages of Antartiko, Prasino, Trigono, along with 22 more villages of the district, belong to the municipality of Prespa Lakes, however the whole area borders with other municipalities of Western Macedonia (e.g. Kastoria) and Albania.

 

22.


 
Prespes-463-43.jpg