Handpicked travel choices in Prespes.


 

Accommodation

The terrestrial beauty of a rustic-chic Airbnb

Prespa Lakes, for instance, could even become the best resort in Europe, what we need to realize is that such places got to have good bones, yes, and need to have great people who can built on those bones to transform a place into an experience. The most memorable accommodations after all, are also about creativity, experimentation and innovation. There are more than beautiful lodgings offering the services of doze and nourishment, as well as leaving you uncommonly refreshed. Accordingly, an Airbnb country house can bring a jolt of freshness, being converted into a quixotic set for getting to know a whole new far-flung world in Greece, Prespes.

At the northern tip of Prespa Lakes, those looking for characterful small guesthouses drive all the way up to Oxya (an off-the-tourist map Macedonian hamlet, where the property sits 10 minutes away from Small Prespa Lake), to discover a serene and beautiful designed hideaway.

This cottage housed team SteMajourneys for more than a month since 2015. Having a deep sense of this place as its returning guests and being accustomed with this Airbnb we ought to treat it as something more than a rental. Indulge into the wisdom of Macedonian architecture…

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While we discuss on what adds value to the Greek tourist product, some people and some platforms (like Airbnb), without even involving themselves in the debate, prepare the ground for the future.

- SteMajourneys

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Secluded, unique and intimate: time spent deep in this mesmerizing lodge is surely unequalled by anywhere else in the country. Set in the natural paradise which surrounds Prespa National Park, the property marries rustic with modern: scattered among beech trees; sitting on its patio drinking a glass of wine you can watch birds glide gracefully overhead or even spot a bear grazing just outside its grounds.

Originally built in 1920s, was lovingly and painstakingly restored in 2014 by Myrto Miliou (a Greek architect, who gave the property an architectural facelift and also owns the place) for well-travelled guests and in-the-know rovers, who would be interested indulging in the soul of a destination rich in history and culture.

Even if it meets all the comfort standards, this Airbnb’s  value cannot be measured in square meters and facilities. What makes it truly unique is the fact that it was restored to show off its original Macedonian features. The design by Myrto Miliou herself is based on the notion of reviving the traditional construction of the Western Macedonian mud-houses (also known as the forgotten villages) the so-called "Koresteia" (mud-brick house constructions, a way of structure that was maintained until the middle of the 20th century). The building itself - undergone something of a transformation, with local craftsmen, who casted-off native resources. Though faithful to vernacular architecture, the guesthouse has also a light, contemporary feel. Considered and chiseled down to the tiniest details: from the play of a beguiling blend of rustic charm to a sophisticated comfort. 

Resembling to an English countryside cottage, where horses are on a wild run and a group of sheepdogs are guarding the land, an imposing robust old stone-house embodied with charming wooden floors (and a riveted wooden door). Inside, a single common space - arranged to play the multiple roles of dorm, kitchenette and lounge, underscored by a concrete bathroom (in a separate room) that bolsters its character. Adorned with antiques and vintage furniture that nod to its Macedonian heritage, the interiors draw their aesthetic inspiration from Moroccan and Scandinavian design in a palette of terracotta tones, mixed with scores of items to delve into: Swedish chalet-style deco. The social heart of the house is an oblong monastery-type oak table where like-minded souls, often with rosy cheeks from exteriors in the rugged mountain air, meet. The rustic atmosphere, with the sweeping green views and climbing beech trees feels somehow more innocence to the setting. Apart from all the necessary amenities (from heaters to WiFi coonection) you can also find plenty of space to park right outside the property.

Following an overall winterish ambience, the guesthouse is ideal for cocooning (when a fire is continuously burning), while it has a veranda with a rocking view, stretched on the paved courtyard just in front of the house, perfect for reading a book or gazing of the surrounding peaks and the hushed valley of beech trees. Finally, this cabin is designed for young couples and families, who are seeking tranquility and at the same time want to hit the road anytime, hike innumerous paths and follow mountain cycling routes.

For holidaying next to Pindos Mount’s bears, kick things off by checking into this Airbnb, an accommodation fully-integrated with Prespian nature. All the while, the guesthouse, like a faithful guard, a vigilant eye over a secret spot - practically the perfect place to hide from the rest of the world.

Tip: Ask for some fresh breakfast eggs from the local farm nearby (tel.23850-45942)

Info: Myrto Miliou, mob.: 6946626243, Airbnb

Food

 

Ta Psaradika tou Hasou

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An unexpected surprise awaits you in the hamlet of Mikrolimni. Ta Psaradika tou Hasou is the place to try a Macedonian-inspired creative menu with an affordable pricetag. A self-proclaimed "fusion kitchen", this place also offers an opportunity to soak up some sun on the patio and enjoy a cup of greek coffee with the views from the Small Prespa Lake and the islet of Vidronissi... or even take a dip. The food is next-level good. Even if you are only in Prespes for a day, Ta Psaradika tou Hasou will give you a perfect sense of the region. Artemis has become a household name, yet even as the First Lady of Prespian Cuisine, her cooking remains authentic and honest, just like her. After many years of running her father's kafeneio (greek coffee shop) there, she closed it to open the doors for her family recipes. From her hands, come delicacies that are simply unforgettable. We can still remember the aroma and flavors of her mushroom risotto. Don’t miss her homemade salty vegetable pickles with spices, the stewed aubergine salad, the black giants with curry, while the conversations with the two young managers Kyriakos and Zenia (her daughter), can keep you there for hours.

 WHY GO:

  • For the wild mushroom risotto (foraged by Artemis)

  • For the black giants with curry and peppers

  • For homemade briny vegetable pickles

  • For Kyriako’s tsipouro

  • For the natural nobility and energy of Zenia

  • For the views of the Small Prespa Lake

  • For the ambience (which is definitely a bit more put-together than the casualness of other village tavernas)

PRO TIP:  Don't miss a chance to ask for the catch-of-the-day seafood.

 

Syntrofia

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Hidden at the end of the paved road in Psarades practically on the banks of the Great Prespa Lake, Syntrofia is romantic and delicious - your only requirements for a dinner date. Snag a table outside and right next to the water for the idyllic view and watch carps caught right in front of you. Don’t be surprised to be met by cows when you arrive, and then led to your table. Here you can enjoy a beer while standing in three countries at the same time and if you go for lunch do order “fasolada”, which isn’t always on the menu but, nonetheless, a staple there. It’s filled with various beans and topped with red chili flakes. The restaurant is now operated by Germanos Christianopoulos. Hailed by many as the best tavern in the county, make sure you call ahead and tell the super friendly Germanos that you’re going to have the fried carps - that you’ll see literally hanging out to dry on your way in, so he doesn’t sell out. 

WHY GO:

  • To try dried common roach

  • To taste roasted carp in tomatoes.

  • To indulge in some fasolada (Greek type of bean soup)

PRO TIP: The portions are huge so be careful not to order too much.

Prespeion

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Speaking of surprises, in Agios Germanos, the main settlement of Prespes, you will find a tavern on the main road of the village square. With just a grill, some fresh veggie produce and lots and lots of wine from Florina region, Prespeion is the real deal. It is simply one of our favorite culinary destinations in Greece and the food is marvelous. Everyone will recommend Prespeion to you and here’s why: melt in your mouth roasted florina peppers and chargrilled lamb chops, THE delectable Prespian bites. Nikos Arambatzis is a former chef turned restaurant owner, avid traveler and Macedonian. We always order the giant beans pate (he uses sweet paprika which gives the dish massive depth), local wild greens and whatever meat he wants us to try. Nikos has also his own selection of wines, a variety of pies that are made with his own vegetables that change daily and mixed lamb/pork meatballs from a local farm just on the outskirts of Agios Germanos. There is also a veranda where you can enjoy your meal on a hot summer day/night. Live music plays most holidays.

 

WHY GO:

  • For the homemade pies

  • For fresh salads (with garden vegetables / wild greens)

  • For the florina pepper spreads

  • For black pig meatballs and lamb chops (if lucky enough you will get to taste even ewe chops)

  • For the cult atmosphere

  • For getting to know the locals and learn some insights for the area

 
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Koula

At Koula, the tavern to be found where the two Prespa lakes carve up, Mrs. Aphrodite Reppa can warm you and your friends over a hot pot of wild boar (if any), but also dishes up the best bean stew in the whole region.

Tip: Sit next to the crackling fire to gaze the two lakes.

 

Ta Psaradika tou Hasou, tel.23850 46 803, Mikrolimni.

Prespeion, tel.2385 051442, Agios Germanos.

Syntrofia, tel. 23850 46107, Psarades - Prespes.

Koula, tel. 2385-046490, Koula - Prespes.

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