The Prespa Lakes

Macedonia

In the remote northwest corner of Greece, where the Greek border meets the borders of Albania and the Republic of Macedonia, stand the Prespa Lakes. In fact the three borders meet in the middle of the larger of the two lakes, the Great Prespa or Megáli Préspa, while the Mikrí Préspa or Little Prespa Lake is divided between Greece and Albania.

The Prespa Lakes in Greece pinned from https://www.greece-travel-secrets.com/The-Prespa-Lakes.html

As recently as the 1970s no visitors were allowed near this area, as the border with Albania was a very sensitive political area. To visit it required advance permission and you had to be accompanied by a soldier at all times. Because of this, the region is much less well-known than other parts of Greece, although it is a unique, idyllic and breathtakingly beautiful part of the country.

Prespa Lakes Wildlife

Human visitors may have been restricted some years ago, but that has never applied to the wildlife, for the Prespa National Park is a vital European breeding ground for many species. Visitors must be sensitive to this at all times, and an educational visit to the Information Centre in the tiny village of Ágios Germanós is the best way to start any trip here. It gives a great deal of information about the area in several languages, and provides leaflets and walking maps, as well as selling local produce and craft items.

Where to Stay

It is possible to visit the lakes on a day trip from somewhere like Kastoriá, but if you wish to stay overnight you would need to book ahead at busy times of year as accommodation is limited. There are a few guesthouses in Ágios Germanós, which also has the area’s only Post Office, with more accommodation available in the lakeside village of Psarádhes. Wherever you stay, the accommodation will be simple as this is not an area for mass tourism, and hopefully never will be.



Dalmatian Pelicans and Other Wildlife

Among the wildlife dependent on the habitat of the lakes is the Dalmatian Pelican. It's estimated that there are about 1,400 breeding pairs at the Little Prespa Lake, making it the largest single breeding colony in the world for these birds, of which only 10,000-20,000 are thought to survive from a population which was once in the millions.

Sometimes the birds will fly further south to the island of Corfu, if winter in the mountains here is particularly hard and long. You are also sure to see many other species of birds that like to live around water, such as herons, cormorants, egrets, geese, grebes and the only population in Greece of the rare goosander. In the skies you will also see a variety of raptors, including the golden eagle, short-toed eagle, booted eagle, and both lanner and peregrine falcons. Amphibians that live here include several species of frog, toads, newts and the fire salamander, while there are also 20 species of reptile – including snakes, so take care when walking – and over 1300 different plant species. It is a rich landscape indeed.

Churches

From a cultural point of view there is another aspect in which the area is rich: churches. In the village of Ágios Germános be sure to see the 11th-century church of the same name, which is adorned with frescoes, some of them original. The church of Ágios Athanasios in the same village is also worth seeing. To see one of the area’s more unusual churches, though, you will need to take a boat ride out onto Mikrí Préspa, which can be arranged at the village of Psarádhes. The ruined Byzantine church of Ágios Akhíllios is on the small islet of the same name, where you will also be shown the ruins of a monastery and may meet some of the few families who still live here eking out a living from fishing and farming.

You can also take a boat trip out onto the larger lake, the Megáli Préspa, where the main attraction is the 15th-century church of Panagía Eleoúsas, which is built into the rock near the lake’s shore. There are other sites otherwise inaccessible, such as in icon of the Virgin Mary painted onto a rock, and in any case the boat trip itself is a wonderful experience, out in the middle of this large and peaceful lake, surrounded by hills, and with those invisible borders stretching across the waters.

You might like these

  • Macedonia and Thrace

    Macedonia and Thrace are the regions in Greece where travelers will find Thessaloniki, Mount Athos monasteries, Halkidiki and sites like Dion and Pella.

  • Halkidikí

    Halkidiki is a three-pronged peninsula near Thessaloniki in northern Greece which comprises Mount Athos and the holiday resorts on Kassandra and Sithonia.

  • Kavala

    The city of Kavala in eastern Macedonia is the area's major seaport and the base for ferries to the islands of the North East Aegean, including Thasos.

Latest Posts

  1. Travel Restrictions Keep Celestyal from Cruising Until July 30

    Celestyal Cruises, which sails to the Greek islands and the Mediterranean, recently announced that it is further extending the suspension of its operations until July 30. The cruise line said it took…

    Read More

  2. AEGEAN Restarts Flights from Thessaloniki to 6 Int’l Destinations as of June 15

    AEGEAN Airlines on Wednesday announced that it will be restarting direct operations to/from Thessaloniki with six European destinations as of June 15. The Greek company’s announcement follows the grad…

    Read More

  3. Greece Still Attractive Tourist Destination Despite Covid-19

    Potential travelers appear to be eager to visit Greece in the next three months despite the Covid-19 crisis, according to a study on attitudes and intentions regarding international leisure trips join…

    Read More

  4. Greece in Discussions with Egypt to Resume Tourist Flows

    Greece and Egypt on Tuesday discussed laying the ground for gradual resumption of flights between the two countries in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis, d…

    Read More

  5. EASA Updates List of Airports in Covid-19 High Risk Areas

    The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on Wednesday updated the list of airports located in affected areas with high risk of transmission of the Covid-19 infection. EASA determined that a li…

    Read More

  6. Study: Greeks Not Keen on Eating Out after Covid-19

    The coronavirus (Covid-19) scare is making Greeks reluctant to travel and to eat out, according to the latest study released this week by the Research Institute of Retail Consumer Goods (IELKA). More…

    Read More

  7. Covid-19: List of Nationalities Allowed Entry in Greece for Summer 2020 Coming Soon

    A list of countries from which visitors will be able to arrive and holiday in Greece as of June 15 is expected to be announced by the end of May, Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis recently said…

    Read More

  8. Ryanair: Athens is Open to Holidaymakers from June 15 – Video

    Irish low cost carrier Ryanair on Tuesday posted a video about Athens on Twitter, promoting the Greek capital as an ideal destination this summer. The carrier gives its followers “a glimpse of the anc…

    Read More

  9. Yachting in Greece Restarts post-Covid-19

    Private yachts and boats, catering up to 12 passengers, as of May 25 are allowed to set sail in Greece, according to a government decision announced as the coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions ease. Τh…

    Read More

  10. Thessaloniki Airport, Northern Greece Land Borders Open for Tourists from June 15

    International flights to Greece will be able to land at Thessaloniki Airport, in Northern Greece, as of June 15 instead if July 1 as originally planned, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said o…

    Read More