PRESPES | MAINLAND GREECE | MACEDONIA
Byzantine Treasures, migratory birds and ancient settlements
A pleasant excursion for those interested in year round explorations of little known areas unspoiled by tourism. You will enjoy the routes leading you to the various sights and will experience precious moments of peace far from the crowds and the crush.
PRESPES IN BRIEF
Wetlands of north-western Macedonia designated a national park, with twin lakes, Megali Prespa and Mikri Prespa / Greater and Lesser Prespa or Brigiis as was the ancient name. Greater Prespa, the Balkans’ biggest lake, is bordered by Greece, Albania and FYROM which meet at a tri-national point on the lake. Its altitude is 853 m and depth 50 m, its extent 288 sq. km, of which 37 belong to Greece. A narrow neck of land 200 m wide and 1000 m long divides the two lakes, whose waters communicate underground. Lesser Prespa’s size is 44 sq. km, of which a small part belongs to Albania. It has an islet in the middle, Vitrinetsi, and another at the northern end, Agios Achillios. The shores of both lakes are steeply sheer and rocky in places and at others gently sloping with abundant vegetation.
They teem with fish and on the banks of Lesser Prespa in reed thickets there are many rare species of water-fowl, attracting researchers, bird experts and institutes.
WHAT TO SEE & DO IN PRESPES
The islet in Lesser Prespa, with the ruins of an ancient settlement and Byzantine churches. Visit the ruined 11th c. three-aisled basilica of the same name, as well as the church of the Panagia Porfyra with 15th, 16th and 17th c. frescoes. The village will take you back fifty years with its picturesque shacks and mud lanes, where children and their pets play without the threat of traffic.
Here you will find a domed cruciform church of the 11th c. with inscriptions.
Also take a look at the church of Agios Athanassios, dated 1816.
A striking traditional fishing village of 125 inhabitants on a peninsula of Greater Prespa. You can stay in the little pensions and have lake-fish in the tavernas.
HERMITAGES AND CHURCHES OF GREATER PRESPA
At the southern end of the lake, you will find the 12th c. church of the Metamorphosis and in a cave, the chapel of the Panagia tis Eleoussas with frescoes of 1410. It is worth visiting the hermitages (called sketes) with rock paintings: images of saints painted on the rocks by monks in the 14th and 15th c. The lakeside caves are remarkable, with beautiful blue-green reflections of light in the waters, stalactites and ceilings as if carved with reliefs.
You can get there by boat from Psarades.
PRESPES TIPS & INFORMATION
HOW TO GET TO PRESPES
Ideally by your own car for mobility on this trip.
By air from Athens, El. Venizelos airport to Kastoria, with Aegean Airlines.
HOW TO GET AROUND PRESPES
As the sights on this trip are scattered about, your best bet is to travel by car or motorbike.
BEST SEASON TO VISIT PRESPES
All year round.
FOOD IN PRESPES
The Prespes area known for its beans and its delicious lake fish, either grilled or in fish soup or little sun-dried salt herrings.
PRESPES USEFUL TELEPHONES NUMBERS
Prespes Information Centre 0030 23850 51452
Agios Germanos Community Office 0030 23850 51419
Agios Germanos Police 0030 23850 51202
Prespes Protection Institute 0030 23850 51211