After a 2.30 hours’ road trip from Veria (along with a stop to overview Florina) and you reached the shores of Little Prespa! As the road descents towards the lake basin, the eye stretches to the vast bean fields that extend up to the riparian reeds and the wet meadows! That’s where the happiest cows graze! Pelicans, lagons, cormorants and herons in low flights over the waters! The area is protected due to the rare biodiversity of the wetland which is home to one of the largest colonies of silver pelicans. An ideal place for bird watching!
Leave the car in the open space near the lake and walk on the 650 m long floating footbridge (built in 2000) that connects the mainland with Agios Achilleios, the remote island in Lake Mikri Prespa. In the unique settlement of only 23 permanent residents of the island stand only 11 houses. Some in ruins… Cars are not allowed on the island and the locals moor their boats in the port of the settlement. A kiosk / mini market and a small cafe will serve you fine.
Take the path to the basilica church of St. Achilles. You will soon see one of the largest basilicas in Greece that gave the island its name and stands there since the 10th century. You will be impressed! Today, in the surrounding area of the archeological site, the cultural events “Prespeia” take place every August.
The island is ideal for hiking! The circular hiking route that starts from the lakeside settlement in Agios Achilleios and passes through the basilica of Ag. Achilles, leads from one end of the island to the other, overlooking each side of the lake. On the way you come across the churches of Agios Georgios (15th century) and Agios Dimitrios (14th century)
On the hill above the settlement stands the modern church of Ag. Achilles that offers panoramic views.
Take the uphill road between Mikri and Megali Prespa leading to Psarades, a village on the banks of Megali Prespa! Time to taste the local delicacies. Don’t leave without tasting fresh carp, trout or roaches, fresh from the lake. Florina peppers as well of course! Their meat dishes are super, too. We have eaten well at “Syntrofia” (tel. 23850-46107, www.syntrofia-prespes.gr) and at “Paragadia”.
Before leaving Prespa, take a boat trip to Megali Prespa setting off from Psarades. The cruise to Triethnes, on the water border between Greece, Albania and FYROM, and the visit to the hermitages with the rock paintings hanging above the lake, will be unforgettable.
Move on to the unique village of “Agios Germanos”! No luxury, no restored mansions! A real movie scene with its abandoned houses! Be sure to enter the old church of Ag. Germanos right at the square with the most remarkable hagiographies. Visit the watermill (read here: https://www.spp.gr/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&catid=6%3A2010-03-04-13-52-03&id=190%3A-europa-nostra -2016 & lang = en) and the Information Center of the Society for the Protection of Prespa. If you feel like having a bite, enter the “Tzaki” (tel. 23850-51303), which bakes in the wood oven. This time we chose the dreamy courtyard of the Guest House”Agios Germanos” (Guest House Agios Germanos, see here: http://prespa.com.gr/). Some homemade sour cherry dessert accompanied our coffee… The day ended sweetly before the return trip!