Information on the area MEGALI PRESPA - Greek Travel Pages

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Information on the area

Main pages (1)


National Park

  A unique landscape for a visitor. From the mountain Col sinking into Megali (Large) Prespa, we can see the village of Psarades on the left and in the north Megali Prespa with its crystal-clear blue water.
  Finally in the background there is a high mountain range being snowy all year long with the historic village of Aghios Germanos nesting at its foot.
  Right ahead we can see a wide stretch of land above the surface of Mikri (small) Prespa. Here the banks are swampy and full of water-lilies and reed with the rarest species of birds nesting in it.
  On the contrary, the banks of Megali Prespa are absolutely clean and pebbly exactly the same as its bottom. Besides, the fish living in it (trout, petaloudes, chubs, tsironia) differ from the ones living in Mikri Prespa (grivadia, skoubouzia, gouliani, tsironia, trout and eel).
  Prespes National Park is one of the ten National Parks in Hellas, created mainly to protect the rare species of birds - pelicans, cormorants, herons, vultures - nesting within it, as well as in a clump (unique in Europe) constisting of perennial mountain cedars and cypresses.
  Apart from the above, the creation of the National Park is justified fro the following reasons:
•  The landscape around the lakes and the surrounding mountains are of exceptional beauty.
•  Within the limited are of the National Park the habitat is of great diversity.
•  The species of flora and fauna existing in the area - that is to say, its natural variation - are with regard to its extension, of the highest number in Hellas and Europe itself.
•  The traditional villages as well as the Byzantine and post-Byzantine monuments of Prespa are of high aesthetic and scientific value.
  Spring is the best time of the year for one to see those rare water birds (pelicans, herons and cormorants) during their reproduction procedures.
  Except for the magnificent panoramic view of the lake a visitor can have, all sights are characterized by a small, discrete scale and if one wants to really enjoy them, one should come to them, "recognize" them, lean over them and "feel" them.
  Each place within the National Park has its own beauty and its own special features.
(text: Andreas Andreou)
This text (extract) is cited October 2003 from the Prefecture of Florina - Florina Prefecture Tourism Committee tourist pamphlet.

Information about the place (1)


Megali Prespa

Location characteristics (1)

National parks

National Park of Prespes (since 1974)

Biotopes (3)

Hellenic Ornithological Society

Lake Mikri Prespa & Lake Megali Prespa

Official pages

Plants and Animals

  Prespa region has more than 1500 plant species, 23 fish species, 11 amphibians, 21 reptiles, more than 42 species of mammals, and over 260 bird spices that find shelter in the area. The old age of the lakes, the geomorphologic characteristics and the climatic conditions allow for the existence of endemic species, as well as species with a very narrow geographic range in Greece or in Balkans. The traditional cultivation, stock-farming and fishing techniques practiced during hundreds of years in this region also contributed to the creation and conservation of this rich fauna and flora.
  The avifauna of Prespa National Park includes species of vital importance on a national and international level. The larger single colony of Dalmatian Pelican in the world found in Mikri Prespa nesting together with the Great White Pelicans, the only occurrence in the European Union. Here there are Greece?s only breeding colonies of Greylag Geese and goosander, one of the larger breeding colonies of Great White Egret in Greece, as well as the largest colony of Pygmy Cormorant in the European Union.
  Some of the small birds found in the juniper scrub of Devas, such as the somber Tit, the Subalpine Warbler the Black-eared Wheatear and the Cirl Bunting are characteristic of the Mediterranean zones.
  Mammal species such as Brown Bears, Wolves and Chamois are found on the mountain slopes, and others occur in the wetlands areas.
  The fish fauna of the lakes includes 23 species, 12 of them being endemic species or subspecies of Prespa. The carp, barbell, roach, chub and nase are the most important fisheries in the region.
  Two of the reptile species of Prespa, the Adder and the sand Lizard have here the most southerly point of their distribution in Europe, while the Lizard Algyroides nigropunctatus is and endemic species of the western Balkan area.
  The flora of Prespa comprises that have been given status of international protection of various grades, with many representatives of Balkan endemic plant as well as plants occurring only in Greece and locally.
  Because of the many terrestrial biotopes present in the region, such as sandy and rocky coastal formations, meadow vegetations of plains, hills, woodlands and alpine areas; mixed, deciduous, evergreen forests and sub alpine vegetation, together with the aquatic biotopes, it is very likely that no other region in the whole of Europe has such a variety of forms of life for its size.

This text is cited September 2004 from the Municipality of Prespes URL below, which contains image

Wet Meadows

  The wet meadows are areas surrounding the lake with low aquatic vegetation covered with water at certain seasons of the year, according to the fluctuating lake water level. The water level usually begins to rise from mid winter and reaches its maximum at the end of spring, thus maintaining the wet meadows inundated. The significance of the wet meadows is manifold as they :
- constitute ideal spawning grounds for fish and amphibians,
- host large concentrations of invertebrate organisms, and
- function as principal feeding grounds for many waterbirds.
  The existence of wet meadows is directly related to the control of the reedbeds that surround the lake. If these reedbeds are not subjected to any form of management, they will extend towars the land covering the wet meadows. The relationship therefore, between wet meadows and the reedbeds is dynamic, and the conservation of the former depends largely on human intervention.

This text is cited September 2004 from the Municipality of Prespes URL below, which contains image

Sights (1)

Religious monuments

Hermitages & rock paintings of Megali Prespa Lake

Metamorphosis Hermitage
  The closest to Psarades village extant hermitage.
Panaghia Eleoussa Hermitage
  The most remarkable hermitage in the northern part of the meridian bank, which the locals have dedicated to Aghios Petros. The inscription dates back to 1409/10 A.D.
Mikri Analipsi (Ascension) Hermitage
  It lies on the rocks of the south-west bank of Megali Prespa; 15th century.
Rock paintings
  An icon of "Panaghia Dexiokratoussa" and "Panaghia Vlachernitissa" opposite the village of Psarades on the rocks of the south-west bank of Megali Prespa.
(text: Andreas Andreou)
This text (extract) is cited October 2003 from the Prefecture of Florina - Florina Prefecture Tourism Committee tourist pamphlet.

Geology (1)

Official pages

Geology - Geomorphology
  The Prespa lakes used to be a part of a former Dassaretic Lake in the Jurassic, and are still connected to Lake Ochrid. These are the only lakes still linked to the Adriatic Sea, and this distinguishes Prespa from the other western Macedonia lakes because the latter are connected to the Aegean Sea. It is thought that the water levels of both Mikri and Megali Prespa were about 80 m higher during the Pliocene than today, and their bottoms are of karstic collapsible features. Lime stones and dolomites are the common formations on the western and southern sides of the area, while on the eastern side they are predominantly granites and gneisses. This geological substrate influences the mineral composition of the soil and its ability to keep water, which in turn influence the kind of vegetation cover in the two sides.
The Climate
  Prespa has a mix of Mediterranean and mid European Climate, this being so partly due to the existence of the two lakes, which help to maintain milder climate conditions. The mean annual temperature is 12 °C. Summer is normally moderately dry and mean temperatures rice to about 22°C. Winters are quite cold, with long lasting frosts and mean temperatures around 0°C. Although during winter the mean air temperature is 0°C, the waters of Lake Mikri Prespa often freeze. Rains and snow fall mostly from October to April, and the mean annual precipitation is about 665mm.

This text is cited September 2004 from the Municipality of Prespes URL below, which contains image

Beaches (1)

Local government WebPages


Beach Long sandy beaches offer choices for swimming in the waters of Megali Prespa. There are rest and picnic areas, tavernas, as was as a hide for watching the Pelicans and Herons as they fly from Lake Mikri Prespa feed in Lake Megali Prespa and at the Koula channel. Please don't disturb the birds!

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