View of Little Prespa Lake from Mikrolimni

Prespa: The Forgotten Lakes

Florina to Vatochori: the Prespa Lakes

Years ago, I tried to hitchhike up to the Prespa Lakes, but was stopped at a military checkpoint not far from Kastoria. This was forbidden territory for decades, following the Greek Civil War from 1946-49. We listened to stories of that brutal time, met children who’d grown up in exile behind the Iron Curtain, and saw the memorials to both sides.

The area is still little touched by tourism, despite the spectacular scenery and rich wildlife. Squadrons of pelicans cruised over the lakes, and the mountain meadows sparkled with spring flowers. We found our hiking muscles, and pitched our little tent for the first time.

Route: Florina, Pisoderi, Aghios Georgios, Mikrolimni, Vatochori

Path through beech woods with trees arching over hikers
Beechwoods above Florina
Colourful wild flowers in the meadows among the Vitsi beech woods
Vigla range, Florina to Pisoderi
Beechwoods and alpine meadows Vitsi
Meadows and beechwoods, Florina to Pisoderi
Close up of blue and yellow wild pansies
Wild pansies
Remote rocky peaks of Trivouni as the mist comes down
Trivouni peaks, Florina to Pisoderi
Track to Vigla through meadows with scattered trees and horses
Down towards Pisoderi
Tiny Pisoderi hamlet surrounded by forest
Ninety year old Kostas outside his hotel Eleni at Pisoderi
Kostas, who joined the Resistance aged 16. Outside the Hotel Eleni, Pisoderi
View of both Prespa lakes with causeway between, and storm clouds
First view of Prespa Lakes
Still blue waters of Little Prespa Lake with mountains behind
Little Prespa
Colourful Byzantine frescoes at Aghios Germanos church, above the Prespa Lakes
Aghios Georgios church

Around Lake Prespa

Priest in traditional black clothes with beard seated among ruins of Aghios Achilleos church
On Aghios Achilleos
Memorial stone for the fighters of the left wing Democratic Army

Honour and glory to the men and women who fought for the Democratic Army of Greece 1946 – 1949.

Old boat painted with mermaid among the rushes on Lake Prespa
Beside the lake
View of Lake Prespa from our tent with poppies in front and mountains behind
View from our tent, Mikrolimni
Cafe at water's edge with view of Lake Prespa
Mikrolimni taverna, Lake Prespa
Litatsi inlet on Lake Prespa with wooded hills behind
Litatsi, heading inland from Lake Prespa
Path to Sfika abandoned village through meadows and trees
Alan among the grass and wild flowers on the path to Sfika abandoned village
Forest as far as you can see in the Varnous range
No waymarks and some tricky route finding from Sfika to Vatochori
Faint track hard to find across hillside through trees

Travelling Slow

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