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Prespa Lakes, Greece

Lake Prespa, Macedonia, Greece The two lakes of Megali Prespa and Mikri Prespa is an area of incredible beauty and has not been discovered by tourists yet. Separated by a narrow isthmus they could easily be one big lake, with most of Megali Prespa in FYROM and Albania. The Prespa area is a national park and there is an information center in the village of Agios Germanos. Mikri Prespa is the home to cormorants, pelicans, egrets, herons and a number of other birds. The small island of Agios Ahillios has ancient and Byzantine ruins and you can be taken across by ferry for a couple euros.

The main town in the region, and the only place you can get a bus to is Agios Germanos, an attractive village and convenient base seven kilometers from the lake.

Villa Platythea, Prespa LakeMost of the hotels in the area are open year round and have fireplaces for the winter season. In Agios Germanos the Agios Germanos Hotel gets high ratings and also the Petrino Guesthouse and the Hotel Mimalonnes (which means don't complain, a great name for a hotel). The stone-built Varnous Hotel offers warmly decorated rooms with private balcony and has a bar with a traditional lounge area. Located right on the shore of Megali Prespa, Guesthouse Syntrofia offers rooms with fireplace and views of the lake. It features a snack bar and is right next to a tavern. Villa Platythea (photo) is a traditionally built complex featuring spa and wellness facilities, an outdoor pool and a poolside snack bar. Its studios and apartments enjoy views over the lakes, the pool or the surrounding mountains. Lefteris Taverna is your best bet for a meal.

The village of Psaridis on a small inlet on Megali Prespa is a nationally preserved town of stone houses, old cedar and oak fishing boats and miniature cows. There are numerous tavernas and fish restaurants along the waterfront which serve fresh fish right from the lake. Lazaros Hristianopoulos's Syntrofia Taverna is the fave place of the Lonely Planet writers, but if you are visiting in the off season only the Paradosi will be open. As for hotels, book in advance in-season or you will wind up on Koula beach in your tent or sleeping bag if you should be lucky enough to have one. Contact your local Greek Travel agent for room information or stay in nearby Kastoria where there are plenty of hotels. You can take a boat tour to visit the three holy sites of Metamorphosi, Mikri Analipsi and Panagia Eleousa all from between the 13th and 15th centuries. Also included in the tour are the rock paintings of the Panagia Vlahernitisa and the Panagia Dexiokratousa.

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