Useful Information About West Macedonia
Total Area (Square KM): 9,451
An outstanding natural landscape dotted with six magnificent lakes (Vegorítida, Petrón Lake, Zázari, Ximarítida, Mikrí and Megáli Préspa), picture-perfect lakeside villages, stone-built villages and a beautiful capital traversed by a river: this is the prominent director’s Theo Angelopoulos favourite filmmaking spot, the place that inspired him deeply to praise beauty and life.
The city of Flórina experienced an outstanding cultural and economical uplift around 1893 due to its railway connection with Thessaloniki. This wealth is perfectly encapsulated in the eclectic early 20th century edifices. Start your tour around the city with a visit to the Archaeological Museum standing next to the Railway Station. One of the Station’s old buildings houses the Art Gallery that exhibits works of local artists. The landmark of the city is certainly its river, Sakoulévas, which one can walk along starting from Ioánnou Árti Street.
Only 45 km west of Flórina, on the borders with FYROM and Albania, lies one of the most important habitats in Greece and the first transboundary protected area in the Balkans. The Préspes National Park is a wetland with rich bio-diversity, whose core covers an area of 4,900 Km2. The wealth of this bio-diversity is perfectly demonstrated by the fact that more than half of birds, amphibians and mammals species found in Greece are encountered here; besides, 9 out of the 23 fish species living in its waters are endemic. A large part of the Préspa National Park was also included in the NATURA 2000 network of protected areas.
Only 53 km far from Flórina you will find an outstanding stone settlement perched on the east side of Mt Vítsi, at an altitude of 1,346 m. The village flourished significantly between the 17th and 19th century, when it was an important centre of gold and silver trade, while its inhabitants were prominent merchants abroad. For many years the settlement had been abandoned but thanks to a coordinated effort from local people and the state, it managed to regain its lost glory. Nymféo is particularly famous for the "Arcturos Environmental Centre” (at Aetos village), an institution founded for the preservation of the natural environment. "Arcturos" comprises a brown bear sanctuary for abused bears that can no longer survive on their own and a wolf sanctuary in Agratída (12 km E).
How to get there:
Flórina is 573km far from Athens and 160km far from Thessaloniki.
By car: Follow the national road from Athens to Thessaloniki and then the signs to Elassona, Kozani and finally Flórina. By bus (KTEL): The buses from Athens depart from Kifissos Bus Station (Tel: 210 5130427) and from Makedonia Station in Thessaloniki (Tel: 2310 595418). Flórina Station- Tel: 23850 22430
By train: There are daily connections from Athens and Thessaloniki to Platý of Flórina (www.ose.gr)