Prespa is the name of two freshwater lakes in southeast Europe, shared by Albania, Greece, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, forming a triangle. They are the highest tectonic lakes in the Balkans and the Greek side has access to both lakes, called Big and Small Prespa.

The area has rich fauna as a result of the great variety of natural habitats and its topography. The lakes are important for the breeding of aquatic birds. More than 200 species have been observed at the lakes and the surrounding forest. Particularly notable are the colonies of wild and red pelicans. The marine fauna is of equal importance, since more than 80% of the fish are endemic.

Locals speak of an unprecedented environmental and management improvement in the lakes and the surrounding area, thanks to the interest shown by local authorities, private initiative and specialised NGOs.

In 2000, the three parties involved declared the Lakes the first International Balkan Park. Steps were taken to secure the local ecosystem’s sustainability, and several works and dams helped locals to use the Lakes not only for fishing but for farming and tourism as well. Today, the Lakes have established their own ‘brand’ and products such as the ‘Protected Origin’ (PGI) giant beans of Prespa Lakes have won distinctions in international quality competitions. In 2014, the Wetlands Management Committee in northern Greece received the first European Natura 2000 Award.

Prespes National Park: Virtual Tour & Visit Greece: Florina
Greek News Agenda: More on Prespa Lakes