FLORINA - TRADITIONAL BEAUTY
The prefecture of Florina is the contact point of three states, the tri-national. Six lakes, the rare wetland of Prespa in combination with the climate and the changes of the landscape, in close proximity to Prespes, Amyntaio and Nymfaio make the area unique for the visitor. The capital of the prefecture is the city of the same name, on a hillside full of chestnuts. Its architecture has samples of neoclassical and Macedonian style, while many of its buildings are from the era of Ottoman rule. In the wider area there are beautiful, picturesque villages and settlements, such as Psarades and Nymfaio, and others not so well known as the Antarctic. The river of Florina, or Sakuleva, flows through almost the entire prefecture of Florina, while it also passes through the city.
Florina is the city of artists, poets, painters, sculptors. Well-known painters originating from Florina are Koulis Sterikas, Dimitris Kalamaras, Costas Loustas and others. The Museum of Contemporary Art houses engravings by M. Chagal, Kokosha, Hadjikyriakou - Gika and a gallery with over a hundred works by Florinian artists. Its neoclassical buildings were a source of inspiration for artists, painters, photographers and directors. The square at the site of the old National Stadium hosts two top works by the sculptor Dimitris Kalamaras. The hill of Agios Panteleimon, has lush vegetation, enchanting routes in the forest and wonderful views from the top with the ancient city. The folklore museum with exhibits, photographs and texts highlights the way of life of the inhabitants and the history of the area.
In the Archaeological Museum there are finds for the morphology of the soil, sculpture exhibits and a section dedicated to the Byzantine period. The Prespa National Park is world famous for its unique natural beauty, rare flora and fauna. The Prespa Lakes are divided into large and small, while they unite three countries, Greece, Albania and Fyrom. The two lakes differ from each other as in Mikri, the bank is swampy, full of dense reeds and water lilies, while in Megali it is crystal clear and pebbled, as is its bottom. 40 species of mammals, 260 species of birds, 11 species of amphibians, 20 species of reptiles and 15 species of fish live in Prespes, while its rich flora includes more than 1300 species of plants. They have joined the NATURA 2000 network while the E6 international mountaineering trail crosses the area.
On the road to Kastoria is the ski center Vigla - Pisoderio which is a pole of attraction for snow and nature lovers. It is one of the oldest ski resorts in the country with 10 slopes, 5 lifts and of course one of the most beautiful chalets. The slopes are of course bordered by trees on wooded slopes and the view to Prespes from the top fascinates visitors. The mountain refuge is located at an altitude of 1600m. at the confluence of the Varnuda and Verno mountains with a capacity of 60 people. Annual endurance-downhill races and international races are also organized. There is a ski school and an equipment rental shop at the ski resort.
The well-known according to UNESCO as a preserved traditional settlement Nymfaio is a historic Vlach village that had a glorious past. It is built with traditional settlements that stand out for their decoration, unique in Greece. Vitsi at an altitude of 2,128m. is the highest peak of Mount Vernon with abandoned villages, pastures, extensive forests, etc. while in the torrents of the area lives the wild trout. The habitat is part of the NATURA 2000 network of protected areas. Its natural environment is particularly important for several species of fauna such as the bear, the wasp, the kestrel and the meadow. It is also of great importance for many important species of fauna such as the bear and the wolf while it is a habitat for rare birds and mainly predators.
Horseback riding is a unique experience in Nymphaeum, as it maintains cells that guide visitors. The "Arctouros" Bear Care Center and a short distance away the lakes Heimaditida and Zazari stand out. Arcturus is a non-governmental, non-profit organization for the protection of wildlife and the natural environment.It protected and cared for captive bears and wolves and also helped raise awareness of large mammals. These bears do not breed and will not be left in the wild because they do not know the basic rules of survival. They accommodate injured or sick animals as well as the Bear Care Center. In Agrapidia, the "Wolf Shelter" and the Veterinary Station have been created while helping to breed the Greek shepherd dog.
Amynteo at a distance of 36 km from Florina is known for the exceptional wines of superior quality with a Designation of Origin, certified and awarded from time to time at various international exhibitions and wine competitions. Its geographical location is considered crucial as it is a railway route of communication with Fyrom and Albania. In the central square are two old OSE wagons that operate as a Visitor Information Center by the Vitsi Ecotourism Company. The archaeological significance of Amyntaio is confirmed by the large number of archaeological finds from various historical eras. One of the most important sights of Amyntaio is the church of Agios Nikolaos Petron, at the roots of Mount Kouria, which dates back to the 18th century. It also has a variety of modern infrastructure and facilities such as sports facilities, parking and accommodation.
The local products are the red Florin peppers, the traditional pastries, the beans, the wines and the various varieties of mushrooms. In the prefecture it has excellent food such as the well-known carp and chiron of the lakes, but also the delicious pies. The most famous wine-producing city of the country, Amynteo of Florina has the ideal conditions for its cultivation. The entertainment is typical of Florina as the pedestrian street in the center is a student hangout as it is full of cafes for all tastes which at night are transformed into small clubs. Knitted candles should also be obtained as the art of knitted candles, which comes from Byzantium, developed especially in the city of Florina, where there were old local candlesticks. From antiquity there are also references to the natural carbonated waters of the area with the famous "Sour Waters".