Prespa National Park

Nestled in a picturesque corner of Albania, the Prespa National Park (in Albanian: Parku Kombëtar i Prespës) offers a unique experience immersing visitors in biodiversity and local culture. This article serves as a window into the rich natural and human tapestry that makes Prespa an essential destination for travelers seeking connection with the authenticity of untouched landscapes and traditions. From outdoor activities to the respect for ecology and history that permeates every pathway, we invite you to discover the corners of a national park that is more than just a natural space: it is a crucible of life and heritage.


Prespa National Park, located on the border between Albania, Greece, and North Macedonia, is a protected area promising an unforgettable getaway. This ecological sanctuary, nestled amidst mountains and crystal-clear waters, is a microcosm where history and nature merge, creating a vibrant canvas of landscapes and cultures.
Prespa National Park

History of the National Park

Prespa Park was established on February 2, 2000, coinciding with World Wetlands Day, marking a significant milestone in the environmental conservation of the region. It’s important to note that Prespa Park is the first transboundary protected area in the Balkans, encompassing territories of North Macedonia, Greece, and Albania. Its creation was the result of a joint declaration by the prime ministers of these three countries, underscoring their shared commitment to preserving this valuable ecosystem.

Geographical Location

Prespa National Park, located in the southeast region of Albania, is a strategically positioned natural haven, bordering North Macedonia to the northeast and Greece to the southeast. Covering an area of 27,750 hectares (277.5 km² or approximately 107.2 square miles) in the Korçë County, this park encompasses the Great Prespa Lake, the Small Prespa Lake, Maligrad Island, and its surrounding areas.

Strategically situated in the southeastern region of Albania, sharing borders with North Macedonia to the northeast and Greece to the southeast, its extension mainly lies between latitudes 40° and 45° N and longitudes 20° and 55° E. With a total area of 27,750 hectares (277.5 km² or approximately 107.2 square miles), the park is situated in Korçë County and includes prominent features such as the Great Prespa Lake, the Small Prespa Lake, Maligrad Island, and surrounding areas.

The city of Korçë, the largest and closest in the region, serves as a significant reference point for park visitors. Out of the total park territory, 2,100 hectares (21 km² or approximately 8.1 square miles) are dedicated to agricultural lands, while 5,372 hectares (53.72 km² or approximately 20.7 square miles) are classified as unproductive lands. Forests cover a considerable expanse of 13,500 hectares (135 km² or approximately 52.1 square miles), while grasslands and meadows span approximately 1,828 hectares (18.28 km² or approximately 7.1 square miles). The remainder of the park is occupied by water bodies, totaling 4,950 hectares (49.5 km² or approximately 19.1 square miles).

How to Get There

To reach Prespa National Park from Tirana, one option is to take a public bus from the station near the Faculty of Economics bound for Korçë. It’s important to note that the last bus usually departs around 17:00. Once in Korçë, visitors can opt for one of the two public buses heading to Prespa National Park, either to Pustec or Goricë e Vogël. These buses are clearly marked (connection: Korçë-Gorice Dogane) and generally depart around 12:00 from Korçë. If for some reason taking the bus isn’t possible, reaching the park by taxi is also feasible.

On the other hand, if visitors are traveling from Macedonia, they can use the border crossing at Stenje and after traveling approximately 5 km (about 3.1 miles), they will arrive at the center of Prespa National Park.

Best Time to Visit

Prespa exhibits exceptional beauty in every season. With its three distinctive landscapes—the lake, the mountains, and the meadows—Prespa becomes a charming destination to visit.
Best time to visit Prespa National Park in Albania
During spring, nature awakens and paints the landscape with a variety of colors. Meadows transform into a rainbow of flowers, while the lake fills with the arrival of migratory birds, including the incredible pelicans.

Summer brings warm and pleasant weather, perfect for enjoying quiet moments by the lake, swimming in its beautiful bays, or taking boat trips to explore cultural landmarks along the coast. It’s also ideal for venturing on mountain hikes, accompanied by local guides who help discover the park’s diverse fauna and flora.

In autumn, Prespa dresses in warm, golden tones as the tree leaves change color, creating a picturesque landscape ideal for strolling through forests and admiring the natural beauty.

Winter transforms the landscape into a white and cold, yet extraordinarily beautiful scene. Snow covers the entire park territory, contrasting with the deep blue of the lake, which reflects like a mirror under the winter sun. Despite the cold, winter in Prespa offers stunning views, such as winter birds gathered on the lake shore and ice formations in caves.

Distance to Major Tourist Urban Centers

Prespa National Park is approximately 180 km (111.85 miles) away from Tirana, the capital of Albania, and about 35 km (21.75 miles) from Korçë, which is the nearest city to the park.

Accommodations and Restaurants

There are approximately ten restaurants where visitors can enjoy traditional cuisine while admiring the beautiful lake view. These places offer a tranquil atmosphere, ideal for relaxing and escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

In addition to restaurants, there are also small bars in nearby villages where travelers can stop and have a pleasant time during their journey.

One recommended establishment is Taverna Vasili in Dolna Gorica, located on the main road towards the Macedonia border. Here, visitors can enjoy a delightful meal and also find accommodation in one of the hotel rooms, with a serene view of the lake.

Another standout place is Stara Kafana Xhona, also in Dolna Gorica, where one can savor traditional cuisine with the lake in the background.

The Aleksandar Park Hotel, located near the lake in Zaroshka, offers food, accommodation, and a pleasant area for swimming and camping in summer, thanks to its proximity to the lake shore.

Similarly, the Aleksandar Hotel-Restaurant, at the entrance of the village of Zaroshka, and Restorant Ilo, also in Zaroshka, offer traditional cuisine, accommodation, and beautiful views.

In Pustec, Restorant Veligdenski is another option to enjoy good food and refreshments, both by the lake and in the village center.

Additionally, there are several camping grounds where interested tourists can park their vehicles and enjoy their time in Prespa National Park.

Geography and Climate

Climate in Prespa National Park

Terrain Description

The park is characterized by its topographic diversity, including steep mountains, dense forests, and the renowned Prespa lakes, which are the soul of the local ecosystem.

Characteristic Ecosystems

Each ecosystem within Prespa National Park is a micro-habitat supporting an astonishing variety of wildlife, from rare birds to plants found nowhere else in the world.

The park area hosts diverse wetlands, including areas dominated by trees and seasonal marshes, as well as streams, tidal channels, freshwater springs, caves, and some cultivated lands.

The terrestrial ecosystem of Mali i Thatë or Pllaja e Pusit, with an altitude of 2,288 meters (7,506 feet), features rocky formations dominated by limestone massif. This ecosystem extends mainly between Albania and North Macedonia and protrudes southward from the border between the two countries.

Climate in Prespa

According to the Köppen climate classification, Prespa is primarily Mediterranean with continental influences, making it quite unique due to the diversity of the terrain and altitude variation, as well as the area’s position in relation to the lakes.

Monthly average temperatures vary considerably throughout the year, with lows of 0.2°C (32.4°F) in January and highs of 19.2°C (66.6°F) in July. Precipitation is more abundant in late autumn and winter, while the months of July and August typically experience less rainfall. The average annual precipitation varies between 700 millimeters (28 inches) and 1,400 millimeters (55 inches) depending on the region and the type of climate within the park.


Prespa is a natural habitat, providing a vital refuge for a diversity of interconnected ecosystems that harbor rich biodiversity, both natural and culturally significant. This vast and continuous natural environment encompasses various types of landscapes, each with distinctive natural and cultural values.
Reed beds are prominent along the margins of streams, rivers, and especially lakes, where the flow is slower. These ecosystems have exceptional ecological value, providing breeding and resting habitats for a wide variety of birds and other species. In Prespa National Park, reed beds cover approximately 500 hectares and are crucial conservation areas.

The freshwater lakes, both Great and Small Prespa, exhibit a variety of biological communities associated with their physical structure. The pelagic zone comprises the deep parts of the lakes, free of emergent vegetation. The littoral zone, on the other hand, is the strip near the shore, where terrestrial and emergent vegetation, whether arboreal or shrubby, is abundant. Lastly, the riverine zone encompasses stream systems, channels, and wetlands, providing vital habitats for a great diversity of waterfowl and other marine and aquatic species.

These diverse habitats of Prespa National Park are not only crucial for biodiversity conservation but also offer exceptional opportunities for birdwatching and nature enjoyment in its most pristine state.

Flora: Endemic Species and Conservation

Wild flora of Prespa National Park in Albania
The flora of Prespa National Park is rich and varied, with a special focus on the conservation of endemic species that adorn the landscape with unparalleled beauty. There are 1,816 registered species and subspecies to date, many of which are rare or endemic to the region. Recently, two new species were discovered: Viola eximia subsp. triningiana Erben and Acanthus greuterianus Snogerup.

Additionally, there are 17 pteridophytes, 11 gymnosperms, 1057 dicotyledons, and 241 monocotyledons cataloged. 15.4% of the species are endemic, highlighting their ecological and conservation importance. This diversity is due to the varied geomorphology of the park, its altitudinal range, and the mix of limestone and granite substrates.

Fauna: Birds, Mammals, and Aquatic Life

A Birdwatcher’s Paradise, Prespa is home to over 260 bird species, along with a diversity of mammals and rich aquatic life that coexists in the lakes and rivers of the park.
Pelicans in Prespa (Dalmatian Pelicans)
What distinguishes Prespa and makes it special and unique is its exceptional biodiversity, breathtaking landscapes, the valuable cultural and traditional treasures of the region, as well as its status as a transboundary area.

One of the most prominent features of the park is the presence of the Dalmatian pelican, an endangered species. Within Prespa National Park, the world’s largest colony of this species can be found.

In addition to the iconic presence of the Dalmatian pelican, the park hosts an astonishing diversity of wildlife, including species such as brown bear, wolf, fox, and wildcat. It also boasts an impressive variety of over 1130 plant species, further contributing to its biological richness. This combination of flora and fauna makes Prespa National Park a unique and highly valuable place for both conservation and nature appreciation.

Conservation Projects and Their Impact

Conservation projects in Prespa are vital and have had a significant impact on the protection of its unique ecosystems, ensuring the preservation of its biodiversity for future generations.

Attractions and Activities

Monastery of Santa Marena

The Monastery of Santa Marena, located near the picturesque village of Tuminec, is a place of profound historical and spiritual significance in the region. This monastery, dedicated to Saint Marena, is revered for both its architectural beauty and religious significance. Surrounded by a serene and lush natural environment, the monastery offers visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in tranquility and spiritual contemplation while exploring its ancient structures and learning about its rich history.

Maligrad Island

Maligrad Island in Prespa National Park in Albania
Maligrad Island, located in the Great Prespa Lake, is a unique and fascinating destination. Known for its natural beauty and rich cultural and historical heritage, Maligrad attracts visitors from around the world. Maligrad offers opportunities to explore its natural environment, which includes a variety of flora and fauna, as well as to delve into its history, which dates back centuries. Visitors can enjoy activities such as hiking, birdwatching, and exploring ancient ruins and architectural structures on the island. Additionally, the tranquil beauty of Maligrad makes it an ideal place to relax and enjoy the serenity of nature.

Treni Cave (Small Prespa)

Treni Cave is a prominent archaeological site located in the Small Prespa region, within Prespa National Park. This cave bears witness to ancient human presence in the area, offering fascinating archaeological discoveries that reveal the millennia-old history of the region.

Dating back to prehistoric times, Treni Cave has provided valuable evidence of human occupation since approximately 6000 BCE. Archaeologists have unearthed artifacts and remains that provide insights into the activities and lifestyle of the ancient populations that inhabited the area.

In addition to its archaeological significance, Treni Cave also stands out for its natural beauty and picturesque surroundings, making it an interesting destination for history and nature enthusiasts visiting the Small Prespa region.

Castle of Trajan

The Castle of Trajan is an impressive historical fortress located in the Kavala region of Greece. Built in the 10th century by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, this castle is an important symbol of the cultural and architectural heritage of the area.

Strategically built on a hill, the Castle of Trajan offers spectacular panoramic views of the Aegean Sea and the city of Kavala. For centuries, this imposing fortress served as a military defense and observation point, protecting the city and its surroundings from potential invasions and enemy attacks.

Today, the Castle of Trajan is a popular tourist destination where visitors can explore its ancient walls, towers, and corridors while learning about its fascinating history. In addition to its historical significance, the castle also offers a unique experience for those wishing to enjoy the stunning views and medieval charm of the Kavala region.


Prespa Lake consists of two main parts: Great Prespa and Small Prespa, separated by an island and surrounded by mountains. These lakes are shared between Greece, Albania, and North Macedonia.

Primarily fed by tributaries and underground streams, Great Prespa Lake flows into Lake Ohrid. Surrounded by imposing mountains such as Mali i Thatë in Albania and Galičica in northern Macedonia, the Prespa Lakes offer a stunning panoramic view. Additionally, during heavy rainfall and in spring during the thaw, the lake drains into the Devoll River, which flows into the Adriatic Sea through the central mountain range of Albania.

The landscape of Prespa National Park is a testament to the natural beauty and biodiversity of the region, with a combination of agricultural land, forests, grasslands, and bodies of water. The city of Korçë, the largest and closest, serves as an ideal starting point for exploring this magnificent natural environment. With its rich history and exceptional biodiversity, Prespa National Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and ecotourism enthusiasts.

Prespa Lakes have a depth of over 50 meters (164 feet) and cover a considerable area. Additionally, the Small Lake, with an area of 138 square kilometers (85 square miles), is exclusively shared between the Greek and Albanian parts.

Prehistoric Settlement Area near Lake Prespa

The prehistoric settlement area near the lake, located in the vicinity of Prespa, is an archaeologically significant site shedding light on the ancient communities that inhabited the region. These prehistoric dwellings provide tangible evidence of the daily life of the area’s early settlers, who relied on the lake and its resources for sustenance.

Archaeological excavations in this area have revealed a variety of residential structures, including circular and rectangular huts built with local materials such as stone and clay. These prehistoric dwellings are organized in an orderly manner, suggesting careful planning by the ancient communities that inhabited them.

In addition to the dwellings, prehistoric artifacts and tools have been discovered in the area, providing invaluable information about the daily activities of these ancient populations, such as hunting, fishing, and gathering food.

The prehistoric settlement area near the lake is a fascinating testament to the human past in the region, and its study continues to contribute to the understanding of the history and archaeology of Prespa and its surroundings.

Historical Heritage

The historical heritage within Prespa National Park is vast and diverse, reflecting the rich history of the region as a crossroads of cultures over millennia. This heritage includes:

  1. Neolithic Archaeological Sites: The region is home to significant Neolithic sites, such as the Kallamas Neolithic site, which provide a glimpse into the early human communities that settled near freshwater sources and rich hunting grounds.
  2. Golem Grad: Known as the "Island of Snakes" due to the large number of water snakes on its shores, Golem Grad is a historic cultural monument that housed a Roman military base along the Via Egnatia during the Roman Empire. The remains of this military base are still found on Golem Grad Island today, along with churches dating from the 4th to the 9th centuries.
  3. Churches and Monasteries: The Prespa region is rich in religious monuments with significant spiritual, historical, artistic, and architectural values, despite centuries of Ottoman occupation. Among them are:
    • St. Mary’s Church: Located in a natural cave in the southern part of Maligrad Island, built in the 14th century.
    • St. Mitri Church: In the center of the village of Kallamas, dating from the 12th century.
    • St. Maria Church in Gollomboc: A small Byzantine chapel from the 14th century.
    • St. Maria Cave: A site of historical importance showing a record of monastic life and representing a transition stage in religious art.
  4. Haxhi Ramadani Mosque: Built during the Ottoman occupation in 1592, located in the center of Resen.
  5. Ahmed Niyazi Bey Palace: A historic neoclassical building in Resen, built in the early 20th century by Ottoman Captain Ahmed Niyazi Bey, known for his role in the Young Turks Revolution.

These sites not only offer a glimpse into the region’s past but are also crucial for the development of sustainable tourism, leveraging Prespa’s rich cultural and natural heritage to foster economic growth and cultural conservation.

Bird Watching and Nature Photography

With its pristine landscapes and abundant wildlife, Prespa is a favorite destination for bird watching and nature photography.

Water Activities: Kayaking and Fishing

The tranquil lakes of Prespa invite visitors to explore their crystal-clear waters by kayak, providing a unique perspective of the park from the water. Additionally, fishing in these waters, always with sustainable practices, offers an authentic experience and the opportunity to connect with local tradition.

Hiking and Trekking Routes

Hiking and trekking routes are designed to reveal the beauty of the park at every step, offering panoramic views and the opportunity to experience nature in its purest form.

Kallamas Trail

In this exciting journey through Prespa National Park in Albania, visitors have the unique opportunity to experience nature in its fullest expression. The adventure begins at the administrative headquarters located in Goricë e Vogël, a meeting point serving as the gateway to the park’s wonderful diversity. From this place, the trail ventures into a picturesque pine forest, which gradually gives way to an oak forest, showcasing the rich biodiversity of the area.
As participants advance on the trail, they will veer off onto the so-called "turtle trail," where, with a bit of luck, they will have the opportunity to observe some of the park’s native turtles. This section of the trail involves a moderate ascent until reaching a clearing, where a beautiful chestnut forest is revealed, offering a change in landscape and the variety of flora present.

Continuing the route, the path follows a ridge and then descends, allowing visitors to contemplate an ancient irrigation system, testimony to the region’s traditional water management practices. The route gently descends southward, guiding participants to a water pipe, from where they can enjoy a stunning view of Lake Prespa through the clearings between the pines.

This trail stands out not only for the possibility of spotting turtles and venturing into the typical mixed forests of the region but also for learning about the ancient irrigation system that has sustained these lands over the years. With an approximate duration of 1.5 hours and a distance of 2.6 km (1.62 miles), this moderately difficult walk is accessible to those with a reasonable level of fitness. It is recommended to wear suitable outdoor clothing, hiking boots, and a first aid kit, in addition to considering a travel health insurance that includes accident coverage.

The best time to enjoy this trail is during spring and summer, when turtles are most visible, although each season offers its unique charm. Tours are available from April to November, at a cost of 15 euros per guide, and the starting and ending point is at the center of Prespa National Park. With a minimum of 5 participants and a maximum of 10, this tour promises to be an intimate and enriching experience, highlighting the presence of turtles in the area, the typical regional mixed forest, the ancient water storage system, and the traditional canal and irrigation system.

Turtle Trail

The Kallamas Trail in Prespa National Park is a window into the intertwined history and culture with the exceptional nature of the region. This route offers a unique immersion into the remnants of the past and the rich biodiversity that characterizes this transboundary environment.

The adventure begins at the Prespa Visitor Center in Dolna Gorica, an accessible and easy-to-locate point for all participants. From this place, visitors travel approximately 4 km (2.49 miles) by car to the trailhead in Kallamas, an ancient fishing village with a rich and complex history, evidenced by its old houses and its name, which exists in three linguistic variants.

As the hike begins above the village, visitors are greeted with a natural scene rich in plant species like Juniperus foetidissima and a chorus of birds that highlights Prespa’s unique biodiversity. After covering 2 km (1.24 miles) on a mountainous trail that demands proper hiking equipment, the highest point is reached at 1106 meters above sea level, offering a breathtaking panoramic view of the Great Lake Prespa, encompassing vistas towards Greece and North Macedonia and emphasizing the transboundary nature of the National Park.

The journey continues towards the hermit churches, embedded in the rocks during the 14th and 15th centuries, a monument both cultural and historical that testifies to the spiritual and heritage richness of the region. As the path descends towards the lakeshore, participants may spot Dalmatian pelicans and other bird species, and perhaps enjoy a refreshing swim in the lake waters during hot summer days.

The visit to the Sv. Marena monastery, the only one in Prespa, adds a spiritual dimension to the journey, before concluding the return trip in Kallamas. With a total distance of 11.5 km (7.15 miles) and a duration of approximately 6.5 to 7 hours, this moderately to somewhat difficult trail promises to be a challenging yet rewarding experience.

Requirements include good physical condition, suitable hiking footwear, appropriate clothing for the activity (including swimwear in summer), sun protection, and an emergency kit, emphasizing the importance of preparation for safe enjoyment of the experience. Priced at 50 euros per guide and an additional 10 euros for transfers if necessary, this tour is an invitation to explore the hidden beauty and living history of Prespa from late March to early November, offering a unique perspective of this transboundary landscape.

Trail on Maligrad Island in the Great Lake Prespa

Prespa National Park in Albania is home to Maligrad Island in the Great Lake Prespa. This lake, one of the oldest in the world, is home to an astonishing variety of wildlife and breathtaking landscapes.

The journey to Maligrad Island offers a unique experience that combines nature and culture. After departing from the picturesque village of Pustec on a relaxing cruise across the lake, visitors embark on a gentle hike towards the iconic cave church of Santa Maria. This church, built in 1369 by the local noble César Novaku, is a fascinating testament to the history and architecture of Albania.

Inside the church, visitors are awestruck by ancient frescoes and archaeological remains that reveal the presence of human settlements from ancient times. After a short hike to the top of the island, a moment of rest and delight is offered with a traditional picnic, where authentic flavors of the region can be enjoyed.

With a total duration of approximately three hours, this tour is suitable for all fitness levels and offers an unforgettable opportunity to explore the natural and cultural beauty of Prespa National Park.

For those interested in participating in this exciting journey, it is recommended to come prepared with suitable clothing to protect against wind and sun, as well as to arrange travel health insurance. Priced at 20 euros per person, this tour promises to be an enriching experience that will leave lasting memories for all who participate.

Historical Trails from Gollomboç to Diellas

Explore the beauty and history of Prespa National Park on a unique excursion that takes you from Gollomboç to Diellas, traversing trails brimming with culture, nature, and panoramic views. This guided tour not only allows you to tread a historic path but also immerses you in the life of the illustrious Sterjo Spasse, journeying from his hometown to viewpoints offering spectacular vistas of the area.

The journey begins in Gollomboç, a place marked by rich cultural heritage and the influence of the famous national writer, Sterjo Spasse. You’ll have the opportunity to get closer to the writer’s life by visiting his home and the school where he took his first academic steps.

Following an ancient route that historically connected the villages in the area, this trail will reveal the diversity of Prespa’s endemic flora and fauna. You’ll listen to the songs of local birds and admire the plants adorning the path, immersing yourself in the park’s natural richness.

Reaching the observation platform is one of the highlights of the excursion, offering a breathtaking view of Lake Prespa in all its splendor, including sections belonging to Greece and North Macedonia. This viewpoint is a perfect spot to capture the magnitude and beauty of the transboundary landscape.

Route Details:

  • Distance: 11.2 kilometers, with an approximate duration of 5.5 hours.
  • Elevation Gain: 415 meters.
  • Difficulty Level: Medium, accessible for individuals with average physical fitness.
  • Recommendations: It is essential to wear suitable hiking footwear, appropriate clothing for outdoor conditions, sufficient drinking water, and don’t forget sun protection.

To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, it is suggested to purchase travel medical insurance that includes coverage in case of accidents.
The ideal time to embark on this adventure is during spring and summer, taking advantage of the pleasant weather and vibrant nature of the region.

  • Start Time: It is recommended to begin the journey at 09:00 a.m.
  • Starting and Ending Point: From the village of Gollomboç to Diellas.
  • Capacity: The group can vary between a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 8 participants.
  • Cost: The experience has a value of 50 euros per person.

This tour promises to be an unforgettable experience that combines the charm of nature with the depth of local history, ideal for those seeking cultural and natural adventures in one journey.

Mali I Thate Trail

This is a long but beautiful trail to traverse, with meadows and forests on the Albanian side. Additionally, it offers the opportunity to walk alongside former communist-era border military posts, as well as impressive views of Lake Prespa.

To begin the route, head towards the southernmost exit in Goricë e Madhe and take the first right. Continue walking until you see a bunker on your left. Then, turn right at the crossroads next to the bunker to continue your ascent towards the peak.

As you progress, the trail will leave the forest behind and lead you to another expansive meadow. To reach Mali i Thatë or Pllaja e Pusit (2,288 m/7,506 ft), you must head west. After covering some kilometers, the trail will split into two: one heading north and the other south. The southern route will initially descend, offering a panoramic view from which you can observe both lakes simultaneously. On the other hand, the northern route will lead you directly to the peak.

Highest Peaks in Prespa National Park

These are the highest peaks found in Prespa National Park:

  1. Pusi Plateau: 2,288 meters (7,506 feet)
  2. Kota: 2,264 meters (7,427 feet)
  3. Maja Zonjës: 2,053 meters (6,735 feet)
  4. Maja Buza and Korita: 2,028 meters (6,653 feet)
  5. Pero e Korita: 1,966 meters (6,450 feet)
  6. Zonja Mountain: 1,919 meters (6,295 feet)
  7. Maja Shengjergjit: 1,911 meters (6,269 feet)
  8. Maja Mezit: 1,863 meters (6,112 feet)
  9. Star Peak: 1,833 meters (6,013 feet)
  10. Maja Ivanit: 1,768 meters (5,800 feet)

These impressive peaks offer spectacular views and are highlights for hiking enthusiasts and fans of long walks.

What to See Nearby: Nearby Locations


Korca is a city located in Albania, serving as the capital of the Korçë District and one of the country’s largest urban centers. With a population of around 75,000 inhabitants, this city has a rich history dating back to the 6th century when it was founded by the Byzantine Empire. At that time, it was known as "Korçë" or "Curce". Later, in 1479, it became part of the Ottoman Empire, maintaining this status until 1912, when it integrated into Albania.

Korca is accessible both by road and by rail, offering budget accommodation options for visitors wishing to explore this fascinating city and its surroundings.


Ohrid is a city located in the Republic of North Macedonia, nestled along the shores of Lake Ohrid, recognized as one of Europe’s oldest lakes and declared a natural and cultural heritage of the Ohrid region. With a history dating back to at least 4000 BC, Ohrid is an important archaeological site in North Macedonia.

The city’s foundation is attributed to Philip II of Macedonia, father of Alexander the Great, around 340 BC. Originally known as "Ochrida", derived from the Greek "Ochrēs", meaning "bright". Thanks to its tourist appeal, Ohrid offers a wide variety of accommodation options for visitors. Additionally, the city is accessible both by road and by rail.


Bitola, the second-largest city in North Macedonia, is located in the southwest of the country, near the borders with Greece and Albania. With around 85,000 inhabitants, this city is situated at the southern end of North Macedonia, covering an area of approximately 26 km² (16 square miles) at an altitude of 541 m (1,774 feet) above sea level. The name Bitola originates from the Slavic word "bistra," which means "clear water."

History of the Prespa Region

The Prespa region, endowed with abundant natural resources including lakes, rivers, forests, and diverse wildlife, has been inhabited by humans since prehistoric times and continues to be inhabited to this day. Human influence on the natural landscape dates back to ancient times, making this area rich in history, archaeology, and culture.

The earliest evidence of human population in Prespa dates mainly to the Bronze and Iron Ages. The Treni cave in Albania bears witness to this ancient occupation, with archaeological findings suggesting human presence from around 6000 BC.

During the Hellenistic and Roman periods, the region continued to be inhabited, as evidenced by archaeological remains found between Milionas and Laimos, as well as the presence of Lyka, a Hellenistic city on the island of Agios Achilleios.

Most of the archaeological remnants in Prespa date from the medieval period, with both Byzantine and post-Byzantine monuments scattered throughout the Prespa territory in the three surrounding countries.

The end of the 9th century marked a crucial moment for the city of Prespa, which was part of the Western Bulgarian Empire. After the collapse of this empire, the son of Tsar Samuel took refuge in Prespa, making it his base to expand his dominion over a wide area of Greece.

Throughout the 10th century, the region alternately fell under the rule of Bulgarian leader Simeon I and the Byzantine Empire. However, it was during the reign of Emperor Basil II that Prespa was fully incorporated into Byzantine territories.

The construction of the basilica of Agios Achilleios was completed in 986, erected by Tsar Samuel, who aspired to establish Prespa as the capital of a new autonomous state.

Life in Prespa has faced numerous challenges throughout history, including the migration of a significant part of the population during the Civil War in Albania, which led many to the Eastern Bloc or Austria. To maintain stability, the government granted houses and land to the Vlachs, newcomers of Romanian ethnic origin, in the Prespa National Park.

Despite difficult relations between the three surrounding countries, an agreement was reached in 2000 to designate Prespa as a transboundary park in order to preserve its peaceful environment. The Society for the Protection of Prespa (SPP), founded in 1990 by a group of enthusiasts, has played a crucial role in protecting and enhancing this diverse freshwater, mountainous, and wild ecosystem.

Culture and Heritage

Local Communities and Their Relationship with the Park

The local communities of Prespa, situated in a region rich in cultural and natural heritage on the Balkan Peninsula and shared between Albania, Macedonia, and Greece, reflect a deeply rooted history and unique cultural diversity. This area, famous for Lake Prespa and its national parks, has a legacy of mixed cultures due to numerous conflicts and occupations over the centuries, including Illyrian, Roman, Ottoman, and Slavic influences. Despite economic challenges and the need for tourism infrastructure, communities have maintained vibrant traditions in dance, song, attire, and agriculture, alongside a notable religious heritage including historic churches and mosques. The recent designation of the region as a Transboundary Biosphere Reserve aims to promote sustainable development and cultural preservation.

Local Traditions and Festivals

Various events and festivals take place, offering the opportunity to immerse oneself in the rich tradition of the region and participate in unique celebrations.
The Wine Festival, held during the winter, is one such standout event. Organized by the National Park, this festival provides the chance to taste and discover wines produced by the local population, competing for the title of the region’s best wine. Alongside wine tastings, visitors can enjoy traditional food prepared by talented local homemakers, all accompanied by traditional music creating a charming atmosphere.

The International Day of Parks is another significant date on the calendar. It’s a perfect opportunity to enjoy nature in the company of Park management, exploring its trails and landscapes.

In addition to these events, it’s worth visiting the traditional and religious festivities celebrated in the region. One of the most prominent is the feast day of Saint Marena, on July 30th, which is the largest event in the region. People from the nine villages and other localities gather at the region’s only monastery to celebrate this special occasion. The boat trip to the monastery, beautiful views, music, outdoor activities, and lunch under the branches of a centuries-old tree are part of the memorable experience this festival offers.

Transboundary Collaboration

Prespa National Park in Albania has been incorporated into a trinational and transboundary collaboration project, led by the Ramsar Convention in cooperation with Prespa National Parks in North Macedonia and Greece since 2000. Although the three countries and involved international parties have agreed on this joint project since then, progress has been minimal in its implementation, and in practice, the three parks are managed independently.

Recently, another collaboration project has been initiated under the auspices of the Council of Europe: the "Prespa-Ohrid Ecoregion", with the aim of unifying all conservation efforts for the wetlands of Lake Ohrid and the Prespa lakes under a single administration. As a result of this effort, the Prespa-Ohrid Nature Fund was established in 2015.