A tiny lake island in a wetland ecosystem- Slow Travel destination: Agios Achillios.
A cinematic scenery made of golden reeds, flocks of birds and Byzantine ruins, at the Northern edge of Greece!
The mythical beauty of Agios Achillios island and Prespes National Park
Agios Achillios is a tiny lake island located in Mikri (Small) Prespa and part of Prespes National Park (PNP), a wetland of international importance.
In Agios Achilios the balanced coexistence of human and nature is a reality that every traveller experiences. In this amazing environment, seems as if time has frozen.
This historical island has 23 permanent inhabitants and is only reachable on foot via a 650m long floating bridge!
The cinematic scenery of Prespes lakes
The 11 traditional houses made with natural materials such as wood, clay, stone and reeds stand across the island among water buffaloes, ‘’Nanas’’, the
Greek Steppe cows, mallard ducks, purple herons, great white pelicans and
dalmatian pelicans, in specific, the largest breeding colony in the world!
The locals are employed in tourism, farming or agriculture.
Agios Achilios is the second inhabited lake island in Greece, after Ioannina`s lake island.
Local myths at 850 meters above sea level
The local myth says that if one more house will be built on the island, one of the rest houses will collapse.
In this cinematic scenery, the life-rhythm is natural and pure, inspiring, and harmonic.
In a walking circular track of about 2 hours, you may reach the highest point of the island, approximately 850 meters above sea level, and admire the mythical beauty of Agios Achillios island and Prespes lakes!
Travel through history
Agios Achillios has a wealth of Βyzantine churches scattered across the island.
The ruins of the three-aisled basilica of Saint Achillios is the most important archaeological site on the island and dates from the 10th century A.D.
Archaeological researches have discovered fragments of ancient inscriptions, dated back the 2nd and the first half of 3rd century A.D,
and revealed the existence of the ancient city ‘’Lyki’’.
The cultural value of Agios Achillios
As the local fishermen say, when the lake water is clear, the narrow streets of the ancient city can be seen underwater.
They often pull out of the water stony parts of ancient looms, the textile weaving machines, and shells as they caught in their nests.
Other archaeological finds are significant amounts of unpainted Terra sigillata pottery and ceramics from daily items such as cooking utensils, which dates back to the 1st century A.D.
The findings of written pottery in the area, made with coarse clay, prove the existence of a local pottery workshop and confirm once again the cultural value of Agios Achillios and Prespes National Park.
Εvery summer, at the end of Augustus, ‘’Prespeia’’ is taking place in Agios Achillios, a landmark cultural festival with free-of-charge entry, accessible to everyone.
The program of the festival includes music performances, theatre, folk and folklore arts.
The festival highlights the cultural heritage and diversity of Prespes area, and the Northern edge of Greece where three countries meet: Albania, Fyrom and Greece.
The mythical beauty of Prespes valley
A narrow strip of land separates Mikri (Small) Prespa from Megali (Great )Prespa, the second lake of the Prespes valley where humans have lived for over four thousand years!
In particular Mikri Prespa is shared between Greece and Albania, and Megali Prespa between Greece, Albania and North Macedonia (FYROM).
The numerous archaeological sites and ancient finds in Prespes, from the Neolithic Age to the Byzantine and Post-Byzantine period and the unusually
high number of species recorded in the area, clarify Prespes National Park uniqueness, by international standards.
Birdwatching in Agios Achillios
Locals coexist in the island with several diverse species. In specific, in the Prespa National Park have been recorded over 2,000 species of flora, 271 bird species, 60 mammal species, 23 fish species, 22 reptile species and 11 amphibian species!
Agios Achillios is a Slow Travel destination that offers a variety of activities such as birdwatching, sailing, cycling, canoeing and hiking.
During the winter months, the lake is frozen and the best you can do is have a warm drink and a talk at the extraordinary cafe-restaurant of Agios Achillios, at the lakeside.
If you seek for wellness and relaxation, a visit in Agios Achillios will pay you off.
Prespa`s clarity will clear your mind, and you will freely enjoy with all your senses the silence on this tiny lake island.
Do you feel like sailing?
The Green boats are solar-powered boats, environmental-friendly, meant to take you for a boat trip in Prespes lakes for Free.
A wonderful opportunity to explore the cultural and natural heritage of Prespes National Park by boat that cannot be missed!
More about the Green boats read here!