Pelagonija Region – Bitola and Prespa

Prespa Lake

The Prespa lakes are two freshwater lakes, with the larger shared between N. Macedonia, Albania, and Greece, and the smaller shared between Greece and Albania. They are the highest tectonic lakes in the Balkans, standing at an elevation of 853 m. On the western shore of the lake, the island of Golem grad or Snake island as the locals call is the main attraction. It is uninhabited however archaeological research of the island shows it was habited from Hellenistic to mediaeval times and that settlements have existed from 4th century A.D. Today around 165 different bird species can be seen here, including wild geese, pelicans, and moorhens. On the east shores of Prespa Lake, the main attraction are the villages of Ljubojno and Brajchino that lie on the slopes of the mountain Baba – NP Pelister and have unique architecture of houses built from massive granite rocks. The best cultural sight in this part of the region is the church of St. George found at the village of Kurbinovo, visited by pilgrims interested in Byzantine art and frescoes.

Virtual tour of Prespa

NP Pelister

The NP Pelister straddles Macedonia’s southern border with Greece, running along the Baba Mountain. The core of the mountain is made of granite that is some 465 million years old. The mountain has a large number of peaks higher than 2000 m separated by deep valleys, the highest of which is the peak Pelister2601m, the third highest peak in the Republic of N. Macedonia. The beauty of the landscape is enhanced by the diverse wildlife: bears, roe deer, wolves, chamois, deer, wild boars, rabbits, several species of eagles, partridges, red-billed choughs, and the endemic Macedonian Pelagonija trout. The unique Molika 5-needled pine (Pinus peuce) is typical for this National Park.

Bitola

The city of Bitola lies at an elevation of 615 m, located between Pelister and the Pelagonija valley. Its old name was Manastir due to the dozen of monasteries located in the city which according to the legend and the historical data were destroyed by the Ottomans because the city did not surrender to them. Traditionally a strong trading center, Bitola is also known as the city of the consuls, since the Ottoman rule, Bitola had consulates from 12 countries. The main landmarks of the city are:

Saat Kula – The Clock Tower XVI c. – XIX c.

St. Dimitri Church– XIX c.

Catholic Church– XIX c.

Yeni mosque– XVI c.

Isak Mosque– XVI c.

The old bazaar

The Bezisten – covered market

The Consulates

Virtual tour of Bitola

Heraclea Lyncestis the archeological site can be found close to the city center of Bitola. Founded by Philip II, father of Alexander the Great, towards the middle of the fourth century BC. Among the most interesting ruins of the site you can see the hot springs, the colonnade, the theatre, the remains of two churches, both with wonderful and colorful mosaics (V century) depicting geometric figures, trees, birds, flowers and animals.

  • Resen Apple orchids – the Spirit of Prespa
  • Golem & Mal Grad ( islands on Prespa Lake)
  • Prespa village of Brajcino and Ljubojno
  • Kurbinovo church St. George church XII c.
  • Turkish market Bitola
  • Heraclea archeologicalsite
  • Jewish cemetery in Bitola
  • Bitola Museum and Kemal Ataturk Museum
  • Bitola Shirok sokak – The street of the consuls
  • National Park Pelister and Pelister Eyes (two beautiful glacier lakes)

St.George Monastery – Kurbinovo – Prespa

The church of St. George lies on the slopes of Mt. Pelister, around 2km from the village of Kurbinovo. The external architecture may not be very impressive on first glance however this historical monument dates back to 1191 A.D. and is in itself a great architectural feat.

Bitola The City Of Consuls

2 hour tour of Bitola including the main sites of the city placed on the main promenade – Shiroksokak street.On this streetin Bitola, during Ottoman rule the embassies of 12 foreign countries where situated.

Ancient Macedonia Tour – Heraclea & Pella

5-6 hour tour of the archeological sites Heraclea (city founded by Philip II) and the archeological site Pella (birthplace of Alexander the Great) in Greece

Dihovo Gastronomy tour

3-4 hour tour to the village of Dihovoin the NP Pelisterwhere we will learn and cook some local specialties. In addition, we will visit one of the village’s famous beekeeper and learn more about bees & honey.

Snake Island tour –Prespa Lake

2 to 2 1/2 hour boat ride in local fishermen boats where we visit the two Islands on lake Prespa with possibility to meet the pelican families.

Hiking NP Pelister – WW I trail

Distance: 2,5 km

Elevation: 1350 – 1450 m

Difficulty: Easy

Hiking NP Pelister -Pelistereyestrail -Nizopole

Distance: 18.8 km

Elevation: 1070-1207-706m

Difficulty: Moderate

Biking NP Pelister –Molika-Pelister peak-Nizopole

Distance: 13 .7 km

Elevation: 1430-2580-1115m

Difficulty: Difficult

Jeep Off Road at NP Pelister – Molika– Pelister peak- Two Lakes

Distance: 70 km

Elevation: 1370-2580-1370m

Difficulty: Dificult

Cheese in furnace – Bitola style

Three types of local cheeses cheese backed within earth dish in open wood stove for 30 minutes. The cheese can becombined with peperoni and bacon, cubed tomatoes & peppers with overlaid chopped mushrooms.

Chketo

A local lamb leg and parsley based dish cooked with gravy of oil, flour and paprika.

Prespa Fried Carp
The carp in lake Prespa is famous for being the tastiest and biggest fish in Macedonia Prepared in deep fry pans cut in chops, the carp is tastiest dipped in lemon juice and garlic with a glass of local white wine.

Bitolskipitulici (doughnuts)

Doughnut based dish made with water and flour. We fry the dough into 30’almmost round shape doughnuts until golden cooked on both sides.

Prespanskicironki
A lake side fish specialty made with sun dried salty strung belvica fish. Before consuming it is slightly cooked on oil and boiled in water until it softens. It is served with Bukovec (dried hot peppers) and mint.

BY ROAD

E75 highway from Skopje 155 km

E65 from Ohrid 78 km

E65 & E90 from Thessaloniki 220 km

BY TRAIN  – Local

Skopje – Veles – Prilep – Bitola

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