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  • Writer's pictureGreen Traveller

Where to stay in West Macedonia and Thessaloniki

As we launch our Green Traveller's Guide to West Macedonia and Thessaloniki, Sarah Baxter selects a range of characterful places to stay in this beautiful part of northern Greece. Thessaloniki is the hub for the region and is a great place to spend a few days before and after exploring the rest of West Macedonia.

The rooms at Prespa Resort & Spa, Platy have good lake-and-mountain views from their west-facing balconies. Photo: Richard Hammond

Prespa Resort & Spa, Platy, Prespa National Park

For exploring Prespa National Park, this small-scale resort is in the perfect spot. Located in the little village of Platy, just off the main road to the east of Lesser Prespa Lake, it’s an easy drive to everywhere. That location also means all the rooms have good lake-and-mountain views from their west-facing balconies and patios – great for watching sunset. The resort offers both studios and apartments. The rustic studios are simply but neatly furnished, all with air-con, fireplaces and small kitchenettes for simple self-catering; larger apartments, with separate bedrooms and bigger kitchens, offer families more space. On site there’s a small gym and a good-size outdoor pool, set within a neat little garden, where you can grab a drink from the shady snack bar. Note, fellow guests might include a family of storks, which regularly nest on the telegraph pole within the grounds.

City Hotel, Thessaloniki

Lively, youthful and rich in history, Thessaloniki is the country’s second-biggest city and the gateway to West Macedonia. It’s well worth a day or two of your time. And the City Hotel is good base for exploring, sitting close to Thessaloniki’s main Aristotelous Square and buzzing Tsimiski Street, and a stone’s throw from the old port and the sea. The hotel’s design vibe is ‘urban nature’: modern and fresh, with green and white tones and botanical prints. There’s a strong eco-philosophy too – the hotel holds a Green Key award for its commitment to sustainable operation and environmental responsibility. There are 125 rooms, all bright, comfortable, and well-fitted; inner rooms offer good value, but top pick are the city-view rooms, which have balconies. Downstairs in the Green Bar, a generous buffet breakfast is served, spanning international favourites, traditional Greek cheese pies and fresh-squeezed juices, all made from local-sourced ingredients.

Argyro Guesthouse, Nymfaio, Florina

Argyro and her husband Ioannis (and their two friendly dogs) know how to make you feel welcome. Their traditional stone-built guesthouse in Nymfaio – one of the ten most picturesque villages of Europe, according to UNESCO – sits at the top of the village, with spectacular views over the rooftops to the Vitsi mountains beyond. It’s more like a home rather than a hotel – like staying with a favourite aunt: the handful of guest rooms are filled with lovely antique furnishings, from dark-wood bedsteads to embroidered chair covers. Breakfast is a showstopper. Argyro prides herself on offering something different every day, so alongside the fresh-squeezed orange juice, fruit platter, Greek salad, creamy yoghurt, and homemade jams there might be thick pancakes, iced buns or fat slices of flakey cheese and spinach pie. All served with warmth and fantastic views.

Argyro Guesthouse sits atop Nymfaio - one of the ten most picturesque villages of Europe, according to UNESCO. Photo: Richard Hammond

La Moara, Nymfaio, Florina

Alongside the Argyro, Argyro and Ioannis also run La Moara, a traditional neoclassical Nymfaio stone mansion a little further down the hill that was one of the first guesthouses to open as tourists began to rediscover this gorgeous mountain village. Set in a garden flanked by spruce trees, La Moara has eight spacious, stylish rooms – including two pleasingly tucked into the attic – that meld the old character of the house with more contemporary style: think wood floors, embroidered blankets and lace valances meeting funky sofas and modern colour pops of mustard, blush pink and stone blue. There’s also a restaurant (where excellent breakfasts and wines from the well-stocked cellar are served), two lounges, a welcoming reception area with an open fire – perfect for the chilly winter months – and a chill-out room with a pool table, board games and library of books.

Agios Ahilios Guest House, Agios Ahilios, Prespa National Park

Location, location, location – that’s what really sells this peaceful, family-run inn on the edge of little Agios Achillios Island. The car-free islet itself sits in Lesser Prespa Lake, connected to the mainland by a floating pedestrian causeway, built around 2001 – until then, the only access to the island was by boat. Indeed, a boat is still used to provide free luggage transfers for those staying at the guesthouse, to save the need to heft bags across. Rooms here, either doubles or triples, are simple but tidy, with private bathrooms and balconies overlooking the lake, wetlands and hills beyond. There’s a communal lounge downstairs and a homemade buffet breakfast included. Tuck in before setting off on the 5km hike around the island, which passes the impressive ruins of the tenth-century basilica.

Guesthouse Agonari, Sklithro, Florina

This cosy stone guesthouse in Sklithro looks out to the village and the surrounding lush mountains. There are ten rooms, with exposed stone walls, wooden floors, iron bedsteads, fireplaces and antique furnishings. Taverna Thomas, the owner’s restaurant, is excellent too.

Panorama Hotel, Agios Germanos, Prespa National Park

The aptly named Panorama sits at 1,200m above sea level, at the highest point in the village of Agios Germanos. The old building has been sensitively renovated, and characterful rooms feature exposed stone walls, wooden ceilings, and terraces with views to the lake.

Agios Germanos Hotel, Agios Germanos, Prespa National Park

This traditional ten-room inn sits in the centre of Agios Germanos, opposite the old Byzantine church. Its low stone buildings are fine examples of the typical local architecture, and the rooms are simple but characterful. Breakfast features homemade pies, marmalade and local honey, eggs and cheese.

Guesthouse Ariadni, Laimos, Prespa National Park

A welcoming guesthouse, set in another fine old Prespa building. Rooms, some with balconies, are comfortable, with private bathrooms. There’s also a communal garden and large terrace, and a quality breakfast.

Hotel Philippos, Psarades, Prespa National Park

Philippos sits in the quiet fishing village of Psarades, in the main square, near the shores of Great Prespa Lake. There are four rooms spread across the traditional building, which dates back to 1890. There’s also a communal kitchen where you can make your own meals.

Kivotos Epavlis, Agios Germanos, Prespa National Park

These rustic serviced apartments (sleeping six) make a good base for longer stays. The thick-walled ground floors – cool in summer, warm in winter – have fully-equipped kitchens, dining rooms and lounge; upstairs, light floods into the tasteful bedrooms, some of which have four-posters.

Casa di Cardellino, Psarades, Prespa National Park

Staying at this handsome stone villa, close to Great Prespa Lake, gives a taster of bygone Greek village life. The decor is a modern-traditional mix, with hardwood floors and woodburners in every room but all mod-cons too. Sleeps up to eight, across two bedrooms and sofa beds.


The Google map below shows the location and details of all the places to stay, local food and drink, visitor attractions and activities in our Green Traveller's Guide to West Macedonia and Thessaloniki

Green = Places to stay Blue = Local food & drink Yellow = Attractions Purple = Activities

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