Green Travel Guide to West Macedonia and Thessaloniki
Photos: Richard Hammond
Foreword by Eleni Skarveli,
Director, GNTO UK & Ireland Office
When people ask for undiscovered places to visit in Greece, Western Macedonia always comes to mind.
Only a couple of hours drive from Thessaloniki, the region of Western Macedonia is a land full of surprises and breath-taking landscapes. The region is home to one of the most stunning natural habitats in the country – the Prespa National Park where visitors can have the chance to explore by kayak , horseback riding and hiking and also spot more than 270 species of birds.
A stone throw away, in the Arktouros Bear Sanctuary, visitors can witness bears and wolves from all over the Balkans that have been saved from zoos, circuses and private collections.
Any Green Traveller trip should be combined with the taste of local cuisine. Not just for foodies, the area has an abundance of local products, from black truffles and the famous Florina red peppers to a vast variety of indigenous wine varieties that can be tried in the various visitable wineries.
A truly different kind of Greece!
Photos: Richard Hammond
What our writer, Sarah Baxter, discovered in West Macedonia and Thessaloniki
Stay, Eat, See & Do
Our writer's pick of places across West Macedonia and Thessaloniki
by Sarah Baxter
Google Map Key:
Click on the coloured icons for more information about each listing
Green = Places to stay; Blue = Places to eat
Yellow = Attractions ; Purple = Activities
Click on the square brackets to reveal expanded map
Nymfaio is one of the ten most picturesque villages of Europe, according to UNESCO
There are about 700 bears living in the wild in Greece, many of which are living in the woods of western Macedonia
More than 270 species of bird have been spotted in Prespa National Park, including the largest colony of Dalmatian pelicans in the world
How to travel to West Macedonia and Thessaloniki from the UK
It is possibly to reach West Macedonia without flying (it takes about 48 hours from London): there are several routes, e.g. take the train via Paris and high speed TGV to Milan and on to Bari on the east coast of Italy and then ferry across the Adriatic and then by bus to Thessaloniki. Of course it's much quicker to fly, but the overland journey can be fascinating, relaxing and fun. For more information, see our guide to How to take the train and ferry from the UK to Greece
If you choose to fly, there are direct flights to Thessaloniki from many UK airports, such as: London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London Luton and Manchester. The flight time is about three hours 45 minutes. Find those flights that produce less than average carbon emissions using the 'Greener Choices' facility provided by Skyscanner.
To compare transport carbon emissions: Transport Carbon Emissions Data
With thanks to Thessaloniki.Travel and Natural, and the Environment & Climate Change Agency for their help producing this guide, and to Joysters for their help with organising our visit in the summer of 2022.