I don’t pass up an opportunity to visit Greece very often. Not least when it’s a relatively unknown region, discovering hidden gems is, for me, what travel is all about.

Let me introduce you to West Macedonia.

West Macedonia is a stunning region in Northern Greece, known for its natural landscapes, rich heritage and history, and variety of unique things to do. And as you’d come to expect from Greece, the food.

Compared to many other areas of the country, West Macedonia is far less visited. This, in turn, means you’ll be rewarded with a far more authentic experience, so you can really dive into the culture and traditions found in this area.

In this guide, I’m going to take you through my absolute favourite things to do in West Macedonia, as well as some other top tips. This is based on my own personal experience of travelling through this region!

How to Get to West Macedonia?

The nearest airport to West Macedonia is Thessaloniki, which is around a 2-hour drive from West Macedonia.

Direct flights fly to Thessaloniki from London and Manchester in the United Kingdom, and the journey takes around 3.5 hours or longer. Alternatively, you can fly from another airport and make a change.

If you’re short of time but still want to explore the region, then take a day trip from Thessaloniki. Tours are affordable and you’ll see a lot in a short amount of time. Of course, if you have more time available, I recommend spending more time here.

Where is West Macedonia?

The region of West Macedonia is located in North-Western Greece and borders some of the Greece’s other regions, Central Macedonia, Epirus, and Thessaly.

West Macedonia also borders the countries of Albania and North Macedonia to the North. As such, it’s a great place to visit on any European road trip.

Is West Macedonia a country?

No, West Macedonia is a region of Greece. However, people may confuse it with North Macedonia, the latter being a country found to the North of this region.

Is West Macedonia Worth Visiting?

Yes! In my opinion it absolutely is. West Macedonia is one of the country’s hidden gems. First of all, it offers a much more authentic and cultural experience than other destinations in Greece.

There are also plenty of awesome things to do in West Macedonia. This includes visiting a brown bear sanctuary, exploring a national park, and heading out on a boat trip.

Moving on to my top things to do in West Macedonia, Greece.

West Macedonia Tourist Attractions

Now that you have a better idea about West Macedonia, let’s discuss all the best tourist attractions around!

Meet the Pepper King at Naomidis Pepper Farm

I’m starting with an absolute highlight, visiting Naomidis Pepper Farm. Easily one of the best things to do in West Macedonia!

Located in Agios Panteleimonas, we met and spent time with the owner, Petros. He was incredibly passionate and took us through the whole growing process of Florina peppers.

Petros is a real character and a true gem of West Macedonia. We sampled the different spreads, the pepper honey and also got to pick some, try them, and take some of the peppers away! 

You’ll see a lot more of Petros in the video above!

Take a Boat Trip on Prespa Lake

From the town of Psarades, you can head out on a boat trip of Prespa Lake (or go kayaking). Prespa Lake is beautiful and spreads across three countries; Albania, Greece, and North Macedonia.

The highlight of this trip has to be the settlements, many of which date back to the 12/13th century, as well as the paintings that are found here.

You’ll witness spectacular caves too, as well as lots of endemic flora. This was another highlight, and if the boat trip isn’t for you, there are a lot more activities that can be done here.

Visit Arcturos Brown Bear Sanctuary

If you’re after Greece hidden gems, then you need to visit Arcturos Brown Bear Sanctuary! The sanctuary rehabilitates and rehomes bears that have been used for entertainment, so they can enjoy their final years in a natural environment.

The sanctuary covers around 60 acres and is home to around 22 bears. They also play a pivotal role in educating the local people in terms of bear and human interactions.

Make sure to get your tickets in advance, as the sanctuary often gets busy and tickets sell out.

Sip Coffee on the Sakoulevas River in Florina

Florina is a charming town in West Macedonia. The architecture here is breathtaking and the town runs along the Sakoulevas River.

In fact, there are some great cafes located along the river where you can grab some coffee and take it all in. I’d recommend heading to Mikel Coffee or Florian.

If you have more time, then why not visit the Archaeological Museum of Florina as well?

4×4 Tour of Northern Pindos National Park

The North Pindos National Park is actually one of the most mountainous areas in Europe, along with being home to lush forests, glistening lakes, and pristine rivers.

It’s a great spot for wildlife watching, as this national park is home to a variety of species, including bears, otters, and chamois.

For the best experience go on a driving tour along this road. The scenery is absolutely stunning here, honestly, you won’t believe you’re in Greece!

You can book this tour with Greek Adventure.

Go Birdwatching at Agios Achilleios

Agios Achilleios is a popular bird-watching spot within Prespa National Park. This island is home to a variety of species and is famous for the Dalmatian pelican migration. The pelican’s can be spotted from March to September.

There are also plenty of other things to see on the island including the ruins of a basilica that was built to house the remains of Saint Achillios.

Visiting this stunning landscape and taking in the scenery is one of the top things to do in West Macedonia, so don’t leave it off your itinerary!

Wine Tasting at the Alpha Estate

Greece is known for its wine and there’s no better place to visit than Alpha Estate. Set on the shores of Lake Vegoritida, this winery covers an impressive 220 hectares.

Through the use of eco-friendly practices and sustainable viticulture, the Alpha Estate creates incredible wines, including white, red, rose, and dessert wines.

Going on a winery tour here is fantastic as you’ll get to taste some of the estate’s finest wines, as well as learn about the winemaking process.

Go White Water Rafting on the Aliakmonas River

If you love adventurous activities like me, then I highly recommend going white water rafting along the Aliakmonas River.

This rafting tour is the one I’d suggest as it runs throughout the year and lasts for 2.5-3.5 hours. You’ll head down the river for 6 km and along the way, you can admire the area’s natural landscapes and local wildlife.

We had some wet weather but this was still one of the best experiences I had in West Macedonia!

Lake Kastoria

Lake Kastoria (also known as Lake Orestiada) is considered to be one of the most beautiful lakes in all of Greece. I’d have to agree.

To appreciate its beauty, you’ll want to wander along the lakefront and take in the views. However, leave some time free to explore the town of Kastoria as it’s incredibly scenic.

The neighbourhood and old town of Doltso has some beautiful architecture to explore.

Once a thriving town in terms of the fur and leather industry, today, Kastoria is one of the best places to visit in West Macedonia for travellers.

Truffle Hunting in Valia Kalda

Of all the things to do in West Macedonia, truffle hunting in Valia Kalda is certainly one of the most unique. This area is known as Greece’s mushroom capital so where better to do this activity?

If you’re interested in this experience, you can book it at Greek Adventure. You’ll search out the truffles with specially trained dogs and then enjoy them over your lunch, which will be cooked by local chef, Chef Fortis!

Discover West Macedonia With a Tour

To see all the best spots, I’d recommend booking a tour in West Macedonia. This way, all the logistics are covered and you’ll have a local guide who will be able to give you in-depth information about the local area.

I used Greek Adventure and I couldn’t recommend them enough. Our guide Iraklis was fantastic. There are so many different experiences and activities on offer, and they can even offer tailor-made tours to suit each individual.

Where to Stay in West Macedonia

I’ve broken down my places to stay in West Macedonia by town.

Nymfaio

La Moara

Set in a beautiful building, La Moara offers cosy rooms, fantastic service, and a great location. Not to mention, the breakfast here is incredibly tasty.

Argyro Guesthouse

Another favourite of mine, Argyro Guesthouse offers authentic traditional breakfast, which is served until noon, along with neoclassical-style rooms.

Kastoria

Enastron View Hotel Kastoria

This hotel boasts panoramic views of Kastoria Lake, a charming garden area, and a bar. Some of the rooms feature a private balcony with lake views too!

Florina

The Lynx Μountain Resort

This is where I’d recommend for a relaxing getaway. The spa facilities at this resort are exceptional, and so are the property’s on-site restaurant, bar, and wine collection.

Where to Eat in West Macedonia

Kastoria

Two of my favourites in Kastoria are Palia and Poli and The House of Parea. Both of these specialise in traditional Greek dishes and boast a cosy atmosphere.

Nymfaio

Restaurant Thomas

This charming restaurant is located in the town of Sklithro, close to Nymfaio. The food is delicious in my opinion and there’s an extensive wine list to choose from.

Prespa Lake

Fish Tavern

If you love seafood, then I’d highly recommend this place. The fish dishes here are amazing and the owner is lovely. What more could you ask for?

Summary of West Macedonia

As you can see, there are plenty of amazing things to do in West Macedonia, Greece. I absolutely fell in love with this region, and the photos speak for themselves.

Along with my YouTube video, you can also catch up on my Instagram Stories from this region, they are all saved in the highlights. I can guarantee you’ll have a fabulous time exploring this part of the country.

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