Prespa Lakes

View of the Great Prespa Lake. © F. Marquez
View of Lake Prespa and its sorroundings. © Xh. Xherri
Pelicans, heros and cormorants at Lake Prespa. © P. Stathopoulos

Names in the national language

Liqenet e Prespës (Albania)

Préspa (Greece)

Prespansko (North Macedonia)


Location and short description

The site consists of two lakes – Lesser and Great Prespa – located at the border triangle of Albania, Greece and North Macedonia. Both lakes belong to the “South East Adriatic Drainages” freshwater eco-region and are situated at about 850 m of altitude amidst mountains rising to over 2,500 m. Great Prespa covers an area of 273 km² and is shared between all three countries, with the biggest part in North Macedonia. Further south and separated from Great Prespa by a sandy isthmus lies Lesser Prespa. The largest part of this lake is located in Greece, while only its westernmost tip belongs to the Albanian territory. The water level of Lesser Prespa is approximately 4 m higher than that of Great Prespa. Thus, water flows to the latter through the surface channel connecting the two lakes, but also underground.


Special features

The Prespa Lakes are the highest tectonic lakes in the Balkans. Within the relatively small geographical of its area, a multitude of life forms can be found. The region is internationally recognized as one of Europe’s most important areas ecologically, as it is a hotspot for biodiversity and realm of endemic species. More than half of the bird, amphibian and mammal species found in Greece live at Prespa Lakes. Out of 23 species of fish found in the area, nine are endemic. Prespa hosts the largest Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus) colony in the world, consisting of about 20 % of the estimated global breeding population. Historically, the area was very important during the last phase of the Greek civil war (1948-1949), being almost deserted on the Greek side thereafter.


Main biotop types

Freshwater lakes, temperate forests (oak, beech, birch, juniper), temperate grasslands



  • Mammals: Brown bear (Ursus arctos), Grey wolf (Canis lupus), Wild cat (Felis silvestris), Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra)
  • Birds: Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus), Great white pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus), Pygmy cormorant (Microcarbo pygmaeus)
  • Fish: Prespa trout (Salmo peristericus), Carp (Cyprinus carpio), Prespa barbel (Barbus prespensis)


Status of protection

National Park Prespa (Albania)

Prespa National Park, Natura 2000 sites, Ramsar site (Greece)

Nature Park Ezerani, Monument of Nature, National Park Galičica, National Park Pelister, Ramsar site (North Macedonia)

Prespa Lakes

Nearest city:
Korça (Albania)
Florina (Greece)
Resen (North Macedonia)


National Agency of Protected Areas / RAPA Korce (Albania)
E-Mail: info(at)

Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania
E-Mail: contact(at)

Prespa National Park (Greece)
E-Mail: fdedp(at)

Society for the Protection of Prespa (Greece)
E-mail: spp(at)

Macedonian Ecological Society (North Macedonia)
E-mail: contact(at)

National Park Galicica (North Macedonia)
E-Mail: galicica(at)

National Park Pelister (North Macedonia)
E-Mail: np.pelister(at)

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