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Agios Achillios Islet | Prespa Lakes | Byzantine Marvels, Roman Treasures & Festive Charms

Updated: Mar 6


George P. Papadellis | SG Head

with some good tips from AI

in the heart of the Small Prespa lake, Agios Achillios islet stands as a testament to ancient civilizations and Byzantine heritage. With its Roman and Byzantine settlements, magnificent churches, and breathtaking natural landscapes, this tiny island has emerged as a popular tourist destination in the Prespa region. Connected to the mainland by a floating footbridge, Agios Achillios offers visitors a unique opportunity to experience the charm of a secluded island while immersing themselves in history, culture, and the beauty of the Prespa Lakes. In this article, we take a closer look at Agios Achillios Islet, its historical significance, attractions, annual festivals, and the delightful experiences that await travelers in this captivating destination.

Agios Achillios Islet | Prespa Lakes

Byzantine Treasures

Agios Achillios Islet boasts a rich historical legacy, dating back to Roman and Byzantine times. Evidence suggests that the islet may have been the ancient city of Lyki, as inscriptions and ruins discovered here provide glimpses into its ancient past. The main attraction on the island is the three-aisled Agios Achillios church, a Byzantine masterpiece constructed in the late 10th century AD. Built by Tsar Samuel of Bulgaria to house the mummified relics of Saint Achillios, an early bishop of Larissa, this basilica is a remarkable symbol of religious devotion and architectural brilliance. Other noteworthy churches on the island include the basilica of the Twelve Apostles (11th century), the church of Agios Dimitrios (14th century), the basilica of Agios Georgios (15th century), and the church of Panagia Porphyra. These scattered Byzantine churches offer visitors a glimpse into the island's spiritual and artistic heritage, making a visit to Agios Achillios a truly captivating experience.

Agios Achillios Islet Prespa Lake

Agios Achillios Islet Prespa Lake | Photo by: Nikos Laskaridis, Prespes-Agios-Axileios, CC BY-SA 4.0

Prespia Festival

Each year, the renowned Prespia Festival takes place on Agios Achillios Islet, captivating visitors with its vibrant atmosphere and diverse cultural events. The festival showcases a series of concerts, art exhibitions, traditional dances, and theatrical performances, attracting renowned artists from Greece and beyond. Amidst the mystical landscape of Agios Achillios, visitors can immerse themselves in the local culture, savoring the enchanting melodies and experiencing the vibrant traditions of the Prespa region. The Prespeia Festival has become a highlight of the summer calendar, drawing tourists and locals alike to Agios Achillios for an unforgettable celebration of arts and culture.

Agios Achillios Mikri Prespa

Agios Achillios Mikri Prespa | Photo by: Angeliki Argyriadou, Agios Achillios Mikri Prespa, CC BY-SA 4.0

Serenity of Agios Achillios

Beyond its historical and cultural treasures, Agios Achillios Islet offers breathtaking natural landscapes that will leave visitors in awe. Embark on a circular hiking route that spans the entire island, offering panoramic views of the surrounding Mikri Prespa Lake. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of the reedbeds, ideal for birdwatching enthusiasts eager to spot the diverse avian species that call this area home. A climb to the highest point of the island rewards you with a mesmerizing vista from the vantage point of a colossal cross, allowing you to admire the serene beauty of Mikri Prespa and the majestic mountains that encircle it. Agios Achillios Islet provides an idyllic escape from the bustling city life, offering visitors a peaceful retreat in the lap of nature.

Small Prespa Agios Achillios Islet

Small Prespa Agios Achillios Islet | Photo by: Despina Michailidou, Mikri Prespa 2, CC BY-SA 4.0

Memories for Lifetime

Agios Achillios Islet in Prespa Lakes stands as a testament to the rich historical and cultural heritage of Greece. From its Byzantine churches and ancient ruins to its awe-inspiring natural landscapes, this hidden gem invites visitors to embark on a journey of exploration and serenity. With its floating footbridge connecting it to the mainland, Agios Achillios has transformed into a popular tourist destination, allowing easy access throughout the year. Whether you seek a glimpse into the past, a cultural celebration, or an opportunity to immerse yourself in nature's splendor, Agios Achillios Islet promises an unforgettable experience. Discover the enchanting beauty of this tiny island and create cherished memories that will last a lifetime.

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The islet offers magnificent views of Mikri Prespa Lake and of the birds nesting there!


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