Florina is a town of fewer than 20,000 people (2011) in West Macedonia, northern in Greece. Florina is the gateway to the Prespa Lakes and it is a useful staging post from North Macedonia into Greece.
During the summer months it becomes a busy market town with an economy boosted by summer and, mostly, winter tourism due to the heavy snowfalls and the nearby ski resorts.
The mountains of Verno lie to the southwest and Varnous to the northwest.
The weather in Florina is quite unstable during the whole season, especially during the winter. Florina is the city with the most snowfalls of all Greece that lasts from December to March. During the winter, the most of the time, the temperature is below 0 °C, so be prepared. The town and the surrounding valley is usually covered in thick fog during the winter months that may last even for weeks.
There are three trains each day between Thessaloniki and Florina. Travel lasts about 2 hr 30 min. Trains between Thessaloniki and Florina stop at Edessa and Veroia also. As of May 2023), there is no cross-border service from Bitola in North Macedonia.
- 1 Florina railway station (Σιδηροδρομικός σταθμός Φλωρίνης).
There are frequent buses.
- Bus Station, 10, Hakedomahon, ☏ .
Valid information can be found here (Update: 14/05/2023)
From Bitola it is about 30 km, and takes a little over an hour by taxi. Taxi drivers from North Macedonia require a special permit to operate in Greece, and they might use this fact to quote you a fare of up to €40. You should be able to knock them down to €25 or less. If they don't have a permit, they might offer to take you to the border for just a few euros, but you then have to walk between the border posts (800 m) and hope to find a Greek taxi. Alternatively, they might take you all the way but pretend that they are a private car once in Greece.
You can easily get around by foot. It is a nice way to see beautiful neoclassical houses.
The way that the old and the new city are split by Sakouleva river is unique.
Also, make a visit at Nimphaio village, where you can find the Αrcturos organisation.
- 1 Archaeological Museum of Florina. It has prehistoric, Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine finds from the Florina area.
- 2 Florina Museum of Modern Art. 480 paintings, sculptures and engravings, including a work of El Greco and 44 engravings from Florence.
- 3 The Florina Art Gallery, 4 Antheon Street. Festuring the work of the local artists.
- 4 Folklore Museum of the Aristotle Association, 7 Heroon-1944 Square. Artefacts of local folk culture.
- 5 Folklore Museum of the Culture Club. A variety of traditional everyday wear from the Florina area, looms, weaving implements, agricultural implements, objects for everyday use (mainly cooking utensils), and a collection of medicinal plants and aromatic herbs.
If you visit Florina during winter, you should also pay a visit at the Vigla ski resort, which is near the town (20 minutes by car). It has very nice slopes to try if you like skiing or snowboarding, have a ride with a snowmobile or you can just have a coffee at the chalet near the slopes. The prices are €12 during weekdays and €15 during weekend for the daily pass and you can rent the equipment you need.
The most famous event of the city is the bonfires that the citizens start on the streets during Christmas Eve (at midnight of the 23rd of December).
Florina is known for the big red peppers (Florinis) which are in most cases sweet and in rare cases a little bit spicy. The most common ways to taste them are roasted, blended with tomato as a sauce, stuffed with feta cheese or stuffed with minced meat and rice (gemista). Florina also has a good variety of sweets, the most famous is karidato. You can also find one of the best, if not the best, variety of beans coming from the villages around Prespes lakes (called Prespon king bean or fasolia gigantes Prespon). For street food, Florina has big sandwiches called Glossa.
You shoud try sour water (ksino nero) which is natural sparkling water from the village of Florina. You can also try a very good variety of refreshments with fresh juice and sour water such as orangeade, lemonade, gazoza (lime), sour cherry, soda water, cola, strawberry, kiwi, rokino (mixed fruit), apple, gazoza (pear) and tonic water.
You can also try a wide variety of wines produced at a village near Florina called Amyntaio. The most common variety is xinomavro.
While in Greece, to avoid hostility, be careful to refer to North Macedonia as such (previously as "FYROM" or even "Skopje") or just say the name of the town you have travelled from, as the use of the term "Macedonia" to describe the neighbouring country is a sensitive subject for Greeks.