The City of Florina: Northern Greece’s Hidden Winter Fairyland



  • Florina is Greece’s northwesternmost city, with a population of approximately 20,000 people who live in the town itself and 15,000 more in its outskirts.

What makes Florina unique, however, is not just its remote and mountainous geographic position, but its beauty and its incomparable character.

A stroll along the streets of Florina’s city center transfers you back in time to an era when Greek cities had a more aesthetically-pleasing appearance, before the massive redevelopment of the 1950s and the 1960s which transformed the urban landscape of Greece forever.

Streetscape of Florina. Photo credit: https://www.instagram.com/mr.loneur

Most of the cities in northern Greece have fortunately managed to maintain their traditional architecture to a certain extent, but Florina is one of those locales where the past is still truly alive.

Walking along the city’s downtown streets sometimes makes you feel as if you’re walking through a cinematic studio, and not in a modern Greek city.

Its unique Macedonian identity, its Balkan charm and the long history behind the city’s tales are just some of the elements that make this place so beautiful.

All these aspects, combined with the local microclimate, which more closely resembles that of Britain or Scandinavia rather than Greece, combine together to create a ”must-visit” destination which one truly must experience for himself.

Florina has always been one of Greece’s coldest inhabited places, and it is definitely its coldest major city.

Florina river and streetscape with forest backdrop. Credit: https://www.instagram.com/flaneurskaleidoscopichorizons

Temperatures often drop below -10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) and snow is more often seen here than anywhere else in the country.

Florina also holds Greece’s all-time record-low temperature of -29°C (-20 F), which was recorded just a few years ago.

When it doesn’t snow, however, Florina is normally covered in thick fog, created by clouds which become trapped above the city due to the mountain ranges surrounding it.

Beautiful Autumn view of Florina, with architecture and leaves reflected in the Sakoulevas River. Photo credit: https://www.instagram.com/mr.loneur

Thick forests begin right at the every edges of the city and its beautiful river, the Sakoulevas, passes through the town’s very center, creating a lovely, picturesque waterway crossed by a number of bridges.

Christmas is definitely Florina’s peak tourist season since it offers its fortunate visitors a wide range of options for wintertime fun.

From a weekend ”city-break” to a week of mountainous adventures and skiing at the nearby ski resorts, Florina can undoubtedly be called Greece’s hidden winter treasure.

 

Florina’s unique architecture is just one of its many jewels. Credit: instagram.com/alexandros_ianis_/

No wonder why Florina’s inhabitants are known all over Greece for their hospitality as well as their justifiable pride for their beautiful hometown.