Galichica National Park is located in the south-western part of the Republic of Macedonia. It is situated between the two biggest lakes: Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa, on the Macedonian side of the mountain Galichica, which also spreads across the border with Albania. Founded in 1958 Galicica National Park encloses area of 25 000 ha. The lowest elevation in the park is the Lake Ohrid (695m above sea level), next is the Lake Prespa (850m a.s.l.), and the highest point is the summit Magaro (2255m a.s.l.). The south border of the National Park is also a national border with Republic of Albania, on the west the Park borders with the shoreline of Lake Ohrid. On the north, the border line passes through several landmarks, and connects both lakes.
Some areas of the Park receive greater influence, resulting in greater moderation of the climate conditions. As a result, there is occurrence of plants typical for the Mediterranean in these areas of the Park. On the other hand, high altitude influences some of the mountain slopes to become home for plants that are usually found in the Alps.
The floral life in the Galichica National Park represents over 1000 species, of which large number of relicts and endemic has the final frontier of its range exactly on the mountain Galichica. There is a characteristic presence of 11 discovered local endemics which can be found exclusively on the slopes of Galichica and nowhere else. The vertebrate species are present with 170: 10 amphibians, 18 reptiles, 124 birds and 18 mammals. The numerous representations of butterflies (1644 species), which is an enormous concentration on such a small space, are a big attraction.
A large number of the tourist accommodations capacities of Ohrid and Prespa is located within the Park. Apart from numerous hotels, accommodation can be found in private houses in most villages on the shores of the lakes, and in several caravan parks. Due to its location, unusual natural beauty, scenery, aesthetic values, exceptionally diverse and endemic flora and fauna, the Galichica National Park provides magnificent pleasure in both, nature and cultural monuments.
The Island of Golem Grad is also known as Snake Island due to all the water snakes that live around the shores of the island. The island is now uninhabited and is part of the natural reserve of Galichica National Park. The single-nave church of St. Peter, with fresco paintings dating back to the 14th century, can be found on the island. Archaeologists have discovered remains of several other churches built here in the period between the 10th and the 14th centuries.
One upon a time a quiet fishing village, the village of Peshtani has given up to tourism, with almost every house renting rooms and many restaurants and cafes. It is located in the vicinity of Desaret hotel which has a good organized beach. For the visitors who doesn’t like camping but like to enjoy the great beaches and parties in the near camp of Gradishte, Peshtani is excellent place for vacation.
The area of the National Park Galichica along the shores of the Ohrid Lake is characterized with cave churches. Some of them like ‘St. Virgin Mary’(14th century) in the village of Pestani, ‘St. Virgin Mary’ in the camping site Gradiste, and the church ‘St Stefan’ (11th century) which has picturesque wall painting, are under protection. Also, there are more cave churches on the shore of Lake Prespa not far from the Albanian border, such as: ’St Petar i Pavle’, church ‘St Petka’ in between vsillages Stenje and Konjsko and the church ‘St Ilija’ (14th century) near the village of Trpejca.
Cave ‘Samatska Dupka’ is 224 long and 6 m wide, and the height is from 2-10 m. There is a lot of cave jewelry inside, and the cave can be entered with prior arrangement with the park guide.
Monastery of St. Naum of Ohrid is the monastery which Saint Naum was built on a rock, with a wonderful view of Lake Ohrid and of the surrounding mountains from Galicica National Park. The original church dedicated to the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel was erected by St. Naum himself in 900 A.D. The pupil of St Cyril and Methodius died in 910 and he was buried in the monastery within the church. There is one interesting legend connected to this church, a popular belief that if a visitor puts his ear on St.Naum’s grave he could hear his heart beating. The church was demolished in the Ottoman period and was renovated and reconstructed several times.
The 45 springs which are a rare natural phenomenon, bubble up from the bottom of the crystal clear stream bed, and mostly bring water from the neighbouring lake of Prespa, on the other side of Galichica National Park. A boat trip down to the springs, which feed Lake Ohrid, is available in the vicinity of the monastery of St. Naum.
Museum on water is located in the Bay of the bones, this open air museum represents reconstruction of a prehistoric (Bronze Age) pile-dwelling settlement discovered on the same place due to underwater archaeological excavations. Within the complex there is a small museum with a small exhibition of the discovered artefacts, as well as a Roman military fortification in the vicinity which has been reconstructed on the hill above the Bay of Bones and once had protected the Roman Empire from its enemies.
The church St. Virgin Zaumska originally dates from 1361. It is built in a vibrant style, with preserved fresco painting from the period of foundation. The restoration work has been done to the church and it is in good condition, attracting visitors, both by lake and from the trails in the mountain.