Nymfaio offers a captivating blend of history and cultural traditions. Originally known as Niviesta or Nevesta until 1929, the town saw the arrival of Vlach nomads in the early 1300s. From the late 17th century, it flourished as one of the Balkan region’s prominent silversmithing centers, a status it maintained for nearly three centuries. The legacy of those prosperous times is beautifully preserved in the impressive stone mansions scattered throughout the settlement. Despite being affected by migration in the 1950s and 1960s, Nymfaio has experienced a renaissance as people returned to their roots.
During your visit, don’t miss exploring the historic benefactor’s mansions, such as the Neveska Chrisikos House, now transformed into the Gold and Silver-smithery, Folklore, and History Museum. This meticulously restored mansion showcases wall paintings, intricately carved wooden Macedonian ceilings, and unique furniture, making it an architectural masterpiece. Another must-visit is the Nikeios School, which currently serves as a conference hall for Thessaloniki’s Aristotelian University.
For adventure seekers, Nymfaio offers a range of outdoor activities amidst its stunning natural surroundings. Embark on hikes through picturesque woodlands, enjoy mountain biking or horseback riding, and discover Northern Greece’s unparalleled beauty. Nature enthusiasts will be delighted to encounter the Zarari and Cheimaditida Lakes, both part of the Natura 2000 network. At Zarari Lake, you can indulge in birdwatching, leisurely walks, bike rides, horseback excursions, jeep tours, archery, and canoeing. Cheimaditida Lake, on the other hand, is a crucial breeding site for the endangered ferruginous duck species.
Just 1.5 km from Nymfaio, you’ll find the ARCTUROS Environmental Sanctuary nestled within a beautiful beech forest. Here, ex-captive bears inhabit a 5-acre fenced area designed to simulate a natural habitat. Learn about these magnificent creatures and the challenges they face when reintegrating into the wild after being separated from their mothers before learning basic survival skills.
Nymfaio’s allure knows no seasonal boundaries. In winter, the town transforms into a fairytale-like wonderland with enchanting snowy landscapes. Spring brings the awakening of the bears at the Arcturos Sanctuary. If you prefer a pleasant mountain retreat, Nymfaio’s mild summers offer boating on the lakes and various exhilarating activities in the surrounding area. In autumn, the town paints a breathtaking picture with its diverse array of brown and yellow-hued fallen leaves, occasional rainy and foggy days, and the bears preparing for their winter hibernation.
Food enthusiasts will delight in Nymfaio’s local delicacies, available at various tavernas. Be sure to savor the Neveska dish, a delectable combination of layered potatoes, finely chopped pork, and melted cheese. Additionally, try the locals’ favorite fish, grivadi, sourced from nearby lakes and prepared in various delicious ways. To complement the scrumptious local cuisine, indulge in Macedonian wine and tsipouro, enhancing the flavors of every dish you taste.
Courtesy of the Greek National Tourism Organisation www.visitgreece.gr