An authentic old village
Nymphaio (formerly Niveasta or Neveska) is a mountainous settlement at 1350 m above sea level. It is a protected traditional settlement and falls under the Municipality of Amyntaion of the Florina Regional Unit. It is located at the southern edge of the regional unit, on the eastern slopes of Mount Verno, 57 km from the city of Florina via Xino Nero route. Travel guides have included it in the ten most beautiful villages in Europe, while at an international U.N.E.S.C.O. competition Nymfaio claimed the International Melina Merkouri Award for the excellent management of natural and cultural heritage.
Modern day Nymfaio
Nymfaio is a picturesque settlement with stone built houses and cobblestone paths, surrounded by a breathtaking beech forest. In recent years, with the contribution of important people who come from the village, such as its former president, Nicholas Mertzos and the Boutari family, it has become a centre of attraction for a considerable number of visitors.
The Arcturos environmental centre, the only in Europe that provides shelter and care for the brown bear, is based on the outskirts of the village, a very pleasant 1.5 km walk. Its foundation, back in 1992, was driven by the need to solve the problem of bear and wolf imprisonment; a common occurrence at the time. Several bears and wolves considered unable to reintegrate into the wild are hosted at its facilities.
There is also an information centre, where one can be informed about the development of the brown bear, its geographical distribution, its biology, ecology and many more at the historically significant building of Nikeios School.
In the village, one can also see the half-destroyed headquarters of Pavlos Melas (an officer of the Hellenic Army who became a symbol of the Greek Struggle for Macedonia), as well as the old school of the village, Nikeios School, a donation by the Nymphiot Jan Nikou (1875-1930). This magnificent school, once full of children’s laughs, now houses a Conference Center of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.