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Greece vacation. Alternative tourism Greece.
Europe Destinations of Excellence in Western Macedonia.
Florina city central square, main road and river Sakoulevas.

Φλώρινα, η κεντρική πλατεία Μόδη,
η κεντρική οδός Μεγάλου Αλεξάνδρου και ο ποταμός Σακουλέβας.

Florina (Greek: Φλώρινα, known also by several alternative names) is a town and municipality in mountainous northwestern Macedonia, Greece. Its motto is, 'Where Greece begins'. It is also the Metropolitan seat for the region. It lies in the central part of Florina regional unit, of which it is the capital. Florina belongs to the region of West Macedonia. The town's population is 16,771 people (2001 census).
The city's original Byzantine name, Χλέρινον (Chlérinon, "full of green vegetation"), derives from the Greek word χλωρός (chlōrós, "fresh" or "green vegetation"). The name was sometimes Latinized as Florinon (from the Latinflora, "vegetation") in the later Byzantine period, and in early Ottoman documents the forms Chlerina and Florina are both used, with the latter becoming standard after the 17th century. The form with  (φλωρός) is a local dialect form of χλωρός in Greek.

The region of Florina is located in Northern Greece in West Macedonia; it covers a surface area of 1924 square kilometres. Geographically, it consists of mountainous and semi mountainous areas and lowlands. The compact mountainous area of the northern-northwest section consists of the mountains of Varnoutas, Vernon and Voras. These contain the ski centre and European Alpine routes whose peaks reach out to the fertile valleys and the six lakes of Prespes.
There are eight municipalities: Aetos, Amynteo, Klines, Melitis, Perasma, Prespes, Filota and Florina and four communities: Variko Kristalopigi, Lechovo and Nymfeo with a total population of 54.768 inhabitants. In the past 3 years, the region has implemented initiatives that have contributed to the promotion of local tourism, through greater appreciation and preservation of the rural environment and cultural heritage. Such activities have been highlighted though a coherent strategic plan together with promotional activities. Tourism management in Florina has been implemented according to the principles of sustainable tourist development which try to establish a balance between society, culture and the environment.
Florina is the destination which fulfilled all the criteria of the competition such as traditional establishments, rich natural and cultural attributes, a wide range of local products, rich popular art, many local customs, local cuisine, many events organised in the spirit of agro tourism and many activities organised in the countryside.
Amongst its assets it was appreciated that Florina:
• is an emerging tourist destination actively promoting rural tourism
• has implemented innovative actions
• has a survey on a strategic plan of development of rural tourism
• The whole prefecture has signed up to
o a ‘local Contract of quality’, (e.g. the use of plastic chairs is not permitted in hotels and rented rooms, hotels and restaurants must use local produce for the preparation of meals etc) ,
o a ‘local network of tradition and folklore’
• promotes tourism with promotional material in many different European languages and actively participates in international tourist fairs
• organises annual seminars on the development of improved rural tourism procedures
• has a very rich cultural and historic heritage and many popular art exhibitions
• has many well preserved local customs and that events such as local feasts are organised on a regular basis
• has several cultural parks
• promotes a wide variety of local products (dishes, wines) and enhances local entrepreneurship and fosters female business partnerships and networks
• participates in programs concerning the development of rural tourism
• has a renown national park (Prespes)
• has international alpine routes
• has its own Ski centre
• has 6 lakes (some of them on the borders of Northern Greece)
• has the ability to organise adventures in nature, sports and rural activities for tourists
• has a nature reserve (for the protection of wild life such as bears, wolves)
• has traditional settlements and villages with excellent infrastructure
• participates in many international projects (e.g. promotion of wine and beans products, nest project on the development of a standard for sustainable development in Interreg projects, participates in LEADER Programs and some areas are part of NATURA 2000)
• is a member of the ‘euro-villages’ programme and
• is connected to a rural tourism site.

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