9 days/ 8 nights
(Indicative period: Spring, April - June)
Day 1: Arrival day.
Pick up from Athens airport "El. Venizelos" and transfer to your hotel. Overnight
Day 2: Lake Karla: Artificial but fascinating
Early pick up from your hotel. We drive North towards our first stop at Lake Karla.
The reservoirs of this artificial lake attract large bird populations, as they are situated at the center of Greece and are surrounded by both major arable lands and low hills. Here we will meet the endangered Dalmatian Pelicans, which we are going to enjoy in closer views the next days. In addition, storks, herons, ducks, waders, gulls, and terns find a safe place around the lake. During our tour around the lake, we will also spot wheatears on the rocks and warblers singing on the top of bushes and small trees. We will have our lunch at a village around the Lake.
Before leaving we are going to look for the endangered Lesser Kestrels that breed at the area. We are going to enjoy breathtaking views of these small falcons flying around us in the villages of Thessaly and take beautiful pictures of them hunting in the air and mating on the top of traditional houses!
Drive to Agios Germanos village for overnight.
Day 3-4: The unique magic of Prespes Lakes
After breakfast full of energy we are going to start our tour around the two lakes.
The mountain lakes of the Megali (great) and Mikri (lesser) Prespa at the northwest border of Greece remain a true and eternal “home” of the globally endangered pelicans of our continent, namely the Dalmatian and the Great White Pelican. The Mikri Prespa lake is one of the wetlands of the international significance of the "Ramsar Convention".
In the beginning, we are going to search for the very elusive Barred Warbler and other birds that breed at the area such as the Golden Oriole, Greylag Goose, Common Merganser, shrikes, woodpeckers, etc.
After that, we will visit the small islet of Agios Achilleios in the Mikri Prespa lake. First, we will walk on the top of a small hill for a panoramic view of the area and then to the island through a small wooden footbridge. While crossing the bridge we will meet many Great Crested Grebes, Cormorants, and Pygmy Cormorants. We are going to walk around the small island towards the remnants of the Byzantine church of Saint Achilleios and stop for lunch in the traditional village. At the village, you can also buy local products from the market, including the very famous for the area, local beans!
In the afternoon we are going to visit the Society for the Protection of Prespa (SPP). Since 1991 the SPP’s mission is to safeguard the natural and cultural heritage of the Prespa basin as a whole, for the benefit of all its inhabitants both today and in the future. And because some people work hard towards a better future for Nature and Humans, this place thrives.
Free time to rest and to walk around the village of Agios Achilleios. You can also rent bikes or walk through numerous paths and explore the variety of the area’s flora and fauna.
Dinner at the village’s tavern and overnight.
Next morning we are going to have a boat tour of the Megali Prespa lake. The tour starts at the small port of Psarades village. During the tour, we will spot numerous species of birds and enjoy the unique landscape of the place which is the border for 3 countries! Also, we are going to visit hermitages and monuments from the Byzantine Empire and see rock paintings of the monks that lived in caves all around the lake. We leave the area in the afternoon.
Dinner and overnight at the city of Kastoria.
Day 5: Kastoria and Lake Vegoritida
The beautiful city of Kastoria which is built around the homonymous lake with its calm and full of living waters, guarantee magnificent scenery. We are going to drive and walk around the lake and have lunch in the city. During our walk, Pelicans and Pygmy cormorants will be observed in close distances, feeding around the Lake’s banks. We leave the area after lunch towards Lake Vegoritida.
Vegoritida is a large and deep lake, located next to the village of Agios Panteleimonas. It is only one hour from Kastoria. We are going to drive the country road from the village of Ag. Panteleimonas towards Vegora, with the lake on our left. Dalmatian Pelicans, grebes, Pygmy Cormorants, Penduline Tits, Blue Rock Thrushes, Rock Nuthatches will be observed and photographed at close distances, as well as Squacco Herons, Little Bitterns, and Glossy Ibises.
Dinner and overnight at Paleos Agios Athanasios village.
Day 6: Kaimaktsalan - Voras Mountain
In the morning we will drive towards the Ski Center of Kaimaktsalan mountain in order to look for birds which prefer higher altitudes. The landscapes of the mountain are beautiful, from the dense forest to the alpine area. Horned Larks, pipits, wheatears, buntings, and birds of prey will accompany us for the whole morning. Drive to Lake Kerkini. Free afternoon.
Dinner and overnight.
Day 7-8: Lake Kerkini
Today is a long day. We start our adventure at Lake Kerkini with a boat trip by the riverside forest at the banks of the Strymonas river and the platforms of the pelicans. Lake Kerkini is a wetland of international significance and part of the Ramsar Convention. Maybe the most striking lake in Greece but definitely the richest in avifauna. It combines wanderings around the lake and the surrounding lake areas, with the neighboring mountains Beles and Krousia. After the boat trip, we will drive around the lake to spot storks, cormorants, herons, warblers, bee-eaters, woodpeckers and birds of prey. We stop for lunch at a place with a magnificent view of the lake and traditional food of the area.
In the afternoon the adventure continues with a tour around the lake with 4X4 vehicles. In this way, we will access places that are not accessible via regular vehicles and enjoy the nature of the area. This experience will definitely be unforgettable.
Dinner and overnight.
Next morning we visit the surrounding mountains (Krousia and Beles) where we will meet many species of birds, butterflies, dragonflies, and flowers, as well as beautiful views of the lake. Lunch at the traditional village of Ano Poroia. In the afternoon we will start our journey back to Athens. Dinner and overnight.
End of program.
Day 9: Departure day
After breakfast, you can have your own free time.
For your accommodation, we choose traditional guesthouses in reasonable distances from our excursions in order to minimize transportation time make the most of our day. All our accommodations offer premium quality breakfast to get all the energy we need for the rest of the day!
Night 1: Athens
Night 2-3: Prespes
Night 4: Kastoria
Night 5: Paleos Agios Athanasios village (Kaimaktsalan)
Night 6-7: Lake Kerkini
Night 8: Athens
Accommodations with breakfast ( double occupancy) at the hotels as mentioned above
Daily guiding (from early in the morning until sunset)
2 boat trips at Lake Kerkini and Prespes
4X4 adventure at Lake Kerkini
Binoculars and Telescope
Anything not mentioned in the Inclusions
Greylag Goose, Ferruginous Duck, Common Merganser, Pygmy Cormorant, Great White Pelican, Dalmatian Pelican, Bittern, Little Bittern, Black-crowned Night Heron, Purple Heron, Black Stork, White Stork, Glossy Ibis, Spoonbill, Honey Buzzard, Short-toed Snake Eagle, Levant Sparrowhawk, Long-legged Buzzard, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Booted Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, Hobby, Black-winged Stilt, Collared Pratincole, Gull-billed Tern, Whiskered Tern, Black Tern, White-winged Tern, Mediterranean Gull, Turtle Dove, Scops Owl, Little Owl, Alpine Swift, Pallid Swift, Kingfisher, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Green Woodpecker, Syrian Woodpecker, Tawny Pipit, Black-eared Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Olivaceous Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Barred Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Bearded Reedling, Rock Nuthatch, Penduline Tit, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Spanish Sparrow, Yellowhammer, Cirl Bunting, Rock Bunting, Ortolan Bunting.
Have to know
Program language: English
Minimum participation: 6 persons
The program is also operated from Thessaloniki ( instead of Athens).