This article looks at Greece, specifically discussing areas in the north of the country that offer alternative tourism opportunities away from the traditional “sunshine holiday.”
Beauty of Greece
When one looks at and considers Greece’s credentials as a holiday destination, it is only natural that there will be an inclination towards the hot climate, clear blue seas, party atmosphere and historically significant landmarks that can be easily visited across the country.
Lesser-known, however, is the wide range of beautiful national parks and nature reserves that are scattered across the country. Mount Olympus on the mainland and Samaria Gorge in Crete are both well-known and popular destinations, however are perhaps better known for their named central focuses rather than being a national park.
The north of the country is particularly rich with national parks and the opportunity to explore wildlife. One of the most popular resorts is that of Lake Kerkini. Not only is Kerkini significant to the eco-system of Greece, it is considered to be one of Europe’s most prominent wetlands, and attracts birdwatchers from around the continent.
Yes, birdwatchers. Not something you would ordinarily associate with Greece, is it?
Lake Kerkini is easily accessible from a number of the North’s most popular tourist resorts, and is easily within an hours’ drive of both Serres and Thessaloniki. Although it is known as a haven for bird watching enthusiasts, the reality is that it is a magnificent natural habitat that anyone should visit, whether they have an interest in birds of prey or not.
Perhaps the best feature of Lake Kerkini is that, despite the vast range of wildlife that finds its natural habitat here, it is not itself a protected area, meaning that tourists have almost a free rein over where they wish to explore around the area. The natural hills surrounding Kerkini make it a beautiful natural bowl that really has to be seen to be fully appreciated.
As well as seeing the sights, facilitated by platforms to view pelicans, for example, there are a wide ranging number of activities that you can take part in on or around the lake itself. Among the most popular are romantic boat rides on a traditional Greek boat – not quite Venice but a great experience all the same. There are other more active pursuits including canoeing on Kerkini, and hiking or mountain biking around the many lake and hillside trails on offer, all giving the opportunity for taking memorable photographs with varying viewpoints of the lake itself and the wildlife that lives there.
If you are looking for a different side of Greece than the traditional tourist picture, exploring the natural beauty of the country is a great place to begin.
The author shares this brief Greece tourism guide with Touristorama.