The Nature Of Northern Greece

7 nights starting from
£1250

  • Lake Kerkini – an important European wetland that is considered one of the of the top bird sites of Europe

  • Metsovo – one of the most famous authentic villages of northern Greece

  • Epirus – a fabulous unspoilt region that abounds with natural beauty

  • Wonderful spring colours, exceptional beauty and stunning views

This new tour, led by Javier Mendez, ornithologist and naturalist, uncovers more of the exceptional beauty and lovely nature of Northern Greece that few, including ourselves, were aware of until relatively recently. Our tour begins at Lake Kerkini, one of Greece’s many northern lakes, that is set in a superb natural landscape and which is renowned for its abundance of bird life. We spend two nights here exploring this lovely place both on and off the lake. We then continue to the picturesque elevated village of Metsovo, that combines colourful traditions and a lovely nature, and enjoy one night here to make the most of a little botanising and the lovely village before reaching the heart of northern Epirus, an area of exceptional beauty, nature and tranquillity. We will spend our days here seeking out some of the 1800 flora species that flourish here whilst discovering a unique region of Greece that is almost untouched by the hands of time.

Your guide
Javier Méndez is a professional ornithologist and naturalist who has been guiding birdwatchers, walkers, botanical groups and nature enthusiasts since 2001. He was born and bred in Menorca, which is where you would normally find him, but, having introduced him to this area of northern Greece, he was as keen as us to explore, discover and showcase this special area. Javier has been a keen birdwatcher and nature lover all his life. He speaks good English and has a natural and infectious enthusiasm for birds and nature, which we have no doubt will be shared and enjoyed in his guiding of this tour.

 

Birdlife at Kerkini 
The following is just a sample selection of birds that have been sighted at Lake Kerkini; Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus) Pygmy Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pygmaeus) Black stork (Ciconia nigra) Ferruginous duck (Aythya nyroca) White-tailed eagle (Haliaetus albicilla) Roller (Coracias garrulus) Rock Thrush (Monticola saxatilis) Barred warbler (Sylvia nisoria) Penduline tit (Remiz pendulinus) Golden oriole (Oriolus oriolus). If you are interested in a larger list please get in touch.

Available Departures

From

23 - May - 2022 £ 1250.00 Travel Info Book Now

Provisional Timings

London Gatwick

Departing: 23rd May 2022 at 05:50

Returning: 30th May 2022 at 15:50

ITINERARY

Day 1: Fly from London Gatwick to Thessaloniki. 
Transfer to Lake Kerkini and check-in to the Villa Belles Hotel, Akritochori for a two-night stay. This evening we will drive to a local taverna and enjoy a dinner altogether.

Day 2: The Wildlife of Lake Kerkini.
Described as a bird watchers paradise, exploring the lake by boat is a must! This should provide us with a wonderful opportunity to spot birds, both migratory and non-migratory, in their natural habitat and also help us experience fully this lovely place. Later we will explore other areas of this tranquil lake looking out for more birds but also other wildlife such as the water buffalo that are equally a feature of the area both today and historically. Group dinner at a local taverna.

Day 3: Lake Kerkini.
We explore further this beautiful area with our guide. Depending on where our exploring takes us, we may also visit the interesting site of Fort Roupel, famous for its heroic defence of Greece during the German invasion of April 1941. If conditions are suitable, our guide will be pleased to offer a nocturnal walk this evening for those that are interested.

Day 4: Kalochori Lagoon and Metsovo.
Today we drive south towards Metsovo, our next destination, exploring on our way the Axios Delta National Park, another important wetland area that is known for its extensive biodiversity. Formed by the deltas of the rivers Axios and Aliakmon and the estuaries of two other rivers, these large wetlands extend for 340 square kilometres and host a large number of birds, including many waders and water birds, as well as around 350 species of plants. Our visit here will focus at the northern end of the park and the Kalochori lagoon.  After our visit here we will continue on to the picturesque Vlach village of Metsovo situated on the slopes of the Pindos Mountains and check-in to the Hotel Kassaros which is located in the heart of the village, making it easy to explore and enjoy one of the local tavernas where you can try some of the  specialities that Metsovo is famous for; excellent spit roast meat and smoked cheese, washed down with a local red that is produced here in the highest vineyards in Greece.

Day 5: Metsovo to Zagoriahoria.
Leaving Metsovo behind we head towards Monodendri, situated in the heart of the wonderfully timeless region of Epirus that is filled with exceptional scenery and a fantastic nature, which makes it a perfect spot for some botanical exploring. On the way to Monodendri we will visit one of the many highlights of the region, the Zagorian bridges! These picturesque stone-built bridges were the only connection between the villages and the outside world until roads arrived here in the 1950’s. We will botanise around the bridges and do a little exploring in Monodendri before checking into the Philoxenia hotel, where we stay for the rest of the tour.

Day 6: Voidamatis River and the Papigos.
Today’s botanising will take place en-route to two exceptionally charming villages, both of which display all the authentic and picturesque characteristics of Zagorian architecture. We will botanise along a road that we call the ‘Sage route’, because of the abundance of colourful sage that flowers here at this time of the year. We continue to the translucent and ice cold Voidamatis River and spend some time botanising by the river before continuing up to the famous Papigo villages, where we will find a delightful taverna for our lunch filled with both good food and wonderful views.

Day 7: Beloi Balcony and Tsepelevo.
Our botanising today takes us to the highest of the Zagorian villages where we will enjoy a walk that takes us towards one of the amazing viewpoints into the dramatic Vikos Gorge.  After our exploring here we will head to the village of Tsepelevo, once again incredibly traditional and picturesque, where we will enjoy a farewell lunch altogether in the ‘Little Bear’ Taverna.

Day 8 Transfer from Monodendri to Corfu (by bus and boat) for the return flight to London.

NB: Exact order of itinerary may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion.

Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 19 passengers.

INCLUDED

  • Return flights from London Gatwick to Thessaloniki returning from Corfu to London Gatwick including applicable taxes (Some regional flights may be available - please enquire)
  • Three nights’ accommodation at the three-star Villa Belles Hotel, Kerkini, one night at the Kassaros Hotel, Metsovo, and three nights at the Philoxenia Hotel, Monodendri, all on bed and breakfast basis and based on shared occupancy of a twin/double room
  • Two dinners and two lunches
  • All transfers 
  • Full touring itinerary 
  • Tour manager and local guide throughout 

NOT INCLUDED

  • Single room supplement
  • Holiday insurance
  • Meals other than those stated
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls
  • Porterage and gratuities

HOTELS

Villa Belles, Akritochori

Overlooking Kerkini Lake, this traditional style hotel offers comfortable rooms and a tranquil countryside position.

Hotel Website 

Kassaros Hotel, Metsovo

Decorated in traditional Metsovon style, this comfortable hotel is well-located within easy walking distance of Metsovos central square where you can find shops and tavernas.

Hotel Website

Philoxenia Hotel, Monodendri
Featuring wooden ceilings and floors, warm colours and dark wood furnishings; the family-run Philoxenia hotel offers comfortable pristine bedrooms with private bathrooms. A breakfast buffet, with wonderful homemade local specialities, is served daily in the tastefully furnished dining area.

Hotel Website