Lake Kerkini in Northern Greece, one of the most important wetlands in Europe, is considered to be one of the top European bird watching destinations. About 300 bird species have been observed here: some of them nestle, some winter, others stop over for rest or food. Among them, the Pelican and the Pygmy Cormorant are threatened with extinction. The area is also one of the most important cormorants’ and herons’ colonies of the Northern Balkan Peninsula.
The lake is situated in the northeast of the district of Serres, at just 40km from the town of Serres and 100km from Thessaloniki, and it is surrounded by Mounts Belles and Mavrovouni. In this fascinating location birdwatchers can observe birds of prey, such as the Lesser Spotted and the Bonelli’s Eagle, the Great Spotted Eagle, the Peregrine Falcon, the Eurasian Hobby, the Levant Sparrow Ηawk and the Northern Goshawk. Enjoy this bird-watching paradise ideally during spring and autumn migration periods, when a great number of species can be easily spotted. However, you can offer yourself an intense birding experience in Kerkini all year long. Just remember to be kitted out in the right bird watching equipment and let the unparalleled beauty put a spell on you forever!
The lake is a rare example of fine human intervention in a superb natural landscape: the delicate balance of the ecosystem has been preserved to offer great benefits to the region. Being one of the most stunning places in Greece, the lake is approximately 15km long and its maximum width, when full, reaches 8,5km. In the surrounding area you can trace the greatest number of buffalos in Greece – there is an estimation of some 700 of them living here. There are also at least 10 amphibian species (frogs, salamanders, tritons), 5 snail species, 19 reptile species (lizards, snakes, turtles) and a great variety of insects. Last but not least, the rich fish fauna of the lake gives some delicious dishes in the tavernas of the area. Taste the local eels, sardines, roaches, and carps and you’ll definitely come back for more!
During your visit, don’t miss the chance to participate in various outdoor activities that will refresh your mind and soothe your soul: go on a romantic boat ride (with traditional boats called “plaves”), and observe – at a safe distance from the birds– the special constructed platforms where pelicans nestle. Go canoeing, horseback riding or even hiking in the footpaths of the area’s mountain range. For wheel pleasure, opt for biking or 4X4 off roading.
Over the past few years, the lake has become very popular for ecotourism lovers, environmental scholars and field researchers alike. Whatever your special interest, just get there and enjoy the wonderful scenery:
Lake Kerkini is waiting for you!