8 days
Duration
Thessaloniki, wetlands of N. Greece
Location
12+
Age
22 Apr & 15 Sep
Dates

Visit exciting and wild habitats on this Northern Greece Birdwatching Holiday.

Northern Greece is considered one of the very best regions for birdwatching in Europe. During this 8-day trip you ‘ll visit fantastic birding spots with the very best nature guides in stunning and varied surroundings amongst welcoming people.

A unique vacation for birders in one of the very best regions of Europe for birdwatching! Discover the amazing Lake Kerkini, Dadia Forest, the huge Evros Delta on the border with Turkey and finally, Porto Lagos and Nestos Gorge and Delta, all in Northern Greece. A top local bird guide travels with the small group at all times.

Departure dates: 22 Apr & 15 Sep 2018

Highlights

  • The magical Lake Kerkini and its surroundings with a bird list of over 300 species (!) is located only an hour drive from Thessaloniki airport. Watch pelicans, egrets and herons and spot bee-eaters everywhere. Listen to the Nightingale, Golden Oriole and Great Reed Warbler, Penduline Tit and Black Kite.
  • Visit Dadia Forest, the best site in Europe for raptors, where 36 out of Europe’s 39 raptor species have been recorded and 20 breed. Watch Black, Griffon and Egyptian Vultures, Golden, Lesser Spotted, Short-toed and Booted Eagles, Common and Honey Buzzards, Lanner, Peregrine Hobby and Red-footed Falcon and both Sparrowhawks.
  • Discover the huge Evros Delta, on the border with Turkey. Due to its easterly position it offers you the chance to see real rarities, such as Greater Sand, Sociable and even Caspian Plovers.

Read WHEN, WHERE & WHY to go Birdwatching in Greece

DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION Thessaloniki, Greece
TOUR DURATION
8-days
PRICE € 950 per person (double room)

€1.035 per person (single room)

Includes
  • Birdwatching holiday as described in the program
  • 7 nights in 3*-hotels, all meals included
  • English speaking nature guide travelling with the group. Include presentations for each area visited
  • Lake Kerkini boat trip
  • Transportation in comfortable vehicle a/c with pick up and drop off Thessaloniki airport.
Excludes
  • Flights to and from Thessaloniki airport
  • Drinks
  • Travel insurance

Other Information:

Trip report 3-10 April 2015 of the Northern Greece Birdwatching Holiday that Keith, Hazel and Michael from the UK enjoyed with our expert bird guide Georgos Spiridakis. Apart from numerous fantastic species they observed a rarity for Greece too: the Velvet scoter (Melanitta fusca), a black seaduck! The birdwatching sites visited during this 8-day trip starting from Thessaloniki include: Lake Kerkini, Mount Belles, Dadia-Lefkimi-Soufli forest, Evros Delta, Lake Ismarida, Porto Lagos, Nestos.

“We would all like to thank you for brilliant well organised birding holiday. We all really enjoyed it, George was great, the families at the hotels looked after us very well and the birding was fantastic. We will recommend “Natural Greece” to our friends. Thank you again”

Keith, Hazel and Michael
UK

Species (scientific name)

1.Podiceps nigricollis

2. Podiceps cristatus

3. Pelecanus onocrotalus

4. Pelecanus crispus

5. Phalacrocorax carbo

6. Phalacrocorax pygmeus

7. Botaurus stellaris

8. Nycticorax nycticorax

9. Ardeola ralloides

10. Egretta garzetta

11. Casmerodius albus

12. Ardea cinerea

13. Ardea purpurea

14. Ciconia ciconia

15. Ciconia nigra

16. Plegadis faldnellus

17. Platalea leucorodia

18. Phoenicopterus roseus

19. Cygnus olor

20. Anser anser

21. Tadorna tadorna

22. Anas platyrhynchos

23. Anas strepera

24. Anas acuta

25. Anas clypeata

26. Anas penelope

27. Anas crecca

28. Anas querquedula

29. Aythya retina

30. Aythya nyroca

31. Melanitta fusca

32. Bucephala clangula

33. Mergus serrator

34. Gyps fulvus

35. Aegypius monachus

36. Neophron percnopterus

37. Haliaetus albicilla

38. Pandion hal iaetus

39. Aquila pomarina

40. Circaetus gall icus

41. Milvus migrans

42. Circus aeroginosus

43. Circus cyaneus

44. Circus pygargus

45. Circus macrourus

46. Buteo rufinus

47. Buteo buteo

48. Accipiter nisus

49. Falco tinunculus

50. Falco subbuteo

51. Coturnix coturnix (heard only)

52. Ral I us aquaticus

53. Porzana parva

54. Gallinula chloropus

55. Fulica atra

56. Haemantopus ostralegus

57. Recurvirostra avosetta

58. Charadrius alexandrinus

59. Pluvialis squatarola

60. Vanellus vanellus

61. Vanellus spinosus

62. Calidris al pina

63. Tringa glareola

64. Tringa ochropus

65. Tringa totanus

66. Tringa erythropus

67. Tringa nebularia

68. Tringa stagnatilis

69. Limosa limosa

70. Numenius arquata

71. Numenius phaeopus

72. Gallinago gallinago

73. Philomachus pugmax

74. Chroicocephalus ridibundus

75. Ichthyaetus melanocephalus

76. Larus michahellis

77. Sterna sandvicensis

78. Sterna hirundo

79. Hydroprogne caspia

80. Columba palumbus

81. Streptopelia decaocto

82. Streptopelia turtur

83. Clamator glandarius

84. Bubo bubo

85. Athene noctua

86. Apus apus

87. Apus melba

88. Upupa epops

89. Alcedo atthis

90. Picus viridis

91. Picus canus (heard only)

92. Dendrocopos major

93. Dendrocopos syriacus

94. Jynx torquilla

95. Alauda arvensis (heard only)

96. Galerida cristata

97. Lullula arborea

98. Calandrella brachydactyla

99. Melanocorypha calandra

100. Riparia riparia

101. Ptyonoprogne rupestris

102. Hirundo rustica

103. Hirundo daurica

104. Delichon urbica

105. Anthus campestris

106. Anthus trivialis

107. Motacilla alba

108. Motacilla flava

109. Erithacus rubecula

110. Luscinia megarhynchos

111. Luscinia svedca

112. Phoenicurus phoenicurus

113. Phoenicurus ochruros

114. Oenanthe oenanthe

115. Oenanthe hispanica

116. Saxicola rubetra

117. Monticola solitarius

118. Turdus philomelos

In the north-west part of Serres Prefecture, just 40 Km from the town of Serres and about 100 Km from Thessaloniki, we can meet one of the most beautiful places in Greece, Lake Kerkini.  Its  unique wetland has been declared as National Park according to Ramsar Convention and it is one out of ten wetlands of International Importance of Greece.The lake is one of the best places in Europe for natural watching of about 300 rare and protected bird species that live and breed here. Find a lot more information, download brochures, watch amazing photographs on the website of the national park Lake Kerkini

In Evros Delta, 317 species of birds have been recorded; a number which is continually increasing, as monitoring becomes more intense and birdwatchers from all over the world visit the area more often.What makes Evros Delta so interesting and why is it so important for the birds?

First of all, it is its geographic position which makes it so important. The Delta lies in northern Greece, a crossroad between three continents, Europe, Asia and Africa. Thus, species of all three continents are observed here. Typical species of Europe which their southern spreading range ends up here, like geese, African species, which their northern range or breeding area ends up in Delta or the wider area, like the Spur- winged Plover and Asian species which are found only in this area and not in the rest of Europe, like the Black- headed Bunting.
Another reason is the diversity and “wildness” of the landscape. Despite the extended drainage works and the loss of almost half the wetland, which was given to agriculture, and the pressure which some social groups bring claiming the use of the wetland for productive or other activities, the area stays in parts unchangeable and hospitable for the wild fauna. Areas with fresh, brackish and salt water, like the riparian forests, the wet meadows, the reed beds, the lagoons, the salt water marshes, the sandy islets comprise habitats for a big variety of birds.
As a result, birds find in Evros Delta the two most important things they need: food and shelter. The flooded areas in the wet seasons of the year and the big watery areas (lagoons, sea until 6 m. depth) provide plenty of food to the water birds and waders and, by extension, to their predators. The protected area, which includes all the natural areas of the wetland, offers safety from human-caused dangers.
It has been proved, by monitoring and ringing, that Evros Delta is a very important ring in the chain of wetlands which birds use as they migrate from Africa to Europe and reversely, and also as they move looking for food and shelter. This part is very important and very crucial for their living.

Find more info on the website of the National Park Evros Delta

The Dadia-Lefkimi-Soufli Forest National Park is one of the most important protected areas at national, European and international scale. It is one of the first areas in Greece to be declared as protected since a great deal of flora and fauna species found in the Balkan Peninsula, Europe and Asia coexist here. The landscape mosaic formed by pine and oak forests, interrupted by clearings, pastures and fields is the ideal habitat for birds of prey. The National Park hosts three out of the four Vulture species of Europe (the Black Vulture, the Griffon Vulture and the Egyptian Vulture), while it is home to the only breeding population of Black Vultures in the Balkans.

More info on the National Park’s website

1

Day 1

Arrive at Thessaloniki airport where you meet your friendly, knowledgeable bird guide.

Transfer to your hotel at Lake Kerkini by car. Depending on your arrival time there may be time to explore Kerkini area for the first time.

Overnight Hotel, Limneon Hotel 3* or similar

2

Day 2

Spend your day with the nature guide at the magical Lake Kerkini, definitely one of the very best birding spots in Greece. Boat trip on lake Kerkini included to see among others, Pelican colony at the rafts. During spring you will watch many types of herons, spoon bills, Dalmatian pelicans, Great white pelicans, Pygmy cormorants and many other species nest in the flooded forest. A feast for the eye! Full day birding.

Overnight at Limneon Hotel 3* or similar.

3

Day 3

Full day of birding at lake Kerkini and nearby forested areas.

Target species of the forests: Woodpeckers (Syrian, Great-spotted, Middle-spotted, Lesser-spotted, Green, Grey-headed), Rock Nuthatch, Sombre Tit, Penduline Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper, and other forest birds.

Overnight at Limneon Hotel 3* or similar.

4

Day 4

Last morning birding at Lake Kerkini and drive to Dadia/Evros Delta. Dinner in hotel.

Overnight in Hotel Isidora Hotel-Loutra or similar.

5

Day 5

Full birding day at Dadia forest. This mountainous area is one of the best places in Europe for the observation of birds of prey. Thirty five out of thirty eight diurnal raptors have been recorded here along with seven out of nine owl species.

In the afternoon short drive back to our hotel.

Target species: raptors such Black Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Egyptian vulture, Golden Eagle, Booted Eagle, Honey Buzzard, Black Stork and passerines including Long-tailed Tit, Siskin, Masked Shrike.

Overnight in Hotel Isidora Hotel-Loutra or similar.

6

Day 6

Discover the huge Evros Delta, on the border with Turkey. Due to its easterly position it offers you the chance to see real rarities. The Information Center will organize a video presentation, a tour and a boat trip on the delta for us and that will be a great introduction to the area. Dinner in hotel.

Overnight in Hotel Isidora Hotel-Loutra or similar.

7

Day 7

Drive towards Thessaloniki

Stops at top birding sites Porto Lagos and at Nestos Gorge and Nestos Delta for more birdwatching! These are one of the very best wetlands of Greece for birding.

Overnight 3* Hotel, Thessaloniki Astoria or similar.

8

Day 8

Transfer to Thessaloniki airport. Departure

Tour Reviews

5.00 based on 10 reviews
May 15, 2017

There were so many memorable and exciting parts but probably the most exciting was seeing the Golden Eagle, we sighted about 4 but one was quite low and very distinguishable through the scope, brilliant. My guide was very, very knowledgeable and knew all the good viewing spots. I would rate this holiday: ***** 5-star: I am reborn, simply the best holiday I have ever been on

Rosemary Richards
UK

April 29, 2017

Very nice and succesful journey. Thanks again for taking good care! / Heel fijne en succesvolle reis. Dank wederom voor de goede zorgen!

Niels Bronsgeest, Stichting Natuurreizen
Deventer, The Netherlands

September 27, 2016

The feedback we’ve had has been very good. Everybody enjoyed the trip and really enjoyed both Georgos’ and Chris’ company and guiding.

Paul Stanbury
UK

May 28, 2016

From the beginning we very much enjoyed the birdwatching voyage in Northern Greece. Georgos performed very well in his role as a guide, making where ever possible our trip not only pleasant, relaxed, also informative on the way Greeks understand life. We gained a lot of knowledge on the many species (around 150) we were able to observe, not in the least thanks to his talent to see the tiny birds and the many reptiles (snakes, tortoises). We were impressed !!. As we were not experienced, Georgos made ample room to learn us where to look, to listen and follow the behaviour of a particular bird (and reptile). The overall rating: xxxx

Connie & Piet Elenbaas
The Netherlands

May 25, 2016

Overall the clients had a great trip. Thanks for your excellent organization!

Chris Lotz, Birding Ecotours
Johannesburg, South Africa

May 21, 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday? The best bit of the holiday was seeing Greece through the eyes of a Greek person. 2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this holiday? Be flexible and soak up the unique experience. 3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation? Yes 4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall? Excellent. It was well organized and I was very impressed. Overall holiday rating: **** Some wonderful memories, I would not hesitate to recommend it to a friend

David Angell
UK

May 13, 2016

Thank you once again for arranging this week’s trip around Dadia, Evros and Kerkini. It was very interesting and enjoyable and, as I’d hoped, gave me a great overview of the region. Please pass over my thanks to the chaps who looked after me too.

Paul Stanbury
Chawton, UK

May 1, 2016

Everyone is back home. They have had a fantastic holiday! Thanks for the organization. We’ll do it again in 2017! / Iedereen weer goed thuis. Ze hebben een fantastische reis gehad! Dank voor de organisatie. Op naar 2017!

Niels Bronsgeest, Director of Stichting Natuurreizen
Deventer, The Netherlands

April 3, 2015

We would all like to thank you for brilliant well organised birding holiday. We all really enjoyed it, George was great, the families at the hotels looked after us very well and the birding was fantastic. We will recommend “Natural Greece” to our friends. Thank you again

Keith, Hazel and Michael
UK

April 30, 2014

I was on a birding tour well organised by Natural Greece and accompanied by their nature guide Georgos Spiridakis, who lives on the shore of this lake and specialises in the area. Birdwise, the Kerkini Lake is nothing short of fantastic. Out of 312 bird species recorded here, my daily averages were around 65 to 70, and during the trip, I observed 103 species at the lake alone. We stayed at comfortable, family-run B&B Limneo Hotel at the village of Chrysochorafa, whose friendly owner, Nikos Gallios is ready to personally serve breakfast at 4 am, if his eccentric guests wish so. Highly recommendable birding area and the Natural Greece tour.

D. Simic
Serbia

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