Best Tour Guide - Tips For Wildlife Watching In Greece
Greece is a true summer paradise with picturesque views, beautiful beaches, and spectacular islands covered with whitewashed ancient buildings and monuments. However, what many visitors are not aware of is that Greece also boasts vibrant biodiversity. The country is known for its rich biodiversity and wildlife that draw thousands of tourists every year.
If you are a nature lover, here are some locations you would love to visit to catch a glimpse of this stunning flora and fauna. Our Leisure’s best tour guide experts have curated a list so perfect for you; you would want to visit Greece right away!
1. Water Buffaloes at Lake Kerkini
When in Greece, head north and visit Lake Kerkini to see a massive population of water buffaloes. These wallowing buffaloes are fiercely protected in the surrounding wetlands near the lake. The lake is home to hundreds of these magnificent buffaloes, munching away on the lush meadows, bathing, and playing around in the watering holes. No one can miss this sight. It is truly unique and is best enjoyed on a trip through a boat across the mirror-like lake.
Once you find yourself at Lake Kerkini, you should also keep an eye out for birds. There are over 300 different species of birds, guarded and protected. They happily chirp, nest, and breed near the lake. You can find flamingos, dalmatian pelicans, shrikes, eagle owls, and other generous species. Birdwatching is spectacular throughout the year; however, it is best enjoyed here during the spring and autumn seasons. These are the seasons with long, dry days, offering the potential for soft sunlight to breathe in through the trees. This is perfect for watching birds in their natural habitat and for wildlife photography as well.
2. Kri Kris at Samaria Gorge
Kri Kris, also known as Cretan ibex, has perky, pointy ears with long goatee beards and is a delight to watch. They also happen to be Greece’s most beloved and characterful critters. If you are lucky enough to spot one, they would be fussing over the rocky trains at the Samaira National Park. It is their natural habitat, around the shrubs and low trees.
Cretan ibex are incredibly rare to find, especially in Europe. They are only found in the mountain areas around this national park. Park authorities carefully protect the region. As it turns out, once you spot them, they will quickly size you up with their googly eyes. They will stare right at you before diving into the shrubs and other undergrowth.
Leisure’s Best Tour Guide Expert Tip: While you are there, do not forget to catch a glimpse of the incredibly rare Cretan wildcats and the bearded vultures.
3. Butterflies in Rhodes
Every year, towards the end of May, Rhodes welcomes a congregation of butterflies fluttering around with their scarlet wings. Thousands of butterflies can be found clustered around the trees. They are found in the valley, which is aptly called the Valley of Butterflies. The valley boasts high humidity levels and a tempting scent of the zitia trees around the park. They stay there all summer while looking for shelter in the exact location during the colder months.
The spot is mesmerizing for your entire clan to enjoy. Peer into the treetops as you are wandering over the burbling streams. Stay quiet to witness thousands of butterflies. And if you are still enough, some might even land on you. It is as tempting as it sounds!
4. Seals and Dolphin watching in Alonissos Marine Park
The first marine park in Greece is also the largest protected marine area in Europe - Alonissos Marine Park. The park is located in the Sporades islands, a must-visit for everyone looking forward to exploring and discovering Greece’s ocean life.
The most famous resident at the Alonissos Marine Park is the Mediterranean monk seal, one of the world’s largest species of seals. These seals can be found around Giora or Piperi, where they are known to exist. However, they are currently endangered.
Alonissos Marine Park is a great place to spot dolphins as well. You can take a boat trip around the island to spot some, or simply jump out of your boat and take a swim to cool off during your vacation in Greece, like our best tour guide experts have in the past.
5. Otters in Nestos Delta
Visit the marshy, coastal lagoons of Nestos Delta to spot wild boars and otters. When you are there, you might even get to see the occasional wolves. The land here in Nestos Delta is mineral-rich in the northern part of the country. The region is best known for its thriving array of all kinds of flora. The plants and trees found here form the perfect habitat for some of the rarest mammals in northern Greece.
While you are here, you can also stroll amid all the juniper bushes and the long oak trees to be a part of one of the best walking safaris of your life. And if you are fortunate during this safari, you might find wild otters, jackals, a variety of bird species, and even magical flamingos.
6. Sea turtles at the Zakynthos National Marine Park
Home to one of the most significant nesting habitats in Europe, Zakynthos is famous for housing the loggerhead sea turtle. These sea turtles are also known as Caretta caretta scientifically. They are commonly found in the Stopadia Islands and the Bay of Laganas, located almost 40 miles south of Zakynthos.
Protecting turtles here is the top priority for the marine park. Therefore, travelers are asked to leave the nesting area and the beach as undisturbed as possible. Visiting the location after dark is not permissible to give the turtles a separate space to nest. You can catch sight of these magnificent turtles in the water either on a driving tour or by boat. However, while doing so, be extra careful about the kind of operator you choose. Some can disturb the natural habitat of these turtles more than others.
7. Wolf and Bear in the Pindos National Park
Greece is not the kind of country you would expect to see the dense green forest. However, in the Pindos National Park in northern Greece, you can see lush greenery and mountains. It will make you feel like you have stepped into the alpine landscape of Europe without having to go there.
At the Pindos National Park, you can find a large population of the only bear species in the continental European region, i.e., the brown bear. Along with the brown bear, you can also find packs of wolves roaming around the park.
If you spot any of these two animals, you are fortunate. Visit the bear and wolf sanctuaries further up in the north in the Agrapidia and Nymfaio to get a better chance of seeing both. You will also find some fantastic opportunities to learn about these species here.
8. Birds in Prespes National Park
Tucked away in the northern corners of Greece, you can find the Prespes National Park. The Park neighbors are home to thousands of species of flora and fauna. In the Greek section of the Presepes National Park, you will find Megali Prespa lake, Mikri Prespa lake, and more than 200 varieties of aquatic bird species. You will also find some extraordinarily mesmerizing and fun to watch red and white pelicans.
The region is wonderfully scenic, so do not forget to bring your binoculars with you!
Greece, the land of Gods, is extremely popular for its architecture, vintage vibes, and impeccable cuisines. Little did people know that the country boasts various flora and fauna tucked away in the little corners, away from the ruggedness and history. Greece is one of the oldest countries globally and is a popular tourist destination, worth all the accolades it receives. Our best tour guide experts surely did enjoy their time in Greece, and so can you! Considering the ongoing global pandemic, spend some time alone in nature. Spend some time in Greece!
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