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Top 5 Greek nature

Virgin forests, high mountains and wooded canyons, serene lakes, rivers, lagoons, and environmental parks are all part of the beautiful Greek countryside. We’ve put together a top 5 of spring activities for you in the heart of the Greek nature.


Crossing Vouraikos Gorge aboard Odontotos (rack railway)


Vouraikos gorge
is the pride and joy of Achaia District, holding a place among the top Greek natural sights, and it’s well worth visiting it in the spring. Board the rack railway from Diakofto and enjoy the 22-km fascinating ride to Kalavryta town at a 750m elevation – it is said to be one of the most spectacular journeys by train across Europe.
The stunning view of the cliffs, the successive ravines and the amazing natural surroundings will take your breath away; cascading frothy pounding waterfalls, humid caves with stalactites and stalagmites, dense forests, lush vegetation and rare plant species create a picture of great beauty.

At first you will pass by expanses of lemon and olive groves – the scenery is by no means indicative of what you are about to experience! Then the landscape changes completely as you go past tunnels and red precipitous mountainsides eroded by the continuous flow of water. While altitude increases, the cogwheels engage the toothed rail to help the train up the steep slopes. By the station of Zachlorou, you will see the river’s crystal-clear waters and the huge age-old plane trees lining its banks; it’s a picture-perfect springtime landscape!


Wine routes of Halkidiki


Explore the gorgeous Halkidiki peninsula, cross its wine routes and visit the area’s renowned wineries next to the long stretches of vineyards. Taste the excellent local wines, on their production site, accompanied by mouth-watering traditional local dishes. The wine routes of Halkidiki are a part of the Wine Routes of Northern Greece; they are all located on the west part of the peninsula, mostly in the area of Kallikrateia, in Sithonia, on Mt. Athos (on the north slopes of Mt. Cholomontas), in Arnaia, Marathousa as well as in the areas of Triglia and Panagia.

 


Start your trip
from Agios Pavlos area where vineyards stretch as far as the eye can see. Make sure you pay a visit to Petralona Cave, where the “Archanthropus of Petralona”, the oldest human skeleton in Europe was discovered. Continue your journey through the western side of Sithonia [Halkidiki’s middle strip of land], where the verdant slopes of Mt. Meliton meet the waters of Toroneos Gulf.


Important tip: The vineyard on the “Slopes of Meliton” is one of the largest in Europe and a model organic viticultural unit. Head towards the mountainous areas and visit Arnaia, one of Halkidiki’s most picturesque villages, and end your journey in Chromitsa, Mt. Athos.

 

The wineries in Halkidiki produce a number of labels such as the local PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) Halkidiki wines. On Sithonia you will taste the PDO Slopes of Meliton wines and the PGI Sithonia wines; the PGI Mount Athos wines are produced on the Halkidiki’s easternmost strip of land. The climate is ideal for cultivating top quality Greek varieties such as Assyrtiko, Athiri, Malagouzia and Roditis, out of which excellent white wines are produced. Limnio, a renowned local red wine comes from a native variety, mentioned in the writings of Aristotle.


Escape to Lake Kerkini


Taste local freshwater fish (eels, sardines, common rudds, common roaches, carps) in nearby tavernas.
Vyroneia area is the only place on the European continent where you can spot water buffalos. Watch the Dalmatian pelicans – the rarest species of pelican- as they skim the lake waters and skilfully fly away.
Stay around and discover the nests of pelicans where the little heads of their young are barely discernible amid the foliage.

 



The Environment Museum of Stymphalia


Lake Stymphalia
area, in Corinthia, Peloponnese holds a special place in Greek mythology. It was here that Hercules performed one of his legendary labours, i.e. the slaying of the Stymphalian birds (the lake’s man-eating fowl).

Visit the Environment Museum of Stymphalia, built on a green hillside of the mountainous northern Peloponnese. The museum welcomes you as you explore the man – nature relationship through the accessible section of the lake in the interior. The use of means of display such as models, 3D digital reproductions, screenings etc will turn your tour of the museum into a memorable experience.


Discover the special geological features of the area, the flora and fauna of the lake and mountain habitats and their use by man over the centuries. In another thematic section you will see the ways modern technology has influenced culture over time. Learn about the traditions and customs of the area through an interesting collection of daily use items, the locals’ way of life, their crafts, practices and trades such as fishing, hunting, agriculture, viticulture, animal husbandry and bee-keeping.


Pindus National Park - Valia Calda


Take a trip to beautiful Valia Calda (meaning ‘Warm Valley’), in Grevena district. The name is a euphemism as this area is really one of the country’s coldest and most humid regions. The winter’s snow-covered forested mountainsides change colour in the spring, welcoming visitors and hiking lovers. The age-old dark green forests of conifers, and meadows covered with different shades of green create this singular alpine natural environment. The sound of flowing waters echo across the valley. The spring waters flow into gurgling streams and torrents which meet Arkoudorema, the largest river of the Park, and end up flowing into River Aoos. These crystal-clear waters are home to the otter, a rare aquatic mammal, as well as two species of trout. Follow the E6 trail towards Arkoudorema to reach the Waterfalls. This pristine forested region is regarded as one of the most impressive wild countryside areas on a national and European scale mainly because of its large variety of flora and fauna and amazing geological formations.

 

 

During your spring trips in the highlands of Valia Calda you are likely to spot the most impressive of the valley’s animal species, the brown bear, ambling towards Arkoudorema (meaning Bear Creek) to drink water or search for food.


Follow the area’s hiking trails amid lush and fragrant forests and allow yourselves to be seduced by the beauty of this unspoilt mountainous paradise!

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