It was the setting for the film by the great Theo Angelopoulos, “The meadow that weeps”. Nature lovers from Greece and every country in the world visit it for the protected wetland, for the roseate pelicans, the ospreys, the ospreys, the cormorants and the herons. Breathtaking villages, horses diving into the waters to cool off and nature at its best. If you haven’t figured out by now where we’re going, of course Lake Kerkini. That’s where we would suggest you travel immediately.
Some of all those who have made the trip for the wonderful environment of Kerkini make the analogy with the lakes usually found in Norway or Sweden. Always keeping in mind that this is always the case. This is because in Greece we do not easily find the unique combination of natural beauty, significant water area and rich fauna.
Lake Kerkini is an artificial lake, 17 km long and 5 km wide, created by the dam of Struma in 1932, in the village of Lithotopos. As a result, it became a favourite place for birds, migratory and non-migratory, especially the wetland in the northern part of the lake. Lake Kerkini is 35 km from Serres and 80 km from Thessaloniki. Low vegetation, swampy waters and a suitable climate make the area an ideal place for birds. More than 300 species have been recorded, including the silver pelican and the langoon, both endangered species. If birdwatching is your hobby, May is the best time for bird-watching, when birds return from warmer climates.
Villages around the lake hold festivals, and the area is flooded with birdwatchers from all over the world. In addition to the birds, the lake also attracts many fish, most notably grayling and waders. Wolves, jackals, hares and wild boars are also part of the fauna of the area. Those who ultimately steal the show, in terms of fauna, are the famous water buffaloes. Tradition has it that they were introduced to the region of Kerkini in ancient times, when they were brought here by the Persians during the Persian Wars.
Lake Kerkini is protected by the Ramsar Convention and the European network “Natura 2000”. The best way to get to know the lake is to take a boat ride on the traditional “paves” as they are called. You can find the boats either at the harbour in the village of Kerkini or you can visit the “Eco-tourist”, who organizes all kinds of activities (bird watching, hiking, bicycle tours, etc.) and has a guesthouse.