Lithotopos – Lake Kerkini
One of the most beautiful areas of Northern Greece is the area around Lake Kerkini, located just 95 kilometers from Thessaloniki. Ideal destination for families. Enjoy the joys of ecotourism: bird watching, boating, cycling or even walking. It is considered an important wetland, as thousands of species of flora and fauna meet here. Special offices in the area organize boating with the so-called “beats”, which sail even in 10 water points. You can also enjoy kayaking, horseback riding, cycling on selected routes, hiking on the banks – only at the time the lake’s waters are low, ie from autumn to spring – and jeep rides.
Visit: The sacred temple of Timios Prodromos as well as the municipal aquarium of Byronia. It is also worth visiting the footwear shop of Neophytos Papadopoulos (www.tsarouxia.gr), which continues to manufacture authentic Pontian boots and tsarouchia, determined to follow the tradition.
Ideal period: Autumn and spring are the most appropriate seasons. In September and October – the months during which birds migrate – fanatical bird watchers gather here.
Festival “near Kerkini”: This Ecological Festival has become an institution and is held every year in early July. It includes concerts, theater, painting & photography exhibitions, sports activities, riverside cleaning, traditional dances, children’s events, boat tours and a local development event.
Local delicacies: In the taverns of the area you will enjoy buffalos, fresh trout, perfect crab, but also cheeses and dairy products from buffalo milk, as well as the delicious sweet cauldron (except cooked, pies and meats).
Buy: Marmalades, spoon sweets and traditional pasta made by the women’s village cooperative.
Eat: In the tavern Evora, located in the village of Makrinitsa. Try the Pereki Pontian pie but also dishes with quail, wild boar and deer. There is also Dionysus in Kerkini with good meats, buffalo meat, sausages and pies. Also for trout lovers there is a tavern in a unique landscape – in Ano Poria – in the plane trees where you will have the opportunity to enjoy fresh trout and homemade snacks.
Cycling: Bike along with your children around the lake. Otherwise, you can walk or enjoy the scenery in a bicycle that will meet the villages. First stop: Kerkini settlement, with beautiful buildings and good planning. Next stop: Lithotopos, to see how the lake was created, the asphalt road passes directly over the dam. Next to the port of Lithotopos, get off the bike. The forest here is ideal for walking. In Lithotopos, a short distance from the dam of the lake, the eco-tourism promotion center was created by the Municipality of Iraklia. There the visitor can admire an interesting exhibition of embalmed birds, an exhibition of plants in the area, as well as an exhibition of traditional products of the area.
Walk with meals: Organize with the help of local specialists and always with your children a “lagoon” ride on the lake. Birds, quiet, colors that change pallet depending on the season, often fog, magic atmosphere. For more information go to http://itavros.com/.
Eco-traveler: Next to the lake is one of the first schools of environmental education in Northern Greece. The people of the Ecopriestor know everything around the lake and the area and can organize in any detail what activities you want.
Horse riding: Ride safely, guide and provide all the necessary equipment. The hikers of both the “Ecoparificator” and the “Tracker” offer walks along the lake and into the woods or even a small adventure on the paths of Kroussia.
* Eco-traveler: 23270 41450, www.oikoperiigitis.gr
* Tracker Hostel: 6932 031940, www.ixnilatis.gr