Guided butterfly, botanical & birdwatching holidays
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Butterflies & Birds Of North Greece

Dates & Prices

FULLY BOOKED

Dates: 7 – 14 June 2017 Fully booked!

Price: £1,195

Single Room Supplement: £none

Deposit: £150 per person


Price Includes: All meal, accommodation, ground transport, services of guides + printed & bound holiday report

Not Included: Flights, travel insurance, drinks and any other personal items

Conservation Donation: 10% of profits will be used to support wildlife conservation through Butterfly Conservation and BirdWING

Leader(s): Julian Dowding, Patrick Barkham & either the Birdwing team or George Spiridakis for birds

Group Size: Minimum of 4 and a maximum of 12 guests plus 1-3 leaders.

Grade: Gentle pace and generally short walks in a mix of terrains

Holiday Highlights


  • See 80+ butterfly species and a similar number of birds 
  • Special butterflies such as Nettle-tree butterfly, Camberwell Beauty, Purple-shot Copper, Eastern Baton Blue, Marbled Fritillary, Freyer’s Purple Emperor and Balkan Marbled White
  • Led by special guest guide and author of ‘The Butterfly Isles’ Patrick Barkham 
  • Enjoy being serenaded by Golden Orioles and Nightingales, whilst watching birds such as Dalmatian Pelican, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Lesser Grey Shrike, Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis, Golden Eagle, Lesser spotted Eagle, Black Kite & Short-toed Eagle
  • Beautiful lake and mountain setting & gorgeous Greek climate
  • Leisurely pace, ideally suited to photography and full enjoyment of the wildlife and scenery
  • Contribute to Butterfly Conservation & BirdWING (Birdwatching in Northern Greece)

Join naturalist & author Patrick Barkham to explore the meadows, mountains, lakes and forests of north Greece, for a feast of feathered delights and scale-winged wonders!

FULLY BOOKED

Holiday Guide

Patrick Barkham is Natural History Writer for the Guardian and the author of The Butterfly Isles.

An enthusiastic amateur naturalist, Patrick was born in Norfolk and was educated at Cambridge University. He developed a passion for butterflies as an eight-year-old searching for the Brown Argus but only completed his boyhood mission in 2009, when he saw all 59 species of British butterfly in one summer and wrote a book about it. His second book, Badgerlands, was hailed by Chris Packham as “a must read for all Britain’s naturalists”. His latest book, Coastlines, a history of coastal conservation, was praised by Blake Morrison as “an informative, enthusiastic and at times rapturous celebration of our shores”. His next book, Islander, is about the human and non-human residents of Britain’s small isles.

He lives in Norfolk, the land of the Swallowtail, with his three young children and is very proud of his four-year-old twins for being able to distinguish a Peacock from a Painted Lady at 100 yards. In 2012 he received The Marsh Christian Trust Award for the Promotion of Lepidoptera Conservation from Butterfly Conservation.

 For 2017 we’re delighted to announce that Patrick Barkham, author of ‘The Butterfly Isles’ and Guardian natural history writer, is joining as a special guest guide! He will be joined by Julian Dowding plus Steve & Hilary from Birdwing (or George Spiridakis). 

Our base for the week will be Lake Kerkini National Park, a wildlife rich area in north-east Greece, near to the Bulgarian border. It is a magical place and an early morning by the shore, watching pelicans, egrets and herons whilst being serenaded by Nightingale, Golden Oriole and Turtle Dove as the sun rises is a wonderful experience.

We will stay in the Limneo, a family run hotel next to Lake Kerkini, a site of international importance and famous for its rich birdlife and other wildlife. We’ll explore both the immediate surroundings of the lake and further afield. For butterflies in particular we’ll head up into the surrounding mountains, such as Mount Orvilos, Mount Menikio and Mount Belles, on the border of south western Bulgaria and northernmost Greece. We should be able to enjoy at least 75 butterfly species and perhaps 100, making for a great weeks butterflying!

Approximately 130 species have been recorded in the area. The highlights include Nettle-tree Butterfly, Pearly Heath, Idas Blue, Amanda’s Blue, Yellow-banded Skipper, Marbled Skipper, Clouded Apollo, Eastern Festoon, Black-veined White, Eastern Bath White, Powdered Brimstone, Blue-spot Hairstreak, Eastern Baton Blue, Ilex Hairstreak, Little Tiger Blue, Meleager’s Blue, Osiris Blue, Purple-shot Copper, Sooty Copper, Large Copper, Cardinal, Marbled Fritillary, Niobe Fritillary, Large Tortoiseshell, Balkan Marbled White, Lattice Brown and Woodland Ringlet.

Perhaps even more exciting than the number of species is the number of individuals of a species that it is possible to see. There can be dozens of Nettle-tree butterflies seen together at damp mud patches and similar numbers of Ilex Hairstreak make quite a sight as they flit amongst the Ilex scrub.

As the area is so rich in bird life we also team up with Birdwing (Birdwatching in Northern Greece) for this holiday. As a wildlife charity their mission is to raise awareness of birds in Greece and to raise money for the conservation and restoration of bird habitat in the region. These aims match our own and so some of the proceeds from this tour will be donated to Birdwing to help fund their conservation work.

The birds that we can see (out of the 300+ species recorded in the area) during the holiday are just as exciting. On the lake itself there are Dalmatian Pelicans, White Pelican, Pygmy Coromorants, Herons, Egrets, White Storks, Glossy Ibis and more! As we explore the lake surrounding and further afield we’ll also be on the look out for Golden Oriole, European Bee-eater, Roller, Blue Rock Thrush, Red-backed Shrike, Scops Owl, Eagle Owl, Whiskered Tern, Black Tern, Penduline Tit, Black-eared Wheatear, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Hoopoe, Grey-headed Woodpecker Black-headed Bunting and Hawfinch – to name just a few of the avian delights to see!

Despite the large number of butterflies and birds to see we will not be rushing from place to place to build as large a list as possible. Our emphasis, as it is on all our holidays, is to take things leisurely and spend a reasonable amount at time at locations. We believe this is the best way of enjoying the wildlife and just soaking up the atmosphere and culture of the Country. So we will keep driving to a minimum and spend as much time as possible outside, on easy paced walks and relaxing, sociable picnics. For those that wish to bring cameras, there will be ample time and opportunity for photography and to capture those special moments – of which we are sure there will be many!

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Day 1: Arrival in Thessaloniki and transfer to hotel.

Day 2: Mandraki and other sites on the north and eastern sides of Lake Kerkini

Day 3: Mavrovouni Hills and other sites on the southern and western sides of the lake

Day 4: Mount Orvilos, east of the lake and close to the Bulgarian border

Day 5: Ano Poroia and Mt. Belles. Mountain walks above Lake Kerkini

Day 6: Mt. Vrodou and Lailias ski resort. Beech and Pine forested mountain & ski slope above the Serres plain

Day 7: Relaxing boat trip on Lake Kerkini for a dazzling display of birds

Day 8: Transfer to Thessaloniki.

Louise & Robert…This was our first venture into wildlife holidays and we will certainly be back to holiday with Greenwings again! The group size was perfect, the guides knowledgeable, patient & thoughtful and the rural setting provided us with stunning scenery, sincere Greek people and excellent habitat locations. We saw an excellent range of butterflies and birds as well as the bonus of beautiful wild flowers, and varied insects, moths and reptiles.

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Telephone: 01473 254658 (Mon - Sat 9am - 6pm)

Email: enquiries@greenwings.co.uk

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