Mainland Greece is dominated (80% of the country) by mountains or hills. Mount Olympus is the peak of these, at 9,573 feet (2,918 meters), and is steeped in mythology as the home of the Greek Gods. The climate on the mainland is typically Mediterranean with mild, wet winters, and hot, dry summers. The Pindus mountain range, along the spine of Greece, greatly affects its climate with the land to the west far wetter than that to the east. Despite its latitude, Greece can see heavy snowfall in the north of the country, especially in the high elevation borders it shares with its neighboring nations. The Greek islands share the mostly Mediterranean climate of the mainland.
Following International Ornithological Congress (IOC) taxonomy (v10.2 in October 2020), the bird list of Greece stands at 471 bird species, with 26 of these being globally threatened. Our Greek tours will take us to a number of Important Bird Areas (IBAs), sites identified by BirdLife International and local partner Hellenic Ornithological Society for their value to birds, and these vital areas are a haven for wildlife. Greece’s total of 204 IBAs is significant by European standards and sites such as Evros Delta IBA, Nestos Delta IBA, and the vast Lake Kerkini IBA will all be visited on our tours.
Birding in Greece offers a lot of variety with Greece’s bird highlights too extensive to list here, however we have picked out a few of the star species we hope to come across on our three exciting tours.
Greece: Spring Birding Adventure
The threatened Dalmatian Pelican is a real star species and a supporting cast of Black Stork, Pygmy Cormorant, and Great White Pelican, plus many species of egrets, herons, and shorebirds will keep us entertained in wetland areas. Passerines such as Alpine Chough, Sombre Tit, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Ruppell’s Warbler, Western Rock Nuthatch, Common Rock Thrush, and Cretzschmar’s Bunting are supported by a wide variety of more common species, please see the detailed itinerary for full details. Birds of prey highlights on this tour include Egyptian Vulture, European Honey Buzzard, Griffon Vulture, and Cinereous Vulture to name a few of the best.
Greece: Lesvos in Spring Extension
This five-day extension offers the chance to witness the impressive northbound spring migration as well as pick up some localized resident and highly sought-after passerines. We will look for a sensational set of birds, including Red-footed Falcon, Eleonora’s Falcon, Masked Shrike, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, Olive-tree Warbler, Kruper’s Nuthatch, Western Rock Nuthatch, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, and Cinereous Bunting, plus much more.
Greece: Fall Birding Adventure
An exciting short tour of Northern Greece, aimed at finding exciting fall migrants and high-quality resident species. Some of the potential highlights on this tour include Dalmatian Pelican, Pygmy Cormorant, Red-breasted Goose, Lesser White-fronted Goose, Ferruginous Duck, Greater Spotted Eagle, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Cinereous Vulture, Levant Sparrowhawk, Slender-billed Gull, Syrian Woodpecker, Alpine Accentor, Sombre Tit, Alpine Chough, Rock Partridge, and Western Rock Nuthatch. This tour also combines beautifully with our preceding Poland: Birding the Baltic Coast and East in Fall tour to give an excellent mix of species.
A birdwatching holiday in Greece offers so much more than just the birds though. This wonderful, ancient country is one of Europe’s highlight destinations and its national parks, historical landmarks and cities make for a wonderfully rounded trip for any visitor.