Kalohori Lagοon – Gallikos river estuary – Axios Delta
- Distance: 28 km
- Time on vehicle: 1 h 30 min
The area of Kalohori is the gateway to the National Park for the city of Thessaloniki. Whilst the urban center lies in ten minutes distance, this place is a haven of peace for both wild life and visitors. Admire it!
In the lagoon
The estuaries of Gallikos river and the Kalohori lagoon offer the nearest escape to nature from the city of Thessaloniki. Begin your tour from the Kalochori lagoon and the 1 km walking trail from the Kerkyras Park and connects the village of Kalochori with the sea. In winter time you will usually see flamingos and shelducks, whereas in the summer you will find many waders (sandpipers, little ringed plovers, Kentish plovers etc). The lagoon is very important for the reproduction of the black-winged stilt, the avocet and Kentish plover, but also for migratory birds, due to the plentiful food found in its shallow waters. Quite often, some rare, winged visitor will stray from its usual route and set foot in the lagoon, sounding the alarm to the enthusiastic birdwatchers of Greece!
The lagoon of Kalohori is unique in Greece; it has been created gradually since the mid 60’s, following the construction of coastal embankments which were necessary to protect the village of Kalohori from flooding. The flood danger rose because the area had subsided due to decade long overexploitation of the underground aquifer, in combination with the loose composition of the soil.
The beauty of the coastal zone
Get ready for a long driving tour and take the coastal road north-west, direction to Axios Delta. Pause at “Hinaru” to enjoy a very nice view of the city of Thessaloniki. During the winter months look for red-breasted mergansers, black-throated loons and various grebes in the gulf of Thermaikos. From here on begins the Ramsar site, one of the ten most important wetlands of Greece, protected by the International Convention for Wetlands.
The wetland zone that intervenes between the sea and the fields is very important for the birds and other organisms that it hosts, but also for humans, since it protects the area from erosion and flooding and balances the salinity of the soil, enabling farming to continue.
In the ponds you will see on your right, there are usually large numbers of waders (avocets, black-winged stilts, plovers, sandpipers) and further ahead, on the islets of the coastal part lies the “kingdom” of the Mediterranean gull. This is one of the few areas in Greece where this rare species reproduces.
Caution! During winter passing through certain parts of this dirt road can only be possible with 4X4 vehicles.
On your arrival to the little church of Agios Nikolaos you may choose to return to the highway crossing the rice fields, or you may join the suggested route no 2.
Let’s go by bus!
Visitors can visit the natural area of Kalochori with a bus from Thessaloniki. Take bus no 40 which starts every half an hour from behind the train station of Thessaloniki. Don’t be discouraged by the rather ugly industrial scenery you will see until you get there. If you want to visit the Kalochori lagoon get off at “Miltiadou” stop and continue straight to the Kerkyras Park.