Nea Agathoupoli observation tower – Alyki Kitrous Lagoon – Korinos
- Distance: 20 km.
- Time on vehicle: 30 min
Wonderful views by the sea; swimming; birdwatching from the observation tower; opportunities for good sea food; this route, at the southern part of the National Park, combines many different options.
Begin your tour from the observation tower of Nea Agathoupoli; it is open Friday to Saturday 10:00 – 14:00. From the tower you can watch the birds of the wetland and have a view across the delta of the river Aliakmonas. The wetland is inhabited by thousands of ducks during winter (common teals, pintails, mallards, shelducks etc), but also by herons, pelicans and birds of prey. The unquestionable highlight of the wetland is the white-tailed sea eagle. One of the few pairs in Greece nest in the delta of Aliakmonas and they swoop to the wetland in search of food.
An easy 20 min. walk starts at the observation tower, bringing you close to the wetland; it is a very pleasant walk all around the year.
Alyki Kitrous Salt Works
Instead of going back to the National Road, take the beautiful coastal route to get to the next National Park hot spot: the Lagoon of Alyki Kitrous. A landscape with small hills, vineyards, forested ravines and the gulf of Thermaikos will accompany you.
The lagoon of Alyki Kitrous extends on a peninsula and is one of the most important wetlands in Northern Greece. The marshes at the east part are home to large numbers of waders, whilst, especially during winter, the lagoon offers an impressive spectacle thanks to the thousands of flamingos that overwinter here.
Salt production takes place in the western part of the lagoon using the so-called “pans” and “heaters”, where the sea water is channeled until it evaporates, leaving the salt for collection. This salt production unit is the second biggest in Greece, with a production of 32.000 tons per year. On the way to Korinos, stop at the little mound after the church, from where you can have a panoramic view of the lagoon and the saltpans.
A sandy strip with sand dunes lies in between the sea and the lagoon. This area is important for fauna and reptiles, and especially for the Hermann’s tortoise, being the home to one of the largest populations in Europe.
You can reach the sand dunes taking the unpaved road south of the salt works, until the small beacon. It is a short route, around 5 km long, but the road is quite rough, so avoid it if you are not driving a 4X4 vehicle. If you do take it, though, you will be rewarded by the views of the lagoon with hundreds of birds (shelducks, flamingos, herons) and the view of Mount Olympus on your way back. When you reach the beacon you can take a long walk on the sand dunes and observe the seabirds in the gulf of Thermaikos; Black-necked grebes, great crested grebes, little terns, gull-billed terns, black-headed gulls and Mediterranean gulls during summer.
If you prefer, you can explore the sand dunes at the northern part of Korinos. Keep driving until you reach the little church of Agia Paraskevi, from where you can start your walk. In summer end your tour with a nice refreshing swim from the beach of Korinos.
- Every first Sunday of October you may celebrate with us the EuroBirdwatch Day -launched in various European countries by Birdlife International- at the Observation Tower of Nea Agathoupoli; with guided tours, birdwatching and environmental games for children.
- At the observation tower ask the Management Authority staff to lend you bicycles for a ride on the bike path linking the tower with the village of Methoni.
- If you want to see white storks, visit the village Aiginio (spring – end of summer). With 40 active nests, this village hosts the most storks in the whole Greece!
- Try some fresh fish and sea food in the taverns of Methoni, which hold a long tradition of gastronomy; some pelicans will probably be swimming just a few meters further out to the sea.
- While passing from Makrigialos stop to visit the archeological site of Byzantine Pydna (open Monday – Friday, 8:00 – 15:00).
- While you explore the sand dunes be careful not to cause any disturbance to the animals. Avoid this walk during the breeding season (April to June).