Northern Greece bear conservation tour

“Join local wildlife researchers to learn about bear conservation and hike in the local mountains, with good chances to see these majestic animals in their natural environment.”

Highlights

Learn about field research methods | learn about challenges posed by the co-existence of humans and bears | install camera traps | hike Grammos Mountain | Prespa lake area | learn about water management | boat trip at Psarades | Bear Sanctuary and Wolf Sanctuary in Nymfaio | Thessaloniki

Description of Northern Greece bear conservation tour

If you want to hit some hiking trails, view local wildlife and make a difference all at the same time then this small group Northern Greece bear conservation tour is a good bet. You’ll spend time in the mountains of the Northern Pindos, go on hikes following brown bear trails in the company of a conservationist, walk the shores of Prespa Lake, one of Europe’s most important wetlands, and visit both a bear and a wolf sanctuary. The trip finishes in lively Thessaloniki, a town brimming with history and culture.

During the trip you’ll have the opportunity to learn about bear research from local wildlife charity Callisto, including insights into radio tracking, camera traps and recording bear activity. Apart from large mammals there’s also the chance to see birdlife, butterflies and reptiles, as well as native plants and flowers.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

01273 823 700 Calling from outside the UK?

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Check dates, prices & availability

Date
Price
Basis
23 May 2020
850
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 23 May 2020 departure
26 Sep 2020
850
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 26 Sep 2020 departure
17 Oct 2020
850
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 17 Oct 2020 departure
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Northern Greece bear conservation tour

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.

-No internal flights, all transportation with full minivan
-Walks within the forest to locate bears
-Family-run local guesthouse
-Offering vegetarian/plant-based and low dairy foods
-Local tour guide, reducing inland and outland travel.

Environment

This trip is all about observation and conservation! You will be supporting a Greek wildlife charity (a NGO) in a time where the country suffers from an unprecedented financial crisis. Environmental organizations in Greece have very few means left to support their work and that is why tourism can be such an important tool for conservation! This holiday respects wildlife and biodiversity in more ways:
* Wildlife species are not harvested, consumed, displayed, sold, or traded, except as part of a regulated activity that ensures that their utilization is sustainable, and in compliance with local to international laws.
* No captive wildlife is held, except for properly regulated activities, in compliance with local to international law. Living specimens of protected and wildlife species are only kept by those authorized and suitably equipped to house and care for them humanely.
* The trip supports and contributes to biodiversity conservation, including natural protected areas and areas of high biodiversity value. You make a donation to wildlife charity Callisto.
* Interactions with wildlife, taking into account cumulative impacts, do not produce adverse effects on the viability and behaviour of populations in the wild. Any disturbance of natural ecosystems is minimized, rehabilitated, and there is a compensatory contribution to conservation management.
* Information about and interpretation of the natural surroundings is provided to travellers, as well as explaining appropriate behaviour while visiting natural areas.

In order to keep our environmental impact as low as possible we use group transportation (minibus) and walk as much as possible.

Community

One of our core values is to celebrate a Diversity of Place & Culture whilst delivering you rich and authentic experiences at an affordable price. It is done because we are 100% local. You will visit an area that is hardly touched by tourism and thus offer you authentic experiences such as local traditional cuisine and local traditional architecture.
We support the community in the following ways:
* Information about and interpretation of the local culture, and cultural heritage is provided to travellers.
* Local services and goods are purchased and offered, following fair-trade principles.
* Supporting local small entrepreneurs to develop and sell sustainable products that are based on the area’s nature, history and culture (including food and beverages, crafts, performance arts, agricultural products, etc.).
* Purchasing policies favour locally appropriate and ecologically sustainable products, including building materials, capital goods, food, beverages and consumables.
* Use of hotel(s) and other tourist providers with a sustainability certification system: your Thessaloniki hotel is a Green Key Hotel.

3 Reviews of Northern Greece bear conservation tour

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 17 Oct 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The selection of dishes ordered for group lunch were always interesting and made for a very social period. The walk by smaller Lake Prespa

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Take binoculars but do not expect to see many mammals.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, local restaurants and bars visited. Fairly long drives increased environmental impact

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Knowledgeable and enthusiastic leaders who responded effectively to the interests and questions of the group, guest house was superb, great walks in
beautiful surroundings, fantastic freshly prepared food, meeting friends of Yannis and Maria in village bars and in the field. Learnt a lot not only about the ecology but also history of the area.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Bob, Many thanks for your review and donation to bear conservation by CALLISTO!!! We will share this among all involved.

Reviewed on 26 Sep 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


It's hard to think of one highlight. Perhaps walking through the mountain forest, through areas of oak, fir, beech, to an alpine meadow with cattle grazing.
The strong smell of the wild herbs. Seeing evidence of bears and learning about how they are tracked, monitored and protected.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


You will probably not see bears in the wild. This is about understanding how the bears live and are protected so they can survive, but part of their survival is
that they must be wary of humans. Greeks take their eating seriously, so expect to spend quite a lot of time at lunch and dinner - its great food and good company, but no quick sandwiches.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Definitely. The holiday is as much about showing local people that others are interested in protecting their environment, and that there's money to be made
from that. All the suppliers are small local businesses. This part of Greece has been very depopulated in the last few decades, but many of the people we met
had roots here, had spent large parts of their lives in Athens, Thesssaloniki or abroad, and were now trying to make a go of it in this area.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It was marvellous. Well organized and everyone took great care of us. I learned a huge amount about the ecology of bears, how humans interact with large
carnivores and how that can be improved for bears, wolves and humans, and also about the history and culture of the place. I've been coming to Greece for
years, normally in a fairly low-impact way (island hopping on ferries, staying in rooms) but I learned more about Greece in this trip than I ever have.

Read the operator's response here:

Thanks very much for your sparkling review and for traveling with us! We forwarded this to all involved here in Greece. It is true, we are all local and you
traveled with a local operator, donating to wildlife conservation. Thanks on behalf of all of them and... a paw from our furry friends :-)

Reviewed on 04 Jun 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Going on a walk with the conservationists up the various mountains and then trying out Greek drinks such as their coffee and "Mountain tea" that was made from local plants.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


To know what the weather is when they go, so they can decide if they want to be there during hot weather or somewhat cooler.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Not directly us being on the trip, however the conservations as a whole are doing really good work preventing the death of bears while still solving the problem of them being a threat to livestock and people.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It was a really good holiday, however I would of preferred warmer weather the whole time, but that is something that can't be changed.

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