Brown bear tracking in Northern Greece

“Greece has hundreds of brown bears, and walking the trails of the remote Northern Pindos region with an experienced ranger is the best way to encounter them.”

Highlights

Bear tracking with a ranger in wilderness region of Northern Pindos | Wolves | European otters | Red deer | Presentation on wildlife conservation & research methods | Grammos Mountain

Description of Brown bear tracking in Northern Greece

The fact that there are bears in Greece is one of Europe’s best kept secrets. However, according to the latest research data, the total brown bear population in Greece is 475 to 500.
In particular, Northern Greece where the Northern Pindos National Park is home to not only brown bears but also red deer and wolves inhabiting its black pine and beech forests. And with superb walking trails throughout the national park, this is not only a wonderful wildlife holiday but also a superb Greece walking holiday.

This five day small group holiday includes hikes that follow brown bear trails, led by a national park ranger, as well as talks and guidance by a local conservation charity that works to protect the bear population here. You will learn about research methods used in vital bear conservation work, bear tracking and, although bears are elusive by nature, this region has strong sighting possibilities. Please note that we do not use the practice of ‘baiting’ to attract bears as we do not condone this as responsible bear watching practices. This region is also bird watching central, with rare species including the eastern imperial eagle and golden eagle, and the beautiful shore lark, to name but a few.

During the holiday you will stay in three star accommodation in both the lake Kastoria area and the wilderness of Gramos National Park.

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

Check dates, prices & availability

Date
Price
Basis
14 Oct 2017
€ 625
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 14 Oct 2017 departure
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Brown bear tracking in Northern Greece

Environment

This trip is all about the concept "Tourism as a Tool for Nature Conservation", a concept we believe in with all our heart. The following principles and practices show that:

• 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. They use it to support their Bear Emergency Team. A vet and assistant travel to places where they are needed, e.g. road accident with a bear involved, damage done by bears.
• 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.

Community

The trip is all about supporting the local economy. It will benefit financially much more local communities as opposed to booking via the "traditional sales channel" = a Tour Operator that is located in your country and that will send a tour leader from your country. Furthermore it supports local culture and communities 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.
• Transportation methods in Greece are limited to group transportation with small buses and hiking.
• The accommodation used on this trip are family-owned and family-run. This is an area in Greece that has been hit hard by the economic crisis and your visit has a positive impact on the local economy.

2 Reviews of Brown bear tracking in Northern Greece

4 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 26 Oct 2016 by

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


It did not have one single highlight -the entire trip was enjoyable. Low-key, NOT exciting which is exactly what we wanted. We learned so much about the gorgeous mountains of NW Macedonia -- saw NO wildlife to speak of but learned about the flora and fauna in general. The guides were very well informed and brought an appreciation of the outdoors and nature to us that was contagious.

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


Expect a low-key guided walk/hike, don't 'expect' bears! A walking stick is helpful, as are binoculars.

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


Yes in that we ate and slept locally -- and it gave us new insights into human/wildlife interactions (for better or worse).
More time with locals -- perhaps a meal in a home (although Gramos Lodge was almost like eating in someone's home!) -- would be a nice opportunity. The presentation and demonstration were interesting and very informative.

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


We thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it -- it was just relaxed enough, not commercial -- yet still thoughtfully and professionally planned and executed.
The landscape and life of northern Greece were so beautiful and interesting to learn about -- so happy we extended our trip to include Naousa and Vergina and days in Thessaloniki, also.

Read the operator's response here:

Thanks very much for the review!
We have further improved this tour: we place infra-red camera’s to catch wildlife on camera, we may do “howling sessions” with wolves and telemetry tracking of bears. Nevertheless chances to see bears fluctuate (depending on seasons and local conditions) while we refuse to use bait as this is not very responsible behavior.

Reviewed on 17 May 2015 by

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


Seeing a brown bear was the highlight of the holiday but this was definitely the icing on the cake. The friendly people, wonderful mountain scenery, incredible views, amazing walks, butterflies, orchids and peace and quiet made the holiday memorable at all times.

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


Be prepared to do plenty of walking over rough and rocky ground, possibly in high temperatures. Enjoy the local people, food, culture and scenery as much as possible. Don't expect to find bears, just treat it as highlight if you do.

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


Yes we supported conservation by making a donation to the Callisto charity and by raising their profile. In the mountains we benefited local people by staying in their hotels and using their restaurants and guiding services.

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


It was a wonderful experience being able to enjoy the natural wonders of northern Greece and the hospitality of the Greek people. Understanding the interaction between bears & humans and the work being done by Callisto to improve relations was fascinating and heartwarming.

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you so much for your valuable feedback. You were indeed lucky to have seen bears on 2 days! The walks during this trips are as long as the travelers want. We are flexible and adapt the program as to make sure everyone is happy!

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