Most people know Greece for its crystal crear waters, however Greece has a relatively un­known virgin nature: Alpine lakes, dramatic gorges, steaming volcanoes, serene wetlands, national parks, mountain forests and more flowers than you’ve ever seen. Allow us in Ral­lis Travel to help you discover Greece through alternative types of tourism: ecotourism and agrotourism that reveal the secrets of Greek nature.

The great Greek outdoors invites you to discover it in every season. A tapestry of landscapes with an amazing array of biodiversity and ecological value will unfold before your eyes: in national parks, waterfalls, rushing rivers, lakes, wetlands, mountain ranges, even volcanoes on Santorini, Nisyros and Milos. You’ll soon discover just how much variety such a small country can display. The mild climate and natural environment is ideal for hiking, riding, off-road driving, rafting, kayaking, rock and mountain climbing and canyoning.

There are 419 Natura-2000 sites, as well as 4 Geoparks that are part of the European Geoparks Network (EGN): Lesvos and its fossil forest, the Natural Park of Psiloritis on Crete, the Helmos-Vouraikos National Park in the Peloponnese and the Vikos-Aoos National Park in the Zagorohoria region of Epirus.

Greece’s 400 wetlands are places of special beauty and many are protected by the Ramsar Convention or belong to the Natura-2000 network. The lagoons of Messolongi, Gialova, Porto Lagos and Thrace, the Amvracian Gulf, the Strofilia forest, the deltas of the rivers Axios, Nestos, Evros, Acheloos and Arachthos, lakes Kerkini, Vistonis, Vegorotis, Mikri Prespa, Koroneia and Volvi offer a rich world of vegetation and are home to countless birds, amphibians, mammals and fish.At least 446 bird species, several of which are endangered, live or stop at the precious wetlands on the islands and mainland.The best places for bird-watching are the Dadia forest, the Evros and Pineios deltas, lakes Kerkini, Heimaditis and Zazari, the Gialova lagoon and Mount Olympus.

Ecotourism in Greece

Are you an ecotourism enthusiast seeking a memorable ecotourism experience in Greece? The nation with the eleventh longest coastline in the world, and which is also 80% mountains and hills, beckons. Traditional upland villages with their special architecture and ancient folkways will welcome you in Pelion, Zagorohoria, Meteora, Olympus, Pindos, Rhodopi, mountainous Arcadia, Messinia, mountainous Nafpaktia, Taygetos, Parnon, and of course Crete with Psiloritis (Mt Ida), the Lefka Oroi (White Mountains) and their spectacular gorges. Hiking trails and forest roads will lead you off the beaten track to lakes, rivers and hot springs, forests, cascades and valleys as well as to ancient temples, old castles and churches, the human and historical side of the landscape.

Agrotourism in Greece

The wonders of nature are complemented by Greek hospitality. The locals will welcome you at traditional guest houses and family-run hotels. They will offer you local specialities, wine, raki and other authentic products at their restaurants and tavernas. You’ll bond with them at agrotourism hostels and family farms where you can participate in the chores of milking the animals, producing cheeses and gathering the olives. You’ll pick fruit and vegetables from the gardens, pluck grapes from vines and help turn them into wine and raki, and when the work is done you’ll join the others at local festivals and feasts that will immerse you in the traditions of the area. Leaving, you’ll take with you the experience along with a souvenir of honey or jam or herbs you saw gathered with your own eyes.