CULTURE

Getting away from it all in Greece

Eco-tourism holidays, including agro-tourism, are available in several areas of Greece, including the following: – At Amphikaia, on the slopes of Mt Parnassus, between the villages of Amphikleia and Tithorea, 10 newly built stone houses, simply furnished but with central heating and a fireplace, accommodate people who want to experience agricultural life without giving up basic material comforts. The 20-hectare farm has hosted educational programs for schoolchildren, teachers and special interest groups, with the cooperation of the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature. Costas Moros gave up city life to set up the farm, where he raises horses, cows, chickens, geese, turkeys, ducks, pheasants, rabbits, French hens, pigs, sheep, and grows about 400 herbs. Tel. 02340.48860, 0977.596196. – In the Dadia Forest Reserve and wetland, home to 36 species of predatory birds in the prefecture of Evros, northern Greece, the emphasis is on protecting the wildlife rather than attracting tourists, who are encouraged to visit under certain restrictions, such as limited use of motor vehicles. Accommodation is available in the center’s lodge, built in the local architectural style. The center is run by the municipality of Dadia. Tel. 05540.32209. – In Florina in the northwest of the country, is the Arcturos Environmental Center that includes a brown bear sanctuary, wolf sanctuary and information center; it is supported by funds from the European Union, government agencies, the World Wide Fund for Nature-Greece and the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature. Tel. 0310.554623, 0310.553932. – Further north are the Prespes Lakes, where the Society for the Protection of Prespes has been working successfully to develop eco-tourism, by promoting local agriculture and architecture, the lakes themselves and the surrounding wetlands with their rich bird life. A local women’s cooperative provides accommodation in traditional, renovated guesthouses in the village of Aghios Germanos. Tel. 03850.51452. Another myth is that eco-tourists are low-budget spenders. According to a US study, typical eco-tourists are aged between 35-54, divided equally between both sexes, and of above average education (82 percent have a tertiary degree).