Lake Kerkini birdwatching biking tour

Sometimes you plan something big – like doing 100-kilometer race in the mountains, but another adventure has been prepared for you. This year we decided to give Vitosha 100 another try, but training wasn’t going so well. On the other hand, Travelers Club in Sofia, where we often give travel talks and presentations, was organizing a bike tour around lake Kerkini.

Lake Kerkini in Greece is the ultimate birdwatching location. You can walk, drive, sail or bike around the lake in search of birds to spot. If you catch the migration season (generally in spring and fall), you will encounter a gazillion of different flying beauties.

Greece, Lake Kerkini birdwatching biking tour

The biking birdwatching adventure at Lake Kerkini

The tour program said we hit the road from Sofia, bikes loaded on a platform, Friday evening. We would be biking around the lake on Saturday and then on Sunday, we’d hop on a boat to watch birds from inside the lake. In the afternoon, bikes and bikers would be transported back to Sofia.

We’ve always been active outdoorsy travelers. Unfortunately, for one reason or another, we don’t bike much. We usually bike 30 km at most (in city and park conditions) or a maximum of 10-15 km in off-road rural conditions. So we couldn’t know what’s going to happen after biking around lake Kerkini for the whole day.
The whole route turned out to be 68 kilometers long but we’ll talk about this later! We started in the morning – fresh and green. I borrowed a bike from a friend, Nace used his own. I put the seat as low as possible – that way I feel more balanced when I stop. Later my knees hated me for that but that’s another story.

Greece, Lake Kerkini birdwatching biking tour

The first 22 kilometers were super cool and energetic. We would stop a couple of times to take out binoculars, lenses, zooms to watch birds. Our ornithologist was great at explaining anything about any species we would spot. Our group of 19 people was riding on dirt roads mostly. We saw a huge heard of buffaloes and their shepherd warned us to move as they can get frustrated with us quickly. Nobody wanted the “buffalo-boom-problem” so we moved forward. Green grass, soft clouds, and thousands of birds reflecting in the water – you even forget those discomforts of riding a bike on a dirt rocky road with muddy parts. Then we reached an asphalt road to Vyroneia village where there was the first opportunity for lunch.

Active outdoors the Greek style

The restaurant takes place at an old train station (Methoriakos station) so everyone was immediately attracted to it. The cheerful Greek host made sure everyone was well treated with plenty of beer and many local Greek food delights. We were planning a quick lunch that turned into a 3-hour-feast!

Greece, Lake Kerkini birdwatching biking tour

Getting in the bikes again was the biggest battle so far. Buts hurting, bodies cold, bellies full – motivation was close to zero. We continued passing villages and countryside on the asphalt road and then some of us started feeling a bit tough. Nace has plenty of biking experience but he was at the back of the column so I had to wait for him – that happens never!

After a couple of nasty first-gear uphills we met the rest of the group (did I mention most of them were pro-bikers). They were just finishing their desserts from the local pastry shop nearby so we hit the downhill together only to take the dirt road soon. I was feeling still kind of fresh (my buttocks will deny this statement) so I started trying to stick more at the end of our pack.

Greece, Lake Kerkini birdwatching biking tour

Surviving our first biking tour of 68 kilometers

Time had flown and as we made another stop for birdwatching we decided to regroup later and move as one big pack of cyclists. My backlights wouldn’t work so I had to move in the front part. Nace stayed in the back with a couple of pros to motivate him. It was the perfect sunset setting: green hills, purple skies, birds flying over, wind in the hair…

Then we decided to stop at an observation tower for a group photo. There was about 15 km to go, but I was feeling my energy levels going down. One of the experienced bikers joined me and we started chatting. I was trying to stay focused on pedaling but my force was somewhere else, not with me. I felt like I was going to puke so we stopped for another break. All the blood was in my legs so I was really pale and unwell. My companion insisted that we moved on, so we said goodbye to Nace and his companion (the leader of our biking expedition) and continued slowly, but steadily. In moments like that having someone to talk to you and not let you focus on your pain and misery is crucial.

We entered the village where we started the tour and I knew the battle was won. I survived my first bike marathon! I stretched for a few minutes until Nace arrived – he had struggled the most so his win was even more precious! Hey, we did it – 68 kilometers of biking around lake Kerkini!

Greece, Lake Kerkini birdwatching biking tour

Sometimes we don’t plan our accomplishments and achievements. Sometimes they come to us. It’s very important to enjoy the moment and remember that the battle is inside you – only you can win over yourself or lose from yourself!

Now we leave you with the gallery of all those amazing birds we spotted around lake Kerkini. We highly recommend a birdwatching tour around lake Kerkini. Do it on foot, bike, boat, or mixed – you won’t regret it!

Where to stay around Lake Kerkini

This blog post contains some affiliate links to services and products we like. If you book through those links, we’ll get a small commission at no extra cost for you. Thank you for helping us keep The Magic of Traveling going!

We stayed at Erodios Hotel and enjoyed the rooms with a view of the lake and the restaurant so much!

Lake Kerkini Greece - Birdwatching biking tour
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Other places to enjoy birdwatching (well, without the biking part) are Djoudj bird sanctuary in Senegal, Costa Rica, Amazon jungle in Bolivia, Humboldt National Reserve in Chile, Maasai Mara Reserve in Kenya.

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