From the untamed mountains of Epiros and picturesque Macedonia to the dramatic gorges of Crete, Greece presents a wide spectrum of natural beauty and unusual animal life to the nature-seeking tourists.
With its landscape on the mainland alternating with high mountains, valleys, lakes, broad deltas and coastal lagoons, its diversity in fauna and flora, and with its more than 2,000 islands, Greece is a bird-watcher's paradise.
In the flat and semi-mountainous area important hydro-biospheres are developing a great international significance and acknowledgement. Hotspots for thousands of resident and migratory bird species, amphibian species, endemic populations of invertebrates and fish, buffalo, reptiles and a great variety of insects, the hydro-biospheres are pieces in a more complex mosaic that includes wetlands, dry meadows, hedges, small bush forests and rural landscape.
In recognition of the area's significance, biological stations have been constructed and used by host students, scientists and visiting researchers as well as conferences and volunteer activities. Various programs are in place to finance the refurbishment of local traditional buildings serving for accommodations and meetings, mostly operated by women's cooperatives.
The basic infrastructure in place has given incentives to private entrepreneurs to provide food, accommodation and other services, and attract public investments oriented towards ecotourism.
Following Greece's accession in 1975 to the Ramsar treaty, preserving and protecting the wild has become a most popular item on the Greek government's agenda.
The successful combination of tourism and conservation at the natural habitats in Greece serves as models for other important natural areas in the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean.