Management Unit of the Protected Areas of Epirus

Management Unit of the Protected Areas of Epirus.

With the integration in Natural Environment and Climate Change Agency (NECCA) of the Management Body of Lake Pamvotis, Management Body of Kalamas-Acheron-Corfu and the  Management Body of National Park of Tzoumerka, Acheloos Valley, Agrafa and Meteora, the Management Unit of the Protected Areas of Epirus operates under N.E.C.C.A.’s Protected Areas Management Directorate (Sector A), based in Ioannina with a branch office in Igoumenitsa.


Its spatial area of jurisdiction includes the following Natura 2000 sites:



General Description


National Park of Tzoumerka, Peristeri and Arachtos Gorge

In the year 2009 Greek Government characterize the two large mountainous complexes: Lakmos (or Peristeri) and Athamanian mountains (or Tzoumerka) as National Park, named: «National Park of Tzoumerka, Peristeri and Arachtos Gorge».

In 2016 the region joined the European network of Protected Areas that have been certified as Sustainable Destinations by the European Federation of Protected Areas (Europarc).


Lake Of Pamvotis

Pamvotis Lake is one of the oldest lakes in the world and the second oldest in European level, (aged approximately about 7 million years). It is located at the foot of the mountain Mitsikeli and covers 22 km2 of Ioannina basin. It is a shallow lake with an average depth of 4 m (max 8m). Despite its small size, it has a long history and is of great importance as an ecosystem and a landscape.

As it is located next to a developing city, it receives intense anthropogenic activities and pressures. However, despite the degradation it has suffered from man, it still preserves rich biodiversity.

Its name “Pamvotis” means the feeder of everything, as from ancient times until today it maintains life in the area. The existing Pamvotis Lake is the remaining of a larger ecosystem, which also included Lapsista Lake, which was drained in the 50s. After the drainage of Lapsista Lake and the construction of a ditch and tunnel that connects the lake with Kalamas, the overflow is led to the catchment area of this river. It is a sensitive ecosystem, which belongs to the European Network of Protected Areas, NATURA 2000, because of the important habitats and the rare species of flora and fauna. The protected area of Lake Pamvotis is a complex natural and cultural landscape of unique aesthetic and ecological value.

The purpose of the Management Unit of the Protected Areas of Epirus for this area is to preserve the ecosystem, to restore and maintain the ecological balance of Pamvotis Lake and to promote human and economic activities under the principles of sustainability. Both the combination of nature’s conservation and the support of development activities constitute a basic aim and major challenge for the Management Unit. The contribution of the local community is essential and crucial to the success of this goal.


Protected Areas Of Kalama-Acheronta


Just a few kilometers from the border with Albania, on the shores of the Ionian Sea, lies one of the most important wetlands in Western Greece and Europe. It is the Delta of the river Kalamas that includes the estuaries of its old and new riverbeds, the lagoons “Richo”, “Vatatsa”, “Loutsa Papadia”, “Vontas” etc., the swampy formations around them and the fertile land area that has been created over the years by the deposits of the river. The area surface amounts to 8,531 hectares. The altitude of the flat deltaic areas ranges from 0-12m, while high hills in the form of islands, rise in them, mainly the “Black Mountain” (509 m), “Mastilitsa” and other smaller ones. The area is important both at National and European level and it has been designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), under code GR2120001 and as a Special Protection Area (SPA) for birds, under code GR2120005, due to its rich biodiversity and geographical location (it is part of the Western migratory route of birds in Greece).


Between the eastern slopes of the mountains “Revela” and “Lefkes” of the Municipality of Filiates and the western slopes of the mountains “Sideri”, “Koutsouveli”, “Soumala” of the Municipality of Paramythia of the Prefecture of Thesprotia, lies the gorge that river Kalamas crosses. This part of the river with its steep slopes, which are covered by dense, mixed vegetation of evergreen hard-leaves and deciduous oaks, constitutes the protected area of the Straits of Kalamas. It is a landscape of unique aesthetic value, with vertical rocky cliffs, between which the river flows with meanderings, inaccessible caves on the slopes and an important zone of riparian vegetation.


The area of “Kalamas Straits” is included in the European Ecological Network Natura 2000 and it has been designated as an SAC, under code GR2120004, covering a total area of about 1,820 hectares. Along with “Paramythia Mountains and the Acheron Straits” it has also been designated as an SPA, under code GR2120008.

The total surface of the area under code GR2120008 amounts to 11,692 hectares. As for its altitude, the minimum is about 44 m and the maximum goes up to 1,644 m. The Straits of Acheron are located at the southern end of the area and consist of limestone rocks with macchia vegetation. Tree and shrub vegetation participates with lower or higher coverage rates, respectively. The chasmophytic vegetation grows on limestone rocks with large slopes in the gorge, thus giving special ecological value to the area.


Following the Kalamas riverbed, after the “big Straits”, we find the area of “Parakalamos Straits”, under code GR2120007, important for the reproduction of predators, characterized as SPA, with a total surface of 3,483 hectares. The minimum altitude of the area is 0m and the maximum 732m. It is a gorge with alluvial forest and phrygana on the surrounding hills.


North of the gorges formed by Kalamas, is the area with code GR2120009 – “Mountains of Tsamantas, Filiates, Farmakovouni, Megali Rachi”, which is characterized as an SPA and its total surface amounts to 19,854 hectares. It is a mountainous region on the border with Albania. Regarding the altitude of the area, the minimum is about 85m and the maximum goes up to 1,803m. At higher altitudes, large areas of alpine pastures and some coniferous forests can be found. Lower, deciduous forests and shrubs predominate. The area is important for predators.


At the southern end of the Prefecture of Thesprotia, on the borders with the Prefecture of Preveza and on a plateau created at an altitude of 100m approximately, between the mountains of Parga in the west and the mountain range of Margariti in the east, is the lake area called “Kalodiki Marsh”. Its water level, as well as its physiognomy due to the vegetation, change between the seasons of the year. Kalodiki Marsh is one of the important and special wetlands in Greece, which is a unique formation of peat-soil area. Its importance lies both in the bird fauna that it hosts due to its geographical location (it is an integral part of the network of migratory stations of birds in Western Greece) and in its other characteristics (freshwater swamp, rich vegetation with water lilies, etc.). At the time of flowering of the water lilies (Nymphea alba), early in the summer, the appearance of the lake is unique.

Kalodiki Marsh is characterized as an SAC, with code GR2120002. Along with other wetlands in the area, Margariti, Karteri Marshes and Lake Pronani, it has also been designated as an SPA, with code GR2120006 and a surface of 1,808 hectares.


Finally, southwest of the villages of “Krystallopigi” and “Kefalovryso”, near the town of Paramythia, lies the area with code GR2120003 – “Limnopoula Lake”, which is characterized as an SAC, with a surface of 580 hectares. “Lake Limnopoula” (or Limnoula) is seasonal as it is flooded in the winter, reaching a maximum depth of 10 m. In the summer, wet meadows are formed fed with water by springs.

**We note that the national legal reference for the SPAs is the Joint Ministerial Decision (JMD) 37338/1807/Ε103/01-09-2010 (GG 1495/Β’) while for the SACs is the Law 3937/29-03-2011 (GG 60/Α’).

Acherontas Estuary (Credit: Management Unit of the Protected Areas of Epirus)
Acherontas Estuary (Credit: Management Unit of the Protected Areas of Epirus)
Kalamas straits (Credit: Management Unit of the Protected Areas of Epirus)
Kalamas straits (Credit: Management Unit of the Protected Areas of Epirus)
Paramythia Mountains- Acherontas straits (Credit: Management Unit of the Protected Areas of Epirus)
Paramythia Mountains- Acherontas straits (Credit: Management Unit of the Protected Areas of Epirus)

Institutional Framework



Lake Of Pamvotis

The legislative and regulatory framework that governs the Protected Area of Lake Pamvotis includes:



L.4685/7.5.2020 «Modernization of environmental legislation transposition into Greek legislation of Directives 2018/844 and 2019/692 of the European Parliament and of the Council and other provisions».(GG92/Α/07-05-20)

L.4519/20.02.2018 «Protected areas management bodies and other provisions». (GG25/Α/20-02-18)

L.1650/1986 «To protect the environment».(GG160/Α/16-10-86)

L.3010/2002 «Harmonization of L.1650 / 1986 with the directives 97/11 Ε.Ε.C & 96/61 Ε.Ε.C Demarcation procedure and regulations of issues for watercourses and other provisions».(GG 91/Α/02)

L.2742/1999 «Spatial planning and sustainable development and other provisions».(GG 207/Α/07.10.99)

L.3044/2002 «Transfer of Building Factor and regulations of other issues under the responsibility of the Ministry of Environment, Spatial Planning and Public Works».(GG197/Α/27-08-22)

L.3937/2011 «Biodiversity conservation and other provisions».(GG60/Α/31-03-11)

L.3827/2010 «Ratification of the European Landscape Convention». (GG 30/Α/25.02.22)

L.3199/2003 «Water protection and management – Harmonization with Directive 2000/60 / EC». (GG91/Α/25.04.02)

L.2205/1994 «Ratification of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change». (GG 60/Α/15.09.94)



L.92/43/ EEC «for the conservation of natural habitats as well as wild fauna and flora».

L.2009/147/EEC «on the conservation of wild birds».



P.D. «Characterization of the water, land, and wider area of ​​Lake Pamvotida (Ioannina), Ioannina Prefecture, as a Regional Park, and determination of land uses, building conditions and restrictions».

P.D. «Determination of residential control zone, subdivision threshold and other building conditions and restrictions in the area of ​​the municipality of Ioannina and the communities of Anatoli, Katsika, Perama, Krya, Kranoula, Eleoudos, Megalos, Eleousa, Meousa Zoodochou, Vounoplagia, Marmara, Stavraki, Neochoropoulos, Pedini, Bafra, Koutseli, Neokaisareia, Kastritsa, Longada, Amfithea, Ligiada and Agios Ioannis (Prefecture of Ioannina)». (GG297/D/1987)

P.D. «Amendment of 5.5.1989 PD (Δ΄297) “Determination of residential control zone, partition threshold and other building conditions and restrictions in the area outside the approved plan and outside the boundaries of settlements existing in 1923 in the area of ​​the municipality of Ioannina and the communities Anatolis, Katsika, Perama, Kryas, Kranoula, Eleousa, Megalo Gardiki, Rodotopi, Zoodochou, Vounoplagia, Marmaron, Stavraki, Neochoropoulos, Pedini, Bafra, Koutseliou, Neokaitsa, Iasoni, Lasagi, Lasas».  (GG 389 /D/1993)



JMD 414985/1985 «Wild bird management measures”».(GG 757/Β/1985)

JMD 37338/1807/Ε.103/10 «Establishment of measures and procedures for the conservation of wild birds and their habitats / habitats, in accordance with the provisions of Directive 79/409 / EEC “On the conservation of wild birds” of the European Council of 2 April 1979, as codified in Directive 2009/147 / EC.». (GG 1495/Β/2010)

JMD 135074/5193/2002 «Determination of the number of members of the Board of Directors of the Lake Pamvotida Ioannina Management Body».(GG 1531 /Β/2002)

JMD 33318/1998 «Defining measures and procedures for the conservation of natural habitats (habitats) as well as wild fauna and flora».(GG 1289/Β/1998)

JMD 14849/853/Ε103/08 «Amendment of joint ministerial decisions No. 33318/3028/1998 (ΒΔ1289) and joint ministerial decisions No. 29459/1510/2005 (ΒΔ992), in accordance with the provisions of Council Directive 2006/105 of 20 November 2006 of the European Union».(GG 645 /Β/2008)



MD «Establishment of the Board of Directors of the Lake Pamvotida Ioannina Lake Management Body».GG 6/ Υ.Ο.Δ.Δ. / 09.01.19

MD 50072 «Internal Rules of Operation of the Board of Directors of the Lake Pamvotida Ioannina Lake Management Body. Regulation of Financial Management and Procurement of the Lake Pamvotida Ioannina Lake Management Body». (GG 1905/ Β’ /22.12.03)

MD 10579 «Regulation of Operation of Services and Personnel of the Management Body of Lake Pamvotida, Ioannina». (GG 504 /Β’ /5.3.04)

MD 51724 «Approval of the Regulation for the execution of projects and the assignment and conclusion of supply contracts, studies and services of the Management Body of Lake Pamvotida, Ioannina». (GG 1879 /Β’ /20.12.04)

MD 29388 «Amendment of the 50072 /10.12.2003 decision of the Minister of PE.HO.DE “Internal Rules of Operation of the Board of Directors of the Lake Pamvotidos Ioannina Management Body». (GG 1144/ Β’/29.07.10)


Protected Areas Of Kalama-Acheronta

The legislative and regulatory framework that governs the Protected Area of Kalamas includes:



1650/1986 “For the protection of the environment”. (GG 160/Α/16.10.1986)

2742/1999 “Spatial planning and sustainable development and other provisions”. (GG 207/Α’/7-10-1999)

3044/2002 “Transfer of Building Factor and regulations of other issues under the responsibility of the Ministry of Environment, Spatial Planning and Public Works”. (GG 197/Α’/27-8-2002)

3937/2011 “Biodiversity conservation and other provisions”. (GG 60/Α’/31-03-2011)

4519/2018  “Management Bodies of Protected Areas and other provisions”. (GG 25/Α΄/20-02-2018)

4685/2020 “Modernization of Environmental Legislation, integration into Greek legislation of Directives 2018/844 and 2019/692 of the European Parliament and of the Council and other provisions”. (GG 92/Α’/7-5-2020)

4014/2011 “Environmental licensing of projects and activities, arbitrary regulation in connection with the creation of an environmental balance and other provisions within the competence of the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change”. (GG 209/Α’/2011)



92/43/EC “on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora”

2009/147/EC “On the conservation of wild birds”



33318/3028/28.12.1998  “Defining measures and procedures for the conservation of natural habitats as well as wild fauna and flora”. (GG 1289/Β’/1998)

37338/1807/Ε103/01.09.2010 “Establishment of measures and procedures for the conservation of wild birds and their habitats, in accordance with the provisions of Directive 79/409/EEC “On the conservation of wild birds” of the European Council of 2 April 1979, as codified in Directive 2009/147/EC”.(GG 1495/Β’/2010)

8353/276/Ε103/17.02.2012 “Amendment and supplementation of joint ministerial decision no. 37338/1807/2010 “Establishment of measures and procedures for the conservation of wild bird fauna and its habitats, in accordance with the provisions of Directive 79/409 / EEC…” (Β’ 1495), in compliance with the provisions of the first subparagraph of Article 4 (1) of Directive 79/409/EEC“ On the conservation of wild birds” of the European Council of 2 April 1979, as codified by Directive 2009/147/EC”. (GG 415/Β’/2012)

46296/14.08.2013 “Standard Environmental Commitments (SEC) for projects and activities of category B of the 7th group” Poultry facilities “of Annex VII, of no. 1958/2012 (GG B’ 21) of ministerial decision, as amended and in force and more specifically for projects and activities with r/n 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 14”.(GG 2002/Β’/2013)

170613/23-09-2013 “Standard Environmental Commitments for projects and activities of category B of the 1st group” Land and air transport projects “of Annex I of the ministerial decision 1958/2012 (B’ 21), as in force in each case”.(GG Β’/2505/07-10-2013)

59845/03-12-2012 “Standard Environmental Commitments (SEC) for projects and activities of Category B of the 6th Group “Tourism facilities and projects of urban development, building sector, sports and leisure” of Annex VI of the Ministerial No. 1958/2012 (GG B’ 21) decision, as amended and in force, and in particular for projects and activities with a / a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 12, 13 and 18″.(GG Β’/3438/24-12-2012)

46296/08-08-2013 “Standard Environmental Commitments (SEC) for projects and activities of category B of the 7th group “Poultry facilities” of Annex VII, of no. 1958/2012 (GG B’ 21) of ministerial decision, as amended and in force and in particular for projects and activities with r/n 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 14”. (GG Β’/2002/14-08-2013)

50129/1392/10-09-2013 “Standard Environmental Commitments (SEC) for projects and activities of category B of the 8th Group” Aquaculture “of Annex VIII of no. 1958/2012 (Β’ 21) of ministerial decision, as in force in each case applies in particular for projects and activities with r/n1, 2, 4, 5 and 6”. (GG Β’/2405/26-09-2013)

3791/21-01-2013 “Standard Environmental Commitments (SEC) for Renewable Energy Sources projects that are classified in Category B of the 10th Group” Renewable Energy Sources “of Annex X of Ministerial Decision No. 1958/2012 (B’ 21), with r/n 1, 2, 8 and 9”. (GG Β’/104/24-01-2013)

174610/01-09-2014 Standard Environmental Commitments for projects and activities of category B of the 12th group “Special Projects and Activities”, r/n 6 “Mobile and Wireless Fixed Base Stations”, of Annex XII of Y.A. 1958/2012 (B’ 21), as in force in each case”.(GG Β’/ 2498/19-09-2014)



MOEN/DDΦΠΒ/60399/1570/02-07-2019 “Approval of the internal regulations of the Board of Directors and the Internal regulations of the administration and operation of the Management Body of the Protected Areas of Kalamas – Acheron – Corfu”.(GG 2820/Β’)

MOEN/ΔΔΥ/97591/12236 Minister of Environment and Energy “Establishment of the Board of Directors of the Management Body of the Protected Areas of Kalamas – Acheron – Corfu” as amended and in force. (GG 7/ ΥΟΔΔ /10-01-2019)

Error Correction of the Ministerial Decision no ΥΠΕΝ/ΔΔΥ/97591/12236 (GG 7/10-01-2019 ΥΟΔΔ) in GG 63/ΥΟΔΔ/13-02-2019.

52983/1952/27.09.2013 «Specifications of the Special Ecological Assessment for projects and activities of category B of article 10 of Law 4014/2011 (GG/209/A’)

4014/2011 “Environmental licensing of projects and activities, arbitrary regulation in connection with the creation of environmental balance and other provisions of the Ministry of Environment , Energy and Climate Change “.(GG 2436/Β’/2013).

Natural Environment


National Park of Tzoumerka, Peristeri and Arachtos Gorge


The rugged and diverse terrain, the altitude range from 144m to 2,429m and the striking presence of water contribute to the formation of a variety of natural habitats.

17 different types of habitats have already been registered, the most interesting of which, due to their rarity, are: a) the forests of foetid juniper (Juniperus foetidissima), growing at an altitude of 1000m-1500m, b) the forests of black pine (Pinus nigra) and c) the mountain or sub-alpine fields located in relatively wet areas above the upper limit of the forest. The forest habitats, such as those of fir and oak, are also remarkable. Those of evergreen and hardwood deciduous trees, such as oaks, kermes oaks, arbutus, heathers, and of plane-trees, Holm oak and laurel are particularly important for the National Park.

The habitats recorded inside the National Park are outlined in the table below.


CODE Habitat types Annex I
3280 Constantly flowing Mediterranean rivers with PaspaloAgrostidion species and hanging curtains of Salix and Populus alba
3290 Intermittently flowing Mediterranean rivers of the Paspalo-Agrostidion
4090 Endemic oro-Mediterranean heaths with gorse
5210 Arborescent matorral with Juniperus spp.
6230* Species-rich Nardus grasslands, on siliceous substrates in mountain areas (and submountain areas, in Continental Europe)
8140 Eastern Mediterranean screes
8210 Calcareous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation
9130 Asperulo-Fagetum beech forests
9270 Hellenic beech forests with Abies borisii-regis
92C0 Platanus orientalis and Liquidambar orientalis woods (Plantanion orientalis)
9530* (Sub-)Mediterranean pine forests with endemic black pines
9560* Endemic forests with Juniperus spp.
9340h Quercus ilex and Quercus rotundifolia forests
9280h Quercus frainetto woods




More than 700 plant species, such as Lilium chalcedonicum, Lilium candidum etc., grow in the different habitats of the National Park. The composition and distribution of plant species is influenced by climate, geomorphology and geology.

Various alpine plants and herbs, such as salep, wild mint, tea, oregano, crocuses, narcissi and many other plant species, flourish in the clearings between the forests and the alpine fields. These plants emit a mixture of characteristic scents of the mountainous areas.

Among the rare, endemic or endangered species there are some, such as Seseli parnassicum, Allium parnassicum, Sesleria vaginalis, Allium phthioticum, Barbarea sicula etc., which are difficult to find, as they either grow in locations which are difficult to reach or their flowering period is very short.

Endemic and rare plant species

According to scientific research, there are 79 rare or endemic plant species in the protected area. 20 of these species are Greek endemic taxa and 59 plant taxa that flourish only in the wider area of the Balkans.

But what we call endemic plant?  An “Endemic species” is only found in one defined geographical area, such as an island, nation, country or other defined zone, or habitat type and nowhere else in the world.

The National Park hosts the Achillea absinthoides, an endemic species of the southern Pindos mountain range, and the Hieracium trikalense, an endemic species of the northern and southern Pindos mountain range. Other remarkable or rare plants are, for example, the Fritillaria thessala, the Allium parnassicum, the Galium degenii and the orchids. The Balcan lizard orchid (Himantoglossum caprinum) with its characteristic long tongues, blossoms in the summer (June-August).

Moreover, especially remarkable is the presence of Solenanthus albanicus, a rare species that belongs to the Boraginaceae family and flourishes in the National Park.  Solenanthus albanicus has a very restricted distribution, therefore, is protected by European and international conventions [Appendix II, Directive 92/43/EU and Appendix I of the Convention for the Preservation of Wildlife and Natural Environment (Bern Convention)]. This species is being protected in Greece by virtue of the Presidential Decree 67/81 (Official GG 23Α/30-01-1981). It is found only at the Tzoumerka Mountain, on the Grammos and Smolikas mountains.



The National Park is a refuge not only for the common and well known fauna species of the Greek mountains, but also for some rare and/or endangered species. The fauna includes a great number of land-dwelling, aquatic and flying invertebrates and vertebrates, such as fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.

The protected area is particularly important for invertebrate species, such as butterflies, grasshoppers, and beetles. 7 fish species live in the crystal water of the tributaries of the Arachthos and Acheloos Rivers, while the trout (Salmo farioides) is the predominant species living in the rivers of the area. Moreover, 10 amphibian species breed in the streams, the wet alpine fields and the seasonal ponds of the area.

The yellow-bellied toad (Bombina variegata) is found at wet locations with vegetation, the greek frog (Rana graeca) lives next to the beds of mountain streams, while toads and salamanders find shelter in the forests of the area after their breeding period. The different natural habitats of the National Park host 21 reptile species whose presence is essential for the balance of the ecosystems. The rarest reptile species found in the Lakmos and Tzoumerka mountains is the Vipera ursinii, which mainly feeds on grasshoppers.
Concerning birds, about 145 species have been recorded in the National Park. The area hosts a great number of passerine and predator birds. The presence of many predator species, as well as many large mammal species, justifies the need to institutionalise the area as a National Park. Overall, 36 predator species of the Accipitridae and Falconidae families are found here. Among them, those which stand out are: The golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), the griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus), the common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), the lesser kestrel (Falco naumanni) etc.

7 species of woodpeckers nestle in the coniferous forests, one of which is the black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius), while the vertical slopes of Mount Lakmos and Tzoumerka Mounts are the proper habitats for many mountainous species, (e.g. Montifringilla nivalis, Alectoris graeca), which seek for their prey at the alpine and sub-alpine fields of the area.

The National Park is a particularly important area for mammals, considering that 1/4 of mammal species living in Greece have been recorded in the different habitats of the area. Especially remarkable is the presence of mammals defined as endangered species in Greece, such as the bear (Ursus arctos), the wild goat (Rupicapra rupicapra) and the otter (Lutra lutra). The presence of the wolf (Canis lupus), the roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), the wild cat (Felis sylvestris), the various bat species (in total 17) etc. denotes the diversity and the variety of the National Park’s ecosystems, highlighting the need to protect and preserve the animals and their habitats.

Concerning the livestock species present inside the National Park, it is worth mentioning the so called Boutsiko, one of the main breeds of sheep in Greece, bred by the residents of Kalarrytes and Syrrako.



To understand how this spectacular mountainous landscape within the boundaries of the National Park of Tzoumerka was formed, we need to look back over the history that began millions of years ago and interpret signs left behind through the geological time. The geotectonic zones, from which the area is made up, belong to the Ionian zone and the Olonos-Pindos zone.

The Ionian zone is characterized as a mainland basin featuring semi-pelagic to pelagic sedimentation. The typical tectonic feature is the alternating large geosynclines and anticlines pushing and covering each other westwards.

The Olonos-Pindos zone was named after the Pindos mountain range, where its main spread is found. It is defined as a deep canal between the swells of the Pelagonian and Gavrogos zone. It shows great sedimentation alternations (carbonate, siliceous, clastic). Some ophiolites featuring ultramafic rock are found displaced on the Pindos’ tectonic covering and usually on the flysch.


Lake Of Pamvotis

The Protected Area includes 20 distinctive habitats types, 115 species and sub-species of plants closely connected with the aquatic environment, while it is estimated that in generally there are 185 species and sub-species. Also, in the Lake there are 20 species of fish and generally in the wetlands and the damp areas there are 12 species of amphibians. The bird fauna counts about 200 species, the reptile fauna 24 and the mammals 28 species. In the Protected area there are more than 49 species of invertebrates.



Pamvotis Lake belongs to eutrophic lakes (vegetation type Magnopotamion or Hydrocharition). Among the lake’s vegetation can be found floating aquatic plants like duckweeds (Lemna sp.), pondweeds (Potamogeton sp.), water lilies (Nymphaea albae), iris (Iris pseudacorus) etc. Species with limited distribution in Greece are present too, such as water fern (Azolla filiculoides) and the common water-starwort (Callitriche stagnalis). The shoreline of the lake and the island are covered by dense and extensive reed beds (Phragmites sp.). The riparian vegetation also contains remains of hydrophilic forests of willow, poplar and plane tree (Salix sp., Populus sp., Platanus sp.), as well as limited wet meadows periodically flooded during winter. The latter are of particular importance, because they serve as nesting and feeding ground for aquatic birds.



Of particular interest to the lake ecosystem is the presence of two species of frogs: the Balkan water frog (Pelophylax kurtmuelleri) and the water frog of Epirus (Pelophylax epeiroticus), which “represent” the largest number of amphibians in the lake and are both found in the lake as well as in the smaller ponds and water catchments. 4 out of the 9 species of amphibians in the area, (the crested newt, the yellow mink, the green toad and the gray frog) are included in Annexes II and IV of the European Directive 92/43 and are therefore protected at European level, while also 4 (the salamander, the green toad, the ground toad and the frog) are protected by national legislation in accordance with Presidential Decree 67/81.


There are 28 mammal species, out of which, 13 species are protected by European legislation and belong to Annexes II or IV of the Directive 92/43 and at the same time some of them are included in Presidential Decree 67/81 which concerns protected species under national law. It is worth mentioning the presence of the rare small-bodied Buzzard (Muscardinus avellanarius) and on the other hand the presence of large mammals: the wolf (Canis lupus) and the bear (Ursus arctos) that in recent years have become more and more often. Of particular interest is the presence of the otter in the lake of Ioannina, a species of mammal that is directly connected to the lake and whose presence requires a satisfactory condition of suitable habitats. The protected species of mammals include all 7 species of bats (chiroptera) that have been recorded in the area.


Regarding the insects in the area of Lake Pamvotis, one butterfly, Euphydryas aurinia, is included in Annex II of the Directive 92/43, while two others (Papilio alexanor, Parnassius mnemosyne) are included in Annex IV of the same Directive. Also, the orthoptera species Chorthippus lacustris, is endemic of Lake Pamvotis, as well as of Limnopoula Paramythia in Thesprotia.


Regarding the fish fauna, it is very important that 7 species of fish in Lake Pamvotis are endemic either to Greece or the Southern Balkans, one of which (tsima) is endemic of Ioannina Lake.


Regarding the avifauna, the main and most important characteristic of Lake Pamvotis and its nearby city of Ioannina, is the fact that here, two, out of ten globally threatened species of our country, are reproduced. These are the ferruginous duck (Aythya nyroca) that nests in the lake’s reed beds and the lesser kestrel (Falco naumanni) that settles in the city’s dilapidated buildings, the Castle of Ioannina and certain public buildings. Out of the 200 species of avifauna in the area, 58 are protected by European Legislation as they belong to the relevant Annexes of the European Birds Directive (Directive 79/409 for birds). An additional 39 species belong to the Red Book of Endangered Fauna of Greece.


The reptile fauna of the wider area of Lake Pamvotis is extremely rich and includes: 1 species of water turtle (Emydidae), 2 species of land turtles (Testudinidae), 8 species of lizards (Sauria) and 13 species of snakes (Ophidia). Almost all species of reptiles are protected under European or national law. Eighteen species out of the 24 in the area belong to Annex II or IV of the European Directive of species and habitat types and also 18 species are protected by Greek legislation since they are included in Presidential Decree 67/81.



The climate is continental, which means a lot of rainfall and low temperatures during winter and high temperatures during summer.


Protected Area Of Kalamas



MAES ecosystems types Habitat type codes of the Natura 2000 network found in the above areas
Major ecosystem category Ecosystem type for mapping and assessment
Terrestrial Urban 1011 Villages and settlements

1024, 1025 Country roads

Cropland 1021 Human-affected communities: rich in annual herbaceous species of Stellarietea mediae and arid, rich in perennial and thorny species of Artemisetea vulgaris
Grassland 6420 Mediterranean tall humid grasslands of the Molinio-Holoschoenion
Forest and woodlands 9250 Oak forests with Quercus trojana

9340 Quercus ilex and Quercus rotundifolia forests

91M0 Oak forests with Quercus cerris and Quercus petraea

92A0 Salix alba και Populus alba galleries

92C0 Platanus orientalis και Liquidambar orientalis (Platanion orientalis) forests

92D0 Southern riparian galleries and thickets (Nerio-Tamaricetea and Securinegion tinctoriae)

934A Greek Quercus coccifera woodland

Heathland and shrub 1420 Mediterranean and thermo-Atlantic halophilous scrubs (Sarcocornetea fruticosi)

5330 Thermo-Mediterranean and pre-desert scrub
5340 Garrigues of Eastern Mediterranean

5420 Sarcopoterium spinosum phryganas

Sparsely vegetated land 1210 Annual vegetation of drift lines

1410 Mediterranean salt meadows (Juncetalia maritimi)

2110 Embryonic shifting dunes

8210 Calcareous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation

Wetlands 7210* Calcareous fens with Cladium mariscus and species of the Caricion davallianae

72A0 Reeds

Freshwater River and lakes 3150 Natural eutrophic lakes with Magnopotamion or Hydrocharition -type vegetation

3260 Water courses of plain to montane levels with the Ranunculion fluitantis and Callitricho-Batrachion vegetation

3280 Constantly flowing Mediterranean rivers with Paspalo-Agrostidion species and hanging curtains of Salix and Populus alba

Marine Marine inlets and transitional waters 1310 Salicornia and other annuals colonizing mud and sand
Coastal 1130 Estuaries

1150*Coastal lagoons

*: priority habitats



In the Straits and the Kalamas Delta the flora is represented by 80 plant families with almost 800 species (unpublished data from the flora research in the area of “Ekvοles and Stena Kalamas” by Raus, Dimopoulos, Tzanoudakis & Christodoulakis {2007, 2008}). In Lake Kalodiki there are 67 plant families with about 300 species (Special Environmental Study of the Delta and Straits area of Kalama and Elos of Kalodiki, Ministry of Environment, 2000 – ANNEX). In more detailed surveys carried out in these areas during the period 2006-2008 under the INTERREG IIIA program (Greece-Italy) in the riparian areas of Kalamas (from springs to estuaries – Delta and Straits of the river Kalamas) 1311 plants have been recorded taxa (Raus et al. 2009, unpublished data). This is one of the highest levels of recorded plant diversity, in terms of the number of plant taxa found in wetland ecosystems in Greece. Thus, in total in the areas of Kalama and Kalodiki, about 1330 taxa have been recorded. In 2015, the presence of the species of the Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC Carex acuta in Lake Kalodiki Ramonda serbica in Straits of Kalamas was further investigated (“Monitoring of habitat species and types” December 2013, OIKOM LTD). Among the important plant species observed are: Endemic: Malcolmia bicolor, Moltkia petraea, Petrorhagia obcordata subsp. epirotica and others: Alnus glutinosa, Azolla filiculoides, Campanula spatulata subsp. spruneriana, Campanula rumeliana (rare), Dictamnus albus, Iris pseudocorus, Lilium martagon, Quercus ithaburensis subsp. macrolepis, Nymphaea alba, Cladium mariscus (Endangered), Salix cinerea, Baldellia ranunculoides (Endangered), Lomelosia epirota (Rare), Elatine alsinastrum (Endangered) etc.



In the mountainous part we find large mammals such as bears (Ursus arctos) and wolves (Canis lupus) but also smaller ones, such as the least weasel (Mustela nivalis), the beech marten (Martes foina), the European polecat (Mustela putorius) etc. There are many species of birds of prey on the steep slopes, including endangered ones, critically endangered and vulnerable species, such as the Booted Eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus), the Bonelli’s Eagle (Aquila fasciata), the Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), the Greater Spotted Eagle (Clanga clanga), the Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca), the Lesser Spotted Eagle (Aquila pomarina) etc. There are many species of reptiles that belong to Annex II and IV of Directive 92/43/EEC, such as Hermann’s Tortoise (Testudo hermanni), the European ratsnake (Zamenis situla), the Macedonian crested newt (Triturus macedonicus), the Juniper Skink (Ablepharus kitaibelii), the Horned viper (Vipera ammodytes), the Common wall lizard (Podarcis muralis), the European Green lizard (Lacerta viridis) etc.

Moving to the wetlands and coastal areas, dozens of species of reptiles and amphibians find food and shelter such as: The Green turtle (Chelonia mydas), the Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta), the Four-lined Snake (Elaphe quatuorlineata), the Western Caspian Turtle (Mauremys rivulata), the Agile Frog (Rana dalmatina), the Balkan frog (Pelophylax kurtmuelleri), the Epirus water frog (Pelophylax epeiroticus), the Greek stream frog (Rana graeca), etc. Also remarkable is the presence of the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) in swamps and lakes and the Wildcat (Felis silvestris) in the dense reeds. The fish fauna includes individuals in critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable categories, such as the Corfu toothcarp (Valencia letourneuxi), the Thesprotian minnow (Pelasgus thesproticus), the European carp (Cyprinus carpio), the West Balkan trout (Salmo farioides). The invertebrates of the protected area belong mainly to the lepidoptera and coleoptera family (Agabus bipustulatus). According to literature reports, the number of species that have been recorded or are likely to be found in the area of Kalamas estuaries is 96 species of butterflies, however only the presence of 48 species has been confirmed. The presence of 31 species of butterflies is confirmed for the area of Lake Kalodiki and Eli Margariti, Karteri.

In conclusion, in the area of Kalamas Εstuaries and in the rest of the wetlands more than 174 bird species find food shelter and rest, some of which are rare and endangered. The area is very important for waterfowl and shorebirds (46% of all bird species in the area) and especially for herons as is an important wintering area. It hosts more than 1% of the population of the Great Egret (Casmerodius albus) in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea and a significant number of the population of the Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia). Also, on the Prasoudi islet there is a unique heron colony, of breeding Glossy Ibises (Plegadis falcinellus), Egrets (Egretta garzetta) and Cattle egrets (Bubulcus ibis). The number of Dalmatian Pelicans (Pelecanus crispus) that appear throughout the year is also significant in the recent years. Also impressive, are the flocks of hundreds of flamingos (Phoenicopterus roseus) that visit the delta to rest and feed before continuing their long journey.



The relief of the wider area of territorial jurisdiction presents intense diversity as it includes areas characterized by mountainous masses, intense ravines and large slopes, with the highest peak of Tsamantas or Morganas (1806 m.) Followed by the Paramythias or Gorilla Mountains (1658 m.), but also wetland ecosystems with lower, milder formations such as swamps, lakes and the Kalamas Delta where the estuaries of the old and new riverbeds are found, lagoons (Riho, Vatatsa, etc.), swampy formations, and the land fertile area has been created by river deposits. The altitude of the flat deltaic areas ranges from 0-12m, with characteristic hilly formations for the area such as the Mavro Oros (509 m. of altitude) and Mastilitsa.

“Elos Kalodikiou” (Kalodiki Marshes), is the southern part of the area “Eli Kalodiki, Margariti, Karteri and Lake Prontani”, located on a plateau with an altitude of about 100 meters and is a unique formation of peaty-earthy area. It is a closed basin, which includes the above areas, with elongated shape and general direction ΝΝW-SSE with a maximum width of about 9.5 km and a maximum length of about 17.5 km. The total area of the basin extends over a 69 sq km area with the Elos of Kalodiki occupying approximately 3 square kilometers.

The geomorphology, geology and tectonic structure of the wider area belong to the Ionian geotectonic zone, which extends from Albania occupying the whole Western Greece and ending in the NW Peloponnese. The geological formations found are various types of limestones, mainly dolomites and Vigla limestones, Senonian and Pantocrator limestones, etc. but also flysch zones, neogene deposits of pleocene age (marls, sands, conglomerates) of short extend, contemporary alluvium but also lateral debris, flow breccia, slide rocks, old talus cones that occupy a relatively small expanse in the area.



Regarding the climate, in the western coastal parts it is marine, while inland, as we move away from the coasts, it becomes more continental and in the mountainous parts it has the characteristics of a mountain climate. The average annual temperature ranges from 17.5 to 18 degrees Celsius.

The winter in the coastal parts of the region is relatively mild due to the frequent south and southwestern winds. In the inland the winter is harsher and the temperature drops down to 10 degrees below zero, while in the mountainous parts the snow persists on the ground for many months. In summer the temperature in the coastal areas is relatively pleasant, while in the inland it is higher. Generally, rains in the area are abundant.



Lake Of Pamvotis



The Operation “Subsidy of the Management Authority of Lake Pamvotis Ioannina for management actions of protected areas, species and habitats”, is implemented in the Operational Program Transport Infrastructure, Environment and Sustainable Development 2014-2020. The Operation is implemented with a sub-project SP1 by the method of self-supervision (own means) and is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.


The two sub-projects of the project entitled “Actions for the protection and management of the biodiversity of Lake Pamvotis” of the Operational Program “Epirus”, Priority Axis 2 “Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development” are successfully completed, co-financed by European Regional Development Fund and titled “Investments for the management and protection of special ecological value sites for the Region of Epirus”.


The Act entitled «Actions of environmental awareness and interpretation of the natural heritage of the protected areas of MALPI», is implemented in the Rural Development Program 2014-2020.

Sub-project 1: “Production of printed information material – awareness of the protected areas of MALPI”.

Sub-project 2: “Development of a mobile application for the promotion of biodiversity in the jurisdiction area of MALPI”.


The Integrated Intervention Program for the area of Lake Pamvotis, has been completed successfully. The Program had started in 2019 in collaboration with the Management Organization Unit of Development Programs (MOD) of the Ministry of Development and Investment.

The integrated intervention program essentially concerns a methodology for the prioritization and maturation of projects, that must be implemented for the improvement of the lake in view of the programming period 2021-2027. In 2020, the drafting of the Program was completed by the Support Group of MOD, it was presented to the stakeholders and it was finalized and approved by the members of the Partnership (those who signed the Memorandum of Cooperation).



Monitoring includes systematic scientific research, such as the abundance of species and their geographical distribution, in order to have a clear knowledge of what we are called to manage with and to evaluate the results of the implementation of management actions. Therefore, monitoring is a key component of an iterative management cycle. The Management Unit implements or participates in the following monitoring actions:

Conducting an Annual Program of Mid-Winter Aquatic Bird Counts

National Annual Pelican Reports

Carrying out an annual program for the recording of the avifauna, mainly in the wetland area. The Management Unit continues to implement Section 2: “Monitoring of bird species”.

Annual Monitoring Program for the endemic grasshopper species Chorthippus lacustris (grasshopper of Epirus)

White Stork Ringing

Panhellenic Census and ringing of Kestrel

Recording of dead amphibians – reptiles in the road network around Pamvotis Lake

Monitoring of Fish fauna (completed in the framework of the Operation “Actions for the protection and management of the biodiversity of Pamvotis Lake” and specifically in the Subproject “Determination and implementation of measures to strengthen the endemic species Pelasgus epiroticus and management of fish populations of Pamvotis Lake”

Finally, important monitoring actions are implemented, or will be implemented through the Operational Program “Transport Infrastructure, Environment and Sustainable Development 2014-2020”, (YMEPERAA). Indicatively, the Monitoring of bird species and the Monitoring and improvement of the knowledge of the endemic and endangered insect fauna of Pamvotis Lake



An important duty of the Management Unit of Protected Areas of Epirus is to provide reasoned opinions before the environmental approving of projects and activities in this region or for projects whose effects directly or indirectly affect the protected area, as well as on any other matter for which the opinion of the Management Unit(M.U.) is being asked by the competent authorities. M.U. in addition to the terms and building restrictions that are in force today and are defined in the General Urban Plan, in the Residential Control Zone and the Ministerial Decision on the characterization of Lake Pamvotis as a Place of Special Natural Beauty, also takes into account the approved by the General Director of Environment (Ministry of Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works) Special Environmental Study “Study for the Promotion-Regeneration and Protection of Lake Pamvotis, Ioannina and its perimeter areas”.


The continuous autopsies performed by M.U and the pressure to complete the required waste management infrastructure have contributed to the proper functioning of many livestock farms that are a major issue in the area.



For the fulfillment of his purposes, M.U. organizes or participates in meetings and discussions that are relevant with its responsibilities/duties. In addition, it cooperates with competent services and public organizations, research centers, educational institutions, non-governmental organizations and other bodies operating in its jurisdiction area.



Environmental communication is a key tool for ensuring the rational and successful management of protected areas. In addition, information and sensitization of the local community and visitors, is an important responsibility of M.U., which can contribute significantly to the redefinition of the human-lake relationship but also to the active participation of citizens in environmental issues and in particular to the problems of the Protected Area. In this context, various targeted information-awareness actions and also interpretation of the ecosystem of Lake Pamvotis, are organized every year for all ages, with the aim of informing and sensitizing the local community and visitors of the area about the importance and need of protection. Efforts are being made to renew, enrich and improve the actions and events, in order to attract more people or to keep undiminished the interest of those who have participated in previous events. The aim of the actions, through the continuous contact with the ecosystem of the lake and the acquisition of knowledge and skills, is to influence citizens’ attitudes towards the environment and especially the ecosystem of Lake Pamvotis, in order to gradually form the so called “environmental consciousness”.


Awareness-raising includes the following areas:

– Information/sensitization of school groups

– Information/awareness of local community and visitors (events)

– Workshops/Seminars

– Design and production of information and promotion material

– Student service-Providing data in the context of undergraduate or postgraduate dissertations

– Promotion of the actions of M.U. (Media, website, social media)



The implementation of the supervision / guarding program of the protected area is a priority and a basic responsibility of M.U. Guarding has mainly a supervisory, preventive and deterrent character, while one of the main priorities is the continuation and strengthening of the cooperation of the personnel with other competent services in the area. The implementation of the supervision / guarding program aims at the daily presence of the guarding staff in the protected area and so as to prevent any delinquent activities.

The protected area is divided in guarding areas/sectors according to priority, based on the importance of the protected area and the frequency of occurrence of delinquent activities. The subdivision of the area into sectors takes into account the boundaries of the zones defined by the Special Environmental Study, the boundaries of the SPA and SAC as well as the no-hunting zone as defined by the Forest Department of the Decentralized Administration of Epirus & Western Macedonia. The supervision-guarding program, differentiated between winter and summer period, is revised on an annual basis with the incorporation of new data, observations and changes that might have occurred.


Protected Areas Of Kalamas-Acheronta


The Act “Subsidy of the Management Body of the Protected Areas of Kalama – Acheron – Corfu for management actions of protected areas, species and habitats” (MIS 503322), with a total budget of €999,718.63 and five (5) subprojects, has been included in the Operational Program “Transport Infrastructure, Environment & Sustainable Development (YMEPERAA)”.



The systematic monitoring and recording implemented by the M.U. mainly concerns the bird fauna. It started in 2010, while in recent years, it is conducted systematically monthly, providing important information on the status of the various species.

The monthly counts refer to aquatic, coastal and predatory species of birds that overwinter, reproduce, perch or use the areas under the responsibility of the M.U. as a station in their migration course. The recordings are made from default and fixed points that allow visibility on the whole habitat and the birds that enter from all directions, using the “Monitoring Protocols” of the Contractor of the Study: “Horizontal technical and scientific coordination of the Monitoring studies and Assessment of the Status of Conservation of Species and Habitat Types in Greece and synthetic utilization of the results” completed in 2015, depending on the species of bird fauna observed.

The monitoring is done following a route by car (4×4) with low speed and recording from selected points of view but also by direct measurement during the afternoon hours for the species that perch in groups (roost counts).

In addition to the above, Mid-Winter Aquatic Bird Counts, Heron Counts (Little egret, Glossy ibis, Cattle egret and Squacco heron), White stork (Ciconia Ciconia) Inventories of Thesprotia, Recordings of the Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus) of Western Greece, Recordings of the orthopteran Chorthippus lacustris, Recordings of Pancratium maritimum (sea daffodil) are carried out.



The Management Unit issues its opinion on projects and activities that fall within the protected area, regardless of whether they are subject to an environmental licensing process, as well as on projects and activities whose effects directly or indirectly affect the protected object.



The Management Unit develops collaborations, as the case may be, with research centers, Universities, non-governmental organizations, local government organizations, local bodies, etc. as well as with the respective co-competent services, both at local and central level, for the needs of effective management of the protected areas.



In the context of informing – awareness raising of the population, the M.U. implements individual activities, as follows:

– Organizing visits to schools in collaboration with the Directorate of Primary Education of Thesprotia Prefecture

– Organizing annual events to highlight World Days (Migratory Birds, Environment Day, etc.), the Pan-European Bird Festival, the arrival of swallows’ festival, voluntary cleaning actions (e.g., Let’s do it Greece)

– Participating and organizing information events (workshops, conferences) while participating in training and educational programs

– Producing informative material in printed and electronic form (4-monthly magazine “Platalea”, three-leaflet brochures concerning the areas of responsibility, the competences of the Body and local products of the areas and printed issues containing information about the areas of the Straits and Estuaries of the Rivers Acheron and Kalamas)

– Maintaining an archive containing digital material (videos and photos)

Moreover, the Kalamas Information Center in Sagiada (PA of Kalamas Delta) operates on a daily basis.

Guests have the opportunity to:

– Be informed in the specially designed exhibition rooms, about the role and responsibilities of the M.U., the rich biodiversity of the protected areas, as well as about its protection status

– Attend thematic presentations, with an emphasis on rare and endangered species of flora, fauna and habitat types

– Participate in educational activities aimed at getting to know nature and observing the rich birdlife of the area



The surveillance – guarding is conducted according to the Guarding Plan. During surveillance, the patrol routes are followed as recorded in detail, in the Guarding Plan. The plan also includes the distribution of guard shifts per area as well as the criteria taken into account in order to achieve the best terms of surveillance possible for all Protected Areas of responsibility, for the existing facilities (human resources and material and technical infrastructure).

The scheduling is organized on a weekly basis, intensifying guarding in each area during the period when it receives more intense pressures (e.g. hunting season, summer with intense tourist activity, firefighting, etc.) with the possibility of adjustments in each emergency case. The guarding schedule, protocols and movement notes are all contained in the Guarding Plan.

Whenever deemed necessary, there is cooperation with co-competent bodies, such as the Forest Service, the Police, the Coast Guard, etc. for the implementation of joint patrols or with mixed units.

Information Center Ammoudia (Credit: Management Unit of the Protected Areas of Epirus)
Information Center Ammoudia (Credit: Management Unit of the Protected Areas of Epirus)

Anthropogenic Activity


National Park of Tzoumerka, Peristeri and Arachtos Gorge

The protected area of the National Park is ideal to relax, to enjoy the adventure and to enrich your knowledge about the nature and culture.

Presidential Decree establishing the National Park, determined the places where various leisure activities can take place. In this way, in addition to the fun, the wild beauty of natural environment can be maintained! visitors’ collaboration is necessary to maintain the balance of all the unique features of the National Park.

Rafting or kayaking in the rivers of the National Park

If you are font of water element and you want to live an unforgettable experience, rafting in Arachthos River is a recommend activity!

Arachthos River is the most popular river in Greece for rafting and it is navigable almost all year round. For rafting in certain routes, you do not need prior experience or special physical fitness.

The River Aspropotamos is also navigable and breathtaking. The route starts from the position “Three Rivers” next to the Information Center and ends at the Alexiou Bridge.


Tzoumerka and Lakmos abundant water, the morphology of the rocks, the impressive waterfalls, the majestic mountains, the traditional stone built settlements, form a special environment, suitable for activities canyoning!

The crossing of the gorges has become more widespread in recent decades and combines hiking, climbing, caving, swimming and knowledge of geology ecology, biology etc.

The descents into the gorge below Petrovouni, sources of Klifki, Gorge Korovesis to towering waterfalls Matsouki and East, satisfying even the most demanding lovers of canyoning!


There are plenty of trails with varying difficulty in this pristine and relatively unexplored protected area. Breathtaking landscapes with rich wildlife can be seen either in high Mountains or near rushing rivers.

Due to the fact that some trails are in most remote areas and the existing signs may be damaged or destroyed, it is necessary  for the visitor to obtain all the necessary information and the right equipment for reasons of safety.

Mountain biking

Biking is a real challenge for persons in good fitness.


Visitors can enjoy rides in the Arachthos River or near Lazaina and have an actual contact with horses.


There are some places that experienced climbers can enjoy climbing at the National Park.

Ski centers

During the winter season someone can visit Theodoriana and the modern ski center in Anilio.


Lake Of Pamvotis

Lake of Pamvotis is an integral part of the physiognomy of the area and is an important reference point for the people of Ioannina, as it determines their historical and cultural identity. Today, the total population in the greater lake area is about 120.000 people.

The people of Ioannina as well as all the other inhabitants of the basin use the wetland values of the lake to a greater or lesser extent as a direct or indirect source of living, while the condition of its natural environment directly affects their quality of life. The provided ecosystem services support the well-being of local community in many ways.

The Island and the western shore of the lake (the front of Ioannina city and Perama) are characterized by large anthropogenic pressure. These are areas where a lot of recreation facilities take place both for locals and visitors. At the same time, a number of economic activities, that exploit different resources, take place on the outskirts with sometimes negative effects to the water quality of the lake (e.g. farms, crops, urban sewage) and to the landscape’s aesthetics. In particular, the livestock production is the main economic activity in Ioannina and agriculture the second one. Fishery has developed as well among the local Communities of the Island and Perama.

Human activities and mostly land use changes cause negative effects on the natural habitats of Pamvotis Lake and consequently on flora and fauna of the greater area, resulting in the reduction or loss of ecosystem services and consequently of the values offered by the lake.

The main impacts are summarized below:

– The drying of the Lapsista Lake and the creation of a dike that had as immediate result the loss of the periodically flooded wet meadows and the lake’s shallow areas, with serious effects on the flora, fauna and avifauna of the area.

– The infillings and land clearance of the riparian vegetation, which results in the quantitative reduction of the riparian plant communities and the destruction of the coastal habitats.

– The disturbance of the lake’s water balance (construction of dikes and a dam, reckless extraction of water) and the pollution (urban pollution, pollution from livestock waste and agricultural crops) results in the creation of eutrophic conditions and the degradation of the water quality.

– The uncontrolled development of recreational activities.


Adopting a sustainable development framework could contribute decisively to resolve the lake’s chronic problems and preserve the unique ecosystem over the time.



Protected Area Of Kalamas


In “Kalamas Delta”, approximately in the center, lies the settlement of Kestrini, while near the outer borders of the area settlements such as Sagiada, Asprokklisi, Smertos and Rayo exist.

In “Kalamas Straits” there are three settlements: Polydroso, Plakoti and Pente Ekklisies, which are very small, with less than 300 inhabitants. Filiates is an important residential center, in a considerable distance from the above settlements.

In “Parakalamos Straits” there are many small settlements outside the boundaries of the Protected Area (PA) and nearby (Parapotamos, Vrysela, Elia etc).

In “Paramythia Mountains, Kalamas Straits and Acheron Straits” settlements are found outside the boundaries of the PA, with the exception of some small ones such as Eleftherochori, Tsekouri etc while nearby are Souli, Samonida, Gliki and the town of Paramythia, an important residential center of the area.

In “Kalodiki Marsh” lie the small settlements of Kalodiki, Morfi and Pyrgi. The residential center of greater scope is the settlement of Parga. In the wider PA of “Kalodiki, Margariti, Karteri Marshes and Lake Prontani”, there are small settlements such as: Katavothra, Paleokastro, Karteri, Mazarakia and Margariti, which is larger and has been declared traditional.

The “Mountains of Tsamantas, Filiates, Farmakovouni, Megali Rachi” include scattered, small settlements like Vavouri, Lias, Agioi Pantes, Tsamantas and Agios Nikolaos, with the closest important one being Filiates (outside the PA).

There are no settlements in “Limnopoula Lake”, but nearby lie Kefalovryso, Krystallopigi, Grika, Psaka and in the wider area, Paramythia.

In the RU of Thesprotia where the above PAs are located, there is a significant number of archeological sites (Fortified Hellenistic settlements Gitana and Doliani, Hellenistic fortifications in the area of Mourgana in Lia, Ravenni, Tsamantas etc), traditional settlements (Finiki, Giromeri, Kamitsani, Old Sagiada etc), monuments of Byzantine Antiquities, mainly of religious nature and Newer Monuments (stone bridges in Tsamantas, Souli and Finiki, etc., old Watermills, old olive mill, etc.).

It is worth mentioning the unique Monument of Nature located in the village of Lia within the Protected Area “Mountains of Tsamantas, Filiates, Farmakovouni, Megali Rachi”, concerning a centuries-old plane tree (GG 173/Β’/1981). In the same area, in the settlement of Tsamantas, there is a Folklore Collection/ Exhibition of local character, under the responsibility of organizations or residents of the area.



The activities developed by the M.U. for the promotion and protection of the environment concern events in the context of world days (for the environment, water, migratory birds, Pan-European Bird Festival, European Car Free Day, etc) as well as voluntary cleaning (Let’s do it Greece).

Similar voluntary actions are developed in the area by associations or groups of citizens (cleaning of areas, recycling events, etc).

Also, in the context of environmental education, the schools of the area implement programs with activities such as voluntary cleaning, educational trips to the natural environment, participation in events organized by the M.U., etc.




The economic activity developing in the area of “Kalamas Delta” mainly concerns the primary sector (agriculture – aquaculture / fisheries). The fertile deltaic plain formed over the years by the Kalamas River, in combination with the construction of the dam and the land improvement works in it, contributed to the intensive development of agriculture, with the main crops being citrus, corn and alfalfa. The fishing is carried out in the lagoons by the fishing cooperatives of the area. In recent years and in the marine area, in addition to fish farming, mussel farms have been developed (near the Kalamas estuaries). The manufacturing sector (secondary sector) consists mainly of small enterprises and industrial foodstuffs (olive mills and fruit packers).


In “Paramythia Mountains, Kalamas Straits and Acheron Straits”, due to the mountainous terrain, the primary sector consists mainly of the cultivation of livestock plants (clover, corn, barley, oats, etc), livestock farming (sheep and goats and less cattle), crops in the plain of Paramythia as well as the cultivation of olives and citrus fruits in the wider area of Gliki, near Acheron river. A small degree of processing of the products is recorded (eg traditional pastries from the women’s cooperative “The Souliotisses” in Paramythia).


In the mountainous areas “Kalamas Straits”, “Parakalamos Straits”, “Mountains of Tsamantas, Filiaton, Farmakovouni, Megali Rachi”, the few inhabitants are mainly engaged in free livestock farming (cows and goats), agriculture, etc.


In the areas of “Kalodiki Marsh”, “Kalodiki, Margariti, Karteri Marshes and Protani Lake” and “Limnopoula Lake”, the activities concern the livestock farming of sheep and cows and free range cattle and the cultivation of livestock plants and rice in the area. Also, olive oil is a local product, but it is not enough in quantity to be marketable.



Egnatia Odos, the port of Igoumenitsa, the Old National Road from Igoumenitsa to Ioannina, the National Road from Igoumenitsa to Preveza as well as the Ionian Road, ensure unimpeded access to the wider area of the Prefecture of Thesprotia and contribute to attracting visitors and businessmen to develop economic activities.

The Protected Areas can be approached through the asphalt road network of the Prefecture, which connects the settlements to the largest residential centers of the wider geographical and administrative region (Igoumenitsa, Filiates, Paramythia). In addition, the internal access to the protected areas is facilitated by a network of rural and forest roads that also serves the productive activities of the area.

Tourism is a developing activity in the Regional Unit of Thesprotia and is mainly observed during the summer season and on the coast of the Prefecture. However, the rich historical and cultural heritage and tradition of the area with its remarkable natural resources, both mountainous and coastal, create an impressive complex of attractions, which can be an important tourist attraction pole for the development of mild forms of ecotourism all year round.

For more information and for the time being, please visit the Management Bodies’ websites:

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