Athens: Europe's best birding capital

5 Reasons why Athens is the best city break destination in Europe for birdwatching holidays

Birdwatching at Temple of Poseidon, Sounio
Enjoy the emblematic Temple of Poseidon at Sounio,
while photographing Chukar Partridges!

A short, 3-4 days birdwatching break is what most European birders prefer when it comes to birding holidays. With low cost airlines, it is nowdays more affordable than ever to have a memorable birding exprerience and get many lifers, just a couple of hours frlight from your local patch. Even for North American birders, Athens is one of their favorite places when it comes to birding and bird photography, as it can be easily combined with a cruise in the Aegean, a visit in the Cycladic Islands (from busy Mykos and Santorini, to Mylos, Ios, Paros and Naxos), not to mention the immense archeological sightseeing that a visitor can enjoy.

So here are 10 reasons why Athens city is considered Europe's best capital for birding holidays:

Little Owl at Vravrona Temple
A Little Owl at the Temple of Artemis at Vravrona,
enjoying the morning sun

1. A mixed variety of habitats, all in very close range from the city center. With no more that 60 min drive, a birder can visit rocky mountains, forested hills, to wetlands, rivers and seashores. Most of them are unspoiled and easily accessible all year long. Obsiously, the more locations visited, the longer will be the bird list.

2. Ideal migration point: Greece is cited at the south east corner of Europe. The main migratory path from Africa and Asia to Europe passes from the Aegean sea, where Athens forms one of the most important resting and breeding areas for migratory birds. Along with the warm climate and sunny weather, it provides excellent conditions for birdwatching and bird photography, all year long. Undoubtedly spring is the bet season for a birding holiday, from the first days of April, until the end of June.

3. Extensive bird list, surprising long for a single european city. During the last 20 years, 320 species of birds have been reported around the city of Athens, in the prefecture of Attica. Among them, many endagered of threatened species, as well as species with vey restricted geographical distribution worldwide. Here are some of the most striking or most wanted bird species around the city
Resident species: Ferruginous Duck, Long-legged Buzzard, Sombre Tit, Rock Sparrow, Rock Nuthatch, Blue Rock Thrush, Sardinian Warbler, Scops Owl, Bonnelli's Eagle, Slender-billed Gull, 
Breeding migrants: Short-toed Snake Eagle, Great Short-toed Lark, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Hoopoe, Woodchat Shrike, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, Black-eared Wheatear, Black-headed Wagtail, Rueppell's Warbler,  Eastern Orphean Warbler, Cretzschmar's Bunting, Black-headed Bunting, 
Passage migrants: Pallid Harrier, Eleonora's Falcon, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Gull-billed Tern, Whiskered Tern, Roller, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Semicollared Flycatcher, Isabelline Wheatear. 

4. Relatively cheap european destination: Athens International Airport is among the highest rated European airports, being the ACI Europe Best Airport in the 25-40 million passengers category. It serves dozens of airline companies and some of the best low-fair ones. It is now connected with a very reliable and subway system (Athens Metro), that brings together the downtown city center, the Pireaus Port and the Athens Airport . Taxi fairs are among the lowest in Europe too, while VIP tranfer services are of excellent quality.

5. Combines ancient history and gateway to the islands. This is Athens: is the most iconic, historic city in the world. Numerous monuments, such as the Parthenon, the Agora, the Temple of Poseidon in Sounio, Temple of Artemis in Vravrona bring out the archeological treasures of this area, homeland of Democracy, Philosophy, Theatre and of all sciences. So, after a couple of days birding and achieving your target species, you can explore all these world heritage monuments, combined with the modern lifestyle of a vibrant modern city. Having one more day available, one can join a day cruise in the Saronic Golf, and enjoy the crystal waters of Hydra, Spetses, Poros islands. The choices from Port of Pireus are unlimited: Mykonos, Santorini, north Aegean islands of Lesvos, Samos... There are more than 1.000 islands to explore.

So take your time to browse our website and book you next birdwatching holiday in Greece, based in Athens. We will ensure that this will be a lifetime, unforgettable experience!  

Sunset and gulls by the beach, Athens
Ending the birding day with a romantic sunset at the beach,
along with careless gulls

Spyros Skareas
Bird Guide and Certified Tour Leader
Athens, GREECE