Serres – Stunning Rivers, Beautiful Wetland and Mountain forests

Just south of the Greek-Bulgarian borders in the region of Serres you will find Lake Kerkini, a wetland of world-wide importance. It is a rare example of successful human intervention with nature – the delicate balance of the ecosystem has been regained with great benefits for the region.

Why visit Serres Greece?

Where is Serres?

Map of Serres

How to reach Serres?

Serres City

What to see in Serres?

Alistrati Cave

Serres – Things to do

Health Spas in Serres

Serres Rally

Serres – Weather and Climate

View of  Kerkini Lake at sunset in Serres, Central Macedonia Greece
View of Kerkini Lake

Lake Kerkini is fed by the Strymon River – which springs on Mount Vitosa in Bulgaria and flows into the lake before continuing its journey to the Aegean Sea. The wetland is nestled beautifully in between three mountain ranges (Beles, Dissoro, Mavrovouni). Lake Kerkini is an unexplored wonderland of beauty and remarkable biological diversity. If you love nature and activities like hiking, mountaineering, fishing, birdwatching, or paragliding look no further. Find all the information in this Serres travel guide.

Why visit Serres Greece?

Woman refreshing herself with fresh water from clear creek while hiking, Serres, Central Macedonia Greece
Woman refreshing herself with fresh water from clear creek while hiking

Serres is part of the Region of Central Macedonia, Greece. Its capital is the town of Serres. The total population reaches just over 200,000.
The regional unit has many archaeological and historical features including Serres, Amphipolis, several monasteries, and Metaxa near the border with Bulgaria. The regional unit is also a tourist attraction including Lailia, rich in forests, a skiing resort in the central portion, lake Kerkini which is a reservoir supplying water to the farmlands. Fishing is common within Ano Poroia especially during the summer months and famous Alistrati’s Caves and the nearby Aggitis ravine.

Where is Serres Greece?

Ancient Orthodox Monastery of Timiou Prodromou St. John the Baptist near town of Serres, Central Macedonia, Greece
The Orthodox Monastery of Timiou Prodromou St. John the Baptist near town of Serres

Serres is a region in Central Macedonia Greece. Serres city is the capital of the Serres region and second largest city in the region of Central Macedonia, after Thessaloniki. It is situated in a fertile plain at an elevation of about 70 metres above sea level.

Map of Serres, Central Macedonia

Coordinates: 41°5′N 23°33′E

How to reach Serres?

Map of Central and Eastern Macedonia Greece
Map of Central and Eastern Macedonia Greece – Click to enlarge map

If you do not arrive in Greece by car, you should rent a car upon arrival in the airport to visit and enjoy activities in the region of Serres.

Serres Greece – nearest airport

Thessaloniki International Airport “Makedonia” is the nearest airport to Serres. It is located 80 km from Serres City. You can also choose the International Airport “Alexander the Great” in Kavala. It is located 92 km from Serres City.

Serres city

View of Serres city, Central Macedonia Greece.
View of Serres city

Serres, the prefectural capital, is a modern, bustling city, with broad streets and open squares. The new town blends pleasantly with the old. In its northern sector, on the piney hill of Koula, the ruins of the ancient acropolis and the Byzantine castle bear witness to a history stretching from the depths of time.

What to see in Serres Greece?

  • Agios Nicholas church – this 14th century church, dedicated to St. Nicholos, has beautiful mosaics.
  • Monastery of Timios Prodromos – built in 1270 A.D. stands in a gorge 12 km from Serres city. It has frescoes of various eras.
  • Ancient Amphipolis – once an Athenian colony was founded in 437 B.C., located 62 km from Serres.
  • Lion of Amphipolis – was discovered near the bridge of Strimon river. It is a 4th century B.C. funerary sculpture. The Lion ruin was reassembled and is now guarding the bridge.
  • Sidirokastro (Iron Castle) – is a pretty town built on the banks of river Kroussovitis near the Bulgarian border. It took its name from the stronghold on the imposing rock, 155 m. above it, that once offered sure protection. The town and the surrounding area are almost overwhelmed by greenery and richly endowed with streams, waterfalls, bridges, churches, and monasteries.
  • Anasternaria fire walking – is taking place every year on May 21st-23rd. It dates to the Pagan times. Barefoot villagers of Agia Elleni near Serres and at Langada near Thessaloniki, clasp icons of Saint Constantine and Saint Helen, who are celebrated throughout Greece on May 21st, and dance upon charcoal embers without getting burned.
  • Ancient Dionysian dances – women dominate the village and in Gazoro they still do Dionysian ancient dances.
  • Cave at Alistrati – one of the largest and most spectacular in Greece is located about 6 km southeast of Alistrati’s town at a place called “Petroto”. The expanse of the area is almost 14.000m².
Lahana WWI British Military Cemetery, Macedonia, Greece
Lahana WWI British Military Cemetery, Macedonia, Greece

Alistrati Cave

The Alistrati cave lies about 6 km southeast of Alistrati’s town at a place called “Petroto”. The expanse of the area is almost 14.000m². The antechamber of the cave is 8 m height. From this point different high galleries start, decorated with stalactites and stalagmites.

Aggitis River gorge - Alistrati Cave, Serres, Central Macedonia Greece
Aggitis River gorge – Alistrati Cave
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Serres Greece – Things to do

The old bridge of Aggitis River, Serres, Greece
The old bridge of Aggitis River, Serres

Serres will surprise you with its lush green and rich natural environment with Lake Kerkini, river land and mountains. The fishing is good in the Strimon and Kroussovitis rivers and on Mount Vrontos there is a mountain climbing refuge that sleeps 60 people. There are thermal spas at Therma, near Nigrita and at Loutra near Sidirokastro.

Skiing in Serres

Skiing cross-country

The Lailias Ski center has two ski lifts, ski rental and a restaurant open on weekends. It is operating from December to March and is managed by the Hellenic Alpine Club of Serres, it is located 27 miles from that city high atop Mt Vrontos at an altitude ranging from 1850 meters to 1600 meters. It has one slope of moderate difficulty as well as a lift that can serve 700 people per hour.

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Mountaineering in Serres

Few meters away from the railway line which is also next to the Alistratis Cave you will find the Canyon of Aggitis River, “vraous” as the locals call it. The canyon of Aggitis river is one of the most amazing sights of the area. Huge rocks start from both riverbanks and create enormous walls to define the course of the river.

Buffaloes at sunset near Kerkini Lake in Serres, Central Macedonia Greece
Buffaloes at sunset near Kerkini Lake in Greece
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Birdwatching in Serres

The Grey Heron standing in the shallow water of the Kerkini lake, a wetland rich in birdlife, Serres, Central Macedonia Greece
The Grey Heron standing in the shallow water of the Kerkini lake, a wetland rich in birdlife

Lake Kerkini is one of the the top bird sites for birdwatching in all of Greece. It is an extremely important area for the passage, wintering and breeding of both waterfowl and raptors as well as for the breeding of migratory songbirds.
The nearby forests and mountains provide nesting grounds for the eagles, falcons and owls that forage in the area. More than 300 species of birds have been sighted, with more than 140 calling the lake home and another 170 coming here to reproduce or stopping over on migratory routes to the rest of Europe. Read more about birdwatching in Greece here

Lake Kerkini – an artificial wetland

A picture at the National park of Kerkini lake in Serres during sunset, Central Macedonia Greece
A picture at the National park of Kerkini lake in Serres during sunset

Lake Kerkini in Serres, Greece, is an artificial reservoir that was created in 1932, and then redeveloped in 1980, on the site of what was previously an extremely extensive marshland.
Lake Kerkini is now one of, if not the, premier birding site in Greece, and, as it is situated along the migratory flyway for migratory birds en route to the Aegean Sea, the Balkan region, the Black Sea, the Hungarian steppes and beyond it experiences an interesting migration.

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Lake Kerkini Center for Ecotourism, Lithotopos Tel: +30 23250 41036
This is the place to go to learn what options for excursions there are on or around the lake. Also exhibits samples of plant life, insects, fowl, and fauna in a mini museum.

Paragliding in Serres

Centres for hang-gliding and paragliding can be found at an altitude of 1000 meters north of Poroia and Vyronia on Mt Belles. There are manmade hills for beginners and special takeoff points for more skilled practitioners. There are also bluffs near the Vlach-speaking village of Chionohori, 20 km northwest of Serres on Mt Menikio.
Aeroclub of Serres Tel: +30 23210 47100
Established in 1984, this air athletics school and organization offers courses in hang-gliding, paragliding, skydiving and ultra-light aircraft.

Horseback riding in Serres

The residents of the Serres region have embraced horseback riding as just one of many non-intrusive eco-activities in the area, perhaps partially a throwback to the area’s tumultuous history and its agrarian way of life. There are stables in Nea Petritsi, Chrysohorafi, Kerkini and Ano Poroia. Most of the hotels and guest houses near Lake Kerkini can arrange equestrian excursions and suggest routes, either around the lake itself or up Mt Belles or Mt Kroussa to the west. For general information on riding around Kerkini, you may call +30 23270 28004
Centre for Alternative Tourism on Mt Vrondou organizes horseback riding as part of its programs. Tel: +30 23210 50544

Hiking in Serres

Active woman hiking jumping over a creek in spring, Serres, Central Macedonia Greece
Woman hiking and jumping over a creek in spring

Hiking is one of the best ways to appreciate the beauty of the area — its stone bridges, amazingly rich foliage, rushing streams or monasteries and quaint villages. There are routes for beginners and more advanced hikers. Long haul routes include international walking paths — the European long-distance trail E4, over Mt Belles, and E6 through the Vrondou mountains.

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Health spas in Serres

Hot springs and thermal baths in Greece
  • Natural Mineral Springs at Agistro
    Near the Promachonas border with Bulgaria, this is the oldest hamam in Greece, built in 950 AD. Hugely atmospheric, it is set amid wild landscape known for its honey and trout. The water temperature is 40.5 degrees, said to cure arthritis and dermatological ailments. Tel: +30 23230 41296
  • Pighi Spa and hot Springs, Loutra
    Located 6 kms from Siderokastro and 25 km north of Serres, this spa is divided in 3 parts with two hamams from the Byzantine era for men and women, as well as hydrotherapy rooms and private baths. The water is a steady 45 degrees. Spa hotel available. Tel: +30 23230 22422
  • Therma, outside Nigrita
    The water of Therma is famed throughout Greece for its medicinal qualities. The onsite spa is open from July through October and private baths are available for the therapy of rheumatism, arthritis, back problems, lumbago, and dermatological problems. Tel: +30 23220 22893

Read more about hot, thermal springs in Greece

Serres Rally

Serres rally 11

Serres Rally is a Rally Raid event which is held in Northern Greece, it is part of the UEM calendar making it an official event of the European Championship Cross Country Rally Raid. It is organized in October each year.
The 1500 km course runs within the magical forests of Serres and the surrounding area, where in 2008 the International Six Days Enduro was held, and it promises to leave you full of excitement and long lasting memories.
Furthermore, the organizational integrity of the event will be of the highest standards, since the Off Road
Team ( and the Auto Moto Club of Serres ( have already shown their
quality with successful event organizations, like the World Championship Enduro WEC – EWC from 2004 to 2010, the ISDE 2008 and also the National Championship Rally Raid with 8 races every year all over the Greece, from 2005 to 2011.
Off Road Team’s experience for mapping out off road routes along with faultless design of Road Books and in conjunction with the organizational force of LAMS, guaranties a most exciting and unforgettable race experience.
The race centre will be based at the Elpida Hotel Resort, providing crews and families a variety of facilities.
All essential information for the race can be found at

Serres – Weather and climate

Serres has a warm and temperate climate with a great deal of rain even in the driest months. The area is situated 50-70 metres above sea level with a beautiful and rich riverland and lake Kerkini. The average temperature in Serres is 15.8 °C (60.5 °F) and the rainfall about 731 mm (28.8 inch) per year. August is the warmest month of the year witn an average of 27.6 °C (81.6 °F). The lowest average temperatures in the year occur in January is the coldest month with the lowest average temperatures per year with around 4.4 °C (39.9 °F).

Rainfall (days)788754566
Average day and night temperatures in Serres City Macedonia in °C and average rainfall in days