Worldwide Photographic Journeys

Europe (including Svalbard)

PELICANS OF LAKE KERKINI – winter photography in northern Greece


Bulgaria is perhaps one of Europe’s more surprising wildlife destinations, simply because it is still poorly known. Yet this small Balkan country is home to around 90 nature reserves, more than 500 protected areas and 11 national parks. Indeed, Bulgaria and adjacent Greece is one of the last places in Europe where you can photograph Dalmatian Pelicans, a species that is either extinct, very rare or in decline in other European countries.

In southern Bulgaria, near the border with Greece, lie the beautiful eastern Rhodope Mountains, an area of exceptional biodiversity. Soaring above these mountains are Griffon Vultures, their giant wings holding them aloft as they search the terrain for carcasses where they can enjoy a meal. Elsewhere in Europe, Griffon Vultures have declined due to persecution and a loss of habitat and food supply, yet in Bulgaria they still do well at the edge of their range.

This unusual, mostly bird photography tour features Lake Kerkini, which is situated on the border between Bulgaria and northern Greece.

We will be there at a time when the stunningly beautiful Dalmatian Pelicans are in their full breeding condition (with blood-red areas of skin on their faces and bills, strikingly contrasting with their off-white plumage). Photographing the pelicans will be our main focus. Each day we will head out on boats to photograph these incredible birds with their wavy plumage and lipstick red gular pouches. The local guides feed the pelicans, so they have become very approachable and we should be able to photograph these birds from a myriad of different angles as they come in to feast on a meal of small fish.

While we are on the lake, we will also keep an eye out for photographable White Pelicans, Pygmy Cormorants, Greater Flamingoes and we may even encounter a Greater Spotted Eagle or two. There are also introduced Coypu and other photogenic subjects.

The beautiful, soft winter light of Bulgaria and northern Greece makes this photographic journey a truly wonderful experience. Although snow is never guaranteed, if it happens we will embrace this opportunity to capture some of these magnificent creatures in their wintry domain.

Accommodation and Road Transport

Accommodation will be at a comfortable guesthouse. Transport on our winter Bulgaria and Greece tour will be in a comfortable minibus/passenger van.


Most of the walking is on flat ground and will be easy.


At Lake Kerkini, temperatures in January range from about zero (32°F) to about 8°C (46°F). A mix of sunny and overcast conditions is typical. It could rain (or even snow, but that is unlikely).

Photographic Equipment

For the pelican photography you may wish to have a range of lenses with you,  including wide-angles or others with a shorter focal length, as the pelicans will often come very close to photographers on the shore or on the boat to get fish.

Tripods can be very useful also for some aspects of the pelican photography from the shore.

We can provide bean bags, which are very helpful for lower angle photography of the pelicans (from the shore), or you may wish to bring your own on the tour.

If you have any queries about the equipment you ought to bring, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our office.

Photographic Highlights

  • Photograph the beautiful Dalmatian Pelicans in full breeding condition at Lake Kerkini
  • Search for other birds at Lake Kerkini, including White Pelicans, Pygmy Cormorants, Greater Flamingoes and Greater Spotted Eagles


To see a larger map, click on the square-like ‘enlarge’ icon in the upper right of the map box.

To see (or hide) the ‘map legend’, click on the icon with an arrow in the upper left of the map box.

To change to a satellite view, which is great for seeing the physical terrain (and for seeing really fine details by repetitive use of the + button), click on the square ‘map view’ icon in the lower left corner of the ‘map legend’.


Wild Images Inclusions: Our tour prices include surface transportation, accommodations, meals and entrance fees.

Our tour prices also include all tips for local guides, drivers, boatmen and accommodation/restaurant staff.

Deposit: 20% of the total tour price. Our office will let you know what deposit amount is due, in order to confirm your booking, following receipt of your online booking form.

TO BOOK THIS TOUR: Click here (you will need the tour dates)


If you are travelling alone, the single supplement will not apply if you are willing to share a room and there is a room-mate of the same sex available.

This tour is priced in Euros. Amounts shown in other currencies are indicative.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency will be pleased to arrange your air travel on request, or you may arrange this yourself if you prefer.



Day 1

Our tour begins in the early afternoon at Sofia airport on the outskirts of the capital of Bulgaria. From there we will transfer to Lake Kerkini, situated on the border between Bulgaria and Greece, where we will check in to a small, comfortable, family-run guesthouse for five nights.


Days 2-5

We will enjoy four full days of bird photography on beautiful Lake Kerkini. We will make both early morning and late afternoon boat trips to capitalise on the best light at the lake for the famous Dalmatian Pelicans and we will also photograph other birds during from the shoreline.

We will cover both the Greek and Bulgarian sides of the lake as these days, as both countries are European Union members, there are no border restrictions.


Day 6

Today we will drive back to Sofia airport in time for international flights.

Other Wild Images Tours particularly good for bird photography