Excursion to Schinias-Marathon National Park

Guided tour of historic and biodiversity highlights at the famous site of the Battle of Marathon

Wednesday, 21.3.2018, 11:00 – 19:00

Participation costs: 30€ (to be paid at the conference venue)

A packed lunch will be provided.


image1In 490 BC a vast marsh in the area of Marathon defined the outcome of the world-changing battle of Greeks against the Persian invasion After decades of landscape degradation by modern humans, the relic wetland is now protected and has been partially restored to become one of the most important remaining wetland reserves in southern Greece. The so-called palaeo-lagoon basin and spring-fed wetland maintains varied habitats attracting fascinating birds, and other wildlife. It was declared a National Park in 2000 and it covers roughly an area of seven square kilometres including one of Greece's most important beach-side umbrella pine forests and the unique Olympic Rowing Center's artificial lake. Depending on weather conditions, our natural history tour will include: a guided stroll of the Archaeological Museum of Marathon, a walk in the wetland and beach, birdwatching and wildflower spotting. Packed lunch will be provided at the Olympic Rowing Center with a wonderful lake view and good Greek wine.

The tour will be guided by biodiversity experts from the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research and archaeologists from the Ephorate of Antiquities of Eastern Attica as well as members of the National Park Management Authority.


Map of sites to be visited:

1. The Archaeological Museum of Marathon and the ancient cemetery near the Battle site;

2. The Olympic Rowing Center's Artificial Lake and the offices of the National Park Management Authority;

3. View of the Kynosoura Peninsula and good wildflower spotting;

4. Birdwatching walk to the look-out tower in the middle of the Great Marsh;

5. Beach walking near the small canal mouth on Marathon Bay.




 Culture at Schinias-Marathon:




From top-left: The small archaeological museum of Marathon in the beautiful agricultural landscape of Vranas hosts a wonderful array of ancient art from the area; The National Park is located next to the world famous battleground; The National Park Management Authority will host our group and we will also visit a small ancient cemetery near the Archaeological Museum







Landscapes of Schinias-Marathon:




From the top: Marathon Bay with the unique Allepo and Umbrella Pine Wood along the relic sandy spit separating the paleo-lagoon wetlands from the sea; The beach of Schinias with its distinctive patches of Posidonia sea grass beds; the restored wetlands next to the Olympic Rowing Center's Lake. Unfortunately you will also see examples of degraded landscapes due to poor planning and peri-urban sprawl.





Nature of Schinias-Marathon:

From top-left: Wildflowers abound in the National Park, such as these wild garlics; The freshwater marsh restoration has enhanced many water bird populations (a "star species" is the Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca); Other birds prefer salt and brackish marshes near the shoreline (such as this Black-winged stilt Himantopus himantopus); Two native species of aquatic turtles abound in the park (such as this Striped-neck terrapin Mauremys rivulata); A world-class inhabitant in the Rowing Center's artificial Lake is the tiny Greek endemic freshwater fish, the Marathon Minnow (Pelasgus marathonicus); the Park is famous for its wild orchids, this purple Serapias orchid flowers next to the Olympic Rowing Center.