Crossing the east coast of Corfu and at a distance of 42 kilometers from the city is a magnificent wetland called Alykes Lefkimmis, which was once used to make salt. This area together with the small lagoons that are formed near the coastal area is part of the Natura 2000 protection network.

Alykes Lefkimmis, apart from its great ecological importance, is a historical, folkloric and industrial monument.

The largest salt harvesting on the island took place there, in Alykes of Lefkimmi, from where they were named. Its use for the production of salt dates back to the 13th to the 14th century, while the salt warehouses were built in the 16th century.

In 1890, Alykes Lefkimmis belonged to the Greek State, ie to the Greek monopoly until 1944 when they were leased.

During this period, salt production was organized and systematized, resulting in a rapid increase in production.

From 1944 until it closed in 1988, Alykes operated under the supervision of the State. In 1993, the site of Alykes was handed over to the former Municipality of Lefkimmi, while in the period 2000-2006 the two Venetian salt warehouses were restored.

Today one can see the ditches and corridors that were created, but also the salt depots along with some wagons that existed to transport the salt.

This area also houses the Environmental Education Center of the former Municipality of Lefkimmi.

For nature lovers and those who are into hiking, Alykes Lefkimmis is a challenge. They cover an area of ​​about 2000 acres, while their perimeter is 6 kilometers.

To the south it borders a beautiful forest of age-old olive groves and some wetlands.

As an ecosystem it has peculiarities due to the shallow waters and the high salt content. However, it includes great biodiversity, and is an important supply area for dozens of migratory bird species.

Just opposite is Epirus and the water arrives from the estuary of the great river Kalamas, which is also protected by the Natura 2000 network.

The landscape is composed of reeds, tamarisks and orchids, among others, while you can also find various species of mammals, reptiles and amphibians.

Do not forget to visit Alykes in the spring and the spectacle will reward you.

In recent years, at such a time and for about four months, the phoenixes, or flamingos, appear, adding to the landscape shades of white and pink.

Flamingos belong to the European breed of phoenix, which breeds in large colonies, in shallow coastal wetlands, salt lakes, salt marshes, etc.

Their voices are loud reminiscent of a goose, with notes like trumpets and deeper growls.

Visitors have the opportunity to observe, admire and photograph the beautiful flamingos. We must point out, however, that in order to approach them we need to keep absolute silence so as not to disturb their peace, as they are sensitive to human disturbance.

All of these elements compose a wonderful and valuable protected area,of a major ecological and historical importance.

Alykes Lefkimmis is a destination that attracts school excursions and tours, touristic tours and tourists that wish to admire the scenery and researchers.

Every local and foreigner will surely be delighted to spend a day walking in a landscape composed of the calm waves of the sea, age-old olive trees and the lagoon!

Photography: Eutuxia Tzafesta
Text Composing: Marilia Makri
Text Composing: Eutuxia Tzafesta
Translation - Text Editor: Marilia Makri
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