Prefecture of Rhodope: Natural Environment
The geomorphology of Rhodope prefecture is characterized by the mountain ranges on the north part and the rapid streams that flow on the south areas and into the Aegean Sea, where the coastline is dotted with beautiful beaches. Small rivers, like the Kompsatos and the Lissos run in the area. In the biotopes of the SW shore a large number of rare bird species live and winter in the lakes. The combination of the Mt Ismaros massif with the coastal areas, the lakes and the lagoons is ideal for the development of recreation activities. Vistonida and Ismarida Lakes, as well as a complex of five more lagoons, favour the growth of the rich vegetation and rare bird fauna. Ismarida Lake is part of a complex of five lagoons (Elos, Ptelea, Alyki, Karatza, Xerolimni ) and is the only shallow lake of fresh water in northern Greece. The thick layers of water-lilies and reeds create the perfect sanctuary for 200 species of birds. The wetland is very significant due to the varied vegetation (tamarisks, reed beds, water fringe vegetation, salt marshes and grassland) and the fauna which includes mammals, reptiles and bird species under extinction, such as egrets, Eurasian spoonbills, glossy Ibises and terns. The region from Nymphaea to the central part of Mt Rhodope is covered with forests of oak, beech and pine trees.
The climate of Rhodope is continental with rainfalls and snowfalls on the mountains, strong, cold winds in winter. In the summer it is mild and humid in the plains and Mediterranean on the coastline.