It may be a difficult name to get your tongue around but ‘Oikoperiigitis‘ basically means traveller’s house and is short for the Traveller’s House and Ecological Centre of Kerkini-Belles.
Located in the village of Kerkini, it is, to put it briefly, a simply wonderful example of a holistic alternative place to stay.
The story began in 1989, when Yannis Reklos founded the Cultural/Ecological Association of Kerkini, as a preliminary effort to raise awareness among the locals of the incredible potential the lake represented.
Six years later, he opened the hotel, which has become a mecca for nature lovers because of its attractive buildings, warm hospitality and activities it offers its guests who wish to explore the lake and its surroundings. Besides bedrooms, it boasts an excellent restaurant and and all the equipment and guides needed for exploring Kerkini, a region protected by the Ramsar convention and the EU’s Natura 2000 programme .
The hotel can host up to 70 people, school groups, societies, and individuals in two attractive buildings, constructed primarily of wood and stone. It is staffed by knowledgeable people who will make all the arrangements for your visits to the sights in the area with the utmost care and personal interest.
The centre also has a university-level library with archives, maps, geography books, photographic guides to the lake’s flora and fauna, two breakfast rooms, two lounges with fireplaces, a large hall on the upper floor with a view where a sumptuous breakfast is served and which operates as a restaurant later in the day.
Reklos, a pioneer in Ecotourism, organises all his tours with the utmost safety measures in mind and more. For trips on the lake he works with the best operators, for cycling excursions there are always two guides, one in front the other bringing up the rear, and his vehicles are prepared to handle any kind of condition.
For all the activities offered, you may want to read a more detailed description with photos on the Oikoperiigitis website.
The 3-star hotel possesses:
- 3 two-bedroom suites with special ‘personality’ from the stone and wood that predominates all the spaces
- 6 four-bed family rooms that can meet the needs of a group of friends or a family
- 2 four-bed suites of a family nature
- 1 large suite, 65 sq m, which is the ‘jewel’ of the hotel, a unique space that can accommodate up to 6 people
The Hydrogaia restaurant is part of the hotel complex, occupying the upper floor in a traditional room with seating for 100 people, and an impressive ceiling with thick wooden beams. The food is cooked in a traditional wood-burning oven, like our grandmothers used. This is where in 2001 the first water buffalo meat was slow-cooked in the gastra (a clay pot with cover) garnished with homemade egg noodles. Since then it has been the speciality not only of the hotel but of all of Kerkini.
There is no end to the treats – soutzoukakia (cumin-flavoured meatballs) and sausages made with buffalo meat, kavourmas with omelette, hamburgers and many other buffalo-inspired appetisers. Breakfast at the hotel is a lavish spread with cheeses, cold cuts, pies drizzled with honey, syrupy sweets and naturally kazan-depi (baked custard with a delicious crust) from buffalo milk.