National Parks usually include forests and aim in the preservation of significant flora and fauna species, geological formations, underground, atmosphere, water and nature in general. They usually consist of an absolute protection area, the core, and a buffer zone. Several activities are forbidden in the cores of National Parks, such as industries, settlements, buildings, grazing, logging, hunting, cutting and uprooting plants, etc.
Mount Olympus was the first National Park of Greece, declared in 1938 (13). The same year, Mount Parnassos was also declared a National Park (8). Mount Parnitha was next (6) in 1961, Samaria's Gorge (3) and Mount Ainos (1) in 1962, Mount Pindos (Valia-Calda) (10) and Mount Oiti
(9) in 1966, Vikos Gorge-Aoos River (11)
in 1973 and finally, the Prespes Lakes (12)
and Sounio (4) in 1974. The total area covered is 68,732 hectares, and 34,378
hectares is the area occupied by the cores.
Recently, another twelve National Parks were established. The first was the Northern Sporades National Marine Park (7)
in 1992, which includes the terrestrial and marine areas of the Northern Sporades Archipelago, as they provide refuge for the Monk seal (Monachus monachus). The National Marine Park of Zakynthos followed (2) in 1999, for the protection of the sea turtle Caretta caretta.
In 2003, the National Park of Schoinias was founded, for the protection of Schoinias' wetland and the pine (Pinus pinea) forest. Since March of 2004, the following areas have been declared National Parks: Dadia-Lefkimmi-Soufli forest (21),
for the protection of the birds of prey that live there, North Pindos (14), Lake Karla (15),
Mesolonghi Lagoon (16),
the wetland Axios-Aliakmonas-Gallikos-Loudias-Kaloxori Lagoon (17), Kastoria Lake (18) and Psalidi area in Kos island (19).
In October of 2005, Lake Kerkini (20), in January of 2006, the Evros Delta (22), and in November of 2006, the Amvrakikos Gulf (23) were also declared National Parks.
On the Greek map below, the locations of the National Parks are shown.