Lake Ismarida (or Mitrikou) covers an area of approximately 320 ha and is described as a small and shallow lake, as its maximum depth does not exceed 1.5 meters. This is the only fresh water lake in Thrace, situated at the south part of the Rodopi regional unit. To the north is the estuary of River Vosvozis, which forms a small delta, while River Lissos (Filiouris) flows through to the east. The climate that prevails in the area falls between the Mediterranean and the central European climate types, but it’s closer to the central European climate. On its southern side, a 5.2 km channel connects it with Anoichto bay on the Thracian Sea.
Walking around the area one can discern three large vegetation zones:
- the vegetation in the southern localities of Lake Ismarida and the lagoons where salt and sand have a pronounced presence, with brackish waters, salt meadows, saltmarshes, dunes and sandy beaches;
- areas of vegetation growing in environments influenced by river;
- mixed woodlands of either evergreen or deciduous trees, as well as various stretches of scrubland.
Countless tiny creatures inhabit in the muddy sediments covering the bottom of the lagoons, such as gastropods, bivalves, annelids (ringed worms). These are an excellent source of food for waders (shorebirds), who seek their prey by sifting through the mud with their bills, like Flamingos and Spoonbills. Approximately 200 bird species have been recorded in Ismarida and the surrounding area; rare birds nest here, like the Ferruginous Duck, the Whiskered Tern, and the Black Tern. In general, all the wetlands of the area (Ismarida and its surrounding lagoons) are particularly important for several birds that arrive here from Northern Europe to overwinter, like swans, ducks, cormorants a.o. Rare or protected species like the Glossy Ibis, the Great White Pelican, the Dalmatian Pelican, the Great Egret, the Pygmy Cormorant, even the Lesser White-Fronted Goose and the White-Headed Duck can be observed here. The wider area is also the habitat of 45 species of mammals, of which the otter is perhaps the most important.