Being the natural border between the districts of Kavala and Xanthi, the Nestos runs a long way of sheer gorgeousness consisting in rich forests, rare wetlands and imposing geological formations. A breath of life and home to a very delicate habitat, it is one of the top 5 biotopes in Europe. The straits of the Nestos are definitely the best part of this wonderful place, a botanical garden of 23.800.000 sq., deservedly designated as an “aesthetic forest”.
The key to paradise
Sometimes paradise is so close! To be precise, it is only 12km from the beautiful city of Xanthi. Here is where the journey to the Nestos straits begins. Explore the wonder of nature between the villages of Toxotes and the town of Stavroupoli. As if an invisible sound shield protected the place, a deafening peace welcomes you to the area, inspiring awe in absolute concordance with the immensity of the natural beauty.
The river, travelling through Rodopi district, draws lazily water meanders on its way. On both sides of it, steep slopes dive into its body. A railway appears only to vanish into the depths of the river and into the Earth. Further up, a pathway carved on the cliffs crosses one of the most impressive forests in Greece.
Let the adventure begin
Explore nature in every possible way! Alternative tourism is here at its best, with mountaineering, canoe kayak, horse-back riding, mountain biking, 4x4 off road driving, and bird-watching rounding off your experience.
Crossing the straits is one of the most exciting hiking trails in Greece. From the village of Galani (in close proximity to Toxotes) starts a branch of the international path E6. What is more, it is stone-cobbled at its initial part, thanks to the workers on the railway. Following the eastern bank of the Nestos, it passes by Kromniko and Livera to end in Stavroupoli. This rather easy hike will last 7-8 hours.
Should you feel tired, seek comfort in the rich vegetation of oak and cedar trees, myriads of wild flowers, orchids and climbing plants. Birds such as herons and eagles as well as wild horses will be keeping you company. Springs with fresh water will provide for your rest.
For a pure river experience, try hiking down the Nestos on the Platanovrysi-Xagnanto-Stavroupoli and Stavroupoli-Livera-Galani paths. Hiking clubs will cater for your equipment and for guides should you need one.
For less active visitors, there is always the choice of reaching Toxotes by train, starting at Stavroupoli. Make sure you have a seat next to the window and capture images of unsurpassed beauty while the train is shoving into dozens of tunnels and lush vegetation by the river.
Don’t forget to:
• Climb up to the location called Thea (i.e. panorama in Greek) at the altitude of 891m to marvel at the meanders from high above.
• Visit the cave of Dryades, near Livera.
• Go and see the arched Macedonian tomb at Komnina.
• Pay a visit to the Folk Museum and the castle of Kalyva in Stavroupoli.
• By plane (from Kavala or Alexandroupolis).
• By train (from Thessaloniki or Alexandroupolis).