Nestos is a great example of how a river can totally transform an area, creating magnificent landscapes, as well as rich flora and fauna. Of course, Nestos is not just any river, it’s the 5th largest river in Greece, 243km long, 130km of which are in Greek territory. It starts at the Rila mountains in Bulgaria and, after crossing the regions of Drama and Xanthi, comes out into the Thracian Sea.
The river is known for its meandering and winding course that creates impressive shapes. The Nestos Straits are located between the village Stavroupolis and the village Toxotes, where most activities linked to the river take place.
The riverside forest of Nestos, also known as Kotza Orman, as well as the river’s delta, one of the most significant wetlands in Greece and Europe, part of the Natura 2000 network, protected under the Ramsar Convention are also very important. While the villages Stavroupolis and Toxotes are the ideal bases for the various activities on and around the river.
The local trail network includes both old paths and new routes that showcase forgotten sights and landscapes. The best marked path is Nestos Rodopi Trail, that stretches 62.5km, starting in Xanthi and ending in the Forest Village of Erymanthos. It’s separated in 6 parts and the most interesting route is the one that links Galani village to the abandoned Kromniko village. The trail is about 10km long and the largest part is a stone-paved path that occasionally goes along the train tracks. Despite not being near the river, the route from the village Livaditis towards the homonymous waterfalls and the Forest Village of Erymanthos is also nice. The route is 10km long, inside a forest and the trail is well-preserved and leads to a 40m tall waterfall surrounded by various trees including beeches and linden trees. You can then head to the Forest Village of Erymanthos where you can also spend the night if you’ve made prior arrangements. (tel.: 0030 25420 22141).
It’s the ideal way to get to know the river. Its calm waters will allow you to take in the surroundings and enjoy nature. The typical kayak route starts at the village Stavroupolis and ends in the village Galani, going through the Nestos Straits, the most interesting, meandering part of the river. The kayak route lasts about 5 hours, while there are shorter routes, like the one that starts at Kromniko village and ends in Galani.
In Drama, the route becomes ideal for rafting, as that part of the river has lots of turns and waves. The route starts at the Platanovrisi dam and ends about 9km later, near Paranesti. In total, to go down the river on a rib, it takes about 2 hours and there are many idyllic locations along the way where you can swim.
5 serviced camping grounds in Greece
The most impressive waterparks in Greece
Astypalaia: the top 10 hiking trails on “Aegean’s Butterfly”