Western Thrace

Nestos River

Western Thrace is a region in Greece. In Greek, it is referred simply as Thrace (Greek: Θράκη), as there is no other Thrace in Greece. Eastern Thrace is part of Turkey.

Tourism in Western Thrace is developing along the seacoast from Abdera to Maroneia but many travelers on their way to Turkey still make few stops in the region. The archaeological sites of Abdera and Maroneia, the traditional settlements of Xanthi and Komotini, the Rodopi mountain range, the Nestos river gorge and delta, are the most interesting features of Western Thrace.

Regions

Cities

Other destinations

  Anastasioupoli — Byzantine archaeological site

  Evros River Delta — Marshes and wetlands across the Turkish borders attracting large flocks of migratory birds in autumn, when breeding is over in Europe.

  Dadia forest — Heavily wooded hills providing a habitat for diverse wildlife not common in other areas of Western Thrace.

  Fanari — The best seaside resort of Western Thrace.

  Nestos River Delta — Comprises freshwater lakes and ponds that offer refuge for birds and various mammals. Further North extends the “Kotza Orman" (Great Forest), once a very large forest but today restricted to some fragments along both sides of the river.

  Toxotes — The closest village to the beautiful Nestos gorge

Talk

Greek is the native language of most the people of Thrace. Most of the Muslims in Thrace are ethnic Turks and speak Turkish as a native language. In villages north of Xanthi, Pomaks, who are ethnic Bulgarian Muslims, speak Pomakika (a dialect of Bulgarian). However, most people also speak passable English and some may speak German or other European languages.

Get in

By plane

The closest airport is "Alexander the Great" airport in Kavala City. Flights, mostly charters, from all over Europe.

By road

By train

There was an international InterCity train jointly operated by the Turkish State Railways (TCDD) and Train OSE linking Istanbul's Sirkeci Terminal to Thessaloniki. Unfortunately the train service was terminated in 2011 due to cost cutting by Greek state-owned company Train OSE. Nowadays there are no trains from Greece to Turkey. You'd rather go to Istanbul's Main Bus Terminal (Büyük Otogar). There is at least one bus daily to Athens or Thessaloniki, stopping at Alexandroupolis, Komotini and Xanthi.

Some private companies running comfortable buses are Simeonidis Tours, Crazy Holidays and the low cost Alpar Tourism (20€).

Get around

By car

The new super-highway Egnatia can get you anywhere in the region within an hour or an hour and a half for the most remote areas. It connects all the major cities in Thrace from Xanthi to the border crossing with Bulgaria in Kastanies north of Evros or the customs with Turkey to the east.

By bus

Even the smallest rural villages can be accessed by using a combination of local run buses.

By train

Frequent stops all along the region's sole train line and cities dotted along the Evros River. A scenic route for some but rather slow for the busy traveler.

By boat

SAOS will sail you to Samothraki daily or even more frequently during the summer period.

See

Stone bridge on the Kompsatos river

  Livaditis Waterfalls

  Stone bridge on the Kompsatos river — A magnificent stone bridge

  Macedonian tomb of Stavroupoli — A small but well preserved Macedonian tomb dating back to the first half of 4th century B.C.

  Thracian Μeteors (Thrakika Meteora) — Amazing rocky peaks surrounded by abandoned settlements. Access by car through a dirt road that starts east of Iasmos Town.

Do

Kayak or canoe descent of the river Nestos has become a popular sport and numerous hotels in Stavroupoli and nearby villages provide a trip package. Horse riding along the gorge is also available.

You can go for hiking in the Erimanthos Forest on the southern slopes of Rhodope mountains and spend the night in the basic cottages owned by the local park rangers.

Stay safe

Mosquitoes are a matter of increasing concern along the coastal marshes. As a rule the hotels do not provide anything and you have to buy specific products to protect yourself

Go next

East Macedonia to west, Northern Thrace (Bulgaria) to north, Eastern Thrace (Turkey) to east, and the island of Samothrace to south is within easy reach once you are done in Western Thrace.


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