Europe > Greece > Northern Greece > Western Thrace > Alexandroupolis
Alexandroupolis is a small town with a harbour and an airport. Though some guides describe it as "dusty", it has a rocky beach and a typical Greek nightlife. It is the last major Greek town before the Turkish border on the highway to Istanbul.
- 1 Alexandroupolis International Airport "Dimokritos" (AXD IATA). There are four flight every day linking the city to Athens by Olympic Airlines, and Aegean Air. There are three flights every week from Alexandroupolis to Heraklion or Sitia (Crete) by Sky Express.
There are several trains from Thessaloniki. Slow trains take 6h (€9), fast ICs take only 4 1/2h (€16).
Train connections are relatively frequent to the rest of the country, though the rail link to Bulgaria via Dikea has been canceled until further notice. Trains are running only to Dikea, 15km short of the Bulgarian border. There are no buses from Dikea to the border city of Svilengrad, with taxi and hitchhiking being the only options to access Svilengrad and the extensive Bulgarian rail network for the time being.
- 2 Alexandroupolis railway station (Σιδηροδρομικός Σταθμός Λιμένα Αλεξανδρούπολης, Sidirodromikos Stathmos Limena Alexandroupolis).
National Network of Buses or KTEL operates a frequent schedule of buses to all the major cities of the country. Shuttle buses depart twice daily to Athens (approximately 8–9 hours) and there are hourly connections to Thessaloniki.
OSE, the national train operator, has set a daily bus shuttle to Istanbul that departs the main station early (around 7AM) every morning. Tickets are usually easy to find and can be booked in the ticket office.
The most important connection is the ferry to Samothrace. For sailboats the harbor is also well suited. The number of berths is very limited.
Since the city and especially the center is small and flat, you can easily walk to explore the city: for the sights outside the city, a vehicle is essential.
- 1 Alexandroupolis Cathedral (Church of Saint Nicholas), Metropoleos Square. Inaugurated in 1901 and dedicated to the patron of sailors. Beside the church a museum displays sacred artifacts dating back to the 16th century
- 2 Agii Theodori Cave Church. The rocky church of Agioi Theodoroi, with frescoes of the 10th century AD, is in a magnificent location after the Byzantine fortresses of Potamos and Avanta.
- 3 Castle of Avanta (Potamos) (Boz-Tepe) (outside the village of Avanta, 10 km from Alexandroupolis). The castle is on the provincial road that connects Alexandroupolis with Avanta. From far you can see the three impressive medieval towers of the Potos River. They are square and surrounded by a double wall. It is thought to have been built in the 13th century by the Gatelouzos, the Genoese conquerors of the area, on a site occupied on prehistoric, Ancient Greek and Byzantine periods. The climb to Avanta (or Potamos) Castle, from the west side of the hill, takes about 20 minutes. A grandiose gate is preserved, with two tall towers on both sides and the ramparts of the castle, with the stairs leading up there. The view of the whole plain from the warriors fully justified the construction of the Avanta Castle at this point. The ruins that the visitor sees today date back to the 13th century, although there are findings from the Mycenaean period. The whole area has scattered castles on hillsides and rocks that allow the field and the passage to be monitored by Rodopi and Komotin.
- 4 Tsepel Kagia Hill. In Hill Tsepel Kayan, now called Mytero or Monastery Hill, 4 km north from the village of Avantas to Aisymi, there are rocks carved in the shape of chairs and tables, as well as murals depicting constellations. Ruins and traces of buildings have been discovered, that it is probable to be a place of worship of the Kikonon tribe of the ancient Thracians. The climb up to the hill, is easy and can be walked following the old trail.
- 5 Agios Theodoros Church. The 10th-century frescoed church of St. Theodore is in a unique location, after the Byzantine castles of Potamos and Avanta. Not only the rock church itself, the way there is well worth the trip.
- 6 Traianoupolis (Λουτρά Τραϊανουπόλεως). The city was founded by the Roman Emperor Trajan (reigned 98-117) and was famous in Roman times for its baths. In the 4th century, it became the capital and metropolis of the Thracian Roman province of Rhodope. Despite a chequered history, the city remained the metropolis of the ecclesiastical province of Rhodope until its decline in the 14th century. The area was destroyed in 1322 by Bulgarian raids and 1329/30 by Turkish troops. On display are ruins of former bathing facilities and parts of the city wall. You should definitely combine a visit with a visit to the modern bathroom, because even today, the place is a health resort.
- 7 Mesimvria. Mesimvria was a colony of the inhabitants of the island of Samothrace, built at the end of the 7th century BC. The city flourished in the 5th and 4th century BC. However, during the period of the Macedonian and later Roman rule, it began to lose importance, as the construction of roads in the hinterland lowered the importance of the coastal city. On the excavation site, the remains of the fortress wall with towers, private houses, a road network, public buildings, a sanctuary of Demeter and an Apollo temple were found. The most important monuments of the excavation site are: The Shrine of Demeter. Inside the building, silver, gold, silver and gilded relief panels were found, all connected to the Demeter cult. Dated to the 4th century BC. The archaic temple of Apollo. It was part of a larger building complex (35 x 45 m) with a central paved courtyard, surrounded by a stoa. Many ceramic fragments with engraved inscriptions were inside the temple from the 6th and 5th centuries BC. Found.
- 8 Panagia Kosmosoteira. The remarkable former monastery Panagia Kosmosotira was built in 1151 by the Byzantine emperor Isaas I Komnenos according to the plans of the Hagia Sophia and survived wars and turmoil for 900 years in very good condition.
- 9 Evros Delta is a wetland nature reserve at the outflow of the River Evros (Έβρος) or Maritsa. The main river channel is the border with Turkey: there's no legal crossing point, but smugglers and migrants often try to cross. You may therefore find access restricted.
- Birdwatching. You can go birdwatching for sotos, a rare speciment of a bird that has resided for years in Balkans.
- Beaches. From the west of the city to Panorama are almost continuous beautiful sandy beaches with many beach bars and restaurants, but also areas without management, for those who prefer a quiet bath.
Along the promenade by the harbor and in the area between Promenade and Leof.Dimokratias street are a great variety of restaurants and fast food.
- 1 Kitchen Aroma Cooked Food (Άρωμα Κουζίνας Μαγειρευτό Φαγητό), Dimokratias Av 369, ☏ . A little hole in the wall place that nonetheless serves delicious homemade Greek food.
Due to the university and the many young people, the nightlife is quite good for the size of the city. Most of the cafes and bars are located in the district at and above the promenade and in the city park.
There are no cheap youth hostels, but a lot of 1-star hotels and a couple of upscale hotels by the seaside. Backpackers often just stay at the beach near the train station. There is also a 1 municipal campsite located right on the beach.
- 2 Hotel Lighthouse, 11, Athanasiou Diakou Str, ☏ . Cosmopolitan type of small hotel tower with breakfast and wifi. $62.
- 3 Erika Hotel, 110, Dimitriou Karaoli Str, ☏ , email@example.com. 1-star hotel. 23 rooms with balcony. Buffet room, dry cleaners, car hire, Free Wi-Fi.
- 4 Marianna Hotel, 11, Malgaron Str & Dimokratias Av., ☏ , (Mobile), firstname.lastname@example.org. 2-star hotel. 14 rooms.
- 5 Dias Hotel, 13, Troados Str, ☏ . 2-star hotel. 16 A/C rooms
- 6 Plaza Hotel, 2nd km of Alexandroupoli - Komotini National Road right on the municipal plage, ☏ , , email@example.com. 2-star hotel. Built in 1984, renovated in 1996. 25 sea view-rooms. A/C, sound proof, bath or shower, mini-bar, hairdryer, Internet access, telephone, TV.
- 7 Park Hotel, 458, Dimokratias Av, ☏ , , , (mobile), firstname.lastname@example.org. 2-star hotel built in 1977 and renovated in 2010. 30 A/C rooms with balcony. Central heating, open-air Swimming Pool
- 8 Oceanis Hotel, 20, Paleologou Street (Near the bus station), ☏ , email@example.com. 2-star hotel. 24 rooms.
- 9 Santa Rosa Beach Hotel, 1st km of Alexandroupolis - Nea Chili National Road, ☏ , , (Mobile). 1-star hotel. 28 A/C rooms with bath or shower.
- 10 Hera Hotel, 179, Dimokratias Av, ☏ , . 2-star hotel. 32 A/C rooms. Bath or shower, Wi-Fi.
- 11 Alexander Beach & Convention Center, 2nd km Nat. Rd (next to Casino Thraki), ☏ . A 5-star hotel built in 1985 and renovated in 1998. 41 Executive rooms, 36 Superior rooms, 10 Family rooms, 7 Deluxe suites, 1 Presidential suite. Services: private beach, restaurant, poolside bar, hamam, beauty salon, spa, fitness centre.
- 12 Astir Egnatia Hotel (Near the stadium, right on the beach), ☏ . 5-star hotel. 125 standard rooms with balcony, 36 superior rooms with sea view, 36 maisonettes, 17 suites with veranda, 2 deluxe suites. Hamam, Jacuzzi, heated indoor swimming pool, etc
- Samothrace island is reached by twice-daily ferry, taking 2 hours.
- Didymoteicho to the north has several old churches and museums. Dadia Forest National Park is along the road there.
- Rhodope Mountains - fantastic landscapes and ancient Thracian sanctuaries
- Komotini - Small town with a Muslim character
- Turkey: the highway border post is at Ipsala, on the road to Istanbul. You can also cross and find onward transport at Pythion, but there is no border crossing to Enez on the coast.
|Routes through Alexandroupolis|
|Thessaloniki ← Komotini ←||W E||→ İpsala → Istanbul|