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Western Thrace

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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[edit]

Cities[edit]

  • 1 Abdera — One of the wealthiest cities of Ancient Greece, birthplace of the philosophers Democritus, Protagoras and Anaxarchus, and the lyric poet Anacreon.
  • 3 Didymoteicho (meaning 'Twin Walls') — A typical Greek town, but well worth a detour if you are interested in Byzantine and Ottoman styles of art.
  • 4 Echinos — A charming 'Pomak' (Greek Muslims) village on a valley of the Rhodopes Mountains.
  • 5 Feres — A town with a 12th century Byzantine style church adorned with numerous frescoes.
  • 6 Komotini — City with a Muslim/Turkish community
  • 7 Maroneia — the ancient Ismaros, the largest and most important of all Greek colonies of Western Thrace, mentioned by Homer in the Odyssey.
  • 8 Stavroupoli — The old town still preserves its traditional flair, attracting plenty of tourists from Thessaloniki and other Greek cities.
  • 9 Xanthi — An old town with pleasant cobbled narrow streets and old buildings

Other destinations[edit]

1 Anastasioupoli — Byzantine archaeological site

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

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

4 Fanari — The best seaside resort of Western Thrace.

5 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.

6 Toxotes — The closest village to the beautiful Nestos gorge

Talk[edit]

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[edit]

By plane[edit]

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

By road[edit]

  • 7 Kastanies border crossing is just 6 km southwest of 10 Edirne on the Turkish side.
  • 8 Kipi/İpsala — The main border crossing between Greece and Turkey.
  • 9 Ormenio/Svilengrad — Main border crossing between Greece and Bulgaria.
  • 10 Makaza–Nymfaia border checkpoint (Balkan Toresi) — This mountain pass provides quick access from central Bulgaria to Western Thrace, some 30 kilometres (19 mi) from Komotini, and to the Greek motorway Egnatia Odos. The distance from Kurdzhali to Komotini via Makaza is around 70 kilometres (43 mi) and takes approximately one hour and 15 minutes by car.
  • 11 Cross-border Zlatograd - Thermes — The Greek border lies just 5 km away from the Bulgarian town Zlatograda. A very scenic route though driving can be a very hard experience.

By train[edit]

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€).

  • 12 Pythion — A village and rail border crossing between Greece and Turkey.

Get around[edit]

By car[edit]

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[edit]

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

By train[edit]

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[edit]

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

See[edit]

Stone bridge on the Kompsatos river

1 Livaditis Waterfalls

2 Stone bridge on the Kompsatos river — A magnificent stone bridge

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

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

Itineraries[edit]

Do[edit]

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.

Eat[edit]

Drink[edit]

Stay safe[edit]

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[edit]

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.


This region travel guide to Western Thrace is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!