The villages in the area are not famed for their traditional atmosphere; the natural beauty of the setting is what counts. In addition to the hiking routes, there are canoe or kayaking trips on the Nestos River, and they, too, are unique experiences (Riverland, Tel. (+30) 25410.624.88). A walk around the large village of Stavroupoli is rewarding, as is a stop at the Folklore Museum (Tel. (+30) 694.443.7472), enjoying a cup of coffee with the locals in one of the traditional coffee shops or, of course, a wander around the train station. At Komnina, the ancient Macedonian tomb, the largest ever discovered in Thrace, is certainly worth visiting (by arrangement, Tel. (+30) 25410.510.03), while at Toxotes you can admire the train station and the old Turkish neighborhood with its mosque.
For accommodations, head to either Stavroupoli at the start of the route, or to Toxotes at the end. We chose to stay in Toxotes, at the lovely Kokkimelon guesthouse (Tel. (+30) 25410.935.51, from €60 with breakfast), in renovated structures that used to house a local tobacco baron’s production facilities. It’s a restful place offering homemade breakfast and family hospitality.
You’ll find simple, delicious food and honest prices at the taverna Palio Stathmos (Tel. (+30) 25420.224.90) in Stavroupoli, next to the train tracks in this mountain village. Great service, fresh vegetables, hand-cut potatoes, great grill options and good house wine – there’s also live music every now and then. You can also find good food at Nestos Tempi in Galani (Tel. (+30) 25420.930.71), although the atmosphere is not particularly idyllic.