This excursion was the second part of our excursion to Livaditi Waterfall.
On our second day, leaving the village of Ano Kariofito, we asked the hotel’s owners, which is the best route for Galani and Xanthi. They informed us about a road that connects Stavroupoli through Kromniko and Livera Hill with the village of Toxotes and Xanthi . The Route length is about 70 Km.
In the first kilometers of our route (11 km) to the small town of Stavroupoli we are driving in the plains, in beautiful lowland landscapes of the Greek countryside. From Stavroupoli (direction to Komnina) we start the ascent. The road, quite narrow and steep, ascents with south direction, In the beginning there is low vegetation at the sides which after a while turns into a forest up to a small plateau. And there suddenly a herd of wild horses appeared. They had informed us that we probably had such a meeting, and we were lucky. At the right side of the road,in a small meadow, they appeared through the forest. We stopped and wondered for a long time those wonderful, proud animals, this wild beauty, until they passed by and disappeared in the forest again. Continuing, about 40 minutes after, we reached the highest point of the mountain of Livera at a place which is called “Thea”. Thea in Greek language means view and indeed the view was fantastic. In front of us, we had the Nestos river narrows, its meanders, the Nestos Delta, the Thracian Sea, with Thassos island facing us.On our left we can see Samothraki island and Mount Athos deep in the horizon on our far right. After an hour we took the downhill route and in 15 minutes we found ourselves in the village of Galani. From there we started our hike on the path of the narrows of Nestos , described in the next paragraph “Galani – Stroma Kromnikou (Nestos narrows)”
After we finished our hike, on the Nestos narrows trail, we returned to our cars and continued driving east. After about 13 km we arrived at beautiful Xanthi. After having enjoyed our food and our coffee, we took the way back to Thessaloniki, having filled our minds with what we have experienced these two days.
Galani- Kromniko train station(Nestos river narrows)
Day 2 midday
It is the quietest and most walked path of the prefecture of Xanthi. Surely a lot of people have made this hike which is a path going parallel to the rail tracks, connecting Kromniko with Galani by train. The first 3.5 km of the route is right next to the river, while the rest are in an amazing natural environment. In the 5 km route, the 4 km and 100 meters are a trail, while the remaining 900 meters are the train tracks, ending at the abandoned train station of Kromniko. We do not recommend following the trails and if you do so, this is with your one responsibility. Its duration is 1 hour and 40 minutes. There are no marks on the route , but there is no need since the whole route is very clear. Mobile signal is available throughout the hole route. Generally it is an easy hike and up to where the lines begin, it can be made even by children over 6 years old.
As it is described in the previus paragraph,we started from Ano Karyofyto and followed the road to Stavroupoli, Komnina, , Galani. For those starting from Thessaloniki, they follow Egnatia Road to Xanthi and they take the exit for Toxotes village (2 hours and 10 minutes, 196 Km) and then for Galani (2Km) .Galani and Toxotes are almost one. Follow the signs for Nestos and you will reach a guarded train crossing .After passing it, you have to drive for another 1.8 km along the river, to get to the parking area which is at the end of the road. From there, you start hiking.
The entire route is done on a stone-built path (it was the path that the French workers had made to build the railway line and remained in good condition until today). You have started walking and in about 20 minutes and after 1170 meters, you reach a view point with benches. Continue walking on this beautiful stone path and the trail will pass you through a forest of wild holms that have become trees. As soon as you pass the forest, you will ascent a bit and reach some rocks, which are very close to one another and you have to pass between them. You have walked another 1770 meters, in about 50 minutes.
The route for another 600 meters moves next to the river, having a visual contact with it, and then descends and passes through a forest with large trees and branches, which are bent to one another and look like jungle. This part of the route leads directly to the railway lines and you have walked another 1230 meters in another 35 minutes reaching a total of 4110 meters in about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
You continue the rest of the route ONLY under your own responsibility, because you will walk on the train lines. So if you want to find the path that comes from the abandoned village of Kromniko, you have to walk another 570 meters in about 10 minutes.
Finally, if you go another 320 meters and in about 5 minutes, you reach the final destination, which is the train station of Kromniko , in total time of 1 hour and 40 minutes and having walked 5 kilometers. We recommend that if you are determined to go up to Kromniko train station, make a phone call to Greek Railways to learn the train timetables of that day and be more confident about crossing the railways.
As far as about the return , it can be made following the same path backwards , or there is the alternative to get in touch with one of the alternative tourism agencies and go downstream through the river , back to Galani, with canoes and kayaks. This combination, we believe will be unforgettable. We didn’t do it, but we promised ourselves to try next time.