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Nestos River
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Nestos is one of the five largest Greek rivers. It springs from Mount Rila in Bulgaria and after a 130km route in the Greek territory in flows into the Thracian Sea. The river runs through the Province of Drama and consists the natural border between the Provinces of Kavala and Xanthi. The most important parts of the river are ‘Stena’ (a place of sports and cultural events) and its Delta (which is part of the National Park of East Macedonia and Thrace and one of the most important place of bird species worldwide). The river’s wetland is an area of high aesthetic and environmental value, protected by International Treaties (Ramsar, Barcelona, Vern and Bonn) and embodied in Natura 2000 Network of protected areas.

In Nestos River nest 300 bird species, 30 species of birds of prey, 11 amphibian species, 21 reptile species and a large number of mammals at delta’s sea lakes.

Flora and Fauna

Nestos crosses areas of different anaglyph and morphology and creates many different biotopes with a rich variety of flora and fauna species. The most important areas are ‘Stena’ and the Delta. Stena covers an area of 23.800 acres and thanks to its rich flora has been declared an ‘Aesthetic Forest’ by a Presidential Decree (1977) and is protected by special regulations. 500 flora species and 213 fauna species as well as a great number of mammals, amphibians and reptiles some of which are rare and under extinction have been recorded here. The river’s Delta covers an area of 55.000 acres and besides its rare bird species it is known for the riparian forest ‘Kotza Orman’ or ‘the Great Forest’.


Halophytic vegetation covers large areas and mainly the areas near the sea lakes whereas the river’s estuaries are mainly covered in reeds. Reeds and every kind of aquatic vegetation is met near lakes with fresh water as well as in all natural and man-made canals which are not salty. Vegetation of sand-dune origin and tamarisks spread in the whole area and especially in the salty places. Furthermore many forests spread along the banks and the estuaries. Willows, Poplars, Alders and Plane Trees dominate the landscape whereas Shrubs, wild Bearberries, green Olive trees, Yawns and Cedars complete the enchanting picture!

Until the beginning of 1950 the riparian forest was regarded as one of the biggest of its kind in Europe. It covered an area of more than 125.000 acres before it got reclaimed in its biggest part. The land was distributed to farmers and was used for crops and cultivations. Today there are saved only 4.500 acres of this beautiful forest that are under the Forest Service of Kavala and protected by International Treaties.       


At the area lives a significant number of mammals such as wolves, wild pigs, foxes, jackals, badgers, ferrets, etc. One of area’s priceless treasures is the bird species. 254 bird species have been recorded at the Delta area among which the Dalmatian pelican, the Ferruginous duck, the Red goose, the Greater Spotted eagle, the Imperial eagle and the Lesser Kestrel.

Extreme Sports- Events

At Nestos area you will find many centers of alternative tourism who propose visitors to come in touch with the natural landscapes through a series of activities. You can enjoy canoe-kayak and rafting in the recommended routes ‘Platanovrysi-Paranesti’ and ‘Platanovrysi-Xagnando-Stavroupoli’ as well as the enchanting canoe routes ‘Stavroupoli-Livera-Galani’ and ‘Dafnonas-Stavroupoli’. Other activities offered are: mountaineering, rappel and off-road routes with 4x4 and cross motorbikes.

Natures and hiking lovers will definitely get excited with the river by crossing the European path E6 that constitutes one of the most beautiful hiking routes in Greece.

Every year since 1999 the Prefecture of Xanthi in collaboration with the Promotion-Projection Company of the Prefecture of Xanthi (NETAX) organize the ‘Nestos Festival’ at Stena. The festival includes sports, cultural and environmental events.

Further Information

Nestos touristic shelter is located at Stena and eastern from Toxotes settlement. Visitors here can enjoy a nice cup of coffee, the Greek ouzo and delicious local food. Tel: +3(0)2541093838.

For those who wish to stay here, many accommodation options are offered at the river’s wider area and mainly at Stena.

Useful Numbers

Nestos Information Centre is located at Keramoti in Kavala Province. Tel: +3(0)2591051831, fax: +3(0)2591051884, e – Mail:

Riparian Forest Information Centre: +3(0)2946274646.





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