The Acheron River

(45km - 1 hour)


This mythical river begins its journey 1600m above sea-level, high in the Souli Mountains of Thesprotia, Epirus. The Acheron River springs are found in the village of Glyki and are a popular attraction. Crystal clear ice-cold water, surrounded by lots of greenery and a beautiful white limestone gorge.


Acheron River Mythology

In Greek mythology the Acheronta River was known as the river of woe and misery, which acted as the physical border between the world of the living and that of the Underworld. If you were buried according to Greek custom with a golden drachma, you were able to pay the ferryman 'Charon' who would ferry your soul to Hades.


Activities Acheron River Springs

Once at Gliki, follow the signs for the Acheronta Springs. When you arrive there is plenty of free parking. Here the river is wide and not too deep, so you can easily wade in. There are a number of activities on offer, you can go rafting, kayaking, mountain biking, fishing, zip lining and even take a horse ride through the shallow water.

Some visitors prefer to stay dry and hike up the gorge trail towards Skala Tzavelaina. The hiking path (40mins) takes you parallel to the river with a number of river crossings and ends with a view overlooking the magnificent Acheron River valley.

The more adventurous visitor takes the walk through the river towards the Acheron Springs. It is a 5-10min walk from the parking area, following the path upstream takes you to the river entry point. From here it will take about 45mins to wade through the river to reach the springs. The river runs partly underground emerging here and there along the riverbanks making the water icy cold in the beginning, but you get used to it. The route does have some dry areas where you can rest, however you will be in the water for the majority of the time. Depending on how much rain has fallen in the Spring you may have to swim in 2 or 3 places (between 5 and 15 meters at most).
At the springs a huge amount of water emerges with great force through the limestone and over the rocks. The way back downstream does go a little quicker, however, some choose to climb up the mountain on the right-hand side to the bridge and take the path back down.

A visit to Acheronta is highly recommended, especially on warm summer days! And you can drink the water from the springs.

Good footwear such as water schoes are necessary to be able to walk through the river, and a waterproof bag is also a good idea. Watch your step, some steppingstones can be quite slippery.

There are several nice restaurants right along the riverbank where you can enjoy a meal and watch others rafting down the river. You will need to get back onto the main road and drive a couple of minutes southwards turning left before the bridge. 


Nekromanteion of Acheron

Following the river down towards the sea, you can visit the Oracle at the Necromanteio of Acheron, near the ancient city of Ephyra. Here pilgrims were able to communicate with the souls of their loved ones. Today you can visit the archeological sites and pass through the dark underground hallways and see the ruins of the the temple devoted to Hades and his wife Persephone.


Natura 2000

The river Acheron flows to the village of Ammoudia on the Ionian coast. Ammoudia is characterized by a big sandy beach that stretches along the village. The mouth of the Acheron and in general the Acheron River Delta have exceptional natural beauty and belong to the European Network of Protected Areas NATURA 2000, with a total area of 4935 hectares.

In the region there are 699 plant species of which 449 are found in the Acheron Delta and there are 19 types of natural habitats. There are also important wetlands such as the swamp of Ammoudia and of Valanidorachi, where you can find many rare species of flora and fauna. Notable in the fish categories is the existence of the minnow, which can only be found in the Acheron River. 

 

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