Surrounded By Nature

Local Attractions:
Hotel Granitis is the ideal base for visiting the places of interest mentioned below.  Click on the following list to obtain further information.

Falakro Mountain

Towering above the prefecture of Drama, Mount Falakro, known to us from antiquity, is one of the highest mountains in Greece. The mountain range is made up of three masses: to the northwest the highest point is Agio Pnevma(1629m), southwest Agio Pavlo (1768m) and to the east is the highest peak is Profitis Ilias at 2232m where we can see the famous summits of Vardena and Hionotripa.

Leaving Granitis and heading towards Drama, turn left after 5km to the village of Volakas. Just before arriving at the village you will encounter a junction for the Ski Centre. The road is in good condition and the drive through beech and black pine forests that lie close to the saddle of the mountain is pleasant.
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Cave of Aggitis River (also known as Maaras)

The Cave of Aggitis, mentioned by Herodotus, lies 23km northwest of Drama in Kato Nevrokopi in the lowlands of the Mount Falakro (Rodopi mountain range). The River Aggitis starts at the Maara springs which are the outlet of an underground river that crosses the Maara cave. The cave is a pipeline conduit that is directly connected to the sinkholes of Ochyro on the Kato Nevrokopi plateau. The underwater river is fed by rainwater and streams on the plateau.

In modern writings the cave and river are first mentioned by M.E.M. Cousinery, French Consul in Salonika in his book, “Voyage in Macedonia” (1831). The cave was explored in 1978, when a group of Greek and French speleologists were diving near the Maara springs where at a depth of 7m they discovered an entrance to the cave and a cavern of 500m length. Inside the cave there is evidence of human habitation dating back to 3000 B.C. and the fortifications near the entrance are from the 6th century A.D. Today the cave has been explored for 8.5km of its length and is accessible for 2.5km, of which the first 500m are open to the public while it is estimated that the real length of the cave is 12km.
Inside the cave the temperature of the water is 11.5°C and the air, 12.5°C. Along the length of the cave there is a flat area and chambers up to 25m in width alternating with narrower areas of up to 1m wide. A characteristic feature of the cave is the underground river and the stalactites in a variety of colours, shapes and sizes..
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Alistratis Cave


The Alistrati Cave, located 25km north-west of Drama, was first explored in 1975 and today attracts many tourists due to the size and beauty of its multiple speleothems.
The cave is entered through a man-made tunnel which leads to an impressive ante-chamber 8m in height, leading off from this point are various high galleries decorated with stalactites and stalagmites. The main branches of the cave are developed to the left and to the right starting from a huge chamber with a width of 60m, length of 100m and height 20-30m.

It is in this chamber that visitors can admire the exquisite rock formations, particularly the huge stalactites. Further into the cave there are even some red stalagmites which are called “The Flames”, the height of which reaches 35m.
It is worth mentioning that the path into the cave is absolutely flat, therefore the whole tour is wheelchair and pushchair accessible.
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Petrousa Gorge

In the summer of 1968 a group of Italians led by a local guide made the first organized trip through the gorge. Since then it has become an attraction for hikers who come to admire the unspoilt beauty of the gorge. The length of the gorge is approximately 10km and it requires about 3 hours to cross it. We can enter the magnificent gorge on the outskirts of the village, Pyrgi. Here we have the opportunity to admire the breathtaking views of the highest peaks of Falakro.

The gorge is generally flat or with a gentle incline but strong shoes are recommended as the river bed is covered in stones. The banks are densely forested with fir, yew and beech trees. In places the gorge becomes extremely narrow with a breadth of no more than 3-5 metres and pools of water are formed on the river bed. At the end of the gorge, it branches into two paths which head towards the slopes of the mountain.
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Forest of Elatia (or Kara Dere)

We can enter the forest of Elatia by crossing the bridges in Papades, Paranesti or Potamos. If you are coming from the town of Drama, follow the road towards Sidironero, passing the village of Livadero (22km) and after a further 6km you should reach “Touloumbari”. This is a good place to stretch your legs whilst admiring the spectacular view of the lake. Continue over the bridge in Papades which crosses Lake Nestos. Follow the road to Sidironero where there are a couple of good taverns and a grocer’s. After a further 9km you will arrive at Skaloti which is the last village where you can buy supplies for your trip.

Passing through a dense pine forest, you will be struck by the beauty and tranquility of your surroundings. In 2km you arrive at the village Koutra which is used by the Forest Service and here there are several paths suitable for walks or cycling.
There is a great wealth of plant species (700) many of which are peculiar to the Balkans and some of which are rare even in Greece. Moreover, a wide variety of mushrooms are to be seen , some of them edible (Boletus, Shaggymane, Amanita). The only forest of spruce trees in the country is to be found in Elatia where the landscape brings to mind landscapes in central and northern Europe.
The fauna in the area is also rich with species such as the brown bear, the wild boar, the deer, the roe deer, the hare, the wolf, the wild cat, the wood pigeon, eagles, hawks and woodpeckers, among others.
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Lake Kerkini

For visitors with an interest in bird-watching, Lake Kerkini is part of the network of Ramsar sites in Greece. This large lake is in fact a man-made reservoir but seems more like a natural lake because of its setting in a broad valley which was actually the bed of a smaller lake and also a river oxbow.
To the north of the lake is the Mt. Kerkini range (highest altitude 2031m) which marks the natural border between Greece and Bulgaria and to the south and south-west lie the mountains of Dysoro and Mavrovouni (1179m).


Lake Kerkini is fed by the waters of the River Strymonas which has its source in Bulgaria. The total length of the river is 410km, 290km in Bulgaria and 120km in Greece. The lake was created in 1932 by the building of a dam on the river the aim of which was to prevent flooding and to irrigate the plateau.
The marshes and grassland provide the ideal habitat for feeding birds, some of the species which breed here are: herons, cormorants, egrets, pelicans, ducks and terns. Also several kinds of eagles, black kites and sparrowhawks can be spotted in the wooded mountains and hills in the area.
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River Nestos

The River Nestos is one of the most important rivers in Greece and is known for its great natural beauty. It has its sources in Mt. Rila (2716m) in southern Bulgaria and exits into the Aegean Sea opposite the island of Thasos. The total length of the river is 234km, 140km of which are in Greece. The climatic conditions, land morphology and presence of water have made the area a suitable habitat for over 150 animal species including bears, wolves, wild boars and foxes. As for vegetation, there is an interesting variety of trees, bushes and wild flowers to be seen along the banks.
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The Monastery of Ikosifinissa stands at an altitude of 735m on a well-sheltered slope of Mt. Pangeo. According to religious tradition, the founder, St. Germanos, first built the monastery in the 5th century after the Virgin Mary had presented him with miraculous icon and it is for this reason that the monastery is dedicated to the Virgin.

Thousands of pilgrims make their way here each year in order to see the miraculous icon.
Since 1967, when the monastery was renovated, it has operated as a convent which welcomes many visitors who can enjoy the calmness and spirituality which prevail in this picturesque setting.
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Flora and Fauna

The vegetation in the Prefecture of Drama is rich in plant species some of which are unique to Greece. The number of species exceeds 1,000. In the Falakro area visitors will be pleasantly surprised by the abundance of wild flowers which make their appearance in springtime. While the snow is still melting on the peaks, meadows of wild flowers such as yellow or purple crocuses cover the lower slopes of the mountain.
The large variation in altitude from 100m to 2000m, as well as the existence of ravines, slopes, grazing meadows and forests have created the necessary conditions for the co-existence of many species of birds and animals. More than 150 species of birds and at least 30 species of mammals, some of which are quite rare, can be found in the surrounding areas of Drama. Some of the more unusual examples are: the deer, the roe deer, the brown bear, the chamois (wild goat), the wild boar, the wolf and the golden eagle.
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Local Products

The most well-known agricultural products of the area are the beans and the potatoes grown in Kato Nevrokopi. In addition, other products include grain, cotton, tomatoes, fruit, vegetables and vines.  In recent years the vineyards of Drama, which are well worth visiting, have become very successful producing excellent wines which are sold all over Greece and abroad.
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Festivals and Customs

Folk culture in the area of Drama is of particular interest not only because of the richness and distinctiveness of its various forms but also because elements of ancient Greek and Byzantine tradition have survived in it even today. There are very many feast days and celebrations but some of the more unusual ones are mentioned below.

6th Jan: Monastiraki, Xiropotamos, Pyrgi
Epiphany is celebrated in the village square where young people dress up in traditional costume or as ‘Arapides’, with black skin and wearing long, black capes and hoods made of goatskin. Dances follow in the evening.

6th-8th Jan: Kali Vrisi
The ‘Bamboogeri’ (men masquerading as animals) appear and try to scare the villagers and visitors. The high point of the celebration is the reenactment of a wedding.

7th-8th Jan: Volakas
An ‘Arapides’ celebration takes place. A traditional wedding is reenacted and ‘bears’ (locals dressed in fleeces) come out into the streets.

7th-8th Jan: Petrousa
A procession takes place through the village and a wedding is reenacted.

18th Jan: Agios Athanasios
Bonfires and traditional horse races are held to celebrate the feast of St. Athanasios

Feb-March: Carnival period where celebrations take place in several villages

Tyrinis Monday (3rd week of Lent): Kalambaki, Mavrolefki
The ‘Kaloyeros’ (good old man) visits the houses of the village and the women shower him with seeds and grain, symbols of a rich harvest.

2nd March (date varies): Kato Nevrokopi
Feast of St. Theodore. On the eve of the feast, villagers go to the small chapel of Agios Theodoros on the Falakro mountain where they spend the night in a cave.

Kathara Deftera (1st day of Lent): Horisti
Carnival parade. Masquerades, various performances and reenactments take place.

Easter: Religious and customary Easter festivities take place in and around Drama during this period. Some villages have their own special customs.

Thursday - Easter Week: Kali Vrisi
Procession of the icon of the Resurrection all around the border of the farmland to protect the village from all evil.

Friday - Easter Week: Prosotsani, Kalifyto, Monastiraki
The Feast of the Life Giving Spring is celebrated with noteworthy cultural events.

Sunday after Easter: Sitagri
Pontian refugees keep alive the ancient traditions of their birth place.
Visits to graves are accompanied by singing and the distribution of sweets and red eggs.

21st & 23rd May: Mavrolefki
The ‘Anastenaria’ celebration is in honour of the saints Konstantinos and Eleni. An ecstatic dance accompanied by the lyre and tabor is followed by a ritual animal sacrifice and the walking on hot coals

Summer: Xiropotamos, Petrousa
International festivals of traditional dance are held.

8th June: Volakas
The Feast of the Holy Spirit is celebrated in a small church on Mount Falakro. The feast is marked by an animal sacrifice, dance and song and the villagers return on horseback.

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