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Hike to the natural swimming pools of Fonias

Evros, Greece



4.3 miles

Route Type



Added by Andreas Brokalakis

An easy but amazingly rewarding hike to an extraordinary landscape

Samothrace is a small island in the northern Aegean sea. It is mostly mountainous with the highest peak reaching up to 1671m of altitude. The island is full of springs and small rivers and it is famous for its vathres. "Vathres" are how the locals call the natural pools that are formed throughout the island by the flowing streams and rivers. They form impressive landscapes and they are more than 100 in number.

One of the most interesting hiking routes that you can take and encounter some of the most beautiful vathres is the trail along the stream of Fonias. Head east from the village of Therma and after approximately 4.5km you will a parking area where you will see a sign "Χείμαρρος Φονιά". You can park there and take the trail that starts from this point.

The trail follows the river stream. It is quite easy and pleasant, mostly under the shade of big trees. The first part is also quite flat and therefore not tiring at all. It is almost three kilometers long till you reach the first natural pool, which is the most popular one (mostly because of its ease of access). You shouldn't need more than half an hour to reach this milestone.

The first pool is where one waterfall 15 meters high falls and the it is quite spectacular. The water is crystal clear and therefore you can definitely take a dive and enjoy it. Be warned though that it is pretty cold!

While you may stop there (as most people do), if you are a little bit more adventurous, you can continue the trail at the right of the natural pool in order to reach the second natural pool. The trail now requires more attention, as it is quite steep and slippery. After approximately 700 meters you can reach the second natural pool, called Gerania. The landscape is even more impressive here as a (smaller) waterfall creates a rather large pool (or small lake) where swimming and diving can be more enjoyable. The pool is surrounded by vertical rocks and plane trees.

For more experienced hikers, the trail continues further up to another system of three or four pools and eventually reaches the location Klidosi, where the largest waterfall of the island can be found. I didn't complete that trail therefore I cannot commend further about it.

To get back to your car, you follow the same trail.

As mentioned, the trail is generally easy. However, especially if you are going to the second pool you are going to need hiking shoes and protection from the sun (sun screen, hat and a shirt). Do not forget your swimming suit, though for the second pool that is more secluded, there are signs that encourage people to swim naked. At the trail and at the pools there are not any facilities, therefore remember to bring with you water and snacks. The overall distance to get to the second pool and back is more or less 7km (3.5km in each direction).

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