Style: Freeride, Slalom, Race/Formula
Level: Intermediate, Good, Specialist
In the middle of a large and fertile plain marking the boundary between the regions of Rhodope and Xanthi, lies Lake Vistonida, one of the most beautiful wetlands in Greece. It is the fourth largest lake in the country, covering an area of 45 km2, a dreamy location where the green hues of the forests meet the azure of the sea.
The lake is situated in the middle of a group of wetlands which cover the area from the Nestos River Delta up to and including Lake Ismarida (Mitrikou). Within a short distance lie the lagoons Lafri, Lafrouda and Porto Lagos in Xanthi District, as well as the lagoons Daliani, Xirolimni, Karatza, Alyki, Ptelea and Elos in Rhodope. The above wetlands constitute the National Park of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace as they are very important water reserves. Lake Vistonida encompasses a unique ecosystem and the local climate can be described as mid-Mediterranean.
Medium Months: March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October
Best Direction: NE
Main Wind Direction:
The best season for windsurfing in Vistonida Lake (or Nea Kessani) is winter and the best wind direction is NE.
Depth: Shallow (walking several steps not to step on)
Lake Vistonida is separated from the sea by a narrow strait created from silt depositions and is connected to it through canals. On the east there is a natural canal with two mouths on the lake, which connects it with the sea via Porto Lagos lagoon; on the west, there is an artificial canal built during the 1950s, which allows direct access to the sea. The result of the above connections is a phenomenon occurring nowhere else in the country: the north part of the lake contains fresh water as a result of the rivers flowing in, whereas the south part contains saline or brackish water depending on the volume of seawater entering the lake.
The deepest point is 4 meters.
The Lake is surrounded by reed beds, riverside forests and fresh water lakes and wet meadows. It hosts a variety of fauna: several types of fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, birds as well as flora and it is protected by the international treaty “Ramsar”.
The Lake is located 22 km SE of Xanthi, 38 km SW of Komotini, 219 km E of Thessaloniki (the second largest Greek city), 56 km (about 50 min) E of Kavala’s international airport (and the main seaport of Macedonia) & 104 km (about 1 hour and 15’) of Alexandroupoli’s international airport. The distance from Athens is in total 719 km.
Arrival by Car, Moto, Caravan: To reach Vistonida Lake by car from Thessaloniki take the Egnatia Motorway (Egnatia Odos). The Egnatia Motorway crosses Greece from its westernmost edge -Italy (Igoumenitsa)- to its easternmost borders with Turkey (Kipi, Evros). It is a modern motorway of international standards, equipped with devices and safety systems that aim at protecting and helping the motorists. After Xanthi you follow the eastern exit, the way to Porto Lagos.
The distance from Athens to Alexandroupolis is in total 719 km.
Arrival by Airplane: From Athens to Alexandroupolis International Airport Democritus (AXD). The airport is located 7 km east of the city) the connection is daily and several times per day throughout the year. The airport is connected to the city of Alexandroupoli by urban bus.
Also, from Athens to Kavala International Airport Megas Alexandros – KVA (also called: Chrysoupoli Airport). At the airport of Kavala there is only the possibility of taxi transfer. Otherwise you can take a taxi to Chrysoupolis and then by bus to Kavala or by taxi to Xanthi.
From Thessaloniki International Airport Makedonia (SKG). The airport is connected by bus to the city centre of Thessaloniki, the Railway Station (OSE) and the Bus Station (KTEL Makedonia). Busses are operated by OASTH.
Arrival by Train: Train travel is not so much in fashion anymore due to the complexity of the journey through the Balkans. Rail services link Thessaloniki with, Athens, Thrace and Patra. The line through what was once Yugoslavia provides connections with Central and Western Europe. The line through Bulgaria connects to Eastern Europe and the line through Istanbul, Turkey with the countries of the Near East.
If you choose to come to Vistonida Lake by train, there are several frequent transports (6 routes per day) from Athens or Thessaloniki to Drama and Alexandroupolis (Didymoticho). Kavala is served by rail from the Drama Railway Station.
Arrival by Bus: From Athens there is a direct connection to Kavala three times a day, to Drama twice daily and to Alexandroupolis once a day.
Even more routes between Athens and Thessaloniki; Specifically, from Kifissos there are 13 daily routes for Thessaloniki, from Omonoia 6 times a day and from Piraeus 2 times a day.
From Thessaloniki there is an almost hourly connection with Kavala, Drama and Alexandroupolis. Finally, the local connection between Kavala and Drama and Alexandroupolis - Didymoteicho is very frequent.
Also, there are daily regional connections between Xanthi, Komotini, Alexandroupoli, Orestiada, Didymoticho and other smaller towns.
Arrival by Ferry/Boat: There is a connection between Kavala and the islands of the Eastern Aegean (Lemnos, Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Ai Stratis).
Access from Turkey: You can arrive by airplane to Istanbul Atatürk Airport (IST) and then by bus to Komotini. Then by bus to Xanthi and Vistonida Lake. There are daily busses from Istanbul (Büyük İstanbul Otogarı), Tekirdağ and Keşan to Alexandroupoli (VISA to enter Turkey might be needed). Then by bus to Xanthi and Vistonida Lake.
Access from Bulgaria: There are daily direct busses from Plovdiv, Haskovo, Harmanli and Svilengrad to Komotini. Then by bus to Xanthi and Vistonida Lake. Additionally, you can arrive to Thessaloniki from Sofija, Plovdiv (and some other bulgarian cities) and then take the bus or train to Xanthi and Vistonida Lake.