Hiking in Neda valley

Hiking in Neda valley

Neda is the river border between the prefectures of Ilia and Messinia. The river flows from Mount Lykeo, and after a course of 32 km flows into the Ioanian Sea. Neda, with Erkyna river, are the only two streams in Greece having female names.
The valley of Neda is surrounded by the mountain ranges Tetrazi, Minthi and Lykeo. The area and is one of the richest in waters and natural resources mountain valleys. Both the ancient and the newest habitation system has penetrated deep into the valley and has placed landmarks over the ridges, the most known being the temple of Epicurean Apollo near Abeliona and the altar of Zeus on top of Lykeo.

Though there is not a real track along the river bed, Neda ravine is passable on foot, especially along the section between the villages Neda and Kalitsena. In recent years, the crossing of the river bed gained a reputation of very pleasant hiking route and attracts, especially in the warm summer months, many friends of adventure and river crossing. Moreover, in the wider area, three hiking destination are under development, namely Figaleia, Agios Sostis and Ambeliona.

Lost in the mountains at an altitude of 850m, the beautiful Abeliona is a small village with about 40 permanent residents. It is the hometown of Greek film director Theo Angelopoulos. The village was almost abandoned and was resurrected with the help and interest of the Angelopoulos family. A luxurious guesthouse Epoches (The Seasons) was built, while the old school turned into a simple guesthouse.

In neighboring Aghios Sostis, the Forest Department has cleared a network of four short trail, starting form the village and leading to the surrounding points of interest.

In Figaleia several paths have been marked, leading to the archaeological sites, the waterfalls and other points of interest.

The three most interesting hikes in the valley are the crossing fromNeda village to Epikourios Apollo temple, the short loop trail around Figaleia and of course the Neda gorge crossing.

Text and photos: T. Adamakopoulos