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Acheron, the ancient river of death enchants with its beauty

15 September 2012 / 15:09:46  GRReporter
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Since the era of Homer, the River Acheron has been personified with death, because according to Greek mythology, "the companion of the souls", Hermes, traversed it giving the souls of the dead to Charon, so that they could complete their way into the realm of Hades. Every soul, which traversed the river with Charon, had to give an obol for transportation, and the only one who crossed the river without paying, was Menip, writes Lucian. Acheron Valley was the place where the souls of the dead lived, and by the lake Aherousia the Nekromanteion Sanctuary of Acheron was created, where interaction with the souls of the dead took place.

Today, the river and the surrounding area enchant with their beauty and because of the tradition and the environment, many visitors are attracted, from the springs to the river mouth.

Acheron is an area of exceptional beauty and an important source of information and knowledge in the field of environmental education. Both its gorge and estuary, as well as the wider area around it, are included in the European network of protected areas Natura 2000.


Acheron is located in the Epirus region and crosses the prefectures of Ioannina and Thesprotia and Preveza. The springs of the river are many and are located on Mount Tomaros in Ioannina, and the mountains of Souli Paramythia in Thesprotia. The springs of the Vouvopotamos near Gliki are also of importance. The river is formed by two main feeders which come together in the village of Polistafilo and create Acheron. Its mouth ( is located on the Ionian Sea, in the village of Ammoudia, Preveza prefecture, where the delta is formed. The length of the river is 52 km, and its waters irrigate approximately 85,000 acres of land.

A popular tourist destination along its entire length

Although the myth describes negatively Acheron, the reality is totally different and its ancient history creates a mysterious background around the river. Acheron is a very popular destination for nature lovers who want to combine contact with nature with a variety of other activities, and is the starting point for excursions to Parga, Sivota, Paramitiya, the Sanctuary and more. In its mountain part the river flows through a valley named Laka Souli. There tourists can go hiking without technical difficulties, and 100-200 m from Serziana bridge, the river landscape becomes highlighted and it enters the impressive gorge area of the Acheron - Haradra. There, the rocks exceed 100 m, and the width of the river may be less than 2 metres. Every year, Preveza Municipality organizes events with many visitors at this place, where the total length is approximately 10 km and 7-8 hours are needed to pass it through the summer. Since 2000, Haradra can be crossed on foot, by a path covered with paving stones.

From the springs in Vouvoupotamos the river flows through Gliki and reaches the bridge of Mesopotamos. There is the ancient sanctuary, the gate to the kingdom of Hades and the ancient Ephyra. In the last kilometres to the estuary Acheron allows boat trips during the summer. Since 2010, canoeing trips have been organized in the river's delta. In this last part, the Forest of Persephone can be reached by a hiking trail along the river.

Rafting, canoeing and even horseback riding are organized on the river Acheron, as one can cross the river up to its mouth. With the proper equipment the gorge can be crossed as well. From Northern Greece you can get there through Egnatia, and from Southern Greece - by the bridge Rio-Antirio and the Ionian highway.

Tags: Acheron Preveza Ioannina gorge rafting
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