The waterfalls of Frakto Virgin Forest
The forest complex of Frakto is located in the north-eastern part of the Regional Unit of Drama at the border with Bulgaria.
Its total area is 11,935 hectares and it is covered with oak, pine (black and Scotch) beech, spruce, Norway spruce, etc.
Frakto (meaning “fenced” in Greek) owes its name to the fact that it lies in a basin that is bounded by ridges and has only one outlet in the southern and lowest point.
Part of this incomparable -for Greek landscapes- forest is the largest undisturbed forest ecosystem in Europe, the Virgin Forest of Central Rodopi (589 hectares), which in 1980 was designated as a “Preserved Monument of Nature”.
This unique Virgin Forest of Greece (and one of the most important of its kind in Europe) has a great scientific value and it is, thus, strictly protected.
Indeed, entrance in it is permitted only to those carrying a special permit issued for research purposes.
If you are interested in seeing powerful images along your hike, then Frakto Forest is your destination.
The conifer and broadleaf forests, the geological and water formations you will meet along the trail will keep your interest vivid.
The trail -in its biggest part- moves along the excellent path that was built by the Greek Forest Service in the past decade. Its design is linear yet hikers can choose between shorter sections / detours.
The route is characterised by many changes in vegetation types, several viewpoints and the strong presence of water.
In the above we have to add the interesting geological formations and the high chance to meet some of the rare animals and birds occuring in this area. The best time to visit is probably in early summer and mid-October.
If you want to browse the limits of imagination, continue reading and follow us!
The forest road that starts at Frakto Forest Station leads to an intersection (after one kilometer).
The sign here tells you that the left road leads to the Virgin Forest. A bar blocking the trail ensures that no one enters here.
Continuing on the main road (right road) will lead you to the waterfalls of the area, the ruins of Achladochori and to the “Rock Garden”.
About a hundred meters away, as you will see in a sign, starts the sign-posted part of the trail. This is where you start.
First of all, let’s go to the first waterfall. You should follow the clear and well-marked path through the dense and deep forest.
After 300 meters you’ll cool yourself at the 7 meter-high first waterfall of Frakto Virgin Forest.
Here, it is not unlikely to encounter Balkan chamoises that come down from higher altitudes to keep cool during the summer months.
We continue hiking to meet a junction. The right path leads to the ruins of Achladochori (there are signs at all junctions), but we continue straight up for the second 18 meter-high waterfall.
You have reached a landscape where tree crowns cover the waterfall. Sit next to it by the fir and listen to what water tells you.
As you come down from the second waterfall, turn towards the view point of the third waterfall.
You should be aware that the path -except its 350 meter uphill hike- is rough because of the scree you must pass.
But, don’t get back now!
Right ahead runs one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the wider region. Its height is 70 meters and it is located on the edge of the Virgin Forest.
There are also two other 40 and 80 meter-high periodic waterfalls which are impossible for “common mortals” to reach, because they are at the core of the Virgin Forest.