Alexandroupolis, the Largest Port in Thrace with Cultural Sights

Alexandroupolis is a great base for your holiday excursions in northeastern Greece and a charming destination in its own right, with an impressive lighthouse and cultural sights.

Alexandroupolis is the first city you will meet when entering Greece from Asia. It is situated at the crossroads of Asia, Europe, and the Balkan peninsula on the northern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. If you pass through here, you will eventually stop here. The waterfront is lined with tavernas, seafood restaurants, bars, and hotels, and the city has a relaxing ambiance to it. Alexandroupoli is a holiday destination that caters to so many needs. Outside town, you may enjoy days at the stunningly beautiful Evros Delta.

Alexandroupolis is the capital of the Evros region in Thrace in northern Greece. It is an important port and commercial center of northeastern Greece.

Where is Alexandroupolis?

Map of Central and Eastern Macedonia Greece
Map of Macedonia and Thrace in northern GreeceCoordinates: 41°10′N 26°05′E

Alexandroupolis is about 14.5 km west of the delta of the river Evros, 40 km from the border with Turkey, and 346 km from Thessaloniki on the newly constructed Egnatia highway. Around the city, you will find small fishing villages like Makri and Dikella t o the west. The current metropolitan population is estimated at around 70,000 inhabitants, and its area covers the southern portion of the prefecture running from Rhodope Prefecture to the Evros Delta.

Alexandroupolis – What to see?

The lighthouse

The iconic lighthouse of Alexandroupolis is 27 meters tall with stone steps all the way to its top from where the light can be seen 37 km away. It was built in 1880 and to this day it is listed by the old town name, Dede-Agats, on the nautical maps.

A trip to the Cyclops’ cave

Visit one of the numerous caves of the Cyclops at the small, modern port of Makri.

The Evros Delta

Birds at Evros Delta in Thrace, photo by H. Kakaouhas
Evros Delta in Thrace, photo by H. Kakaouhas

A few kilometers east of Alexandroupolis you will find the natural masterpiece of the Evros Delta. Here the freshwater runs into the salty sea creating a rich wetland that is a vital sanctuary for a great variety of water birds. Of the 400 species seen in Greece, 300 pass through here. Evros river has 46 kinds of fish, 21 reptiles, 7 amphibians, and more than 40 mammal species.

The Dadia Forest Reserve

Dadia Forest Reserve and its many vulptures, photo by H. Kakarouhas
Dadia Forest Reserve and its vultures, photo by H. Kakarouhas

Just sixty kilometers north of Alexandroupolis you will discover the stunning Dadia Forest, a true magnet for nature lovers and bird watchers traveling through the area. If you follow the hiking and birdwatching trails within the vast forest reserve you will come close to eagles, hawks, and dozens of other majestic birds.

Panagia Kosmosotira, a frontier church

Panagia Kosmosotira, Feres Thrace, photo Y. Skoulas
Panagia Kosmosotira, Feres Thrace, photo Y. Skoulas

When crossing the border between Greece and Turkey at Feres bridge, you will notice the church of Panagia Komsmosotira, which is important both architecturally and ecclesiastically. The monastery and the religious complex of which it is part were built in the 12th century. It is one of the most remarkable sights in the area.

The thermal springs of Evros

Thermal springs and spas in Greece - photo by Sime Basioli

If you love a hot bath, need a body refreshment, or spiritual renewal you should make a stop at Trajanopolis. Even back in the 14th century, the brick-domed hostel here was famous for the healing powers of the thermal springs.

The history of Alexandroupolis

The Ethnological Museum of Thrace in Alexandroupolis, Greece
The Ethnological Museum of Thrace in Alexandroupolis

The settlement’s history only goes back to the 19th century. Long used as a landing ground for fishermen from the coast of Samothrace opposite, a hamlet developed in the area during the construction of a railway line connecting Istanbul to the major cities of Macedonia from Kuleliburgaz. The work was part of an effort to modernize the Ottoman Empire and was assigned to engineers from Austria-Hungary. The settlement soon grew into a fishing village known as Dedeagatch.

Traianoupoli is since the 2011 local government reform part of the municipality Alexandroupolis. The seat of the municipal unit of Traianoupoli is the town of Antheia. The city was first founded by the Romans and was named after Trajan.
In the Roman period, the city was famous for its baths. In the 4th century, it became the capital of the province of Rhodope. The city was later ruled by the Byzantines and the Ottomans, during that period the Roman baths were renovated by the Ottoman Gazi Evrenos and became known as Hana. The area came under Bulgarian rule after the Balkan Wars and was ceded to Greece in the Treaty of Neuilly (1919).

The ruins of four baths of the Roman and Ottoman period at Traianoupoli, Greece
Ruins of four baths of the Roman and Ottoman period at Traianoupoli

Alexandroupolis – How to get there?

Flights to Alexandroupolis

Alexandroupolis is served by Dimokritos International Airport (IATA: AXD) in the suburbs of Apollos, about 6 km from Alexandroupolis city center. It is one of the busiest airports in Greece and the main hub for Olympic Airways and Aegean; there are 6 daily flights to Athens, and also flights to Crete, while during the summer months some seasonal flights operate to\from Germany and Russia.

The port of Alexandroupolis

The airport is connected to the city by highway, taxi services, and scheduled bus services. The port of Alexandroupolis has been used principally by travelers.
There are daily services to the Island of Samothraki and a weekly Trans-Aegean service to all the eastern islands of the Aegean, with the final destination of the island of Rhodes.

Trains and buses to Alexandroupolis

Trains run frequently to Thessaloniki and Athens, Burgas in Bulgaria, and Edirne or Istanbul in Turkey. The bus network is much more extensive and frequent. Hourly buses to the major municipalities within Macedonia and Thrace are offered from the Regional Coaches KTEL as well as daily services to Bulgaria and Turkey. OSE, Varan, and Ulusoy have daily services to Istanbul and Athens each and depart from Alexandroupolis Train Station in the early mornings.

Aerial view of Alexandroupoli shore and beach

Weather and climate in Alexandroupolis

Average monthly day and night temperatures in °C and average rainfall in mm in Alexandroupolis

Evros: Info Guide

Including information about the sights of Evros, the Mountain Route-Ardas, museums, thermal spas, etc.