Acheron River: The Mythical Gateway To The Underworld

  • by XpatAthens
  • Monday, 28 February 2022
Acheron River: The Mythical Gateway To The Underworld
At the beginning of time, when gods and monsters roamed the earth, the Titans fought the Olympians for control of the Universe. During the ten-year battle, the Titans gained strength by drinking from the Acheron River. Enraged, Zeus cursed the river which, according to Greek mythology, was the gateway to the underworld.

This is only one of the origin stories of the river. In fact, the 52 km-long Acheron River in Epirus, northwest Greece, is far more than the fame it had in mythology.

Teeming with life, the river enchants the visitors with a complex ecosystem of gorges, lakes, and waterfalls. In riverside villages, nature lovers discover wildlife, learn about the local history, and adrenaline junkies can engage in a range of adventure sports.

Many villages have access to the river, but most travelers head to Ammoudia, Mesopotamo, and Gliki. Located 5 kilometers east of Ammoudia, the settlement is the home of the old Acherousia lake, which ancients believed was the entrance to Hades.

Today’s visitors can combine a stop at the nearby ruins with a visit to Ammoudia, where boat trips explore the wetlands along the river, lined with water lilies and trees. About 20 kilometers up from Ammoudia, Gliki is known for its adventure sports and hiking trails. It also combines swimming with rock climbing.

In addition to the many outdoor activities, Acheron supports a habitat that hosts rare and endangered animals and plants, endemic to the area. In the Straits of Glyki, there are endangered birds such as golden eagles, vultures, and Egyptian vultures. In total, the 11,440 acres surrounding the Acheron Straits and wetlands zone are part of the European Commission’s NATURA 2000 network of protected areas.

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