Degree of difficulty: easy (1/4)
We set off from the village of Ioniko and follow the asphalt road for 800m north-west. As soon as we see a dirt track on the left, we go right (north) and climb upwards on the path. We cross a rich mid-elevation forest with oak trees, cornelian cherry trees, hazelnuts, chestnuts and maples. Woodcocks with their fast beating wings are a pleasant surprise for the hiker and the rhythmic pecking of woodpeckers interrupts the silence. If we are lucky, in the spring we will see black storks wading cautiously in the ravines. In autumn, we can collect mushrooms and the fruits of the forest. Rodopi’s wide biodiversity will delight every walker’s senses. As we climb up to Kalyva Castle, we will see ancient dry-stone walls, made from impressively small stones, hidden in the dense vegetation. At the top of the hill, at an altitude of 627 meters, we can see the ruins of the fortified walls. The fort was built in a prominent position by Philip II around 340 BC. It is one of the many fortresses that the Macedonians built in the passes of Nestos. The fortified wall forms a perimeter of 245 meters and is reinforced with two four-sided towers and four circular towers. The maximum preserved height of the fortification is 3.50 m. In the centre of the fortress there is a sunken cistern in the shape of a beehive, with a maximum diameter of 8 m. and a depth of 12 meters. It is particularly impressive due to the excellent stone structure completed by stonemasons.
Points of interest
Kalyva Castle (340 BC.) constructed in a prominent position, large cistern with excellent masonry work in the centre of the fortress, mid-elevation forest dominated by oak trees and variety of vegetation with cornelian cherry trees, hazelnuts, chestnuts, maples and hawthorn trees