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Inside a wooded little gorge of Western Rhodope lies one of the largest and most beautiful waterfalls in the Balkans, the legendary Livaditis. The waterfall is located on the border of the prefectures of Drama and Xanthi and so it has two names: waterfall of Trachoni for the people from Drama and Livaditis for those from Xanthi. It is well hidden in an rugged area of outstanding natural beauty, at an altitude of 890 meters, in the western foothills of mount Koula, close to the famous for its pristine nature, forest of Haidou. The waterfall is located upon the small river of Mylopotamos, a tributary of Arkoudorema, north of the village of Livaditis. At some point the waters divide vertically a cliff, falling from a height of about 40 meters, thus creating the waterfall of Livaditis which is distinguished by its delicate form. The waters, with their timeless momentum, have created an impressive formation on the rock next to the waterfall that looks like a giant spiral. The waters continue creating a worth following calm stream, inhabited by many rare plants and small animals. The landscape is characterised by an intense terrain with vertical cliffs, lush vegetation and lots of water, while in the area there are basic facilities for hiking, resting and outdoor lunch. Best season to visit the waterfall of Livaditis is the coldest days of winter, when the waterfall freezes, creating a unique spectacle. The approach requires walking on a rather steep path inside a dark forest.

The waterfall is located in a dense forest of common beech, with trees being more than 30 meters high, and some scattered clusters of common birch. Other trees here are common hornbeams, hop-hornbeams, common ashes, silver lindens, greek maples and common alders. The area is part of the Rhodope Mountains National Park, where dozens of rare species of flora are found. The most important plant here is Minuartia saxifraga which grows on the vertical rocks near the waterfall. Other rare species close to Livaditis are Impatiens noli-tangere, Silene heuffelii, Viola orbelica, Anemone nemorosa, Telekia speciosa, Hypopitys monotropa subsp. hypophegea and Vincetoxicum hirundinaria subsp. hirundinaria. The flora is supplemented with plants such as Lilium martagon, Pulmonaria rubra, Orthilia secunda, Tripleurospermum tenuifolium, Achillea grandifolia, Campanula persicifolia, Rubus idaeus, Digitalis viridiflora, Chamaecytisus eriocarpus, Jasione heldreichii, Lycopus europaeus, Scrophularia nodosa, Umbilicus luteus, Thalictrum aquilegiifolium and orchids Cephalanthera rubra, Epipactis persica subsp. exilis, Platanthera chlorantha, Dactylorhiza sambucina and Neottia nidus-avis.

The birdlife of the surrounding area includes a lot of rare species. In the coniferous forests, a little higher from the waterfall, lives the impressive capercaillie and in the mixed, dark forests of the area appears the rare hazel grouse. Other uncommon species here are the Tengmalm’s owl, the black woodpecker and the three-toed woodpecker. Dippers and grey wagtails search for food in the stream bed. Birds of prey include short-toed eagles, honey buzzards, common buzzards, sparrowhawks, levant sparrowhawks and goshawks. The bird fauna is supplemented by woodcocks, woodpigeons, stock doves, cuckoos, tawny owls, green woodpeckers, great spotted woodpeckers, syrian woodpeckers, middle spotted woodpeckers, lesser spotted woodpeckers, woodlarks, wrens, dunnocks, robins, nightingales, Bonelli’s warblers, whitethroats, semicollared flycatchers, blue tits, willow tits, marsh tits, long-tailed tits, wood nuthatches, bramblings, siskins, bullfinches, hawfinches and rock buntings.

Around the waterfall appear big numbers of fire salamanders, while other amphibians in the area are balkan crested newts, common toads, green toads, fire-bellied toads, balkan frogs and greek frogs. Herpetofauna includes Hermann’s tortoises, slow worms, green lizards, common wall lizards, smooth snakes, grass snakes, aesculapian snakes and nose-horned vipers. In the dense forests of the area live healthy populations of wolves, while the appearance of bears is occasional. Other mammals include roe deers, wildcats, wild boars, foxes, red squirrels, weasels, pine martens, northern white-breasted hedgehogs and hares. It is important that the surrounding forests are one of the few areas of Greece inhabited by the rare parti-coloured bat (Vespertilio murinus).

Πως θα πάτε

The access to the area is from both the sides of Xanthi and Drama prefectures. The great thing is that the two routes include walking in the woods. From Drama you arrive by crossing Arkoudorema stream (just before Dipotama) and following the harsh forest dirt road that starts from the village of Trachoni (7 km.) you reach a path of 500 meters that leads you to the waterfall. If you come from Xanthi you reach the village Livaditis, from where a 3 km path through the forest gets you to the waterfall.

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(Latitude: 41.32780656931318, Longitude:24.672028393432583)

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