Xanthi & Kavala
Thanks to the newly established Zlatograd border crossing between Bulgaria and Greece, many attractive tourist destinations lie within reach to visitors of Startsevo. Xanthi, Fanari, and Kavala are the closest ones and can be reached within one to two hours' drive.
Komotini, Alexandroupoli, or even Thessaloniki are slightly further away, yet easily accessible through Greece's first-rate highway network. Moreover, Kavala International Airport is serviced by regular and charter flights to various European destinations.
This town of 65,000 is located at the southern outskirts of the Rhodope Mountains. Once renowned for its tobacco quality, today a number of museums and the famous Old Town make Xanthi an attractive destination.
Xanthi is divided by Kosynthos River into the old and the modern towns to the west, and the Samakov district with its rich natural environment to the east. Although small, Xanthi's Old Town is known for its distinctive architecture, boasting Byzantine churches, Ottoman mosques, but most of all, a significant number of neoclassical mansions from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Historically, Xanthi has served as a gate to the Rhodope Mountains, as shepherds and craftsman, not the least from Zlatograd and Startsevo, brought their wares to market here, or crossed the city on their way to Aegean Thrace in spring, and back north in autumn. In reminiscence of this tradition, Xanthi hosts an annual spring carnival with concerts, theater plays, exhibitions, and re-enactments of old customs.
Only 30 km south of Xanthi, some of the most beautiful beaches of Aegean Thrace are to be found. The small fishing village Fanari, for instance, lies adjacent to the wetland natural reservation Lake Vistonida, which is tremendously rich in flora and fauna.
Lake Vistonida, like a number of smaller salt-water lakes around it, is separated from the Mediterranean solely by a narrow spit of land. An impressively located monastery, Saint Nicholas Chapel, is built on two small islands in the Porto Lagos lagoon, just off the spit. The monastery is only accessible by wooden pedestrian bridges, connecting the two islands, and linking them to the mainland spit.
On the south-western edge of the lake lies the village of Porto Lagos, while Fanari is located on the south-eastern edge. Both villages have port facilities, with Porto Lagos' being rather industrial, and hosting a large open-air market right at the water. Fanari, on the other hand, boasts more than five kilometers of beautiful sandy beaches, and has only a small port for yachts and local fishing vessels. Besides impeccably clean beaches and the stunningly azure water of the Adriatic, a number of authentic restaurants make Fanari a worthwhile destination.
Kavala is another attractive destination, located 50 km west of Xanthi, just across the island of Thassos. With 70,000 inhabitants, Kavala is the principal seaport of the region, and an important tourist destination.
The most notable feature of Kavala is the Byzantine fortress atop the hill Panagia, mounting over the bay, around which the town is stretching. Besides the fortress, Panagia hosts Kavala's Old Town, with an Ottoman aqueduct leading up the hill, too. Below Panagia, the modern part of town stretches around the Bay of Kavala, marked by the large port facilities and a spacious promenade.
Kavala is home to a number of museums, such as the birth house of Muhammad Ali Pasha of Egypt, and hosts festivals and other cultural events throughout the year. Yet, it is best-known for its cuisine consisting of fresh fish and sea food, such as mackerel gouna (sun dried and grilled mackerel), sardine pantremeni, herring saganaki, anchovies wrapped in grape leaves, or mussels with rice.
Startsevo is remote, yet at the same time easily accessible by car, as the nearby road infrastructure has been substantially improved in recent years.
The peaceful surroundings, a speedy Internet access and various comfortable working spaces make our guest house in Startsevo an excellent retreat to get things done.
No matter if at night or during the day - you can always relax on our porch or balconies with a breathtaking view of the valleys below.