The Recreation Development Plan for destinations of natural and aesthetic interest on both sides of the boarder, which is being implemented in collaboration with the Greek Biotope/Wetland Centre, precisely defines the axes and actions required for the sustainable development of Western and Central Rhodope. It undertakes the task to clarify a vision for the area, to develop the respective strategic plan and to prepare an integrated action plan.

In particular, the Recreation Development Plan sets the theoretical basis for recreational activities in protected areas; it evaluates the existing situation, presents the opportunities and sets the priorities for development through a specific action plan concerning the facilities and infrastructure of environmental interpretation.

Clearly the recreation management in a protected area should have multiple synergistic objectives, based on the principle that conservation should go hand in hand with the maintenance and improvement of the living standard of the local society, by upgrading the quality of tourism services. In this respect, the Recreation Plan for Rhodope can be perceived as a dynamic tool for promotion, sustainable development and protection of the Rhodope region.


The Panaghia-Kastanies trail has been constructed outside the settlement of Graniti, in the district of Kato Nevrokopi, under the supervision of the local Forestry Service. The trail starts from Graniti and ends at the Chapel of the Dormition. Outdoor information and recreation facilities, orientation signs, interpretation boards, ramps, picnic tables, benches, seats and litter bins, etc. give the opportunity for safe, non-strenuous and joyful hiking through an area of special natural beauty.


Environmental interpretation boards will be designed and placed along selected routes of Rhodope, such as the Forest Village, the Livaditi Falls and at major road junctions. The aim is to create a structured network of recreation routes, coupled with the necessary information and interpretation infrastructure, to encourage visitors to explore and get acquainted with the Rhodope mountain and its particular features.

The environmental interpretation boards will include a map representation of the available routes and will indicate particular features of the flora and fauna of the Rhodope mountain.

These routes will provide useful guide to visitors in the area, involving existing roads and selected forest paths. A total of twenty boards will be placed.


A series of communication actions aiming at the promotion of the area of Rhodope and of the project objectives and results, will take place. In particular:

A logo will be created, as a powerful promotion and communication tool.
- Original orientation and interpretation board patterns will be designed for recreational routes.
- Printed and audiovisual material (such as leaflet, ecotourist guide, poster, CD-RΟΜ and a website) will be created.
- Meetings, project promotion and media work will be organised to provide publicity.

For the promotion of the project among the wider public, a directly identifiable logo has been designed. The logo features the special characteristics of the area of Rhodope and brings to prominence its natural and aesthetic value.

With plentiful possibilities of reproduction in monochromatic applications, in black and white, in variable size and on variable materials, the logo uses the communication language of the image as well that of the symbol, in order to attract the visitor’s interest, to become incorporated into his/her vocabulary, to act as a dynamic communication tool and to be used as a trade mark for the area.

In collaboration with EKBY, two patterns were created for the boards that will be produced for the management of the visitor mobility in the area, in order to achieve a uniform approach and a satisfactory interpretation of the environment.

One of the patterns will be used for the boards that will provide spatial guidance to visitors (directions, orientation). The second pattern will be used for the environmental interpretation sign-posting, with concise information on the special features of the area.

Emphasis will be attributed on aspects associated to the construction of the boards (materials, dimensions, placing), to the aesthetic part (colours, lay-out including logos and images, font size), and to the purely interpretational part (size and character of the text). Thereby the board patterns intend to create an organized and uniform network providing orientation, starting points and guidance to the visitors, around the unique environment of Rhodope, attempting, at the same time, to increase both their knowledge and awareness with regard to local conservation requirements.

Printed and audiovisual information material will be produced in collaboration with EKBY, aiming to make Rhodope more widely known, and to inform the public about the project and its achievements. The printed and audiovisual material will consist of:

Publication of the Recreation Plan
Upon completion of the recreation plan of the Rhodope area, prepared within the framework of the project, and aiming to inform the involved parties as well as the general public, printed material will be designed and produced.

The publication of the recreation plan will include an extensive summary of the planning of the promotion of Rhodope, and is expected to become a useful and user-friendly manual for planning and implementing actions referring to the promotion of ecological sensitive areas. In this respect, it mainly addresses the public services and other agencies which are directly involved with the management, promotion and sustainable development of Rhodope, while it can be used as a guiding document for other areas, in Greece or abroad.

The publication will be printed in three languages (Greek, Bulgarian and English) and will be distributed to specific groups, such as public services, local authorities, development companies, environmental organizations, hotels, recreational agencies etc.

Rhodope tour guide
A complete tour guide for the transboundary area of Rhodope is produced within the framework of the project, gathering all information needed by the visitor, in order to move about the area conveniently, in a satisfactory and organized way.

With a handy structure and scientifically documented contents, with comprehensive texts, rich photographic material and detailed maps of the proposed routes, the Rhodope tour guide resumes the essential acquaintance of the visitor with the natural and cultural assets of the area; it highlights its special features, and supplies full information on its infrastructure and recreational opportunities.

The guide will be published in three languages (Greek, English, and Bulgarian) in 4000 copies and its distribution will cover prefectures at the regional level in both countries.

Informational leaflet for the project’s promotion
To provide publicity to the project, an informative 3-fold leaflet was produced, with brief texts and rich photographic material. The texts refer to the project’s identity and objectives. It outlines its actions, and it includes concise information on the special features of central and western Rhodope.

The publication was printed in three languages (Greek, English, Bulgarian), in 3.000 copies, which the Prefectural Authority of Drama-Kavala and Xanthi distributes to interested parties.

Poster of Rhodope
In the context of the project, 3000 copies of a tri-lingual poster (Greek, Bulgarian and English) was designed and produced, to help promote and highlight Rhodope as a destination of special natural and aesthetic interest, as well as to increase public awareness. The poster is already distributed by the Prefectural Authority of Drama-Kavala-Xanthi, to public services, hotels and enterprises in the tourism sector in both countries.

The CD-Rom on Rhodope is designed and will be produced in three languages (Greek, English and Bulgarian) in 2000 copies, with the purpose to be used as an interactive tool which will gather and organise all the essential information on the transboundary area of Western and Central Rhodope, and will disseminate knowledge, contributing to the sustainable development.

The CD-Rom is designed so as to interact with people of all ages in order for them to get acquainted with all the special features which render the Rhodope area a location of exceptional natural and cultural significance, of extraordinary aesthetic and recreational value. Detailed texts and rich visual material intermingle within a unique graphic design, in order to create a useful tool which provides interesting and scientifically documented information, avoiding the sterile encyclopedic form.

The present web site has been designed by EKBY and is hosted in the web site of the Prefectural Authority of Drama-Kavala-Xanthi. Its basic objective is to increase publicity of the project, and to disseminate information about the project and its actions among the general public. Its content is supplemented with concise and scientifically documented information on the mountains of Rhodope, to help highlight the natural and aesthetic capital of the area.
The web site is also available in Greek and Bulgarian.

To pursue a high efficiency of the project, a sound planning of the sustainable utilisation of the Rhodope potential, and the active involvement of all interested social groups, three national and transboundary technical meetings have been planned, for the finalization and approval of the joint recreation plan. These meetings will be attended by all the involved parties (public services, local authorities, organisations) from both countries, whose field of action is associated with recreation in the Rhodope wider area. In particular:

The First Technical Meeting is bilateral and signifies the beginning of the participatory procedures for the common recreation planning for Rhodope. The meeting attempts to clarify the contents of the Recreation Plan of the area, as well to present the relative actions and projects implemented by the public services, the Local Government and the local environmental NGOs.

The Second Technical Meeting takes place at national scale. The purpose of this meeting is the presentation of the current situation concerning the promotion and recreation in Rhodope and the degree to which it is known to the public, as well as the exchange of views among the involved social groups, over the proposed projects in the area.

The Third Technical Meeting will again be bilateral and will refer to the Programming Period 2007-2013 potentials and prospects for nature conservation and development at Rhodope mountain.

1st Technical Meeting
The first cross-boarder technical meeting of the project was held on Wednesday 25th of July 2007, at the Thracian Art and Tradition Hall in Xanthi. The meeting marked the beginning of the cross-boarder participation procedures for the implementation of the Recreation Plan for Rhodope.
To this end, representatives of the public administration, the Local Government and environmental organisations of both countries exchanged views and proposals about the possibilities to utilise the natural and aesthetic resources of the area, in order to achieve its sustainable development and to support the local economy.

Agenda of the 1st Technical Meeting
Minutes of the 1st Technical Meeting
Photographic material

2nd Technical Meeting
The 2nd Technical Meeting took place on the 24th of September 2007 in Paranesti (at the Hall of the Municipal Council of Paranesti). The purpose of this meeting was the presentation of the current situation, regarding the recreation in Rhodope and its tourism product visibility, as well as the exchange of opinions on the projects proposed in the area. In this context, there was a discussion over a number of issues that had to do with of information and environmental interpretation infrastructure, ecotourism routes and paths, recreation infrastructure, dining and accommodation facilities, and promotion projects in Central and Western Rhodope.

All stakeholders and organizations involved in Rhodope from the Greek part were invited to the meeting. The meeting was moreover attended by the Mayors of Paranesti, Myki and Stavroupoli, representatives of the Region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, of the Prefecture of Drama, the Forest Service of Drama and Xanthi, the Local Union of Municipalities and Communities (TEDK) of Drama and Xanthi, the Management Authority of Rhodope mountain, as well as Development Companies of the region, NGOs (such as Callisto and the Ecological Movement of Drama), hunting clubs and hotel unions.

Agenda of the 2nd Technical Meeting
Minutes of the 2nd Technical Meeting
Photographic material

3rd Technical Meeting
The 3rd Technical Meeting of the project “Common approaches to a joint planning for the promotion of the ecologically sensitive sites on the Rhodope mountain”, implemented by the Prefectural Authority of Drama-Kavala-Xanthi and EKBY, took place on the 14th of December 2007 at the convention Hall of Komnina at Stauroupoli. The purpose of this last meeting was the exchange of views and proposals on maters of planning and promotion of the Rhodope area. Representatives of the public administration, the Local Government and environmental organisations of both Greece and Bulgaria focused on the possibilities of implementing common projects in the 4th Framework Programme regarding the sustainable promotion of natural and cultural environment of Rhodope.

Agenda of the 3rd Technical Meeting
Minutes of the 3rd Technical Meeting

A one-day open event has been scheduled in order to provide publicity to the project, its actions and achievements, in the form of a closing conference. The meeting will address the general public, as well as all parties involved in the management of the mountain massifs of Central and Western Rhodope, including the local recreation potential. Participants will be invited from both sides of the boarder.

On the 27th of March 2008 at the Hotel Kouros at Drama, took place the meeting titled “Promotion of the ecologically sensitive sites on Rhodope mountain” in the framework of the project Common approaches to a joint planning for the promotion of the ecologically sensitive sites on the Rhodope mountain, implemented by the Prefectural Authority of Drama-Kavala-Xanthi and EKBY.

Agenda of the meeting
Minutes of the meeting

A series of actions for the promotion of the project through the Media (Press releases, interviews in local and national media, press conference shortly before the beginning of the closing conference etc.) has been planned in order to inform the general public about the project. In addition, the promotion of the project is secured via the continuous update provided by the web sites of the project partners and of associated bodies.

Credits - EKBY, 2007