Study tour in Greece - Combining bike and train to explore the Iron Curtain Trail route
On Saturday, March 30th 2014, cyclists organisations, tourist agencies and transportation services representatives as well as independent cyclists and other stakeholders participated in the study tour organised by “ANTIGONE-Information and Documentation Center on Racism, Ecology, Peace and Non Violence” for the project “Iron Curtain Trail: Sustainable mobility along the newest EuroVelo route”. The study tour took place close to Kerkini lake, in a region some km. south of the Greek Bulgarian part of Iron Curtain Trail (EuroVelo 13) route. The organisation of the study tour has been in collaboration with the National EuroVelo Coordination Center for Greece.

The participant cyclists gathered in the New Railway Station of Thessaloniki and after they put their bicycles in the specific compartment, they boarded on the train going to Vironeia. In Vironeia, they met with other cyclists interested to participate in the cycling part of the study tour. Some of the participants had already spent the previous night in cyclists friendly accommodations and so the meeting point of all has been the railway station of Strimonas where the bicycle compartment stopped. When all participants took their bicycles, the journey trip began. Participants cycled to the Roupel Fort and the thermal baths of Agistro and Sidirokastro, regions that are located along the Iron Curtain Trail - EuroVelo 13 cycling route.

The combined train and cycling tour have not been the only activities for the day. The parallel organisation of the cycling events of TRAINOSE and “Methoriakos Stathmos” together with the study tour in the region, offered the participants the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities. The representative of ANTIGONE and responsible for “Iron Curtain Trail” project activities mr. Giorgos Farfaras presented to the participants the project in relation to the cycling route EuroVelo 13 that follows the former Iron Curtain Trail from Barents Sea until Black Sea, passing through 20 countries including Greece. Mrs. Savvidou, the owner of “Methoriakos Stathmos”, stressed the need to overturn the conception of the old railway station to a recreation center for cultural tourism and alternative activities together with a cyclists friendly hostel following the criteria of the Cyclists
Welcome Hellas network.


At the end of the day, mr. Farfaras commented that under the framework of Iron Curtain Trail project, there is an intensive effort towards the indication of all possible combined tourist packages that will include combined transportations, accommodations, food services and specific points of interest for the visitors. He mentioned that it was the first time that himself he had a trip combining train and bicycle and he stressed the fact that this choice is ideal for long distance cycling trips. Last, he referred to the fruitful collaboration that has already started between ANTIGONE and Dr. Nikolaos Athanasopoulos, the Strategic Planning Senior Advicer of TRAINOSE, and the plan to co-organise the upcoming cycling event along the cycling route EuroVelo 13. This event is planned to take place along Ardas river in Evros regional unit, during the famous Ardas river festival this summer.