The Gorge of Neda
Neda river defines the border between the counties of Helia and Messene in the Peloponnese. It rises from the foot of Mount Lycaeon and after a long course of approximately 32 km, flows into the bay of Kyparissia in the Ionian Sea. It owes its name to the nymph Neda, the deity of the waters who according to mythology, Rhea gave her the newborn Zeus in order to protect him from her husband Cronus.
The river crosses the famous Neda gorge. The hike is through an unspoiled natural environment, covered with wild vegetation of plane trees, oaks and arbutus. Narrow rocky passages, impressive ponds, waterfalls and caves add extra beauty to this unique natural landscape.
Entrance to the gorge is possible at many points, depending on the length of the route one wishes to cover. The most popular starts at the Figalia bridge, near the village Platania. Walking in the water is unavoidable while in some parts swimming is absolutely necessary. In some other parts the help of ropes is a must to go from one bank of the river to another.
After four hours of hiking, you come across the cave of Stomio. At this point the river enters into a cave, crosses the mountain through a water tunnel and continues its course behind it. Stomio is a normal cave, about 200 meters long with stalactites and bats on its roof. From that point you can climb the rocks to reach the path that leads to the wonderful waterfalls of Neda with the natural ponds where you can swim in their crystal-clear waters.
Crossing the gorge is not that easy as there are a few parts with a moderate level of difficulty. It requires prior planning and extreme caution; however, it is definitely worth it. The best time to cross the gorge, is late summer to early autumn when the amount of the water is less and it is easier to walk in the river or swim a little, in the deeper parts. The Neda gorge is a hidden gem and a perfect choice for river trekking.