The «mythical» lakes of Greece

1. Pamvotida Lake

The autumn cloudy scenery with the veil of fog is what dominates the lake of Ioannina. Lake Pamvotida adjoins the historic center of the city of Ioannina and is surrounded by Mount Mitsikeli. It is a living habitat, hosting various species of flora and fauna, while it also has an island, which is inhabited. You can enjoy the natural landscape on foot, by bike or by boat.

2. Drakolimni (Dragon Lake) of Tymfi

Below the peak of Gamila on Mount Tymfi, at 2050 m., is this alpine lake, Drakolimni of Tymfi, with an area of ​​approximately 5 acres. It is located in the middle of a hollow, around high wild rocks and hills, where nature is riveting. On one side rises the towering peak of Gamila, while on the other begins the cliff, at the bottom of which flows the Aoos and opposite is the massif that hides Papigo behind it.

The dragon lake of Tymfi is connected to that of Smolika across the street, through a legend, according to which there lived in the lakes two dragons who did not like each other very much and often fought with each other. Tymphi’s dragon threw logs and branches at Smolika’s and he in turn threw white stones. This is how the locals explain why the peaks of Tymfi are bare, after the dragon uprooted the trees, but also why there are white ones among the black stones of the lake. Although the hiking route from Mikro Papigo takes hours, it will reward you, since you will walk through a forest of oaks, cypresses, firs and the vegetation that gradually thins out and ends up in alpine with a little grass. After about 1,500 m altitude it turns into alpine.

3. Drakolimni (Dragon Lake) of Gistova

In the Grammos mountain range, at 2350 m, is the largest alpine lake in Greece, Drakolimni of Gistova, with a shallow depth and smooth mountain peaks surrounding it. Access is by hiking from the village of Grammos which takes about 4 hours. According to legend, a mischievous dragon lived in a nearby village, which the locals decided to isolate high on the mountain. The dragon, saddened by the ferocity of the inhabitants, a little above the village shed a tear which became the first small dragon lake, while when it reached a point where it could no longer see the village, on the peaks of Grammos, it shed a larger tear which turned into in the great dragon lake.

4. Drakolimni (Dragon Lake) of Smolikas

The second largest alpine lake of the country, at 2200 m altitude, Drakolimni Smolika, with a rather large depth and heart shape, is a monument of natural beauty. A small opening on one side creates a stream that tumbles down the cliff, while a few steps beyond the lake you will admire the endless meadow of mountain peaks that stretches out before you. Its color is usually intense blue, however, on its banks the bottom turns red. According to the legend, which ends differently here, the winner was the dragon of Smolika who threw not rocks but huge lumps of salt, which the dragon of Tymphi swallowed and, being thirsty, drank a lot of water and died. You can reach Drakolimni from the village of Paleoselli, by a path of moderate difficulty and by a forest road. Passing through a forest of pines and holm oaks you will reach the dragon lake. Another route starts from the village of Pades, where via a dirt road, by car or on foot, you will reach 1,900 m altitude and then you will take a route on a path to the lake for about 2 hours.

5. Kerkini Lake

In Central Macedonia, just outside of Serres, the artificial Kerkini Lake looks like a painting. The lake, a project of 1932 and a dam on the river Strymonas, is a national park, protected by the Ramsar Convention on wetlands, and also belongs to the Natura 2000 Network. Various mammals such as the jackal and otter, species of amphibians and reptiles live in the area, while around the lake there are about 300 species of birds. It is worth noting that Kerkini is home to the largest population of buffalo in Greece, around 4000.

6. Prespa Lake

On the northwestern border of Greece, in Florina, are the Prespes, the small and the large, two emblematic lakes that take on the colour of the sky.

Nature is unique with its unimaginable beauty, while in Mikri Prespa you can walk, via the footbridge, to the small island of Agios Achilleios, the second inhabited island in a lake in Greece, after the Island of Ioannina. In Agios Achilleios are the three-aisled basilica of Agios Achilleios, which dates from the end of the 10th century AD. and built by Tsar Samuel of Bulgaria, the 11th century Basilica of the Twelve Apostles, the 14th century Saint Demetrius and other basilicas.

7. Orestiada Lake

The jewel of Western Macedonia, Orestiada Lake or Kastoria Lake, one of the largest lakes in Greece, belongs to the protected sites of the Natura 2000 Network. It is a fishing ground, where various species are found, but also a refuge for rare species of fauna and flora in general. Its raw natural beauty will enchant you, while in winter you can see it freeze. It is also worth visiting the Dispilio area, where the remains of a prehistoric lakeside settlement from the Neolithic era have been discovered.

8. Plastira Lake

The artificial lake of Karditsa, the jewel of the Thessalian Plain, although it is a human intervention in nature, it has a unique landscape that remains charming throughout the year, while it has developed into an important wetland, inhabited by ducks, woodpeckers and mergansers . Arriving at the lake, you can cycle around it (note, the area was the official cycling training center during the 2004 Olympic Games) or four-wheel drive on a dirt road, in order to enjoy the scenery of the high green mountains. Various activities can be enjoyed in the area, whether you are a fan of fishing, mountain climbing, rowing, sailing or simply want to carefree admire the enchanting scenery. It is located 25 km west of the city of Karditsa, on the plateau of Nevropolis of Agrafa. The lake was inspired by General Nikolaos Plastiras, six years after his death, in 1959, the lake was completed. Around the lake, which has a perimeter of 70 km, there are wonderful villages, such as Neohori, 45 km N.W. of Karditsa, with the best view of the lake. You can visit the village of Karitsa, where the Monastery of Panagia Pelekiti is located. An entire piece of rock was chipped away to create a suitable building site.

9. Trichonida Lake

The largest and one of the cleanest lakes in Greece, whose waters are constantly renewed, Trichonida Lake in Etoloakarnania, reflects the majesty of nature with its indescribable beauty. On its southern bank was the ancient city of Trichonion, where there was a sanctuary of Asclepius and which is identified with today’s Gavalos. Thermo, in the north-east of the lake, at 360 meters, is the center of the area that belongs to the Natura 2000 Network and is home to dozens of animals and plants.

10. Drakolimni (Dragon Lake) of Verlingas or Briga

Above the village of Chaliki Trikalon, near the sources of Aspropotamos, at the beginning of Acheloos, on Lakmos mountain, at 2,050 m. altitude, you will encounter a spring landscape of incomparable beauty. In spring, the scenery is stunning with its green veil, colorful flowers, streams and small waterfalls, and you will also meet flocks of sheep. The shepherds call the dragon lake Farmakolakka, as it is said that the animals that grazed on its banks died. The path starts from the square of Haliki village, goes down to the stream and following the forest road you go up to the lake. There are also paths from the dirt road, which pass through dense fir forest.

11. Tsivlos Lake

In the mountainous Peloponnese, at an altitude of about 800 m on the slopes of Helmos, 11 km from the village of Zarouchla, nature has flourished. Tsivlos Lake was created after a landslide that blocked the Krathis River at the beginning of the 20th century. It has an area of ​​less than 200 acres and a depth of up to 80 meters, while it developed into an important wetland. It is surrounded by mountainous tree-covered slopes, by tall firs, century-old plane trees and Helmos pines, while the area is home to toads, black-throated woodpeckers, woodpeckers, hares and foxes. You can discover the beauty of nature by rowing on this small lake.

12. Doxa Lake

Doxa Lake or Feneos Lake, an artificial lake at an altitude of 900 meters fed by the stream Doxa, is located in Ancient Feneos of Corinth (a village of 184 inhabitants, 100 km west of Corinth), between the mountains Helmos (2,341 m) and Ziria (2,376 m.). The alpine scenery is breathtaking with the small church of Agios Fanourios in the center of the lake (the calm peaceful waters, the low mountain peaks and the vast green plain of Feneos surrounded by pines, firs, oaks and broadleaf trees. It is ideal for swimming, diving, hiking in the dense forests that surround the lake and many other activities. At the bottom of the lake, at a depth of 7 to 9 meters, depending on the water level, is the old iconostasis of Agios Georgios. A special touch in the landscape is the small church of Agios Fanourios in the center of the lake, which dates back to the mid-14th century. It joins the shore of the lake, as it is built on a small peninsula. The mouse island of the lake is Agios Fanourios or Paleomonastiros, and high up, on a slope 2 km., the Monastery of Agios Georges of Feneos is located. It is worth admiring the view from the wooden balconies of the monastery.


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