An artificial lake in perfect harmony with nature, embraced by picturesque villages, fir forests and the imposing Agrafa mountain range
A miracle of both man and nature in Thessaly. The impressive dam in Kakavia created Lake Plastiras, one of the biggest artificial lakes in Greece and, framed by the fir tree peaks of the Agrafa Mountains, one of the most beautiful. Enjoy your holiday biking around the lake, kayaking, rock climbing and hiking, horseback riding and 4x4 adventures. Taste authentic local flavours and wines, relax in cosy stone guest houses with views of the lake and explore old monasteries and historic villages. Lake Plastira is not just a winter destination. There is always a reason to vacation here, any season of the year.
What to do in Lake Plastira
Lake Plastira: a man-made marvel in Thessaly A Greek general, later prime minister, Nicholas Plastiras, had the idea in 1928. Years later, the dam and the lake became a reality and he became its ‘godfather’. Although modesty never permitted him to say so, the lake was his gift to future generations; blue water, beaches and fir trees, with people enjoying the landscape in every possible way. It’s a sight for sore eyes!
Travelling around the lake: villages and views The road around the lake’s perimeter is a montage of beautiful images. Along the route (70km long), you’ll enjoy all the most important sights of the area. You can divide it into sections and see it in two or three days. Begin at Kalivia Pezoulas, near the centre of the lake. From there you can visit two of the loveliest villages in this corner of Greece, Neraida and Filakti.
A ‘lake’ of activities Lake Plastira is the perfect location for mountain sports, and all sorts of outdoor activities such as biking, horseback riding, canoeing, water bicycling, paragliding and sailplaning.
You can also try skiing at Karamanoli’s small resort or crossing the stunning ‘Grand Stream’ Canyon. Bring your own equipment, or rent from the many adventure companies in the area. Onwards and upwards!
Historic monasteries built of faith and stone Carved into the steep vertical rock, the Monastery of Panagia Pelekiti is one of the most impressive attractions in the area. It has two churches, Analipseos and Panagias, both built in 1640. Petras Monastery is even older (1553) and its altar is built based on the structure of those of Mt Athos. Korona (‘Crown’) Monastery will remind you of a castle, and from its high vantage point, you’ll admire the glorious surroundings. Its murals were painted in 1587 and its altar with its ornate wooden iconostasis dates back to the 16th century.
Discreet retreats Romantic hideaways and villas or rooms to rent fully equipped to accommodate families and groups of friends. Enjoy your holidays in the villages of Kalyvia Pezoulas, Kastania, Kryoneri, Lambero, Belokomitis and especially Neohori. You’ll find beautiful stone guest houses with all modern comforts, fireplaces, lake views, cafes and restaurants.
The local cuisine Enjoy grilled and stewed meat, trout cooked over charcoal and other traditional dishes, complemented by Messenikolas wine (a fine vintage). The stone tavernas at Kalyvia Pezoulas, Belokomitis and Neohori, in the region of Tsardaki, are famous for their good food and hospitable atmosphere. In the morning and afternoon you’ll enjoy a leisurely coffee while basking in the sun next to the lake.
Hidden gems of Lake Plastira
Winery and wine museum Messenikolas is one of three villages that cultivate the red-grape variety Black Messenikolas. There are wineries in the area that you can visit, as well as the Wine and Vineyard Museum – one of the most interesting museums in Greece – where you’ll learn everything there is to learn about its production.
Botanical garden in Neohori On the western side of the lake, near Neohori, there is a beautiful botanical garden. Over its 10 hectares lies a compelling journey not only around this particular ecosystem but also the flora of Greece as a whole.
Villages near the lake It’s worth taking a stroll in the lake’s nearby villages: Fylakti, with its lovely town square, is perfect in the summer. Lambero, Kryoneri (with its pretty Ai-Giorgis chapel) and Kastania await nestled amongst the firs.