LAKE PLASTIRA & AGRAFA | MAINLAND GREECE | THESSALY
Lake Plastira is probably the most scenic in Greece with exquisite, virgin nature, mountain villages, untouched by time, and fine monasteries and churches.
You can restrict your trip to the tour of Lake Plastira, where there are passable roads and adequate tourist facilities. However if you have hardy means of transport and are thrilled by adventure, it is worth wandering along the narrow, rough dirt-roads of Western Agrafa, where you’ll come across very few other travellers and will forget the sound of automobiles. Petrol is obtainable in Karditsa and Mouzaki. Follow the green routes on the map, which are the most practicable, although there are other wonderful routes in the district.
WHAT TO SEE & DO
CIRCUIT OF LAKE PLASTIRA (TAVROPOU)
An artificial lake at an altitude of 1,000 m, with a maximum length of 14 km, width of 4 km and 60 m at its deepest. The dam is at the southernmost point of the lake, at Kakavakia in the community of Kastania. On the top is a narrow 200 m road, which is only for small vehicles. It was General Nikolaos Plastiras, a politician and military man, who, while looking at the Acheloos river dreamed that there could be a lake here and envisaged the idea of a dam on this spot. It was finally constructed in 1959, by the Public Power Corporation (DEI).
Forests of fir and oak, gullies with plane-trees and lovely meadows surround the lake, creating an exceptionally beautiful setting. To circle it, set out from Karditsa or from Mouzaki, a pretty village draped in greenery. The first village you’ll come across close to the lake is Kerassia, with the Kimissi tis Theotokou monastery, featuring frescoes dating to 1770. Kryoneri follows, at a height of 880 m, with a rich, green prairie extending to the lake shore, then Pezoula, in a gully with a forest of plane-trees. Next is Neohori, with a breathtaking view of the lake. Once the seat of the Fanariot Archbishopric, it was at its zenith in the 16th and 17th c. Today it has developed into the area’s most important tourist centre, with hotels and tavernas.
If you have time, make a detour of about 2 km, along a steep, but negotiable route, to visit the charming Panagia Pelekitis monastery, hewn into the rocks, at a height of 1,400 m, built in 1529 by the holy martyr Damianos. On five levels, its interiors are impressive, with wooden and stone staircases, arched corridors, trap-doors, stone cells, the old still, a small oven chiselled out of the rock, the guest rooms and refectory. Returning to the main route, continue through Belokomyti, where you’ll be enchanted by the most stunning view of the lake. In Kastania, see the wood-carved icon screen in the Kimissi tis Theotokou church. Also visit the Mount Athos-style Petras monastery, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, with frescoes of 1625, 1672 and 1789. Completing the tour of the lake, you’ll come across Messenikolas, famous for its wine, and Morfovouni, built amphitheatrically, with a view of the entire Thessalian plain. From Kerassia, you’ll return to the starting point of Mouzaki.
TOURING THE VILLAGES OF AGRAFA
The rugged, mountainous region of Southern Pindos which links Thessaly with Roumeli. The people of Agrafa are traditionally fighters, hospitable and exceptionally proud. Successive mountain ranges, dense forests and deep ravines through which raging torrents race in winter, surround the 52 villages of Agrafa.
Virtually untouched by time and plunged in deep greenery, they are ideal for mountain trekking. The route we suggest may take a whole day. Begin the excursion at Mouzaki again, because the road is passable, at least up to Argithea, which is crossed by the little river Platania and is built in a hollow amongst the fir-trees. If you have a suitable vehicle, you can continue driving along the bumpy roads to visit — with small detours — the villages Messovouni, Anthiro, where you can admire the single-arched Korako bridge, Karya, altitude 1,000 m, and Koumbouriana.
Shortly after, it is worth a detour to visit the renowned monastery of Panagia tis Spilias. Continuing, you can drive through the charming, tiny villages of Leondito, Drosato and Vlasi, before going through Vrangiana to reach Belokomiti.
MONTANEMA HANDMADE VILLAGE
Montanema Handmade in Anthohori is a truly ecological village with all the comforts and luxury you can dream. The twelve apartments of various types located in stone-built houses with tiled roofs and wooden details spread out like a small village.
An ideal base to explore the area. Read more
LAKE PLASTIRA TIPS & INFORMATION
HOW TO GET TO LAKE PLASTIRA AND AGRAFA
Ideally with your own transport or with an organized tour.
By intercity bus (KTEL), from Kifissou Station, Athens, Tel. 0030 2105124913, 0030 2105124911
BEST SEASON TO VISIT LAKE PLASTIRA AND AGRAFA
All year round.
LAKE PLASTIRA & AGRAFA USEFUL TELEPHONES NUMBERS
Lake Plastira Municipality Office 00302441352200
Mouzaki Health Centre 00302445049100