Lake Doxa: Explore the Rugged Magic of the Peloponnese
There isn’t a great deal of artificiality in Greece. The food is farm to table, the people are nothing if not up front and ‘exo kardia’ (what you see is what you get), nature is pristine and looked after and the history, although embellished at times, provides an accurate portrayal of a nation oozing good vibes. There is an inherent quality of real-ness in Greece which makes the notion of artificiality altogether peculiar. Artificial is certainly not synonymous with Greece, thus the otherwise lovely lake Doxa goes rather unnoticed in these parts of the world. Save for a few school trips and romantic love-ins by couples, the people in the village of Feneos, in the Peloponnese, don’t really get that many visitors. And it’s a shame, as Lake Doxa is anything but a mirage. Its real affordable, it’s real pretty and merely two hours from Athens, its real close.
So what are we looking at? An artificial lake in the western Corinthia prefecture created in the mid 90’s by diverting water from the homonymous river Doxa on to a plateau at an elevation of 900 meters. Crops were getting flooded every season and so the decision was made; Lake Doxa was called into existence. Flanked by pine and fir trees and mount Helmos peeking over in the distance, one half expects to hear cowbells and yodels with men in lederhosen clanging massive jugs of beer. Such is the illusion that even the cabins one can rent out have a distinct rustic feel to them, as if stuck in a Bavarian time warp. Cozy stuff, without doubt.
The paramnesia really sets in, however, upon close inspection of the lake, where one solitary monastery appears out of the water as if by magic: the church of Agios Fanurios. Guided tours are available to go and admire its iconostas and walk around the tiny islet. Other activities include kayaking around the lake or simply just diving in. There are extensive walking trails around the lake and venture further, one can hit a few wineries on the Peloponnesian wine country trail, and maybe even stumble upon a few castles and monasteries, too.
The whole area is dotted with alpine magic and Mediterranean coastal allure. Devoid of mass infrastructure, and imbued with a fierce sense of individuality, this Peloponnesian bling is worth it’s weight in gold.