Lake Plastiras: Paradise in Thessaly
Greece is a land that is all about the natural wonders and the visceral experiences. So, for most people it would appear strange to know that one of Greece’s most picturesque spots (and soon to be not so secret) was forged by man rather than nature. That man was General Nikolaos Plastiras. And in 1960 his idea became reality.
Nestled in between the plains of Thessaly, Lake Plastira was made possible by the creation of the Kakavia dam. Fed by the river Tavropos, it supplies fresh water to the nearby city of Karditsa, while also supplying many people with a place to explore and relax. And that’s because the lake is framed by fir trees from the Agrafa mountains, making it ideal for all types of outdoor activities.
Hiking and mountaineering fans will certainly have their day. Biking is also a thing here. However, this serene enclave is probably best enjoyed walking. And quite a walk that would be. Along its 70 km shores you’re likely to encounter a myriad charming creatures such as foxes, hares, wild boar and badgers. But the fun doesn’t stop there. One can go horseback riding, too. And if the weather permits, one can go kayaking, canoeing, paragliding, sailplaining and water bicycling. Now that’s some serious water sport wanderlust. And how about the skiing opportunities? Come winter time, the Karamanolis ski resort opens up for the snow junkies. During summer, the beaches of Pezoula and Lamperou are ideal for refreshing dips. With hardly any tourists in sight, you’re almost certainly guaranteed to have a stretch of sand to yourself.
Along the banks and further in towards the foothills of the mountains are a string of villages that dot the landscape. Kalyvia and Fylakti are two of the most charming. They are well equipped with amenities and places to hire camping and hiking gear. Kerasia and Neraida are beautiful, too, as are Mesenikolas and Moshato and their wineries.
As is the case in most Greece, Lake Plastira is dotted with several interesting monasteries and churches from its long glorious past. Built on a sheer vertical cliff face, the Monastery of Panagia Pelekiti is definitely the pick of the draw. Built in 1640, this monastery boasts two separate churches; Analipseos and Panagias. Other notable structures worth checking out are the 1553 Petras Monastery as well as the Korona Monastery erected in 1587.
The whole place looks like it’s come out of some postcard from the Swiss Alps. The only difference? It’s not over run by selfie wielding tourists. Make sure you get there before the cats out the bag. Nothing screams authenticity more than authenticity.