A four-wheel tour round Plastira Lake, τhe inimitable caress of a lakeside breeze
Along the sturdy backbone of Greece, a shimmering blue world gives you just the kind of lift you need. The sight of a lake with a series of picturesque villages rising from its shores and the nearby Agrafa mountains make the complete road trip experience.
Rising in the west, Neohori boasts splendid hotel accommodation and unobstructed views to the lake. An array of outdoor activities will get your motor running from the outset. Stock up first on a little spiritual sustenance in the historic monasteries of Koroni and Panagia Peleketi, before taking to the pistes around Agrafa’s ski centre.
A village that hugs the shores of the magnificent lake, it extends a cordial invitation for a quiet stroll, a scenic boat ride or simply a sip of coffee whilst gazing into the emerald waters at your feet. In the summer, on the beach of the lake you will find sun loungers, pedalos and canoes just as if you were at the seaside. The village itself makes an excellent starting point as you make for the mountain hamlet of Neraida, spreading out amongst the fir trees and affording you a glimpse of the top of Mt. Olympus.
Perched on an Agrafa mountain slope, it is a living model of traditional Agrafa architecture. Its surrounding footpaths will very soon catapult you into the heart of the Agrafa mountain range.
Eastward bound, Mesenikolas is a small village surrounded by oak and chestnut tree forests, famed for its wine. In the winery, which is open to visitors, you will learn a lot about this local treasure and view the smallest, but most perfectly formed, PDO vineyard in Greece. In Labero you will find a verdant forest spilling onto the beach and, at the water’s edge, a charming wood-built tavern, where you will enjoy hours of relaxation with the contours of the Agrafa mountains sketched out on the horizon.
In Kastania, with the village unfolding around the church of the Virgin Mary, visit the tsarouhi shoe factory, one of the last of its kind in Greece, still crafting its footwear by hand according to time-honoured practices. Talking of footwear, the surrounding nature will reward the intrepid trekker, irrespective of how comfortable your feet are!
Last but not least, in Moshato, the village with the long tradition in viticulture, you can savour the sweetness of the beauty around you and the wine on your table. You can indulge to your heart’s content but make sure to keep a steady hand on the camera when photographing the delightful one arched bridge!
The beauty of its waters, reflecting the imperious peaks of the Agrafa range, make the lake of Plastira a desirable spot for lovers of nature and outdoor activities.
To truly experience the feeling of being at one with nature, you need to take to the waters for yourself as well as admiring them from the shore. By canoe kayak or pedalo, you can float across its emerald surface in a state of utter tranquility while the majesty of the natural landscape unfolds around you. Afterwards, with fishing rod in hand, you can while away hours in relaxation and reflection; patience is bound to reward you with a delicious fish or two!
Take the invitation extended by the many forest roads and paths, trailing among fir, oak and chestnut trees and passing by wonderful creations of both nature and man. Pause for a while at the renovated watermill of Anthohori and then follow the plane tree- lined footpath that leads to a waterfall.
You can do your homework on the ecosystems of the area in the Botanical garden, where a collection of hundreds of Greek flora species are on show. Feeling sufficiently cultivated on the ways of nature round these parts, you’ll be ready to take up the offer of the Flora and Fauna Centre, which organizes hiking tours to reveal this luxuriant masterpiece in its full glory.
If the mountain tops prove too irresistible a challenge, there are plenty of climbing opportunities on the Agrafa range, with comfortable refuges at Karamanoli and Elatakos, in Belokomiti forest.That “top-of-the-world” feeling can also be felt at the high-perching wildlife observatory. Its view to the lake, the Thessaly plain and the “Sleeping Beauty of Agrafa” is breathtaking.
In a gorgeous location on the pistes of the Pindos mountains lies the forest village of “Dryades”. Its tree-like dwellings merge with branch and leaf to evoke a fantasy world of wood elves and secret enchantment, all yours to savour every moment of the magic.
Plunge in and go with the refreshing flow of Lake Plastira.