Tag Archives: lake

7 tips you need to know before heading to Elati

13 Jan
Elati village via http://www.xpatathens.com

Elati village via http://www.xpatathens.com

1. Go by car. If you want to really familiarize yourself with the area and take as much as you can back with you, you should really go by car which will give you the flexibility to explore this mountainous place even more. Elati is an amazing village itself but driving in the surrounding area will really take your breath away! On your way up from Trikala take a few minutes and stop to admire the traditional bridge in the village of Pili.

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2. Don’t miss (1): Plastiras lake. A few kilometres from Elati is the artificial Plastiras lake.

Plastiras Lake via Evangelos Vissariou, Flickr

Plastiras Lake via Evangelos Vissariou, Flickr

The surrounding area, which was radically developed after the creation of the lake, offers many activities for the visitors, apart from the unique landscapes! Many cafes and restaurants give you the opportunity to enjoy the view of the lake and the mountains in the background! Very close to Neochori you will find “To Manitari”, an excellent choice for lunch or dinner and a restaurant that many locals choose to visit! 😉

3. Don’t miss (2): Ski centre of Pertouli.

Ski Center of Pertouli, Photo Source  sdimitris via Flickr

Ski Center of Pertouli, Photo Source sdimitris via Flickr

Continuing on the road after Elati and before reaching the nearby village of Pertouli, you will find the ski centre. Although it is a very small one, it is worth visiting as the view from the top of it is just amazing; you will have the chance to see the surrounding mountains, standing gloriously usually full of snow!

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4. Continue even further down the road and visit Pertouli and Neraidochori! The magnificence of this area is not captured only in the villages of the area but also in the road connecting them! The views while driving are breathtaking!

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You will find many spots  to stop and enjoy the view! One of them is just after Neraidochori, where you will find a refurbished church and a great place to admire the nature!

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The back door of the church!

Close to Pertouli you will find a restaurant called “Niavis”; a traditional spacious Greek taverna, with amazing view of the mountains and the surrounding area and excellent food; again a choice of many locals from the area!

5. Explore the area! Don’t just admire the view from the car; let yourself explore on foot or bikes the area especially near the ski centre where you will find many off road roots and paths and enjoy the heavy forest!

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6. A restaurant that you should really visit when you are in this area is called “Ta Kanavia” and it is located in Elati.

Kanavia Restaurant via www.touristorama.com

Kanavia Restaurant via http://www.touristorama.com

Excellent spot overlooking the area and the mountain opposite to Elati, amazing food comprising of well prepared and served firsts and amazing main dishes with many choices on hunting and traditional dishes. The wine is also excellent!

7. Downtown Elati you will also find “To Kechri”, beautiful cafe where you can enjoy relax and enjoy a hot chocolate in a cold winter day!

Café “To Kechri” via elati-pertouli.gr

Café “To Kechri” via elati-pertouli.gr

You should really try the homemade cherry spoon sweet which is absolutely delicious!

Stavros Tsoukatos

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Discover the 4 seasons of Kastoria (part 2): Winter

15 Dec

The second part of the post is meant to guide you around beautiful Kastoria during the season the city is mainly famous for: winter.

The hardest time of the year gives Kastoria a unique charm making it a very popular winter destination in Greece. The average temperature in the winter is +5ºC while it can be as low as -15ºC and so you will definitely need to pack your warmest clothes.

 The most famous phenomenon of the area is the frozen surface of Lake Orestiada (aka Kastoria Lake). In olden days the lake used to freeze almost every winter and the ice was so thick and hard that a large cart could easily traverse it.

Frozen Lake via vavelhaber.blogspot.com

Frozen Lake via vavelhaber.blogspot.com

If, however, during your stay in Kastoria you are not lucky enough to find the lake frozen, don’t worry; there is much more for you to do than just stand there and wait for the water to freeze! Here are my 3 best suggestions:

Koutouki

Choose one of the beautiful traditional “koutouki” taverns and try to get warm by drinking the local tsipouro spirit and tasting local meze. Tsipouro is a quite strong spirit, so it will help you stay warm during your stay in Kastoria (or keep you good company if you lack one!). For those that are not really fond of strong spirits, the area is also known for its red wine that makes a good match with local products like graviera cheese or the well-known Kastoria beans. My personal favourite tavernas are “Ouzo Therapy”, a modern, minimal restaurant with a wonderful view over the lake and “Tsipouradiko tou Thoma”, a traditional tavern whose menu can sometimes contain more than 120 different dishes!

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Ragoutzaria

If you are looking for an authentic festival to party the Kastorian way, then you need to visit Kastoria a few days after New Year’s.

Source pavlosdim.blogspot.com

Source pavlosdim.blogspot.com

From the 6th to the 8th of January the locals dress as Dionysus’ (the ancient Greek god of  winemaking and wine, ritual madness and ecstasy) followers or as members of the opposite sex, and celebrate “Ragoutzaria” in order to forget the hardship of life and especially of the year that just passed. Every group of people has its own band of brass instruments and live music is played loudly in every corner of the town from the morning until the evening that all groups meet in the town centre and celebrate together until dawn!

Σοθρψε live-avles.blogspot.com

Source live-avles.blogspot.com

Vitsi Ski Resort

Vitsi, just 22km from Kastoria, is one of the smallest ski resorts in Greece and although it is mainly used for training purposes, it is also open to the general public.

Source history-pages.blogspot.com

Source history-pages.blogspot.com

It is not well known (yet), so with a waiting time for the lifts of about 3-4 minutes you can enjoy skiing uninterrupted. So if you want to train for your favourite sport or play in the snow surrounded by a calm and majestic natural environment, then Vitsi is just the place for you! If the weather is nice you can also visit the nearby traditional village of Nymfaio (the road might sometimes be closed if the weather conditions are bad).

Labros Psomodotis

How to get an authentic taste of Karpenissi in 8 Steps

3 Nov

Karpenissi in Autumn via flickr user Robin Iversen Rönnlund

Karpenisi during Autumn via flickr user Robin Iversen Rönnlund

Karpenissi in winter via trekearth.com

Karpenisi during winter via trekearth.com

Karpenissi by night via nocomments.gr

Karpenisi by night via nocomments.gr

1. Try authentic flavours

A simple walk in the center of Karpenissi and the nearby villages will reveal the local (and gourmet!) cuisine of the region that every visitor has to try! Given the number of different products and recipes, it is worth devoting some time to discover as many as you can!

Don’t miss:

  • The traditional sweet preserves (or Greek spoon sweets) from chestnuts, walnuts or grapes.

Traditional Greek spoon sweet via foodjunkie.eu

Traditional Greek spoon sweet via foodjunkie.eu

  • The traditional dairy products and especially cheese. Among my favourites are feta cheese from Velouchi mountain, the local yellow cheese and “tsalafouti cheese” (a  delicious type of creamy cheese!).

Tsalafouti cheese via forum.beer.gr

Tsalafouti cheese via forum.beer.gr

  • The traditional local pies with cheese, leek or herbs

Traditional pie with herbs via Expat Foodie

Traditional pie with herbs via Expat Foodie

  • The local cured meats. Some of the most famous are the sausages with leek, the prosciutto and the salami

Sausages with leek via mmmeat.gr

Sausages with leek via mmmeat.gr

  • The home cooked, traditional dish of rooster with local noodles and various dishes with wild boar

Traditional rooster with noodles via mygreekdish.com

Traditional rooster with noodles via mygreekdish.com

2. Explore Velouchi Mountain…

Velouchi Mountain via skaikairos.gr

Velouchi Mountain via skaikairos.gr

The town of Karpenissi is situated at the foothills of the 2315-metre high mountain of Velouchi; on the top you will find the famous Velouchi ski resort, only 10km away from Karpenissi. During winter time, if you are a snow lover, you can spend your time doing various ski sports or you can just have a warm drink accompanied by the spectacular vista of the winter sunset.

Velouchi ski resort via https://lh6.googleusercontent.com

Velouchi ski resort via https://lh6.googleusercontent.com

During the rest of the year, cross the mountain through the tunnel located on the top of it and find yourself on the other side surrounded by a moon-like landscape.

3. Enjoy a sport that suits you!

Besides skiing, the area has to offer a great number of alternative activities such as horse-riding in the middle of a platanus forest, rafting in one of the 3 rivers of the area (offering various degrees of difficulty), canyoning and trekking in stunning landscapes.

Horse-riding in Karpenissi via http://www.margit.gr

Horse-riding in Karpenisi via http://www.margit.gr

Rafting in Karpenissi via http://www.valeladi.gr

Rafting in Karpenisi via http://www.valeladi.gr

4. Trek to Pantavrechi and the Black cave (Via Ferrata).

Pantavrechi

Panta Vrehei via canyoning-caving.blogspot.com

Panta Vrehei via canyoning-caving.blogspot.com

The actual translation of Pantavrechi is “always raining”. It owes its name to the fact that the water coming down from the peaks of the Canyon of Krikelioti River doesn’t have a predetermined way out, leading to a continuous flow of small and large drops and creating a continuous artificial rain. Pantavrechi is accessible only from early June to late September as during the rest of the period it is not possible to walk the river upstream. It will take you 1.5h hiking to get there or 2.3h by a 4X4 vehicle followed by 30 minutes of walking.

The Black Cave and Via Ferrata.

The Black cave via http://2.bp.blogspot.com

The Black cave via http://2.bp.blogspot.com

A natural pool with shimmering waters is formed by a waterfall falling from 10 meters above. The path to get there starts at some point of the road between Proussos and Kastania villages and you will reach your destination after 20min walking in the footpath along Proussiotis River.

The path continues uphill in an idyllic landscape of platanus, firs and small streams. At the point where the canyon becomes narrower and the landscape becomes more wild  with little caves and small waterfalls, you will see on your right, an abandoned refugee house and the starting point of the famous “Via Ferrata” (road of steel); the path that allows you to climb to the inaccessible gorge of the Black Cave. It will take you around 2.30h to reach your destination!

5. Take a picture of the amazing vista over Lake Kremasta from Fidakia village.

Fidakia Village via http://content-mcdn.ethnos.gr

Fidakia Village via http://content-mcdn.ethnos.gr

Fidakia village, (the actual translation of the name is “snakes”), is among the most beautiful and traditional villages of Central Greece for me, built in an altitude of 1000 meters. Even though, it is located only 25km away from Karpenissi, due to the curvy road, it will take you around 40 minutes to get there. The route is amazing and the view over Lake Kremasta is spectacular so I strongly recommend visiting it!

Fidakia Village by Thanos Psichalas

Fidakia Village by Thanos Psichalas

View of Lake Kremasta from Fidakia Village by Thanos Psichalas

View of Lake Kremasta from Fidakia Village by Thanos Psichalas

6. Pick a picturesque village to visit!

Apart from the beautiful Fidakia village, visit another village of your choice in the area. All of them are traditional and worth a visit if you have the time! So pick one, wander through the narrow alleys, visit the small stores with the local products and enjoy authentic Greek coffee at the typical coffee place that every village has at its square! In no time you will become friends with the locals, they will buy you a tsipouro and surely they will share their stories with you! The villages I suggest are Koryschades, Klafsio, Kastania, Chelidona and Krikello.

Cental Square of Korischades Village via http://fe-mail.gr

Cental Square of Korischades Village by Thanos Psichalas

7. Drive in an off-road route!

If you are lucky enough to have a 4X4 vehicle, pick one of the many off-road roads and enjoy the wild landscape. Drive through dense forests of pins and chestnuts, cross small streams of water or whole rivers, reach the tops of the mountains and feel free! The best time to drive through these routes is from the end of spring until early autumn. Needless to say that an experienced driver is absolutely necessary.

These are the two routes I recommend:

  • The Easy route.

Starting from Dipotama cross, just a few Kilometers before you reach Proussos from Karpenissi town, turn right, heading towards Chelidona village. Then follow the signs to Agia Vlacherna and end up at Fidakia village. The way back can be much easier since you have the choice to head directly towards Karpenissi using a paved road.

  • The Difficult route.

Starting from Proussos, follow signs towards the villages of Tornos and Kastania. After passing Kastania, continue to the dirt road at its end. There is a good chance that the villages you will see (Prodromos, Roska, Skopia, Domnitsa) have no residents during the year, excluding the summer period.

8. Celebrate the new “Tsipouro & Winemaking”!

Tsipouro via pinterest user Eri Tfg

Tsipouro via pinterest user Eri Tfg

The whole region is well-known for the production of tsipouro (similar to raki) and wine. Special events are being organized in many villages starting at the end of October until the first days of November to celebrate the new production of the year and drink the remaining of the previous year! So be ready to drink a lot! Cheers or “Stin igia mas” as Greeks say!!!

Labros Psomodotis

11 Greek water paradises that will keep you away from the beach

13 Oct

1. Lake Orestiada, Kastoria

Kastoria is a magnificent town built on the side of lake Orestiada. A famous winter destination in Northern Greece, offers unique landscapes; take the road by the lake and walk in order to explore not only the lake but also the architectural magnificence of Kastoria. Don’t miss  the Panagia Mavriotissa Monastery, by the lake, hidden in the trees.

Kastoria via tiniakos.wordpress.com

Lake Orestiada via tiniakos.wordpress.com

2. Lake Prespa

Two beautiful lakes, located northern of Kastoria and shared by Greece, Albania and FYROM. There you will find many small traditional villages where you can eat fish from the lake.You can also explore the rich flora and fauna of the area. In the smaller lake you can walk to the Agios Achillios island and in the bigger one (which is the one shared by the 3 nations) you can take a small boat and go around and “see “the point where the 3 nations’ borders meet as well as symbols and icons of christianity painted on the rocks.

Prespes via aggelioforos.gr

Lake Prespa via aggelioforos.gr

3. Edessa waterfalls, Edessa

Well, I think the waterfalls of Edessa are the most famous in Greece! After falling down from 70m, the water ends in the river of Edessaios creating a majestic and quite imposing picture. You will have the chance to stand inside the waterfall without getting wet as there is a small bridge built in the inner part of the waterfalls!

Edessa via visit.com.gr

Edessa Waterfalls via visit.com.gr

4. Lake Plastiras, Karditsa

Plastiras lake is an artificial lake very close to the town of Karditsa. The landscapes being formed at this altitude offer amazing pictures. Plastiras lake (named after the politician who planned it and created it almost a century ago) is famous for the many activities it offers; canoe kayak, horse riding, trekking, mountain climbing and many more are offered in the area.

Plastiras Lake via hotelslimnisplastira.gr

Plastiras Lake via hotelslimnisplastira.gr

5. Pamvotida lake,  Ioannina

Situated in the town of Ioannina, Pamvotida offers an amazing, always nostalgic atmosphere and accompanied with the Mitsikeli mountain in the background, creates a unique picturesque landscape that has nothing to be jealous of the famous landscapes of the Alps.

Pamvotida Lake via laketour.gr

Pamvotida Lake via laketour.gr

6. Pantavrechi, Evrytania

Pantavrechi is an area close to Karpenisi that it is hard to reach (especially during the winter) but it’s totally worth to try! There you can go river trekking and enjoy the canyon where it is always raining (as Panta-vrechi means always raining in Greek); the reason for this is that there is always water coming down from the cliffs above the canyon! You can also go horse riding in the nearby river of Karpenisiotis!

Pantavrexi via travelstyle.gr

Pantavrexi via travelstyle.gr

7. Waterfalls of Neraida, Kithira

Walk through a small canyon and enjoy the magnificent beauty of this unique route from Mylopotamos village (which is the closest place to park your vehicle). You will also find abandoned watermills that used to operate years ago.

Waterfalls of Neraida via http://artcms.arttravel.gr/

Waterfalls of Neraida via http://artcms.arttravel.gr/

8. Neda waterfalls, Messinia

Neda is canyon in Greece, inside a heavy forest that will offer you an amazing experience! To walk (through the river at some parts!) the whole canyon you will need roughly 7-8 hours. There are 2 waterfalls but the best part is the route by the river that provides amazing views. Don’t miss your chance to swim in the river; although the temperature of the water is very low..!

Neda via http://www.in2life.gr

Neda Waterfalls via http://www.in2life.gr

9. Drimonas waterfalls, Eyvoia

In the northern part of Eyvoia you will find the waterfalls of Drimonas. Close to a small village that was built centuries ago, the place owes its existence to the monastery of the area. The path to the waterfalls starts from the road and after the 15m high waterfalls splits into 2 smaller ones, one leading to the monastery.

Drimonas via http://www.voriaevia.net

Drimonas Waterfalls via http://www.voriaevia.net

10. Melissani lake, Kefallonia

Melissani is a lake in a cave! And it is on an island, this of Kefallonia. Part of the cave collapsed in the past, allowing sunlight to spread in the cave and create amazing colours and a unique feeling to the visitor. Visit Kefallonia, take a boat tour in the lake and the experience will stay with you forever.

Melissani Cave via http://www.kefaloniataxi.gr

Melissani Cave via http://www.kefaloniataxi.gr

11.Polylimnio, Messinia

You will find 15 lakes (as the name of the area suggest, Polylimnio means many lakes), each one more picturesque than the other! You will have to walk through small paths on the mountainous surroundings in order to explore the area and take advantage of the elevated points for amazing vistas!

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