Lake Plastira, one of the most beautiful destinations.

Lake Plastira is one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in mountainous Greece. It is located in the region of Karditsa, in the so-called Thessalian Agrafa, and is artificial, attracting thousands of visitors from all over our country.

Of course, its favorable location also contributes to this, as it is approximately in the center of mainland Greece.

Here, there used to be the elongated plain of Nevropolis before the lake was formed, in the middle of which flowed the river Megdovas or Tavropos, one of the main tributaries of Achelous.

Indeed, in this plain, frequent landings and take-offs of Allied aircraft took place, often covertly and always at night, during the triple occupation in World War II.

Immediately afterward, the locals would camouflage the dirt airstrip by placing various obstacles, branches, trees, and so on.

The idea of creating an artificial lake was conceived by General Nikolaos Plastiras in 1925. His vision began to take shape in 1955 and was completed in 1959, just six years after his death. It is one of the largest artificial lakes in our country.

It covers an area of 25 km², with an elevation at the water surface ranging from 770 meters in September to 780 meters in March. It has a maximum depth of approximately 63 meters and a total water volume of around 400,000,000 cubic meters.

At the southernmost point of the lake, an 80-meter high dam was constructed with a length of 220 meters and a width of 4.50 meters at the top. Its purpose was twofold: to generate electricity and to irrigate the Thessalian plain.Ω

Annually, on behalf of the Public Power Corporation (DEI), 300,000,000 kilowatt-hours (KWh) of electricity are generated.

After the completion of the project, the remaining infrastructure slowly began to be developed. By the late 1960s, the perimeter road around the lake was completed, which at the time was largely unpaved in many sections.

In the following years, the entire road was fully paved, and eventually, by the late 1970s, the first tourists began to arrive gradually. This led to the opening of taverns, bars, and other amenities in the area.

Thus, in the early 1980s, the first hotels were built. Later on, two beaches were established, one to the west in Pezoula and one to the east in Lampero, where everyone can enjoy swimming during the summer, as they offer everything: sandy shores, umbrellas, sunbeds, changing rooms, refreshment stands, taverns, water bikes, canoes, kayaks, pedal boats, and more.

Activities at Lake Plastira

Lake Plastira, as well as the wider area, offer many activities that bring us closer to nature and help us relieve the stresses of daily life. Activities range from more or less intense to more or less extreme, but all are enjoyable.

At Lake Plastira, in organized lakeside facilities, you can go canoeing, kayaking, or take a leisurely paddleboat ride, all while enjoying the landscape and the beauty of the lake from within. Let it take you on a journey through a tranquil and peaceful environment that only the birds can truly appreciate. In specially designed areas, you have the opportunity to test your skills in archery or choose horseback riding for relaxation. After all, it's not often that we get the chance to go for a ride on horseback and savor the beauty of nature.

Another unique experience is mountain biking, which you can enjoy on the network of trails created around Lake Plastira, through oak forests and along the lakeshore. In winter, you have the opportunity to ski at the small, less developed ski resort located at 'Karamanoli.' However, the activities don't end there. The broader area offers a multitude of hiking and trekking routes, ranging from shorter and easier ones to longer and more challenging ones, catering to various skill levels. For enthusiasts and experts, there are also opportunities for air sports on designated tracks to indulge in their favorite thrill..

Furthermore, in the Lake Plastira area, there is a ski resort and mountaineering shelter. We highly recommend spending a night at the mountaineering shelter, as long as you have good company, some meat for grilling, and the willingness to spend a night away from the comforts of a hotel.

Lastly, we have the peaceful and relaxing activity of fishing, which is allowed only from the shore using a fishing rod. From spring onwards, you'll see numerous aspiring anglers in various areas around the lake enjoying their favorite hobby, the fresh air, the beauty of the landscape, and often returning with their baskets full of delicious and fresh fish from Lake Plastira.

The Plastira Lake offers many attractions and activities.

The area around Lake Plastira is a magnet for thousands of visitors throughout the year. It offers significant infrastructure such as a Center for Environmental Education, Research, and Information, an Educational Forest, Ecological Trails, a Hydrobiological Station, an Observatory with a breathtaking view, Outdoor Activity Centers, and more.

Furthermore, the area is part of the NATURA 2000 network, designated as a habitat area. If you are in or passing near Neochori and want to learn about the flora of the Lake Plastira area, visit the Botanical Garden.

There are many options available depending on each visitor's preferences. Spending the night at the Mountain Shelter or in the "Dryades" Forest Area will be a unique experience.

Religious monuments with tremendous cultural and architectural significance, unique monasteries, and other sacred sites in an area of exceptional natural beauty captivate every visitor. In many of the region's religious monuments, visitors gather throughout the year, experiencing a sense of reverence and spirituality.

The area attracts visitors who want to combine pilgrimage to sacred places with relaxation. In the Lake Plastira region, you can visit Panagia Pelekete Monastery in Karitsa, where the rock had to be literally chiseled to build it, Koronas Monastery where the skull of the Holy Martyr Seraphim is preserved, the renovated Monastery of Petra, the Church of the Holy Trinity in Filakti, and the Monastery of the Holy Trinity in Morfovouni.

Beyond religious tourism, the area combines various forms of alternative tourism and environmental interest. A visit to the Plastira Museum showcases the work of the "Black Rider" and the cultural heritage of the region. A must-do route is a tour around the lake, with a necessary stop at the Dam, which was the largest project of its time for the Karditsa Prefecture and for all of Greece.

The construction of the project and the realization of Nikolaos Plastiras' idea were completed in 1959. The dam, with a length of 220 meters, retained the waters of the Tavropos River, which flooded the Nevropolis plateau and created Lake Plastira (Tavropos).

The waters of the lake supply the hydroelectric power station operated by the Public Power Corporation (DEI/ΔΕΗ). They also irrigate the Thessalian plain and provide water to the city, as well as 38 municipalities and villages within the prefecture, and the broader Thessaly region.

Undoubtedly, you will enjoy the most charming view of the lake from the Observatory. Upon reaching the Observatory, you let your gaze wander over the watery surface of the lake, with its fjords and the lush island. On the other side, the forested slopes and, in the background, the imposing peaks of the Agrafa mountains complete the magnificent landscape.

From the main road, 2 kilometers before the Dam, follow the sign to the right for the observatory. In a total of three kilometers, 1.5 kilometers of asphalt and 1.5 kilometers of good dirt road will lead you to the observatory location at an altitude of 1350 meters. From there, you can enjoy a view of the Lake and the villages of Trikala and Karditsa (with clear air), and the view extends all the way to Mount Olympus.

In a lush green environment, the view will pleasantly surprise you. You can admire the lake in its entire length and width, the sky with rare birds, the alpine forest, and the bare peaks of the tall mountains painted in the distance.

The Monastery of Panagia Pelekitis

The Holy Monastery of Panagia Pelekitis, an imposing Byzantine monument, is built on a steep and high cliff (1400 meters) of Mount Pindus, one kilometer northwest of the village of Karytsa. Tradition has it that the name "Pelekitis" is attributed to the fact that, in order to construct the Monastery on the nearly vertical rock, the rock had to be chiseled with wooden tools following the guidance of the Virgin Mary, who appeared in the dream of the craftsmen, saying: "You shall chisel the rock with the adze and build a church, which you shall name Panagia Pelekitis.

The Mountaineering Refuge of Agrafa is located at an altitude of 1,536 meters in the Karamanoli area. It is a well-organized shelter housed in a modern, stone building with full facilities and accommodation options. It offers basic services such as central heating, a fireplace, bunk beds, blankets, a kitchen, a toilet, hot water, a shower, and cooking facilities. Additionally, it has a spacious dining area and can accommodate up to 30 people.

The Monastery of Koroni took its name from its location, which means "crown" in Greek, as it overlooks the fertile plains of Thessaly from an altitude of about 800 meters. It is situated on the eastern side of Lake Plastiras. The monastery was built by Emperor John II Komnenos in the early 12th century when the miraculous icon of Panagia Koronis was discovered in a remarkable manner.

This is a 10-acre area where a collection and preservation of some of the plant species from the wider region of Lake Plastiras and the broader Greek territory has been undertaken. The Botanical Garden is open year-round. Visitors have the opportunity to take guided tours, purchase aromatic plants and herbs, enjoy coffee and refreshments, and take a short stroll to the lake, which is just 50 meters away.

The Monastery of the Holy Trinity in Morfovouni, much like the village of Morfovouni itself, is perched on the slope of a mountain and is surrounded by chestnut forests to the west, with the entire Thessalian plain stretching out in front of it. The temple follows the Athos architectural style, which is prevalent in many monasteries in the wider region. At the entrances to the monastery, you can see stone-carved representations. It was constructed in 1858, as indicated at the entrance of the monastery. In 1943, during World War II, the majority of the monastery was set on fire by Italian occupiers.

In the beautiful mountain range of Agrafa in Pindus, near the village of Koupouriana, nestled in a challenging location, you can find the Holy Monastery of Panagia Speliotissa, dedicated to the Life-Giving Spring. The Holy Monastery of Speliotissa is under the jurisdiction of the Holy Metropolis of Thessaliotis and Fanariopharsaloi. It is built in the countryside on a rock at an altitude of 800 meters. Among the fir-covered slopes, it resembles a blue stone set in the green of Agrafa, and the view from the road above is exceptional. It seems to be hanging from the steep cliff and inspires awe in the pilgrim.

The fire lookout on the summit of Kazarma is located at an altitude of 1,977 meters and offers unparalleled views of the lake and the surrounding mountains. While the fire lookout is now abandoned, the impressive view towards Lake Plastiras and the highest peak in the area, Voutsikaki (2,152 meters), justifies a visit.
The Byzantine fortress of Fanari is a significant landmark in the area. It is located at a distance of 14 kilometers from Karditsa and is the only surviving Byzantine fortress in western Thessaly. The fortress is built on the hill of Fanari and in earlier years, it controlled the passage from Epirus to Thessaly.
The Kamara Bridge of Anthochori is worth visiting. It is located approximately 5.5 kilometers west of Kerasia. A road through nature starts from the village and takes you to the stone-reconstructed bridge, located over the Koromilia stream. Additionally, there's a recently renovated watermill on the road to the lake, adding to the charm of the area.
In the village of Morphovouni, the Museum of Plastiras is dedicated to the work and life of the black-caped rider. With documents, photographs, and personal objects, it offers visitors the opportunity to learn about both well-known and lesser-known aspects of the life of Nikolaos Plastiras. Significant archival material related to N. Plastiras has been acquired after strenuous efforts.
Lake Stefanias, located approximately two kilometers from the Cave Monastery, is a small lake that was formed by the collapse of the ground in 1963-64, creating a basin that gradually filled with water. It covers an area of just 175 acres. The lake is surrounded by lush greenery, has relatively steep shores, and its water level is influenced by seasonal rainfall. Lake Stefanias is a unique case because, although it formed due to natural causes, it shares characteristics with artificial reservoirs due to its young age (only a few decades old). Its presence greatly enhances the landscape of the surrounding area.


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