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Lake Plastiras: Greece’s Idyllic Man-Made Lake that Looks Like Switzerland

Lake Plastira
The stunning blue lake is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and verdant pine forests. Credit: Greek Reporter

Lake Plastiras, located in central Greece, is known as “Little Switzerland” for its idyllic landscape that resembles the Swiss Alps. The stunning blue lake is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and verdant pine forests, captivating visitors at any time of the year.

Found in the region of Karditsa, located at one of Greece’s highest altitudes, Lake Plastiras is a unique feature in the Greek landscape. The pristine, icy waters of the artificial lake curve along the mountains and forests surrounding it, resembling dramatic fjords.

Hundreds of kilometers away from Greece’s urban centers of Athens and Thessaloniki, Lake Plastiras is the perfect escape from bustling city life. The fresh mountain air and dramatic scenery are perfect for nature lovers looking to relax and explore the outdoors.

lake plastiras
Horseback riding on Lake Plastiras. Credit: Christos Pappis/ CC BY-SA 4.0

Lake Plastiras a stunning winter destination in Greece

The stunning area around Lake Plastiras has become a resort destination for Greek citizens as well as visitors from abroad not just for its picturesque landscape, but also the many outdoor activities found there.

Visitors can explore the surrounding mountains and forests, largely untouched by development, through the many hiking and horseback riding trails snaking through the breathtaking setting.

Kayaking along the reflective surface of the lake, tourists can admire the full panoramic view of the impressive mountains, rich forests, and traditional Greek villages encircling the lake. During warmer months, swimmers can enjoy a dip in the refreshing waters of the lake along its many beaches and even partake in watersports.

Lakeside Villages

The traditional villages dotting the mountains in the region surround the lake, meaning that nearly all of them have views of Lake Plastiras, and provide visitors with a taste of life in the Greek mountains.

Lake Plastiras
Lake Plastira. Credit: Spiros Sideris/CC BY-SA 4.0

Situated along the shores of the lake, the villages of Kalyvia Pezoulas and Neochori are the most developed in the area and have the most amenities, including a botanical garden just outside of Neochori.

The garden features ten acres of land, replete with the the region’s native plants as well as some local animals found in the animal observatory.

Visitors will find hotels with gorgeous views of Lake Plastiras and the surrounding mountains in Neochori and Kalyvia Pezoulas. Many of the hotels resemble mountain cottages or wooden cabins, perfect for those seeking a mountain escape.

The village of Neraida, or “fairy” in English, is home to a small winter sports center, where visitors can ski, and a cabin where hikers and skiers can rest for a bit while enjoying the snowy mountainside.

Lake Plastiras
Panagia Pelekiti monastery, rising up out of the bedrock of a mountain along Plastiras Lake. Credit: Angelos Arnaoutelis/ Youtube

The village of Karitsa, located near Lake Plastiras, is home to the famous monastery called Panagia Pelekiti. The monastery was carved out of a massive rock on the face of a mountain, making for dramatic views of the surrounding area.

Lake Plastiras. Credit: Greek Reporter

The History of Lake Plastiras

The man-made lake was created in 1960, but the idea for its creation was born in 1920, after the river Tavropos, which feeds into the lake, flooded, causing massive destruction in the region surrounding the lake.

General Nikolaos Plastiras, for whom the lake is named, was a local to the area and was the first to plan for the lake’s creation after witnessing the terrible damage from the flood.

The dam at Lake Plastira. Credit: Greek Reporter

It was nearly 40 years later, after Plastiras became Greece’s Prime Minister, that the lake was finally constructed. The lake was filled with water after the creation of a dam blocking the flow of the Tavropos river.

Little did Plastiras know that, in preventing further flooding to his native region, he would create one of Greece’s most beloved resort areas. Since its creation, Lake Plastiras has attracted nature lovers from Greece and abroad hoping to explore the unique landscapes there.

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