Planning to go to Athens? Don’t forget to visit by the beautiful lagoon called Vouliagmeni situated only thirty minutes from the capital city!
If you travel by plane to go to Athens, look through your window and you will be able to see Lake Vouliagmeni and its crystal blue waters. It is situated on the edge of a peninsula making it look like a volcanic crater from up above. You will probably want to hop off of the plane in a parachute and land directly on its beach. Be patient and in thirty minutes, you will be able to enjoy one of the best treasures nature has to offer. It issituated only a few meters away from the sea, and is offers a perfect cozy space to relax and enjoy.
The lake was formed about two thousand years ago when the roof of a gigantic cave collapsed from the erosion. It used to be called the Eschatiotis lake which means the last part of the promontory. It was also called the Gorgopis lake after Gorgi who was Corinthios wife and Megareas’ daughter, as she drowned in the lake from desperation after her children have been murdered. There are some interesting archeological findings though in the surroundings of the lake. Traces of settlements that are dated back to the early Helladic period were found. Writings about a Megarean colony of Aegeirus present at the north of the lagoon give interesting knowledge about how people lived back then, and what kind of settlement these were. From the tools and other artefacts that were found on the site, it is believed that it was mostly small families of fishermen that lived there. Today there are still fishermen that live almost as they were thousands of years before, in a simple manner.
The movie 300 Spartans starring Ralph Richardson, Richard Egan and Diane Baker was filmed around the lake in 1962. The site was used to mimic the ancient Thermopylae that is depicted in the movie. The music of the film was composed by Manos Hadjidakis. For the making of the film the king of Greece was willing to loan about five thousand soldiers from the actual royal Hellenic army to act as the Spartan warriors from antiquity. When you visit the lake, you will understand why this site was chosen to host the movie. Since it is next to Athens, it was very fortunate for logistic reasons. It is truly a blessing to be able to go just a little bit out of country’s capital and stumble on this beautiful unspoiled scenic place, with a bonus archeological site integrated.
Only one kilometer from the site there is a big sanctuary for the goddess Hera that was built, around eight hundred BC which corresponds to the geometric period.
What to do and see
This lake is part of a protected site, and considered as an outstanding natural beauty. It has salt water as well as spring water. The lake Vouliagmeni has that huge caves and you can visit them in a short time which is convenient if you have planned to go back to Athens in the same day. They are made In beautiful white stones that were carved by the water through the ages. Lake Vouliagmeni is two kilometers wide and one kilometer long. The deepest point reaches forty meters. The lake is connected by a very narrow channel to the Corinthian golf that doesn’t exceed six meters wide.
The lake is full of minerals ; potassium, natrium, lithium ammonium, calcium, ferrum, chloride and iodine. Due to its richness in different minerals it has interesting curative properties. It is used to relieve a lot of different kinds of diseases ; neuralgia, headaches, arthritis, chronical gynecological diseases, lumbago, to relief the musculoskeletal system, and many other problems. You can benefit from its properties by simply bathing in it. The water is at a perfect temperature as is constantly supplied by hot streams fifty to a hundred meters deep. The minimal temperature in winter revolves around twenty two degrees Celsius. The water level is fifty centimeters above the sea level. It is obviously a very popular bathing spot, especially because the temperatures allow you to swim in it all year around. While you are in the water you will also enjoy the company of the Garra rufa fish, also called Doctor fish, that is used a lot in spas to clean off peoples dead skin cells by removing it with their mouth. They are naturally present in this area and will offer you a relaxing cleansing massage. The sensation is quite particular though at the beginning, especially if you are ticklish. If you do a bit of scuba diving you won’t be disappointed at lake Vouliagmeni as there are a lot of different fish and mollusques that can be seen quite easily and will definitely make your visit at Lake Vouliagmeni worth a while, and will definitely complete your visit to Athens.
The site of the lake includes an intricate and massive underground cave system with white cliffs and warm waters. There are fourteen main tunnels, with a same main entrance. They measure seventy meters long, thirty meters wide and forty meters high from the highest point of the cave. These chambers are rather impressive, but there is no formation of stalagmite or stalactite.
The site is equipped with a lot of modern utilities ; restaurants, tavernas, a free parking lot, lighting at night, a playground, Wi-Fi, lockers, dressing rooms, showers and toilets. And the food that is served is surprisingly all fresh and caught locally. The owners have not abandoned their standards to capitalize on the location and attracting tourists, instead opting for a more qualitative approach. There are numerous beach chairs, umbrellas at the site which will enable you to relax and to dry naturally in the sun while having a beautiful view on the lake. If you are more active, you can choose from one of the many water sport activities that are proposed on the site such as waterski or simply have a walk around the lake. If you are courageous you can also climb up to the Faskimilia cliff and enjoy the view of the gulf of Vouliagmeni. On the surroundings of the lake are other archeological sites such as Heraion andmany other beautiful beaches. Lake Vouliagmeni is one of the many interesting sites near Athens you have no excuse not to visit.
How to go to Lake Vouliagmeni
Car: From Athens down town center, the lake is only thirty minutes away. From the town of Vouliagmeni, follow the road that goes to Sounio on the left.
there are different lines you can take from Athens :
- 114 : Glyfada-Kavouri-Vouliagmeni
- 115 : Glyfada-Vouliagmeni-Kitsi
- 122 Saronida Express
By taxi: From downtown Athens the cost would be around 20€
Tickets, rates and opening hours
Entrance is allowed thirty minutes before the closing of the site.
The site is open all year around, from 7:30 to 20:00.
The entrance to the lake is not free unfortunately.
- On weekdays: 9€
- On weekends: 10€ for adults
- For children up to twelve years old: 6€
GOOD TO KNOW:
Using soap or any detergent in the water is forbidden as it will disturb the waters quality and environment of the local living beings. This enables to protect species such as the Paranemonia Vouliagmeniensis, which is a species of Anemone that is quite present in the region and that was discovered there.
The site can be reserved for birthdays or even weddings as there is a tiny church called Agios Nicholas that is built at the entrance of the lake, where the Corinthian gulf flows into the lake.
The lake is adapted for kids but watch out for the younger ones as the water is pretty deep at the surroundings of the lake so be sure they have some kind of flotation device if they do not know how to swim.
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