Lake Plastira, Thessaly, Greece

Lake Locations:

Greece - Thessaly -

Also known as:  Plastiras Lake, Tavropos Reservoir

Lake Plastira, brought into existence in 1960 when the Tavropos Dam was built, has quickly developed into an international playground for visitors looking for a true Greek experience. The dam created a seven-and-a-half mile long reservoir in this high Agrafa Mountain valley and a wealth of economic and recreational benefits for local residents. The reservoir prevents flooding of the Tavropos River which used to regularly devastate the region. It now provides irrigation water, hydroelectric power, and drinking water. Lake Plastira’s natural landscape and general atmosphere of serentiy give the lakeshore the feel of an unspoiled, sparsely-settled forest, with much national history thrown into the mix.

Lake Plastira offers two public swimming beaches and places to rent small boats, canoes, kayaks or ‘sea-bikes’. Fishing is allowed from shore in selected areas. The villages of Neochori, Kryoneri and Kalivia are the most developed for tourists, while many of the other villages are quietly residential and often partially deserted. The area is noted for excellent local cuisine, and local cafes often serve fresh trout. The local form of evening entertainment revolves around the many neighborhood taverns which offer their own specialty local wines and Greek version of ‘fast food’. Many of the villages produce local festivals annually, often focused on religious holidays.

The Tavropos Dam, operated by the Public Power Corporation of Greece, is a massive arch; a building nearby holds a museum of educational exhibits explaining the building of the dam. At one end of the dam, a number of small shops and stalls have been erected by local artisans selling locally-made handicrafts and foods. This small marketplace is the best place to purchase unique souvenirs before returning home.

What Lake Plastira has in abundance is fantastic scenery and local flavor. Surrounded by mountain peaks blanketed in snow during winter, the many small villages are home to small resort hotels, pensions and guest houses specializing in romantic getaways, local cuisine, and scenic vistas. Several mountain reserves enclose the mountains nearby, offering mountain trekking and climbing, while dozens of trails welcome mountain biking, horseback riding, and nature viewing. At least three fire look-outs are accessible to hikers, and a ‘mountain retreat’ offers overnight bunk space for longer-distance hikers. Some of the hikes are quite strenuous, but the rewards are worth it when the target is the beautiful Anthohori waterfall above the Anthohori Mill. In winter, the Lake Plastira area is where people come to ski and snowboard. Of special interest in the area is the Gaki Cave. So named as the reported hiding place of Thymios Gakis in the late 19th century, the cave has a river running through much of it and displays an impressive panorama of stalactites and stalagmites. Visitors must have a tour guide, and much of the cave has remained unexplored due to the water. Several other caves in the area can also be visited.

To understand the long history and struggles of the people of the region, visitors must look up; a large number of ancient and architecturally-significant castles and monasteries grace the mountains overlooking Lake Plastira. Some date to the Byzantine Empire, with the Fortress of Fanar the only preserved Byzantine castle still existing in western Thessaly. Partially in ruins, the castle was used during the era of the Ottoman Turks as barracks and again by the Greek Army after liberation. In the ancient past, the castle controlled the passage from Epirus to Thessaly. The Holy Monastery of Korona was built in the early 12th century overlooking the Plain of Thessaly. Castle-like, imposing and massive, the monastery contains murals and paintings dating to the 1500s. An entrance under a pew hid a secret passage that sheltered believers during the Turkish occupation of the Ottoman Empire. Behind the monastery, the monks have created a recreation area with a small aviary where they celebrate the ‘Descent from the Cross’ on Good Friday. Also impressive is the Holy Monastery of Panagia Pelekiti, perched at an elevation of 4600 feet. Other famed monasteries in the area include the Monastery of Agia Triada Drakotrypa and Petra Monastery.

This area of Greece is well-known for its patriotism and sacrifice during centuries of invasion, occupation and attempted subjugation. The people of the Agrafa Mountains say here lies the beating heart of a free Greece. They were never under the complete control of the Ottoman Empire, and the area was a noted center of Greek Resistance during the Nazi Occupation. A location now submerged under Lake Plastira was the site of a secret Allied airstrip constructed by the locals and hidden by felled trees by day, only to be cleared and lit by bonfires at night so small aircraft could land. Lake Plastira itself is named for General Nikolaos Plastiras who first envisioned the project in 1925 to alleviate flooding in his home locale. By the time the project was finally approved, hydroelectric power possibilities were added to the plans. Now, the area’s patriotic impulses are channeled into providing environmental education, preservation of the past, and eco-tourism in the area. Discussions are now underway to develop an organized plan for competing water use which will limit the unscheduled draw-downs of water to provide for all interests in the area.

A Botanical Garden near Neochori features many of the most important floral elements in the region. A fully-equipped Environmental Education Center is housed in the old stone school in downtown Neochori. Other small museums in the area focus on the history of shoes and local flora and fauna. Located near the city of Karditsa, Lake Plastira is about 150 miles from Thessaloniki and 200 miles from Athens, making this a popular weekend getaway for many Greeks. This is the perfect place to experience the Greek mountains and a far different experience than the resorts and beaches along the coast. Bring your cycling gear and rent a mountain bike, take a spin on a sea-bike, and spend a few evenings in the local taverns soaking up the local atmosphere. This is Greece, largely unspoiled, wild and beautiful. You simply must come to visit Lake Plastira and get your fill of beautiful mountain scenery overlooking a wide expanse of peaceful water. Ask for a room with a fireplace; many local lodgings have them. Lake Plastira can provide the scenic and serene vacation you’ll never forget.

Things to do at Lake Plastira

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Waterfall
  • Museum
  • Ruins
  • Playground

Fish species found at Lake Plastira

  • Trout

Lake Plastira Photo Gallery

Lake Plastira Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Public Power Corporation of Greece

Surface Area: 5,930 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 2,461 feet

Maximum Depth: 197 feet

Water Volume: 324,285 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1960

Trophic State: Oligotrophic

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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