When you think of Greece, you think of sandy beaches and Mediterranean climate, but there is more to it. This historical country full of myths and legends is also home to the beautiful alpine lakes known as Drakolimni. Drakolimni means Dragon lakes, and it is a group of lakes on two different mountains, a couple of miles away from each other. One of the big lakes is on Mount Tymfi and the other one is on Mount Smolikas (Epirus region).
According to the ancient legend told by the local people, in the past, the area was ruled by two angry dragons that didn't get along very well. Every time the dragons fought, they broke species from the mountains, throwing them at each other, which is what created the landscape that we can still see today. Why were the dragons fighting, nobody knows, but one thing is certain, they left the Epirus region a long time ago.
Although you won't find anything but tiny geckos that the local people call "small dragons", the lakes are still worth visiting. Even you don't imagine Greece with snow, these mountains can be very cold and challenging even for the most experienced hikers.
If you ever decide to explore this part of the country and visit the spectacular lake on Mount Tymfi, you can rent a room in Tsepelovo village in Zagori where you can overlook the picturesque mountains and enjoy the chilly nights by a fireplace. The prices per person vary between $35 and $80, which is not bad at all, knowing that you get to stay in an authentic rural village with dragon history, and above of all, in Greece.
The hike to the lake is suitable for everyone in good shape and with an exploring spirit. Have fun and beware of dragons!
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