In the mountains of Western Greece
Kastoria: Grammos-Vitsi: History routes
Grammos is the fourth highest mountain in Greece with its highest peak reaching an altitude of 2,520 meters. Other high peaks are Perifano, Diaselo, Epano Arrena, Kato Arrena.
This magnificent mountain emerges today in one of the most beautiful and accessible mountains, in alpine landscapes, beech forests, black pine and alpine lakes.
1. Alpine lakes Arenas
• A complex of two small alpine lakes in the shadow of Grammos that are one of the most beautiful mountain aquatic ecosystems in Greece. Lake Moutsalia, or as it is most often referred to, Arena lakes, is located in a lush beech forest at the root of the peak of Grammos, Epano Arena (altitude 2,196 m).
• Their name comes from the Vlach word “moutsali” which means “wet”, while the name Arena comes from the also Vlach and Latin “arena”, which means “sandy place”. They are located in the prefecture of Kastoria at an altitude of 1,730 meters.
• These are two lakes that communicate with each other with a stream 60 meters long. The western lake touches the slopes that rise to the top, has a perimeter of about one kilometer and is shallow with its waters being quite low in summer. The lake located in the east is the main lake which is also called Lake Moutsalia and receives the waters of the western lake. It covers a smaller area with a perimeter that reaches 800 meters and a maximum depth that does not exceed 1 meter, while during the winter it is covered by ice. Lake Moutsalia is hidden in a dense beech forest, creating a unique landscape that is not found in any other area of our country. The dense forests that surround it in combination with its relative isolation, give the lake enormous ecological value with many rare species of fauna living in the surrounding area.
The beeches around the lake reach the shores, while the seabed is covered by a dense aquatic vegetation, which gives a beautiful green color to its waters. In the dense subsoil of the forest grow many rare species of the flora of Grammos, while a little higher begin the bare peaks of the mountain that are also distinguished for the plants they host. The bird fauna of the area includes many species of the forest, while in Grammos there are more than 150 species. The lake is very important for its amphibians, as three species of newts live here: the alpine, the common and the crested. Finally, the presence of the bear is very common in the area.
• Serene landscape, green and accessible for free camping and picnic in the summer months, mountain biking and hiking.
5. Routes on mountain paths around the city
The city of Kastoria is surrounded by mountains, in which there are accessible, cleared and marked paths, giving the visitor a unique view, facing from above the city smugly seated on its throne, with its view reflected in the calm waters of the lake.
• We are always at your disposal to create together programs and activities that suit your needs and desires.
2. Drakolimni Gistova at 2350 altitude
It is the highest and largest alpine lake in Greece. It is located at an altitude of 2,350m. on the ridge, right on the Greek-Albanian border. In winter, due to the altitude, it freezes. The lake has a depth of 3.5 to 5 meters depending on the season and a maximum area of about 7,000 sq.m.
Its waters are always cold and it is a habitat for a kind of alpine newt.
The existence of a permanent natural lake at such a high altitude in Greece is already a very exciting phenomenon. We could describe it as a fascinating challenge – an invitation for every hiker and climber.
The lake reflects both the blue of the sky and the mountains that surround it.
3. The Waterfall of Agia Anna
The waterfall of Ag. Anna or Tsoukas, about 20 meters high, is the largest in the Regional Unit of Kastoria.
In a small but wonderful route of 2,500 meters, during which you pass through forest, glades, meadows and wooden bridges you reach a magnificent landscape which captivates you, as the water flows from a great height on the steep cliff and forms two small ponds. before continuing its eternal journey. In summer if the amount of water is sufficient, the location is ideal for a cool bath. And in winter, when temperatures are below zero, everything freezes, creating a fairytale setting.
Vitsi is a mountain range that rises in the center of Western Macedonia, constituting the natural border between the prefectures of Kastoria and Florina.
Vitsi is dominated by dense and impenetrable beech forests, clusters of firs and black pines as well as there are many natural streams that create riparian forests.
The area is known for the many species of mushrooms that grow mainly in spring and autumn, with the most famous being the edible Volitis. The abandonment of settlements and inaccessible forests have allowed many species of fauna to find the ideal refuge. Finally the old paths with which the villages communicated with each other, as well as the dirt roads make it one of our favorite destinations, whether it is hiking, mountain running, mountain biking and 4×4 Off Road routes.
• Experienced / Certified Escorts
• Hiking poles
• Mountaineering backpack (by arrangement)
• Waterproof poncho type (by arrangement)
• Gaiters (by arrangement)
• Crabon-Piole-Bondrie (Upon request)
• Souvenir photos in electronic format
• Liability insurance
• All legal taxes