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Lake Doxa – Walk in the Alps of Corinthia by George, our Gastronomic correspondent from “Taste Local Greece”

Lake Doxa stands as an enchanting gem nestled among the Corinthian mountains, resembling a fairy-tale haven. Often regarded as the Alps of Corinthia.

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Lake Doxa is like a fairy among the mountains of Corinthia. It is the Alps of Corinthia!
A magical place out of fairy tales. With dragons guarding it from above and hiding places for dreamy frolics in nature. An experience worth living even once among the reflections of the crystal clear Lake Doxa and the high green mountains. A magical landscape with the lake inviting you into its embrace and the mountain pulling you along its uncharted paths.

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Lake Doxa stands as an enchanting gem nestled among the Corinthian mountains, resembling a fairy-tale haven. Often regarded as the Alps of Corinthia, this magical place transcends imagination. Dragons seem to guard it from above, creating an aura of fantasy, while hidden nooks provide dreamy retreats amidst nature’s wonders.

Lake Doxa

Lake Doxa is worth visiting, at least once in a lifetime. The crystal-clear reflections of the lake mirror the surrounding green peaks, forming a landscape of unparalleled beauty. The inviting embrace of the lake and the allure of uncharted mountain paths make it a journey worth undertaking.

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Now, let’s rewind to the beginning of this enchanting trip. A three-day excursion based in Derveni, near Corinthos, served as our launching point. Derveni, a place holding the memories of my cherished childhood years, set the stage for the adventure.

Our journey commenced from Derveni, leading us up to Eurostina. Memories of cherry-picking excursions with my father in the mountainous Zaholi flooded back. It was late June, coinciding with the cherry season. I reminisced about climbing cherry trees with fellow elementary school kids, our enthusiasm fueled by the love for these sweet, red fruits—irresistibly addictive.

As we continued, we encountered the Mills Stream, a renowned attraction in the picturesque Zaholi area, nestled beside the Zacholites River. Amidst cherry-laden trees, we marvelled at the scenery, rejuvenated with a coffee break to gather strength for the journey ahead.

Ascending further, the Church of Agios Georgios captured our attention. Its unique architecture and panoramic view made it a worthwhile stop, adding another layer of fascination to our exploration.

We embarked on the road to Lake Doxa, winding uphill with the majestic Mount Chelmos to our right and the foothills of Mount Ziria to our left. The journey unfolded through lush green landscapes, guiding us until we reached a crucial junction signposted for Feneos and Lake Doxa.

It is crucial to note that the last 5-6 kilometres of this route transform into a dirt road. At the initial junction where signs direct towards Steno and Goura, opt to turn left. This choice avoids the dirt road, ensuring a smoother journey. Passing through the charming villages of Steno and Goura, you will eventually reach Messino. Here, take a right turn towards Ancient Feneos and Lake Doxa, strategically bypassing the dirt road and entering the Plateau of Feneos.

The fertile valley between the mountains, renowned for its lentils, fava beans, and beans, unfolds as you navigate this passable dirt road. The lake, an artificial reservoir, serves the crucial purpose of irrigating the vast crops of the plain.

An alternative, simpler route from Kiato to Stymphalia and Lake Doxa exists, offering a quicker but less scenic option. As you traverse this route, the landscape gradually unfolds, and suddenly, after a turn, the serene “Kyra the Lake” emerges gracefully from the verdant mountains.

The enchanting nature, reminiscent of an Alpine landscape, imparts a Swiss-like charm—akin to a vintage postcard from days gone by.

Embarking on a stroll or cycling adventure around the lake reveals its enchanting magic. Consider renting a bicycle or even a canoe for a serene ride on its calm, green waters, offering a unique perspective of Agios Fanourios.

Take a moment to sit on the benches strategically placed in openings with picturesque views. Delight in a homemade sandwich for brunch, accompanied by the soothing sounds of birds, frogs, and the gentle breeze weaving through the pine trees. Descend below the dam to uncover a small pond teeming with wildlife, adding another layer to your exploration.

As you continue your walk, chance upon the sight of wild horses peacefully grazing in adjacent meadows by the water. For a delightful family activity, indulge in horseback riding along the paths surrounding the pond, meandering through the surrounding forest.

For the ultimate nature lovers, consider pitching your tent and relishing the lake in all its glory with a swimsuit at hand. An evening by the lake becomes a genuine and immersive experience.

In essence, immerse yourself in nature, embrace the lake’s magic, and savour the tranquillity it graciously offers.

Ascend to the magnificent and renowned Monastery of Agios Georgios, adorned with exquisite frescoes and distinguished by its unique architecture. Take the small wooden staircase with care, and relish the opportunity to explore one of the perhaps few well-preserved «krifó scholió» (Hidden Schools).

The “Hidden School” is a legend according to which the Ottoman Empire forbade the education of enslaved Greeks during Ottoman rule, to ensure their ignorance and thus their slavery, resulting in the organization of secret night schools by priests who secretly taught reading and writing.

Once you finally light your candle and pray, you can taste the rose spoon sweet from the hands of the priest and enjoy the unique view of the lake from the balcony of the monastery!

As the day unfolded, we decided to explore Goura village and opted for lunch at “Boukouni,” the charming tavern nestled beside the church. Here, we had the pleasure of meeting Angeliki and Babis, the proprietors of the tavern. The culinary offerings were a delightful showcase of local flavours—skillfully prepared, exuding a homely charm, and featuring exceptional ingredients.

Post-lunch, a stroll through the quaint stone-built village added to the experience. We then savoured coffee in the church square at the “Mallos” coffee shop before embarking on our journey towards “Panagia tou Vrachou,” on the way back to Derveni, ensuring we departed before the onset of darkness.

The spectacle is unique!

It is not a small thing to say that we are in the Meteora of the Peloponnese …

Between crevices of huge rocks hides another place of worship of the Virgin Mary.

A unique place with an incredible view and, while entering, you feel the serenity of the holy place, the faith and the power it hides.

Describing it as the Meteora of the Peloponnese would not be an exaggeration. Nestled within the crevices of immense rocks, this sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary is another hidden gem. The site offers a singular experience, featuring an extraordinary panorama. Upon entering, one immediately senses the serenity inherent in this sacred space—an embodiment of faith and the concealed power it holds.

As you step into a narrow cave within the rock, adorned with numerous icons a modest candelabra illuminates the space, setting the scene for the ultimate place of worship and exaltation. As the sun gradually descended behind the rocks, it seemed to signal that we had reached the culmination of our journey.

We were leaving the lake behind us and our minds were on when we would come back to spend a few more hours at the Lake, so that our daughter could take another ride with Artemis, the wonderful brown horse, and we could take a ride in the canoe or on the pedal boat through the lush green waters of …

And maybe this time we will camp next to the green waters to spend an evening near her…

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