Today, I want to share with you another quick escape from Athens to Mountainous Achaea. And I promise, to follow more. The destination of our day trip is the fascinating Tsivlos Lake and the picturesque village of Zarouchla.
Achaea’s Massifs is rich in natural beauty and is an ideal setting for moments of total relaxation. Apart from the all -time classic destination, Kalavrita village, it hides many treasures and it is full of surprises. Traditional villages, high mountains, imposing peaks, green forests, lakes, rivers, geological monuments. And all this so close to Athens!
ATHENS – TSIVLOS LAKE
Athens – Corinth with gps measuring around 167 km. About two and a half hours separate you from the small wonder of the Achaean land. Get out to the exit of Aigira and follow according to the signage the provincial road Akrata- Zarouchlas. An uphill journey just begins. On the one hand is the view of the with a Gulf that is slowly receding and on the other hand the deep mountain ravines that stand before you! After about 24km and a winding mountainous road, a metal sign will welcome you to Tsivlos Lake. Zarouchla village is another 10 km away from there.
THE BIRTH OF THE LAKE THROUGH A NATURAL DISASTER
In the embrace of the mountainous landscape of Achaea, at the foot of Helmos Mount is the small, natural and charming Tsivlos Lake. This small paradise is located at an altitude of 700m and its beauty evokes an Alpine setting. Beauty that is the creation of a violent geological landslide. Her story begins with a disaster that spawned a miracle. It was March 24, 1913, when the hillside of Mount Gerakari, which was built the village of Sylivaina, detached and blocked the river Krathi, next to the settlement Tsivlos. Earlier in the month the residents of Sylivaina had left the village due to the suspicious and frequent geological phenomena. An entire village was wiped off the map and a blue dot was added, Tsivlos Lake.
Tsivlos Lake is a revelation and you will be magnetized by its pristine beauty. The Eye is not satisfied seeing all this beauty and your soul could not resist the calm charm. The sunbeams scatter the light in its emerald waters and a glow spreads throughout the landscape. It is surrounded by a forest of pines, firs, oaks and aquatic trees that touches its banks and makes it even more enchanting. You can go around the lake following its paths. Wonderful green routes that either take you up to small highlands with a view or get you lower by its bank. It’s an ideal place for a picnic. Around the lake you can find wooden tables that you can spread your tupperware or lay the plaid tablecloth down on the green Achaean land.
If you don’t have time to prepare a picnic basket, don’t worry! There are two traditional taverns. The first one Paradise – its name speaks for itself – in a fantastic location by the lake that goes and well paved dirt road. And the other one Petrino, which is just before the lake. It has a reputation as the best tavern in the region with divine flavors of local ingredients. Confirm! The boldest can even swim. It is ideal for cool dives since its waters are crystal clear. But be careful, because it’s also deep. An experience that is definitely unforgettable! What you must do in the lake is simply relax and enjoy the scenery. Make sure you will experience all your senses!
Change the scenery and get ready for a trip to the village. Zarouchla, built at an altitude of 1020 meters, is a small stone mountain village of Achaia. Through the years, it has retained the authenticity in the natural environment with hardly any interventions. Its whole social life develops in the characteristic paved pedestrian street that hosts two – three taverns and Café. But its true beauty lies in its surrounding neighborhoods. Walk in its alleys and admired its traditional architecture with its impressive towers. Some have been abandoned and some have been restored, the Tower of Papadimitropoulos and the Tower of Charalambis are vivid examples of this tradition. The one that stands out is the fortified Tower of Zarouchla, known as well as the Tower of Asimakis Fotilas.
A listed monument that was renovated and functions as a guest house. You will meet post-Byzantine churches with interesting architecture and unique frescoes. At the entrance of the village is the stone cemetery Agios Dimitrios church and after the stream the Agia Triada church.
The latter was built around the 15th and 16th centuries and impressive is its improvised bell tower that bears witness to its history.
You will drink your coffee in the wooden Swedish architecture jazz café bar of the village, THE REMA. Relaxed atmosphere, in a fantastic environment under the sound of running water.
Zarouchla is not cosmopolitan and you will appreciate it for the images of tranquility that will give you and the pure contact with nature. It can be a good base for unique hikes and escapes to nearby villages.