Clear blue waters reflect the mountains of Agrafa and Etoloakarnania. Beautiful lakeside villages and settlements give life to the area. Wonderful islands appear and disappear depending on the season.
Lake Kremasta is the largest artificial lake in Greece and is located at the borders of the prefectures of Etoloakarnania and Evritania. Its waters will remain an unforgettable sight, the landscape will captivate you and its history will give you the chills. The landscape and the area are guaranteed to fascinate every nature lover who wants to see a new, “hidden” side of Greece’s Nature.
In this travel guide, you will find the best things to do in Lake Kremasta.
Lake Kremasta was created in 1965, after the construction of the Kremasta dam and when the waters of the rivers Acheloos, Agrafiotis, Tavropos and Trikeriotis were joined. It has a surface area of 80.6 square metres and a capacity of 4.750 million cubic metres of water.
The creation of the lake came at a great cost to the residents of the wider area. The waters of the lake flooded several villages and monuments. Among them were the village of Episkopi as well as the Monastery of Episkopi and the historic bridge of Tatarna. This resulted in the relocation of a significant part of the population of the wider region to urban centres such as Agrinio and Karpenisi. Even today during the summer months and when the water level of the lake drops it is possible to spot some remains of the buildings that the lake “swallowed”.
How to reach Kremasta Lake
Surrounded by mountains and located almost in the centre of mainland Greece, Lake Kremasta is not the most convenient place to reach. The two closest urban centres to Lake Kremasta are the city of Agrinio and the city of Karpenisi. To get to the lake, you must use your own vehicle as there are no bus routes from the two cities. So we suggest using your own vehicle or renting a vehicle. Car rental can be done from both cities. Depending on the season and the spots you want to visit you may need a 4X4 vehicle.
To begin with, Agrinio is easily accessible via the “Ionia Odos” Motorway. After arriving in Agrinio we can reach the lake in two ways.
- Through the National Road of Agrinio – Karpenisi. Following the road to Karpenisi, after many turns and an hour and a half of driving, we reach the eastern part of the lake and specifically the bridge of Episkopi. The road is quite good for the most part.
- Through the Provincial road Chalciopoulou. Following the road to the Tatarna bridge, after even more turns and an hour and a half of driving, we reach the western part of the lake and specifically the Tatarna bridge. The road is quite good for the most part.
Both the first and the second routes are stunning and you can combine them with other sightseeing in the area. We recommend especially in the summer when conditions are better to reach the lake from the second route then drive along the lake from the side of Evritania and then return from the first route to get a complete overview of the location.
Karpenisi is easily accessible via the National Road Lamia – Karpenisi. Once we reach Karpenisi we follow the National Road Karpenisi – Agrinio. After (you guessed it right) many turns and an hour and a half of driving we reach the eastern part of the lake and specifically the bridge of Episkopi.
Tour around Lake Kremasta
The Kremasta lake is a unique attraction. However, in combination with the surrounding attractions, it is a notably extensive area.
For your tour around the lake, it is necessary to use your own vehicle. The road is asphalted for the most part but there are some attractions such as the beach of “Agia Vlacherna” and “Panagia Psilovrachou” where you will also find a dirt road in moderate condition, especially in winter. So depending on the season and the spots you want to visit you may need to use a 4×4 vehicle. Overall a vehicle will allow you to visit the places you are interested in and organise your trip exactly as you would like.
In combination with a car, you can also visit many of the sites by hiking. It may be more time-consuming but it is the best way to appreciate the landscape up close and even reach places where there are no roads.
Lake kremasta best time to visit
The area has a different but equally breathtaking beauty in each season. However, we recommend visiting the area in the summer.
Summer at the Kremasta Lake
In summer the area is more friendly for the average visitor. Most villages around the lake are bustling with life so you are more likely to find a place to eat and sleep. In fact, there are many little taverns offering homemade local food. Also in recent years, during the months of June to October, free boat trips into the lake are being arranged by the region of Sterea Ellada. It is one of the best ways to see the lake up close. In the summer, the area offers swimming spots near the lake and the weather is suitable for hiking and other outdoor activities around the lake. Finally, the road network is better and usually, maintenance is done to it in early summer.
Winter at Kremasta lake
If you choose to go in winter the contrast of the blue colour of the lake with the white of the snow-capped mountain peaks will leave you amazed. However, you may find it a bit difficult to find places to eat and sleep around the lake. It is advisable to choose to stay either in the town of Agrinio or in the town of Karpenisi. Make sure you find out what the road conditions are before you begin your trip and make sure you are equipped with Snow Chains. One thing is for sure, you won’t regret it as despite the conditions the area in winter has a different beauty.
Lake Kremasta accomodation
If you choose to stay near the lake we recommend:
Also you can stay in the city of Agrinio:
Hotel – Marpessa Hotel & Spa.
Or else you can stay in the city of Karpenisi:
Guesthouse – Valentini
Lake Kremasta sights
1. Episkopi Bridge
If you want to admire the clear blue waters of the lake up close then you should visit Episkopi Bridge. The size of the bridge along with the contrasts between the lake waters and the mountainous landscape will definitely make you love this place. The bridge is located on the national road from Agrinio to Karpenisi on the eastern side of the lake. It is one of the two connections between the prefecture of Aitoloakarnania and the prefecture of Evritania at Lake Kremasta. It is the fourth longest bridge in Greece with a length of 602 meters and was built in 1972-1976.
2. Tatarna Bridge
The Tatarna Bridge is an equally impressive place to admire the lake from close up. The bridge is located on the western side of the lake. It is the second of the two connections between the prefecture of Aitoloakarnania and the prefecture of Evritania at Lake Kremasta.
3. Agia Vlacherna Beach
How about swimming in the crystal clear waters while overlooking the mountains of Evritania? Just before the river Krikeliotis meets the waters of Lake Kremasta we find the beach of Agia Vlacherna. Hidden in a small gorge this place will surely stay in your mind. Apart from swimming, Agia Vlaherna beach is also ideal for other activities such as fishing and picnic. Make sure to visit it in summer when the river flow is calm and the water temperature is ideal for swimming.
4. Location Tsagaralona
View out of a fairy tale. One of the best places to enjoy a panoramic view of Lake Kremasta is Tsagaralona. Make sure to visit the spot during the evening hours and the sunset will reward you.
5. Kremasta Dam
In the southern part of the lake, you will find the Kremasta Dam. The dam is built on a narrowing of the Acheloos riverbed, it is 160 meters high and 457 meters wide. Its construction is made of dirt and gravel so it is considered a ‘geo-barrier’. In fact, it is one of the largest of its kind in Europe. It is definitely worth a visit to admire this huge project.
6. Agia Deutera Psilovrachou.
Above the Episkopi bridge and built on a steep cliff is the Church of St. Deutera Psilovrachou. Accessed via a suspension bridge that crosses over a 100-metre-high gorge, the site is one of the best places to admire the panoramic views of the Kremasta Lake and the Episkopi bridge.
7. Saint Andrew the Hermit
If you find yourself on the western part of the lake, one of the best places to enjoy a panoramic view of the western part of Lake Kremasta is the path of Agios Andreas the Hermit. The trail starts from the mountain village of Halkiopouli in Aitoloakarnania and ends in a cave on the northern slopes of Mount Kanala at an altitude of 1,520 meters. Inside the cave are the tomb and small temple of Agios Andreas the Hermit who lived there in the 13th century. In general, it is a relatively easy path whose beauty will surely fascinate you.
8. Saint Longinus
Just before you reach the Episkopi bridge on the way from Agrinio to Karpenisi you will come across the chapel of Agios Logginos. It is a small but picturesque stone chapel next to the waters of the Kremasta lake. The spot is ideal for admiring the view of the lake and the Episcopi bridge.
9. Manolis Bridge
The bridge that leads to nowhere. Shortly before the Agrafiotis river meets the waters of the lake you can find the Manolis Bridge. The bridge both in winter and in summer seems to lead nowhere. In summer it is accessible and we can admire it from close up while in winter it is usually semi-submerged and only the top of its arch is visible. It was built in 1695 and its diameter reaches 30 meters. The most remarkable thing about this bridge is how it still survives despite the extremely harsh conditions under which it stands. Before the construction of the Kremasta dam and the creation of the lake in 1964, the bridge was still in use.
10. Tsoka Peak
Activities at Lake Kremasta
1. Free boat trip to Kremasta Lake.
In the last few summers, the Regions of Western Greece and Sterea Ellada, with the cooperation of the Municipalities of Agrinio, Amfilochia, Karpenisi and Agrafa, have been organizing free boat trips to Kremasta lake. Visitors can enjoy routes that allow them to admire the unique natural landscape of the lake with its historic bridges, impressive islands and rich flora.
2. Hiking and climbing.
Locations such as Agios Andreas the Hermit and Tsoka peak are ideal to admire the biodiversity of the place and to exercise at the same time. Various trails can be followed around the lake as well. It would be ideal to visit the area in summer when conditions are usually ideal for hiking. Make sure to bring a pair of hiking shoes, enough water and a small snack.
3. Canoeing and rafting
Extreme sports trips are occasionally organized on the waters of the lake and surrounding rivers. For more information, you should contact the appropriate tourist agencies.
Food at Lake Kremasta
During the summer, in the villages of the surrounding area, many taverns are offering local homemade food. In addition, since the place has not yet been turned into a tourist destination, the prices are still at a very good level.
We recommend the following:
Taverna Fengoulis – Taverna next to the Episkopi bridge offering local dishes and handmade ingredients.
Taverna Iliovasilema – Tavern next to the Episkopi bridge.
Tatarnas Bridge – Tavern next to the Tatarna bridge.
Whichever place you choose it is a good idea before going there to call the phone numbers shown in the links and make sure they can serve you.