Beyond Kalavrita, forests and rivers

Greece, Peloponnese, Planitero
mapWe were leaving Kalavryta having as final destination a village next to Tripoli where we’ve got a contract for a photo shoot. We had one free day to spend in the mountainous hinterland of Peloponnese. Our first choice was to visit the Spileo Limnon (Cave of the Lakes). Eventually we changed our plans and we didn’t regret at all.

The cave of the lakes is quite famous in Greece and it is also one of the few that we have not yet seen. The cave can be visited only by guided tours, which are conducted every 30 minutes from 9.30 to 16.30. The entrance fee is € 9 (half for under 18 – over 65). Waiting for the guide to arrive (he was late!) we realised that the path was only 500 meters long and that we could see only two or three of the thirteen lakes that they have found. To make matters worse, it is also forbidden to photograph! We decided not to spend our time and our money and we left…

The parking area [37.96106, 22.14090] is quite flat and it would be a nice spot. Unfortunately, the owners of a nearby tavern with no clients decided to turn the music loud and we were forced to move in the lower parking area [37.96046,22.14059], which was a bit more sloping and right on the main road. In the end we had a quiet night but not a very good mood. The place, although empty, has the air of a tourist trap.

Fortunately our next stop was a rewarding one. We drove a few kilometers to get to the source of the river Aroanios [37.93364,22.16701], near the village Planitero. We entered the dense forest, we passed by the restaurants and we stopped at the side of the road to take a walk. 

Greece, Peloponnese, Planitero
Greece, Peloponnese, PlaniteroGreece, Peloponnese, Planitero
Greece, Peloponnese, Planitero

As you can see from the photos, it’s not an easy place to park. Rightfully the entrance to the forest is closed by large boulders to prevent the cars from parking in the woods and destroying the trees.

It’s like entering an enchanted forest, but also with a picnic area. Soon we realized that we were following a river bed, before it becomes river! We saw a trickle of water gushing out of the ground here and here and here and after a few metres the river Aroanios was born in front of our eyes. We have never seen anything like this!

Greece, Peloponnese, Planitero
Greece, Peloponnese, Planitero

 OK, we have to admit that the Acheron springs in Epirus are more impressive, but still the forest where Aroanios river begins is a very beautiful and unique place. As it was difficult to capture the beauty of the place through photos, we made a video where it should be clearer

In the video we see the working watermill with its primitive ‘washing machine’ [37.93319,22.16299] where local people still wash their clothes and carpets. The watermill is located before the restaurants and there is an open space where you can park easily.

Greece, Peloponnese, Planitero
Greece, Peloponnese, PlaniteroGreece, Peloponnese, PlaniteroGreece, Peloponnese, Planitero

The caretaker of the mill informed us that there is a bike path connecting Planitero with the village of Klitoria. The starting point is at the bridge of Abib Aga, not far from the watermill. He explained how to get there and after a couple of minutes we reached the bike path, which can be fun for those who want to stretch their legs. But be careful because the dirt road to get there [37.91972, 22.14727] is not very suitable for large vehicles.

Greece, Peloponnese, PlaniteroGreece, Peloponnese, Planitero

We took the main road this time heading to the sources of the river Ladonas [37.83648,22.18209]. There is an open space in front of a small cheese factory where you can park; it looks like a nice place to spend the night also.
After a moment of confusion, we found out where to go to get to the pond where Ladonas river begins. Starting from here, Ladonas will cross the Peloponnese for 70 kilometers to reach the sea. It’s a nice place but nothing exciting

Greece, Peloponnese, Ladonas fonts
Greece, Peloponnese, Ladonas fontsGreece, Peloponnese, Ladonas fonts
Greece, Peloponnese, Ladonas fonts

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