If Tinker Bell ever got tired of her daily routine and left Neverland, she could find refuge here, at Ladon river. She won’t feel lost or lonely. The Greek fairies, the Nymphs, are here to welcome her. And that goes for anyone seeking a different kind of magic. This place inspired Panas, the cloven-hoof god, to chase the beautiful nymph, Syrinx and made Apollo fall in love with Dafne. It is the river, where Dimitra washed her hair, Artemis used to hunt and Aphrodite secretly met with her lover, Aris.
Ladon rises on the western slope of the Aroania mountain, near the village Kastria, Achaia. It flows south, receives its left tributary Aroanios, flows along Kleitoria and turns southwest. At the Arcadian borders it receives the waters of Tragos river and enters Gortinia.
One of the sites you can’t miss is the river’s dam at Pidima (120 km from Tripoli) and the artificial Ladon Lake. It was created in 1955 for hydroelectric purposes in a canyon of Aphrodisios mountain at 420 m altitude. Since then it has been declared as an ecological park. Ladon Lake has the form of a snake. The landscape around it is truly imposing with many unexplored beauties waiting for you to discover.
The drive: One can reach the Ladon Lake through Tropaia (Arcadia) or Dafni (Achaia). Both routes provide a wonderful view to the lake and the dam. When you reach the dam the road forks out: to the left it runs along the riverbed of Ladonas and leads to the villages Vachlia, Kondovazena and Voutsis. To the right it leads to the village Mouria.
Make a stop at the Bridge of Kyra (Mouria village) if you visit during summer. The bridge dates back at the 13th century and is usually flooded by the waters of the dam. It appears only during the summer months.
The Ladon river and its tributaries Paios, Aroanios and Tragos, with their soft flow, are ideal for canoeing- kayaking and rafting. The place is also suitable for trekking and mountain biking, while you can also find organized alternative tourism facilities where you may also try other activities, like horse riding and archery.
Well, you must be hungry by now. Don’t worry. There are plenty of traditional taverns in the nearby villages.
Text and photos by Natassa Stasinou