Situated on the outskirts of Athens, Vouliagmeni Lake (Limni Vouliagmenis) is a brackish body of water fed by both the sea and underground springs. The water is said to have curative properties, and many people come here to treat various physical ailments and partake in spa activities such as yoga and Pilates, in addition to swimming.
While the lake’s therapeutic benefits are among its main draws, it’s also popular for recreational activities. The water temperature is consistently between 71℉ and 84℉ (22℃ and 29℃), which makes for pleasant swimming, and at the bottom of the lake is a labyrinth of underwater caves with 14 tunnels. There are beach chairs and umbrellas near the lakeshore, and a nearby restaurant serves traditional Greek food. Visit the lake independently, or join a small-group walking tour of the area that includes beach time, a tour that combines a visit to the lake with Athens highlights, or a tour that visits the lake in conjunction with stops at Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon. Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- Vouliagmeni Lake is a must-visit for families and those interested in wellness.
- Swimwear, towels, and sun protection are available for sale, but you’ll save a lot of money by bringing your own.
- Small fish in the lake known as garra rufa, or doctor fish, may nibble on your dead skin. Don't be alarmed; these are the same type of fish frequently used for fish pedicures.
- Note that currents in the lake can be strong at times, so be careful if swimming far from shore.
- There is an admission fee to visit the lake.
Vouliagmeni Lake is located on the so-called Athenian Riviera on the western coast of Attica, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) from Athens. It can be reached by bus or taxi from Athens, and many visit as part of full- and half-day tours from the city.
When to Get There
Because of its mix of cool and warm waters, the lake is considered a year-round destination, though it might be a little chilly for some people during the dead of winter. It's open throughout the year from 7am to 8pm.
The lake is home to its very own breed of sea anemone, Paranemonia vouliagmeniensis
(aka Greek anemone), which can't be found anywhere else on Earth. Unsurprisingly, populations of this creature are in decline because of the lake's use for spa treatments, and the anemones are considered critically endangered.