Kaiafas Things to Do
There are probably much better or much prettier lakes in Greece but Kaiafas lake was so peaceful during our visit we loved it.
It was probably created after a big earthquake and the area was inhabited since the ancient times with people coming for the thermal baths. Legends wanted a wealthy town to have been near the lake that was gone under the waters.
The lake covers an area of about 1,750sq meters surrounded by greek pine trees… wait, that was before the 2007 disastrous fires.
We walked a bit along the shore, the heavy dark clouds created a dramatic atmosphere but we loved the serenity around (no other people). On the east side are the rocks of Lapitha mountain where there are two caves (Anigrides Nymphes and Geranio Andro) from where the thermal waters come from. One of those nymphes was Kalliafeia (hence the name Kaiafas) while another one was Iasis (hence the healing impact of the waters)
The general area of the lake is a protected nature park because the area combines sea, forest, lake and mountain and houses rich fauna and flora. A small canal connects the lake with the sea which helps the lake from over flooding in winter. In the middle of the lake is a small island with the chapel of Agia Akaterini on it. You can walk or cycling around and follow numerous paths but because of the dark clouds we moved to Zacharo, a smart move because 10’ later it was raining cats and dogs…Related to:
Kaiafas baths are famous for the healing impact of the waters, actually the area was famous since the ancient times as a place where smelly water was coming out of the rock and they believed that the water had healing purposes.
There were two caves at the foothill of Lapithas mountain, on of them was known as the cave where Anigrides Nymphes were living (hence the name of Anigros river), nymphes that were believed to cure skin diseases. One of those nymphes was Iasis (hence the healing impact of the waters) while another one was Kalliafeia (hence the name Kaiafas).
We stood in front of the baths but the smell was unbearable, there are some nice legends behind this, the most common is that Centaur Nessos washed his wounds when he was hit by the poisoned arrows of Hercules (because he had asked Nessos to help his wife Dianeira to pass Achelous river but the centaur had some kinky ideas, the woman screamed and Hercules used his arrows)
Christianity had a different point of view claiming that this was the lake where Kaiafas (the judge of Jesus) bathed on his way to Rome and the waters were contaminated by the body of the sinner that was cursed because of Jesus crucifixion so the bad smell was reflecting his bad soul! (oh those lovely stories…)Related to:
- Historical Travel
0 Hotels in Kaiafas
how to go there
Kaiafas lake is located just north of Zacharo village, about 27kn SE of Pyrgos.
We drove through the old road Pyrgos-Kyparissia with no problem (pics 1-2) following the sign to the left before we reach the lake on the side street that passes in front of the baths (pic 3). There’s an asphalt road that goes round the lake while many small dirt paths lead into the lake shore.
In the evening when we returned from Zacharo it was a bit dangerous because of the heavy rain.