Verliga alpine lake – Wild camping on Greece’s secret paradise

The word paradise develops in Western languages from the Greek word paradeisos. In the western culture the concept of paradise developed in two related levels. The first was scriptural and thus a part of religious belief: paradise is either a place for life after death—often serving as a more tangible and concrete substitute for the vaguer term heaven —or the setting for a primal, idealized epoch in human history: the Garden of Eden.

The second way in which the concept developed was through the actual physical depiction or recreation of the religious image of paradise on earth, either in the form of actual gardens or through the use of certain types of garden imagery, and this is exactly what the alpine lake of Verliga is about.

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Approaching Verliga lake

The legendary mountainous lake Verliga in Lakmos mountain is in central Greece. Located in the Alpine zone, at an elevation of 2.050m, it is the third lake of the mountain range of Pindos, and it is the fountainhead of the great Acheloos (Aspropotamos) river. The whole area and the view from this location are really breathtaking.

From Tsoukarela towards the alpine lake of  Verliga it was an easy downhill hike. This is perhaps one of the nicest alpine areas of Greece and perhaps of South Europe.

What makes this lake special is the 10 meanders (serpentine course) creeks that form descend from the main lake towards the Acheloos river. In addition, the lake is surrounded by various peaks, such as Tsoukarela, but most of all of the stunning peak of Megas Trapos.


See previous mountaineering trips in the Pindos region here:


It is surrounded by peaks of over 1800 meters in height and is only accessible after a long drive through Pindus. More than ten of its peaks exceed the altitude of 2,000 meters and some are steep enough to satisfy even the most demanding thrill-seekers.

According to an ancient myth, Amalthea- Zeus foster mother- gave her legendary horn to river-god Achelous (Acheloos), whose own horn had been broken after a fight with Heracles. In another myth, Acheloos was said to have been formed by the tears of the tragic figure of Niobe, who fled to mount Sipylon after the angry gods murdered her husband and fourteen children. Around the mountain there are lots of rivers and streams as well as oak forests that during spring transform the area into a colorful painting. Moreover, it is the main “feeder” of the rivers Acheloos and Arachthos.

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Megas Trapos reflecting on the water

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Wild camping in one of the most beautiful alpine lakes of Europe

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How to reach Verliga lake

Most of the hiking trails towards Verliga lake start from the village Chaliki, on the eastern part, and from the village Anthochori, on the northern part.


Chaliki – Verliga lake

The traditional village of Chaliki, situated at an altitude of 1,150 meters, is the westernmost village of the Prefecture of Trikala and Thessaly. The centuries-long inhabitation of the village confirm historical testimonies, which state that in the same place there was the “Acheloon” ancient Chalkis. This was the name of the village until the 18th century. During or after the Ottoman domination, the name Chaliki was established, coming either from the white pebbles of Acheloos, in which the river itself (in its infantile form) owes its second name (Aspropotamos) or the corruption of Chalkis.

Chalki is 97 km away from Trikala and only 23 km from Metsovo and is very close to Mount Lakmos, one of the highest peaks of Greece (in the area the peak is known as Peristeri). Feeling is the visitor’s wild landscape with fir trees and lush vegetation. The place is also suitable for mountain sports such as mountain climbing and mountain biking.

Near Chaliki, we find the Dragon lake Verliga which is the third dragon lake of Pindos that Kostas Krystallis described so well in a text published in the Parnassus magazine in 1890. In the summer of 1998 TA NEA journalist Yannis Drenogiannis visited the Dragon lake Verliga and wrote for this lake a very authoritative article.

Here is an excerpt. ”Beyond the two known dragons, one living on the top of Smolikas (Lygos) and the other in Gamila (or Tymphi) and clashing with each other (with their respective lakes), there was also a third. It was once thrown out of the spring, turned to the third Dragon lake, and then found a hole and was lost again to the Lakmonas (Peristeri), but others said that it looked like a snake, and others saw this lake as a black strong ram. This third Dragon lake was almost circular, smaller than the two others but it had the characteristic that it was digging its waters to form a funnel for this and the Vlachs of the area called it Vrigga (circle) .This Dragon lake no longer keeps water from the summer to the late autumn, which is normal, since it “dies”. Dragon lakes is a geological phenomenon due to the glacial season. Of course the traces of glaciers have disappeared from the Greek mountains and the only remaining elements are the Black Peak and the Dragon lake, which have a certain limit of life, surely restricted. Chaliki, climbing at 1.150 meters, is the northernmost village in the area of ​​Aspropotamos and you can reach either by means of the Trikala Pyli or from Kalambaka or from Metsovo (dirt road).”

Chaliki has no sign system either, but this causes no problems as the hiking signs leading to the lake of Verliga start just outside the village. Despite the herds grazing at its slopes, the mountain remains to a great extent pristine. The alpine meadows west of the summit are ideal for camping or backcountry skiing. Alpine lake Verliga is just north of Tsoukarela peak, but it remains frozen or hidden under snow until late spring, while it dries up completely in the summer. Peristeri (or Lakmos) summit offer a panoramic view of mounts Tzoumerka, Kakarditsa and Mavrovouni.

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Trail from Chaliki to Vegliga and Tsoukarela peak

Details of the Route:

  • Starting Point: Chaliki village
  • Ending Point: Verliga
  • Trail Signs: Partly signed path
  • Minimum Elevation: 1.150 m
  • Maximum Elevation: 2.050 m.
  • Total Distance: 8 km
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • When to Hike: Any time of the year (during winter time winter mountaineering gear is needed)
  • Water Features: two

Anthochori – Verliga lake

It is surrounded by peaks of over 1700 meters in height and is only accessible after a long drive through Pindos. More than ten of its peaks exceed the altitude of 2,000 meters and some are steep enough to satisfy even the most demanding thrill-seekers.

According to an ancient myth, Amalthea- Zeus foster mother- gave her legendary horn to river-god Achelous (Acheloos), whose own horn had been broken after a fight with Heracles. In another myth, Acheloos was said to have been formed by the tears of the tragic figure of Niobe, who fled to mount Sipylon after the angry gods murdered her husband and fourteen children. Around the mountain there are lots of rivers and streams as well as oak forests that during spring transform the area into a colorful painting. Moreover, it is the main “feeder” of the rivers Acheloos and Arachthos.

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Megas Trapos peak and Verliga lake
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Underwater ice

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Meanders (serpentine shape creek) and lake as seen from far
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Verliga in early moment

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Details of the Route:

  • Starting Point: Anthochori village
  • Ending Point: Verliga
  • Trail Signs: Partly signed path
  • Minimum Elevation: 1.060 m
  • Maximum Elevation: 2.050 m.
  • Total Distance: 10 km
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • When to Hike: Any time of the year (during winter time winter mountaineering gear is needed)
  • Water Features: three

See previous mountaineering trips in the Pindos region here:

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6 thoughts on “Verliga alpine lake – Wild camping on Greece’s secret paradise

  1. Pingback: Hiking in Tzoumerka (Athamanika) – Pramanta Refuge – Waterfall Kefalovriso – Olympus Mountaineering

  2. Pingback: Winter Hike on Mount Helicon (Elikonas) – Olympus Mountaineering

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