Polylimnio is so gorgeous and exotic that it has been called Messinia’s “Blue Lagoon”. But even that is not accurate because in Polylimnio you will find not one, but several azure and turquoise little lakes, connected to each other with some of the most stunning waterfalls you will ever get to see!
The lush vegetation that swaths the lakes in beautiful shades of green, the crystal clear waters that glisten against the rocks, and the sheer ease of access to this unique glimpse into paradise make visiting Polylimnio a must!
If you find yourself in the Peloponnese, you would be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t invest a day in exploring, hiking, and even swimming in Polylimnio. This guide will introduce you to everything you need to know to make the best of your visit and experience the beauties of Polylimnio.
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Visiting Polylimnio Waterfalls
How to get to Polylimnio Waterfalls
Polylimnio is in the Peloponnese, in the region of Messinia. It is part of the township of Haravgi, which is situated between the towns of Messini and Pylos.
The best way to access Polylimnio is by car or taxi. There are daily excursions by private bus which may set you back anything from 10 to 50 euro, but you will need to book in advance and make sure you adhere to their schedule. If you opt to go by taxi, make sure you have made arrangements for your driver to pick you up at a designated time!
The distance from Kalamata to Polylimnio is 30 km. It’s sitting roughly right in the middle of the distance between Messini and Pylos, so it’s 20 km from Messini and 21 km from Pylos. If you opt to go by car, it’s really easy to access the spot.
All you need to do is take the turn to the village Haravgi while you’re passing through the village Kazarma. After that, there will be several signs showing you the right way. They will lead you directly to the parking lot dedicated to visitors of Polylimnio.
Once you have parked, you only need to follow the path into Polylimnio on foot, and you will soon be met with the stunning sight of the first gorgeous pond.
The best way to explore the area around Polylimnio Waterfalls is by having your own car. I recommend booking a car through Discover Cars where you can compare all rental car agencies’ prices, and you can cancel or modify your booking for free. They also guarantee the best price. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
Best time to visit Polylimnio Waterfalls
If you are looking to swim in the waters of the pond, your best bet is to visit during the summer months, preferably in August when the heat is at its peak. That’s because the crystal clear, ever-moving waters are very chilly, so if you want to brave them, the best time is in the brunt of summer when they’re a tad warmer. Not by much, though, so keep that in mind!
In general, visiting Polylimnio in the summer is ideal thanks to the lush shade provided by the rich vegetation and the calm weather that allows you to enjoy the cluster of ponds and explore the various paths.
Polylimnio is unbelievably gorgeous in every way. The many little lakes- 15 in number- are intertwined and interconnected with stunning waterfalls, and yet they are tame looking and inviting to every visitor. Initially, you will need to hike along the path from the parking lot to discover the first lake, and beyond that, it’s up to you in which order you will be uncovering each pond.
Each pond has its own name, usually with some kind of story behind it. There’s the breathtaking lake Kardoula, which means “little heart” thanks to its shape, with the beautiful waterfall and the exotic, turquoise waters. There are also others with names like “Tou Tycherou” (i.e. “of the lucky one”) or “Mavrolimna” (i.e. “the one with black waters”) and more.
The hiking trail is easy, with railings installed to help you steady yourself where necessary. There are signs for each pond’s name, and some, like in the case of the pond “Tou Italou”, there’s even the backstory- dating from WWII, about an Italian soldier that was drowned in it.
There are also the ponds of Panagos and Stathoula, two Greeks of the turn of the century who chose to drown in these waters to escape the hoards of Ibrahim Pasha.
The tallest waterfall among all these lakes is found at that awe-inspiring Lake Kadi, with a height of 25 meters. Each and every single pond is unique. You can see them all, and take as many pictures as you can to capture their exquisite, wild beauty.
What to do at Polylimnio Waterfalls
Hiking is the number one activity you should do when visiting and exploring Polylimnio. The main path is quite easy, and welcoming to people of all ages and skill sets. That’s why you will initially find yourself in good company, as many people love to visit the pond cluster and its immaculate beauty. It’s roughly 3 km long and it does get a bit more challenging the further you walk on it, but it never gets too difficult for the average person.
The more you go on the path, however, the fewer the crowds will be. People tend to settle for the first couple of ponds they encounter, but you can go on to find the ones with the more dramatic waterfalls, fewer tourists, and more rewarding views and vistas!
Where the path becomes a bit more challenging, you may need the help of a guide. If you want to fully explore Polylimnio, it’s worth it to book a hiking trip with professionals who will take you to the best places with the least possible hassle. Either way, consider following the trail downwards to discover the beautiful cave of butterflies.
The hiking trail’s only danger is that it can be slippery. All you need to avoid any accidents, however, is to be careful and wear rubber-soled shoes. Trainers are also a great option. You can keep your flip-flops in your backpack for when you settle down by the edge of one of the ponds to refresh yourself and rest!
Swimming in the ponds of Polylimnio is a very popular pastime. It may take a bit of preparation, as the waters are generally quite chilly- they come straight from the springs high up in the mountain! However, after your sweltering hike, taking a plunge in what might be the cleanest, crispest, most crystal-clear water you will find is a treat!
Many people enjoy diving from the rocks into the ponds or taking advantage of the waterfalls for a refreshing spray. Unless you are too sensitive to the initial shudder of the cold, definitely pack your swimsuit for the day at the ponds!
If you wish to do some diving, there are special ladders installed to lead you to spots from where you can safely dive into the waters. It’s a very popular activity, but you need to respect what has been prepared for you. Don’t attempt to dive from any other place except where there is an indication that it’s safe to do.
Lastly, if you wish to have a natural massage, sit by the waterfall and enjoy the water against your back as it falls from several meters’ worth of height.
Look for the local residents
As you walk along the trail, especially when you approach Lake Mavrolimna (“black water lake” which is anything but black) keep your eyes open for the local residents of Polylimnio: the rather sizeable crabs, the water snakes, and other animals that will do their best to avoid you or pause for a moment to stare at you in curiosity.
Lake Mavrolimna is a gorgeous emerald pond that features a lot of the verdant riches of nature, and if you stick around quietly long enough, you’ll see its animal life as you enjoy the breathtaking scenery.
Things to know in advance about Polylimnio Waterfalls
Because Polylimnio has become rather popular as a destination, it’s possible that you will find some vendors at the parking lot selling snacks and water or other refreshments. If you haven’t packed your own food from home, this is your last chance to carry some food with you before you begin your exploration. Once you have entered the trail, you won’t find any vendors anywhere.
Make sure you have hydration with you- a chilled water bottle is ideal. Don’t let the heavy shadows fool you. Always wear a sunhat and sunscreen. In some of the ponds, there is little shade to be had.
The hike will make you hot. Pack your swimsuit even if you don’t think you’ll be swimming. Wearing it to enjoy the waterfall froth is an exquisite feeling.
Lastly, opt for rubber-soled shoes that are closed, to protect your feet from the rough rock path and from any slippery areas. People can and have been ok going on the trail with flip-flops, but it won’t be as comfortable or enjoyable without the right kind of shoes!