I totally recommend the Polylimnio Waterfalls hike in the Peloponnese. (Sometimes written as Polilimnio Waterfalls). You can explore the first part of the beautiful lake and waterfall complex fairly easily without a guide.
If you’re intrepid you can probably just about find the trekking path all the way up through the second waterfall and beyond. But I wouldn’t recommend it alone. I went on an organised tour with Climb Up who were knowledgeable, fun and friendly.
What are the Polylimnos Waterfalls?
The gorgeous waterfalls are a series of several, each with lakes/ponds (the name means “many lakes”). The water is a beautiful turquoise colour.
I went as part of a travel blogging conference and it was presented to us as one of the area’s hidden gems. However, it seems like it’s a pretty popular activity in the summer. At least the first part of the trail, anyway. Consider visiting early in the day to miss the crowds.
Go and see the stunning blue waters
Where are these Spectacular Waterfalls?
Polylimnio is a very pleasant 40 minutes drive from Kalamata. The road is good and although it winds a bit towards the village it’s not bad at all. You can also get there easily from places in the west like Pilos and Costa Navarino.
This last part of the road from the village is dirt track but absolutely accessible with a normal car.
What is The Walking Path Like?
This is a great hike with a couple of options. Most people go from the parking area to the first lake. As that gets crowded it’s good to go up to the second lake. From there, you can return the way you came doing about a 3km walk.
I found the first part an easy walk but you do need to be steady on your feet. You’ll walk over bridges with planks missing and the stone path is uneven and a bit steep in some places.
Making This a Circular Hike
You can continue up a very steep hill and make this a circular hike. Fewer people go this route and it’s where it can be good to have a guide.
Hike above to see where the gorgeous waterfalls drop from the rocks. George gave us a hand in one part.
What’s exciting about this part is the lush vegetation surrounding the path. It means there is lots of wildlife (as well as flora) to potentially see. We saw freshwater crabs and interesting insects like these beautiful dragonflies. But apparently, it’s also common to see things like beavers and even wild boar.
But to get to that section you need to be flexible and strong enough to pull yourself up and over one bit in particular, and have no problems with balance. You can see in the picture higher up that George had to help us up and over the waterfall here.
Can You Swim in the Lakes?
Yes, you can swim in them. A few of us went in by one of the biggest waterfalls. But I warn you, the lake’s FRESH! Or at least it was when we went in May. These small lakes were much colder than when I was in the sea couple of weeks before.
Swimming in Kadi Lake
This is the second pond and Kadi Lake features lots of places to jump or dive in.
If, like me, 🙋🏻♀️you’re somewhat concerned about your heart stopping from jumping straight into cold water there’s a flatter ledge too. Around the right side, the boulders are flatter and you can get in gradually.
Further round by the waterfall there’s a rather decrepit rope ladder. You can use it to scramble up the rock and jump from a great height. The water in that section is about 20 meters deep.
I didn’t do any crazy jumping but I swam under the waterfall into the little cave behind. Let’s just say the clear cold mountain water is extremely refreshing!
How Do You Access the Waterfall Hike?
There’s a parking area named Parking Polilimnio marked on Google Maps next to Kadi cafe. From the cafe, you head down the dirt road and follow the trail.
After the first two lakes, you need to keep walking up the right side of the water to find the more challenging section. Look for the metal steps where you make a sharp right turn to come back on yourself higher up.
One of many lakes along the way
Are There Facilities?
The cafe does snacks and drinks and has various local products available. They also have two toilets. This cafe and the taverna in the village are closed on Wednesdays.
There are a couple of kafenios in the village that are open. You’ll need cash if you go there.
Safety Tips For Visiting Polylimnio Waterfalls
The rocks are uneven and polished so on the slippery side anyway, nevermind when they or your shoes are wet. So wear proper sneakers/trainers rather than flip flops. And take water, sunscreen a hat etc because it’s mostly quite exposed.
Don’t Attempt Between November and March
We were advised that the water can rise very high in the off-season and the upper path is inaccessible. Take local advice if you’re travelling in the shoulder seasons to make sure it’s safe. I think the first part is manageable most of the time.
Don’t Go Alone Or At Least Tell Someone Where You Are
I’m awful at following this advice but here it would be sensible to take precautions. Even experienced people slip and fall along this path and I can imagine it’s pretty easy to bang your head if you did. So be safe and watch where you’re putting your feet.
Be Sensible On the Rocks Around the Lakes
Staying on the safety theme, be pragmatic around the lake. Again, accidents happen when people are larking about on the rocks. The pools are deep but there are also sections around the edges that are not, including near the rope ladder. So use your common sense.
I personally get nervous about people diving into any open water but decide for yourself what’s safe.
Enjoy Your Trip
I do think this is an unforgettable experience so make a plan to visit the stunning aqua blue waters and abundant greenery when you’re in this area of the Peloponnese. And if you book with George at Climb Up, tell him I sent you!
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