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"Emerald Lake" - Skra Waterfalls

Memories of Greek historical moments are mixed with the rare beauty of nature and the turquoise waters of an ancient lake.

These are the emotions one feels and the images that one sees as a visitor of Skra, the waterfalls and the famous "emerald lake".

Skra is only 4 km away from the borders with FYROM and it spreads on the Northeast slopes of Paiko at an altitude of 520m. Its previous name was Lioumnitsa, while the current one is due to the proximal top Skra di Legken that during the First World War was the place of the homonymous battle field (Skra - Ravine). The battle was a decisive one for the course of the Greek State and the First World War. The main feature of the village is the huge old plane tree in its central square.

Near this settlement, the visitor faces a small miracle of nature. Through a wonderful path one can reach an area with rich vegetation, where one meets the first waterfall of Skra, at the root of which there is a small cave with stalactites. A little further on the path, the visitor is stunned by the beauty of the small "Blue Lake" or "Emerald Lake", which owes its aquamarine emerald color of the water to the calcified and fossilized organisms of its bottom. Continuing on the path, the vegetation thickens and the ground is steeper. Here, one can see the second waterfall of Skra that falls with thunder over the rocks creating a stunning natural landscape.


A Dive in the Emerald Lake (Goumenissa - Skra)

Perfect for visitors from the surrounding prefectures

Arrive to the scenic and beautiful Goumenissa, famous for its traditional architecture, abundant water springs, delicious wines and the unique "Halkina" bands of self-taught musicians, which is an attractive destination for every season.

Rest in one of the charming cafes of this traditional town, take a stroll through the narrow streets with old houses and visit the folk museum with the wonderful folklore exhibits, that is located on the road to the nearby village of Griva.

Then, continuing on the same road with final destination the village of Skra and after we have travelled a distance of 8 km from Griva, we arrive at Kastaneri; a nice mountain village surrounded by beautiful forests of chestnut and beech trees, full of trails and view posts.

Livadia, a settlement that was established in the mid 18th century by Vlach-speaking Greeks, which is almost deserted during the winter while in the summer its residents return, lies at another 12km ahead on the road.

Then, travelling on to the northern outskirts of Paiko and bypassing the village Archangelos in Pella, we arrive in Skra, after 26 km of beautiful mountain nature.

We propose a visit to the "Museum of the First World War" of Skra, with exhibits from the historical battle of the adjacent mountain top Skra di Legken on 17/30 May of 1918. Heirlooms from the war front, documents, photographs, uniforms and many other objects revive the victorious Battle of the Greek soldiers against the Bulgarian army.

Next stop is the final destination of our trip, the excellent Emerald Lake and the waterfalls, located between Skra and the settlement Koupa.

During the winter, you can simply admire the natural beauty of the landscape and perhaps see some of the waterfalls frozen, while during the summer we have the opportunity to dive in the blue waters of the lake.

To get to the Emerald Lake we leave Skra and follow the signs to the village Koupa and then the signs for the Waterfalls, until we arrive at the parking lot, where we can park our vehicle.

Following a forest path with rich vegetation, we arrive at the first waterfall.Just ahead, passing across a wooden bridge we can see the "Emerald" or "Blue Lake", a name derived from the blue-green color of its water, which is due to the calcified and fossilized organisms at its bottom.

A rope tied to a tree, hovering over the small lake, is there to help guests enjoy the emerald waters by diving in amidst a landscape of unparalleled natural beauty. A little further along the bed of the stream, we can admire the next waterfall which falls with a loud splash onto the rocks, creating a beautiful natural setting.

After visiting the Emerald Lake, we get back to Skra to dine.Select one of the traditional taverns that offer a wide variety of traditional dishes, meat dishes, salads and desserts and then enjoy your coffee in a traditional cafe.

Our escape in the beauty of Paiko and the blue lake of Skra is concluded by travelling back to Kilkis, following the road through Axioupoli we return to our base.

Alternatively we suggest, depending on the available time, to stop in Kilkis, in the hill of St. George and take the half an hour tour into the cave that is located at the foot of the hill, which holds the 17th position among 10,000 similar caves around the world.

The cave has a rare decoration of coral material, stalactites and stalagmites that confer unique beauty and it has been judged suitable for cavetherapy to help treat diseases such aschildhood bronchial asthma.

Our stop in the town of Kilkis can end with coffee on the hill of St. George, an ideal location to enjoy a refreshment, just before we leave this city.


Folklore museum of Goumenissa:Dimitriou Kakavou 18. Tel .: 2343041362, 2343041525. Free Admission.

War Museum of Skra:Former Community Library.Tel .: 2343031656, Hours, Daily 9: 00-14: 00 17: 00-20: 00.Visit after a telephone consultation. Free Admission.

Cave of St. George:Hours Tuesday - Friday: 09: 00-14: 00 Weekends: 09: 00-14: 00 & 16: 00-18: 00.Phone: 23410 20054 & 6977561800


Balkan botanical Garden of Kroussia

A real plant paradise for naturalist visitors. In the Balkan Botanic Garden of Kroussia, one will encounter Balkan endemic plants that bloom all year round. Visitors can discover them through browsing different paths including rock garden, silver-colored ones, pharmaceutical and aromatic gardens, waterfalls, ponds, streams, formed paths, meadows and woodlands. The Balkan Botanic Garden, an area of ​​310 acres is one of the youngest of its kind in Europe and has a rare collection of aromatic and medicinal plants, traditional varieties of fruit trees, ornamental shrubs, ponds, and native species of the Balkan flora, all in a beautiful forest. It is open for visits and tours daily and the weekends until noon. This unique for the Balkans Botanical Garden is located near the picturesque village Pontokerasia and its modern hostel, where nature lovers can find their own little mountain paradise.


Fresh fish in Doirani (Mouries & Hilia Dentra)

Perfect for visitors from the surrounding prefectures

Arrive at Mouries that are located at the foothills of Mount Belles near the lake Doirani, about 80 km away from Thessaloniki.

We head to the location Hilia Dentra (a Thousand Trees), in the forest of Mouries, abeautiful natural forest with mixed vegetation of oak and ash trees that has been declared a "Natural Monument".

Here, there is a beautiful recreation area, in the center of the cluster of old oak trees, aged up to 400 years, where we can drink a coffee while enjoying the beautiful nature.A walk in the surrounding villages, Mouries, Platanies, A. Sourmena, can lead us through a unique path, in an area with rich vegetation.

We, then, head to the village Doirani, in the south of the lake, following a wonderful lakeside path.

Doirani features a wonderful ecotourism system that hosts 19 species of fish that live in the lake, such as carps, scheiders, gobies, crusian carps, eels, painted combers, and a significant number of birds such coots, snipes, various species of ducks, grebes and grey herons.

The monument in commemoration of the Battle of Doirani dominates the visitors, but there are many other attractions such as the Museum of Lake Doirani. The beach of the lake is planted with trees and there are playgrounds, basketball courts, volleyball courts, soccer courts and other facilities for visitors, as well as bars and fish taverns offering delicious appetizers and carp.

Here, we can select our favorite tavern to enjoy fresh fish. Doirani is famous for its unique fishing practices.Local fishermen use the reeds that grow in the lake in many ways, maintaining the traditional fishing techniques from the ancient times. On the bank of the lake, in the village, there are fishing facilities throughout the year.

On our way back, following the road to Drosato, we can visit some other settlements as well, before returning to our base.


Horse Riding

In an area of 20 acres, just outside the city of Kilkis, the visitor can enjoy relaxing moments.

Here, you can enjoy your coffee or your drink while watching the horses gallop. You can also ride a horse or even take horsemanship lessons by experienced teachers. 

T. 6976993221

url: www.rancho.gr


Mountain Bike

In the Mountains Belles, Kroussia and Paiko.

Information about the organized activities:

  • Mountaineering Association of Kilkis
  • T. 23410 20842 & 6975910459
  • url: oskilkis.webnode.com
  • Mountaineering Association of Goumenissa
  • T. 6979112663

Mountain, Mountaineering Association of Kilkis

In the Mountains Belles, Kroussia and Paiko.
In 1995, a group of former scouts who still had a love for nature and the activities it offers, along with other nature lovers from Kilkis, founded the Mountaineering Association of Kilkis, aiming to enjoy excursions in nature and offer this opportunity to others as well.


Tour in the Botanical Garden and Kroussia

Perfect for visitors from the surrounding prefectures

Arriving in the city of Kilkis, take the road to Terpyllos and continue towards Kokkinia, Melissourgeio, Parohthio and Pontokerasia; a trip of about 30 km.

The Balkan Botanic Garden of Kroussia is located about 2 km before you reach Pontokerasia.It is one of the youngest gardens of Europe, in a wooded area of deciduous oak forests of the mountain range of Kroussia and rich flora that includes at least 1,072 endemic and native species of the Balkan flora.

Here, you will find plants that bloom all year round (with a peak in late spring) through different routes that include rock gardens, aromatic gardens, artificial waterfalls, ponds, streams, formed paths, meadows and woodlands.In an area where the natural ecosystems of the Balkan Peninsula are protected and promoted, you can explore the extent of the biodiversity of the Greek flora, and even rare and endemic plants threatened with extinction.

There areinformation boardsthat offer knowledge and reveal the secrets of plants and benches, fountains, gazebos, the observatory and the fireplace of the meeting area, offering an opportunity to rest, relax and meditate.

Upon completion of the visit at the Balkan Botanic Garden of Kroussia, you can continue on the road, bypassing Pontokerasia, and arrive at Kroussia in about 3 km.

Here, at an altitude of 810 m, among thick forests of oak, you will find the hotel Kroussia; an ideal place to enjoy coffee or lunch.

Alternatively, you can stay in the hotel, turning a one-day getaway into a two-day trip, if there is enough free time, since both the location and the hotel are ideal for that.

Kroussia is an ideal place for trekking and nature walks and the hotel offers all needed supplies; from mountain bikes, telescopes and an amusement park to a massage room, sauna and a steam room, while the kitchen is rich with local delicacies: from wild boar with mushrooms and carrots to deer with wine sauce, traditional noodles, ‘hounkiarmpegenti’, ‘kontosouvli’ and Pontian ‘tanomeno Sourva’.

Our escape at the Balkan Botanic Garden and Kroussia is completed by going to the city of Kilkis and return to our base from there.


Balkan Botanic Garden Kroussia:Tel.2310471613 & 2341070688, Kroussia. Website: www.bbgk.gr, e-mail: info@bbgk.gr.Free admission.

Hotel Kroussia:Tel.2341200412 & 6976672767, email: info@kroussia-hotel.gr, Website: http://kroussiahotel.blogspot.gr


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