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Limni Vouliagmenis near Loutraki is the perfect destination for a fun-filled day trip from Athens. But it is not just the calm, turquoise waters of the lagoon that attracts thousands of visitors to this beautiful corner of Corinthia.
The nearby archaeological site, Heraion of Perachora, will satisfy any history lovers and the lighthouse of Melagavi is as picturesque as they get. Most importantly, the pine-clad inland of Loutraki Perachora peninsula and its dramatic, rocky coast are the perfect place for relatively easy hiking combined with refreshing dips in the sea.
On this hike, we walked from Limni Vouliagmenis to Sterna Beach and returned back along the rugged western coast of the peninsula. Through the whole hike, we enjoyed amazing sea vistas and pristine pine forest, so typical for the Greek coastline yet so precious after the fiery horrors of past summer.
Signposting and difficulty
I didn’t find any hiking map for this area of the Loutraki Perachora peninsula but the trail was marked better than I expected and with the help of Wikiloc it was pretty easy to follow (check out our recording of the trail HERE).
The first section from Limni Vouliagmenis to Sterna Beach was marked by red paint and plastic streamers tied to the trees while the coastal trail from Sterna to the Melagavi Lighthouse followed yellow signs.
From the information I found online, this 12 kilometers long circular hike is considered easy and shouldn’t take more than 4 and half hours. In reality, it took us almost 7 hours to complete and it certainly had its challenges.
The initial climb from Limni Vouliagmeni to a rocky outcrop overlooking the lake was pretty steep and the coastal trail narrow and rocky. On the other hand, we managed to squeeze in three swimming breaks and a quick lunch at the tavern in Sterna (not something I would recommend).
Except for the tavern at Sterna, there were no places to get refreshment or water along the way and despite the thick pine forests all around there wasn’t much shade either. Therefore, make sure to bring plenty of water and a hat, especially during the hot Greek summer.
How to get to Limni Vouliagmenis from Athens
To get to the Lake Vouliagmenis from Athens we followed the highway to Corinth and Peloponnese until we spotted a sign for Loutraki right before crossing the Corinth canal. We left the highway here, drove through the town of Loutraki, and continued towards Perachora.
In Perachora, we turned left at the sign pointing towards Limni Vouliagmenis and descended to the lakeshore. We continued along the lake towards Heraion of Perachora but just as the asphalt road left the lake we turned on an unmarked dirt road branching to the right and parked our car right at the beginning
The drive to the lake was easy and straightforward, as long as you pick the correct lake on Google Maps. There is another Vouliagmeni Lake on the Athenian Riviera which is much better known and usually offered first. You can check out the directions on Google maps HERE.
Limni Vouliagmeni to Sterna Beach
At the beginning of our hike, we followed a dirt road running uphill, away from the lake among pine trees and a couple of summer houses. After a while, we turned right on another forest track and soon enough we spotted the first red signs painted on the rocks.
We followed the road at first but after about 150 meters we come across a trail running uphill from the right side of the road. It took us all the way to the top of the hill through a beautiful pine forest after crossing the road one more time.
It was a steep climb and quite exhausting, especially on a hot, late-summer day. Fortunately, stunning views towards the lighthouse of Melagavi started opening up between the trees and served as a welcomed distraction.
Once at the top, the views become even better! Except for the Lake Vouliagmenis and Melagavi lighthouse we could see as far as the green slopes of Mount Germania, the cities of Loutraki and Corinth, and the mountains of Northern Peloponnese.
Once we enjoyed the views and took an excessive amount of pictures we continued along the ridge following a mix of red and green signs. From here until Sterna, the markings become sparse and slightly confusing and Wikilock comes in handy.
After about one kilometer we reached a wide forest road, turned right here, and started our descend to Sterna. We passed multiple dirt tracks branching off the main road and had to check the map from time to time to avoid getting lost.
When we reached the main asphalt road to Sterna we turned left and followed another dirt road running parallel to the left side of the road. After about 250 meters, we found a narrow trail branching to the left through overgrown orchards.
It led us to another dirt road where we turned right and continued walking until we return back to the asphalt road. It took us through the sleepy settlement of Sterna all the way to the coast.
The beach at Sterna is one of the most striking beaches I’ve seen in Attica. It is sheltered from the sea by dramatic cliffs looking like some kind of fossilized dinosaur (well, at to me). It is not my favorite place for swimming though thanks to its rocky seabed occupied by a significant amount of sea urchins.
There is a tavern near the beach, or an oyster bar as we learned later, which seems like the perfect place for a quick lunch break. However, unless you are up for an opulent feast of lobsters and other seafood you’ll not be welcomed here. We met with possibly the rudest service I’ve ever experienced in Greece and left as soon as we finished our otherwise lovely meal.
Coastal trail from Sterna towards the lighthouse of Melagavi
Near the tavern at Sterna, we joined a path marked by yellow signs leading to the opposite side of the peninsula. It emerges at the coast at a small bay lined by rugged cliffs. Even though there is no beach per se, this spot is perfect for a quick dip in the sea thanks to its crystal clear water and sandy seafloor.
From here, the trail follows the rocky coast all the way to Cape Melagavi. The beginning of the path was a little tricky and at some point required some light scrambling. But soon enough it morphed into a somewhat comfortable trail and we could turn all our attention to the stunning nature all around us.
The combination of calm, turquoise sea, pine-covered hills, and strangely shaped cliffs rattling under our feet made for a truly striking scene. The rocks, eaten up by seawater and filled by small salt pools were especially interesting and we wasted quite some time examining them up close.
At the last section of our hike, the coastal cliffs become steeper, and our trail dove into the forest. It continued across the slopes high up above the sea and there were a couple of exposed spots where a slip could be dangerous. Make sure to stay cautious here!
Not after long, we got the first glimpses of the lighthouse of Melagavi bathing in the golden light of late afternoon. At a small bay, we come out of the forest, left the trail, and headed inland in search of a dirt road. Once we found it, it took us safely to our care parked at the banks of the Vouliagmenis Lake.
The path continues all the way to the lighthouse of Melagavi so pay attention to the map here unless you want to make the hike significantly longer. If you do though let me know what it was like in the comments!