Unexplored Peloponnese: The Moustos Wetland and refreshing springs to swim in

Moustos Wetland Peloponnese

A wander through an area of ​​great environmental importance

Almost four years ago, while revisiting this part of the Peloponnese, I remember swimming in the Moustos Wetland, particularly in the springs. I was in the area again a few days ago with the photographer Kostis Angelopoulos. He comes from Arcadia and spent many of his summers at Astros.

"Our favourite activity was swimming in the springs," he told me, and we don't miss an opportunity to drive there.

As an insider, Kostis guided me. We avoided a section of the road where construction was making traffic difficult. In almost five minutes, we were at the wetland parking lot.

One can stand and observe the birds in the wetland there. However, we will see all this later as we head to the sources.

In the sources

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A breath from the parking lot, on a downhill concrete road, a few metres below the asphalt road, you see the flowing water. Even though it's still March, there's enough heat and African dust to make you want to dive in.

A sign warns against entering the water without shoes to avoid injury on the sharp rocks surrounding the springs. Just touching the water with my hand makes me realise how cold it is.

"Even on very hot summer days, the water temperature is always a problem here. However, it is very refreshing," Kostis said.

Walking in the wetland

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A little time passes, and we proceed towards the wetland. It is of exceptional natural beauty and enormous environmental importance.

The area, located about two kilometres south of Astros and close to Tyros and Leonidio in the Eastern Peloponnese, offers a beautiful and valuable space for nature and biodiversity.

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Lake Moustos, together with its marsh and the two man-made canals that connect it to the sea, is a refuge for many species of migratory birds and is important for the area's fauna, which includes waterfowl, reptiles and fish.

History has it that its name comes from the vineyards in the area and its past use as a loading port. The lake, fed by a brackish water spring, has healing properties due to its sulphur salts, making it a magnet for visitors seeking recovery and wellness.

The natural landscape around the lake is ideal for hiking and exploring, offering stunning visual experiences and a sense of oneness with nature.

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Protected area, Natura 2000

The entire Moustos Wetland area is included in the European Natura 2000 Network, thus confirming its environmental importance and emphasising the need to protect and preserve these precious natural areas.

At the observatory

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We drove on a dirt road and reached a wooden watchtower. Some species of birds fly by us, and then, using the drone and flying high not to disturb us, Kostis finds a few more.

I look at the images on the small screen and am very pleased with where we are. Looking back at the images, I wonder how much beauty can fit into one click, and at the same time, I remember with nostalgia that beautiful morning on the dirt roads of the wetland.

The beauty is hidden in the truth of this place. We only need silence to hear it.

Dimitri Stathopoulos is a columnist for Travel. Translated by Paul Antonopoulos

READ MORE: Agios Pavlos: The isolated beach in Crete with a Byzantine church and wonderful waters.

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