Drakolimni – Ioannina, Greece - Atlas Obscura


Ioannina, Greece

Local lore says two enemy dragons live within these breathtaking mountain lakes. 


Though Greece is known for its beautiful beaches and Mediterranean climate, these lakes look like they popped out of a northern fairytale. Their name—which translates to “Dragon Lake”— and the legends attached to them enhance the sense of magic and mystery.

Drakolimni is the name of a handful of lakes in Greece’s Epirus region. One lake is on Mount Tymfi and the other is on Mount Smolikas, two mountains that are only a few miles apart.

According to local lore, two enemy dragons once lived within these mountains. When the beasts fought, they chucked rocks and pines at one another, denting the Earth and creating the enchanting environment that exists today.

Sadly, you won’t find any mythical dragons lurking within the lakes. Instead, you’ll find alpine newts happily roaming within the gorgeous landscape. Because the amphibians look a bit like tiny dragons—locals even refer to them as “little dragons”—it’s likely they inspired the lakes’ fantastical name.

Know Before You Go

The GPS coordinates lead to the Dragon Lake on Mount Tymfi.

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