The alpine Moutsalia Lake at Mount Grammos
Nestled in a lush beech forest at Mount Grammos, Moutsalia Lake is the border between Ioannina and Kastoria Districts as well as between Greece and Albania.
It lies on a 1,740 m. elevation and it is a fascinating place right in the heart of the Grammos range, not easy to spot unless you get really close. The lake surface is 15,000 m² and is only 1 m. deep.
It is fed by subterranean reservoirs and torrents which form when snow melts. The lake bed is covered in dense mossy vegetation which reaches the surface in certain parts adding a greenish colour to the waters.
It is a valuable refuge for three species of newts, namely the alpine newt (triturus alpestris), the common newt (triturus vulgaris) and the great crested newt (triturus cristatus). Other local species include the yellow-bellied toad (bombina variegata), the Greek stream frog (rana graeca) as well as the salamander (salamandra salamandra), the sand lizard (lacerta agilis) and the adder (vipera berus). Grammos range is the southernmost European area with populations of adders.
The place can be accessed via a dirt road from Aetomilitsa, Ioannina or from Pefkofyto, Kastoria. The road closes up in the winter months because of the heavy snowfall and the lake freezes entirely, giving the impression that the area is just another snow covered plateau.
Map of the area