After spending a couple of glorious days in Stoupa, Greece we ventured towards our next stop in the Peloponnese. Our next stop was to stay at the wonderful Westin Costa Navarino which is a two hour drive from Stoupa. To break up the drive we did a minor detour to hike and swim at the Polylimnio Waterfalls. The waterfalls were more than just a detour and were one of our highlights of our 2019 European trip. One of the best parts is that the waterfalls are free for everyone, you just need to drive there.
The Polylimnio waterfalls consists of 15 beautiful teal lakes, many of which have waterfalls. This is hike is not like anything you have experienced before. It is like walking through a teal tea garden in paradise. The hike itself is short, but technical and intense at times. Bring good hiking sandals as you will want good traction and your feet will get wet as you hike. As we climbed up the waterfalls we decided to jump into two of the larger lakes. The water was freezing, but it was worth it!
How to Get There
The Polylimnio Waterfalls are only about 30 minutes away from Kalamata which is the largest city in the region and has the only commercial airport for the area. From our place in Stoupa it was an hour and a half drive to the waterfalls. The directions coming from Kalamata or Stoupa are simple. You follow the main road labelled as 82 that goes west from the airport. Once you are about 25 minutes down the road you will see a BP gas station. Take a left at the gas station and continue. You will drive through a very small town and you should see blue signs for the Polylimnio waterfalls. Follow those signs but the easiest way is to use GPS and plug in Parking Polylimnio.
Parking is free at the lot and there are facilities in the small cafe. The cafe provides coffee, drinks, and snacks which is a great option after the hike as you do have to hike up a hill to get back to the parking lot once you are done exploring.
The hike starts next to the cafe as it descends down into the valley. The first section for the trail is paved but is fairly steep. Remember when going down you do have to come back up! At the bottom of the valley you see a couple of small waterfalls that look like decorations at fancy resorts.
As you continue along the trail the waterfalls get bigger and bigger. The water is an absolute incredible teal color which makes it difficult to not take a photo every minute.
Following the waterfalls leads you further up the valley with a small incline. The day we went it wasn’t too busy with the only exception being the first large waterfall you hike to (this is the first picture in the post).
Just before the large waterfall are some natural steps up. The trail gets progressively more difficult the further you go. At the large waterfall many people stop or turnaround as from that point on it requires some scrambling.
Above the tallest waterfall is another large swimming hole. This was one had a lot less people and plenty of swimming space. The water was ice cold which was refreshing as it is very hot in Greece during the summer.
We decided to hike above the larger swimming hole for a different vantage point. This had a small rebar ladder, a waterfall crossing, and a bridge to get to the top! The views from the top were great and the trail continues further but we do not recommend going past this waterfall as most of the scenery disappears.
The Polylimnio Waterfalls were a wonderful surprise and we highly recommend the small detour if you are staying in this region of the Peloponnese. It does require a car to get there but it is a great change of pace from the beaches and ancient sites. This is a great place to escape the heat for a couple of hours while enjoying the fresh water and hiking between the waterfalls.