What springs to mind when you think of Greece? Usually, hot weather, history, ouzo and beaches. It’s not an unfair characterization: the country is the cradle of modern liberal democracy, lauds great food and, according to local newspaper Greek City Times, broke a 160-year old record when Athens hit 37 degrees Celsius last May. When it comes to swimming, however, Greece has one of the most unique places of all. The Voidomatis Springs, a tributary of the Aoös, gives a completely curious swimming experience that will live long in the memory.
What is the Voidomatis?
Voidomatis is a tributary of the Aoös, one of the major rivers in Greece, and it runs in the north-western mainland Ioannina department. Just 15km long, it nevertheless cuts through some of the absolute greenest scenery you will find anywhere in Greece or its islands, and this is the primary reason for traversing it. Whether on boat or by swimming, it’s a great place to experience, and is particularly well known for its incredibly clear waters. The name of the river itself derives from the Greek word for ‘the eye of the Ox’, referring to the blue eyes of oxen being a reflection of the water. A popular place for extreme sports like rafting, it does have some degree of risk to it. When visiting, you must always be aware of the risks of drowning, especially if you are going to visit the springs, which give the region its reputation as a unique and extremely engaging swimming location. The majority of drownings occur in natural settings, so be aware of the safety advice before visiting.
Where the Voidomatis really gets interesting is in its springs. Despite the river being located in a hot country, the waters rarely go above 4 degrees Celsius. The springs, in particular, give such cold temperatures that it can be like swimming in Nordic cold water. According to CNN, swimmers flock here for the paradise-like experience, with the chill of the waters in contrast to the heat of the sun and the greenery of nature all around.
Apart from the paradise-like experience you will gain by heading out to this hidden gem of Greece, you will get considerable benefit simply from cold water swimming. According to Science Focus, swimming in cold water causes a shock reaction in your body that achieves several things. It reduces your overall stress levels. It improves circulation, building your body’s resilience to a wide range of negative impacts. It can even help to tackle depression according to some studies, which is a huge benefit to many people in today’s over-stressed world. In the Greek environment, which is otherwise rather warm and forgiving, you’ll also be safe from the potential impacts of cold water damage.
There are few better places to enjoy swimming. It’s a piece of paradise married to health benefits that you could only dream of from regular swimming. Plus, given its location on the mainland, you’re never too far from other sights and attractions. Give paradise a try next time you’re looking for a unique swimming stop.