Ladon is a Peloponnesian river and a tributary of Alfeios. It got its name from the homonymous river in Viotia, when the locals settled in the area around 1307 BC.
Ladon is surrounded by a beautiful natural landscape, something confirmed by Pausanias. It is a calm river, which makes it ideal for many activities, like canoe-kayak, rafting and swimming, even for small children. The lovely scenery is also ideal for hiking and trekking.
One of the most significant attractions of the area is the river’s hydroelectric dam, which was constructed in 1954 in the location Pidima, at an altitude of 420 metres. This dam created an artificial lake, whose wider area has been declared an ecological park due to its unique natural environment and the rare flora and fauna. In the area around the lake you will also have the opportunity to see the so-called “Kyras to Gefyri” (the Bridge of the Lady), which was built during the Middle Ages and is only visible during the summer months, when the waters of the dam withdraw.
River Ladon originates in the Aroania Mountains, crosses the prefecture of Achaia and flows into Alfeios, in the prefecture of Arcadia. Alfeios then flows into the Kyparissian Gulf. The largest section of the river flows between the mountains of Mainalo and Afrodisio and, as with most of the Greek rivers, it makes its appearance in the Greek Mythology.
According to the Myths, Artemis was hunting on the banks of Ladon, Dimitra was swimming in its waters and Pan was wandering around, living his endless adventures. On one occasion, Pan saw and fell in love with the nymph Syrigga (Syringe) and started chasing her. Ladon, wanting to protect her, turned her into a reed. Pan cut those reeds down and created his musical instrument, the Syrinx. Ladon was also associated with the murder of Lefkippos, the son of Pisa and Oinomaos. Lefkippos fell in love with the nymph Daphne, daughter of Gaia and Ladon, or, according to another version, of Pineios from Thessaly. Daphne, however, was courted by the God Apollo. With a powerful desire to be near her, Lefkippos disguised as a woman and joined her friends. Apollo got so jealous of his presence that he inspired the nymphs to bathe, something that would force the young man to get naked as well. So, his true gender was revealed, something that enraged the nymphs, who ultimately killed him.
Back in nowadays, Ladon is a very quiet river, surrounded by an incredibly beautiful nature, and offers the opportunity for many activities, like rafting, canoe-kayak, swimming, fishing, hiking and mountain biking around its banks. One of the most important attractions of Ladon is its dam, which is a 104 metres long, 55 metres high, built in the location Pidima at an altitude of 420 metres. The construction of the dam started in 1950, as part of the creation of a hydroelectric power station for PPC. The project was completed 5 years later and became one of the first major power stations in Greece, while the dam was collecting about 50,000,000 cubic metres of water. An Italian company undertook its completion and the cost was covered by the reparations from World War II.
The dam led to the creation of an artificial lake in a ravine of Mount Afrodisio, with a total area of 6,000 square metres, set amongst spectacular scenery. This lake was turned into an eco-park and is ideal for many activities, like boating, swimming and fishing, as well as hiking around its shores. An interesting attraction is the “Kyras to Gefyri” (the Lady’s Bridge), which was constructed in the 13th century AD and is only visible during the summer months, when the level of the waters goes down.