Multimedia Map Description

How to get

Kassandra is the first finger of Chalkidiki Peninsula. It is one of the most popular holiday destinations with magnificent nature and lots of historical sights. Wonderful beaches with golden sand and the clearest water, emerald green forests together with the original architectural and archeological monuments make every visitor of this peninsula fall in love with it forever. On the peninsula there is an unique lake Mavrobara — it is the only lake on Cassandra. Travelers come here to get acquaintance with its unusual inhabitants. 

To the west of Polichrono at 200 meters altitude one can find a lake Mavrobara — a natural habitat of several endangered species of turtles. This beautiful wetland was admitted as a natural monument in 1997 and now it is protected by the Bonn Convention and the EU Directive on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats. The lake is very often called the Turtle lake, though the name itself means “a black hole”. Such name was given to Mavrobara by the locals for the color of the water which seemed to be real black due to the shadow of tall pines that surround it and because of different water plants and other objects at the depth.   


Despite its small size — the approximate area of Mavrobara is about 200-300 m² — the lake has a considerable depth of about 10 meters. The water level in the pond is constant regardless of the season as it is supported be the underground river. The exact age of this unusual nature object is unknown, its appearance is considered to be the result of the landslides many centuries ago. Nowadays together with the unique species of the turtles Mavrobara waters are inhabited with different species of fish, some of them have really impressive size and are absolutely not afraid of the close presence of people.

Mavrobara lake is inhabited by 3 endangered species of turtles:

  • European pond tortoise also known as speckled water turtle;
  • Caspian turtle or striped-neck terrapin;
  • Balkan or Mediterranean tortoise.

The population of unique turtles in Greece keeps steadily decreasing, though compared with other countries it is still keeping a satisfactory level. Human intervention into their natural habitat, hunting and selling them, as pets, nature enemies such as carnivores and birds — these are just some of the reasons for extremely decreasing amount of these reptiles. Their average age of life in wild nature is about 50 years.

How to navigate

The Turtle lake is so popular among guests of the peninsula that it is quite surrounded with the hiking paths all around. In 1995 the active members of the hunting club Cassandra built a stone fountain where the water is always cold, and on the outer side of the cleared lake area there are benches for a rest. The area of the district is 10 acres, the information boards are situated on the territory.

Mavrobara lake is 3 kilometers from the main road to the west of Cassandra deep in the peninsula. On the road section between Polychrono and Hanioti there is an arrow which shows a small turtle. Here you should turn on the earth-road that is going up. While climbing it, turn around — a magnificent panoramic view of the Toroneos Bay will amaze you. A little short of the pond you can see one more pointer that will help you not to wander out of intended path.

You can get here on the  car — the best type for this purpose is off-road vehicle as you have to go up the hill. The walk through the picturesque area from Polichrono will take a little more than half an hour and will give an opportunity to make some great photos on the way.  


  • Considering that Mavrobara is the natural object located on the hill, don’t forget to think over the right clothes for walking to this place. If you are going for a hiking trip, think ahead about proper walking shoes and light clothes that won’t hinder your movements. Don’t forget about sun barrier cream! Regardless of whether you are going to walk on foot or to go by car, certainly take a headwear — the scalding Greek sun doesn’t spare travellers in the open areas. If the weather is too hot, it would be better to delay the trip until a cloudy and cool day.
  • During the trip it is better to have a supply of drinking water in order not to look for shops selling refreshing drinks. It is possible to feed the pretty inhabitants of Mavrobara lake — children will definitely like this process, moreover even adults admire such amount of lake inhabitants that wish to take food right from their hands. That’s why take a couple of bread loaves and a camera — you are going to live unforgettable moments and to take very unusual photos, as not only tortoises will swim up to you to treat themselves with delicious bread, but also a considerable number of quite large and very active fish.