Porto Lagos, the aquatic paradise at the northern end of the country, on the borders of the prefecture of Xanthi and Rodopi, apart from its unique natural landscape, impresses every visitor with its diffuse religiosity, which becomes evident with the existence of the impressive monastery of Agios Nikolaos. Giving the illusion that it is a floating building, this wonderful monastery fills the atmosphere with its devout beauty. So we left to discover the history of this, but also of the amazing place that is located to host it.
Porto Lagos: The monastery of St. Nicholas seems to float in the water
The monastery of Agios Nikolaos is part of the Vatopedi monastery on Mount Athos. The two traditions that follow it date back to the early Byzantine years when it was inaugurated by the patriarch Nektarios as a thanksgiving of the emperor Arcadius to the Virgin Mary for his salvation from certain drowning. During his return journey from the capital of Italy, he was found shipwrecked in the middle of the sea. Either the other legend places the inauguration of the monastery at the time of Turkish rule. Here, the story has it that a monk who practiced ascetics to heal the sick daughter of the bey decides to give the area as a gift to the monastery of Vatopedi, thus making the monastery of Agios Nikolaos its dependency. As it remains to this day.
The monastery complex is definitely one of the most impressive sights you should see when you find yourself in Porto Lagos. With the lagoon literally spreading under its feet, the monastery of Agios Nikolaos stands built on one of its many islets, having in front of it the unobstructed view of the Thracian Sea. A stone's throw away on the territory of a different nearby island, you will see in front of you a second monastery, which is part of the complex, that of Panagia Pantanassa. In this unique monastery, there is an exact copy of the popular icon, kept in the Holy Monastery of Vatopedi, which is believed to have miraculous properties.
These two amazing monasteries They are connected by a bridge made of wood that connects them creating an impressive path. Apart from the connection between them, another wooden bridge is the link between the monasteries and the land. In this way, an open road to visit them stretches out in front of you, while keeping alive the feeling that they are floating on the water.
Porto Lagos: The place where the beautiful flamingos live
Apart from the monastery of Agios Nikolaos which attracts the attention of every visitor due to its seemingly direct contact with the water, there is another reason that will make you fall in love with the wonderful place of Porto Lagos, the presence of beautiful flamingos in its waters. These unique birds where the pink color dyes their plumage, really decorate the environment of the area. Their appearance in these waters to find food or mates could only be due to the golden geographical intersection of the union of Lake Vistonida with the Thracian Sea. Lake Vistonida is one of the largest wetlands in the world, included in a special zone for the protection of bird fauna by the European Union. That's why in its waters you will see a plethora of birds such as storks and wild pelicans.
How to get to Porto Lagos: To get to the unique place of Porto Lagos and see its sights up close, you need to drive about 25 kilometers from the city of Xanthi, a route of less than half an hour. Your journey to reach Xanthi starting from Athens requires your patience since you will need no more or less close to seven hours of driving. You need first to get to Thessalonica by driving for about 500 km and then drive to Xanthi for another 200 km. There is also another way to get to Xanthi and it's by train. The closest city to Xanthi with an airport is Kavala which is around 35 min away.
Porto Lagos has all those characteristics that make a place look like paradise, an amazing natural environment, and the strong presence of religiosity in the landscape. Visit it to feel amazed by its beauty.