Occupying the western portion of Central Greece, the
prefecture of Etoloakarnania
combines the beauty of both the sea and the mountains. The
capital of the prefecture is Messolongi (244 km from Athens),
the sacred city of Greece. The heroic exodus of the "Free
Besieged" was a bright spot in our modern history as well
as a source of inspiration for poets such as Solomos and Byron
as well as for other artists.
was founded in the 16th
century on three islets at the mouth of the Aheloos and Evinos
rivers, which were later united by silting to form three
the city you will see the Exodus gate and the "Garden of
the Heroes". In the central squaqre, the Town Hall houses
the picture gallery.
If you 're a
history buff, then you 'll want to visit Ancient
castle of Kira Rhini", as the locals call it, and the
Windmill, a Revolutionary monument.
6 km. north of town, in a landscape filled with plane trees
and running water, stands the historic monastery of Agios
Simeon (17th c.). This is where 1,800 of the besieged sought
refuge and were saved. Since that time, every year on
Whitmonday, a lively folk festival takes place.
island of Etoliko
lies 13 km. northwest of Messolongi and is connected to the
mainland by an arched stone bridge. From a distance its view
is fascinating to the eye of the visitor.
50 km northwest of Messolongi the summer resort of Astakos,
a picturesque market town, overlooks the gulf of the same
name. Its extended unspoilt beaches with fine white sand and
the sea of every shade of blue at Agios
make the area prefrect for quiet, carefree holidays.
Astakos daily for Kefalonia and Ithaki. Another sight worth
seeing in the region is the monastery of the Profitis llias
(15th c.) near the village bearing the name of Karaiskakis,
where the illustrious Revolutionary used to have his
following the coast, the road leads to Mitikas,
a village built at the end of the gulf of the same name. From
here you can find a little boat to take you across to Kalamos
small islands with marvellous beaches. Just a hop from Mitikas
are the interesing ruins of the ancient city of Alizea,
and there is a very pretty beach at Paliomagaza.
A few kilometres north of Mitikas you come to Paleros, a
fishing village with another lovely beach.
Paleros the coastal road that winds up at Aktion loops inland
before reaching Vonitsa,
a pretty seaside and very green town at the entrance to the
Amvrakikos gulf, built atop the foundations of ancient Anaktorion.
At "Agios Petros"
there are ruins of ancient temples and walls, while on the
hill above a ruined medieval castle stands sentinel near the
chapel of Divine Wisdom
(12th c.) fashioned like a Byzantine fortress.
west, 15 km. on the road one comes to Aktion,
renowned in history as the site of the great naval battle
between Octavian and Marc Antony. Here lies the famous
Channel of Cleopatra, the area through which the fleet
belonging to the celebrated queen of Egypt was anchored prior
to its defeat at Aktion.
Here can also be seen the ruins of a Venetian citadel and an
archaeological site. East of Vonitsa, the road passes near Thirio,
which has a fine archaeological museum, before reaching
buildings of Amfilohia
cover the slopes of two hills, providing a panoramic view
towards the end of the gulf towards Arta. Amfilohian Argos
lies 10 km. further north.
beaches for bathing and fishing exist at Sparto,
where the old monastery of Agios Nikolaos is located. Further
north, at Menidi you can feast on all manner of seafood at its
waterfront ouzeri and tavernas.
Amfilohia, on the national road towards Agrinio, we suggest
you make a little detour and go to Katouna,
on the shores of lake Amvrakia to admire its fabulous view.
(35 km. north of Messolongi) is an important tobacco -
producing centre with good facilities for tourists. The
archaeological museum, the Papastratios Municipal Library, and
the grove of Agios Christoforos on the hillside with a
panoramic view, are some of the sights worth seeing in town.
recommended stops include a visit to Angelokastro
with its Byzantine monastery of the Pantocrator; the ruins of
a 12th century Byzantine fortress at Melagi
Hora (4 km NW); the Klissoura
gorge with the monastery
of Agia Eleoussa; and the enchanting landscape around the Aheloos
dam. East of Agrinio,
along lake Trihonida, you come to the village of Thermo,
near the ruins of Ancient Thermo, where there is an
the coast road that unites Phokida with Etoloakarnania you
arrive at Nafpaktos,
the prefecture's third largest
town, famous for the battle that took place off its shores in
1571. This market town with its attractive Venetian castle and
circular walled harbour will delight even the most demanding
visitors. The well-preserved citadel, with its series of
ramparts winding up to the top of the hill, is one of the most
beautiful in Greece.
this coast the sea is crystal clear. At Psani
where the plane trees
grow down to the water's edge, the scenery is idyllic, while
(11 km. to the east) the shore is just right for swimming.
mountains near the town are the most thickly wooded with
spruce and firs in all Greece; of a rare beauty, they are
worth visiting in summer and winter alike. Platanos,
known for its forest which contains dozens of species
of trees, Arahova,
- tiny villages in the woods 700 to 1000 metres above sea
level - will beguile you with their primitive beauty.
How to get there (from Athens
By intercity Bus (KTEL):
Terminal: 100 Kifissou Str.
Messolongi, Etoliko, Amfilohia, Vonit-sa, Nafpaktos, Astakos,
Mitikas. For information call the KTEL office 210/512.9292.
From Thessaloniki : Nafpaktos,
Antirion, Messolongi, Etoliko, one departure daily. Call the
KTEL office in Thessaloniki, (2310) 521.518.
Call Olympic Airways Athens,
210/966.6666, Olympic Airways Agrinion, (26410) 22.520.
Aktion-Agrinion, 96 km.; Aktion-Messolongi, 120 km.
Local transport :
For trips within the
prefecture or connections between the larger towns in
Etoloakarnania with other large towns outside the prefecture,
call the KTEL office in Messolongi: (26310) 22.371; Agrinion:
(26320) 22.227; Amfilohia: (26420) 22.225; Vonitsa (26430)
22.500; Nafpaktos: (26340) 27.224.
Local Boat Connections: