The Prefecture of Aitoloakarnania covers the westernmost part of mainland Greece. It is a fertile area, rich in aquatic resources with water running in abundance in its rivers that supply beautiful lakes and lush valleys.
River Acheloos is a “fountain of life”, an aquatic giant that carries on his “shoulder” the agricultural economy of the land.
The entire prefecture has been inhabited at least since the Paleolithic Era, as evidenced by firestone tools that have been unearthed in river-side and lake-side areas. In the passage of time, the culture of the people remains alive through monuments that stand as irrefutable witnesses of historic events, but also of moments of grandeur.
The ancient theaters of Makyneia, Plevronas, Oiniades and Stratou are still found at the same location where the great namesake cities flourished. A fascinating castle rises north of the town of Nafpaktos reaching all the way down to a Venetian port still in excellent condition to this day.
In recent years a multitude of sport infrastructure has been developed in Aitoloakarnania, such as water-ski at the artificial Lake Stratou, as well as facilities for canoe-kayak at the Bridge Bania Evinou.
The slopes of Mt. Arakynthos and Mt. Panaitoliko very often host the activities of the two Flying Clubs of Mesolongi and Agrinio.
The Lagoons at Mesolongi and Aitolikon, the lakes Trichonida, Lysimachia, Amvrakia and the Amvrakikos Gulf constitute ecological “paradises” that offer a different proposal of alternative tourism; with respect and sensitivity towards the environment.
Aitoloakarnania is lined with fascinating beaches. Nafpaktos, Mesolongi, Louros, Oiniades, Vonitsa, Palairos, Astakos, Amfilochia and Menidi are just some of them. Hotel facilities are continuously expanded and upgraded to accommodate the high numbers of visitors that arrive at the prefecture each year.
Mountainous Nafpaktia is one of the most ideal places for vacations or short weekend escapades. Verdant slopes, literally drowned in lush vegetation, offer tranquility, sports and entertainment.
Mesolongi, Agrinio, Nafpaktos and many more other towns often host quality events with the participation of many remarkable personages of the Arts and Letters.
Old customs are often revived, such as the Vlacho Wedding in Nafpaktos, the Palaiomanina in mid-August, but also traditional feasts such as the one in Mesolongi fifty days after Easter each year and in Aitoliko on 23 August each year. In Agrinio, every year, the Municipal Theater gives remarkable performances with talented and popular actors at the leading roles.
You should not leave the place before you taste Mesolongi’s superb Avgotaracho (roes of flathead mullet believed by some to be better than kaviar) but also the fresh fish at the Lagoon and the Amvrakikos Gulf or experience the richness of the local wines produced at the vineyards of the Aitoloakarnanian land.
In every town, visitors can enjoy traditional dishes at hospitable taverns either next to the sea or at the quaint villages of the mountainous areas.
North of Lake Trichonida
In the wider area of Kainourgio and Paravola, the visitor has the opportunity for several walks along the lake, especially in the places Dogri and Vareia.
There are also routes that offer the possibility of hiking to Mount Panaitolikos
From the village of Agia Varvara to Prosilia.
From the village of Prosilia to Peristeri.
In the pine forest above Paravola to the village of Afrato to Peristeri.
From the village of Peristeri to the mountain refuge from the dirt road. Around Neromana to the archeological sites, springs and waterfalls.From the village of Paleokarya to the spring of Kolokythies – in between the village of Mrs. Vgenas and the hill of Profitis Ilias.
In the heart of Mount Panaitolikos, in the place Diaselaki of D.E. Paravolas, at a point of special interest, both in terms of mountaineering and in terms of natural landscape, operates the mountain shelter at an altitude of 1,170 m.Access to the shelter is from Paravola and signs lead to the village of Peristeri and the shelter that is a total of 24.5 km away from Agrinio. There is an asphalt road to the village of Peristeri. There is also a second access by dirt road from the village of Kyra-Vgena.The creation of the Mountaineering Shelter, perhaps the most modern and beautiful in Greece, is now a point of reference and a meeting place for climbers and nature lovers from all over Greece but also from Europe, with the possibility of hosting about 70 people.On this side of Panaitolikos there are organized and marked routes.
Skiing – wakeboarding – rowing
Crossing the village of Paravola, immediately after is Pantanassa and after 1 km we meet Dogri or Dougri. The area is suitable for sports activities such as water skiing, rowing and wakeboarding in the largest natural lake in Greece.
Agrinio Aeroclub has created a very active section that concerns the Paragliding and has gained worldwide recognition as a leading force in the Greek sports field. Famous take-off areas in the area north of Trichonida are Paleokarya and Paravola.
South of Lake Trichonida Hiking – Mountaineering
In the wider area of Arakynthos the route can take place from the Monastery of Agios Georgios Chounistas to the top of Greveno. The route starts with a relatively large slope and ends in a small shelter at the top. The view from this point is excellent and the route is signaling.There is also the possibility of mountain biking on the forest road to the Monastery of Agios Georgios Sivistas and from Ano Kerasovo to the mountain shelter.
In Trichonio there is the Forest of Fraxos where it is a place for bird watching in Trichonida. The interest is centered on the age-old “Turkish plane tree” which is located on the edge of the village and is easily perceived due to its great height. In the area of Trichonida, brown geese, swamp ducks, the kingfisher and storks nest, which is an indicator of the health of the wetland and agricultural ecosystems. Fraxos Forest is another option for hiking as it combines natural beauty and views.
Lakes of Kremasta and Kastraki
In the lakeside areas of the lakes there are several places that are suitable for hiking with simple and easy hiking routes as well as for mountain biking.
Canoe – Kayak
In the artificial lakes of Kremasta and Kastraki, various sports activities take place with Canoe – Kayak or boat (near Agalianos and the Bridge of Episkopis). Kremaston Lake is the largest artificial lake in Greece.
The area of Psilovrachos, very close to the lake of Kremasta, is famous for the caves that are rich in stalagmites and stalactites.
The point under the Stratou dam has been granted to the Hellenic Federation of Water Skiing and facilities of the National Ski Center are currently operating. It is possible to train three teams at the same time in the three separate sports and training stands that exist. Thus, the National Center for Sea Skiing on Lake Stratou is the most complete facility in Greece that with the ideal “water” conditions is considered one of the best places for training and competitions internationally.
On the west side of Panaitolikos there are several hiking trails that the visitor can follow. Routes that highlight the beauty of nature are:From the village of Skoutera to the Monastery of LykourisisFrom the village of Agia Varvara to the location of KritharakiFrom the village of Agia Paraskevi to the watermillAlso on rural and forest roads of Panaitolikos and mountain villages one can do cycling.
For mountaineering enthusiasts, there are organized and marked routes to the peaks of Mount Panaitolikos.From the villages of Agia Varvara and Agia Paraskevi to the peaks of Giorla, Kokka and Katelanos.From Sitomena to the peaks of Tsina, Krimnitsa and KatelanosShare this tour
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