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AETOLOAKARNANIA

Information | Photo Gallery | Map

 

GENERAL INFORMATION

Being the largest prefecture of Greece, the vast expanse of Aetoloakarnania covers the entire Western part of central Greece. The population of 250.000 that lives in its 5711 square km is spread all across the region, with a concentration around the main urban centers of Messologgi, the historical capital of the prefecture with 14.000 inhabitants, and the much larger Agrinio, numbering a population of some 45.000 people, a center of commerce and agriculture which is among the fastest-growing cities in Greece. Aetoloakarnania is mostly a mountainous region, its large mountain ranges covered in shades of lush green interrupted by the mild blue of the lakes and the rivers. Before reaching the sea, the mountains descend into a plain large enough to produce great quantities of top-quality tobacco, used to enrich the flavor of many brands of cigarettes. Finally, the coastline forms many beaches, where the golden sand fades into the crystal blue-green of the Ionian Sea.   

 

HISTORY-CULTURE

This land was once divided among two ancient Greek tribes, the Aetolians and the Acarnans. Though the power among them was well balanced, the history of the former is far greater in significance compared to the one of the latter. Aetolians, as most of the Greek tribes of antiquity, were named thus after the name of a great leader. In their case this was Aetolos, son of king Endymion, who led his people in this fertile land, once under the control of the Leleges, one of most ancient Greek tribes. Aetolians were present in the Trojan War, they fought on the side of the rest of the Greeks against the Persians, allied themselves with Philip of Macedonia and his son Alexander the Great, and were protagonists in repelling the Gaulish horde which had invaded Greece after sacking Rome in 279 BC. Roman promises deceived them in fighting against their Macedon compatriots some decades later, only to fall under Roman rule in 146 BC. Aetolians and Acarnans jointly suffered invading Goths, Slavs and Saracens, and finally submitted to the Franks in 1204, who were followed by Turks in 1450. After long centuries of bitter slavery, they joined the rest of the nation in its struggle for Independence in 1821. At these times the land became the staging point for many great battles, the most heroic of which was the siege that led to the exodus of Messologgi, where a starved populace poured out of the city walls fighting heroically against impossible odds. Messologgi was also the base of Lord Byron, who arrived here to aid in the cause of the Greek freedom fighters, offering his fortune, his spirit, and ultimately, his life.      

 

SIGHTS

Archaeological and historical sights alternate with the gorgeous landscapes of beautiful Aetoloakarnania. The lagoon of Messologgi, the phosphorescence of the sea in picturesque Amphilochia, the great castle towering over the medieval city of Nafpaktos, are but a few highlights in a land rich in densely forested mountain ranges, steep gorges, impressive canyons, tranquil lakes, winding rivers, comely beaches, and beckoning seas. Ancient cities, Byzantine monasteries and churches along with medieval castles force the mind to take a trip into the past, while modern wonders such as the great Rion-Antirrion bridge over the sea and the dams of Kastraki and Kremasta bring it back with a proud glance at what modern man can build to shape his world.  

  

ENTERTAINMENT-SPORTS-SHOPPING

The tourist infrastructure of Aetoloakarnania is rapidly developing to meet the expectations of a rising number of visitors. Accommodations include hotels, rooms to let, and campings, while numerous cafes, bars, and clubs open all night and well into the next day provide ample opportunities for entertainment. Those who seek adventure will find the sporting facilities of much greater interest. Water sports are fully available on most of the organized beaches, while the rivers of the region form an ideal setting for canoe and rafting challenges. The mountains are also beckoning for trekkers and mountain climbers, as well as for skiers during the winter season. Seaside restaurants offer delicious seafood dishes fresh out of the sea, while inland taverns specialize in grilled delicacies and cheeses from the herds grazing on the slopes of the adjacent mountains. Hand-made textiles and rugs woven on traditional wooden looms are offered in many shops, along with pure honey and traditional dairy products.   

 

ACCESS

Frequent bus routes connect the main centers of Messologgi, Agrinio and Aetoliko directly with Athens, Thessaloniki, Lamia, Larissa, Patra and Ioannina. The airport of Aktion is just 96 km from Agrinio and 130 km from Messologgi.

 

CONNECTIONS

The bus network connects Aetoloakarnania with every possible destination on the Greek mainland, especially those located along the Western coastline. Ferries from the port of Astakos depart for the islands of Kefallonia and Ithaca, while smaller vessels go to the islet of Kalamos. Similar vessels from Mytikas also go to Kalamos, as well as to Kastos.

 

MUSEUMS

Messologgi, Agrinio, Vonitsa and Thermo host collections of historical, ethnological, philological, artistic, cultural, and archaeological interest. Smaller collections of folk art and historical material can also be found in most of the larger towns and villages.  

 

ALTERNATIVE TOURISM

Ecotourism, archaeology, gastronomy, cultural-historical, educational, sporting (mountain climbing, rafting, canoe-kayak, river trekking, canyoning, mountain bike, trekking, water ski, windsurfing, jeep safari).

 

USEFUL TELEPHONE NUMBERS:

MESSOLOGI AREA CODE:  26310-

POLICE STATION: 26310-55700

TOURIST POLICE:26310-27220

TRAFFIC POLICE: 26310-55727

MUNICIPALITY: 26310-55460

TELECOMMUNICATIONS ORG.: 26310-51425

POST OFFICE: 26310-22605

TAXI STATION: 26310-22655, 22623, 25101, 39755

HOSPITAL: 26310-57100

PHARMACIES: 26310-23394

BUS STATION: 26310-22371

 

 

 

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STEREA HELLAS & EVIA AETOLOAKARNANIASTEREA HELLAS & EVIA AETOLOAKARNANIASTEREA HELLAS & EVIA AETOLOAKARNANIASTEREA HELLAS & EVIA AETOLOAKARNANIA
STEREA HELLAS & EVIA AETOLOAKARNANIASTEREA HELLAS & EVIA AETOLOAKARNANIA
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