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Travel

Agrinio – In the Embrace of the Acheloos River

Agrinio is a well-known and at the same time an ‘unknown’ city. It is one of the largest cities in Western Greece, an active financial and commercial center, a living city. However, a tour of the surrounding area, with the city as your starting point, will come as a pleasant surprise, since it reveals a diverse, stunningly beautiful landscape, archaeological sites and religious monuments of special significance.

AS REVEALING WALK

Wandering around the city, you will see vestiges of the past emerging, helping you to piece together its storied history. The buildings of the tobacco warehouses, samples of industrial architecture from a bygone age, reveal the close connection the area has with tobacco, while the widespread excavation findings exhibited in the Papastrateion Archaeological Museum give ample illustration of the important role the area played in the Aetolian League, the federation of communities and cities of the region in ancient times.

FASCINATION ALL AROUND

The ancient city of Stratos, one of the largest and best fortified city-states of Akarnania, stood to the west of Acheloos river. The remnants of the ancient Agora, the temple of Zeus Stratios and the city walls still stand to this day, with the almost intact ancient theatre its most impressive monument.

At a short distance from the village of Lepenou lies the Holy Chapel of Panagia Vlahernon, built at the beginning of the 20th century in order to house the miraculous icon of the Holy Virgin.

Making your way along the northern banks of Acheloos river, you will pass by the agrarian Towns of Panaitolio and Kainourgio. From there you should visit the Vlohos Monastery, where the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary stands out for its remarkable icon screen.

The largest and probably most picturesque lake of the country is Lake Trichonida, which was noted in the Natura 2000 net for its vital ecosystems. More than 200 bird species find refuge around its shores, while fresh water smelt and eels of exquisite taste breed in its waters. Skiing, wakeboarding and rowing in the lake, paragliding in Paravola, birdwatching in Trichonio, hiking and mountain biking in Arakynthos are some of the sports you can enjoy in the area.

Thermo is located at an altitude of 360 meters in a landscape of exceptional beauty. Ancient Thermo was the at the heart of the Aetolian League and the archaeological site is of immense interest thanks to the galleries of the agora – or ancient marketplace – of the Aetolians and the temple of Thermios Apollon which have come to light. From Thermo visit Petrochori with its traditional houses and the panoramic view of Trichonida and the lakeside hamlets Dogri, Varia and Myrtia, where you can enjoy a coffee or meal under the plane trees by the lake.

The ash forests in Trichonio and Lesini have been marked out for their ecological value and exquisite beauty, while the village of Paravola is built on the site of ancient Voukatio, still overlooked by remnants of its Acropolis on the hill above.

West of Trichonida lies another vibrant ecological theater, Lake Lysimachia, and the nearby thermal baths of Mourtsianos and Chelova represent nature’s outstretched hand, an invitation to wellness and revitalization.

Finally, the historic Pantokratoras Monastery in Aggelokastro and the Katerinou Monastery on Arakynthos, where the icon of Our Lady Enthroned is an impressive sight, are definitely worth a visit.

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