Masterpieces of nature, antiquity, and Orthodoxy are in harmonious coexistence in the land of discovery and kingdom of water, Aitoloakarnania. A combination of the historical regions of Aetolia and Acarnania, it is Greece’s largest regional unit. Its capital is Messolonghi for historic reasons, while its largest city and economic center is Agrinio. The area is now connected with the Peloponnese via the iconic Rio-Antirio Bridge, one of the world's longest multi-span cable-stayed bridges and longest of the fully suspended type. The bridge was inaugurated one week before the start of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and Olympic torchbearers were the first to officially cross it.
The surrounding regional units include Arta in Epirus, a narrow length bordering Karditsa of Thessaly, Evrytania to the northeast, and Phocis to the east.
Water brings life and vigor to everything here; rivers, lakes and lagoons, sea and wetlands. In the midst of mighty mountains, picturesque villages and monuments bear witness to history and religious traditions.
Forty-five picturesque villages dot the summits of the Kravara mountains in Nafpaktia. The River Evinos threads ribbon-like through the dense vegetation. Evinolimni lake, nestled in the mountains, looks like a blue brushstroke on a green canvas.
At the point where the Aetolian plain touches the sea, rises Varasova, one of the best abseiling centers in Greece.
Follow the riverside footpath along the life-giving Acheloos River and wander around the exquisite ash tree forest in Lesini, embellished by the silvery white of its willows. What photographer could do justice to the colors of the setting sun in the lagoon of Messolonghi and Aitoliko? Or at Lake Trichonida with a vastness that brings to mind the sea?
The first federal state of antiquity which was based on democratic values left its legacy in ancient Thermo. It was also in Thermo that the missionary St. Kosmas Aitolos started his remarkable work.
The prefecture can boast of the largest number of ancient theatres. In Stratos, Oiniades, Kalydona, Plevrona, and Nea Makynia, the theatres reflect the rich cultural heritage of the region.
In the historic Messolonghi, the well-known as the site of a dramatic siege during the Greek War of Independence, visit the Garden of Heroes, a tribute to the sacrifice of the locals who fought during the Greek Revolution, while in beautiful Nafpaktos enjoy the view from the Venetian castle to the harbor and the new modern landmark, the Rio-Antirio Bridge.
SPECIAL FLAVORS OF THE REGION
A delicacy in Aitoloakarnania is the fish roe of Messolonghi. Other seafood dishes include shrimp from the Amvrakikos Gulf and in Trichonida the smelt which swim to the fresh water of the lake from the salty sea before they are caught and fried. The Greek salad features olives of the Kalamon variety and is served with a drizzle of the exquisite local extra virgin olive oil.
Aitoloakarnania in Western Greece offers an authentic Greek vacation in one of the most stunning regions of the country.
More information is available online: https://western-greece.com/the-land-of-discovery/